Thursday, December 30, 2010


I'm a worrier. I love to worry about things and wonder about things and plan things out. Once I was done Christmas shopping I started wondering what was left for Tom for Valentine's Day? And Ryan's birthday is in May, so what had we forgotten that we could get her then? I get told constantly just to stop over thinking things, or to quit analyzing everything. But I actually like thinking about the future. When I can't sleep, I lie in bed and make lists in my head of what Ryan will need to bring with her when she goes off to college. In 6 years. I make grocery lists and try to pick colors for when/if Tom builds a room in the basement. I try to imagine my grandkids and what they'll be named, and will they climb the willow tree Tom planted in the yard last spring. Will the tree even make it through this winter? Did he plant it deep enough or will a storm blow it over? See, I worry. But I kind of like it. So when I'm blathering on endlessly about random crap, rest assured that on some level, beneath the panic and abject horror, I am happy.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fattening AND drunkening

Chuck's Famous "Makes it easier to spend time with extended family" Rumballs

3 cups Vanilla Wafers, ground into crumbs/powder
1 cup powdered sugar
2T and 2t cocoa powder
1T honey
1/3 cup rum (or whatever you were drinking when you got tipsy and decided to take my cooking advice)
extra powdered sugar in a ziplock bag

Mix everything together and let it sit until it dries enough that you can roll it into balls in your hand. Balls can be any size but I make them about the size of a large gumball. Shake balls in powdered sugar to coat and store in an airtight container. They start out like fudge but dry into a sort of a dense donut hole. And about 3 seconds after you eat one, you'll feel the warmth of the booze. Do not eat these and drive!


Welcome people I blanket invited from facebook! Welcome to the awful waste of time I call my thoughts!

Is brain-diarrhea really hyphenated? It's a phrase I'd hate to misspell.

Monday, December 27, 2010

not Dan Savage

Will somebody (not Dan Savage becasue he is an ass about most things) please just define bisexual for us once and for all? For that matter, define gay and straight, too. As well as Kinsey did with his little scale from 1 to 6, he didn't do what people think he did. He asked questions about behavior and assigned labels based on that. So if you were flaming gay and hadn't had sex, you weren't gay on the Kinsey Scale.

See, cause it can be sexual or romantic or both, and when it's only one of those it complicates things. And it's all well and good for gay dudes who sleep with dudes and want to marry dudes to say that any dude who sexes dudes is gay, it's not always that simple. WHat if the dude-sexer only falls for chicks? And all those chicks making out with chicks on the ubiquitous girls gone wild ads, are they ALL bi? I doubt it. I think some of them are perfectly capable of getting aroused by women but are only really into guys. So they're straight, right? Or not. But really, the whole gay or bi or straight based on behavior approach is stupid.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

My biggest regret

SIDS kills about 120 boys every year. Because of this, every mother is told by hospital staff to put her baby to sleep on his back to minimize risk. One mother whose baby died of SIDS was sentenced to prison for putting her baby to sleep on her belly after a prosecutor assumed a reasonable person would have known that action could result in death, thus meeting the definition of manslaughter. Women are told in no uncertain terms to avoid all blankets, toys, pillows, or even soft mattresses in the crib, not to co-sleep, and to keep rooms cool, all to avoid SIDS.

The same number of boys die from complications of circumcisions every year in this country. Not third world countries with poor sanitation, but right here in the U.S. That's just death, not recurrent adhesion, amputation, disfigurement, or scarring: death. And what are mothers told in the hospital about circumcision? That it's a simple procedure, a small snip, and that it is cleaner and better for the boy. All of these things, by the way, are outright lies.

When I was pregnant 13 years ago, I was planning to circumcise; it wasn't even an option to leave a baby boy looking unfinished and weird. Plus, I had heard that nursing homes were in the habit of circumcising elderly men. Thankfully, I had a girl. Two years ago I had a boy and didn't want to have him cut. However, it was important to me that Tom feel he was an equal parent and that we compromise and work together on things, and he was the one with a penis after all, so I let him make the decision. Two years of complications and my son's pain later, I had another son. I will never forget (or forgive) sitting on that hospital bed crying with my infant son in my arms, just repeating "I don't want this, I don't want to do this to him," and having Tom take him from me and hand him to the nurse at the foot of the bed.

I still cry about it. I cry about it because Tommy has "adhesions", a little-known complication of routine circumcision. Let me say right now that the circumcision was done properly. The doctor did his job well and there were no "complications" to speak of. But the skin reattached at the base of the penis, and then further and further up. We pulled it back like they taught us. We used Vaseline for a month! And it still happened. Still happens, to be honest. Over 2 years later, we still have to forcibly rip the skin back. He cries when I try to change him because of the pain he remembers. He cries at the doctor's because he fears the doctor doing it (it's made him bleed before) more than he fears getting shots. When I change him he cries "I try" and pinches his little penis hard in an attempt to keep me from doing it. I am not doing anything wrong; don't convince yourself that this is my fault for not caring for the circumcision correctly. This is a relatively rare complication but it does happen. In fact, persistent adhesions after circumcision is just as prevalent as phimosis in an intact baby. This is, however, 100% my fault because I signed the consent form to have my baby circumcised. I still wish I'd done my job and protected my sons. I failed them and I will never forgive myself for that. On my death bed I will still be apologizing for it. I will do whatever it takes to convince them never to have their sons circumcised. And if a genie showed up and asked me for 3 wishes the first one would be for my boys to be put back together again.

Oh, and if your husband ever says that it's important for a boy to look like his dad, ask him to describe his father's penis to you. If that argument fails, ask him if he plans to keep his junk shaved all the time, since it's a much simpler way of maintaining a similarity than amputating things.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

mushy crap. best to skip this one

I love my husband. I absolutely have to reiterate to the world how amazingly compatible we are, due to his awesomeness measuring up to my own. I am bizarre and he tolerates that. I covered the mini-fridge with woodgrain contact paper. He is a man, so of course he wants everything to be all black and shiny or stainless steel, or something equally sleek and testicular. But I like the warmth of wood. So I took a half roll of woodgrain contact paper and slapped it on the mini fridge. I think it looks worlds better than it did, and he just shakes his head.

Someday I would like to have a sewing room. Maybe when the kids are grown I will appropriate a bedroom and make it into my sewing room. I will of course have to redecorate it, and I will do so with . . . . .(drumroll?) . . . . . fake wood paneling. I spent my childhood surrounded by fake wood paneling and I miss it, dammit! Ahhh, to have a sewing machine, a cutting table, bolts and bins of fabrics and notions, all in the warm glow of fake wood paneling. A girl can dream, can't she? And the absolute best thing is, I believe Tom would hang that awful paneling for me. Because he loves me just that much. And it will make him wince to look at, but he will do it nonetheless.

I have temper issues. from a distance, it is easy to say "Just ignore her ranting and fit-throwing and wait the ten minutes it takes her to do a 180 and be nice again," but you don't have to be on the receiving end of my thrown fits. Tom does. And I feel really bad for him because of it. But still, I will lose something and decide that it is because the house is a mess, which is because he moved the table I would have stored my things on, and therefor it is all his fault that I lost my keys. See? So stupid, but he lives with it. And all I do is apologize pointlessly, knowing I will do it again.

I fear my in-laws. Actually, I fear pissing them off and then being forced to awkwardly deal with them for the rest of my life. I feel like I'm a guest and have to be on my best behavior all the time and it makes it real easy for me to panic before holidays. Keep in mind, these are the people who introduced Tom and I, who were my friends before I ever married into their family. So it is completely stupid that I now fear them, yet I do. And every Christmas Tom listens to the same panicky rants he heard the year before. And on years where I am neither pregnant or nursing (so not since 2006) he buys me beer to get me through it. Somehow I'm okay with them thinking I have a drinking problem, but not with them thinking me rude.

He is reading this over my shoulder now and his ego is swelling and pushing me into the desk. I have to go snuggle him and hope he will be home again tomorrow night, because work has been sending him to Missouri and Nebraska, and other far off corners of the world lately. Bad work! Bad!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Turnabout is supposed to be fair play, right?

Have you ever been part of a mocked demographic? I have, and I admit that, while I'm not proud of it per se, I tend to not be so upset when the pedulum swings the other way.

When I nursed Ryan 12 years ago I was accused of incest, selfishness, and was told to go nurse in private. I fed her in dressing rooms, cars in parking lots, bathrooms, and in one case the manager's office in a restaurant. I have very little pity for women who choose to formula feed and get comments about it. Aside from the fact that I tend to agree with the comments (You seriously expect no one to judge you for choosing to feed your baby chemicals over milk?), I think the pro-formula side deserves to feel a little of what they made the pro-milk side feel for so long.

I am a stay at home mom. I am told, directly and indirectly, that I am lazy, a leach on my husband, a disgrace to feminism, and that I do not contribute anything to my family. So when I read about working mothers feeling like they're being judged for leaving their kids with sitters, I don't jump to their defense as much as I should. Probably because working mothers are the ones who tend to judge me.

I don't think white people should be passed over for jobs because they're white, or that straight people should be called "Breeders" and run out of certain neighborhoods, or that anyone should be treated unfairly at all. But it's hard to feel sympathy for an oppressed group that has been the oppressors in the past (or even sometimes still are). So I'm sorry for giggling when a man complains about the media putting an unfair expectation of beauty out there. But seriously, after years of airbrushed photos everywhere, guys are suddenly going to whine about the perfect pecs on GQ?! Are you kidding me?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gifts of Xmas Past

I wonder every year if one of the gifts I painstakingly choose for my kids will be one of the ones they remember in adulthood. So on that note (and the massive pressure it puts on me!) here is a spur of the moment list of my most bestest Xmas gifts I ever got, that I can remember right now.

