2/23/2018

Friday I'm In Love: Triple Z Tees

It started with a post on a local parenting group I'm in. Someone wanted a Christmas ornament that showed our town and I thought his description sounded like it would make a great t-shirt. I considered trying to make one, but then I got distracted by the holidays.

Also, my self-doubt dropped by and was like, "Bitch, you don't know how to design things. Or how to sell things. Stay in your lane." 

The following month, Ironflower fell in love with Heathers the Musical and I though it would be fun to get her a Heathers t-shirt. Except that I couldn't find one. Anywhere. And I quickly thought of all these Heathers related t-shirt ideas.

And my self-doubt was like, "Bitch, you do not know what you are doing. You are not artistic, you do not have Photoshop and no one else loves Heathers as much as you do." 

I started playing around with some ideas anyway.

My self-doubt was not pleased. 

I told her to fuck off.

So, I've made some t-shirts and sweatshirts, which you can see right on this very blog. You can click that link, or the shop link at the top. Hell, you can even see some of them on my Facebook page. Mostly they are just things I would wear, or might considering owning.

It's entirely possible that they all suck.

If you think this, please email my self-doubt directly at waystoindulgemydespression at gmail dot com. She would love to hear from you. 

But I had fun making them and figuring out how to sell them from my blog. Besides, we live in a world where Alex Jones has people listen to his bullshit and buy his stupid supplements. If that asshole can sell shit, so can I.


2/22/2018

Posts from the Past #TBT

I tried to clean out my drafts folder. I was moderately successful, but there were a few half-written things I just couldn't delete. I clearly meant to add more to each of them, but now that I'm used to Twitter and Facebook updates these seems long enough to be published.


September, 2011

So it's finally happened. I've been dreading it since long before I had children, going so far as to hyperventilate during a dinner party at my then boyfriend's boss' house when that was ALL THEY TALKED ABOUT, for the love of Christ. I mean, I was a first grade teacher then, I could talk about kids much better than the average single, childless, borderline alcoholic. But it wasn't just kids they were talking about.

It was kids' soccer.

And now, now I find myself reporting on my kids' soccer skills in great detail.

I never meant to become a soccer mom. Even when Ironflower begged to play soccer and I dragged Lovebug into because I thought he should try it, I never thought I'd be giving my kids pointers during games. I never thought that I would care so much about how hard they tried, or how they handled frustration or how many times they tripped over their cleats. Despite years of dance lessons and never having played a game of soccer outside of forced experiences in elementary school gym, I'm way more emotionally involved in the soccer process than I have ever been in Ironflower's dance recitals.

WTF?

November, 2011

Recently a friend of Hot Guy's spent a couple of days visiting. He has an 18 month old daughter, so naturally I used this an an opportunity to talk about what my kids were like at that age. Because if you give me an opening, I will tell you a story about my kids. I try to make the stories relevant and/or amusing, but somewhere in the back of my mind I realize that my stories are only relevant and amusing in my head.

I suppose I'll quit when I wind up on STFU Parents.

Anyway, as I was sharing stories of Ironflower's (relative) youth, I had a moment of clarity. I realized that Ironflower was a lot cooler before she started school. At 2, her imaginary friend was an Allosaurus. She played Legos. She wore pants.

At not quite 3, she started preschool. She became secretive about her love of dinosaurs. She labelled Legos as "boy toys". She became obsessed with princesses. She wanted to wear dresses or skirts every day. Her preference for pink became an obsession.

Four and a half years later, we hardly ever talk about dinosaurs. She will wear pants, but only if there's a practical reason to do so. Princesses have turned into fairies and pink has turned into purple, but she still won't invite boys to her birthday party.

Girl Toys Are Lame, November 2011

"We have to find more pink stuff, Mom." I stared at my daughter, trying to conceal my horror. "That's where the girl toys will be. Where there's pink. "

She yanked me away from all the cool Playmobil and Lego toys and dragged me to the sea of pink.

