Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Nothing to see here

I guess I should blog. I mean, I've spent the last hour binging on internet gossip trash, and one can only look at the best and worst dressed of the Academy Awards red carpet so many times. (Loved Nicole Kidman's red, hated that bluish think Kirsten Dunst had on, would like Penelope Cruiz to come spin around my living room a few times so I won't have to dust, and really didn't mind Jennifer Hudson's jacket all that much.)

I internet binge when I'm depressed. Am I depressed? Let's see...

Work? Sucks. I am SO tired of being lied to by teenagers.
House? Dirty. In fact, I am literally laying on a pile of laundry.
Weight? Off the charts
Weather? Snowing...again
Complexion? Zits and wrinkles. Sweet

Yep. Kind of depressed.

I've watched the first two seasons of Angel now, and am pretty sure it has jumped the shark. That medieval alternate-dimension nonsense was just, well, nonsense. Don't get me wrong...I'd still volunteer to teach David Boreanaz a lesson any day of the week (that Lindsey guy isn't half bad either), and chances are in a few days I'll break down and order a used season three somewhere, but the detective agency thing + arc of Angel's angst/demon/whateva crap was going so well. I see a soap opera coming up, and it makes me sad.

Anything else? Work is beginning to get to me in a way it never has before, but this isn't the forum. Hopefully I'll get through fourth quarter, gain some perspective over the summer, and come back next year with a little more hope.

Today's best thing about being a mom:
Luckily, Soph has been a dream the last couple of days. She's on a major cleaning kick, so I have a spray bottle filled with just water and a couple of rags where she can reach them. Also, she's decided that when she grows up, she wants to be either an Eskimo or an alien. Frankly, those don't sound like bad career options to me.

Today's worst thing about being a mom:
We were playing baby this afternoon, and she totally PEED HER PANTS--on PURPOSE. Sigh. I guess we can chalk it up to method acting.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

A matter of life and death

Me (to self, while driving family back from Zion National Park): Hmmm. I bet it's getting kind of windy in the back seat. I think I'll roll up Soph's window.


E: You just totally rolled up Soph's arm in the window.

Me: (reaching around to back seat with one arm--rubbing Soph's right wrist and forearm with one hand and steering with the other): Oh shit. Oh sweetie. Mommy's so sorry. That was an accident. I didn't know you had your arm out the window. Didn't I tell you not to put your arm out the window? I'm so sorry baby.

E: Jesus Boo!

Me: Don't you give me shit. I'm having a really hard day. I started my period. My Granny died. I'm doing the best I can.

E (patting me on the leg): I'm sorry baby. Are you doing ok?

Soph: A period is a kind of letter that's just a dot. Did you write a letter mommy?

Me: No honey. Ladies say they're having their period when they're menstruating.

E: Or they say they're getting a visit from Aunt Flow.

Me (glaring at E out of the corner of my eye): Or they say, "I'm bleeding out of my vagina." In yoga they say "moon time."

E: What--is there a note on the bulletin board that says, "Don't wear white sweats during your moon time"?

Me: No dummy. You're not supposed to do inversions when your having your period, so they say, "Don't do this pose if it's your moon time."

E: Why do they say that?

Me: Because your period happens at the same time of the moon cycle every month.

E: Kind of like a werewolf.

Me: No. Nothing at all like a werewolf.

E (not picking up on the reckoning that is coming post haste. I mean, really, really clueless): Yes it is! Awesome. It's like, the same time of the moon--just like a werewolf! Plus first you're normal, then you're really mean and... (Voice fades out as he looks over and sees his death in my eyes.)

Me (gritting my teeth): It's just a natural cycle. More like the tides than like a werewolf.

E: Yes. Yes. You're right.

It's been a rough day. This morning after waking up to bloody panties I decided that a change of scenery would do us all good so I rounded up the troops (E, Soph, and Janz), packed a picnic, and headed south for Zion National Park. About 20 minutes down the road, my mom called on my cell and told me that Granny had died. The first thing I felt was guilt. I had told my dad I'd go with him to Logan this weekend, then backed out. Truth? I backed out because going would have been a huge pain in my ass. So--guilt first. Then sadness. I thought about heading back to Cedar, but decided not to, but to try and keep Granny in my heart as much as possible during our day trip.

