Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween is scary for many reasons

Last night, we went to our small town’s Halloween Parade. Before it starts, the local businesses hold a Trick or Treat and the library has activities, so my friend and I headed down early to the girls could enjoy themselves before meeting up with their cheer squad to ride along in the float.

There is nothing like Halloween to bring out the crazy. We saw our fair share of skanky costumes, pushy parents, misbehaving kids, and general impoliteness, of course, but the kids had fun. At one point, as we were making our way down a crowded sidewalk, we noticed a woman standing there wearing the most hideous, pants that you have ever seen – they were possibly pajamas – pink and furry and tight. We saw her a few times over the course of the evening and every time, she looked crazier and nastier than the last. But when we passed her on the sidewalk, she was talking – both to the person on her cell phone and a person standing next to her and taking up valuable space on the already crowded walk. I remember thinking that people without kids should really try to get the hell out of the way and let the kids through.

Shortly after we passed her, I noticed a little boy walking very close to me. It was so crowded that I didn’t really think anything of it – just assumed his parents were behind me. That is, until we walked about a block further and away from the main area. We went to sit down on a bench and noticed that Buzz Lightyear had joined us. I realized that this little boy had just sort of attached himself to me. I asked him if he was lost and he said yes. He told me his name was Andrew. He seemed a little vacant, but I assumed it was because he was scared. So I asked him who he was there with and he didn’t answer. I asked if he was with his mom and he said no. The same for his dad. I asked who he was with again and he said his dad. It became clear pretty quickly that this little boy was special needs. So I took his hand and led him back into the fray, hoping to find a frantic parent looking for him. Otherwise, I figured I’d pass him on to the first police officer I came across.

He wasn’t afraid of me at all – he willingly took my hand as we walked around. Because he wasn’t able to communicate much, I had no idea of a last name, who we were looking for, what they looked like. I tried to jest walk slowly to give the parents a chance to spot him. And hoo-boy, did they. I heard a screeching, “Where were you!?! “ and looked up to see none other than Miss Crazy Playboy Bunny Pants heading towards us.

I could tell that she was CRAZY AS SHIT a little upset, so I tried to greet her kindly and say that he got mixed up with our group, but she cut me off by screaming at the poor thing about how he’s “not supposed to run away.” I spoke up and tried to shoulder the blame, claiming that we had stepped between him and her as we walked by and he got pulled along with the crowd (which isn’t really what happened, but I was trying to divert her ire a little). But it took everything in my power to not scream right back at her and tell her 1) that he ended up separated from her while she was completely distracted and talking on the phone, 2) that while we teach our kids not to wander off, when they are that little, their safety is ultimately OUR responsibility, and 3) that as a special needs child, he obviously needs even more supervision, especially given his trusting and willingness to take a strangers hand and walk away with them. Not that I would have had a chance to say all that anyway, since she grabbed his hand from me (the poor thing was hanging on to me for dear life) and dragged him away, still yelling. People really suck sometimes.

Oh – and totally unrelated, but I have to share: When I went to meet up with the boy after the parade (he marched with the band), he was holding hands with a girl!!!! And I don’t care how much burghbaby hates multiple exclamation points – sometimes they are needed. Like when your baby boy is HOLDING HANDS WITH A GIRL!!!!!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Monday, October 25, 2010

I really did want to beat her with my baton

Growing up, I spent a ton of time at my grandparents house. And next door to them was another older couple whose granddaughter I went to school with. Let’s call her Tammy Sue. That’s not her real name, but I had to come up with something that could express how annoying it was when her mother or grandmother would call for her in their high pitched, screechy voices, “Tammy Sue, sweetie! Tammy Sue!” See, Tammy Sue’s mother was possibly the most annoying person that ever lived. Except maybe for Tammy Sue’s grandmother, who treated her daughter, Peggy Lynn, the exact same way that both she and Peggy Lynn treated Tammy Sue – like she was the bestest, greatest, most wonderful, popular thing that ever was.

Now, don’t get me wrong – we all think our kids are great. But while most of us will show up at our kids soccer game or dance recital and take some photos and videos, Tammy Sue’s family would all pack up and go to every practice, with full-on photographic and video equipment, staging and restaging things – putting Tammy Sue in front. Peggy Lynn is the stereotypical pushy pageant mother, only without the pageants, though in her defense, she seemed to have gotten it straight from her own crazy mother.

Once, when I was very young, I was playing with TS at her grandparents’ house, a neighbor girl named Kelly came by and asked if she could play with us. That’s it – just, “Can I play?” I said yes, but before Kelly could even open the front gate, Tammy Sue had run inside and told her grandma and grandma came running out of the house with a big wooden spoon and chased Kelly home. I left immediately, went to Kelly’s and never played with TS again. Because even at age 6, I knew a crazy fucker when I saw one.