It started, I think, at McDonald's. The girl toys were always pink and the boy toys were not. The boy toys came in many different colors and could be anything from cars to superheroes to spaceships to puzzles. The girl toys? Always pink. Usually dolls.

Before preschool and McDonald's toys came into our lives, we didn't have any girl or boy toys in our house. We just had toys. But I was weak. I forgot about my women's studies courses when my dinosaur loving daughter came home from preschool and announced that she wanted to be a princess. I caved in and bought her a crown.

When the Barbies came - gifts at her 4th birthday - I let it happen. After all, I was a staunch feminist and I'd played with Barbies. And dollhouses. I'd even had a baby doll. Besides, she still built things with her brother and knew everything there was to know about dinosaurs. The fact that she never mentioned the dinosaurs to her female playmates, well, that was a little disturbing. But I'd thought I was doing okay in the appropriate toy department (if only because Ironflower and Lovebug are 15 months apart and have always played together) until the day we let them spend their own money at Toys-R-Us.

Lego-obsessed Lovebug stood slack-jawed at the shelves of Lego sets. Hugmonkey stood beside him yelling "Lego!" excitedly. And Ironflower wanted to look for pink. She bypassed the cool Playmobil sets she used to love, the board games she used to love, even the crafts. She stood in front of the pink shelves, but not in joyous awe like her brothers. Instead she scanned the aisles slightly desperately.

Everything in the aisles seemed to be poorly made, overly priced plastic. Barbie, Moxie Dolls, Littlest Pet Shop. . .the list went on. Ironflower couldn't decide what she wanted. Not because she couldn't stick to her budget or because there were too many choices, but because somewhere deep inside, she knew it was crap. And yet her desire to be like the girls in her class kept her in that section. And I knew that I had failed.

The only thing that got her out of the sea of pink plastic was that they had the new Barbie movie* in a bin in the front of the store.


*The Barbie movies are surprisingly not terrible. They have good messages and stories and I'd love them if all the characters didn't look like Barbies.









2/20/2018

Dear Friend Who Loves Guns

I actually started writing this before the Parkland shooting. Those kids are some of the most inspirational kids I've ever seen. If you'd like to follow what they're doing, check out their Facebook page


Dear Ammosexual friend,

Sometimes people die in car crashes, even when they're wearing their seatbelts. Does that mean we should all stop wearing seatbelts?

The Founding Fathers only let white men vote. Does that mean it should stay that way?

If you answered no to either of these questions, you might be ready to talk about gun reform.

If you answered yes to either of these questions, you're too stupid to be on the internet. Get some help.

I don't want to ban all guns.

But if restricting the kind of guns you can access, or who can buy guns legally,  or saves even one life?

I'm all the fuck for it. And so are plenty of responsible gun owners.

But you're not a responsible gun owner, you're an ammosexual.

My favorite argument of yours is the one where you claim only criminals will have guns if we make it harder to access them legally. First of all, I'm pretty sure you become a fucking criminal when you start mass shooting people, right? So what we have is people buying them legally so that they can become criminals.

How many drug dealers have shot up schools or movie theaters or concerts or whatnot? How many burglars? How many car jackers?

The only crime that is an actual predictor of mass shooting likelihood is domestic violence. How about we stop anyone who has committed partner violence from buying guns?

I mean, making something more difficult to obtain or to do legally is what we do after every other kind of crime - The Oklahoma City bombing restricted fertilizer sales, thousands of precautions were put into place after 9/11, child-proof caps are on medicines, etc. Sudafed is behind the counter at the pharmacy because of meth. Do you support all of those initiatives, gun obsessive?

Then why don't you support waiting periods, background checks and education before gun ownership?

Making gun access more difficult is not going to stop every crazy, but imagine if we'd stopped Adam Lanza or Nikolas Cruz.

There could be other things, ammosexual friend, that would stop more shooters. We don't know, because the CDC isn't allowed to research gun violence like it is able to research other public health crises.