We had a nice little walk, a nice lunch, and a great visit with our friend who LIVES in the park (she and her husband are rangers). It was one of those days when you feel sad, then laugh and feel bad because you're not supposed to be laughing, then feel sad some more, and then do something else that seems inappropriate in the face of death.

That's about it.

Today's best thing about being a mom:
Holding hands while walking down in sunny trail in one of the most beautiful places on earth

Today's worst thing about being a mom:
It SUCKS when you accidentally hurt your kid. Totally sucks. Oh. Also, we were about 20 miles out of Springdale and the last bathroom for about an hour when Soph announced that she had to poop. So I turned the car around, drove all the way back, and the first thing she said when we got out of the car at the gas station was, "Why are we here Mom? Oh look! Can we go pet the horsies?" Damn phantom poops.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I'm not your mommy.

I have to say this to myself over and over and over every day.

There are so many kids that I "mother" but to whom I (thank Jesus) did not give birth. There are the kids at school. The girl across the street. Janzen--who I love as though I HAD given birth to him, but he has a mother who is doing a fine job.

What am I trying to say here?

I guess that I'm having some boundary issues. Mainly with B--Soph's across the street play friend.

If you've ever come over to my house, chances are you've met B. She's cute as a bug; red THICK curly hair, button nose, grin to melt your heart. The thing is, I'm beginning to think I should be able to add her as a dependent to my taxes this year.

When I buy snacks at the store--I get enough for Soph and B. When we pick up a new coloring book or similar, I automatically grab an extra so that Soph and B won't fight over it.

Do I mind?

Sometimes. See, Bianca's poor mom has 4 other kids. Twin baby boys, a 1st grader and a 3rd grader. Plus, her newish husband has a major life threatening liver disease. Oh. And a pit bull named Princess. All of the above, particularly Princess, have led me to encourage the girls to play at MY house. And I'm glad. It's not that I think B's parents are incapable of watching Soph, but they have quite a crowd over there. And that dog. Lord. I KNOW she's nice and that she knows Soph, but the horror stories you hear about the nice neighborhood pit bull who suddenly chewed off some poor kid's face are just too many.

Also, I feel for the girl. She is surrounded by brothers, her mom works full time, and her new step-dad is pretty much up to his ears. She loves it at my house. And I don't blame her. We have mini pizzas and princess movies up the yang.

I guess what I'm feeling now is a sense of responsibility for this little child, and it sometimes makes me grumpy. When Soph has another friend over, and B knocks on the door, I'd LIKE to say, "Sorry B--Soph has a friend over. Maybe you could come back later." But when I DO say that, her little face crumples and she cries and walks back across the street broken-hearted. So I end up saying, "Come on in. You three better get along or everyone is going home."

It's nice for Soph to have a friend so close by. And in the summer when I can send them outside to play, it won't be such a big deal. Sometimes it just feels like I've sprouted a second child.

Today's best thing about being a mom:
Overhearing her brag about me to her friends-- "MY mom is a teacher and she makes COOKIES!"

Today's worst thing about being a mom:
Finding balance with your kid's friends


Today is UBSCT day 1. That is, the Utah Basic Skills Competency Test. Students need to pass all three sections (writing, math, reading) to receive their high school diploma. We'll start right after lunch. I'm armed with 2 bags of mini candy bars, a bag of pretzels, and a box of Cheez-its (which I am currently checking for quality. So far, so good--very cheezy. But I feel I need to test a larger core sample.) Today the kids are writing their persuasive essays and doing the writing multiple choice. I've spent most of the quarter trying to get this stuff into their heads, and so now, we'll see if anything stuck.

So--your assignment is to cheer me up (testing gives me nightmares) by coming up with alternate meanings for the acronym UBSCT. I'll start.

United Blood-Sucker Combative Taskforce
(The name of a hard-core West Nile Virus preventative team?)

Friday, February 09, 2007

Ham and Cheese

I just read a student’s review of Star Wars (A New Hope—We’re watching it to highlight our discussion of shots and angles.) and she didn’t like it. Fine. But the reason she didn’t like it? And I quote--“Well, I’m just not into guys like Ham Solo and life savers and stuff like that.” There are days when I really think I’m making about as much impact on these kids as a q-tip would trying to clean up an oil spill.

