Hey, Selfish People – Listen Up

28 02 2011

There are too many selfish people in the world and they are really getting on my nerves.

First, if you are sitting at a red light, pull up so you are within two feet of the bumper of the car in front of you.  There is NO reason to leave a full car’s length between two stopped vehicles, unless you live in a city that has a HIGH risk of carjacking and you might need to pull around the car in front of you.  But really carjacking is so 1995.  So just pull up.

Why do I care????  Because I am in my mini-van three cars behind you trying to get in the right-hand turn lane.  But I can’t, because that extra space you left FOR NO REASON has the line backed up an extra car length.  And, I can not afford to sit here idling in my mini-van thanks to Mr. Selfish himself, Moammar, I-can’t-remember-how-to-spell-my-own-last-name, Gadhafi.

Apparently it is mostly Moammar G’s fault that gas is so expensive.  Also, that groceries are so expensive.  And, by the way, he is KILLING HIS OWN PEOPLE.  That is both selfish and uncool.  Enough already, Moammar.

But really, a few years ago gas and groceries were even more outrageous and I could handle the increase then.  Why not now?  Because of all the selfish Wall Street and Banker Dudes.  Yes, I know that Wall Street is for traitors (and isn’t that really the perfect name for those people? Yes, I know traders, not traitors, but you get my point, eh?).  And I know the Banker Dudes don’t actually work on Wall Street, but you can bet that they all eat lunch together.  And they probably invite their Oil Company Exec friends (who are blaming Moammar, but they actually just like to kick a man when he is down.  Because they could have actually held gas prices if they wanted to.  But they need to do anything and everything to maintain their profit margins and bonus checks.  Why?  because they are SELFISH.)

Anyhow, back to me.  I can NOT sell my house because of those selfish aholes (oh, I really hate that expression – but isn’t it completely applicable?)  So, I can’t afford gas and I am stuck in traffic because some distracted driver WILL NOT MOVE FORWARD.

What can we do about it????

Well, you probably are not Gadhafi, and you are probably not a Big Shot Banker or Wall Street Dude, but you may be someone who doesn’t pull your car all the way forward.  And you can.  Just pull forward.  And then you can feel good about yourself and think, “I just did my part to make this a better world.”

This post is not a rant, it is an empowering suggestion from a good friend.  You are welcome.


Sunday Slideshow

27 02 2011

I thought this would be an entire post about how much “crafting” with my kids brings me pain joy.  How the 15 minutes of set up time, and the two days of clean up time, is well worth the 20 seconds minutes of happiness they get out of the project.  I planned to write how I enjoy seeing their creativity, teamwork and individual style, how I just like to jump in stand back and watch the hot-mess beautiful creations come to life.

But, the mess has been cleaned up for a couple weeks now.  The posters are still hanging, bringing color to our life-less, rental-house-beige walls.  And I have almost forgotten how truly controlling I can be.  Therefore, I think it is time to break out some beer green paint and get started on our St. Patrick’s Day drinking decorating.

In case you are thinking, she is looking at her hands believing it feels "gross," I assure you she is contemplating her next move and just how much of the room she can cover with these two handfuls.

In case you are thinking, that doesn't look TOO bad, I assure you this was the very beginning of the process when I could still breath and therefore snap "cute" photos.

In case you are thinking, these look great and Semi-Feral can't be that much of a control freak, what I notice most about these pics is that there should be a comma between You and Daddy. Although, I do also think my palm print contains a map of a South American-ish shaped Africa.

The Mouths of Babes – Fun Size

25 02 2011

Adopter’s Rights

I was talking to a friend of mine over the weekend.  She works for a MAJOR health care company – one of the biggest in the world.  One of her co-workers is about to go to Ethiopia to pick up the TWO, two-year-olds she has adopted.  When she comes back to the States her company will be giving her TWO WEEKS off from work.  That is right – technically 10 working days.  The Family Medical Leave Act requires employers of companies with greater than 50 employees to guarantee an employee’s job for a minimum of 12 weeks if she gives birth.  (Don’t have to pay her, just can’t fire her.)  But Adoption does NOT fall under FMLA – disgusting.  Another of her coworkers is in a same-sex marriage.  Her partner is about to have a baby.  She will be adopting the baby (because, you know, same-sex marriage isn’t REALLY marriage in this country.)  Therefore she will also ONLY get TWO WEEKS off of work.  And I am pretty sure I remember correctly – this company offers 12-weeks paternity leave.  Equality?  Not.

The Mouths of Babes… Say You’re One of Them, A Review

Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan is apparently part of the Oprah Book Club.  I think I first heard about it from reading blogs of APs.  Recently I wrote about how a book can effect my mood (in this post).  And if you have read this book, you can imagine what kind of mood I have been in.

