Tuesday, February 24, 2009

25 Things About Me-- for Bee

My cousin-in law tagged me on Facebook for 25 things about me. I thought I would oblige, but I think I want to post it here instead. It was insanely hard to think of 25 things to write about myself that 1) I thought anyone else might want to read and 2) that didn’t violate some kind of privacy/confidentiality rule. I realized writing this that 25 things is A LOT of things to write about oneself and then, well, I am verbose. So in short, it is long! I will in no way feel offended if you don’t want to read them all, or all in one sitting. I also apologize because it seems this 25 things thing is contagious, I have seen it on several blogs I frequent. So if you are all 25-ed out, feel free to make your escape.

1. I ran away a lot as a kid: I moved into my closet, the basement, the top bunk, an old chicken coop, the neighbors ditch, etc. One day my older sister and a younger brother and I took all of our tithing money for church and ran away. We thought we had enough to live on for a few weeks, but blew all $9 in one day on corn dogs, suckers, and bubble gum.

2. I love red wine, but I cross my fingers and genuflect now when I drink it because it usually gives me a headache. It makes me very, very, very sad. I still drink it, hoping that this time I will wake up refreshed… but I usually don’t. What can I say? I am either the eternal optimist or a very slow learner.

3. I can’t sleep with any sensory stimulation: no lights, no music, no noise— (I sleep with earplugs and I can still hear my kids)—and for the love of Pete—DON’T TOUCH ME! I don’t want to spoon or snuggle while I am sleeping. Don’t throw your arm over me and keep your feet on your side of the bed. Thank you.

4. I hated the movie Forrest Gump. I know that is like a sacrilege, since 99.9% of the country loves it. I hated all of those “Gump-isms” that came out of it—you know those quasi-philosophical phrases like “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are gonna get” GAG! You know what? If life were like a box of chocolates, we would all be happy—it doesn’t matter what you get, it is chocolate!! The problem is, that sometimes life hands you a turd… that isn’t even chocolate-covered.

5. My favorite books as a child were the Dorrie the Witch series. Dorrie is a little girl witch who wears mis-matched socks, has a cat named “Gink,” and gets into trouble trying to do “big witch” things. They are not around much anymore but I want to buy some for my daughter. I checked once on Amazon a few years ago and found a few for a few bucks. I should have bought them then because now they sell for $20-something. Uh… note to book people: I am not old enough to have my childhood books considered antiques or collectibles!

6. As a tween, I loved Nancy Drew. I even wanted to be a detective for a long time. It seemed so sophisticated and glamorous.

7. I was obsessed with Native Americans in high school and college. I read tons of Native American history and literature. I wanted to be that white woman on Dances with Wolves who was kidnapped as a young girl and grew up with the Indians. One of my friends sent me a pair of Robeez shoes, for my son, that look like moccasins—she says they reminded her of the ones I had in college. I think she is mocking me, but I am not sure.

8. My next obsession, Spanish, has lasted a lot longer. I read literature and watch movies in Spanish. I have a lot of Spanish music. I have lived abroad. I even married a Spanish speaker. I don’t believe in reincarnation, but if it exists, I was Spanish royalty in a previous life. It had to have been royalty… do you think I would LOVE Spanish this much if I had been a peon?

9. I don’t really have celebrity crushes. Once when I was teaching English though, I did mention to my class, as part of an exercise and for lack of anyone else that came to mind, that I would like to meet Val Kilmer. I had just seen Tombstone and liked his character. My husband still won’t let me live it down. If I ever choose a movie that has Kilmer in it he’ll make some snide comment. Did you see him in Tombstone??—he played an alcoholic dying of consumption for Pete’s sake… he was not even semi-nice-looking.

10. I used to write poetry. The stuff I wrote in high school was dark and depressing. But I still like some of the stuff I wrote in college. I argue every now and then with my mom about how poetry doesn’t have to rhyme all the time. I wish I felt more inspired to write it still… maybe some day I’ll take it up again.

