Thursday, October 13, 2011

Just breathe....

So I'm getting up in the morning to run now, mainly because if I don't get it over with early, I find excuses not to go.  Plus two days a week I have night classes, so there really isn't any time.  My afternoons are pretty full with getting Henry home, fed, bathed, and put to bed, especially now that he brings us upwards of six books to read every night.  I guess he should just get one, but if you can resist a kid bringing you a book and then getting himself situated in your lap, then looking up at you expectantly, then you're a tougher person than I am.  Or than Ben is (I still maintain that he's a bigger sucker than I am when it comes to that).

But there are some things to remember when running in the morning.  You'll be tired and out of it, because you just woke up.  So it's important to have short-term goals that you can concentrate on, like finishing a mile, or getting to the top of the next hill.  (My personal goal is to avoid lying down on the sidewalk and going back to sleep.  Whatever works.).  However, you need to remain aware of your surroundings, for safety reasons and to avoid falls.  Also, if you are deep in thought, and all of a sudden the sprinkler system you're running past sputters on in a very loud and startling way, you may screech like a girl and come dangerously close to peeing your pants.

Not that this happened to me today.  Or ever.  Although if it did, hypothetically, I think my speed for the next twenty feet or so would rival that of Carl Lewis.  A good scare can give you that adrenaline rush you need.

Anyway, so when I got home, I decided to attempt a yoga DVD.  I have a bad back, so I ordered one specifically for back care, and it has been really helpful.  I figured I could get as much of the DVD done as I could before Henry woke up, then get him set up for breakfast and finish the rest.  He woke up pretty quickly after I started, but seemed to enjoy the entertainment with his meal.  He did finish breakfast before I finished the DVD, so I set him down on the floor to play while I wrapped up my workout.

This made me decide I needed to narrate a yoga workout for those of us with impatient kids.  "Ok, on your next inhale, you're going to lower into plank....on the exhale, a 26 pound kid is going to throw himself across your back....ok, use his weight in the pose...on the next inhale, he will dig the corner of "The Hungry, Hungry Caterpillar" into your spine....use this to focus your energy..breathe....."

It's not the most relaxing thing, but we get to have some fun before he goes to school and I go to work, and hey, my back does feel better.  I'd try one of the kid yoga workouts if I thought he had the attention span for it, but I don't know that Henry's the yoga type.  He currently gets most of his exercise by climbing on things he shouldn't, beating one object on another object, or chasing the dogs.  They do say find a workout you enjoy, or you won't stick with it.  Thank goodness Jack Russells are fast.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Going to buy a mental institution-not for the reason you'd think.

No, not to admit myself.  Although some days I'm close.  No, I want to buy a mental institution and start a day care there.  You see, it will be a specialty day care, with padded walls, for kids like mine who seem to feel the incessant need to wreck themselves.

I am home because day care called to tell me that Henry had hit his head.  This in and of itself was not concerning-he hits his head all the time.  But for them to call me, and to not just let me know when I picked him up, let me know it was kind of serious.  She said he wasn't bleeding, but did have a big bruise and a goose egg.  I know I seem like an overly-worrying mom here (mainly because that's what I am) but I just don't take chances with my kid, so I ran out of work to go get him and make sure he was ok.  Like I said, this is not an alarmist day care, so if they were concerned enough to call me, I was concerned.

So I ran the whole way to my car, sped all the way to day care, and found him bruised up but pretty happy.  We're home now, oatmeal cookies in the oven, kid taking a nap while I check on him incessantly and wait for a call from the pediatrician, just making sure that we don't need to take him in.  While I wait, I should probably make at least one apology.

Lady in the Tercel ahead of me on I95-I am sorry for that long string of very profane words I let loose while pointing at you, lest you think they were directed at someone else. I'm sure you are a kind person with a good reputation, as is your mother, and I'm sorry for questioning your morals or choice of nighttime, pimp-related employment.

To be fair, you were going 15 under the speed limit on the INTERSTATE.  Just take surface roads, in Richmond that's usually faster anyway.

To the guy in the van who I shrieked "Pick a fucking lane, asshole!" at, I stand by that.  You only get one.  Asshole.  Same goes for the lady who was on her cell phone and almost made me miss a green light.

Ok, so there aren't so many apologies, but know that I was in an increased state of agitation, and I normally don't yell at other drivers.  I've been trying to break Ben of the habit.  Even he's not as bad as his sister, though.  If Andrew Dice Clay had to ride in a car with her in Northern Virginia, he'd be telling her to tone it down.