Beautifully written, this book is a collection of five short-stories all set in different African countries, all told through the eyes of the children, each more horrific than the previous.  Okay, I admit I read them out of order to try to ease the pain and I didn’t even finish “Fattening for Gabon” because I simply couldn’t.

I don’t understand literature that is this dark.  I do not know where to go with the hopelessness and confusion it evokes in me.

Last fall, I posted here about a strange conversation I had with a Haitian adoptee. He told me he didn’t like African people and I wondered what the family had been watching on TV.  Well, I think I figured it out.  They have been reading, Say You’re One of Them.

Thanks, Grandpa

My kids LOVE to wash their hands.  Little Dude WANTS to use the potty standing up.  Our family was in desperate need of a good, step stool.  I tried to buy one online, but my crazy shopping issues set in (ah, perfectionism you are genetic).  I just could NOT choose the perfect one, for the perfect price, from the perfect place.  Then I thought, maybe my Dad would build them one.

My father is a work-a-holic.  My father is a perfectionist.  My father is retired.  My father seems bored.  So a couple of weeks ago I assigned him a project:    Build the kids a step stool that will allow them to wash their hands.

While my mother worked the computer, I sent them links to the ones I liked on-line – all good, but none PERFECT.  My father looked at the pages as my mother clicked on the links.  He proclaimed that nothing he made me would look like “those” with disdain in his voice for both 1kea and all things particle board.

Yesterday the step stool arrived.  It is beautiful.  The kids are thrilled, so am I.  Thanks, Dad.  I made a video of the kids opening the box the step stool came in, me convincing them that the popping paper wasn’t actually the gift and them climbing it for the first time.  The video only includes one kid falling off, two fights negotiation sessions and four times of me begging, demanding, cajoling, reminding them to “make better choices.”  Someday I will figure out how to post a video on this blog, for now a few horribly lit pics.


22 02 2011

My kids have been taking really long, simultaneous naps for the past two days.  And I have no projects I am working on… silly me.

So, I have been reading blogs and now I am feeling oh, oh, oh-verwelmed.  I have been reading some really entertaining posts about questions kids ask.  Ha, ha, ha… it is all so entertaining, because it is not my kids.  But I do realize what project I am working on – the project of raising my kids.  It is a really, really, really big project.

My children will turn two and three in April and May respectively.  And there are discussion topics that are on the horizon in one form or another that I am hoping to get right.  Here are a few of the things that I realize I am in no way prepared for but should be…

1)  Stranger danger issues.  I need to start addressing this with my children.  And I probably need to deal with it earlier than some other parents because there are two of them, they are both runners and I simply can not always keep them both in sight.  Plus, I have a fairly loose parenting style and spend lots of time walking that fine line between freedom/independence and where-the-hell-did-he-go?  Actually, it isn’t a line that you walk, it is usually a line you sprint on while looking behind doors and under desks.

Today was a perfect example, instead of looking for books about teaching your toddlers to be safe, I was chasing Little Dude around the library.  The big attractions for him are usually the handicapped exit which he knows how to operate and the drinking fountain.  However, today it was the freight elevator.  For the past few weeks he has enjoyed pushing the call button, but I have always gotten to him before the elevator doors opened.  Today, I wasn’t so lucky, the doors opened immediately and he was in the elevator before I caught him.  I finally got smart enough to push the button for another floor before we got off sending the elevator to a different floor which bought me some time when he next pushed the call button.  And, what was my point?  Oh, yeah, I need to be thinking about stranger danger sooner rather than later.

Just as I have trouble negotiating freedom versus safety I also have an additional dilemma with stranger danger.   I insist that my children are “polite,”  greeting and saying good-bye to adults as well as saying please and thank-you.  In doing this I am already breaking down their natural tendency to keep a boundary between themselves and adults they do not know.

Moreover, what about all the situations where I prompt them to take things from strangers?  Sure, get a sticker from the librarians following story-hour.  Okay, I can justify this one because they have been “hanging-out” with the librarians with me there for 30 minutes.  But what about the old man who runs the carousel at the mall?  They haven’t really been interacting with him.  He is a tad bit odd and now I say, “go get a stamp on your hand from him.”

Do you see the slippery slope?  I don’t normally buy slippery slope arguments, but in this case, I do, and at the bottom of the slope is a bunch of creepy pervs.

2)  Where do babies come from, body parts and other yucky topics. Right now we use such terms as private parts, girl parts, boy parts, bum-bum.  We also use pen1s, which PJ always thinks is peanuts anyway.  I can’t come up with a comfortable label for girl parts… I guess I need therapy in more areas than I was previously aware of.

PJ did argue with me the other day that b00bs were not private parts after I told her she should quit touching mine.  And when I convinced her they were, she told me she liked the other private parts better – hmmmm.  And that snippet of conversation is certainly a harbinger of things to come.  My spunky daughter will probably argue with me about procreation.

