Monday, February 27, 2012

I’ve got nothing

Lately, when I sit down to post, nothing comes to mind. Or I can’t write about the stuff that’s weighing on me out of respect for family members (especially those of the tween-age daughter variety). While lying awake at 2:30 am with insomnia, I came up with some great ideas for posts. But I forgot them when I finally fell asleep.

So. . . anyone have any good stories?

Friday, February 24, 2012

She showed me

Yesterday, Elizabeth was particularly honey badger-ish. I spent most of the day telling her not to do things, pulling her off things, and taking things away from her.

The final straw was when I found her attempting to pick the lock on my bedroom door, which wasn’t locked, with strands of uncooked spaghetti. There was a trail of broken noodles across the house and a bunch jammed in the little hole on the doorknob.

I hauled Elizabeth upstairs and dropped her into bed. While she was screaming, I told her she had to stay in her room until I said she could come out. I hadn’t even gotten downstairs before she had already poked her head out, asking to be released from confinement.

I told her to go back into her room, and I went in my room to read. Not ten minutes later, Ella came in laughing hysterically.


Elizabeth was sound asleep at the top of the stairs, sweater wrapped around her head.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I’m a terrible person

I may seem harmless enough, but you have no idea the stuff that’s going on in my head.

Last night was the 3rd Grade musical at our new school. The theme was environments and habitats, and the scant information parents received said the kids could dress as their favorite animal, but nothing fancy. I had completely forgotten about it until Monday night, when Lily freaked the frack out about not having a panda costume.

Yesterday afternoon, I was the good mom and drove into South Austin to a craft store and bought black and white felt for Lily to make her costume. In retrospect, I should have bought fabric glue, too.

Assembling Lily’s costume became a last-minute, frantic flurry of Elmer’s school glue and super glue stuck to everything, including my hands. But we made it to school, costume safety pinned in place, just in time.

I am so glad I didn’t tell Lily just to forget about wearing a costume. Turns out the definition of “nothing fancy” is a lot different out here. One kid was in full-on gorilla suit. Another kid was dressed as a shark, complete with hair cut into a Mohawk and died blue. Then there was the boy with the very elaborate scorpion costume that involved a large papier-mache stinger. Oh, and the girl dressed as a peacock, complete with a full tail of peacock feathers.

I’ve always kind of thought the music teacher at our old school was a bit of a doofus. He gets so worked up and excited about the musical performances and works himself into a sweat directing the kids and running back and forth. I’ll take his doofussy enthusiasm any time over what I saw last night. The music teacher barely spoke or interacted with the kids and had about as much enthusiasm as a wet mop.

The students sang along to Up-with-People-esque recorded songs about the environment that were so loud we couldn’t hear the kids. While I’m not the biggest fan of these school shows, I do think a bunch of 9 year year olds singing their hearts out is pretty cute. Instead, I got to listen to professional, very happy singers while the kids moved their mouths and swayed on the risers.

Then they played along on recorders to another very loud song. I was texting my neighbor through all of this, and when I told her they’d brought out recorders, her one word of advice was, “Run!”

Just when I thought things couldn’t get more ridiculous, the kids started rapping – 50 white kids rapping. Actually, that’s not entirely accurate. The teacher played a rap song about the environment over the speakers while the kids did hip-hop dance moves and threw suburban gang signs in time to the music.

Fortunately, that was the last song, and after collecting Lily we made a break for the parking lot. On the way, though, a man wearing pressed jeans, a crisply starched white shirt, a huge belt buckle, boots, and a John Deere cap said to his son, “Dude. You had it goin’ ON!”

It’s official. I’m not in Central Austin anymore, and I’m really not a nice person.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Failure to Communicate

B and I have this ap on our phones that allows us to compile shopping lists. He loves putting things on it. I’m happy if I remember to even look at the list while I’m shopping. Tuesday night I was at the store and actually looking at the list when some new items popped up.


Most of the items were easy enough – I knew we were out of pasta and bacon, and I knew Lily wanted potting soil for a cucumber seedling she brought home from school. The only item that puzzled me was the 6” pot.

For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why B wanted a 6” pot. We tons of pots in all shapes and sizes. Surely we had a 6” one already. But I shrugged and headed off to the kitchen section. I spent a few minutes puzzling at the options before deciding on the cheapest one available.

When I got home, Lily came bouncing out of the house asking if I’d bought soil and a pot for her plant. That’s when it hit me what kind of pot B wanted, and it wasn’t a cooking one.

Ella, Lily and B all had a great laugh at my expense. And B laughed even harder when I said, “But it was on the list!”

So now we have this sitting on the kitchen counter just to remind me.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012


If all goes as planned, tonight we’ll sign the papers to make us proud owners of a new dog. She’s a three-year-old-ish black lab who just seemed destined for us.

B and I had promised the kids we’d get a dog after we moved, but I just didn’t have it in me to take on a puppy right now, especially given that Elizabeth still pees on the floor. My cousin works with Heart of Texas Lab rescue, and she posted on Facebook that she was fostering a dog. The dog seemed like what we needed – young enough to still be playful but old enough not to pee in the house.

I tentatively broached the idea with B, and he immediately started grumbling about how he didn’t want a lab because they’re too big and shed and chew and and and. So I showed him the video of the dog. He watched it and said, “Call your cousin.”

We met the dog Friday night, and everyone fell in love with her immediately. Ella especially bonded with her, and I’m hoping this is the turning point in getting her to at least tolerate living out here. The dog spent most of the interview sitting at B’s feet, leaning on him. He, of course, was sold and ready to take the dog immediately.

She is beautifully behaved and very calm with the kids. She doesn’t jump on us or chew on things, and she walks very nicely on the leash. I’m looking forward to running with her.

