Friday, February 27, 2009

My Head Hurts

Too much. That's how I feel this morning. Too much of what you ask? Everything. Good, bad, happy, sad. Just too much feeling this week. It makes my head hurt. And, I'm feeling tired.

In no particular order:
  • Princie is giving me a huge run for my money. I mean H-U-G-E!!!
  • We received official word that our move will be to Georgia. HOORAY...sooooo much closer to family, we are very happy about this news!
  • The preschool where I work is closing at the end of the school year. Because we are moving, it doesn't impact me as far as a job is concerned. But, I'm now watching my co-workers (some of whom I love dearly) face unemployment. They do this while keeping their chins up, and keeping smiles on their faces. When you work with children, that's all you can do. But, it feels like a thick fog has settled. It's sad and draining for all of us. Stress levels are high, and hearts are heavy.
  • One of my preschoolers is very ill. Right now, that's all I can say, but it isn't good news. I love this boy. I love his family. I saw his mother yesterday. She told me I "will go down in history as his first crush". My heart is breaking. I'm serious, my heart is actually hurting. I hate this.
  • I have told you that I love easily. The greatest blessing I have found in blogging has to be the connections I have made. Connections that span the globe. It is unbelievable to me how blessed I am. Kind and amazing souls brought together by the greatest loss and pain imaginable to a mother. It is truly a wonder that such joy can come from such suffering. Thank you ladies, I love you.

So, I'm feeling a need to refuel. I think I'll do that this weekend. Get myself recharged and ready to rumble with the likes of Pelosi and her coworkers. What? Surely you didn't think I've gone completely soft, did you? Peace out Snarkettes.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Random Trainwreck

One of my DSFs called yesterday. (DSF=dear sister friend)
The conversation went something like this:

DSF: I have a favor to ask you. Well, not really a favor. Okay, I guess it's a favor.

Me: You know I would do anything I possibly can for you.

DSF: Well, you know we're going to Ireland. And, we need to get some paperwork
taken care of (insert a lot of lead up to the favor), and well, if something were to ever happen to us, would you be willing to take the children?

Me: Of course. Absolutely. I'll tell the Captain. I mean I'll talk with the Captain, but of course he'll say yes.

DSF: Well, there's a little something else. See, we have some friends who have asked us to take their kids. One of them is from France. So if something happened to his parents, and to us, well, you would take him too.

Me: Of course we would.

DSF: Oh by the way, Dave (a family friend of hers) thinks it's weird that I would be friends with someone like you, someone who's always in a bad mood.

Me: I am not always in a bad mood.

DSF: I know, I told him that. He just reads your blog. But, I told him, you aren't in a bad mood.

Me: Good, because I'm not. Actually, I'm mostly only in a good mood, but I get aggravated by things. So, I let it out, and that way I stay in a good mood. The blog makes me happy, I like not having to filter. I'm happy.

DSF: I know, I told him that.

Me: I'm putting your birthday gift in the mail tomorrow.

DSF: Oooohhh, yay.

Me: It's a random assortment of stuff, I mean really random. But, you are a random assortment yourself, so it should be perfect.

DSF: (laughing) Yeah, I guess you're right. (People, I am sooooo right. It's one of the many reasons I love her.)

Me: So, I'm sending it tomorrow.

DSF: Thanks. You know, I was thinking. Your blog is, and I mean this in the coolest way possible, your blog is, well, it's like a trainwreck.

Me: (laughing) What?!? Are you serious?

DSF: Yeah, like a trainwreck, but in a good way. (I'm wondering if there is anything good about a trainwreck.) You know, it's like I just have to keep coming back to take a look. I hear something and I wonder what you will say about it. A good trainwreck.

Me: Thanks. (I think?) Okay, so we are a random trainwreck. Yep, that's us.

DSF: Yes we are.

Me: You know I have to blog about this, right?

DSF: I know. Love you girl.

Me: Love you too.

And that's how I came to wonder. Which is worse? Being the trainwreck or being the person crazy enough to leave your kids with the trainwreck? Hmmmm, I'm really not sure.
What do you think?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

You Don't Know Me

You think that you know me. You don't.

You will never know the 23 year old girl. The one who was wailing and crumpled, in a devastated heap, on her parents' kitchen floor. My husband and father had been to the funeral home. They were trying to prepare me for the fact that my baby no longer looked like she did when I last held her. I wanted to die. You don't know me.

You will never know the easily intimidated teenager. The one who was mocked relentlessly as she sat one row in front of the popular "queen bee" during choir. The one who had a chunk of her hair yanked by the queen, just before going on stage for a performance. Why? Because everything in that group had to be the queen's way, or there would be hell to pay. I was scared. I didn't tell anyone. You don't know me.

You will never know the insecure pre-teen girl. The one who was slammed up against a locker and grabbed, in a way you pray your daughter never is. My parents addressed the incident with the principal, and were told, "boys will be boys". I was humiliated. You don't know me.

