Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Hic et Nunc (Written in 2010 after a healthy eating immersion)

It was the bronchitis that made me realize I needed a change. Oh, I’d known for years that my weight was a problem, that moving around was not as easy as it used to be, that I was spending much more time horizontal than necessary; but, the endless hacking cough, jarred something loose in my brain. The something said it was time.

I’d had for years a barely conscious wish that I would get ill or have some kind of accident serious enough to jolt me out of my fumbling life. And, here it was. The illness was enough to keep me home from work for two weeks, plenty long enough to make me question my entire life up until this point. Somewhere, through a steamy fog of green tea and honey came the realization that: A) I needed to spend this summer with my kids and B) This weight needed to come off once and for all. 

Fifty pounds. That was the difference between what it said on my driver’s license and my actual weight. Well, there you go. 50. It’s a big number when you are talking about pounds. How could I do it when I had not lost more than seventeen at any given point? Of course, I hadn’t needed to lose fifty then.

Luckily, I had the Engine Two Immersion coming up in a few weeks. When I got back to work the next week I pulled up the itinerary: 

7 a.m. - Workout
8-9 - Breakfast
9-5:30 - Classes
5:30-6:30 - Free Time ( only an hour??? When am I supposed to swim, or enjoy the private room that I was paying extra for??? Or see the warm Texas sun??? )
6:30 - 7 - Cooking Demo
7-8 - Dinner
8-9:15 - Class
9:15 - Fall into bed exhausted

Whoa. I had my work cut out for me and I knew it. I was starting to get nervous. I ran the schedule past my former Marine husband and he said: “ Yup, that sounds like boot camp”. I suspected as much.

I am thinking about my relationship with food, working at Whole Foods and all the times I have tried before. Would this time be different? It felt different. I told my dear husband that I needed his help. I could not do this alone. I could not have my non existent willpower tested by him bringing home 2 dozen Krispy Kremes ( It’s a bargain! You get six free if you buy eighteen! ) or bagels (we can freeze the rest! It’s cheaper that way!)
No. I needed him to understand that willpower does not exist for the addict and I am an addict as surely as those folks on “MTV Crackhouse” or whatever it’s called.

Sure, I work at Whole Foods and the cookies and cake we sell there are marginally better for you than eating a Cinnabon, but, I’m pretty sure organic heroin will kill you just as quickly as conventional. If I had to cook my sugar and inject it between my toes, I probably wouldn’t do it. But, all I have to do is open my mouth and before I even know what’s happened, I’ll have eaten seven cookies. Sugar is my drug of choice.

As Dave Matthews sings: “ Sugar ain’t poison, but sugar will kill you”. Sing it, Dave and quit looking at my stomach rolls.

I need to look at this immersion as the last chance; my last shot at lasting change. Because, geez. If I go all the way to Texas, sweat and starve for a week and I come back and eat a Bavarian cream doughnut, it will all be for nothing.

I need to end my destructive relationship with my drug of choice; no methadone, nothing to take the edge off except for leafy greens and apparently, country western dancing. My brain hurts already.

Three days to go and I am really nervous. While I know that a bit of struggle and deprivation is good for me, I’m not sure if I am ready. I guess the better question is: Will I ever be? Will I ever be ready to put down my bent (from ice cream) spoon in favor of a forkful of kale? Will I ever be ready to get busy living rather than dying? It’s such a silly question. Of course! I want to look better , have more energy, run around with my kids, look better , but why does it have to involve 7 a.m. yoga? I hate 7 a.m. and yoga terrifies me. I’ve heard people fart doing yoga. I have spent the past almost forty years avoiding farting in public. I do not want to stop now.

I want to think that I have a choice, that I am doing this not really because I have to, but because I want to. That I am ready to embrace change wholeheartedly, amen. But, the truth is, I am terrified. Maybe I really don’t know who is living under these excess fifty pounds. Maybe I won’t like her when I meet her. I’m pretty sure she’s a bitch. Is this skinny bitch any fun to be around? Does she still like to hang out after work? Will she drink the occasional one too many Jack and Cokes? And scariest of all, will she be enthusiastic about everything?

