Calm, Cool and Committed

Three Moms and a Dude

Giggly Girls and the Glass Ceiling

Hmph

Hmph

I need your help with this one.  I’m not sure I’m thinking about it the right way.

Recently I made a comment to Mea that one of our acquaintances really bothered me because – in a work setting – she’ll act like a 16 year old girl.

You know what I mean by that.  She’ll giggle uncontrollably, she’ll act helpless about little things like using a laptop, she’ll hop (yes, hop) and clap in excitement, she’ll beg for validation about inconsequential things.  At any moment, I expect her to flip her hair off her shoulders, start chipping at the paint on her nails and proclaim, “But I looooooooooove him!  Like totally looooooove him!”

When I was 16, I was like this.  Heck, my college friends would probably say I was like this at 22.  However, it really bothers me in a 40-ish adult businesswoman.

Why?  I think it belittles our gender.  “Oh, hehe, *giggle, giggle* look out how pretty my handouts are!”  Like seriously?  We expect men to take us seriously when we cackle over PowerPoint colors while wearing too-tight pants and showing cleavage?

I should probably take the position that women can act however they want to act.  But I can’t.  Even though we’re making major advancements toward equality – like being allowed to fight on the front lines – this girly girl act rankles me.  When we act like this, we’re inviting men to think we’re stupid and not as good as them.  When’s the last time you saw a man hop up and down because he figured out how to use a laser pointer?  Or grab a coworker’s hair and fluff it in the middle of a conference room?

Are we, as women, partly to blame for the glass ceiling?  Should we put away our 16 year old selves so we can be taken seriously?  Tell me what you think.

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Guns and Fear

I’ve been doing really well containing my views on the gun control issue. I liked a few internet memes, but that was it. As for the heated comments I wanted to shout across the interwebz, I shared them with Hubby and only with Hubby.

Why have I kept *mostly* quiet? I’ve seen the data. Even if I speak the truth, if it doesn’t support your side, you won’t believe me. Heck, you’ll cling to your mistrusts even more.

Tonight, however, after two recent boils over (that sounds like 18th century disease), I’m breaking my *relative* silence. I want to talk about guns.

The other day, The Dude told me he was thinking about getting a gun for protecting his family. I understand The Dude to be a moderate in the gun debate arena, so this got me thinking.

Many people who aren’t hardcore gun nuts are seriously considering buying guns (just little ones, not the big controversial ones) as protection. But is that wise?

Every now and then, I’ll wake up in the middle of the night. Shadows dance across the walls, the street outside is deathly silent and the air is still. Then I’ll hear a noise. Something tiny, something indistinct. The cats, who usually sleep on the bed, are nowhere to be found. I panic, thinking there’s an intruder in the house. I imagine the bedroom door swinging open and a criminal swathed in black charging us. On nights like those, it takes me a little while to get back to sleep, and I spend my waking hours worrying about how my only weapon is the old Snapple bottle on the nightstand.

I’m sure I’m not alone in this fear — others have seen just as many episodes of Law and Order as I have. So would a gun help us?

I am tempted to say, “No.” While a gun might even the score weapon-wise, there are still some distinct differences that put me at a disadvantage. I’m a law-abiding, violence-avoiding citizen. The criminal charging my house is not. He has already abandoned his fear of the law, of government. He’s not afraid of getting hurt. Someone who breaks into a house is not afraid. And he’s prepared to do bad things, not caring who is hurt.

You and I aren’t like that. When the crash of glass wakes us in the middle of the night, we’re not prepared for very bad things. We’re still concerned about our family. We’re acting rashly, hastily to protect our families. We’re not prepared for a confrontation like the bad guys would be. Because of all this, even with a gun, we’re at a disadvantage, despite having the benefit of playing on our home court.

When we throw a gun into the mix, what are we doing? We’re shoving a bullet machine in the face of a lawless, fearless criminal. That criminal will shoot us — without first asking questions, shouting a warning, or being concerned about children on the other side of the bedroom wall.

Even if we make it out unscathed, we’ve given that robber something he’s looking for. Some studies claim more than 600,000 guns are stolen from homes every year. Even though that makes up only 10-15% of “guns used in crimes,” that’s still 10-15%!

I worry that we live in a society where fear feeds off fear. That’s how terrorists work. That’s what they want.

One of the times I slipped and commented on a gun control thread, I said as much — that I want to live in a peaceful society. Someone responded and said “fear is a gift from God.” To that person, I end by linking here — to a site that tells us God doesn’t want us to be afraid.

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What We’ve Become

Do you ever look at yourself in shock and amazement at what you’ve become?

Yeah, me neither. Hehe.

However, a friend’s recent comment made me wonder if I’ve changed in any major ways. So, without further ado, here’s a list of shocking ways I’ve changed.