You will never know the little girl. The one who was surrounded by people who loved her. The one who was told she was talented and beautiful, and never believed a word of it. The one who had protectors everywhere she went and was still afraid of everything, and most everyone. You don't know me.

You see only parts of me. You do not know the sum of these parts, the sum that makes me who I am. But not knowing makes it easier for you, doesn't it? So much easier to judge me, to look down condescendingly. What you don't understand is that your judgements make me stronger. So, I thank you. Your judgements remind me of why it is that I care so little about what others think of me. What you don't understand is that taking heat is my norm. I am comfortable standing in the refiner's fire. Because, my only other options are retreating or constantly fretting because I can't make everyone happy. So, I'll take the heat because at least I know it's molding me into more of the woman I am meant to be.

You see the part of me who loves God. The one who knows Jesus Christ is her Savior. Does that make you uncomfortable? Would you like for me to apologize? I won't. Just like I don't expect you to apologize for your beliefs and views. I will openly share what I believe. I will never apologize or be ashamed of my beliefs. But you should know I'm not attempting to convince you to believe as I do. I would like for you to understand what I believe, but I honestly could not care less if you choose to personally believe as I do or not. Here is where I put myself in jeopardy. If I did care that you believe just as I do, and if I tried to convince you of what I believe, you would be unhappy with me. By not caring if you believe as I do, there will be some who are disappointed, and unhappy with me. Did I mention taking the heat is my norm?

A part of me that you see is the realist. I believe in our search for answers to "why", we read too much of our own wants and needs into life's events. I do not believe for one second that God "gave" my daughter Trisomy 18. What I believe is that we live in a world ruled by laws of nature. Laws of nature that God put in place. Biology happened, and my baby ended up with three number 18 chromosomes instead of two. Do I believe that God could have intervened and given us a miracle? Absolutely. Am I angry and bitter that He did not? No, but I was for many long years. Do I understand why God intervenes sometimes, and other times He doesn't, making it seem as though He has left us alone? No, I don't understand. I don't understand why some planes crash, and others land safely. I don't believe the people on the safely landed plane were more faithful, prayed harder, or were better people. The most mind-boggling and strange thing is, I have come to great peace after years of turmoil. Peace in not understanding. Peace in finding out for myself that not having all of the answers is really okay. You think this makes me weak, misguided, or even crazy? You don't know me.

You see the part of me who is passionate about politics and government. Some agree with my opinions. And those who don't agree? Some of them believe I am cold, cruel, ignorant, etc. That I am only adding to the nastiness of politics, that if I would just bend in my beliefs the world would be a better place. There are issues that I will not bend on, I just won't. I also believe there are a countless number of gray areas in this life; therefore, I can compromise. But just because there are certain times that I will not bend, doesn't mean I am lacking compassion, or that I don't care about people. My opinions are based on my experiences, no one else's. Not compassionate? You don't know me.

There are times that I will use the word idiot to describe Pelosi or Reid. But, there will also be times I use that word to describe Republicans. I have little tolerance for the elitists, holed up on the Hill, making poor choices that impact the rest of us. Senators? Representatives? Ha! I would like to know of even one who has lived a life like yours or mine. I don't care what their party affiliation is, if they make a choice I view as stupid, I'm going to say I think it's stupid. Unfortunately, a large number of our leading politicians (on both sides of the aisle) are corrupt! Corruption, greed, a hunger for power....those are really the issues. (And I can promise you that if Pelosi and Reid come up with something that doesn't jeopardize my core values and makes practical sense, I will support them in that effort.) Agreeing just for the sake of making life look pretty is not something I find comfortable. It's fake and idealistic. There are times when we have to stand up and disagree, while treating one another with civility. Calling a few politicians idiot doesn't mean I am uncivil. It means I'm real. Don't want to make this world a better place? You don't know me.

I don't come to this spot in hopes of having my ego fed (that's why I teach preschool...those kids love me), nor do I intend on feeding lemmings. I am unlocking my silence, no one else's. In this journey, becoming the woman I am meant to be, there will be no retreating and no fretting. I am happy. I am content. I have found my peace. May you find yours as well.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Enough Said

No, I do not believe all Democrats are "Democracks".
No, I do not believe all Republicans are "Republican'ts".

Blah, Blah, Blah, enough said!

Friday, February 20, 2009

The DNC, This Is How They Roll

Seriously, this can not be surprising to anyone. I mean really people, it was the grand finale puff of the pipe dream! Do you realize how expensive it is to sell HOPE? They had to go big, and it takes $$$ to go big...oh yeah, unless you are the DNC. Then you just don't pay what you owe. You do that long enough, and responsible taxpayers will be forced to C.Y.A. when you can't pay what you very likely knew you couldn't afford in the first place! Where's an Oprah giveaway when Chicagoans really need it?