Imagine if the automobile lobby had prevented research on reducing car crash fatalities. That's why your car has air bags and your young children must be in car seats. Ever been in an accident with your kids in the car? Try to imagine what would have happened if they hadn't been strapped into their safety seats. Ever had an air bag deploy? Picture what would have happened if it didn't, or your seat belt didn't work.

You and the NRA are preventing the invention of the seat belt and the air bag for guns. You are letting children die needlessly because you're afraid of what the research will find.

I think you're afraid a lot, ammosexual friend. And that makes me sad. You're so sure that reforms will mean that you'll lose your guns. Is it because you obtained them illegally? Is it because you know you wouldn't currently pass a background check? Is it because it's the only argument you can make? Is it because you think an arsenal of military grade weapons will stop your nightmares?

Let me stop you right there, gun friend. While mental illness is absolutely a factor in these tragedies, let's be accurate. Other countries have mentally ill people too. Of course, those countries have comprehensive healthcare for all so that no one falls through the cracks, would you like that here? No? Then your "mental health issue" argument won't work.

You love to talk about the perfection of the second amendment and how it cannot be altered. Yet the many amendments that discuss how states can't impede voting rights don't concern you at all as you demand more and more forms of id at the voting booth while also demanding more and more citizens lose their rights to vote. And you gleefully ignore the first amendment when demanding that only Christians should vote, or serve in government, or immigrate, or have a voice in educational decisions.

In other words, ammosexuals, you don't love the Constitution, you love guns.

You love guns more than you love the Constitution. You love guns more than you love your kids.















2/19/2018

An Open Letter to My Immune System

Hey girl,

It was nice of you to show up.

I guess.

I mean, I'm not really used to having you around. I'm used to getting every virus that comes along every winter. I wasn't surprised when I went through so many rounds of strep that my tonsils had to be removed at 41, or when I got that infection after I had Hugmonkey, or that I missed part of my high school graduation party because I was recovering from pneumonia. You've never been what I'd call reliable.

And when you do show up?

You're like that absentee parent who finally shows up and then spoils the kid with too much junk food and not enough routine. Instead of just protecting me from viri

I know it's viruses, technically. But in Latin, it would be viri. It should be viri. 

you go after my colon. And sometimes my joints.

So I'm torn. Part of me appreciates the fact that I haven't gotten the flu or any other crap since December. I'm pretty sure that's a winter record for me and it's great.

But.

You've started to go after my colon again. And while I'm trying to outsmart you with a low residue diet and meditation and hoarded Lialda, I'm starting to worry that I'm going to need Prednisone to make you stop.

It would be so nice to just have insurance that covered Lialda, the only ulcerative colitis maintenance drug that works for and doesn't make me nauseous all the time. 

You know that both of us hate Prednisone. I'm sure you hate it more, seeing as it's sends you off to Newark or wherever you spent my childhood/high school years/college years/30's/early 40's, but I'm really not a fan of the side effects. So.

How about you just promise to stop overcompensating for all of those years you spent away?

I promise I'll forgive you for all the times you abandoned me if you just act like a normal immune system for awhile. Like, you could JUST attack foreign invaders and not, you know, parts of our actual body.

I mean, I'm visiting 2 schools a week during flu season AND I have children, it's not like you'll have time to be bored.

Deal?

Yours truly,
Triplezmom














2/16/2018

Friday I'm in Love: Tara and Johnny Rule

I confess that I was never a huge Tara Lipinski fan when she was skating. She was so new when she won gold in Nagano and I was very loyal to Michelle Kwan. And then she quit competing and I sort of forgot about her.

I liked Johnny more than Tara when he was skating, but I wasn't a huge fan.

When they first started commentating in Sochi, I realized why I hadn't been really into them as skaters.

Tara and Johnny were born to commentate, not skate.



I know that's a terrible thing to say about an Olympic gold medalist and a national champion, but it's the fucking truth. 

I would like them to commentate on every sport, even though I'm fully aware that part of what makes them great as skating commentators is that they know EXACTLY what they are talking about and they are not afraid to be honest.