I have not always been fat. I was a skinny kid, an athletic teenager and young adult and at one time, I. Was. Hot. I hate that people who meet me now only see the fat me and probably couldn’t imagine anyone different. I want to change that. I want people to see past the chunky exterior and see the beautiful me and not just the “great personality”. My wit doesn’t make the reflection in the mirror any better; in fact, it’s worse since I am really good at making fun of myself.

So, choice? I think I’m long past having a choice. I need these five days to be the beginning of a new life.

I am still terrified. And, I feel the need to eat pretty much non-stop until I board the plane in thirty nine hours…but, who’s counting?

What is the deal with parking at O’ Hare? I almost parked in International which seems to be in another zip code, but after an illegal 
U-turn or three, I made it to the correct parking garage.

The time has come. I got through security with only minor issues. I’m aggravated that I had to check my bag. I apparently packed a gallon sized bag of toiletries instead of the allowable quart. Yeah, I’m pretty sure that extra eye cream is explosive…argh. It was nice to see Danny for ten minutes before I had to check in, I am hoping the next time I see him I will be committed to this lifestyle change…and skinnier…but, let’s not get ahead of ourselves!

The first hurdle past, all I have to do is try and relax. I have a whole row to myself on a full plane ( jaw drop here ). I’m not sure how it happened, but they are closing the doors and no one has come to sit by me…I’ve checked my pits and don’t have b.o., so, yay! I’m claustrophobic enough without being surrounded by strangers making idle chitchat.

We’ve almost made it through the clouds which the pilot promised would be “choppy”. As a white knuckled flyer, I took this to mean “nose dive into oblivion”, but, so far, it’s been uneventful. After the wind, hail and rain of the last few days, this day is lovely.

I’ve eaten what promises to be my last taste of mayo, cheese or turkey and am getting into the mindset that I hope will carry me through these five days and the rest of my life. I am on this journey because I want to live a long, healthy life. I want to climb stairs without wheezing, wear a bathing suit with confidence and be a pain in my kids’ collective ass for at least forty more years.

I am thinking about (my father) Bill a lot. I wish he had had the opportunity that I do now. I wish he’d had someone say “ Hey! You are killing yourself with cigarettes and pizza and I’ll miss you if you die!”. But no one did. Not that we didn’t love him, just that none of us thought it would catch up with him so soon. Forty-six is way too young to die. I guess this is as much in tribute to him as it is for me. I love you, Bill. Rest peacefully. We’ll catch up in about forty years.

Bumps ( the actual, not psychological ones ) behind me, I am coming in for a landing. I’m looking out at a landscape that looks remarkably like the one I just left; mostly flat, mostly brown. Though this landscape is warmed by 77 degrees and sun!

Once on the ground I head straight to baggage and am immediately struck by eight foot tall guitars in front of me!

SXSW is happening this week and this must be a part of it. I take the first of many pictures, the first of many memories I hope to hold in my heart after this week is up. I take another of a butterfly kite flying overhead. I see it as a symbol of my transformation.

This is real. I am here. I am doing it.

I run into M at the transportation desk. I knew her by name only, but since we are both from the Midwest Region, we are chatting away in a matter of seconds. We laugh about the things we won’t eat again - ever, as we ride to the immersion. She is talking about Shamrock shakes. I am talking country fried steak - we are in Texas, after all.

Speaking of steak…Longhorns! Actual Longhorns by the road! 
I must be in Texas! I feel like a five year old! I can’t sit still!

Settling in at the first lecture of the trip I am awed by this beautiful group. We are all shapes and sizes and all here for the same reason; to improve our health and let’s face it: look hot. Rip (Esselstyn) has already mentioned farting twice. Oh god. He’s also warned us about poisonous snakes, tarantulas and bobcats ( I want to meet a bobcat! ) Awesome! I love, love this place. I was calm the second I stepped out of the van. It is so beautiful.

Monday - 

Slept like a log last night, which is surprising. First night away, no Danny, strange place, staring down a 7 a.m. workout and I slept like the princess without the pea.

John Pierre is an interesting fellow. He enjoys talking about love and compassion while torturing us with sprints, squat thrusts and jumping jacks. I love his enthusiasm. He has us moving parts that don’t get a lot of attention and it feels really good, at least, afterwards. He said that he wants to be the candle that lights the next candle. A few sparks have landed on me, we’ll see what they turn into.