article by: Fran Spielman of the Chicago Sun Times
Chicago has yet to recoup the $1.74 million cost of President Obama's victory celebration in Grant Park -- despite a burgeoning $50.5 million budget shortfall that threatens more layoffs and union concessions. "The Democratic National Committee has not yet paid us,'' Peter Scales, a spokesman for the city's Office of Budget and Management, said Thursday after questions from the Chicago Sun-Times. "We're reaching out to them this week." Stacie Paxton, a spokeswoman for the Obama-controlled DNC, explained the reimbursement delay by saying, "We are still looking at various costs and bills.'' She would not say whether parts of the bill are disputed. The city spent $1 million on police protection for the rally. The Office of Emergency Management and Communications racked up more than $120,000 in expenses, including $19,500 paid to police official Neil Sullivan to quarterback election night logistics. In late October, Mayor Daley assured that the cash-flush Obama campaign would reimburse the city for every penny spent on the rally. "We have a financial crisis," he said at the time. "The City of Chicago could not afford $2 million on this because we're gonna be laying off people, cutting back. That [cost] would really be unfortunate. . . . It's a huge cost to the City of Chicago. "This is not a presidential visit. . . . This is a political event, and they've agreed to pay for all those services -- all the expenses of that. ... It's costly, but they raised quite a bit of money. There's no [shortage] of money in that campaign." The day after the Nov. 4 election, Daley was asked again whether the Obama campaign would pay up. "Yeah. I don't know why you're so negative. ... What is this? He just won for president, and you say, 'He's not gonna pay his bills,' " the mayor said then. On Dec. 9, the day the Sun-Times disclosed the $1.74 million tab, Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt referred questions to the DNC. Paxton confirmed then that the rally was a "DNC-sponsored event" and that the party was discussing the itemized bill with the city.

Oh that Mayor Daley. In October, his city was in a "crisis", they couldn't "afford" it, the cost would be "unfortunate". But the day after the election, when asked if the pipe dreamers would pay up, he gets testy and cries negativity. Interesting.

Maybe Chicago's Budget Office should send Ms.Henrietta Hughes to talk with Paxton. I'm just sayin'...apparently the lady knows how to get things done.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Walter Reed Day

Yesterday Princie and I spent most of the day in D.C., at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Days spent there always make me equal parts humble, grateful, outraged, and saddened. The outraged part starts on the way to Walter Reed. The long, traffic-filled drive gives me a chance to listen to the news. And thankfully, Princie is happy to entertain herself in the car. So, I have time. Time to listen to things on the news that make me angry. Oh, I plan on sharing all of it with you, tomorrow. Today, I wanted you to know about the parts of a Walter Reed day that touch my heart.

Soldiers. Brave and true to their country. The men and women you find at Walter Reed have survived injuries so horrific, there is no doubt they are warriors. Yesterday, I began keeping a mental note. A note of how many soldiers I saw who have lost one or more limbs in war. I had to stop. There were too many. Too much loss. I started feeling overwhelmed. Me? Who cares about me? How embarrassing that I felt the need to get out of there quickly because I couldn't "handle it". I looked down at Princie as she galloped down the hall, smiling at every person she passed. In the cafeteria, she spun in circles, arms outstretched with Spidey fingers. I asked what she was doing, her reply: "covering all these Army guys with my webs". She made every person she came in contact with smile or laugh. I realized I should take my cues from her. Our soldiers don't want our pity. They want our support, our gratitude.

I am thrilled to know that in 2011, our soldiers will have a new facility. They deserve it. I feel it is one way to show our support and gratitude. The current facility is depressing and dark. The buildings are old and their age shows. A new and improved Walter Reed. I am happy to know at least some of our tax dollars will be put to great use. Most injured soldiers make their very first stop, once they are back in the U.S., at Walter Reed. Many call it home for months and months of recovery and rehab. They deserve the best we have to give. After all, that is why they are there in the first place...because they gave the best they had to give.

American soldiers risk everything in fulfilling their commitment to this country. Everything. They are heroes. As I walk the halls of Walter Reed, I want to hug them, tell them how much I love and appreciate them. I can't do that. They are still recovering, still fragile. So instead, I make a promise to myself. I promise that I will let you know, that I will share how full my heart is. I am overcome with gratitude for people I will never personally know. My words are completely inadequate. I just wish you could have a Walter Reed kind of day.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I Do Too Have Friends!

Recently I read that bloggers should keep things short. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. Just a little, I don't. And I like it that way. Thanks for asking.

If you think about it, it's an amazing thing...the resiliency of a human heart. The heart can be ripped out, shredded(confetti-style), stomped, or shattered. On occasion, the heart is not ripped out, but rather plucked, and pieces are chipped away by years of neglect or mishandling. Then there are the times we share our heart with others. We actually choose to give pieces of our heart away. Somehow, regardless of the circumstances, the heart manages to pick itself up and find its way back into your chest. Really. Amazing.

The life I lead holds little resemblance to the life I once imagined for myself. (Why do we always think the worst when someone says that? Immediately assuming the person must be disappointed in how things are turning out?) There have been sorrows so deep I did not know if I could possibly survive. There have been horrible disappointments. There has also been tremendous joy. Laughter. Peace. Happiness. In many ways, my life far exceeds what I had pictured.

