Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Is this what you were waiting for? #Ferguson

photo credit: therese flanagan via photopin cc 
I have so many posts drafted about the events in Ferguson, Missouri, but I have refrained from publishing any of them. I felt everything had already had been said. But after Monday’s decision, I’ve changed my mind. 

I definitely have my opinions on Mike Brown’s death and subsequent events, and I have shared some of them on my personal Facebook account and a little bit on Twitter over the last few months. Most of my comments have been met with supportive and encouraging responses, with lots of likes, shares and retweets. However, a few people commented that they were "waiting until we have all the facts" before they formed an opinion. So now I wonder… is this what you were waiting for?  

Their desire to withhold judgment is noble, and it would do us all some good to be less judgmental. But "waiting for all facts" assumes that all the facts will eventually come to light. It assumes that the final outcome will be the right one, based on all the facts, nothing more and nothing less. Unfortunately, that's not always how our judicial system works. I'm not saying that our judicial system is corrupt; I'm saying that it is imperfect because humans are imperfect.

In the end, maybe it doesn’t matter that the Grand Jury decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson. I suppose a trial would have been a much more expensive and time-consuming way to acquit him. We’ll probably never have enough facts to satisfy a jury, and we’ll never know Mike Brown’s side of the story. Dead men tell no tales.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Friendship Squares

Photo Credit:
Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton via photopin cc
For my next big birthday (we won’t talk about which number it will be), I always thought it would be super fun to have a huge party. And not just any party. A 90s theme party! We’d play all the awesome 90s music, which would be Snoop, Biggie, Beastie and Green Day heavy. Guests would wear flannel over their flannel, those super high-waisted Rachel Green skirts, and very, very colorful pants. We would spend the night quoting The Fresh Prince of Belair and lamenting the early cancellation of My So Called Life.

Ah. Good times.

It sounds like a fun idea in theory. If I invited all of my friends to the same shin-dig, it would definitely not be the like a party scene from Can’t Hardly Wait. My friends would be factioned off into groups, huddled into their respective corners, only making eye contact with familiar faces.

There would be the “Work Friends from Company A” group and the “Work Friends from Company B” group, and never the two shall meet. There would be the “High School Friends,” the “Friends from College A,” and in her own tiny square would be the one friend I still have from “College B.” Then there would be “Grad School Friends.”

There would be the invaluable “Mommy Friends” I met after Quinn was born, "Grad School Friends," and my “Bloggy Friends.”

All of the sudden this party seems really awkward and complicated and not fun at all, which is why I’ve never actually had a birthday party as an adult. The room would be divided into a grid, each group confining itself to its assigned square, occasionally sending out a scout for beer.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Is #NaBloPoMo Lite a Thing?

November is National Blog Posting Month when bloggers commit to posting every single day for a month. They participate in writing challenges, prompts, Linkys. It makes for great reading, if you have the time. I love it when my favorite bloggers rise to the NaBloPoMo challenge.

I’ve never participated in NaBloPoMo. Writing every single day is a big commitment. And since I’ve only posted five times in the last three months, you can imagine how daunting a daily blog post seems to me these days. Besides, I always thought that posting every day was blogging overkill. Plus I doubt you have time to read my words every single day anyway, right?

I can see how NaBloPoMo can be great for people with writer’s block, but writer’s block has never been my problem. I have drafts, outlines and half-written blog posts saved everywhere. I write in my head while I drive, shower, cook… constantly. My ideas and topics that I need to write about are endless. All day, I think in blog posts. The words cram up inside my brain until I have the time to let them out. And I never have the time.

Time is my real problem. I can’t make the time to blog anymore. Because blogging time is ME time, and I feel selfish taking ME time when there so many other things I need to do. So blogging falls down to the bottom of the priority list, along with massages, pedicures, curling up with a good book (or blog), and going to the gym. Blogging has become yet another luxury that this SAHM/WAHM/WOHM cannot afford.


I miss blogging. I miss you! But as I sit and write this first NaBloPoMo post (for which I am already a day late), I’ve been interrupted four times by two sick children who should be sleeping. It’s a damn travesty when takes me three hours to eek out a pathetic 385 words.

I know with NaBloPoMo, you’re either all in or you’re out. There’s no such thing as “NaBloPoMo Lite.” So I guess I’m out. But hopefully seeing all of your beautiful posts flood my inbox this month will be enough to inspire me to start taking ME time again and raise this poor, neglected blog up a bit higher on the priority list. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Gearing up for fall: My autumn bucket list

In California, autumn isn’t quite like the autumn I grew up with in Michigan, but it’s still my favorite season by far. Despite the eighty-degree heat in the afternoons, I will bust out my fall boots and colorful scarves, because post-baby body or not, boots and scarves always fit.

Even though I am ridiculously busy right now with my new SAHM/WAHM/WOHM employment status, I have fun fall activities planned. Here is my Autumn Bucket List for 2014.

  1. Decorate! First and foremost, you know I do it up right with the fall decorations. Even though I’m just itching to paint something, I know I won’t have time for a new fall décor project this year. So I will try my hardest to avoid Pinterest and just put up my fall décor awesomeness from previous years.
  2. Visit the Pumpkin Patch! One of my favorite fall activities is taking Quinn to the pumpkin patch. My friends and I have done this every year since our preschoolers were babies. The kids wear their costumes while we go on hay rides, run through the pumpkins, and take a bazillion photos, in which not a single child is looking at the camera. We all have second babies now, so this year should be extra interesting. Even if we have to plop down into a pile of dirty hay to nurse the babies, we’re doing this! And if we can get a group photo of the “Bigs” and “Littles” in their costumes, it will be a Halloween miracle.