Dr. Esselstyn was very informative. His lecture was quite sciencey, but, he made it accessible. I’m pretty sure I never need to see another picture of an artery, though.

This family is amazing! They are all about six feet tall (except Ann, but her personality is ten feet tall!) and they just glow! Talk about energy, too! If that is what this diet does for you, I am already sold.

Jeff Novick is my new hero. He grew up in Brooklyn, which automatically earns him points from me, because, come on! You can’t beat a real Brooklyn accent! He managed to be hysterically funny while talking about the serious matter of our children dying from McDonald’s.

Took a really awesome nap on my free time and woke up to sweet potato lasagna, which was divine and some kind of fruit concoction for dessert, courtesy of Chef A. J.. So far, I have eaten more today than I do at home! Yay for not being hungry!

The only real problem is the caffeine headache. Oh god. By the time Natala spoke at about 8:30 I was seeing double and had to press my hands against my forehead to stay focused. But, her words were really powerful. It seems crazy to imagine that we live in a culture where when faced with losing your foot to diabetes, all most doctors do is shrug and tell us is that we need another pill. Now, Natala has cured herself with the most healthy remedy possible: food. What could be simpler? And why don’t more doctors prescribe this? Of course the reason is as simple and complex as there being no money in greens and billions to be made in colorful pills. It’s disgusting.

I find myself fighting back tears thinking about Bill and how much I wish he could hear this and live. All I can do now is save myself and hopefully, spread the word so that others can benefit too.

On a lighter note, here are some of my sillier notes from today:

and…John Mackey arrives…I’m feeling starstruck
I just figured out who R is…he is snoring loudly behind me!
To quote Jack Lalanne ( as said to his wife ) - “ Don’t worry, I can’t die; it’ll ruin my reputation!”

Tuesday - 

I am already feeling different. I made the conscious decision tonight to choose some extra quiet time over dessert. The black bean brownies will be fabulous, I’m sure, but I need to sit down with my thoughts. It was another long, interesting day . I am not craving sugar and my caffeine headache has mostly gone. I am sitting on the world’s most comfortable bed and looking out over my private balcony. If there is a heaven, I hope it’s like this.


I am more relaxed than I have been in months, years, maybe. When Danny called last night to tell me all the things that were going wrong at home, I stopped him and said I had to hang up. I need this time. This peace. This tranquility.

I did some yoga today which was a nice change from the pounding that John Pierre gave us yesterday. It felt really good to stretch all those muscles while the sky just opened up outside. Sure, it’s raining, I’m a tiny bit sore, but oh, I am at peace.

Today’s sessions were really great, especially since my new best friend, Jeff Novick talked twice. He really made the sessions fly by! I learned some really nasty things about food labeling, though, I thought I knew everything! Here I am, an ISE for Whole Foods that does tons of research and why don’t I know this!? It’s maddening. Thinking about Bill again. I want to shake the food manufacturers for killing him.

Called home tonight and talked to the boys. Hearing their voices made me miss them. It also reminded me of why I am here. I need to be there for them for a long, long time. I feel like I need a few more days, but something has already shifted in me and there is no going back now.

Some silly notes from today’s classes:

C.R.A.P. = Calorie Rich And Processed
John Pierre is the Energizer Bunny
Shut up, Linda!

Wednesday - 

Some of my new friends are wearing green today. It takes me awhile before I realize that it’s St. Patrick’s Day. Of course, R is wearing a huge green button down and hooting and hollering about breakfast. I love these people. I wish them success.

Today was by far the nicest day we have had and up until this point I had only skipped out on the late things; dessert, music, etc. But, it was such a gorgeous day that a few of us from the frozen north decided to break out instead of going to one of the lectures. The sky was cloudless and the pool was beckoning. It was so nice just to sit in the sun and laugh and soak it all in. I will miss this place and this feeling.



Notes worth noting:

“Organic heart attack - ha!”
“Stop believing the rabbit!”
“I got blood flow!”
“Veg-jew-tarians - oh boy”

Thursday - 

It’s our last real day and I am feeling a bit down, but also so thankful and happy. John Pierre took us on a little walk up to a “temple” of sorts. It was so peaceful and beautiful.