But I always felt a little bad for TS. Her mother was always pushing her into the spotlight, whether she wanted it or not. TS was a reasonably popular girl – she was a cheerleader and seemingly had lots of friends. But no one was really a friend, because she (or her family) would scare people off – they were pushy and competitive and crazy.

Normal parents would send some cookies or candy to school for the Halloween party. I remember Peggy Lynn delivering Tammy Sue’s treats to our 4th or 5th grade Halloween party dressed as Daisy Mae from Li’l Abner. Now, most of you are too young to know what I am talking about, but she was dressed almost exactly like this (only with shorter shorts):

























We were young, but not too young to know that it was totally inappropriate. I remember telling my friend Carol about it afterward, and describing Peggy Lynn’s look as “An H-O-A-R” (my spelling has since improved). The thing is – Peggy Lynn wasn’t a skank – but she thought (and acted like) she was Tammy Sue’s sister rather than mother, and she needed attention – for both her and for her daughter. I can remember thinking – even as a child – that Tammy Sue wouldn’t have been nearly as bad if it weren’t for her mother and grandmother.

Everything with her mother is a competition - and not a subtle one, either. She’s the type that will ask straight out what you paid for your house or how much you make. Then (if you are stupid enough to tell her), she will proceed to tell you how much more she (or her kids, or husband) paid or makes. Once, when we first built the addition on our house, we were both in the hair salon. Someone mentioned how nice our house looked, and Peggy Lynn almost went ballistic, pulling out photos and dropping measurements and prices about HER recent addition. As three or four people came in and out of the salon and made comments to me about our house (we live in a small town, but on a well-travelled road), she would just get madder and madder, and shove her own room addition photos in their face. This is a 60 year old woman, people!

Aaaaanyway, there is a point to this story. On Friday, I joined the alumni marching band on the field for the final game at our town’s 70+ year old football stadium, and when I showed up for practice before the game (yes – practice – the majorette coach actually made us learn and perform a routine, which was a delight), I heard the voice – that screechy voice. Yes – Peggy Lynn was an alumni majorette and I had to spend the evening with her. Yay me.

From the first moment of practice, when they lined us up to learn the routine, I watched this crazy ass bitch push and shove her way to the front (and center). Every. Single. Time. Every run through – every photo, for the pre-game festivities and the postgame festivities. The worst was when we were lining up to march across the field for the post game routine. We didn’t have assigned spaces – it was just get on a yard line, stand at attention and do it quick. Well, as we were spreading out, she ended up getting pushed further down toward the end zone. And she was NOT happy about it.

I could hear her screeching from 25 yards away, “But I was on the 45 yard line in practice! I need to be on the 45 yard line!!!” And although people were telling her to shut up and not worry about it – it didn’t matter where we were lined up, she just kept at it, “Hey! You! Move down – I’m supposed to be on TH 45 YARD LINE!!! “ Since no one was listening, she decided to start yelling at the only person she knew – me. “Gina! Move down! I’m supposed to be there (I was on the 45). I yelled back that I had nowhere to move (we were spread almost the entire length of the field -everyone was in place and at attention – we weren’t going to rearrange our positions seconds before the cadence, just so some crazy bitch could put her big face front and center. Everyone ignored her (most rolled their eyes). And then, she took a full on tantrum on the field, stomped up to where I was and shoved her way in between me and the woman who was standing on the 40 yard line! So now – she is the only person not on a yard line and she refused to move. Everyone else was forced to shift positions so she could be front and center.

And then I beat her to death with my baton. Or maybe I just vividly imagined it. One of those.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Vagina!

I can’t stand Leah Remini. I was never a fan, and then a few years back when she jumped into the Tom Cruise Crazy Scientology Postpartum Kerfuffle, I decided she was an idiot. Or an asshole. Or both. Her unkind and downright nasty criticism of Brooke Shields was insulting and dangerous, not just to Brooke Shields, but to all women. But like any other annoying gnat flying around your face, I soon forgot what and irritating idiot asshole she is. Then this week, she reminded me again.

On Monday, I got a call from the school nurse to pick up the girl. I brought her home, got her settled, and the sat down with my computer to finish my work for the day. The TV was on in the background, and the annoying new show – The Talk – was on. Think The View with more (and more annoying) hosts, one of whom is Leah Remini. They were discussing using the correct anatomical terms for genitalia with children (which, truly, I thought was an issue we figured out sometime back in the 80s). And as soon as the word “vagina” was spoken, Leah Remini opened her big annoying mouth and started screaming. She wouldn’t let anyone else talk, and every time they tried to defend their reasons for not using cutesy little words (she prefers “cupcake.” WTF?!?!), she yelled, “That’s DISGUSTING!”