Over the weekend we did all the official stuff like interviewing and filling out paperwork and paying fees. We’ve been approved, and tonight it all becomes official.

Introducing FeeBee (yes, I know that’s not how it spelled, but that’s how we say it). Isn’t she pretty?




Thursday, February 09, 2012

Moved in

I’m kinda, sorta starting to feel like we’re home rather than camping out in someone’s fancy house. I look back at pictures of our first house, with its dinged up hardwood floors, crooked foundation, mystery light switches and 840 square feet with a mere three closets, and I can’t believe we’re living here now. It’s a house that grown-ups should own, not us.

Three out of four children have adapted to being here. Ella has decided she’s not going to like it no matter what and keeps threatening to live in the field with the cows. But the other three love it. Campbell has his entire bedroom floor covered with train tracks, and I let him keep them there because I can just close the door on the mess. Elizabeth has her tent in her room filled with all of her baby dolls. Lily is incredibly protective of her room, even though she refuses to clean it. When we first moved in, I asked her to let Campbell sleep in her bed because he was scared. Lily threw an absolute fit about it: “This is MY room. I want to be in here alone. I don’t want him in here.”

The kids are all getting along with each other better, and the amount of bickering has dropped significantly. I think because they all have the option of going to their own spaces, they don’t mind actually being together.

I love having all the space, even if it is a lot to vacuum. And vacuuming stairs is my new least-favorite activity. I can let the kids make messes in their rooms and the upstairs playroom and still have a neat kitchen and living room. I’m not constantly tripping over their stuff or stepping on Legos.

We eat together at the table most nights, and I like cooking (as much as it’s possible for me to like cooking) in the big kitchen.

B, especially, loves being here. He has his office all set up, and he can work from home without driving me insane by pacing around the house and talking on the phone. His stress level has dropped significantly, which means his health issues aren’t as bad, which means he’s happier.

After a miserable six months, things are finally stabilizing, and we’re finding our new normal. Tomorrow we’re being interviewed by a 3yo black lab rescue dog. I think she will be the final piece.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Still Steamed

I got pretty worked up about the whole Komen-Planned Parenthood smackdown, and I haven’t really cooled off yet.

The more I read about what went on behind the scenes and about the woman Komen hired to be in charge, the angrier I get.

Then there was the non-apology “apology,” which basically said:  We’re sorry Planned Parenthood told you what we are up to. We’re sorry we got caught in a blatant lie about our policy. We’re sorry you got mad. We’ll let Planned Parenthood have money for the rest of this grant cycle, but by the time the next rolls around we’ll have figured out how to disqualify them. Quit bitching about us. If you don’t stop bitching, women will suffer.

If you want to read an excellent rallying cry, go read Margaret and Helen. I mean it, really.

Friday, February 03, 2012



Happy birthday to my twirly-est, girly-est Lily Bear. I know 9 is going to be a great year for you.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Shame on Komen

I’ve caught the crud that Campbell and Elizabeth had all weekend and feel miserable. As a result, I left dinner and bed preparations in B’s capable hands and retreated to bed. To keep myself occupied, I scrolled through Twitter, and the more I scrolled, the angrier I became.

The Komen Foundation – the behemoth of breast cancer research, treatment and advocacy fundraising, the non-profit that set the standards on how to take a small campaign and turn it into a phenomenon, the organization that has made it possible for countless women to get mammograms and treatment and support – has pulled its grant money from Planned Parenthood. And it’s not a small amount, either. Something like $650,000.

As I’ve said before, I stand with Planned Parenthood, and I am pissed.

When I became and adult and moved out into the world on my own, the Komen Foundation was the first non-profit I became involved with. I ran in the Race for the Cure back when it could only attract a few hundred runners. After my first Race for the Cure, after seeing the breast cancer survivors at the finish line and people holding signs in memory of those who had died, I decided it would be my cause.

I threw myself into it. I did volunteer work, I raised money, I donated my own money. I proudly wore the little pink ribbon. One of the major reasons I worked on the Danskin Triathlon for 10 years is that it was all about breast cancer research and support.

And now the Komen Foundation is withdrawing grants to provide mammograms and other cancer screenings through Planned Parenthood.

The president of the Komen Foundation claims that it’s not political and it’s not because Planned Parenthood provides ab*rtions. Pretty much everyone is calling bullshit on this. The congressional investigation that Komen is pointing to as a reason is yet another attempt by a pro-life congressman to take down Planned Parenthood. The current president of the Komen Foundation is a former pro-life candidate for governor of Georgia. She has made statements in public about ending government funding for Planned Parenthood.

So there’s no way this decision isn’t political.

Komen, which has careful built and groomed this image of “being there for women” has just ruined its brand. And it’s lost me as a supporter.

Over the past six years, Komen Foundation funding made it possible for more than 700 women in Austin to get mammograms and other cancer screenings, women who wouldn’t have been able to without the work of Planned Parenthood in partnership with Komen. Now that money’s gone, and Planned Parenthood is scrambling to make up the shortfall so women don’t go without services.

This was the kick in the pants I needed to get me started on volunteering for Planned Parenthood. I signed up in the volunteer database but have never followed through, what with moving and kids and holidays and nervous breakdowns and whatnot. But now I’ll be actively pursing ways I can help them.

The work they do is too important, and it’s under attack from the Christian right wing like never before. Protecting women’s health means protecting all women, regardless of religious or political affiliation. And protecting our reproductive rights is a major part of protecting our overall health.

I hope you’ll stand with me and Planned Parenthood. Make a donation, write a letter, volunteer and hour or two – it doesn’t have to be much. But if we all did something, what a difference it would make.

To read more and make a donation, visit the Planned Parenthood site.

You can send a message to the Komen Foundation here.