However, I think I may be making a bit more impact on the home front. Remember how I promised Sophie a Brat for being brave at the dentist? I brought it up at the store (not sure why) and she said, “Mommy, I don’t want a Brat. They’re too sexy.” Score one for the Sophinator! And maybe me for possibly teaching her something about body image and age appropriateness for four year olds.

And speaking about body image and age appropriateness, I went back to yoga last night. Braniac lady was not there, neither was random guy. The teacher, however, was the same, and I felt surprisingly ok. I stopped by after class to talk to her about the incident, and she told me that BL told HER that the reason she asked if I was pregnant was because I was so bendy—as pregnant ladies get very flexible. Now, that sounds like total bullshit to me—(almost on par with the girls who showed up 5 minutes before the end of a 90 minute class, smelling like cigarette smoke, who told me they needed to make an emergency tampon run. Girls—that one works for being 5-20 minutes late at the BEGINNING of class, not the end. Also—pop a mint first.) but whatever.

I’ve been walking and yoga-ing almost every day. On the flip side, I’ve been eating like total crap. One thing at a time, I guess. I have an awesome friend (one of those get things DONE girls) who has been calling me to walk (there’s a free indoor track on the SUU campus. Who knew?) and who signed me up for Everyday Food Magazine—and although it IS a Martha Steward publication, and therefore gives me a slight case of the willies, apparently it’s very low-key, and has good, easy recipes using unprocessed ingredients, that is family friendly. (Apparently, this blog is being brought to you today by Everyday Food Magazine.)

Today’s best thing about being a mom:
Every morning, Soph comes into my room about 10 minutes before my alarm goes off. This is not necessarily good. What is so sweet is that she loves me to scoot over so she can lay in the warm spot I slept in, and cuddle me for a bit before we start our day.

Today’s worst thing about being a mom:
I bought her Cinderella 3—for 20 bucks—and she hates it. Not that I blame her; it kind of sucks. I sure could have made better use of that 20 bucks though.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Open mouth...Insert foot

I almost brought this up when J.J. posted his thoughts on his personal lexicon. It’s a topic I’ve nearly addressed a time or two, but have decided that today is the day.

It’s about the use of a word that we throw around, that I used to throw around, but about which I have tried to be more aware. The word in question? Retarded.

I used it in my yoga post, and hesitated a bit before I did. See, I try to avoid it, but I was mad and hurt and felt slightly like breaking the rules. But—I did pause, and with good reason. One is that I personally feel it’s inappropriate, and another is that I know it is particularly offensive to a close friend who reads my blog. (Well, actually, I thought he’d quit reading it.) I’d never throw around the “n” word (feel too weird to even type it) or any other racial slur, even when in a huff, but went ahead and threw this one out there.

Why is it that I (and I assume others) who consider ourselves to be thoughtful in regards to language that pigeon-holes or is derogatory to a certain group of people will use the word “retarded” as though we were 3rd graders teasing kids on the short bus? Do we feel somehow safer using it than its ugly cousins? Is it a kind of disrespect that as habitual or one that we feel carries less of a social penalty? I really don’t know.

Growing up LDS, saying “God” or even worse, “Jesus” as an oath was SUCH a no no that I remember the first time I did. It was 5th grade. I was walking around with a group of friends, and said, “Oh my God!” The earth didn’t crack open, I wasn’t struck by lightning, and my friends didn’t even blink. And know what? It didn’t feel bad. It felt good. Why? Because it was bad. Because my friends said it and now I did. Because I could. Now, of course, I slip up all too often, and have said “Jesus Christ!” in such a way in front of my sister-in-law as to turn her face white. And I felt bad—but not for saying the words—personally, I don’t think Jesus really cares—but because I offended her.

I feel differently about his one.

I guess different language is offensive to different people. I’d say that “retarded” is one of those words that is “officially” offensive to many, but realistically, offensive to only few. Again, I’m not sure why. Frankly, I kind of like to swear, and don’t see myself quitting anytime soon.