So the kid is fine.  In other news, I found a good friend on Facebook who I hadn't seen in, god, going on fifteen years or so, I guess, and got to chat with him a bit.  I have mixed feelings about Facebook.  I mean, I love that it keeps me in touch with my family, and allows me to obnoxiously hose people who have innocently friended me with pictures of my kid.  But sometimes I get those friend requests from people who made no attempt to hide the fact that they despised me when we actually new each other.  Maybe people grow, but Facebook has been a mix of excitement over seeing people I love who I've lost touch with, and that old feeling of dread that the unpopular kids feel when they walk into high school.

It doesn't help that whenever I run into someone from my past on there, I start having dreams about ALL the people I knew during that time.  They're never nice, fun dreams, like ones of us camping and drinking and having a blast.  The dreams are always full of people I don't care to see, like I'm sitting by the road wearing no pants and all my ex-boyfriends are driving by and laughing.

So it's a love-hate relationship.  But this particular friend pointed out something to me.  Lately I'd been too focused on the bad times, and the people I shouldn't have bothered with, and I'd really forgotten about all the good people and good times.  And there were a lot of them.  It's so great when you can connect with someone you haven't seen in years and it's like no time has passed at all.  But he made me realize that I can be a really pessimistic glass half-empty person when it comes to stuff like that.  Instead of rolling my eyes over the asshole I dated, I should think about the group of friends I made because I dated him.  There really were some great people there, and the summer before college was one of the most fun times in my life because of them.

It's almost made me want to track a few down, but I think once you're a loser at some point in your life, it's hard to shake that tiny "What if they don't want to hear from me?" voice that's still trying to convince you that you're fat, that nobody likes you, and they're laughing at you because you have a tampon hanging out of your bookbag and they know your jeans came from Wal-Mart.

Some stuff you grow up with is just hard to shake.  So I'll work on remembering the good times, and all the misfits who I fit in just fine with.  And be glad for the ones I still have in my life (and yes, we're all still misfits and nerds, but when you get older, that sort of gets cooler.)

At least that's what I tell myself.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Look Out-Average Mom Goes Political

I rarely discuss politics on the internet.  One reason is that I'm not so sure what I think about a lot of things.  A master's in public administration gives you the fun ability to see all sides of a policy issue, and quite frankly, someone gets screwed over no matter what happens.

The other reason is the vitriol and hate that is spewed over so many issues, by people who could be neighbors, or friends.  Why do so many people only see their own view as right, and not even examine others for possibility?  Why do you have to shut someone down because they don't agree with you?  I'm not a big fan of the Tea Party and I think Sarah Palin is a moneygrubbing loon, but I try not to write people off who support either.  I mean, I can see being frustrated with the current political scene.

I guess the protests on Wall Street, and the reactions of both the media and the public have brought this on.  I've read so many people ranting against "liberals who want what isn't theirs" and adversely, "corporate whores who won't stop taking and have the government in their pocket."  The truth, I'm sure, lies somewhere in the middle.  I, like everyone else, have seen people take public assistance and, in my eyes, abuse it.  I have also seen, as has everyone, people who were born with everything, who never had to work, and who think they're entitled to a certain lifestyle or income because of who they are.

But most of us don't fall into either category.  Most of us are working, or trying to, supporting a family, taking out loans to go to school, trying to buy a house....not trying to make a million dollars, but wanting to make enough to get by.  To not have to worry between paychecks.  But the fact is, the top 1% of this country are getting richer, while the rest of us are not.  In the past 30 years or so, adjusted for inflation, average CEO salaries have increased by five times.  The rest of our salaries, adjusted, are basically the same.  Since I doubt they're working harder and we're all slacking off, the only reasonable assumption to take away is that they are keeping more of the profit for themselves.

And to those who say "well, they've earned it", ok, I get your point.  But they've earned it on the backs of American workers, workers they lay off and then give away jobs overseas because it's cheaper, and there's more profit to be had.  Of course, the other side of that is the public is not willing to pay more for less, and outsourcing cuts costs. and therefore price (that's the argument, anyway).