Before marriage, it never crossed my mind that I would move, on average, every three to four years. I am not adventurous, so the first move was beyond difficult. (Why am I not adventurous? Look, I had a lifetime of adventure dumped into my lap by the time I was only 23 years old. I wouldn't want to take more than my fair share.) The move was tough because I had always relied solely on family for emotional support. I had no idea that people, not connected to you by the traditional term "family", could become just that. Now, I know.

Mississippi, Texas, back to Mississippi, Missouri, back to Texas, Maryland...the order of places I have lived during my 15 years of marriage. You can find pieces of my heart in each of those states.

Despite all of my snarky, tough-girl talk, I love very easily. I am a hugger. I am quick to tell you all of the reasons I think you are wonderful. And, if I give you a piece of my heart, you will have it forever, unless you choose to throw it away. (Sidenote, if you do choose to throw it away, we're kinda done...I walk away from people who mishandle others' hearts just as easily as I loved them in the first place.)

I have written about pieces of my heart the Captain holds. If you missed it, you can read about him
here or here. If I were to write about him again, he would say: "Stop writing about me. No one cares about all of that." I have written about pieces Snarky Mama holds. If you missed it, you can read about her here or here. If I were to write about her again, she would say: "Oh yeah, keep it coming. I like it. No one cares about all of that, but you don't have to stop writing about me." Today, I awoke with thoughts of friends. Friends who have become family. One day I will write of each one. But today I was thinking of those I will soon have to say goodbye to, because in a few months, I will have a new state added to my list.

A Southern girl on the East Coast. It just wasn't working for me. The cultural differences alone were enough to throw me for a loop. My children were criticized for saying "ma'am" and "sir". It upset me, more often than not, that my husband and sons held doors for others, but rarely heard a "thank you". Most times they didn't even receive a glance in their direction. I was shocked by how completely oblivious people were to those around them. I was not a fan of those who felt making fun of the South made for good conversation. Nor did I enjoy the assumption that just because I am from Mississippi, I must be racist and stupid. (I am not trashing the East Coast here, but facts are facts. And this was my reality. Things were different. Different is not necessarily bad, it's just, well, different. I had to get used to some things.)

A Delaware girl, a Maryland girl, and a girl from Queens. I wonder if my 3 dear friends know I consider them family? Do they know that I have grown to love parts of the East Coast because of them? Do they have any idea that strictly because of them, I will look back on my time here with fondness? Do they know I look forward to conversations with them because laughing is an unavoidable outcome?

I wasn't sure I could hold it all together the first year I lived here. The Captain was working over 100 hours a week at Walter Reed. Most days, we didn't see him. And when he was home, he did all he could. But, I saw it in his eyes, heard it in his voice. The war, and its casualties (both living and dead) were wearing him down. He wasn't really ours that year, but his country's. In some ways, I felt like a "single" mother. I quickly learned that if a mother is married to a man serving in the military, there will be times she must function as a single mother.

That year, Delaware girl was my sounding board. Truly, she was my sanity. I saw her, or talked with her on the phone, practically everyday. The time I was so stressed and exhausted that I beat the Swiffer vac on the floor until it broke into pieces...the time I wasn't allowed to send anything to my son's classroom because I was labeled "insensitive to peanut allergies"...the times I thought I could never step foot in church because the people were so cold? I called her. I cried. She is an amazing listener. No judgements, only kindness and understanding. She promised me I wasn't crazy. She laughs at me even though I'm not all that funny. She holds a piece of my heart. Forever.

I wasn't sure I had made the right choice. I would quit working from home, and teach preschool three days a week. The T/Th teacher and I would share a classroom. I was in the hallway of the school the first time I met her. Within a half-hour, we wondered if we were possibly twins, separated at birth. We held the same type of at-home jobs before deciding (at the same time) to teach preschool. You name it, we agree on it. Weird. How many times did we say that the first month we knew each other? Our pasts are different, but the lessons learned...identical. Our thoughts, our reactions to pretty much everything, our likes and dislikes...freakishly similar. At one point we decided to stop being surprised at the similarities; it was becoming entirely too creepy. We are certain her mother and my daughter played a role in helping us find each other. And please, don't try and tell us any differently. Maryland girl holds a piece of my heart. Forever.

Dropping our kids off at preschool, we would nod and smile politely. I would listen to her talk and think, I have got to learn more about this girl. I am so grateful I did. Her signing was unlike any I had ever seen before. I felt like I was watching art in action. There is something different about the way she moves her hands. I was sure she must have deaf family members. Certain she must have been signing her entire life. Turns out, Queens girl doesn't have deaf family members. I once asked why she chose deaf education for her career path. She answered, "I don't really know. I just always felt it was where I should be. I was drawn to it." Going places just because you feel you should be there...courage and passion. She is an artist (just look below at pics of her cookies and cakes). She oozes Manhattan style and charm. Approachable. Warm. I can tell her anything, and she will not think less of me. When we talk, she reminds me that most of what I feel isn't abnormal. She believes in me. She holds a piece of my heart. Forever.