11. I swear sometimes—not that much—with life’s daily frustrations, but I talk A LOT of smack in the car. I try to tone it down when my kids are in the car, by removing choice words or just muttering under my breath. But every once in a while I hear G repeat what I said: “Where’s your blinker moron?” or “Can you go any slower?” So I know I have to be more careful. Even though I talk smack in the car, I am a good driver—I have never gotten a traffic ticket (knock on wood), I go with the flow of traffic—never the fastest or slowest one on the road. I don’t weave in and out of traffic only to stop like everyone else at the next light, I don’t tailgate, I don’t pull out in front of people, and I use my blinkers. Stupid drivers annoy me to no end—hence all the smack-talk.

12. I am a teacher by nature and I am so patient with my students, but outside of the classroom I have absolutely NO patience. I always feel bad when I snap at my husband… but seriously… asking me where the spatula is before he even looks… we have two utensil drawers; my guess is it’s in one of those. Now, sometimes before he asks a question that he knows will get an eye-roll and a sarcastic comment he’ll preface it like this: Me--Can you make the baby a bottle? He--Ok… uh… don’t get mad, but… how many ounces?

13. I hate to admit that I got into something because of a man… but I got into running because of my husband. My two roomies in college were runners and I never wanted to run with them. But when I started dating my husband and he wanted to go for a run, there were no hesitations or complaints. Once I started running, I liked it for myself—I love that feeling of endorphins after a long hard run.

14. When I was living in Chile, with more than 3000 miles of coast and more kinds of seafood than you will ever see in the U.S., I made myself conquer my fear of shellfish (well most, there is still something about the idea of oysters that gives me the heebie-jeebies). I also decided it was silly to keep thinking I didn’t like mushrooms.

15. I spent one summer in college reading a bunch of erotic literature that had once been banned.

16. I don’t smoke and I can’t stand the smell, but one of my secret wishes is to have been born in the early 1900’s so I could have been a flapper in the 20’s. I would definitely have smoked then, while demanding universal sufferage, because it was considered kind of subversive for a woman.

17. I love dancing salsa and merengue—my husband—not so much. I had to make him take a salsa class with me just so he could learn. We always joke about how I have more Latin blood than he does and that if our kids end up with any rhythm, it will be thanks to me.

18. Loud noises scare the crap out of me. I think I was killed by gunfire in a previous life, because every time I hear a loud noise (like the backfire of a car) I instinctively scream and crouch into a standing fetal position as if ducking for cover.

19. I don’t like spiders. I can kill them or even remove small ones in a cup, but I can’t sleep if I know there is one in the room. The idea of them crawling on me creeps me out… plus I think I have the tastiest blood on earth because everything bites me. One of the funniest fights I ever had with a boyfriend was over whether or not he should have to get rid of a spider. He called me a speciesist and said the spider had as much right as I did to be there— I should have said “Oh yeah, did he chip in for rent?”

20. My mom sewed a lot of our clothes by hand when we were little. I remember once when I was about 4 she whipped out a swimsuit while I napped so I could swim later with friends. Of course, in gym class in 7th grade when I had home-sewn underwear—it was not so cool! I was mortified.

21. I have a horrible, horrible voice, but I love to sing really loud in the car. I also sing to my kids but you can tell they think I have the best voice ever…I love that about having kids.

22. Growing up in a big, poor family, we all suffered from the “there’s-not-enough” and the “you-got-more-than-me” complexes. There is no known treatment or cure, and once you have caught it, you are prone to have outbreaks for the rest of your life, even when logic and reason tell you that there is plenty and that you can always buy more.

23. My house is fairly tidy, but I am nowhere near the clean-freak my mom is. But even if I don’t wash the floors or clean the bathrooms as often as I should, the house has to be orderly. I’ll pick up and put away toys and clothes all day, but it seems like clutter is a battle that can’t be won. Oh, and I hate dirty dishes in the sink—the kitchen has to be clean.

24. I am a big nerd. I love studying and learning. I love trivia, even if it is useless. I am the geek at the party who can’t talk Superbowl or Desperate Housewives but says “I read once that humpback whales sing a mating song that is 30 minutes long.” Yep, that’s me!