Also, the most horrific Supreme Court ruling I've ever read basically decided that money equals speech, and corporations are people, so they can give as much to political candidates and parties and PACs as is legally allowable to an individual.  That is complete bullshit.  Money does not equal speech, and here's why.  Because we don't have equal access to it.  And money makes people listen more than just speech.  The way our system is set up, you pretty much can't get elected if you aren't in corporate pockets.  If you want to learn more, and also really get depressed about our system and how hard it will be to change it, check out Is That a Politician in Your Pocket?  Washington on $2 million a day" by Sifry and Watson.

So if I don't like getting political online, why am I doing it here? Well, one, because I have a readership of about 15 people, 10 of whom are required to still like me by sharing familial blood.  Two, this is an outlet rather than trying to have a conversation with someone who disagrees with me about it, which is about as effective as me standing in my closet and debating myself.  And I think how I feel is felt by more than one person out there.  So here's a list of what I think I believe.

I think corporations and corporate leaders need to pay their fair share in taxes.

I think there should be term limits on Congresspeople.

I think education is the great equalizer.  All of those "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" people may not agree with me here, but if you have the privilege of a good education, you are more likely to succeed.  If you are born poor and are in a bad school system, with no available funds for college, you are likely to keep the cycle of poverty going.  There are a few heartwariming stories about people "making it" but that's the exception, not the rule.  Fix the education system, save the world.

I think abortion should be legal.  I also think there should be easy access to sex education and birth control, and that people should have the wherewithall to use it, so that a doctor performing an abortion should be just as rare as a doctor having to saw a padlock off of some guy's penis and nutsack because he and his girlfriend used it as a sex toy without finding the key (you can laugh, but this happened to one of Ben's roommates in college).

I can also promise you that being put on birth control at fourteen did not make me want to run around and start having lots of anonymous sex with strangers.  It led to me being on birth control because my mom would rather be safe than sorry (she told me it was for cramps) and I didn't have sex til I was 17 anyway.  It's not like putting a girl on birth control immediately activates a neon arrow and sign that points at her vagina and says "OPEN FOR BUSINESS, FELLAS."

I'm not sure where I stand on immigration but I know two things.
1.  I don't believe I've ever lost a job or been negatively impacted by an illegal immigrant and
2.  The employment problem is more the fault of employers who are willing to hire someone, pay them next to nothing and treat them like dirt, knowing that if they have any legal recourse, they're probably too scared to use it.

And this whole country would probably be doing a lot better if we all stopped attacking each other as "Teabaggers" or "stupid hippie liberals" and actually fixed our problems.  There's nothing the 1% want more than for us to be distracted by each other and to not be able to unify to demand real change, change that would benefit EVERYONE in this nation.

That's all for now.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Biting and walking and job hunting. Oh my!

Sad when it's been so long since you posted in your blog that you don't remember your password to access it.  I'm guessing my ten readers have already figured out that consistency is not my strong point.  This has also been a rough summer by anyone's definition.  Ben's left the teaching profession to give the handyman business a go, but things are still uncertain, and my job future is not looking quite as bright as I'd like it to.  After five years of graduate school, someone damn well better hire me.  I mean, I have the education, I have the experience, I have a good marginal I have a personality.  That is unique.  Sort of churlish in an adorable way.  Ok, so it's more bitchy.

I went to a job fair recently and felt old as hell.  All of these companies were recruiting new undergrad graduates for internships.  Just the idea of heading to a "Training Team Experience" at Enterprise Rent-a-Car makes me want to find a rented car and throw myself in front of it.  I just want to work.  I don't want to go to social gatherings.  I don't want to do teambuilding activities at a Sheraton.  I don't want to be on your kickball team.  It was bad enough to be picked last in elementary school, why am I reliving this now?  Is Corey Brueggerman also going to point out the maxi pad I dropped in the hall to all of his friends so I have to pretend I don't know how it got there while they all giggle?


Ben just came in and suggested we make sex tapes and sell them online.   My newly gained business acumen makes me wonder what the market for those would be.  I don't even want to see me naked, much less see me naked and moving so that the saddlebags reach full jiggle potential.  Thankfully he was kidding.  I hope.

The silver lining in all of this, of course, is our boy.  Walking, talking, getting into everything, expressing his opinion (generally that he does not approve of whatever he is doing/being offered/getting dressed in).  Still having some biting issues at school, but the ladies are still crazy about him and make excuses for him.  My mom keeps saying he's spoiled, and I keep explaining that IT'S NOT ME DOING THE SPOILING.   She doesn't believe me, though.  I think she gets some kind of sadistic pleasure out of watching my kid challenge me.  I don't know why, we all know I was a perfect angel.  Always.