But a swear word, I think, is different from a slur. Swear words you just don’t say in front of your mother or your teacher. Slurs imply a lack of sensitivity, and shouldn’t be used at all—even when not in the company of those whom they might offend most.

Saying “retarded” is easy. You can even argue the term was originally just used by health professionals (i.e. Association of Mental Retardation (AAMR)), as a label for those who have an IQ score of 70 or below—that it simply means slow—that its use in the mental health community was fairly common until school kids picked it up and started using it as a name to call one another. But I think that a word’s connotation carries much more weight than its denotation. Saying “Are you retarded?” to someone who you think acted inappropriately, or stupidly, is certainly not in keeping with its original use as an IQ measurement, and using it as a slur is disrespectful to those who know, love, care for, and have mental disabilities.

So here I am, officially revising my personal lexicon. I’m not saying I won’t slip, but I’m not going to excuse myself and think that it’s no big deal.

Nuff said.

Today’s best thing about being a mom:
Damn that girl can be funny! Speaking about denotation and connotation, this weekend, she was pretending to be a frog, and based on her amphibian lessons from school, went around telling everyone, “I’m moist!”

Today’s worst thing about being a mom:
Taming the bed-head

Monday, February 05, 2007

Coming up next...A plague of locusts or the land

Don't ever say to yourself, "I sure wish something would happen so that I would have something to blog about."

Saturday, about, oh, fourty-five minutes after arriving home from the yoga class that made me cry, Erik hollered that my dad was on the phone for me. I asked, "My dad?" He said, "Yes. Your dad." "Are you sure? Really? My dad? On the phone? For me?" My dad is NOT a phone guy, and I can count on one finger the number of times he's called me in the recent past.

After about .5 seconds of small talk, Dad told me that his mom, my granny, was failing fast, and that the CNA where she lives had told him (or my cousin, or someone) that if anyone wanted to say their goodbyes, they'd better get right to it. So some ninety minutes after that, I found myself in the backseat of my folk's Durango (aka, the Republican Cruiser) en route to Logan.

I'm not all that close to Granny. She has always lived at least a day's drive--sometimes two--away, and her focus has been on my aunt and her kids. That's fine with me. They needed her way more than I ever did. Thing is, that has left a pretty wide rift--distance leaning toward down right dislike--between my dad and his sister. With Granny failing, that rift is more and more in the forefront of our lives.

We spent most of Sunday holding Granny's hand (and our noses. Why do those places have such an awful smell?) and trying to draw her into conversation, but she was just done. She didn't have much to say, and listening seemed to be more than she could really manage as well. The hours ticked by, and it was sad and awkward and then sad some more. At about 3:00 I just couldn't keep it up anymore and I kissed her cheek, told her goodbye, and went out to the waiting room. We left soon after, and frankly, I doubt I'll be able to make the trip again before she passes.

I don't really want to blog about how weird it is/was to know Granny is on her way out; I love her, but she isn't now and never has been part of my day-to-day. I'm so sad for my dad--he has a lot of emotional work to do on this one--and I'm sad that she's so, so, so exhausted, but beyond that, my feelings are pretty ambiguous--especially to me.

We got home around 10:00. Soph and Erik had stayed home, and she was still awake--some 3 hours past her bed time. Needless to say, she was totally wrecked, and so was her dad. What I didn't know because E didn't want to bother me with it in my absence, was that Soph had a terrible toothache the whole time I was gone.

This came as no surprise, because her dentist appointment 7 months ago confirmed that she has a mouth full of cavities, and I never took her to the pediadontist because I was afraid to. This morning I took Soph in to work with me because I had to be there at 7:30 and the dentist office didn't open until 8:00. My prep period is 1st, from 8:00-9:20, so in my dream, the dentist would say come right over, he'd do some dental hocus-pocus, and Soph and I would be back at our respective schools by like 9:15.