An awesome Barbie & The Rockers tour bus when I was 11, which I cannot find anywhere on the internet. I gave it to a friend to let her daughters play with my massive Barbie collection and she left everything in her basement to get moldy. Bitch.

A black leather coat with fringe and buttons that looked like Indian head nickels when I was 15. It was awesome and I wore that thing for like ten years, and Ryan pulled the fringe off one piece at a time.

A CB radio when I was 17. I used it a week later to call the cops when my car broke down in the middle of US 30, between towns.

A big box of food when I was 18. I was living at my dad's and there wasn't tons of food there, plus he kinda wanted me to move out, so my Mom bought me a giant box (remember when TVs were 3 dimensional? that kind of box) of mac and cheese, dry rice and pasta, canned and jarred food, just stuff to eat when Dad ate the fridge down to nothing.

An air purifier from my mom/Santa when I was 22. At the time I smoked, but only by the kitchen window since I didn't want Ryan breathing a lot of smoke, and it was freezing to have the window open, so Mom bought me a hepa air purifier for the smoke. The thing must have cost her a hundred dollars, and it's not like she wasn't helping me out financially anyway.

Lavender floral print thong underwear with Winnie the Pooh on them. When I was potty training Ryan I bought her flower print and Winnie the Pooh panties in her favorite color: purple, and I always told her to be very careful not to pee in her pretty flower panties and how much I wished I had pretty flower panties like she had. That Xmas she went with my mom and bought me what she knew would be the perfect gift: purple flower panties with Winnie the Pooh. I don't generally wear thongs, but I loved those panties so much because they showed that she really looked for the perfect gift and not only bought me what she thought was neat, but what I had actually mentioned wanting. Awesome kid, huh?

A Nebraska garden gnome when I was 28. It was Tom and my first Xmas together and I wanted to jump on his bandwagon (that is not sexual) and be a big Nebraska fan so we were looking at websites looking for a shirt I'd like and I found this gnome. Completely pointless and frivolous, but I fell in love. And not only did I get the gnome, but I got the shirt we found, too.

An espresso/cappuccino machine when I was 31. I didn't know you could buy a decent espresso machine for under $100 (Alton Brown said the good ones were expensive, damn him!) but Ryan bought me a Mr Coffee one that has lasted me 3 full years. If we had a water softener, it would still be in great condition, but I think it is getting clogged with calcium or lime from daily use. I hope to get a new one this year.

A zippered tote with yellow butterflies all over it when I was 33. Last year when we were in the mall on Black Friday, after a very early morning up for doorbusters, Ryan ran off to shop for me and a month later, I got multiple gifts but one of them was a zippered canvas tote with yellow butterflies on it. I have used the thing so much the zipper is pulling away and needs to be resewn, and I love it. It was one of the bags I brought to the hospital with me when I had Danny.

A (faux) fur lined hat with ear flaps and a chin strap. My mother bought it for me because I had wanted one for shoveling snow and when I opened it my (conformist) brother laughed at me, but I did not care. The next year, everyone was wearing hats with ear flaps and chin straps. Why? Because it gets freaking cold here and the hats are warm and when you're in danger of losing your favorite appendages to frost bite, fuck looking cool!

I can't think of any more, but hopefully I can come up with new entries to this list in a couple weeks. Feliz Navidad!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cause I'm the grown up

I swear in front of my kids. My mother goes positively apeshit about it and insists that if I swear then I simply cannot be upset when they do. I call bullshit. I swear in front of my kids, and I drink beer in front of them, and I drink coffee in front of them, and for a while I smoked in front of the oldest. Also, I share a bed with a member of the opposite sex, I have tattoos, and I drive. All of these are things that I apologetically refuse to let them do. Why do I get to do them? Because I am the adult. There are certain privileges which are afforded to adults. Driving, sex, and swearing are but a few of these things. Also, if I so choose, I am free to run with scissors. But I don't do that because I may put my eye out if I do.

I do not consider myself a hypocrite because I smoked for 20 years and still tell my kids not to. I consider myself someone who can tell them with absolute certainty that addiction is guaranteed and it sucks. I had a child out of wedlock, and I try to convince my daughter to abstain. And I can tell her that although having her was one of the greatest things that ever happened to me, it probably could have happened a few years later and it would not have been any less magical. When I hear people say that they can't teach their kid not to smoke pot because they did it in high school, I slap my forehead. Of course you can try to get your kid to avoid your mistakes. That's your goddamned job! You made a lifetime of stupid mistakes so that your kid can avoid them! Then the kid makes all new stupid mistakes and hopefully, somewhere down the line, we end up with a generation that doesn't actually have to screw up quite so much. It's a noble goal; don't fuck it all up!


When I was 24 I decided, not for the first time, to go on anti-depressants. My boyfriend at the time told me I was weak, that a strong person could fight off depression without resorting to "happy pills". He killed himself 8 years later.

The first meds my doctor gave me was generic Prozac. I was on that for 5 days when I lost my coordination and had to go off. A coworker asked why I couldn't seem to assemble small pieces and I told him it was the Prozac. He told me mood was a direct result of outlook, and outlook is a choice. He committed suicide 9 years later.

I have been hospitalized as an inpatient for depression. I have been in and out of therapy since I was 4 years old. What I have learned is that depression is very often a physical organic illness which requires medication. Medication helps put a person in a position to benefit from therapy, to learn to seethings from a more optimistic viewpoint and cope despite the depression. That said, some depression is situational and doesn't require medication. Grief, fear, boredom, or addiction can all influence a person's outlook on life. But, refusing (or resisting) meds is not a sign of strength. The people I've heard tell me that are all dead now, of depression, so I beg anyone who is depressed to try whatever it takes, and keep trying new things if the old don't work.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Uncle Danny

We got out of the truck and started walking toward the church. We were in the Catholic Church parking lot but heading up to the Episcopaleon church across the street. I looked up and saw a row of probably 2 dozen people, mostly men, in long black robes, faces down away from the wind, walking through the cold to the church. They came from the front door of the courthouse and silently walked the half a block in single file to the church door. They looked like monks, all solemn and dignified in their judicial robes, and it made me cry.

We left the church to find that it had begun to snow. Big fat snowflakes that swirled in the air before landing on every branch and power line in town. And reflected off all those giant snowflakes were colored lights. Red and blue flashing lights from squad cars representing every city in the country, the county, and the state, bouncing off buildings and clouds, softened by the swirling snow, and it made me cry again.

I love you and I miss you, Danny. And so do a lot of other people.

And twinkling lights in snow.

Peace on Earth. Goodwill toward men (and women). Family. Traditions, old and new. Appreciating who and what you have in your life. Generosity. The way a face can light up when someone opens the perfect gift and realizes that you put real thought and care into picking it.

It's not about presents, but it is. It's about giving them; the getting is an unavoidable consequence. And it's not (in my family) about a single birth two millennia ago. It's all the other holidays rolled into one. The sense of gratitude and appreciation that Thanksgiving is, the atonement and forgiveness of Yom Kippur. The happiness and excitement of a birthday or a 4th of July fireworks show. All in one 2 day celebration (I count Christmas Eve). I love Christmas. It's the most wonderful time of the year.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Winter concert

Tonight was the (deep breath) Junior High/High School band/chorus/choir/Madrigal concert. Basically, any student over the age of 11 who does anything musical in school gets onstage and does it. Ryan is in chorus and band so she was onstage for a good chunk of it. I enjoyed the evening overall. I just, I wish there was a way to have a holiday concert without the religion. Or with more religions represented. I just don't like all the exclusively Jesus stuff. There are plenty of secular songs out there; it's not like Oh Come All Ye Faithful and Silent Night are the only Christmas songs out there. And as long as I'm not hearing any Muslim or Jewish songs, it just makes it an endorsement of Christianity over other religions, which I oppose. I oppose the school giving the impression (and it's not a vague inferrence, either) that Christianity is the only viable religious choice out there. It's not a Christian school, and being in the chorus (I don't mind as much when they don't sing the words to the songs) shouldn't mean being in a Christian choir. If they were representing any other religion, it would be different. I have no real problem with religion being taught in schools, in the abstract as a sociological force or a World Studies sort of thing. It's when Christianity is put out there like its the only or the main option that it bugs me. Most people believe what they believe, religion-wise, because it's what they were taught. Some people do search and research and think a whole lot about it, but for most people it's just what they've been exposed to. There's a reason there aren't a lot of Shinto or Hindu converts in rural areas. And little things like being graded on singing only the Christian hymns in public school contribute to that. It might be fine for some kids who are already being told that these beliefs are the ones to have, but for my kid it sort of undermines my attempts to bring her up as one of those who search and research and give it a lot of thought.

I know a lot of people disagree with me on how people find their faith. But I have to ask them, can you name 4 main religious texts? Bible, Torah, Quran, then what? I'm not saying that yor faith has to be wrong because your parents or environment taught it to you. I'm just saying that the odds are, someone who grows up in the midwest US will choose Christianity if raised without a religion, because it's everywhere. Why grade kids on memorizing lines about the king of Earth and "a savior is born"? Just stick to Sleigh Ride and Winter Wonderland. They don't undermine anyone's parenting, do they?


