Things I Don't Get - April 2009 Edition

Friday, April 24, 2009

1. Kids' toys that make noise yet have no off button, or even a volume button. Or the toys that have an off and a volume button, but the default volume when you turn it on is the loudest it can go. Mom smash.

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2. When people say "ridonculous". Stop saying that. Seriously. You sound like a douche.

3. Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt. When the fuck are they going to die??? And what are these no talent media whores even famous for? I've never actually seen their show because my brain would melt from the stupidity, but they are in every damn magazine. They create opportunities for the paparazzi to "accidentally" find them and then totally ham it up for the cameras like it's a big surprise to see them. They probably have all the various paparazzo on speed dial. Plus, Spencer just looks pervy and creepy; just looking at him makes me want to go scrub with boiling water.

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You may be wondering where her other horn is. Well, I'll tell you where it is. I'm imagining that it's now buried deep in his scalp because when he eagerly jumped to pose for yet another picture, he hit his head up against hers really hard without aiming properly. Ah, happy thoughts.

4. When spelling something, why in the world do people feel the need to say "H as in Harry (or Henry)"? What other fucking letter sounds like H, requiring them to clarify what letter they mean? Do they think I'm going to misunderstand and think they are spelling a word that has an 8 in the middle of it? Like "bone8ead" or "dips8it"? This also applies to the letters A, J, L, O, Q, R, U, W and X.

5. Jeans that come already "distressed" or ripped. And I can't believe people spend hundreds of dollars on them. I could spend 20 bucks on a pair of jeans and shred them myself and save tons of money. And my son shreds his without even trying! Why in the world would I buy him jeans that are already "distressed"? Those will rip in about 10 seconds flat. He needs strong jeans. Whoever designs these jeans for boys never had boys. And whoever designs them for women are just fucking morons.

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Okay, show's over, move it along, nothing to see here. Until next time...

Books: The Other White Meat

Monday, April 13, 2009

I miss reading. I have always loved to read, but now I either lack the time or the attention span. When I do have the time, I never know what to read because I never have time to search for books, either to buy or to get from the library.

How could I lose touch with this simple pleasure? I learned to read super early, like when I was 2. I don’t remember a time in my life when I could not read. In fact, I can’t remember an adult reading to me at all because once I learned to read it was basically just left to me to entertain myself with books. No stories read to me before bed, at least not that I can remember. I also skipped part of kindergarten because of my literacy. Apparently I was running around and doing somersaults during class and I was labeled as a discipline problem (nowadays, I’d be labeled ADHD and force-fed drugs). Finally my parents asked what we were learning and the teacher informed them, “We are learning the alphabet, one letter per week. We are up to R”, or some such nonsense. They told the teacher to give me a book. It turns out I was bored and already reading at a fourth grade level. In junior high, I would constantly get in trouble (in Language Arts class, no less) for reading my own books and not paying attention to the lessons. The difference between there, their and they’re… okay, check, got it, now leave me alone. In high school, when the class was taking turns reading a book aloud, I would get bored while some people struggled and I would read ahead. Then when it was my turn, I would be so far ahead that I had no clue where the rest of the class left off and I would get in trouble for not paying attention. I always hated when they would have us take turns reading aloud; I would get bored, and I prefer to read at my own pace. That’s not to say that I’m any better than the people who struggled; it’s just something I excelled at and didn’t need the extra assistance that some students required. Some people in my classes would talk about how uncool reading was; I’d just ignore them, book in hand. Reading was an escape. It was an adventure and way to stimulate my brain.

Even when I was out of school, I was always reading. I’ve always liked suspenseful books, but I’m not married to one particular genre. In fact, when asked what kind of books I prefer, I really can’t answer that question. One of my favorite books is “Icebound” by Dr. Jerri Nielsen, which is her account of the year she spent “wintering over” in the South Pole, where she discovered she had breast cancer. I also loved “I’m Eve”, about one woman’s multiple personality disorder, which is the basis for the movie “The Three Faces of Eve”. Another good one is “The Nanny Diaries”, which isn’t actually a true story, but is fiction based on the real-life experiences of two former New York nannies. But I wouldn’t say that I love the entire genre of memoirs, because there are some that are booooooring. “An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness” for instance, was pretty lame and repetitive. Since it’s a memoir of a bipolar woman (who also happens to be a psychiatrist) I thought I would be able to relate to it better, but it was a letdown in the same sense as “The Blair Witch Project”; it would build and build and there would be suspense and then… nothing. Totally anticlimactic.

Besides some memoirs and some suspense books, I also like the “chick lit” genre: some drama, humor and romance, but not over the top like a Harlequin Romance novel. These are fun “no-brainer” reads that are great for reading on vacation or a sick day. But I certainly don’t want to make that the staple of my reading material. I just don’t always have the attention span or brain power to process a heavy book like I used to, mostly from just having way too much on my plate on a daily basis, which is compounded by my unholy weekday waking hour. So when I go to the bookstore or the library, I generally have no clue where to even begin looking. Some books sound decent, but I always want to be really sure so I don’t waste my time on something that turns out to be lame. Of course, how will I know unless I try? I think the wanting to be absolutely sure about a book before committing is a throwback from hours spent standing in Barnes & Noble, trying to narrow down my choices and get the best options for my money; otherwise I would have always ended up spending a small fortune on books because there are so many that are interesting.