  • I’m now “that mom” who stumbles around at work in the morning grumbling about the son who was up all night due to a mix of issues ranging from teeth to cough to growth spurt to diaper wedgie.
  • I’d rather spend time on the couch with my husband and son than head out for a night on the town.
  • I don’t devote as much time to my job anymore. I realized that the world won’t end and my students won’t be ruined for LIFE if I don’t check email on weekends.
  • I fill up my Facebook feed with thousands (seriously) of pictures of Bud. And I also post baby recall alerts. (Baby products, not actual babies.)
  • I like babies. Okay. I like one baby. All the other ones still annoy me.
  • I exercise pretty regularly (though I admit I’ve been slacking on overall effort).
  • I manage my time for my grad school work instead of procrastinating like I did in college, and high school, and elementary school…
  • I’m more critical of people than I used to be. Not sure if this is good or bad.

Despite all these changes, there are many ways I haven’t changed.

  • I still enjoy a nice, long sleep. And all the people who told me motherhood would change me into a morning person? What a joke!
  • A good book is still one of the best things in the world.
  • I look forward to holidays with my family, and enjoy the time we have together.
  • I refer to people I barely know by nickname. In college it was Jeans Joyous and Hottie Baseball Boy, now it’s Anger Management.
  • A cool glass of milk and my mom’s crazy cake might be the best flavor combination in the world. THE WORLD.

I still believe the phrase “on time” is relative.
How have you changed? Have you changed in ways you never thought you would? Do you like the changes?

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New-errr Music (January 2013)

photo1This post is dedicated to Emily (who wrote a post about being a “pop-culture dinosaur“) and Mamma Fratelli, who both recently asked for new music, and to Naomi, who probably is going through new music withdraw without my random mixes!

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My tweener and I have very little in common right now, however, we both L.O.V.E. music. And, she definitely keeps this mom up to date on the latest tunes! My taste is a little more “diverse” than hers, but for the most part, we listen to new, catchy songs. Sometimes this is a great thing (when we are in the car and agree on a station or song), and sometimes this is a bad thing (when I realize that the message of a popular song isn’t quite appropriate for her impressionable ears). Having said that, I’m sure some of my peers would not agree politically, socially and/or personally with some of my taste in music. The good news is – I really don’t care! Anything that moves my emotions, thoughts or body (I’m talking about dancing, here, people!) catches my interest.

So, for my music-loving readers (and the moms who feel a little behind), here are my most recent i-Tunes purchases (new-errr…I hope!):

photo3

My Current (anything goes) Playlist

Please ignore the commercials, skip any advertisements, overlook potential lyric misspellings and close your eyes if any inappropriate images appear in the music videos! I had nothing to do with them!

Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You – Walk off the Earth (feat. Selah Sue)

My Life – 50 Cent, Eminem and Adam Levine (cannot get enough of Eminem…more please!)

Back to Love – DJ Pauly D (feat. Jay Sean)

Words – Hawk Nelson

Anything Could Happen – Ellie Goulding

Don’t You Worry Child – Swedish House Mafia

Neva End (remix) – Kelly Rowland and Future

Merry Go ‘Round – Kacey Musgraves  – (creative use of language!)photo2

I Cry – Flo Rida

Any More of This – Mindy Smith and Matthew Perryman Jones

It’s Time – Imagine Dragons

Little Talks – Of Monsters and Men

Daylight – Maroon 5

Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain) – Gary Allen

Beauty and the Beat – Justin Bieber (feat. Nicki Minaj)

What About Us – The Saturdays

Give Me Your Hand (Best Song Ever) – The Ready Set

Little Things – One Direction

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Gluten, free me!

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor! The information in this post is based solely on my personal experiences and recommendations.

***

I love food…ALL food! So, when my neurologist told me I was allergic to gluten, I reacted dramatically. I’m pretty sure I leaned forward, put my head in my hands and yelled, “Nooooooooooo!” Then, the beloved carbs I could no longer eat flashed through my mind. After that, I sulked and told my doctor that my husband was going to kill me. Gluten free? My hubby? No way…not happening…ever. Dinner was going to be even more of a royal pain…sigh.That was 6 months ago, and I can honestly say that I’ve been doing my best (which is pretty darn good, if I don’t say so myself). Along the way, my rocky journey went something like this:

Month 1 – I’m not allergic to gluten, and I’m sure not going to waste all the food we just bought (kicking, stomping, holding my breath)!

Month 2 – Checkin’ out the gluten-free isle…I’m doomed!

Month 3 – Google search: gluten-free food, gluten-free recipes, symptoms of gluten intolerance

Month 4 – Food experiments, less gluten, this sucks, I want my mac-n-cheese.