I LOVE Christmas. I love crowded malls and ugly sweaters and obnoxious bells on everything that make the world sound like someone just opened the door to my dentist's office. I love laughing at idiots on the news bitching about how having to acknowledge any other holiday's existence is an affront to their Christian sensibilities, and I enjoy stop-motion animation explaining to me that Santa was a redhead and nobody would ever want a toy called a Charlie in the box. I like watching the Peanuts characters dance in oddly disturbing ways, and the acceptance they all get from their friends despite having freakishly thin hair, a blanket-carrying habit, and a refusal to bathe. I like snow, long underwear, and sleeping in socks. I like Christmas stockings, candy canes, and trying endlessly to fluff my Christmas tree to hide the gaps between the sections (I can never quite get it). I love hot cider and sugar cookies and the ubiquitous demands that we not forget Jesus. When I was a kid I used to wish Christmas would hurry up and get here but now I love the anticipation. Christmas is, for me, one night and then one day. The joy is in the Christmas season, not just the holiday itself. I wouldn't ever want to skip the bulk of it.

Don't ask, do tell, don't care

Israel is one nation which allows openly gay people to serve in its military. Israel is a Jewish state, which means that not only does it allow religious beliefs to dictate its policies, but its religious beliefs are derived from the parts of the bible (the Torah, and specifically Leviticus) which say the worst about homosexuality. Right in there with the whole icky-gay stuff is the icky-shellfish icky-pork stuff. Stuff that the most fervently anti-gay Christians don't follow, and the gay-accepting Israeli military does follow. Interesting, huh.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


I finally found a picture of the way I want Tommy's hair cut!

On bwanky and Mow Mow

Does your kid have a "lovey"? My kids do, and I like it. Ryan has had a sort of conveyor belt series of stuffed animals. There was a little beanie baby type Grover when she was a baby (she used to chew its nose in church), then she got a Gopher (from Winnie the Pooh) and carried that thing everywhere until she was five, and the last one was Brownie, a beanie baby she carried for years until he disappeared. Brownie was my "focal point" when I had Tommy; Ryan let me take Brownie to the hospital and I never let go of the thing throughout the whole labor and delivery. I miss that thing. Tommy has his blankey. It was originally a nice neutral yellow and I crocheted it when I was pregnant with him out of soft baby yarn, but it is now grayish and he has pulled little loops out to wrap around his fingers so the weave is all uneven, and he carries it all around the house with him. He's not allowed to take it out shopping or whatever because God help him (and me!) if it were to get lost. He also has Kitty, a stuffed tabby cat Ryan gave him when he was one and it caught his eye. Kitty does get to go to the store with him, but we watch it very carefully in case he drops it. Once I tried to buy a new cat for Tommy, a little beanie baby he named Mow Mow (meow meow, get it?) but he didn't really take to it, and gave it back to me. It has since become Danny's chew toy, the closest thing he has to a lovey, since he doesn't seem all that cracked up about his green baby blanket. But I suppose he has time.

Ryan's Grover, and Gopher, and someday Brownie if we ever find him, are packed away in a box of her favorite baby things. Someday Tommy's blankey and Kitty will go into his box, too, and Danny's Mow Mow. I sometimes wish I had one object that would make me feel secure and safe no matter what. I'd be nice to be able to cuddle a blanket and forget about the credit card bills or whatever. Maybe that's why we get to drink wine.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

It makes me dizzy to think it

I think I've decoded the fucked up logic.

If you're not with us, you're against us. If you're against us, you're at war with us. If you decided not to be with us then you started the war. If you started the war, then you attacked us. Oh my gosh, how could you have attacked us when we were just sitting here not doing anything to you!?

That explains the "war on Christmas". By acknowledging other religions and, you know, New Years, you are attacking the people who want to believe that Christmas is the only reason winter and festivity exists. Vicious unprovoked attacks on Christian extremists by blue-smocked octogenarian Walmart Greeters, spouting their violent persecutorial "Season's Greetings!"

By the way, that same circular logic of insanity explains how equal rights for gays persecutes the religious right.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Random ramblings

You know what I love? Purses. I love me some purses. All sorts of colors and sizes and styles, with long handles or no handles or dainty little chains for handles. I wish I could buy lots of purses and switch them out all the time but that's a hassle and even if you buy one of those little caddies to just plop into a new purse, your purses all have to be hollow (no inside pockets splitting it up) and all the same size. So instead I just lust after purses in the store like some pathetic hobo with an empty stick.

I hate cowl necks. They call them cowl necks because they're hoping you don't notice how much the act of wearing a cowl neck resembles the act of being born, through a very loose and flappy vagina. Seriously, who ever looked at a woman in a sweater and thought, "You know what would make her look better? Knit labia all around her collarbone there." Nobody. Nobody has ever thought that, because it is sick and wrong.

My son has a new favorite movie. For a year now his favorite movie has been Cars. You know what made him change it? Us, buying him a bunch of Cars things for Christmas. Now his favorite movie is How To Train Your Dragon. Crap.

I wonder if I can drink vinegar. I know I can choke down white wine, and that tastes like vinegar. And I do like vinegar and oil on my salads. But could I just do a shot of vinegar before meals. The reason I ask (yes, there is a reason) is that I read that drinking vinegar before meals somehow stops absorption of carbs or something, and people have lower blood sugar after the meal than if they hadn't drank vinegar. So that's good for diabetics, which I may someday be, but it also can help with weight loss. The article I read said that people lost up to 4 pounds a month just by doing this. I wonder if I can drink vinegar.

Why is the verb "absorb" and the noun "absorption"? I always want to use a 'b' and type "absorbtion" and spellcheck is always there with it's haughty red underline. Damn elitist spellcheck.

I don't like hunting. I don't like Sarah Palin. But I exponentially hate Sarah Palin's defense of hunting. Not because she's wrong about why it's okay for Alaskans to hunt but because she thinks people who hate hunting hate it for Alaskans. See, there are lots of parts of Alaska where you only get groceries every few months, due to the nearest store being 400 miles away. And those people live off dry goods and frozen food. So sometimes they have to hunt just to get food. Which is no big deal. It is not only no big deal, but it is world's apart from the guy who lives behind a Super Walmart and takes vacation time off work to soak himself in deer pee and go sit in a tree for 5 hours hoping to kill something for fun. I don't care if that guy eats it or not; he's killing it for the thrill of the hunt. Why is it that a kid stalking and killing feral cats in an alley is sick but a middle aged guy stalking and killing deer in the woods is fine? Is it better if the kid eats the cats? No, but it is if he's in the middle of freaking Alaska and the next pontoon boat full of bagged rice and Spam isn't due for another 3 months. So STFU Sarah Palin.

I like lima beans. I also like asparagus and brussels sprouts. But I never cook them because no one else likes them and faint gaggy sounds emanate from Ryan's chair at the table when she sees them. And I really like them. I should make them but it's just not worth the hassle of cooking an extra dish and then packing the leftovers into the fridge to mold in a Rubbermaid box.

I'm pissed at the people who stock Walmart. One tiny thing, and I'll just get it out of the way here, is that they can't tell thin spaghetti from spaghetti so when I go to buy spaghetti, the section for thin spaghetti is full of thin spaghetti, but then so is the section for regular, slightly thicker spaghetti. And since that space is full, no one ever orders the damn regular spaghetti! It seems like a simple thing to just buy the thin kind but the thin kind cooks faster than the regular kind and I mix my spaghettis half white and half wheat so they both have to cook the same. I buy bulk spaghettis and then mix them all up in a Tupperware box and it wouldn't work if I just up and added 7 minute spaghetti to my 10 minute spaghetti box just because some illiterate stockboy can't read the shelf tag. Also, they don't stock shit for little boy's clothes. Tons of stuff for girls but boys only get play clothes with trucks on it or geeky 3 piece suits. He's not in a wedding; he just needs something to open presents in and then spit up all over. A red sleep'n'play with a reindeer on it would suffice. But nope, nothing but dump trucks and church clothes, in a sea of red velvet girl clothes.

The absolute best way to get poop out of baby clothes (probably any clothes but I haven't crapped myself yet to check) is Irish Spring Icy Blast hand soap. Just scrub the clothes in the bathroom sink with a bar of soap (yes you have to touch the slimy orange poop for this to work) and even a white onesie can be saved. I don't know why, but it works better than Shout or Spray 'N Wash or Oxy Clean.

My husband tries to win arguments with reality. Do all men do this? He insists that the dishwasher should, by virtue of its name, actually wash the dishes, no matter the state they're in when he loads it. So if he puts in a frying pan full of grease and cooked on bits of blackness, he is absolutely shocked when he opens the dishwasher to find grease and bits of blackness inside all the glasses. I think that somewhere in his head, amid the reels of porn and football statistics, is the belief that the dishwasher is a machine which hums and makes sloshing sounds all while an army of tiny men with toilet brushes come out to scrub the dishes, look them over, and then scrub them again. The fact that it's basically just an out of control fire hose spraying scalding water in all directions inside a sealed box with no regard for how clean anything gets in the end, just never sinks through his head. It's insane, and it drives me insane.

A Vicks Vapor Inhaler, when put through the full laundry cycle, will come out only slightly less meth-tastic in the end. Its main ingredient is levmetamfetamine, which is chemically very similar to methamphetamine, which is why I call it my meth stick. I've been calling it that for 3 cold and flu seasons now and no longer think anything of it, until I ask Tom to go grab me a new meth stick in front of strangers at Walmart. Oops.