John has a lot of great ideas for keeping active. He suggests large, elastic bands to be used as leverage while you exercise during TV. commercials. I have a feeling that I will never look at TV. the same way again! He reminds me of M. I remember freaking out on him because he could never sit still. He constantly does pushups, sit-ups and things while watching TV. and it used to drive me crazy! Of course, he is also in really good shape; which goes to show that that type of mentality can get results! I have to call him when the week is over and let him know that after 18 years of friendship, it took this crazy guy John Pierre for me to realize that he was a genius! I’m sure he’ll say “I told you so”.

I’m excited to get my biometric measures tomorrow. I am pretty sure that I’ve lost a couple of pounds and I’ve been so relaxed that I’m sure my blood pressure is down.

The birds are so happy it’s Spring! Imagine only seeing two or three Springs in your whole life, like they do. I’m so lucky will now have a longer, healthier life thanks to all of the great information I’ve gotten this week. 

Jeff Novick’s information was at times, a bit hard to swallow. It’s so maddening that we are boldly marketed and lied to on a daily basis. But, he also gave me much hope that I could do this. I don’t want to be a part of the status quo anymore. Something that stuck with me was when he said something along the lines of “who cares if your diet is a little better than the average American when the average American is killing themselves!” It’s true. I have to be much, much better than average. I will definitely be checking Jeff Novick and Natala’s websites. I would also really love to keep in touch with John Pierre; he really made me see that working out needs to be a part of daily life, like eating and sleeping. Oh, so many great things to take away from this week!

Notes of the day:

Americans stop eating when the TV show is over
LIARS!
The American Heart Association sucks


Friday - 

Melancholy. It’s sad to be leaving, but I feel so empowered! I had my last work out of the week ( hopefully not forever! ) with John Pierre. I thanked him for all he had taught me. I’m finding it hard not to cry with joy and gratitude.

The biometrics’ are in: I lost 2½ pounds and ten points on my blood pressure! Not bad for five days! I’ll get the results of my cholesterol screening when Doctor Pam calls in a few weeks. That should be interesting. I love all the support we are getting. Rip will be calling, Pam will be calling, Jeff has a Facebook page, Natala has a website…it’s all there for us to take advantage of. And, I am sure we’ll need it in the real world!

We had a nice little graduation ceremony before everyone had to catch planes home. It’s amazing that only five days have gone by. It feels like we have been together for months and yet, too short at the same time. I am ready to go out and conquer my addiction.

Since I have gotten home I have not fallen off the plant strong wagon! Yeah, I’ve had a little white flour here and there and I’ve had small amounts of oil and sugar, but no meat and no dairy. I’m not even craving the stuff! The naysayers are already naying, but I won’t hear it. Just wait unitl I am back to a size 6. Then, they’ll shut up!

I feel better than I have in a long time. Maybe one of the biggest changes is that I have finally made working out an integral part of my day, like brushing my teeth. I wouldn’t go a day without that, either! The pounds are coming off slowly and I guess that’s okay. If I get stuck, I’ll start writing it down, like John Pierre suggested.

I’m on my way!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Where To Begin?

As most of you know, my middle son, Charles, has Down syndrome and my husband and I have fought to keep him at his home high school.

To say that this week has been a battle, would be an understatement.  

I know when I am defeated.

I am trying not to look at it so much as a defeat for me (it's not about me, anyway.) as a setback for Charles and the inclusion movement; but a temporary setback only, not permanent one.

Here is a short summary of what's been happening:

Charles started the school year as a full time student at his home high school; something that we had been working toward his entire school career.  

To back up a little; my husband and I know that the best placement for any kid is among their peers.  The term peers means different things to different people, though.  To us, it means the kids he has grown up, who are in our neighborhood, that also go to his home school.  To many school officials, though, (and honestly, quite a few parents) his peers are the kids with disabilities that go to the "program" at another school, twenty minutes (on a good day) from our house.