Month 5 – Feeling better…feeling much better! Vacation – crash, recover…

Month 6 – Getting the hang of it, gluten-free can be yummy. Holidays – resist, resist, RESIST…crash, recover…

Eliminating gluten from my diet has been quite the process. Gluten is everywhere and avoiding it requires constant searching, label reading and question asking, not to mention a  heroic dose of willpower. It almost feels like I am learning how to eat, shop and cook all over again, and my family has been less than thrilled about some of my “experiments” (That’s what my husband calls any new recipe I attempt).  Having said that, it’s not nearly as terrible as I thought it would be, once I got the hang of it. And, I have to say that I feel MUCH better without gluten. The most difficult part, however, was finding a place to start. Even when searching the internet, I didn’t find anything that told me which gluten-free products were gritty or mushy and which ones were yummy substitutes for the comfort food I craved. I needed recipes, alternatives, brand names and pictures. So, here are my favorites so far (in addition to lots of greens and veggies, fresh fruit, pure meats and cheeses, rice, potatoes and beans!):

Favorite Links:

Betty Crocker Recipes

Yummy Gluten-Free Pie Crust

The Gluten-Free Lady

 Made with Love, Not Gluten (bakery)

Favorite Foods:

glutenFreeBakingMixes_Header_1011

So far, I’ve tried the brownie mix. My fam didn’t even know the difference!

Lucy’s cookies were great, especially the chocolate mint! Also, when using the gluten-free flour, add xantham gum. Note – Some gluten-free people cannot eat oats.

I cannot live without tortillas and pizza. While neither compare to the “real stuff,” I’ve found these to be great substitutes.

Some Prego flavors are gluten-free, while others are not. Remember to always read the label! This lasagna is awesome and the pasta pictured is almost exactly like regular pasta, while others I’ve tried are gummy and fall apart. And, if you stick to products made with brown rice, there’s more fiber (a serious, gluten-free challenge).

Most Coffee-Mate creamers are gluten-free, but their Natural Bliss cuts the chemicals out too. They just need chocolate flavors now! The cookbook pictured is from my hubby and has easy recipes for gluten-free comfort food.

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2012 – In Review

To prepare for my annual year-end recap, I looked at last year’s note.  At the end of my 2011 musings I wrote, “No matter what, 2012 looks to be a major year for the family.”  I was right.

 

So, without further ado,
Here’s 2012 in review.

  • Bud was born.  How could I not start the list with that?  He arrived a little bit late, but right on time.  From May until now, a lot of 2012 seems a blur.  A good blur.  I recently told a friend, “I know it sounds hokey, but he really brings me joy.”  It does sound hokey.  But it’s true.  He brings such joy to our lives.  When I see him and Hubby together, I realize how lucky I am.
  • This year I learned I can have a great friend who disagrees with me on everything.  EV.ER.Y.Thing.  I think that I spent the last couple years trying to find friends who agree with me, but I’m glad I have one who is my polar opposite.  Like seriously, I don’t know how we’re friends, we disagree so much, but she’s now one of my besties.  I’m looking at you, Mirander.
  • I submitted my most recent work to my agent.  I have a few more pages of suggested revisions to do.  Let’s not make that happen too late in 2013, okay??
  • I took a semester off grad school – you know, for the baby birthing thing – and went back into it.  I have to say, I really do love being a student.
  • This year’s Girls’ Christmas Dinner was one of the best I can remember.  How many women my age say they can play a board game with their high school friends and laugh so hard they nearly pee their pants?  I’ll always remember Jen, Susie, Manda and Krista…and 50 Shades of Grey.
  • I competed in two 5k’s.  My first 5k’s (if you don’t count the ones in triathlons).  I’m no runner (and no jogger, either), but I think the Thanksgiving week runs will become a Family tradition.
  • The In Your Write Mind booksigning was a thing of beauty.  All the authors, along with students, faculty and alums of the Writing Popular Fiction program, came together to put on an amazing booksigning – one worthy of any writing conference I’ve been to.  That, mixed with an amazing Gatsby Ball, made this year’s retreat a really superb one.  I think we’re going to have an even better event in 2013.  Don’t you think, WPFers?
  • The Dark Knight Rises made me cry.  Skyfall made me love Bond again.  The Five Year Engagement moved me beyond belief.  21 Jump Street was actually pretty darn good.  Though I’ve only seen two movies since May, 2012 was a year for some good ones.  I hope the trend continues.
  • I stopped thinking of my coworkers as “work friends” and started thinking of them as just “friends.”
  • We took Wolfe to the beach in October.  I have to say, it was a really great trip for only a few days.  It’s good to have a baby who travels well.
  • 2012 brought us some good, new writing buddies connected with Raw Dog Screaming Press.  I feel like the older I get the harder it is to find people I like.  The fact that I found TWO PEOPLE at RDSP is amazing!
  • Hazard Yet Forward hit #1 on the Amazon anthology list.  And tonight, on the last day of the year, Donna, the woman the anthology benefits, told us that she got a great report from her post-surgery pathology.  Woohoo!  Lots of love to Donna, she’s a survivor!
  • I’m sure there are many, many more things I should note here, but it all boils down to one big event.  And that loops me back to Buddy.

 

Here’s to 2013.  It would be silly to wish for a year without an

y heartache, so I won’t do that.  Instead, I’ll wish for a year where the highs outweigh the lows, where the laughs outshine the tears, and where the love outlasts the hate.

Bud and Hubbs, Holding Hands

Bud and Hubbs, Holding Hands

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