Legally seperated is the new Bi

When will the conservatives and the vocal church leaders drop the anti-gay act and focus on something that makes more sense?

The Bible is against it, it's bad for children to witness, it's sexually selfish, and it weakens marriage. It's . . . . (drumroll please) . . . . divorce! I would LOVE to see pastors on TV railing against divorced people and divorces and the travesty of churches welcoming divorced parents. I want to read a headline about a Catholic school that expelled a kid after it learned her parents were divorced. I want the Defense of Marriage Act rewritten to prohibit the federal government from recognizing divorce regardless of state laws. I want divorced senators to get as much crap as Barney Frank gets for being gay. I want cities with large divorced populations stigmatized the way San Francisco is. I want Fred Phelps to wave a "God Hates Exes" sign at his next funeral protest. It's still a gross generalization which unfairly judges large groups of unrelated people, but at least it makes a little more sense. As it is now the studies don't back up any of the anti-gay claims, Christians routinely ignore the rest of Leviticus altogether (know a lot of kosher Baptists?), and the whole anti-gay stance seems to boil down to "I can't help but picture them having sex and it grosses me out," which could be said about a lot more than just gay people.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Positive people

I used to envy positive people. People who could hear of a family member's death and instantly feel grateful for the time they'd had together rather than mad at the world for taking the person away. People who could go through three months of nausea, three months of heartburn, and three months of backaches and constant peeing, and only glow with pregnant joy. Don't get me wrong; I loved being pregnant. But I hated nausea, heartburn, backaches, constant peeing, and the additional gift of diabetes. But, after years of observation, I think I've figured the positive people out. I think they're lying. And I think they do it because they really believe that as long as they hide and bury and deny any negativity, they will be rewarded.

I understand that people who are open to opportunity are more likely to notice it than people who are busy bitching and whining about the need for opportunity. But I do not believe that the Universe treats positive people any different than it treats negative people. I don't believe the Universe treats anyone any way. I don't credit the Universe with intent. Things happen because of logical cause and effect or because of random coincidence. You can cover your car and house with pink ribbons and smile in the chemo room or you can cry and scream and hate cancer for infecting you, and your survival rate won't be any different. And I don't believe that the people who smile and wear color-coded ribbons like badges of honor are happy to have cancer, or even that they're less mad about it. I think they're hiding their anger, denying it, and thus wasting whatever support system they might have by not actually seeking support. All because Oprah or Dr Phil or some new age motivational speaker convinced them that a positive outlook will help cure them. It's a myth. It's been debunked.
I feel bad for people who never get mad in traffic, who never allow themselves a moment of self-pity or sadness or anger. The same way I wouldn't want to go through life feeling only negative emotions I wouldn't want to feel only positive ones either. I enjoy living life to its fullest, and that includes being pissed off and sometimes just letting myself cry and feel sorry for myself. People who can't bring themselves to do that are missing out on a big chunk of life.

Friday, December 03, 2010

I don't know who wrote this

How to Really Love a Child

Be there.

Say yes as often as possible.

Let them bang on pots and pans.

If they’re crabby, put them in water.

If they’re unlovable, love yourself.

Realize how important it is to be a child.

Go to a movie theater in your pajamas.

Read books out loud with joy.

Invent pleasures together.

Remember how really small they are.

Giggle a lot.

Surprise them.

Say no when necessary.

Teach feelings.

Heal your own inner child.

Learn about parenting.

Hug trees together.

Make loving safe.

Bake a cake and eat it with no hands.

Go find elephants and kiss them.

Plan to build a rocket ship.

Imagine yourself magic.

Make lots of forts with blankets.

Let your angel fly.

Reveal your own dreams.

Search out the positive.

Keep the gleam in your eye.

Encourage silly.

Plant licorice in your garden.

Open up.

Stop yelling.

Express your love.

A lot.

Speak kindly.

Paint their tennis shoes.

Handle with caring.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

google hubble (totally sounds like gibberish, don't it?)

Today I googled hubble photographs. I do this every once in a while because they are the most beautiful things I have ever seen. But since today is the first say of Hanukkah and Christmas is coming, I thought for the first time about God in the context of these photos. Now, I know a lot of people see such beauty in nature and take it as proof of God's existence. It's almost the default position for a human to take. But I've come to the conclusion that, while God could certainly have made all the pretty things in the universe, my default position is not to credit God. Or at least, not to take such beauty as proof of God, since if He is real then it's all because of him, admittedly. But anyway, I see science when I see the pretty colors and clouds and dust rings and such. And have you ever seen the back of the inside of a human eye? It is the coolest shade of orange ever. And the human cervix is a vivid bright pink (don't ask me how I know and don't bother looking for a link because I just google searched "cervix" and my eyes melted). And I just think, isn't it absolutely amazing that these beautiful colors are hidden out in space and inside our bodies, visible only to aliens and serial killers (and of course, alien serial killers. Serial alien killers?) and not just out in the open like flowers and rainbows and ladybugs? Isn't it great that these things all just happen through biology and chemistry and physics, through chains of random coincidences, over billions of years? Isn't it great that there is so much beauty that it can be spread far enough to not even be seen for eons? Isn't it great that because of nature and biology and chemistry, and their beauty, that we don't need to believe in a god?

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't mean that there isn't a god, or gods, or intelligent design. I mean, that we have, as a species, solved enough mysteries that we can know how things happen without attributing them to a god. There might be a God, but our faith in him is now dependent more on actual faith than on a need to explain things. We can believe because we believe, on faith, and no because we need some explanation for sunsets and rainbows and babies.

I recently got into an argument with a Christian (not a poster child for all Christians, just one person who was a Christian) about evolution. And she said the same thing I hear all the time that drives me crazy. She said she believes a species can adapt, but not evolve. If one species could evolve into a different species, why don't we see transitional species all over the place?
Oh My God. That is evolution! I don't know who is running around telling people that evolution is cats becoming whales or whatever (Sarah Palin?) but it's not. It's a species adapting in tiny ways until, after a million years or so, those tiny adaptations add up enough to warrant calling it a different species than its ancestor. And, since species are always adapting, every single species alive today is a transitional species. People are, on average, taller than they used to be, with smaller jaws and shorter pinky toes. And in a million years we may have a whole different face shape, be ten feet tall, and have only 4 toes on each foot. And a whole bunch of other things, too. And then we will cease to be homo sapiens and be homo somethingelses instead. Evolution, made up of adaptations. There is no crocoduck.

I do not, despite all evidence to the contrary, have a problem with religion, Christianity in particular, or Christians. I do have a problem with people who believe something without knowing what or why. This woman I was talking to actually did believe in evolution, but she had been told not to so she thought she didn't. She had been told that evolution meant some cow walked to the beach, decided to swim, and then became a whale. Now, she can refuse to believe in evolution all she wants, but I think she (and everyone else) should know what it is and then choose not to believe it if that's what she wants. I can't explain what made life start, where the spark came from, and it very well could have been a god. But to say that a cow's inability to swim out to sea disproves evolution is just lunacy.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Today I learned a little bit of humility. Hate when that happens.

I learned some legal stuff.

I learned that my borrowed baby gate playpen thing is alternatively too large and not arge enough for my Xmas tree, depending on how you work it.

I learned that popular usage of words confuses some people as to their true meaning. An Australian, acting against the US in Sweden, is not treasonous. This is up there with the "A veteran is someone who risked their life in war for the United States" thing from a month or so ago.

I learned that some people have no shame, no boundaries, and no sense of consideration.

I learned that a breast fed baby is not considered constipated until he has gone one full week without a soiled diaper.

Monday, November 29, 2010

the last few days

I've been very busy Christmas shopping and have forgotten to learn anything, or at least I've forgotten to commit it eternally to the internet.

However, I have learned that baby constipation causes HORRIBLE foul smelling baby gas. Not normal baby breast milk gas, but grown man broccoli and eggs gas. Ugh.

I have also learned that the hardest thing in the world to make happen is baby poop. The kid has not gone in over 3 days and when he's gassy, the room fills with evil. Today he got prune juice forced down his throat and still nothing. I fear he will have a major blowout in my bed tonight.

I learned that 2 year olds cannot help but rearrange Christmas ornaments on an hourly basis.

I learned that a Culver's eggnog milk shake can survive a 30 minute car ride unscathed.

I learned that "Spongebob Squarepants pajamas" is pronounced "Bob Bob Pants tommies" in Tommynglish.

I learned how the fourth Dexter book ends.

I learned that I really hate labels, but not as much as I hate my own reliance on them.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Christmas clothes

I'm trying to figure something out, something which honestly, truly, makes no sense to me and which I really do want to understand. And this is: people who don't buy toys for Christmas. I know probably half a dozen people who, when shopping for kids of any age, just absolutely refuse to buy toys. They buy clothes or bedding or maybe even a book, but not a toy. And it's not a coincidence, or even just a preference, it's a policy for all of them. Even if the kid had every single thing imaginable except toys, they'd buy something useless rather than a toy. And I don't get this. The first thing to jump into my head, which I'm pretty sure is wrong, is that they want to be sure to buy something that will NOT make the kid happy on Christmas. But again, this cannot be it. There aren't people out there - grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles - who are deliberately trying to fill a child's heart with disappointment, are there? No, it must follow some logic I don't understand. Perhaps they think that toys are frivolous and unnecessary, and that the children are naked and sleeping on bare mattresses at home and that it is up to them, the sole possessors of common sense, to furnish said cold and naked children with clothes and blankets. But surely these grandparents and parents and aunts and uncles would know that the kids have clothes, and blankets, and maybe even books. So why, when the only thing any kid wants for Christmas is a shiny new toy, do they just decide to take upon themselves the role of (S)He Who Will Not Buy Toys? I just, I don't get it. I struggle every year to find some toy, any toy that my (now) 12 year old daughter will like, just to try and put off for one more year, the Christmas where all she gets are clothes. I remember the year I went from toys to clothes and it sucked! Why push a kid into that early? Huh?