Still, most sports aren't quite as technically complicated as figure skating. I think they'd figure them out. Plus, they'd still have their wit, honesty and friendship.

The more I think about it, I think NBC should give them their own show. Let them commentate on everything.

I mean, if that unhinged idiot Sean Hannity can have a show, why not Tara and Johnny? 
They're more humorous, stylish and well-informed. 

And they could throw in a hell of a lip sync battle every now and then.






2/15/2018

Maybe Congress Should Get Their Pay in Food Boxes

Wait. 

The party that doesn’t want the government involved in healthcare thinks the government should do your grocery shopping?

There’s actually something to be said for group negotiations to get more food for less money- that’s why food banks prefer monetary donations. So implemented properly with food banks leading the way and boxes tailored to health needs, I don’t think Trump’s food boxes idea is inherently bad. 

I mean, there’s a reason military families shop on base despite options being more limited. Although, not as limited as Trump wants to make them. 

But. 

If you run around screaming that you want smaller government and more freedom, but you also stop letting people chose their own food...well, that seems pretty ridiculous. 

Especially when so many of the people on SNAP benefits work at places like Walmart, which profits hugely from SNAP...

And let's also remember that SNAP spending is only about 2.3% of the total budget so even if you eliminated it, you wouldn't be reducing a big chunk of our spending.

So this food boxes idea doesn't really help the overall budget, will reduce retailer profits and economic activity (link says that for every $1 spent in SNAP benefits, there's $1.70 in economic activity) and prevents families from choosing their own groceries.

SNAP is actually one of the most efficient government programs. It prevents people from going hungry. It actually helps the economy. And this is where Trump and his friends in the GOP think they need to start revamping the budget?

It's just as stupid as building a wall on the border when most undocumented people are people who overstayed their visas and much of the border already has a damn wall.

It's playing to the ignorance and prejudices of their base.

It's so disgusting.



They should all get paid in food boxes for a month and see how they like it. 



2/14/2018

Valentine's Day Sucks

I've never been a fan of Valentine's Day.

As a child, I did not like my chocolate with "stuff" in it.

As an adolescent, I did not like never having a boyfriend on Valentine's Day and never getting one of those love carnations in homeroom.

As a college student, I did not like how every restaurant was crowded and over-priced, or how often I heard about how expensive roses are. And then there was the time I got the stomach flu on the way to a supposedly romantic getaway, so we spent the weekend at my parents' house instead.

And nothing was more awkward than dating during Valentine's Day season as a young adult. Or not dating, as I eventually decided to do.

In other words, I've almost always had sucky Valentine's Days.  And I can't help but think about all the people out there who are having sucky Valentine's Day each year. 

But I swear that's not the only reason I think V-Day sucks.



 I think it sucks because it's bullshit.

It's not that I object to gifts, going out to dinner or flowers as tokens of appreciation.

It's not that I automatically loathe all holidays - you should see me on Christmas.

But I hate the idea that romance is some performative bullshit that must involve flowers, jewelry and sappy cards given on a certain day of the year. Of course, I have weird ideas about what's romantic.

A friend of mine once dated a guy who got her tires rotated and all kinds of car maintenance done for on her birthday, just because he knew how much she hated dealing with all that stuff. I think that's way more romantic than giving her flowers and jewelry (especially if they look like the flowers and jewelry he gave to his last girlfriend on her birthday).

I'm a big fan of being specific in regards to romantic gestures. Which is basically the opposite of Valentine's Day.

I also think nurturing your relationship should happen on the regular, not on the one day that everyone else is doing it.

That's like being grateful for your blessings only on Thanksgiving. Definite recipe for unhappiness. 

I'm cool with Galentine's Day, though. Which was yesterday (coincidentally - or not coincidentally, right, universe? it's my grandma's birthday) but the thing about Galentine's Day is that you can celebrate it tomorrow, too. Or right now.