25. I don’t know how much I believe in the signs of the zodiac (not the daily horoscope but the general descriptions of the signs), but my husband and I are the 3rd generation of the Taurus-Virgo combo: he, his dad and his grandpa are all Taurus and they all married women of the same sign: myself, his mom and his grandma are Virgos. Coincidence?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Future Doesn't Exist

One of the lessons you learn as a parent of a toddler is that you never (and I mean NEVER) use a fun upcoming event or the possibility of something sweet in an attempt to motivate or manipulate them into doing something. These plans always backfire. This is why:

Scenario 1: the set-up

It is getting close to dinner-time. G must be getting hungry because she starts asking for snacks. I tell her that dinner is almost done and I show her the bean soup we will be having. She doesn’t want bean soup. She begins to protest. She has been crabby and contrary all afternoon.

Me: I know you are hungry hon, we are going to have some bean soup and if you eat all your dinner like a big girl maybe we can have a treat.

G: I wanna treat.

Me: If you eat all of your dinner.

G: No, I wanna treat.

Me: G, we can’t have a treat now, we are going to have dinner first.

G: I WANT A TREAT!!!! (commence sobbing and tears of sorrow) Iwannatreat. I wannatreat. Iwannatreat. (sob, wail, gasp for breath, rub snot into a facial mask)

Note to self: treats should ONLY come as a surprise...do not mention treats until they are being given.

Scenario 2: the set-up

It is close to nap-time. G finishes her lunch; we brush her teeth, use the potty, and lie down. It is a sweet moment. There has been little protesting all morning. I didn’t have to chase her down. Lunch was not a struggle. Teeth-brushing was not a fight.

Me: Maybe when we get up from nap, we can go to the park.

G: (perks right up) I wanna go to the park.

Me: I know; we’ll go to the park after nap.

G: No, I wanna go to the park.

Me: I know G, we will go to the park, but you have to take a nap first.

G: I WANNA GO TO THE PARK (and………. wailing, sobbing, and gnashing of teeth)

G skips nap entirely and we spend the rest of the afternoon intermittently crying about not being able to go to the park because G did not take a nap.

Note to self: outings should ONLY come as a surprise...do not mention outings until seconds before we leave.

Lesson learned: LIVE IN THE MOMENT!

Ah, life is full of hard lessons and I am always amazed at how much finesse is involved in “working” kids. I am now a much savvier mama. My dear hubby, however, is still learning this lesson.

…….and who am I to get in the way of a good education.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Confession # 3

I realized that I haven't confessed anything for a while. Not because I am sinless, mind you, but maybe because it is hard to come to grips with things you think other people will judge you for.

So, here it is..................

I don't let my husband read my blog.

I don't want him to read it. I don't want to edit myself thinking he might not like what I write.

I didn't even tell him I had one for a few months. I did most of my writing, furtively, listening for his footsteps coming down the hall. Everytime he would come in the room while I was writing, I would surreptitiously close my browser window.

He had no idea. Then he saw an email where someone commented on my blog and he said:

"You have a blog?"

uuuuuuhhhhmmmm.......... yeeeeesssss (slowly)

"Oh, let me see!" (all of the sudden, curious and interested in what I do on the computer)

uuuuuuhhhhhmmm.................... nooooooo

"come on"


"come on, let me see it"


"why not?"

'cuz' it's mine!

"Why?... do you talk about me?

Not that much

And so it has gone. I have read him a few posts that were about him, just to show him that it was not a hubby-basher-blog. Every once in a while he'll try to convince me to let him see it, but I have remained firm. He threatens to go find it himself. But I just laugh because he would have no idea how to do that. He is horribly bad at Google searches, and he wouldn't know what to put in as his search words anyway. He'd enter: where is my wife's blog?

Plus, he doesn't REALLY understand what a blog is or how they work.

I know this because he keeps asking me for my password--which I have repeatedly told him he doesn't need to access my blog.

He also says these weird things when I head for the bedroom to get on the computer, like he's trying to mock me and my most recent past-time:

"Oh are you going to blog somebody?"

And I just laugh and kindly inform him that "blog somebody" is not the correct usage of the verb (haha)

So, is that wrong? (not mocking his blog-norance (blog-ignorance) but keeping it from him?)

I tell him I am keeping it from him for his own good.... since he doesn't like to read that much.