Friday, November 26, 2010


Today I learned that sometimes Black Friday shopping starts at 10:00pm Thursday. Tom didn't make it home until after 7:00am today.

I learned that food court pizza is rough on my tummy. (muffled glug from behind my navel)

I learned that, given privacy and a wad of cash, my kid can spend over a hundred bucks at Target inside of fifteen minutes.

I learned that a few weeks after a considerate discussion where we express our differing opinions and come to a mutual understanding, my husband will just go ahead and do whatever it was he wanted anyway. I believe this to be normal male behavior.

I learned that Scott Pilgrim Vs The World is the worst movie ever! I've seen porn with better plot.

I learned that Michael Cera is the hipster mascot for a generation. Maybe not a generation, but a certain age-related subgroup. People old enough to remember original Nintendo yet young enough to think skinny jeans and white framed sunglasses are new. I pity this age-related subgroup.

I learned that, much the same way normal age-related sagging is sup[posed to be overcome by use of supportive undergarments, normal age-related changes to hair color is expected to be overcome by the use of dyes. People tell me I need to dye my hair as though it's a given that I'm planning to. "You got a lot of grays there. 'Bout time to start dying it, isn't it?"

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Today I learned that my horrible memory is bad for consistent parenting. Ryan's been grounded since Monday and she hasn't spent a whole day at home since, and is on her second sleep-over in as many nights.

I learned that I am simply incapable of anticipating another parent's child-rearing style. I am a bad influence on everyone!

I learned that some people will stretch logic to preposterous lengths in order to avoid every having a secular holiday. Thanksgiving is a simple holiday about taking time to really appreciate things and be thankful for whatever good you have in your life, and people are now trying to make it a Judeo-Christian holiday! What's next, making the Fourth of July a religious holiday under divine providence and manifest destiny?

I learned that my son is a genius. When faced with a bucket of cars too heavy to lift, and uncaring parents who wouldn't help him, he carefully removed half the cars into a second bucket, thus making the first bucket light enough to move. But he hadn't removed the cars he didn't need to play with, no. He carried the first bucket out into the room, and then went back for the second one! Keep in mind this is the same kid who, when caught without a diaper, doesn't realize where the puddle on the floor came from and runs hot wheels through it because he thinks it's water.

I learned that everyone will assume that you're cooking Thanksgiving at your house, and also that everyone is hosting 20 family members. The math, however, confuses me. If every wife is cooking, where are the 20 guests coming from.

I learned that the sigt of me waving fruit flies out of my face is highly entertaining to my infant son, whose eyes are not developed enough to see the fruit flies.

I learned that Danny LOVES lying in a dark room, under a mobile modified with glow sticks. But really, who wouldn't.

Monday, November 22, 2010

My son, the evil genius

Yesterday Tommy gave me this look, and I don't know how to explain it other than to say that it was a very cognizant look. Normally when he looks at me it's very 2 dimensional. He's angry, he's happy, he's crapping himself. But this was different. And suddenly I suspected that he's a very very smart little boy underneath all the boisterous destruction. It scared me. We talk around that kid all the time. He knows what everyone's getting for Christmas, he knows all our arguments. He even knows what my friend and her husband fight about. If he's aware enough to actually know these things, we could be in trouble. Also, who hides that they're smart? Not just how smart they are, but that they have any clue what's going on. I'll tell you who: sociopaths.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Lately I've learned (cuz I don't remember how long it's been since I last did this) that I'm stuck in a paradox, and it sucks!

I learned that portrait studios make their money on one child only specials. $7.99 and free session for the first kid. $100 for the second.

I learned to take Beano before I eat fish, not after.

I learned that if it's going to get me in trouble, Tommy can speak full sentences.

I learned that there is still no greater movie than The Big Chill.

I learned that when says there is no item matching your description within 200 miles of your zip code, there are probably five of them in the next town over, selling for $8 less than the online price.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Today I learned that when a truck driver goes off the road, NOBODY WILL TELL YOU WHO IT WAS OR WHO HE DROVE FOR!

Today I learned that Sperry Iowa is in Des Moines County and Davenport is in Scott County and Henry County is not between Sperry and here at all.

I learned that shaky camera work is a horrible plague in modern film making.

I learned that pop corn and a giant kit kat bar will give me a horrible belly ache and that I should smuggle Rolaids into the theater with my candy.

I learned not to question it when Tommy takes himself to bed at noon.

I learned that some people believe things they say they don't believe because they don't know what it means. ("I believe species can adapt but I don't believe in evolution." WTF?)

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Today I learned that clinics are even more heartless than I already knew them to be.

I learned that DQ Moolattes actually are caffeinated, and they're caffeinated enough to keep a 2 year old up and hyper much past his bedtime.

I learned that couch cushion covers are machine washable.

I learned that a 12 ounce root beer upended on the couch is enough to convince me to wrap the inside of the cushions in plastic inside of the covers, even when it turns my sofa into a crinkly cat toy every time I sit on it.

I learned that my daughter's new cell phone is also an mp3 player.

I learned that I got the wrong cell phone. Mine's not an mp3 player. :(

I learned that my infant son is much happier facing me and talking to me than sitting on my lap facing out.

no good deed goes ungarnished

I pay my bills. I'm in debt past my eyeballs, but I pay my bills. Little by little, month by month, they go down. I've never had a utility shut off. I've never been turned over to collection. I've never been sued. I pay my bills.

One year ago my clinic called me about my bill. It was high (following a pregnancy with no insurance, which I paid for in large part with $375 monthly cash copays) and they wanted to set up a payment plan. We made a deal where from that point on they could take a certain amount of money out of my checking account every month without asking first, and in one year, if the money was always there for them, they would wipe off the previous year's interest and fees. Today the lady called me again. Did she call me to wipe off the fees? Did she call me to congratulate me on never missing a payment or on sticking to our deal? No. She called to tell me that clinic policies have changed and if I don't pay $4389.98 within the next ten days my account will be turned over to an agency and I will be required to pay $100 every time I visit the doctor regardless of what the charge is for the visit or what sort of deal my insurance company has with the clinic. That is to say, if I come in for a $40 office visit, and my insurance has that negotiated down to $25, I will have to pay $100 cash to see the doctor. This is my reward for dilligently following through with our agreement, and she called to tell me this 40 days before Christmas.


Yesterday I learned that my son thinks I can control the people in the TV. He came and told me every time something broke, or somebody misbehaved, on TV. Apparently I have the power to put Swiper the fox in time out and to tell Ruby exactly where Max put her toy. Oh, and to make Spongebob stop crying, which I am convinced would be impossible anyway because that guy cries in very episode I've ever seen.

I learned that baby shampoo works better on cradle cap that baby wash.

I learned that sometimes, to get a toddler to eat, you have to stand in the middle of the kitchen with the spoon while he runs in circles around you.

I learned that my husband is going out early Black Friday morning again. I suspect he does it as much for the fun as for the savings. He's weird that way.

I learned that some people recommend doing nothing for post-circumcision penile adhesions. I want to know more about this. Is it possible that these can fix themselves and all the penis ripping over the past 2 years has been for naught, and I can stop doing it?

I learned that it is impossible to explain the difference between dragons and dinosaurs to anyone, let alone a 2 year old.

I learned that after not seeing Tom for 3 days, the sight of him walking in the door is like Xanax!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Today I learned that cradle cap can cause a baby to lose his hair. :(

Holly Hunter

I ask my husband, "Who's that actress that I always think is Jodie Foster but she's not Jodie Foster?" and he answers "Jodie Foster?" I think this exchange pretty much sums up our whole marriage.

Monday, November 15, 2010

11-15 stuffs I've learned

Today I learned that you can buy a movie ticket for Friday night on Monday afternoon.

I learned that I may be able to stop driving to Clinton for prescriptions every month.

I learned that Danny can roll onto his back now.

I learned that there's no way to keep the cat and Tommy both out of the fish tank and still maintain ease of mobility in the hallway.

I learned that I will probably never stop being amazed at how sleepy Benadryl makes me.

I learned that fish tank is not one word, not even hyphenated.

I learned that it is hard to remember everything you learned in a day while under the effects of Benadryl, which is not unlike having a chloroform soaked rag in your face.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Today I learned that a staple gun in the basement, when heard through the bedroom floor and then over the baby monitor into the living room, sounds like gunfire.

Today I learned that a circular saw powering up in the basement, followed by a loud sneezing husband yelling sound, brings to mind images of dismemberment.

I learned that my kitten can climb a potted tree, even with his claws clipped.

I learned that my kitten can climb up onto the fish tank, and then seems rather clueless as to what to do next.

I decided to interpret these last two examples of evil genius as the reason villains in cartoons always have cats on their laps.

I learned that the divorce enthusiasts of the 70s and 80s are still among us, and loonier than ever.

I learned that I really hate the girl scouts. Not the girls themselves, but the whole thing with troops and leaders and councils and all of it. I will buy their cookies (sweet delicious cookies) but other than that I hate the whole thing.