To me, sending a kid to a school not of their choosing, away from their friends, feels like a punishment.  THEY assure me that it isn't.  THEY say it's in his best interest.  So, last year, as a compromise, we sent Charles to THAT school for half the day and his home school for half.  It seemed to work out pretty well, but there were problems with it, as well.  The midday commute was a pain for him.  It made me worry, too.  My vulnerable kid (as strong as he is) commuting each day in the back seat of a cab with no security cameras, with god knows what kind of driver.  

There was also the feeling of not really belonging in either place. 

It wasn't good, but it was okay.  We knew it was temporary; that this year, we would get full inclusion at our home school and that would be the end of that, la di da, happily ever after, amen.

No.  That isn't how it happened.

I'm not exactly sure when things started going South.  It could have been the first day of school, for all I know.  Asking Charles how his day went always resulted in the same answer:  "Great!", with no details.

I asked within the first few weeks of school that we have a meeting to discuss how things were going, to nip any potential problems in the bud and build on what was working.

I didn't get that meeting until November 2nd, two and a half months after school started.  By then, I had received many, frantic calls from various teachers, school deans and other assorted school officials.

He was decorating the toilet with toilet paper.  
He was falling down (on purpose) in the crowded hallway.
He was cursing at teachers.
He was not cooperating.
He was talking about feeling stupid.
He started talking about killing himself...the day that happened, Danny and I both left work to pick him up.

He was feeling overwhelmed.  It was obvious.  It was heartbreaking.

We had a meeting.  We came up with a plan.  We felt GOOD about it.  It was going to work!

It didn't.

It really didn't.

I've described Charles as a silent film actor trying to convey his feelings and I think it's an apt description.  He cannot always tell us in words how he feels; though he HAS the words, he often doesn't get them out fast enough for the listener or in a form that the listener can understand. 

So, he punches and chases kids.  Translation:  You are cool!  Be my friend!
He tries to kiss girls in the hallway.  Translation:  I really want a girlfriend!
He falls down.  Translation:  See me!  
His words get misconstrued or misunderstood. 

He gets frustrated.
He feels like a failure.
He feels very different...and he HATES IT.

His feelings are the same as anyone else's and he understands so much more than most people give him credit for.  
His comprehension of feelings is deeper and more mature than many, if not most, adults I know.

And it breaks my heart again, because HE GETS IT.  He GETS that he is not fitting in and he doesn't know how to.

So, he falls down some more.  He acts out SOME MORE.  He get's in more and more trouble.

He turns over his desk.
He clears out a classroom.
He gets suspended.

He isn't going back to his home school this school year.

and I am sad.

I've been trying to put it into perspective.

I told Danny that I am sure that when the schools in the south were desegregating, they didn't send the class clowns in, first.

They sent the most studious, the most serious ones.  The one's that would not flinch when people spit on them or called them names or knocked their books to the floor.

They did not send in kids who would decorate the toilets with toilet paper.

I get this.

Whether it is right or wrong then OR now is beside the point.

I get that there are rules that need to be followed by everyone.  

I wish that things would have turned out differently.

We will be back.  We will try again.  We will get to the front of the bus; but someone else will have to lead us.  For now.

Friday, June 5, 2015

What Caitlyn Does With Bruce's Penis is None of My Business

I wasn't going to write about Caitlyn Jenner.  In fact, after I read this piece of perfection, I really wasn't going to write anything; because, damn.  She nailed it.  The fact that it came from a Christian woman is what sealed it for me.  

Actually, let's back up.  I almost stopped reading that post when the author at "Motherhood...Unscripted" mentions the she is a Christian woman.  I guess that statement reveals my own prejudices fairly well, doesn't it?  I never said I was perfect.  I am working on it.  Being open to some one's words is a baby step in the right direction, I think.

My biases (that I SWEAR, I am working on!) are the subject of another post (or three) another day.

Okay, so the internet practically exploded when Caitlyn Jenner revealed her new, gorgeous self in Vanity Fair.


The haters came out almost immediately with the pictures.  I won't give them credit by posting any examples, but .5 seconds of Googling will get you many.  On one hand, I get it.  I don't condone it, but I get it.  It can be frightening when people don't follow the "norm".  It makes us question reality and our own place in the world and that is really, really scary.  It's much easier to see the world in black and white and wrong versus right, than to see the infinite shades of gray.  It takes a whole lot of thinking and who has time for that?  (Sarcasm...sorry.)