Personally, I think Leah Remini is disgusting. But I do know that she is not alone in her demeaning, sexist opinion.

Vagina. Why is that word so intimidating to people? Nobody flinches when they hear penis. But vagina? Wooo, that can set some folks off. I’m getting so tired of people reacting to that word like it’s something dirty. It’s degrading to those of us who actually have them. Vaginas, that is. I mean, when it comes to the male anatomy, penis is pretty acceptable. In the mid-eighties or so, when popular opinion changed about using the proper terms for our genitalia, we all felt a little silly at first, but soon penis became a household word. A non-offensive, easy to say, completely correct term. But vagina? Vagina never totally caught on. It was definitely used more, but penis went mainstream and vagina kind of stayed indy. Thus, it’s 2010 and the same person who could work “penis” into a sentence without flinching would blush and stammer and get all tongue-tied at the mere thought of the word vagina.

I was in the hair salon recently (my friend Tee’s place), and a few of us were talking about childbirth and teaching hospitals. I was saying that I don’t mind letting students, etc, in, because they have to learn somewhere (of course, as soon as they find out that I am pro-student, they had half the medical school in with me. It was like a big party that had the bonus of freaking my mother the hell out. Anyway, a few of the women were saying no way, they don’t want all those people in there. In typical fashion, I said, “eh, what’s the difference? By the time you make it to labor, you don’t even care anymore. I let them all in, like ’welcome to my vagina.’” Well, one woman in there got a look on her face like she just smelled shit. The word vagina was so distasteful to her that she looked liked she was about to choke. So of course I said it as many times as possible after that. Vagina. Vagina. VaginaVaginaVaginaVagina. I know, I’m non-confrontational and sensitive to people’s needs like that.

I just don’t get the VaginaFear. I think it stems from the bajillions of years of female inferiority. Before men caught on to their part in conception, women were revered for our childbearing ability. The vagina was a magical, a life giving, mysterious treasure. But as soon as the cat was out of the bag that we didn’t do it alone, the vagina became dirty and shameful, something we didn’t talk about. Back in biblical times, women had to live outside the group in the red tent (if you haven’t read The Red Tent, you should) when menstruating. It was unclean. The bible, written by men (after the realization of their part in conception, of course), has passages about the uncleanliness of women, based on what makes them women: in Leviticus, we are told that menstruating women are unclean, as is anything they touch, and anyone that touches them. In particular, one verse tells us that on the day after her bleeding ends, a woman must take a sacrifice as a SIN OFFERING, so the priest can make an atonement for her.

So, the bible, this book that so many folks use as a guide to life, is telling me that I am a sinner simply because I am a woman (and I know, supposedly, we are all born sinners - whatever. But I have a problem with being somehow more of a sinner simply because I was born with a vagina). And then we have another passage in Leviticus which tells us that after childbirth women are dirty. And if she has a boy, she is unclean for 7 days and must purify for 33 days. But if she has a girl, oh boy, she is unclean for 14 days and must purify for 66 days. And again, a sin offering must be given. Of course, Leviticus is also cited by the crazies when they carry their “God Hates F*gs” Picket Signs of Idiocy and Hate, so you know what? Fuck that noise. And you know what else? Vagina. VaginaVaginaVAGINA!!

And so here we are, thousands of years later, throwing out “cock” and “dick” and “wang” and “schwartz” and “dong” and “prick” and “schlong” like nobody’s business, but let someone utter “vagina” and Aaaccckkk! For Pete’s sake, we’re women. Not demons, not aliens, and certainly not second-class citizens. We’re not dirty or nasty by nature. There’s nothing inherently dirty about a vagina. If a vagina is in fact nasty, it’s directly proportional to the nastiness of its owner. It’s not nasty simply because it is a vagina. And I’m sure there are eleventy-million or so skanky penises out there, too, so shut it.

I’m not saying we have to talk about our vaginas ad nauseam. We don’t have to share vagina stories with everyone we meet. I have elbows and toes and armpits too, but I don’t talk about them constantly either. But we should be able to say the word - “Vagina” - without someone blushing or cringing or wrinkling their nose. It’s not a bad word and yet there are people out there who would rather their kids say shit or damn or fuck than vagina.