I learned that I am sometimes just not as good as Daddy. (Today I was told, "No! Not Daddy!" when I tried to help my son.)

I learned that Tommy can be very grown up when he wants to be.

I learned that it will take a while to come up with a way to keep the damned cat off the fish tank.

I learned that Tom gets a funny look on his face when I am proven right. It's as if he cannot reconcile this with his world view.

I learned not to give Tommy long rolls of paper, because he tries to catch the cat with them, and then turns circles until he trips himself.

I learned that the human intestine was not designed to accommodate 2 boxes of thin mints in one day.

I learned that in a fight between granola bars and thin mints, intestinally, thin mints win.

And I forgot something today too. Today is, I am fairly sure, somebody's birthday. I cannot remember who, but I know it is somebody that I know or once knew. Possibly, CJ, but his facebook page doesn't say. Whoever it is, Happy Birthday and I'm sorry I've forgotten you.

Things I don't want to forget

When Tommy was a baby he had a forked tongue. At least, that's what we called it, but it was actually just that the two muscles on either side of his tongue were distinctive, so when he stuck his tongue out it had two little bumps on the end rather than one point.

When Ryan was a baby she used to wake up in the morning and nurse, and then she'd just sort of play with it and smile until I caught on and we got up. She was always happy to see me and to start the day.

Tommy did an Army crawl on his belly for so long before he actually got up on all fours that we thought he'd never crawl on his knees.

When I was pregnant with Tommy, he always kicked me whenever I disagreed with Tom. It was like he was taking his daddy's side from inside the womb.

Ryan's first word was "num num" but I didn't want it to be so I ignored it until she said "Mom" and then wrote that in the baby book instead.

I didn't want that kind of deception in Tommy's baby book so I accepted "boo!" as his first word when he was actually just repeating what we said. I don't remember now what his actual first word was. :(

When Ryan was little, in an attempt to teach her something about her father, I used to sing Pearl Jam songs to her at bedtime.

Ryan used to call mosquitoes "itchy bugs" and would get huge quarter sized welts from them so she had to take chewable Benadryl pills before going fishing, and she called those "itchy bug pills".

Ryan used to ask me to tell her bedtime stories, and I suck at making things up on the spot, so I would tell her the plots of movies. The first time she saw The Princess Bride she thought someone had made a movie out of my made up story.

The first time Ryan saw The Emperor's New Groove, she had nightmares of witches turning her into a llama.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Today I learned that my husband doesn't find me attractive anymore. Also, that I still do.

Friday, November 12, 2010

10th and 11th

The last 2 days I've learned that some people are ignorant and have no desire to improve upon it.

I learned that a significant portion of the public believe that the word veteran means someone who served in the United States military. I don't know what they think former members of foreign militaries are called.

I learned that a lot of people are so short sighted that they believe their own values and preferences are concrete facts and that laws should be set around them. Things they don't like should all be illegal. Not just frowned upon but actually illegal, even if they break no laws and hurt no one. Books about crimes, in which crimes are committed, when the crimes produce a gut reaction of horror, should never be sold to anyone. Because they are bad and wrong and "Why I never!" It is easy to say this about a pedophile guide, but some people just never think to ask "Who gets to draw that line?" Should Dexter be banned as well? The Shining? Helter Skelter?

I learned that when my husband hides in the basement making loud power tool sounds, he is actually accomplishing more than just making tiny boards out of big boards.

I learned that veterans are actually so taken for granted that when you say "Happy Veteran's Day. Thank you," they all seem to ask, "For what?"

I learned that it really never does get old watching Tommy dance along to the Big Bang Theory theme song and then yell "Bang!" at the end, which he pronounces as "Bing!"

I learned that there is no difference between lycra and spandex. It's like Tylenol and acetaminophen.

I got a new phone, and I learned how to use it.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

11-9 lessons learned

Today I learned that my son would rather I buy him an apple than a donut. Gotta love that kid!

Today I learned that when I have no patience with abject stupidity, I am bright enough to keep my yap shut about it.

Today I learned that Gods Cuckoo Clock up in the church still bugs me.

I learned that I actually do know what I want to be when I grow up, and it requires a food service license and a metric ton of coffee.

I learned that the giant windmill blades are carried on split flatbed trailers with one piece under the base and one under the tip. I hope to someday learn how the tail lights on those things work.

Today I learned that men's sports (or traditionally men's sports anyway) seem to have some pretty girly prizes. Belts and purses for boxing, stylish jackets for golf, and bracelets for tournament poker. I wonder where those things fall on the Kinsey scale.

I learned that a 2 mile walk on wobbly butt-shoes doesn't hurt my feel any more than in any other shoes. Less, in fact.

I learned that the new Harry Potter film is being premiered at the IMAX.

I learned that IMAX tickets are not available online. :(

The coffee shop in my head

The coffee shop in town went under. Again. This is the fourth time that particular coffee shop in that particular location has gone under. First it was a restaurant that was wildly successful but apparently the owners wanted to hire people to do all the work so they never made a profit, what with payroll eating up their money. Then it was a coffee shop, only open in the mornings, and that didn't go well. Half day operations rarely cover overhead. Then a lady bought it who refused to hire anyone and waste money on payroll, so every time her kid got sick or a sitter called off, the place never opened. Unpredictable hours of operation lose customers. Then the latest owner, a nice enough woman with some experience in the coffee business. Five dollar mostly-foam cappuccinos and Christian music. She got the elderly demographic and some middle class yuppies, but she still didn't last. *sigh*

I have a coffee shop in my head. It is open from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm. It serves coffee and tea and fountain soda, sandwiches and muffins, cakes and cookies. It has works from local artists on the wall (all available for sale) and is willing to throw a demo cd in the muzack queue if it's good enough. Once a month it has a wine and cheese book exchange night when people can pay $5 for two glasses of wine and 3 hours to drink, mingle, and trade their old books for someone else's. It has murals on the walls painted by the high school Art students, and chessboards painted on the tables. It encourages loitering and is the hangout for kids kicked out of the Hardees parking lot. It has free wi-fi, and public chalk boards on the walls, and accepts donation buckets and benefit flyers with no questions asked. And all kids under ten get a free Oreo.

Someday I hope to open my coffee shop. I probably won't, but I hope to.

Monday, November 08, 2010

11/7 things I learned

I learned that letting English muffin dough rise a little longer gives you bigger muffins, but they'll split on the griddle.

I learned that my husband is a big softy when it comes to spending time alone with his oldest son. He took him to McDonalds and let him bounce on the trampoline after dark.

I learned that I have way more wrinkles than I thought, and that it's kinda bugging me.

I learned that I don't like Sprite, even though I do like Sierra Mist.

Sorry. It was a slow news day.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

11/6 things I've learned

I learned that my husband hides money from me.

I learned that I feel no guilt spending money I've recently learned that my husband hides from me.

I learned that, 6 weeks of bleeding aside, I kinda like the Mirena IUD.

I learned that even without the nooks and crannies, I prefer home made English muffins to store bought.

I learned that no amount of teeth brushing can make onion breath go away.

I learned that time is a human construct and possible cannot exist without someone to perceive it.

I learned that thinking about time as a human construct and what this might mean for Einstein's theory of relativity which relies on time as a constant, makes my head hurt.

I learned that the concept of time as a human construct dependent on change helps me understand death and eternity a little more, after I take a Motrin for the headache of course.

Friday, November 05, 2010

11/5 lessons

Today I learned how to make English muffins. Yum!

I learned that when you yell "Marco!" in Walmart, people will spontaneously yell "Polo!" in return, and then get very embarrassed about it. (I was looking for Tom and Tommy, and Tommy always yells Polo.)

I learned that Ryan wants a Moon Dough Puppies kit for Christmas.

I learned that Tommy knows how to place orders at drive through windows. (He yelled ice cream at the Wendy's menu fifteen times until we ordered him a frosty.)

I learned that cat toys amuse my infant son more than they do my infant cat.

I learned that Matt Damon will be filming a movie a quarter mile from my younger brother's house, and that my older brother will be in it (as an extra driving some sort of military vehicle).

Today I learned that my husband is more afraid of needles than I am.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Nothing I've learned. Just a rant.

I like helping people. It's not at all altruistic; I just like that they will be grateful to me and will think kindly of me. See? All about me. I like when there's a charity bake sale and I show up with 5 dozen cookies. I like when someone can't find something and I find it for them. I like it all. I have a greedy greedy ego.

That said, I don't like when I help someone and it costs me (not the problem) and they take the help and then walk off with barely a thanks. Nine years ago I let friends use my credit card to book a vacation that ended up costing me $5000. One of these friends was living with me free of charge because her parents changed the locks when they found out she was gay. I haven't heard from this friend in over 7 years, until yesterday when she called to ask me to vote for her friend. The whole thing made me sad. I'm still sad about it. And the thing is, whenever I've seen her in passing these past years, she's said stuff like "Oh yeah, I'm so busy, but we should get together," and then given me this look. You know the look; it's the one a guy gives when he says, "I'll call you," and has no plans to ever call. So then I'm the clingy friend who can't let go after she went to Disney World on my dime.