Seriously, though.  Wouldn't things be much easier (for you) if people just stayed who you thought they were?  And that is precisely my point.  What YOU think about someone else might have very little or nothing at all to do with who they really are. As parents, our kids grow out of the roles we assign them.  They get tattoos and girlfriends that you won't necessarily like.  They get to decide how to live their own lives...as scary as it seems.  We did it, with varying degrees of success, and they will too.

How we react, however, is all on us.  I think it is healthy to ask why, because only in questioning can we get to understanding, or at least, some level of acceptance.  In this case, I think the first, and only question we need to ask is:  How does Caitlyn Jenner's life affect me?  I can only answer for myself.  My answer is:  Mostly, it does not.  I say mostly because she has said that she is a Republican; and Republicans with money can and DO affect my life.  

(again, this is a post for another day)

The only other way Caitlyn affects me, is that her spread in Vanity Fair gives me one more unattainable model of beauty to reach for.  It is slightly disheartening that a sixty-something, former man, can look that freaking great in a corset.  I mean, those legs!  Those breasts!  Those collarbones!  Sigh...  Then again, if I could be made up and dressed by professionals, then photographed in soft lighting by Annie Liebovitz, I would probably look pretty hot, too.  It would definitely be better than yelling at my kids or husband to stop shooting me from under my chin while trying to hide behind my tallest child.

Caitlyn, in the end, is just a human being.  She has asked to be called "she" and I respect that.  It is her body, after all.  She still has a penis.  As confusing as that may be, in the end, who cares?  She has had that penis all her life.  I can imagine she is pretty attached to it (no pun intended...really).  That penis ran across the finish line along with the rest of (eventually to be) her and collected a gold medal in the decathlon in the 1976 Summer Olympics.  Maybe it is this that has people so bothered.  How can Caitlyn be Bruce and vice-versa?  I honestly don't have the answers to that.  Caitlyn herself said in the Vanity Fair article that she still screws up her name.  So, it's okay if we are confused, too.  

It's just not okay to be mean, or belittle those who feel as she does, or others' who don't quite fit into the neat little boxes that we wish they would.  I repeat:  It is NOT okay.  If your reaction to Caitlyn is one of anger or hatred, I suggest that you take a good look at yourself and ask why?




Thursday, May 21, 2015

Graduation Day is Almost Upon Us

My oldest son is graduating high school (hopefully) in 10 days.  There were more than a few moments of doubt that we would ever get to this place.  Yeah, my kid has got some issues and I have more than a few issues with school, with expectations, and with life in general.

So, it is as a parent of this type of child, and as a person who hated and did not fare all that well in school, any school, that I look at these commencement exercises as not a beautiful stepping stone, but something to be done with, preferably quickly.

First of all, the ceremony is on my birthday.  Name for me one person who wants to sit at a graduation ceremony on any day, much less their birthday. Seriously, please, tell me and I will call them up so that they can take my place.  My kid will never know.

Second of all, I received in the mail a laundry list of rules of etiquette that irritatingly took the jam out of my doughnut.  One of the bolded headlines is MARCHING INSTRUCTIONS.  Is this a class of Hitler Youth, or just, you know, regular kids?


A few tasty excerpts that really get my blood boiling are:

" you have paid for your cap and gown so you can "keep it" as a souvenir"  

Whoo, whoo, whoo!  Effing really?  How much did that cost?  WHAT THE HELL DO YOU DO WITH A GRADUATION GOWN AFTER GRADUATION?  And why is "keep it" in parentheses?  Is it because you won't "keep it"?  Your "parents" "will" in their "garage"?  

What a total waste.

" boys should wear a dress shirt and tie, dress slacks with dark socks and dark dress shoes.  Girls should wear a dress or a skirt and blouse "

a)  Great.  There goes another $150
b)  What century is this?  Why do girls have to wears skirts or dresses?  

Gross.

" A professional photographer will be taking a picture of each graduate as he/she receives the diploma. (this part is inexplicably underlined)  These pictures will be available for purchase on line on a secure website. "

Meaning:  Cha ching  

I will take my own shitty pictures, thanks.