The human heart. Resilient. I can give pieces away, and be better off for doing so. Not that it doesn't hurt some too. It does. I will shed tears as I leave my 3 East Coast friends. Friends who have become my sisters. It won't be easy to leave those pieces of my heart. But, I'll do it anyway. Love you girls!

And for your viewing pleasure....yes, they taste just as good as they look! And could you please zoom in on this top one, just to appreciate the plaid.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Whose Poster is on Your Wall?

My kids don't wear shirts with the faces and names of famous people plastered on the front. They don't have posters of rich and famous celebri-tweens hanging on their walls. It's just not my thing. (And, if my children decide it's their thing, they are welcome to participate in the practice...just as soon as they buy their own clothes, and own their walls.) Yes, I'm the wicked mother who won't even purchase spiral notebooks with famous people's faces on them. This is due to a quirky little trait I bring from childhood. Wallpaper and a bulletin board with a picture of Jesus on it...that's what hung in my room when I was a kid and teenager. No posters, no pictures of celebrities. My family was entirely too busy surviving to be enamored by the fantasy world of fortune and fame.

She became my mother at the age of 16. She had a tenth grade education. Every odd known to man was stacked against her. Based on sheer numbers and statistics, she should have failed, and failed miserably. But, Snarky Mama prevailed. She fought the harsh judgements of others and persevered. She earned her GED and got a job. Through the years, she worked with fierce determination. She received an undergraduate degree and worked (sometimes more than one job), all while raising three children. My mother earned her Law degree the year she turned 50. She has even opened her own practice. She is an amazing mother who has taught her children the things that really matter in this life. Not to mention, she is the coolest Nana. Ever.

How did all of it happen? I can't tell you right now. That's a story for another day. A story with chapters my mother is not ready to share (thanks to that whole loyalty thing she has goin' on). But, I can tell you this: I had no desire to be anyone's superfan, no need for posters of celebrities, or folders with pictures of Olivia Newton-John on the front. Why? Because I lived with my role model. I saw her everyday of my life.

I want to be very clear. My mother never sugar-coated the choices she made in her life. She did not make excuses. She fully accepted responsibility for decisions that placed her on certain paths. Were those paths rocky and, at times, horribly difficult to maneuver? Absolutely, but she did it. She faced the consequences of her actions and rose to the challenges.

My mother did not want me to follow all of her footsteps. She was emphatic in letting me know this. Some things she chose to do the hard way. And as much as I love my mother, as much as I admire her strength, I did not want to follow her exact path. She made choices that I didn't want to make. But, there were many steps my mother took, and many she takes today, that she should be proud to have me follow. Mainly, the footsteps that follow the path of our Savior. Hers have always led me in that direction.

Since learning of the Michael Phelps fiasco, I have been thinking a lot about footsteps, and how careful we must be in choosing whose to follow. My initial thought was, "How could he do such a thing, doesn't he know how many kids look up to him, how many young boys want to be him?"...those thoughts lasted maybe 5 minutes. Then, I had other thoughts. Of course he knows kids idolize him, and I understand that with fame comes great responsibility. I also understand that just because someone becomes famous, it doesn't mean they suddenly grow a brain, gain common sense, or develop the same values and morals I teach in my home.

I wasn't really surprised when I heard the news about Michael Phelps. Just like I wasn't surprised that A-Rod used steroids, or that Miley Cyrus isn't Hannah Montana perfect. I'm just not all that impressed by professional athletes and celebrities. To me, they are simply people who happen to be good, possibly great, at what they do. I am trying to teach my children that we appreciate the talents of these famous people, we can admire their accomplishments, we watch and we are entertained. But, we don't buy products just because they say we should. And we certainly don't place them on a pedestals, hoping they never disappoint us.

Many days I am baffled by the whole role model idea. If I don't know someone personally, why would I want my children to emulate him/her? And as for Hollywood celebrities, well I have said this before...we are talking about people who make millions pretending to be someone they aren't. Are they talented? Some of them are. Does that mean I want them as my kids' role models? No way. Because talents and abilities don't make role models.

Admiring Michael Phelps for his athletic ability is not the same as placing him before our youth as a role model. Some would argue that because he cashed in on his success, taking endorsement deals, etc. that he should have stepped up, and lived a life our children could emulate. Unfortunately in this world, what someone should do and reality are often two very different things. Becoming famous for swimming doesn't magically morph someone into a role model. The guy is a phenomenal swimmer, no doubt. But maybe that's as far as it goes? The day before the infamous photo, mothers and fathers everywhere wanted their boys to grow up and be "just like Mike". The day after the photo, he was called an embarrassment. Guess what? I'm thinking he didn't change a bit. All that changed was how others perceived him. A guy at a college party, holding a bong and gettin' high....wasn't exactly the way they had painted him in their minds.