And I don't like it when I put myself out there and try to be a friend, try to relate to someone and make conversation, and get the other look. The one the guy at the bar gives when he smiles at you and you nod back, and then he curls his lip at you and motions to the not-that-much prettier girl behind you. I mean, really? Open resentment? For simply talking? After the initial checklist- my breath doesn't stink, there's nothing in my teeth, my pants aren't wedged up my ass, I never slept with your husband- it just becomes clear that I am somehow not good enough to talk to you as if we were (gasp!) equals, and that bothers me. Condescension I can handle. I'm a high school drop out with no career and questionable social skills. But open condescension, for merely saying "hi"? What. The. Fuck. People need to learn to roll their eyes after the conversation, not during it. The worst part is that I usually get this particular treatment from my family. And when they're really nice they just don't make eye contact. I get the same "Hi," a stranger would get at the bus stop. Looking everywhere but at me because if they looked at me, I might take it as encouragement to keep talking to them.

I used to read romance novels. Back when I was a single mom and had nothing to do after Ryan went to bed, I read pointless books. And there was one series by one author that I really got into, but she stopped writing them years ago, until now. I just checked out a new one at the library and now as I'm reading it, the first sappy romance novel I've read after getting married, it's much less impressive. The whole "they've been married for years but they still lust after each other and cuddle on the settee" (it's a historical romance; they had settees) thing that used to elicit a derisive snort now seems normal. I mean, that's how I feel about Tom. Isn't that how it is for everybody? If it isn't, I'm sad for them. Unless they went to Disney World on my credit card. Then I'm kinda okay with it.

November 3 learnings

Today I learned to never ever ever for the love of God talk politics on facebook. No matter how smart a person is in the whole rest of their life they will become a screaming demon asking "HOW COULD YOU VOTE FOR THAT GUY?! MY GUY WAS WAY BETTER!!"

Today I learned not to hide the obnoxious musical toy from Tommy in the play pen because the kitten will also hide in there and set the damn thing off constantly.

Today I learned that I need to buy moisturizer.

I learned that an aquarium light won't electrocute the fish if a 2 year old puts it in the fish tank.

I learned that 3 Colace only work for a day.

I learned that I am addicted to granola bars. Delicious, satisfying, constipating granola bars.

I learned that there really hasn't been any good end of the world music since the fall of Russia. What do you know, communism was good for something. (Good end of the world music here and here.)

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

November 1 learnings

I learned that I hate baby headbands. It's about as subtle as a onesie that says "Yes I am bald but there's a vagina in my diaper" (I feel the same way about earrings on a baby), and the disproportionately huge flower attached to baby headbands these days just makes the kid look off balance.

I learned that it's possible for a kid to bring home an honor roll report card for last quarter while simultaneously flunking 3 classes this quarter.

I learned that the above grade scenario confuses my brain and makes my tummy hurt.

I learned that if you're going to live off hastily gobbled granola bars for a few days, you might want to eat a Colace or two every now and then.

I learned that it's better to be called a hypocrite than to refuse to learn from your mistakes. Yes, I did that and yes, I am against it and no, I won't let my kids do it.

I learned that recipes are very rarely written out for single portions and that I have no idea what to do with the rest since no one seems eager to eat homemade English muffins but me.

Monday, November 01, 2010

I've been forgetting!

Yesterday (Halloween) I learned that if it means candy, a kid can talk to strangers all damn night.

I learned that my son prefers Skittles to just about anything else.

I learned that cocoa on the stove is 100X better than powder dust.

I learned that cocoa on the stove burns easily. :(

I learned no to go to the house that hands out unfrozen popsicles. (Vanburen house, just fyi.)

I learned that Monica Gibler looks surprisingly good in green grease paint.

I learned to wear gloves on Halloween, as your hands get pretty cold pushing a stroller.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

What I learned, 10/27

The power went out last night, rendering the house unfathomably dark, the computer unusable, and Tommy thrilled to be allowed to take a flashlight to bed since his night light was out. So here's what I learned yesterday.

I learned that lesbians like Swiss Miss hot cocoa, which really is the most appropriate brand for them, if you think about it.

I learned that $60 for an hour long massage isn't overpriced at all. In fact, it's money I should start spending often.

I learned that nothing is more awesome for a 2 year old than candle light and his own flashlight.

I learned that not all 2 year olds are ready to be potty trained, and that hot wheel cars love to race through "water".

I learned that hot wheel cars are dishwasher safe.

I learned that it is possible for a dog pen to blow 30 feet and drag a beagle leashed to it behind it.

I learned that a beagle, when faced with her own survival, can break a metal choke chain.

I learned to always chain the dog to the fence, not the pen.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pit bulls suck

Okay seriously, pit bulls suck. But it's not their fault that they suck. They have been deliberately and effectively bred to attack and not to stop. Now, you can raise a dog not to attack, but breeding often wins out. I can try to train my beagle not to chase rabbits, or a chihuahua not to yap, or a greyhound not to run, but they will always revert back to breeding at some point or another. Pitbulls, when faced with anything they take to be aggression, want to attack it. They may resist the urge 99% of the time, but that 1% that they do give in can really hurt. And it's not their fault.

Pit Bull lovers are the ones at fault. When a baby has his testicles eaten, it's not the dog's fault, or even the mother who set the baby down asleep in his carrier. When a 3 day old baby lying on a bed is mauled and killed by the family pit bull, it's not the dog's fault. It's the people who say every day that owners, not breed, determine a dog's temperament. The people who convinced the parents that the kid was safe around the dog, that it was possible to predict the dog's behavior based on how you raised the dog, that pit bulls will not attack a creature prone to sudden movements and loud outbursts as long as it wasn't taught specifically to attack. It's the age-old nature vs nurture argument, and it has in many instances been disproved People used to think gender was all in how you were raised, but now they know it's inborn. And just like this, some day people will realize that some breeds of dogs are just more aggressive than others. And the stupidest part of it is, they already do!

The same person who swears their pet pit bull would never hurt a fly because they raised him nice are always quick to also point out that they'd trust their pit bull with a baby before they would a chihuahua because "little dogs bite more". So which is it, that breed means nothing or that it does? If chihuahuas are more quick to bite as a breed, then you're arguing against yourself. But even so, chihuahuas bite and then let go. Pit bulls hang on until they're dead, and they don't always let go even then. But it's not their fault. It's not a schizophrenic's fault when he kills someone he thinks is following him with a bomb. But if there were a large segment of the population out there claiming that unmedicated schizophrenics are safe as long as their parents raised them right, it would be those folks' fault when the hot dog stand guy gets jumped for waving a ketchup bottle.

from last night

Oops, I forgot.

Today (yesterday) I learned that doctors will reschedule your appointments without ever consulting you, and then get upset when you don't show up 3 hours earlier than the time you had booked. Seriously, I don't care if you left a voicemail telling me you were changing the appointment time! Appointments are a mutually agreed upon thing, and if I don't agree to it it isn't scheduled. I think next time I need a pap I'm just going to call after hours and make myself an appointment without them. "Um, yeah, hi. This is Charlie Melton. I was wondering if I could just come in for a pap tomorrow at eleven. I'm gonna go ahead and write that down and if it doesn't work for you, feel free to call here before three o'clock this afternoon."

I also learned that no matter what appointment time Medical Associates thinks they have you down for, their robo-caller reminder computer will change it by up to a half an hour. A 3:30 appointment becomes 3:50, and a 12:45 appointment becomes 1:00.

Today (yesterday) I learned that if I make enough food to feed a small army, my 12 year old daughter won't be hungry, but if I make a normal amount of food, she'll go back for fifths. Fifths!
And that's about all. It was a slow day.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A la Doogie Howser

I've decided that every night before bed (for as long as I stick with it) I will post things I have learned that day, no matter how mundane. I hope that this will help me appreciate life more, to see that I learn something new every day. Either that or I'll realize that I learn nothing, and fall into a deep depression. Either way, here it goes.

Today I learned that a 14 year old boy can wander town for over an hour during a school day and no one will notice. If I had known this 20 years ago, I would have cut school a lot more. I assumed it would attract attention.

Today I learned that typhoons can strike the midwest.

Today I learned that coffee beans are actually cherry pits.

That's all.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I'm a thousand years old

Last night Tom and I went out for our anniversary dinner, and I wore make up. It's the only day of the year I'm guaranteed to wear make up, so I always take my time and do it right. And on the drive to the restaurant I glanced in the visor mirror and noticed that my make up had filled into tiny wrinkles under my eyes and made them stand out. I looked old. Combined with the fact that I'm letting my hair grow out natural, I looked really old. And you want to know a secret? I liked it.

I have known too many people who never got to be old. Derek died in high school; he never got to be old. Aaron died 3 months after graduation; he never got to be old. Smokey died in his thirties, as did Jeff and Chris, and none of them got to be old. I want to get to be old. I want gray hair and wrinkles, and grandchildren and knobby knuckles and brown spots on the back of my hands. I want the privilege of arthritis and the prize of menopause. I want it all.

Of course I worry that when I'm turning 50 Tom will still be looking at 18 year olds. And I certainly don't want to look 20 years older than I am. But life is a downhill slope and it's always more fun to roll down the hill fast than to desperately try to claw your way back up. "There's nothing tragic about being 50, not unless you try to be 25." I really believe that. Also the old saw about how life isn't about looking good in the casket but about how much fun you have getting there. I don't want my last thought to be worrying that I ate too much at lunch, or that I'm hungry because I only had a salad. I also don't want to live so long that my last thought is hoping the next aid to change my diaper is gentle with it. I want to live long enough that I've accomplished my list but not so long that living is a burden. And if I have wrinkles under my eyes already, I'm not going to waste any of my precious time now worrying about it. Life only has so many hours in it (often less than we'd like) and I'm not going to waste them covering my grays, or peering at my wrinkles (or injecting my head with botulism), or clinging to a childhood and youth I didn't much enjoy when I had it.