Oh, and " the ceremony will be recorded and you will be able to order a copy."

Oh, goody.  Nothing better I can think of than fast forwarding through two hours of yawn-tastic ceremony to watch three seconds of my kid NOT looking at the camera.  And I get to pay for it?  Where do I sign?!?  

One last thing:  "you will receive your diploma only if all financial obligations with the school have been cleared, and if you exhibit appropriate behavior during the entire ceremony."

I would love for them to try and tell me that my kid did not behave, so therefore, he does not get a diploma.  Nice try.  We are finally out of here, I think the kid is entitled to flip off the principal, no?  I mean, NO.  I don't want my kid to flip off the principal, but seriously?  Way to try and scare us into being good little automatons one last time.

Maybe I am just an antisocial jerk.  Maybe I just don't get it.  I mean, I get (to a point) rules.  I get (to a point) ceremony.  I just don't get why my kid can't wear sneakers.  I don't get why there is not an open bar for parents (they would clean up!) to make the ceremony more enjoyable.  And I really don't get mortarboards.  


Anyway, Happy Graduation, everyone!  ***takes a shot***
 


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

How to Cure a Cold in Three Easy Steps

Here is my cure for the common cold:  

Step One:  

Wait until you are about three weeks into a hacking, phlemy Exorcist-sounding cough; then loudly (the better for the germ gods to hear you) announce "I should really call the doctor about this cough!"

Then, do nothing for three weeks.  Nothing includes:  Everything you normally do, at a slower pace, while whining, moaning and, occasionally, hacking up a small piece of lung.  It also includes annoying your partner to the point that he actually considers sleeping in the living room with the cats...the nine cats.

Step Two:

Take a look at yourself in the mirror and realize that you have never seen that shade of greenish/purple under your eyes, before.  Hack for approximately 37 minutes at 2 a.m.  Loudly announce to the germ gods, your entire family and the awake-and-ready-to-play cats that you SERIOUSLY need to call the doctor about this cough.  I am so serious right now.

Do nothing for another three weeks.  Nothing includes everything you normally do, at a slower pace, but with a grudging acceptance that this is your life, now.  You really don't remember life before this cough.

Step Three:

Your cough has subsided to a small, annoying tickle that only presents itself anytime you are horizontal for more than 1.5 seconds.  No problem.  You've totally got this under control; but maybe, you should call the doctor because you are pretty sure nope, definitely sure, that you are getting an ear infection.

Wait for the infection to excruciatingly work it's way out of your right ear a mere 48 hours before you go to see the most epic concert of your life THIS! RIGHT! HERE! OMGOMGOMG, and you have seen epic concerts.  At least the speakers will probably blow out your eardrum.  Problem solved.

Voila!  

It's just like calling Beetlejuice, only slower, less exciting and much more painful.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Unreasonable

I am a passionate person.  I say passionate because it sounds way better than "jerk face" or "crazy" or "bitchy".  As in: "I am not a crazy, jerk-faced bitch, I am just passionate! (damn it)".  I told someone the other day "I feel EVERYTHING".  There are worse issues to have.

So, when I woke up this morning and saw that the Blackhawks had won***, I was (unreasonably?) happy.  I mean, I know; it's just a game and in the grand scheme of things it means nothing; but living in Blackhawks country during the playoffs when your team is on fire is really, really fun.  Because I am such a sap and my heart is just millimeters beneath the surface, I get choked up seeing the buses pass by with "GO HAWKS" on their marquees.  I crank up the TV during the ridiculously loud National Anthem and cheer and whistle along.  I clap and yell at the refs and whoop and curse.  In those moments, I am one of the herd and I love it.  It is so unlike (most of) the rest of my life when I am in that weird 10% that goes against the grain of seemingly every situation.  

*** it ended at one a.m. after starting the THIRD overtime.  I get up early.  I stayed up for the first OT, then went to bed hoping for the best.


This morning I also found a prom invitation for my middle son.  My Charles got invited to...the "Special", district-wide prom.

I wanted to scream.  

After reading the handout that came along with the invite, I wanted to scream some more.  This is an actual excerpt:  We encourage the students to enter independently to make it as much like a REGULAR prom as possible (emphasis mine).