Michael Phelps says what he did was "stupid", and that he is "sorry". Is he really sorry for getting high, or just really sorry for being stupid enough to get high in a room with someone who had a camera. I'm sure he's sorry about the cash he's thrown away since being dropped by Kellogg's. But, who knows? Maybe this will be a game changer for him. Apparently his DUI wasn't. But, this might be...who knows? I think "who knows" is exactly the point. Since I don't know Michael Phelps personally, I have no way of knowing what beliefs and values are guiding his choices. So why would I encourage my children to look to him for anything other than a little swimming advice?

I've heard mothers discussing that if Michael Phelps continues to be a swimming sensation, what does that teach their children? My guess would be one hard core lesson in reality. Yep, sometimes people smoke pot, and they don't necessarily die or even spend a minute in the clink. It's the same type lesson Eleven Year Old learned when he heard the news that our current President was a drug abuser, and that our President before him was an alcohol abuser, and our President before him didn't think remaining faithful to his wife was all that important.

Reality. Not always a pretty picture encased in a safe and lovely bubble is it? That's why I try to teach my kids that regardless of what the outcome might be, we do what's right. And sometimes the right choices aren't heralded here on this earth. Doesn't mean the choices lose their value. It means we are stocking up on integrity.

Some say it is "inevitable" that young kids will choose celebrities and professional athletes for role models. I disagree. While I believe they will admire the talents and gifts these individuals possess, I don't think this strange obsession with the rich and famous is inevitable. Just like I don't believe teens having sex, or driving drunk is inevitable. I wonder if sometimes we don't give children enough credit. Often, they are far more bright and clever than we recognize. Maybe if we let them know we don't think their fate is already cast in stone, that we do not believe they must fall victim to the "inevitable", could that make a difference? Maybe, maybe not. But I don't want to leave tremendous decisions and choices in the hands of Mr. Inevitable, I'd rather take my chances with my own parenting. I can at least give Mr. Inevitable a run for his money. And, as a mother, I should.

I wonder how much in my mother's life she believed was inevitable. I guess you could say Snarky Mama is not exactly your textbook role model. In my family, doing anything textbook style is a rarity. In a textbook, everything is neatly indexed, placed just so. Textbooks aren't messy, real life is. And with my family, it's always been about reality.

My mother made her choices. She also stepped right up to the plate of responsibilities those choices dished out. She did so with courage and strength. She never lost faith in her Savior or His atonement, never turned away from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She was not afraid to look the naysayers and stone throwers right in the eyes, defying their doubts about her ability to succeed. Today, her life speaks for itself. Hmmmm, come to think of it, maybe I am a superfan! Hey mom, could I get a glittery poster of you to plaster on my wall, and send a matching spiral notebook. Too cool!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It's All Fun and Games Until.....

I woke up this morning thinking maybe I should take away the participation prizes. You worked for it. You earned it. But maybe someone else should have it. You know, someone who didn't show up, didn't do the work, had lots of reasons why she couldn't do the work. Maybe she should get the prize. Why? Well because, you already have tshirts and goodies. And really, have you noticed....many people in our country, and in this world, they don't like you. Yes, I know it's all based on assumptions that are mostly unfounded. I was thinking that if we just give them what you have earned, maybe they won't be so bitter and angry. What? No, no, I tried that. They don't want to work. Well yes, they are capable. But, I can't make them show up and earn something. Listen, just trust me, it's easier this way.

I know you worked for every bit of it. Yes, I hear you. I understand that you were hoping to share your goodies with your children and family. No, I am not sure how you will have enough for your own family once I take what you have earned from you. No, I can't really answer your questions. No, I don't have to either. I am taking your prize. I will be giving it to someone who should have and could have participated. Now stop whining and get back to work, so you can support her. Me? Of course I'm working. You can find me in that big building up on the hill. Well, unless I decide I need a break, or it's time for bed, or that I need a few weeks off. You can't imagine how hard it is to be me.

Ha! Just kidding friends! Of course I would never take away your participation prizes. I just couldn't resist having some fun. Especially since the "everyone's a winner" had you wondering if I might possibly be a closet Democrack, or that I had fallen victim to the Obama lover syndrome.
Filthy. Filthy talk I say. You know better. And just for clarification...I do not let my kids win at games. I am more than happy to whip their bahookees and do a victory dance. In fact, I think it's time for me to dominate Princie at Littlest Pet Shop Go Fish.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Could I Get a Drumroll Please.....

And the winners are: Clevergirl & Emily (insert confetti, ticker tape, and cheering)

Congratulations girls, you were correct. Number 8 was a lie! I was neither smacked by a foul ball, nor did I suffer amnesia for three days. Send me an email with your address, and an official SMG tshirt will be on its way! By the way, you can find Clevergirl here, and Emily here.

Now for more fun schoolteacher instincts will not be ignored. I can't stomach not being able to reward all those who participate and do their very best. My lovelies, your efforts were not in vain. Mama Snarky and Little Brother are in contact with a design team. In the near future, Snarky Belle gear and goodies will be available! YIPPEE!! Those who participated in the game (including Clevergirl and Emily) will receive a complimentary gear or goodie gift from me, a big fat thanks for your support! Can't make any promises on a time frame, but just know it's all in the works!