And tell me - what are we suppose to say instead? Genitals? Too clinical and non-specific. Pee-pee? I think not. Forget about the cutesy shit – cupcake? Come ON - it’s ridiculous. Somehow I don’t think that the people that are offended by vagina want to hear pussy, cunt or twat, either. It’s a vagina and all women have one and it’s not dirty and it’s just as special and important as your penis and I will be calling it by its true name and GET OVER IT, VAGINA-FEARERS!!

As for male vagina-fearers, suck it up, bitches. It’s the thing you want over all others and you can’t even fucking say it? But somehow, I don’t really expect much more from you. But female vagina fearers (like Leah the asshole Remini)? What in the hell is wrong with you? It’s just a word. A name for something that you and every other woman have. It gives you pleasure, it brings life. It makes you special and you still can’t speak its name?

IT’S A VAGINA, NOT VOLDEMORT!!

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My Sweet Baby Girl

I have been getting ready to go away for a few days for Awesome Company's annual retreat. In the past, we have brought the kids (or one of them) along, but this year, we decided to get away alone. Unfortunately, mr b is super busy right now (actually, I should say fortunately, because when you work for yourself, being busy means getting paid), and he decided he can't afford the time away. So this year, I am heading out on my own. I'm bummed I'm not getting to share the trip with any of my family, but I will have a good time regardless. How can I not? We're heading to a lovely resort, there will be fun and good food and flowing drinks.

Anyway, last night as I was getting into bed, I discovered a note from the Girl sitting on my pillow. She had drawn a picture of the two of us and written, "Mom ples look at the back of this papr. Ples look now."

And on the back, she had drawn some more pictures - of us together and smiling, and of us apart, looking sad. And written above the latter was, "Mom ples andrstand that I am gowig to mis you on your trip. From Emily. Ples look now."

*SOB*

Dear Sweet Baby Girl,
Please understand that I am going to miss you too. And please understand that if I was given a chance to pick out the perfect daughter, I would pick you exactly as you are. I love you, baby.
Love, Mom

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Homeschooling is Looking Better Every Day

We were riding along in the car recently and the boy said, “Hey mom – did something in Civics to see what political party we are and I’m a republican.”

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And then there was much crying and sobbing and wailing about how I have failed and rending of garments.

OK, not really, but admittedly, mr b and I were all WTF? Because while we are all for freedom and opinions and differing views, we’re pretty much firmly planted over here on the left. And I, myself, am a full-on liberal (Archie Bunker would call me a commie pinko for sure). So needless to say, it was a bit of a surprise to hear my son - the young man I am brainwashing teaching my values to call himself the exact opposite of me.

Obviously, I wanted to know more, so I asked how exactly he came to this conclusion. He told me his teacher had given them a quiz to take and their answers to the questions determined their political party. We asked him for some examples, since I can’t imagine my kid really knowing enough to even have an answer to questions that would truly determine something like political affiliation, and he gave us this gem:

“Well, mostly they were about stuff we liked and didn’t like. Like, they asked if we hunted or liked hunting or if we though hunting was bad. And I don’t think hunting is bad, so I’m a republican.”

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And then there was much crying and sobbing and wailing and rending of garments.

For real this time. Because – say it with me – WHAT THE FUCKITY FUCK??
This is clearly not an unbiased quiz. It was obviously created by someone with an agenda. A right-wing agenda. And I was pissed. I understand that people have different views. And I accept that I am surrounded by conservative good ol’ boys who want to poison people into thinking stupid shit, like how democrats want to take all their guns away so they can’t hunt, or that Obama wasn’t born in the US, or that Sarah Palin has a fucking clue.

But I always figured I can teach my kids my own beliefs, or at least present them with facts, so they can form their own opinions. But it’s awfully hard when the schools are feeding them this kind of biased bullshit. And thatis what this is about – the bias and lies. If they had given a quiz that was biased in the other direction, I would feel the same way. As much as I would like for my children to share my beliefs, I want them to make educated choices, not drink the crazy kool-aid and jump on the bandwagon.

So after a long, heated talk about such biases, and lies and truths and the different parties’ views on several important issues, the boy admitted that the quiz questions might not have been the best judge of political affiliation. But he still wanted to defend his teacher, who he likes.

“Mom, you can’t blame her though. She didn’t write the questions! She got them on the internet!”

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*HEADDESK*

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Winner! FINALLY!

OK, I have to apologize, because while I was supposed to draw the winner for my Libby's giveaway last week, fate intervened and knocked me on my ass with a nice early case of the flu, followed by a pneumonia chaser. I am finally feeling a little bit better, so let's take care of unfinished business!

So, according to random.org, the winner is...















Dina! Dina, send me your address and your prize will be mailed directly to you from the sponsor!

Thanks to everyone who commented, shared their tips, and donated to the virtual can drive. You guys rock!

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