Of course that didn't happen, and we were squeezed in at 9:50. That meant I had to find a sub for my 2nd period class. I swear I've had more subs this year than in all my years of teaching combined. As I said, I never took her to the pediadontist; I don't know if I thought the cavities would go away, or her teeth would just fall out, or what, but as the dentist kindly (and pointedly) showed me, the cavities grew like crazy in the time between appointments. The hocus-pocus I was hoping for turned into some pretty major dental work. One of her back molars just had to be pulled, and another had a pulp cap. Soph was an absolute champ though. She cried during the shot to numb her face, but bounced right back and kept her mouth open and held still for the better part of an hour. She couldn't very well go to school, so E came home and stayed with her for a couple of hours, and then she came to school with me for the last little bit of the day.

Guess what I promised her for being brave?

Any Bratt doll she wanted.

I totally caved. Shit--why not? I'm already a failure of a mother; if I'd taken her to the damn pediadontist last summer, she wouldn't have had to loose that tooth.

Plus, the tooth fairy is making a visit tonight. We wrote her a note explaining that even though we don't have it, Soph lost her first baby tooth today. I'm thinking a nice crisp dollar bill will go a little further in assuaging the guilt.

Tune in tomorrow. I'm fully expecting it to rain frogs, or for there to be a plague of locusts or the land.

Today's best thing about being a mom:
I'm SO glad I've been paying that extra fifteen bucks per month for extended dental coverage.

Today's worst thing about being a mom:
The guilt

Saturday, February 03, 2007


I've been embarrassed at yoga class more than once. You know--the toot slipping out in a forward bend, or taking off your shoes only to realize that your feet smell of--feet. And even though it's pretty universally reinforced that yoga is not a competition, it can still feel kind of shitty when your the only one whose knees are poking straight up while everyone else has gracefully horizontal knees in a cross-legged sitting posture.

But today was the first time I felt truly humiliated at yoga class.

I haven't mentioned it, but I've really been making an effort to take care of myself for the last couple of weeks. I've been walking several times. Have tried to be loving to my body. No dieting--because down that path, at least for me, lies hidden trips to the bathroom to puke--but I really, really have been working on being healthy--physically and mentally.

So--after a pretty long hiatus, I went to a yoga class on Thursday. It was actually lovely. The teacher, Lynn, is a very mellow lady--oldish, very low maintenance--who has a passion for running rivers and has spent a large portion of her adult life on a raft. I felt so good after the Thursday class that I decided to go again this morning.

The focus of the class was heart and shoulder opening--something I particularly hate. But--I decided to be open to it. I was making some awesome progress too. I stopped when I felt over-strained, relaxed my stomach, and tried not to be too uncomfortable with the stretches that made me feel I was presenting my huge boobs on a silver platter.

There were only 3 of us in class. A 30ish guy, me, and a 50ish lady. About 50 minutes into the 90 minute class, we were at the wall doing a shoulder opener. The lady and I were at one wall, and the guy and teacher were at the other. Out of the blue, the lady looks over at me, then looks at Lynn, and asks, "Is she expecting?" Lynn says nothing. She then looks at me and says, "Are you expecting?" I said nothing. She looked back at Lynn, and kind of the guy and asks again, "Is she expecting?"

I kind of froze--and tried to keep my shit together for about 30 seconds. I shook my head at what's-her-name, then before I knew it, I was loosing my shit--like all over the place. I grabbed my mat and keys, and literally fled the room. I drove for a while, then stopped because I couldn't see too well. Then I called Mandy--who talked me down (again)--then I took a little walk.

I realize that what's-her name wasn't trying to be hurtful. I know I look pregnant. I have these skinny little legs and arms, and ALL the extra weight I carry sits in my boobs and belly. But what the fuck? Why did she address the question to the class? Why did she ask it in the first place?

Now I don't know if I want to/can go back to class. I'd like to think that I can be a warrior for myself, and say fuck that bitch, (who I know is really probably not a bitch) and keep on keepin' on. But frankly, I'm kind of whipped. I felt and feel like I was hit by a train--while walking in a place where there were no train tracks. I'm embarrassed about my weight. I'm embarrassed about making a scene.

I don't know what I should do or say when I see tactless bitch lady, or random guy, or Lynn. Part of me hopes I will go back to class, and then in the middle of some pose, look at cunt-lady and then at Lynn and say "Is she retarded?" then look back at CL and ask all cordially, "Are you retarded?" and then look back at at Lynn once more and enquire politely, "Really--IS she retarded?"