Just for kicks, if you want more info on any of the random items I listed, ask away. And Sue (you can find her here), I will not disappoint with my MOST horrifically embarrassing story, I can promise you that.

Time's A Wastin'

Have you entered your guess yet? NO?? Well, go ahead. Scroll down, read my last post,
and participate. Winners will be announced tonight! But, of course you are all winners in my

Also, for your pondering pleasure.....
I am thinking that much of what is included in this "stimulus" bill really belongs
within general appropriations. But this way, Democrats can continue painting their skewed version of Republicans. You know the Republicans: those cold-hearted, bitter, elitist, capitalist pigs that loathe the poor, don't care if little children lack healthcare, and hope to destroy the environment. This way Democrats can yell things like: Get over it, we won, stop hindering progress, sore losers...which, by the way, I actually heard a lot of as I watched this play out on CSPAN.

Hey Nancy, Harry, Barbara (Boxer)...did I get that description correct? Of course I did. Since Republicans are not afraid to stand firm and reject this pork-laden bill, they will continue to be tagged the bad guys. There will be insults and insinuations that Republicans really don't care. Our President can visit the suffering town in Indiana, step up to his bully pulpit, demand that Republicans stop playing games, demand they take action before the responsibility for this nation's undoing falls at their doorstep. Never mind that the actions don't belong in this bill. It is not a matter of, at this point anyway, whether or not these things are needed. It is a matter of them belonging somewhere else. How, EXACTLY, is it that infrastructure projects not scheduled to begin for 4-5 years STIMULATE our economy right now? Again, this is not to say those projects are unnecessary, not to say they wouldn't create jobs. I am just more interested in what happens now...IF we are, in fact, looking for stimulus.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Where's the Quiz? (Time's Up, Pencils other words, winners already announced)

So, the big quiz has been put on hold. Why you ask? Because my brain has been mulling over a plan much more exciting! ASAP I will share the details. I have been tagged a few times with the "25 Random Things About You" deal. Since the quiz is being put on the back burner, I'm doing this instead....but, adding a little twist. I will list 26 things, instead of 25. One item on the list is false.

Guess the false item and win a super cool tshirt from Little Brother's website! In the event of more than one correct guess, I'm goin' old school...names of correct guessers will be placed in a bowl, the Captain will draw a name...oh what the heck, Captain will draw two names. That's right, two people will get a super cool tshirt! Fun stuff!

Good Luck, and here goes:

1.) I have a half-dollar sized, red birthmark on my elbow. When I was little, Snarky Mama told me Heavenly Father put it there because I was special.

2.) Until blogging, I had no idea the intense passion I have for writing. KC Mom inspired me to begin blogging.

3.) Snarky Mama entered Law School at age 47, she graduated the same year she turned 50.

4.) I hate the way cotton balls feel. Kinda makes my teeth hurt.

5.) I am not afraid or even hesitant to compliment others.

6.) When I was a kid, back in the days of full service gas stations, I wanted to be an attendant
so I could wash everyone's windshields.

7.) My only real regret in life is that I took the cowardess' way out of a relationship in college. I have apologized to, and been forgiven by, the guy. But, I still feel like a horse's rear end when I think of it.

8.) When I was 16, I was attending one of Other Little Brother's baseball games, a foul ball smacked me in the head, and I ended up with amnesia for three days. During most of the first day, my family thought I was kidding, and didn't get me any help.

9.) I've never been captivated by celebrities. I would not wait hours in line to meet anyone or wait hours in line to buy tickets to watch them do whatever it is they do. I discourage my children from looking up to celebrities and overpaid athletes as role models.

10.) The Captain and Snarky Mama were lab partners in an Organic Chemistry class.

11.) My parents lost their insurance coverage because I:
hit two mailboxes...rear ended two cars...let my boyfriend drive my car and we had a wreck...put my car in reverse, did not look behind me, and hit my mom's van....all before I was 17.

12.) I want a tattoo, but will never get one.

13.) I was hit by a car when I was 2 years old.

14.) Jill has no idea, but she helped me tremendously when I was going through "PaxHell"...Paxil withdrawals.

15.) My friend Shauna is just as funny, if not funnier, than any stand up comedian or celebrity. So are Little Brother and Other Little Brother.

16.) The Captain is my best friend, and truly one of the most humble men you could ever meet.

17.) When I was in sixth grade, I really wanted to dress up as Sandy, post-makeover...the heels, the leather, etc. Snarky Mama wouldn't let me. I had to be Sandy, pre-makeover.
Can you say B-O-R-I-N-G?!

18.) I have been stuck in an elevator on three separate involved having to contact the fire department.

19.) I disliked high school more than I liked it. Most days I thought it sucked.

20.) I am intolerant of intolerant people, judgemental of judgemental people, and those lacking common courtesy and/or basic manners drive my crazy!

21.) At this point, I am guessing you are probably tired of hearing random things about me.

22.) Singing in front of people is the only thing that has ever made me uncontrollably nervous.

23.) I believe there is far more gray in this world than black and white.