2/13/2018

Happy Birthday, Grandma

Today would have been my Grandma's 100th birthday. And while I know that she was ready to leave us at 82, I selfishly wish she was still here all the time.



I remember interviewing her when I was studying the depression in high school. "How did your family's life change when the depression hit?" I asked.

"It didn't," she replied.

Her dad had left when she was pretty young, but through my great-grandma playing piano in movie theaters and a wide network of aunts and uncles, they'd always had enough to eat and wear. It took me about 10 minutes of questioning to discover all this, because my grandma was more interested in recounting all the fun times she'd had during the depression than anything, well, depressing.

Years later, the family assembled in Ohio for her 80th birthday celebration. She'd moved out of her beloved house/town in Pennsylvania a few years earlier to be closer to family, so we were all piled into her small apartment, visiting and watching some kind of sport on TV. I discovered her 1930s era high school yearbooks on a shelf in the corner.

And yes, I mean discovered. My grandma was a pack rat of the highest order, and even though she'd purged a lot in her move, her place was still filled to the brim with stuff. 

I began to look through them and ask questions. Soon she joined me on the couch to walk down memory lane. I was looking for wisdom; she wanted to tell me which boys she'd found cute and which ones she'd dated.

Both of these were much higher numbers than I'd expected. They were also much higher than the numbers my own grandchildren will hear should they ever peruse my yearbook with me. 

I didn't see the wisdom in our discussion for a long time. Knowing my grandmother was boy-crazy was not going to help me decide what to do about my imploding first marriage, I'd thought.

I didn't see her choosing what was worth holding onto.

It didn't gel with the perception I had of my grandmother. I saw her as an overprotective worrier, who demanded my mother call her after arriving at destinations, who didn't want 12 year old me reading 17 magazine, who got nervous from my dad's driving. I saw her as someone who always assumed the worst. And she did - when she was anticipating the unknown.

But every time I asked her about the things she'd survived:  the depression, or how she'd coped having my mom at 20 and my aunt at 21 and divorcing soon after, or surviving 2 more husbands, or surviving cancer, she told me a funny story.

Usually about dating or marriage. Sometimes about her adventures with her cousins. 

She was convinced that every plane any of her family members took was doomed to crash until she heard otherwise. . .but if she'd actually survived a plane crash, her story about it would have involved how she got extra packets of peanuts or something.

I am slowly learning to focus on the positive as I tell my own story - hence this post instead of a regular Trophy Tuesday. She taught me so much more than I ever gave her credit for.

My first solid memory of my Grandma involves a trip to a Woolworth's, or somewhere like a Woolworth's.

Hey youngsters, if you're too lazy to look up Woolworth's, read this. 

There was a ride in front, a horse that went up and down that I'd been looking forward to for the entire trip through the store. Finally, Grandma took me out to it and I proceeded to imagine that I was riding a real horse. I was debating asking Grandma for another ride

I was her youngest grandchild. I think I learned how to exploit this before I learned to ride a bike. 

when I realized that she was talking to two kids by the door. I had an immediate aversion to them.

Grandma had missed me climbing off the horse all by myself because she was talking to them! 

But it wasn't just jealousy, it was fear. I'd never seen kids in such dirty clothes out in public before. And they were glaring at me AND my grandma. My instinct was to run as far away from them as my approximately 5 year old legs would carry me.

I looked at the parking lot of giant cars in front of me and decided to hide behind my grandma instead.

The girl seemed angry that my Grandma had offered them change to ride the horse, but eventually relented enough to let her little brother ride. He exclaimed he'd never ridden on one before.

It took a while for my young brain to process that. I genuinely didn't know about people not having an extra nickel or two for a ride.

Grandma came up with reasons for us not to leave until the kids' mom came out of the store. Looking back, I can only assume that she wanted to check her out. And give her all the change in her wallet.

In the car I got a tiny bit of a lecture on being more compassionate and less bratty, though she didn't use quite those terms. But the way that she reached out to those unpleasant-seeming kids stuck with me forever.

I'm so lucky that she was my Grandma for as long as she was.