Somewhere along the line I learned, from media or society or whatever, that as long as I felt like shit it was okay. As long as I hate my thighs, it's okay. I may be fat, but at least I know it and am fully aware of how terrible it is. As long as I'm miserable about my complexion it's okay. I may have zits but at least I'm trying to get rid of them, as evidenced by my obsessing self-hatred over it. This is why you see all sorts of women all the time announcing "I'm so fat," or "I look like Hell," unsolicited: to alleviate guilt. But now I have decided that I'm tired of hating things about myself and feeling ugly for other people. My lips have tiny lines coming out from them. It's from years of puckering up around cigarettes, I know, and eventually I will be unable to wear lipstick without it running off into those lines. But I'm not going to hate it any more. I sag, and am larger than need be, and some parts of me wait to stop moving until the rest of me has been still for an awkwardly long time. But so what? When I die, am I going to regret not obsessing about it all, or am I going to regret the time I wasted freaking out about it just so maybe people wouldn't insult me if I beat them to it?

I want to be an old lady, in a rocking chair, fat enough to give my grandkids a soft lap to sit in. I want to stop hating myself because the inventors of photoshop made it possible for every billboard, commercial, or print ad to make actual mortal people somehow seem inadequate.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

these are a few of my favorite things

The smell of burning dust you get when you turn the furnace on for the first time in autumn. It always makes me want to wrap up in a blanket and sit on the couch, as though fall and winter are officially here now that I've smelled the heater.

The little gold line on a Monarch butterfly cocoon. How do caterpillars make gold? I don't know, but it's a fitting part of the magic of turning a stripy green and black worm into a big orange butterfly.

The smell of Cornhuskers lotion. My father always kept a bottle by his kitchen sink and now whenever I start to miss him particularly bad, I grab my old bottle and take a whiff.

My morning coffee, when it's the perfect temperature that I can take long satisfying gulps without burning my throat.

Turning off all the lights except the Christmas lights and sitting in the warm glow of the tree sipping hot cider.

The silent moments when an infant tries to coo but doesn't know how to make the sound come out and just ends up making whispery "heh" sounds, and then the big smile on their face when they finally find their voice.

Finding the perfect figural teapot for my collection, where the handle and spout are so well worked into the design that they're almost hidden.

The way my husband sometimes rubs my hand while we lie in bed. It's nice that when he absentmindedly fidgets, that he does it at me.

Every winter Ryan decides to make a snowman, and every single time she decides to make it HUGE, and ends up with 3 giant snowballs on the ground because she can't lift any of them to form the snowman. I like that she never gives up and she always dreams big.

A nice hot cup of Sleepytime tea, when it's just a couple degrees hotter than that comfortable and I feel lit burn down into my stomach.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Why bother with it all?

I used to see the women who never leave the house without their make up and hair done and envy them. I envied their organization skills at least. It was all I could do just to get my hair and teeth brushed in the mornings; mascara and a flat iron were not part of my plans. But now I look at them and I wonder what it must be like to feel that you're not presentable unless altered. How must it feel to have to thicken eyelashes, color lips and cheeks, and line eyes just to be able to go to work, or even the grocery store. I have make up, and I wear it occasionally, for special occasions or predictable photo opportunities. But I don't dislike what I see in the mirror daily enough to have to artificially color or plump or conceal it before being seen. I do often look in the mirror, sigh, and declare that, "I look like shit." But most days I go on from there and don't look back. I've begun to think that fighting a physical reality is just a prescription for pain. Grays will always be there, wrinkles will form, under-eye circles will darken. Constantly battling to stay ahead, or just to keep pace with, the passage of time sounds exhausting. So I will leave the daily eyeliner and lipstick, the blow dryer and mousse, to those who feel they need them, for whatever reasons. I will be out in the world, naturally colored and textured, not even minding that they think I've let myself go.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Breast feeding tips and advice

La Leche League will tell you that as long as the baby is latched on right, breast feeding does not hurt. That's bullshit. For the first couple weeks, it hurts like a bitch. First it causes cramps (to prevent uterine hemorrhaging and also to return the uterus to its pre-pregnancy shape and location) and then there's just sore nipples. But after the first 2 weeks or so, it doesn't hurt at all unless the latch is wrong, and sometimes not even then. But if you're just starting and it hurts, and some idiot tells you that means your doing something wrong, ignore them.

Your breasts make colostrum before the baby's even born: yellowish sticky droplets that look nothing like real milk. This is all you'll make for the first 3-7 days of the baby's life and when other moms are shoving 2 ounces of formula into their babies you might feel like your baby can't be getting enough. Wrong. A newborn baby's stomach is literally the size of a marble, and it doesn't stretch. Most of those 2 ounces of formula generally gets spit up, while the colostrum that newborns need gets swallowed and digested and absorbed. Also I have heard mothers say that they had to supplement even before they left the hospital. Who lets them think that's right?

Breast fed babies eat every 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Formula fed babies can go 3 hours between feedings, but not because formula is any better than breast milk. In fact, it's just the opposite. Formula is chemicals, synthetic vitamins and minerals created in labs, and it's hard to digest. For this reason it sits in the stomach longer, making the baby feel full for longer, and causing the baby to skip meals. Breast milk is absolutely ideal and perfect for babies and is digested quickly and efficiently, giving the baby space in her stomach for the next meal to go. Nothing is worse than hearing a mother say that she supplemented because the baby ate too often, except to hear that she "scheduled" feedings every 3 hours or more.

Breast feeding is easy. Formula moms will tell you they used bottles because of the ease, but they're misguided. Formula has to be purchased, measured, mixed, warmed, and the bottles and nipples have to be sterilized. Boobs get washed in the shower (but don't use soap; it can dry the nipples and dry nipples can get sore from nursing) and that's it. No supplies to carry around in the diaper bag (except maybe a blanket if you're shy) and milk is always warm enough, never goes bad, never needs to be mixed or measured, and in the middle of the night you can nurse while you lay down and doze. In the very beginning, and usually only with the first child, it's all about how long on which side, foremilk and hindmilk, proper latch, and remembering which side you nursed on last, but after a month or so it becomes second nature and is the easiest thing in the world.

Breast fed babies have less colic, fewer ear infections, and carry their mothers' immunities longer than formula fed babies. They also test higher in school later on, probably because of the species-specific fats and proteins in breast milk. Also, formula fed babies are more likely to suffer stomach problems in infancy due to the cow-specific fats and proteins in formula. Obesity is more frequent in formula fed babies, too. To put it bluntly, nature intended human babies to drink human milk; cow's milk is for baby cows who are supposed to put on hundreds of pounds right away. We are the only species that, as a common practice, feed our young the milk of another species.

Breast feeding does not cause sagging. Pregnancy does. Breasts grow during pregnancy, and engorgement happens whether you nurse or not, both of which cause stretch marks and sagging. Nursing slows the shrinking back of breast tissue, often giving the supporting muscles and tendons time to adjust. If you just let your milk dry up right away the tendons and muscles can have a hard time keeping up. Also, women who nurse are more likely to wear a bra (often even to bed) in the beginning, helping to prevent sagging.

Nursing burns around 500 calories a day, helping women to lose pregnancy weight faster.

Formula, while generally safe, is always vulnerable to manufacturing errors, product recalls, and bad water. If your city is under a boil order and you don't find out until morning, all those bottles you fed your baby during the night become dangerous. If there's a problem at the formula factory and they recall a billion cans, how much of that formula was already eaten? Breast milk is safer from outside contamination. As for inside contamination, the myth that nursing mothers have to eat the perfect diet and abstain from all alcohol or medication is just wrong. Just like during pregnancy, a nursing mother should take a multi-vitamin and whatever nutrition she doesn't take in will be given to her milk rather than to her; the species is designed to propagate itself even at the expense of the mother. As for alcohol, one drink is metabolized per hour, from the blood and the milk. If you finish your beer at 6:00, you are free to nurse guilt-free at 7:00. And many medicines are considered safe while nursing, including many pain medications, cold and flu remedies, sleep aids, and antibiotics. Even a lot of birth controls are fine to take, depending on how the hormones might affect milk production.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Last church post, I hope

After my last rant against churches, having offended someone I seriously do not want to offend, I have given more thought to the church issue. I have figured out what bothers me and hope I am better able to articulate it now.

I read an article once that said the problem with churches today is that they water down the message to just "Be a good person", and there's more to Christianity than that. I disagree. I think there is nothing more than that. At it's core, I believe Christ's message was to be a good person. Don't judge, help the poor, go out in the world and give of yourself and be a good person. The problem is that too many churches, and too many individuals for that matter, have watered it down to just "Accept Jesus as your savior". People believe (not all of them but a lot of them) that as long as you believe that he existed and was the son of God and has the power to save you, then you're doing what you're supposed to. He said "follow me and you'll get to the kingdom" not "worship me and you'll get there". Follow, as in follow his example. Churches could be gathering places to incite revolution, to make people excited about doing things, not just talking about things. If every Sunday were a food drive, or collecting clothes for the homeless, or anything more than sitting around talking amongst themselves about how great Jesus was and how great it is to be Christian and how to always pray and give thanks. It seems to be very much about how to be a Christian even when just sitting rather than to be about not just sitting.

It's great to give a tithing every week and listen to sermons and make every third post on your facebook status about God, but how many of those people volunteer for charities?