Monday, September 22, 2014

On work release from baby jail

If there was a "Mommy Insanity Quiz,"
might look something like this...

I love being a SAHM. I feel very lucky to have the option to stay home with my kiddos and play trains, jump in puddles, swing at the park, sing silly songs, and make up elaborate stories at nap time.

I hear every hilarious thing Quinn says, and I witness every new thing Reid learns. We don't have to deal with the weekend crowds at the zoo or the aquarium or the children's museum. I get to see everything inside of Q's great big imagination, and sometimes Reid will still fall asleep in my arms. I kiss all the boo-boos and soak up all the snuggles. These moments of tiny feet and giggles are fleeting, and I get to be there for it all. Yeah, being a SAHM is pretty rad.

Until it isn’t.

There are days when the screams far outnumber the giggles, and the temper tantrums are constant and unpreventable. There are days when the 3YO refuses to listen and the baby refuses to nap. There are days when Quinn thinks everything is an eff-ing travesty (My toy
fell on the floor, now I can NEVER PLAY WITH IT AGAIN!),
and Reid thinks I'm abandoning him forever and ever when I leave the room for 90 seconds to make his bottle. There are days when the baby wakes up early and Hubs leaves for work early, and whether I can even take a shower is entirely decided by other people.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Feminism is important because…

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I recently found out that there is a whole social media movement against feminism… by women. Proponents of #WomenAgainstFeminism apparently think that since a woman almost became president and boys now get into trouble at school for snapping girls’ bra straps that our fight to be treated like equal humans is over. They think feminism is insulting and that feminists play the victim. They think feminists hate men and want supremacy over equality. 

I want to make it clear that feminism doesn't mean any of these things, although it can mean different things to different women. Here’s why feminism is still important to me:

Feminism is important to me…
… because strange men still feel entitled to put their hands on me.
… because daughters are taught to walk through dark parking lots with their keys like this. ---->
… because street harassment makes me feel small, powerless and terrified, NOT flattered.
… because even if I pretend to be flattered, he might hurt me.
… because even if I ignore him, he might hurt me.
… because strange men have followed me to my car on several occasions.
… because nursing mothers are hassled and told to cover up.
… because Bratz dolls.
… because I was the only girl in my high school physics class.
… because having ten white men on a board of directors is not a coincidence.*
… because at 52% of the population, we are not a special interest group.*
… because you never hear of a man taking his wife’s last name.
… because Maxim, strippers and porn.
... because boys learn early on to objectify women and that they need to "man up."
… because many college guys (and girls!) don’t understand that a drunk girl can’t give consent.
… because women are taught to prevent rape, and men are not taught to not rape.
… because being a little girl in Africa is the scariest thing ever.
… because sex trafficking is a worldwide problem.
… because way too many us have received a picture of some dude’s penis.
… because sexist plot lines are still prevalent in almost every American sitcom.
… because the term “bitch” gets thrown around a bit too freely.
… because I'm trying to raise two boys to become kind, compassionate and respectful men.
… because living in fear is no way to live.
… because too many women mistakenly believe feminism equals victimhood.
… because my voice alone won't make a difference - men and women need to fight for change together.

*These two are paraphrased quotes from the clever, witty Kara Swisher from her on-stage interview with Melissa Barnes at #BlogHer14 . 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

If you don’t think cliques exist in adulthood, you’re probably in one.

Our blog tribe taking a selfie with DJ Run in the background at the
  #BlogHer14 closing party.
(Photo courtesy of Neil Kramer. Used with permission.)
Usually when one thinks of cliques, images from high school resurface. You envision the Mean Girl Lunch Table with its captain holding court. You recall her “Uh, why is she even trying to talk to us?” face and their nasty giggles as you walked away. You see hair flipping in your face as the cool girls breeze by you and your non-existence. The term “clique” doesn’t have a positive connotation.

As adults, we tell ourselves that the sting from those experiences is gone. We’re all better than that now, right? It’s been like twenty years, so can we all move on? Well, not necessarily.

If you don’t think cliques exist in adulthood, you’re probably in one. That’s not a slam against anyone – it’s hard to see a thing for what it is when you’re in the middle of it. Maybe you’ve always been part of the cool crowd, so you’ve never experienced the exclusion. Or maybe you were the one excluded in high school, so now you can’t fathom treating someone else that way and don’t realize that you do it. Either way, you probably don’t mean to be a clique because it goes against your definition of self. Most of us are not very self-aware.

My definition of a clique is a circle of friends that is exclusive – or wants others to believe they are exclusive – and they exclude others because they have to. I believe people on the inside of cliques are just as insecure as those whom they are excluding. A new person might threaten the status of an existing member, and if the group gets too big, small groups might splinter off. New members endanger the precarious thread of security that holds the clique together.

I’m not saying all groups of friends are cliques. I run in several circles: I have my group of college friends that live in Michigan and Boston. I have my local “mommy friends” (although I no longer think that term defines us) whom I met after Quinn was born and have been my lifeline for the past three and half years. And thanks to BlogHer, I have my new Blog Tribe. I don’t think of any of us as exclusive, but I’m on the inside of these circles, so who knows what people on the outside are feeling.