I am nothing if not considerate...

(I won't tell my mother either... she'd leave comments longer than my blog posts and then I'd have to start moderating comments and I just don't have time to moderate all the comments I get! haha)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

V-Day Vindication

ADMISSION: I am not what you would call crafty... by any stretch of the imagination. I have never had any artistic talent and I rarely undertake projects that could be called crafty.

My one vivid memory of Valentine's Day when I was a kid was the bitter disappointment that my mom would not be buying store-bought valentines--we had to make them by hand. (Keep in mind this was the 80's, the era of consumerism. The sweet hand-made Etsy sites had not even been envisioned--but we were poor and there were a lot of kids). It might have been acceptable if we had been given some cute paper, stickers, markers, glitter and such, but no... my mom pointed to the roll of butcher paper, handed us some dull scissors and kindly suggested cutting out hearts and scrawling some sweet message. If my daughter were to come home with the same ragged, home-made heart, I would think it was the cutest, sweetest thing on earth. But as a kid, giving those away, I was MOR. TI. FIED!!!! I was embarrassed to even put my name on it (plus, my parents didn't buy candy to accompany them, which all parents know = double mortification.)

So this year, much to my own surprise, instead of buying store-bought Valentines, I decided I wanted to face my fear of home-made crafties and make my daughter's Valentines. You surely must realize this is more for me than for her, she is too young to really help much yet and she doesn't really even get what V-day is. I bought some cute paper and some lacy heart doilies (I hate that word) and heart-shaped cookie-cutters (cuz who can free-hand a perfect heart?) some cute stickers, some envelopes and some SweetTarts and got busy with the scissors and glue.

This is what I started with:

And this is how they turned out:

They were a little cuter in my head, but I think they turned out ok. At least they don't have Dora-the bilingual-my-a$$-Explorer or some GD fairy princess.

I feel a little vindicated, finally a home-made heart I can be proud of...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I had a brief love affair…

… with my gym.

I started going Jan 5th. No, it was not a New Year’s resolution; I don’t make those (at least for myself ;-) It just so happened to be the day that the gym opened its doors (I am sure, conveniently planned for all the resolutioners.)

It is literally a three-minute drive from my house. I don’t have the commitment level to drive 15 minutes to a gym.

It costs $10 a month, no contract.

Mind you, it doesn’t come with any frills like a swimming pool or childcare corner. But, 1) I can’t swim anyway and 2) I really don’t want to worry about my screaming kids over in the corner while I am trying to work out. (Plus, if you have to dress the kids, get them into the car, get them out of the car, orient them to their new corner, assure them mama is just over there on the treadmill, check out the sullen teen they hired to care for your flesh and blood, worry about which of the other kids is a biter… hope yours aren't, work out feeling guilty that your kids are crying for you, end work-out early, pick up the kids all sweaty, get them in the car, get them home, and continue on with the routine, it doesn’t sound nearly as appealing. I’d probably never go.)

But still…$10!!! I am no mathematician, but by my calculations, if I go 10 times a month, my cost per visit is a mere dollar. What can you do for a dollar anymore?

Plus, going to the gym as much as I want is guilt free! I figure my body has sacrificed enough for others: I had to give up months in pregnancies, c-section recoveries, months of breastfeeding and night-wakings. I deserve to get back in shape.

I had the perfect motivation: I was at home ALL DAY with the kids. By the time dear hubby got home, I could think of nothing I’d rather do than run myself into a stupor on the treadmill, BY MYSELF!!.

So I was working out almost every day and I was just starting to look AWESOME!! So awesome that I thought I’d give my dear hubby a fair advanced warning as to my future toned physique so I asked him how he was going to feel when I was all buff and sexy.

He didn’t even look a little threatened or concerned.

Pishaw, he could have at least faked it.

Ok, maybe I was not looking awesome... YET... but I could have after a few more weeks at that frequency. But now that I started teaching part-time again, between prep-time, grading and trying to still spend as much time with the kids as possible, I am just too tired to go 5 times a week, now it’s more like 3, so the love has died… a little.

Man, and I was all psyched to be buff and sexy… bummer… maybe during my next stint of unemployment.