So, I need to get reading on a regular basis back into my life. Seriously. I need to make use of websites such as What Should I Read Next and reacquaint myself with the library. Intellectually I know that just because someone doesn’t read much it doesn’t mean they are dumb. But because reading was always such a big part of my life, I personally feel somewhat dumber for not reading books more often like I used to. Most days all my poor brain can handle is an article from Glamour or Reader’s Digest. Sometimes I can barely read that because of all the interruptions (my boys talk constantly during movies so about every other sentence I read is interrupted with chatter by a little person who expects some sort of response to a rhetorical statement). And I go to bed early (due to the aforementioned unholy waking hour) so I can’t spend a lot of time with a book in the evenings before bed, though I really ought to try.

Today I have started a new book called “Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure”, given to me by a friend at work (thanks Brook!). It is also a memoir, and though I’m only a couple of chapters in, I really like it so far. And I’m feeling inspired to find a book to read next. So, what should I read next?

Why is it...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

...that when I finally have a day to myself, I end up just doing nothing? I have tons of stuff to do around the house, but of course I don't want to spend my day doing chores. But there are many projects and hobby-type stuff that I would like to do, and I dream about doing but never have time for, and then when I have time I just want to sit on my ass and do nothing.

Ah, the plight of the working mom.

Playing well with others

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

So last night I’m sitting at the dining room table with the boys, and I started thinking about some of their differences. Sure, they have many similarities; they both love Star Wars, superheroes and Transformers. They love to play outside with their friends and go to the park. They love the same movies. And of course, everything Jacob does, Logan has to do too, because Jacob is the coolest person Logan has ever met.

But it’s their differences that are very interesting. Logan wakes up smiling; Jacob wakes up grumbling, once you finally get him to wake up. Jacob is a picky eater, whom we must convince to try new things; Logan is game to try just about anything. He even loves broccoli. Jacob is a little negotiator (I told him if my company ever wants to buy another company that I would tell them to give him a call; he asked if I was kidding him); when asked to do something, Logan will usually just say, “Okay!” and do it. (Usually.) When doing anything that is considered a competition, Logan cheers when anyone wins, while Jacob gets annoyed when he isn’t the winner. We’ve been working on this by playing Chutes and Ladders. It’s actually a great way to show him that just because he is last, it’s not impossible for him to win. Someone might land on a chute, or he might land on a ladder. His sportsmanship has been so much better this week, even last night when he did come in last. He knows that there will be another game and another chance to win. This is a huge breakthrough for him.

I remember the first time we ever played Chutes and Ladders with Jacob. Logan was too little to play, so it was just the three of us. Jacob won the first game, but when he lost the second game, he got all kinds of pissed off. To the point where we put the game away and didn’t play again for a long, long time. We played this weekend and he started to do the same thing: he won the first game, but when he was behind on the second game, he started to complain that he didn’t want to play anymore. He didn’t get too angry though, so that was a nice change from the little beast he became when he was younger. Hopefully it will just continue to get better.

The next task: teaching him to win gracefully!

Life's tunes

Thursday, April 2, 2009

When I drive to and from work everyday, I am alone, with my thoughts and my music. Commuting without my tunes would drive me insane with boredom. What I listen to varies from day to day. Some days, I might be cranky and in the mood for angry music; other days, I’m feeling pretty good and I want upbeat, fun songs. Still other days, I want to listen only to songs that I can really sing along to. And every so often I have the day where I’m not quite sure what I want to listen to.

So, in my 2.5 years of commuting, I have occasionally thought to myself which song would be on the soundtrack if my life were a movie. Of course that can vary depending on my mood, but there are some definite must-haves:

Change Your Mind” by Sister Hazel
This song is an absolute must. It reminds me that I can change who I am, that if I’m in a bad mood, I don’t have to be. I can decide that I don’t want to be miserable and work on improving my frame of mind, and that I can do it simply to make myself feel better.

"Blankest Year" by Nada Surf
This is my “oh well, who cares?” song. How can one argue with the chorus: “Oh fuck it, I’m gonna have a party”?

Just Another Day In Paradise” by Phil Vassar
I used to like country music more than I do now (which is not much), but this song has always spoke to me. It’s about the daily grind, crazy kids, too much to do, living life in an imperfect world, but not wanting to be anywhere else. Good stuff.

Why Can’t I?” by Liz Phair
This is my ring tone for my hubby and has been for years. This song came out well after we got together, but it always makes me think of him. Partly because we were both kind of involved with other people when we met (oops!) but mostly because not long after we met, I was so crazy for him I had tons of butterflies and he was all I could think about. Sappy, yeah, but true.

Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison
This is Brian’s ring tone for me. I think the reasoning is pretty obvious, but for those of you who might be a little slower than others, I have brown eyes and I’m his girl. Duh.

Mahna Mahna” by Cake
Everyone has to have a silly song, and this one is mine. Here's the original. I love The Muppet Show!

Seether” by Veruca Salt
This is one of my bad day songs. It reminds me of the psycho girl inside me that’s just waiting to be unleashed, the one I have to work extra hard to tame on a crappy day.

Stir It Up” by Bob Marley
Because every life’s soundtrack should have a chillin’ Bob Marley song, and this is my favorite.

A Little Less Conversation” by Elvis Presley
The one you hear in the opening credits for the TV show “Las Vegas”, not the annoying remixes. Just a fun song.

Move Along” by The All-American Rejects
I listen to this song when I’m bummed and trying to remind myself to “just keep swimming”.

The Boogie Bumper” by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Fun instrumental (mostly) that makes me wish I knew how to swing dance!

I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but I’ll just consider this the soundtrack to the first movie. Who knows what the sequel will bring!