24.) I will never buy a Kindle because I love the feel of a book in my hand. The textures, the smells, I love everything about holding a real book.

25.) I am not afraid to experiment with different hair styles, and colors.

26.) My absolute MOST embarrassing moment involves my first date. I was 16. The story is so horrifically embarrassing that it deserves a post all its own.

Alrighty then, time for you to get guessing! Which one of the above statements is false?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Field Trip

Hooray, it's time for a field trip! So, hop on the bus...we're headin' over to Light Refreshments Served. Today, I'm a guest blogger. The post is a revised version of one I wrote a few weeks ago. Hope you enjoy the trip...leave a comment for me at LRS and maybe we can take another field trip sometime soon! And, my most sincere thanks to those of you who leave comments. You are the reason I had the courage to do this in the first place!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Told You So

I told you I have the greatest friends. EVER.
Just received this little lucky charm, and I'm lovin' it!

Thanks friend! You can find Valsy here. She's a huge advocate of volunteerism, and highlights the real heroes in our world. My recent fav: Sully's library story.

Decided to have a prize for the quiz, it may be Saturday before the quiz is ready to roll! Good times Snarkettes, good times!

A Little Q&A

1.) Am I going to turn off the comments? Nope

2.) Am I going to use comment moderation? Nope

3.) Am I going to stay here and do my thing? Yep

4.) Are the following two things the same?
A reader joining conversation and a reader making this comment on my last post...To:The flat a** bobble head b***h that runs this lame a** blog , Karma is coming for your a** ugly b***h!!! Ummm, that would be a Nope, those two things are not the same.

5.) Does conversation involve something more than cussing and making threats?
Here? At this blog? Yep

6.) Do I think unlocking the silence is only for
those who believe just as I do? Nope

7.) Do I think it's sad that some people can only unlock
their silence by trying to tear me down? Yep

8.) Does it make me angry? Nope, mostly it just makes me laugh...then I feel sad for the angry little elf.

9.) Do I find it utterly amazing that some people come here just to spew hate at me? Not really amazing. More interesting than anything. Kinda makes me want to do some social experiments. Personally, I have no need to troll around for blogs, just waiting for someone to write something that I don't like, so that I can call them names and declare their doom. That floating someone else's boat? I don't so much get it.

10.) Do I welcome those who may not agree with all that I say? Of course.

11.) Should readers be surprised when Snarky Mama stands up for her daughter? Are you a parent? If you are, then it shouldn't surprise you at all. Wouldn't you do the same for your child? You should.

12.) Should readers be surprised when Little Brother has his say as well? Do you have a brother ten years younger who adores you? If so then it shouldn't surprise you at all. Nope, he and Snarky Mama have just as much right to unlock the silence as anyone else.

13.) Should readers be surprised when Snarky Friends reply to nastiness? Nope. I have some of the most loyal, intelligent, fiesty, compassionate friends a person could ever dream of.

Again, I'm not turning off or moderating comments. But, be advised. Most who visit this blog consider discussion to be far more than foul language and insults. I understand that isn't the case everywhere, so you may be more comfortable unlocking your silence on another blog. Here, we understand that opinions vastly differ, based on personal life experiences. We enjoy learning from others. But, we also believe that conversation, among those who may not see eye to eye, does not have to include venom.

Coming up....a fun little quiz that is sure to make you laugh.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Set Free

This is going to surprise some of you. Are you ready? I've not always been the unintimidated, soul-bearing girl you find here. If you asked, I wouldn't be able to pinpoint one specific moment when all of that changed. I believe it has been a process, a refiner's fire of sorts. I do know that over the years, I grew weary of not feeling comfortable in my own skin, weary of caring (too much) what everyone thought of me.

I grew up around many who believe that most things are better left unspoken. Conversations are comfortable as long as they remain centered around only the most benign of topics.
It reminds me of the penguins in the movie Madagascar:
"Just smile and wave boys. Smile and wave."
For many years, I honestly believed something was wrong with me because
I didn't think that way.

Now I know. Nothing is wrong with me. I have realized that speaking up does not mean you are irrational. I have learned that standing up for someone else does not mean you are angry and/or overly emotional. I also understand that feeling sorrow and pain, with all of its ugliness, does not mean you are weak, teetering on the brink of insanity.

There is nothing to be ashamed of in feeling passionate about this life and its many experiences. With this knowledge has come great peace. I find it humorous when people assume that my passion makes me stressed, unsettled, or anxious, etc. It is actually quite the opposite. I have never felt so free, so exactly on the path to becoming the woman I am meant to be.

Someone asked Snarky Mama what her daughter's blog was about. About? Life. Every bit of it...politics, fun, sorrow, joy, fear, peace, food, families, the happy, the crappy, and everything in between. That's what this blog is about. It's about courage. It's about the confidence that flourishes and thrives when you find a safe place to speak, to stand up for what you believe, or to share laughs and tears.

Together, we smile and wave on the days we can.
Other days, we stand for what we believe in.
Sometimes we laugh, sometimes we cry.
But regardless of the topic, together we are being set free.