Even before running into these issues on the internet over the past couple of days, I had already been thinking a lot about Stranger Danger and some about the Birds, Bees and Body Parts.  And, of course, before we got this far in our transracial adoption, I thought lots about skin color and what sort of conversations will arise in that area.

But there is a difference in my mind between skin color and race issues.  I am prepared to teach my kids that all people are equal no matter what they look like.  But teaching my kids about race issues, history, etc… well, um, not so much.    I guess I am naively prepared to parent a brown boy but am not yet ready to parent a black son.

3)  Race issues. Yeah, I don’t even think that I have begun to imagine all the different ways this will surface.  But once again, the blogosphere has me thinking.  If you haven’t seen Coffeemom’s post about this, you really should check it out. The hardest part about this post for me was reading her say that she didn’t necessarily think they handled the situation that well.  Because I thought she handled it beautifully and am sure I would not have handled it one-tenth as well.  I have so much to learn.

I guess that is why for most people starting with a young (pre-verbal) child is helpful.  You really do seem to build a body of knowledge as you go.  You get glimpses into the future and if you are paying attention you can set a road-map for what you need to learn next.  And hopefully you can get to that point before your child.  At least this is what I am telling myself.

I can hear the kids and SAG wrapping up bath time.  I need to finish this so I can get our bed time rituals started.  Soon I will be spreading lotion, picking hair and putting on pajamas all the while hoping against hope that they do not ask me anything more challenging than, “Can I have another story, please?”

Not As Tired, But Still Not Deep

19 02 2011

So, last night’s post was written mostly for ME.  I did not plan to post it, unless I could somehow make it funny.

I honestly meant to push Save Draft, I never meant to push Publish.

And now I have to try to balance the Universe.  Since I put out a fair bit of negative energy with that post, I will try to put out at least that much positive energy.  Which I am sure I can do because I am in a really great mood.  (Did you believe me?  I didn’t.  But I have heard if you say things like that again and again it can help.  I am in a great mood.  I am in a great mood.  I am in a great mood.)

I love it when I get a good parking spot (which is almost always because I have the world’s greatest parking mojo.)

I love it when my little dog lowers his tail so that he can be more aerodynamic when he runs on his four inch long legs.

I loved driving in my minivan last night with my kids, my sister, her kids and their friend, jammin’ to old hip-hop including Shoop by Salt-N-Peppa.

I love making pre–teen kids laugh by driving through random peoples’ circle driveways.

I love when a waiter gives us two huge handfuls of fortune cookies at the end of the meal.

I love simultaneous naps.

I love the way Little Dude’s cheek feels on my decolletage as I “rock” him to sleep in the Ergo.

I love using the word decolletage but only in writing because I feel foolish trying to pronounce it.

I love my new dentist and hygienist.

I love traveling with my small dog except he gets lost in the mini-van because he is the size and shape of a small shadow.

I love my mini-van.  That’s right, I do and I am not ashamed to say it.

I also love driving a convertible and nice luxury cars.

I love spring skiing/snowboarding.  It’s been years, but I know I love it.

I love the relationship between my sister and my daughter.

I love when someone gives me good advice and I follow it.

I love when I know the right answer.

I love when I don’t know the right answer, but know that I don’t know, and remember to just shut up.

I love laying in warm sand.

I love late afternoon sunshine.

I love the fact that I could easily list about 30 more things and I have already surpassed my hate list.

I love that thinking about this post actually put me in a better mood.

I love the skin on the back of my children’s hands.

I love that I am trying to wrap this up but just keep thinking of more things I want to list.

I love reading a book that I get so excited about, I just have to talk about it. (Thank you to Malcolm Gladwell.)

Seriously, I am sorry about last night’s post.

I hope today brings you a long list of things you love.

Angry and Shallow

19 02 2011

I hate it when I give people good advice and they don’t follow it.

I hate it when I bite the inside of my cheek and then it swells and I keep biting it over and over again for days.

I hate it when I send someone an email that I think is important and they don’t respond within five minutes hours days.

I hate it when I order a diet coke at a drive through and they give me a regular coke.  Luckily this has not happened to me in a really long time, but still I hate it.

I hate it when I don’t know what the right thing to do is.

I hate it when I know what the right thing to do is, but I don’t do it anyway.

I hate it when people don’t behave the way I think they should.

I hate it when I don’t behave the way I know I should.

I hate it when people don’t believe in global warming because it is hot where they are.

I hate it when I have a fleeting glimpse of all the I should know that I don’t know and instead of getting excited about the prospect of all there is to learn, I just feel tired.

I hate it when I covet wealth, if I was just rich I wouldn’t have to worry about this.

I hate it when I lose perspective.

I hate it when others don’t see my perspective.

I hate it when I know I should go to bed but all I can do is sit around and think about the things I hate.

Which brings us back to, I hate it when I know what I should do but I don’t do it.

So, good night.



Wordless Wednesday

16 02 2011