WHAT?!?  So...it's a prom but not a regular prom.  Ohkaaayyy...

I just don't get it.  Will someone please explain to me why my kid can't just go (or not go!) to the ACTUAL PROM like everyone else?  Seriously?!?!?  Why is this even a thing?  

Like most things like this, I am sure that it was started out of love and concern and wanting something nice for our (different) kids; but as with everything else, separate is NOT equal.  Separate classes are not equal.  Separate schools are not equal.  No matter how inclusive and welcoming you think your school is, these types of classes and events only shine a spotlight square on differences and it is not a flattering glow.  

Let's be real.  The prom is a rite of passage, but the event is not equal for everyone, anyway.  Not everyone has a date.  Not everyone can afford a tux rental or a $600 dress, hair stylist, manicure, pedicure, limousine and on and on.  Not everyone has a gaggle of friends to hang out with and eat dinner with and (ZOMG!!! iamsowasted) party with afterwards.  Not everyone wants to, either.  For some, it's too mainstream, too bourgeois, too everythingtheyhateabouthighschool, and that is fine.  Some of us went to our senior proms with boyfriends they should have broken up with months before so that they could dance with the ex-boyfriend they should have gone with, instead.  

I mean, I have heard.

So, here I am again, in that seeming minority of people that thinks these things are a horrible idea.  And I am sure to get crapped on for crapping on it.  Let's think about it this way, though.  Is a "whites only" prom a good idea?  Or is it totally backwards?  Seriously?  How about proms that keep out kids because of their sexual orientation?  Effing REALLY?!?  No?  Not a great idea, you say?  Yeah, this is the same.  It is EXACTLY THE SAME THING.  Many people just don't see it, yet.  Am I unreasonable?  Maybe.  Maybe I would have more friends if I just kept my mouth shut and went along to get along.  Maybe... and, maybe my middle son will go to his Junior or Senior prom and maybe he won't. 

Just like everyone else.




Thursday, March 12, 2015

Why, Birdman? Why?

The movie Birdman made me long for NYC in the way that so many movies set there, do.  I was warmed by the sticky, Spring air and I smelled it's gritty fragrance in my olfactory memory and felt like I had gone home, though I never did actually live there.  I wanted to, but that's a long story.

There was so much to like about this movie:  Edward Norton and Michael Keaton were impeccable.  The music was fun and silly and loud and perfect.  The story was funny and real and brilliant.

But, 

You could feel that But coming, couldn't you?

There was that word:  Mongoloid.  

It was there and gone so quickly that maybe if you were not me you might have missed it; but it was there, I assure you.  

And I thought "why?".  There were so many other ways to convey the image.  So many other words to choose, but that was the one the writers went with.  I kind of crumbled inside.  It gets really tiring getting punched in the gut again and again.  Here I was, going over the old arguments in my head.  Hearing the voices of those that don't "get it".

"It's just a word"
"We didn't mean it that way"
"They aren't talking about your son"
"It's our right to say this stuff"

That last one gets me.  Effing OF COURSE it's your right to say whatever hurtful, crappy thing that comes out of your mouth.  You have every right to be a jerk.

Of course, I have the right to be hurt.  I have the right to write about it and you have the right to agree with me or dismiss me or ignore me or mock me.

I have thought about whether it might not be a language thing.  The writers are Mexican and English is not their first language.  Maybe the word they were searching for was "retard".  This does not make me feel any better.

Why does anyone need to use a person with Down syndrome as the butt of a joke?  Or even worse, as a throwaway observation in an otherwise really great movie?

There are bigger fish to fry.  I understand this.  I CARE about those bigger fish.  This is just something that gets thrown in my face again and again and as hard as I try to move past it and move on to those bigger issues, I keep getting hurled right back into this ridiculous r-word debate because it refuses to die.

Part of me wants to just give up.   Maybe it is a lost cause.  If "mongoloid", as hideous an outdated a term as could be is the new "retard", then I don't know how to fight it.  Just like "thug" is the new N-word.  There are always going to be people that want to keep those that are different over there...in that "other" place.  I cannot reach those people.  

I can appeal to the people that think kids like mine deserve dignity and respect to speak up, though.  I can remind them that words matter.