Webinar Poisoning

So I just sat through a webinar and I learned something really important.

I fucking hate webinars.

Luckily it was a free webinar because paying for it would have been as bad as that time I paid for a dinner that gave me food poisoning.

Reasons I Fucking Hate Webinars, An Annotated List

  • You can't pause them. I like to control my experience. It's why I like road trips more than flying. You can't pause a flight, either. 
  • The learning never surpasses the bullshit. There's always some kind of sales BS and there's always more of that than helpful information. 
  • You can't use it as a reference. I mean, I know I can use my notes. I know that I survived college and grad school with live webinars (aka 'classes') only. But those classes had textbooks. 
  • Funny people don't make webinars. This was going to say "Nobody is interesting after 30 minutes straight" but that's not true. Great stand-up comics and actors are. But they don't making fucking webinars. 
  • I hate knowing something is a sales tactic before it even starts. And you know there is no other reason to do a webinar besides sales. It's 2019, for fuck's sake. 
Right now you might be questioning why in the hell I sat through the damn webinar and honestly I don't have a good answer. There was a promise of a free workbook at the end. Also, I did want to learn about the topic and I was under the impression that the dude was an expert in it. 

This impression was wrong, by the way. Pretty sure the guy's expertise is in sales. In fact, I started taking notes on sales tactics about halfway through - when I wasn't checking my email, looking at Facebook and doing research. 

Apparently I should have been researching how not to get suckered in by free webinars. 

I was thinking about signing up for an online course or two but now I'm afraid it'll just be a webinar that I can pause. 

God, I miss learning from regular books. #cronethoughts


I Secretly Love Having Teenagers

Okay, I've only had 2 teenagers for 4 months.

And I've only had any teenagers at all for 19 months. (Though Ironflower started acting like a teenager when she was like 10, so I think I deserve some credit for those years)

But I feel super comfortable saying that I do love having teenagers in a way that I did not love having preschoolers - even though I actually love preschoolers. (In small doses. When I'm well-rested.) In fact, until fairly recently, I would have told you that I love children 0-11 way more than I love teenagers.

I would have been lying about the toddlers, though. Toddlers are assholes. Adorable assholes. 

I would have told you that I was dreading having teenagers and that I wished all my kids could stay kids forever. Even though Lois Duncan wrote a captivating book about why that's a bad idea. I must have reread that book 10 times when I was 13 or so. Because 13 is the worst.

But since I remember that feeling so vividly - in a way I do not remember being 2 and feeling like I would die if I couldn't wear my blue dress - it's so much easier for me to empathize with my teenagers than it ever was with my toddlers/preschoolers/elementary schoolers.

I mean, I always tried to lead with empathy and talk about feelings but. . .I had 3 kids in 4 years and not one of those kids could have ever been described as mellow or easygoing. Sometimes survival took on a great importance than empathy. Now that someone isn't always in danger of running into traffic and/or throwing a tantrum, it's a lot easier to be empathetic.

But as much as I would love to attribute enjoying my teens so much to my greater empathy and subsequent closeness, that's not the bulk of it.

The bulk is that my teenagers share my sense of humor. My really inappropriate, snarky and filled with fucks sense of humor. I'm sure it will get them into trouble some day if it hasn't already, but I'm genuinely okay with that. I love it when they make me laugh and I also love the fact that I no longer have to censor myself around them. That's what I secretly love about having teenagers.

The fact that I can leave them home alone, or make them run into the store for me or reach things out of the tall cabinets are just bonuses, I swear.


Racism Is a Choice

(Reminder: You can't be for Trump but against his racism.)

This line from the awesome Dave Pell hit me like a ton of bricks today. Not that I've ever been for Trump, but I genuinely like some people who are. 

And yet. 

Racism is a choice. It's a choice that Trump continually makes. And by supporting him, these people I like are making that choice too. 

This is not like accepting your cousin's love of country music, or a friend's weird taste in shoes. This is accepting that the purported leader of the free world doesn't think brown people are real Americans. This is accepting that his extensive history of racism is ok

This is changing the definition of racist to mean that hiring someone of color for the occasional job absolves of you of all racism. (Just a little FYI, it does not. Check the Jim Crow era South for more info.

There is no Trump without the (old-fashioned definition of) racism. There is no fired up base without blaming people for applying for asylum (which is totally legal, by the way) for all the problems in our country. 

"Love the sinner, hate the sin!" is a common refrain I hear from some Trump supporters. (More FYI, they do not say this about Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez or any other sinners they disagree with.

First of all, loving the sinner doesn't meant excusing or denying everything s/he does. Second of all, which sin do you hate? Is the sin you're referring to the womanizing? Or the tax cheating? Or the cheating on the wives? Or the lying? Or the praising dictators who had American citizens killed? 

Because I don't hear these Trump supporters hating the racism like Lindsey Graham once did. Maybe they're not the ones excusing putting children of color in cages because their families sought asylum. Maybe they're not the ones complaining about a black Ariel and talking about how embarrassed they were by a black president. 

Maybe they're just the ones who aren't saying anything. 
  1. If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. (Desmond Tutu)
  2. Silence in the face of injustice is complicity with the oppressor (Ginette Sagan)


Take Them All Down

No, #MAGADude347*, I really don't care if prosecuting Jeffrey Epstein means that Bill Clinton could go down. I don't fucking care if prosecuting Epstein brings my beloved Jon Stewart down.

I want Epstein and everyone who "partied" with him to go to jail.


I really don't care whether they agree with me politically or not. I don't want child molesters going free. Why do you?

That question was rhetorical, #MAGADude347. That means I don't expect you to sputter out an answer that blames the teenage girls for getting raped by creepy old men or whatever twisted logic that allows you to condemn Bill Clinton for hanging out with Epstein but to excuse Trump doing the same thing.

I expect it's the same kind of logic that allows you to cheer when male athletes exalt in their greatness but causes you to say nasty things when female athletes do.

It's the kind of logic that proves you're a raving misogynist, not that anyone needed more proof. 

And honestly? Anyone who continues to excuse this kind of behavior from the guys on "their"side, whatever side that is, is just as much of a misogynist as you are, #MAGADude347. Really.

*#MAGADude347 is my new name for a particular kind of Trump supporter,  the type who respond to every comment on Trump's gross behaviors (like hanging out with Epstein, forcing kisses, walking in on naked teenage beauty contestants,, etc.) with claims that some Democrat did it too. Usually that Democrat is Bill Clinton, who hasn't held office in nearly 20 years. Sometimes it's Al Franken, who also doesn't hold office anymore. Once it was JFK, which, I mean. . .talk about a stretch. 


Seven Drafts Worth of Crazy

I have 7 draft posts in my posts folder right now.

( In the spirit of authenticity, I should confess that there are 7 draft posts at the TOP of my folder right now and I actually don't know how many there are all together. But that seemed wordy for an opening sentence.)

That's how many posts I've attempted to write since January, when I had every intention of going back to blogging (again).

I've been blogging since 2007 and I'm not sure when it transitioned from something that helped my depression/anxiety/general weirdness to something that I avoided when I was feel especially anxious and/or depressed, but transition it did.

I also stopped feeling comfortable telling my kids' stories, which made me question which stories of my own I could tell. There were a lot of stories that I didn't feel I could tell here, for various reasons. Like I sort of wanted to write about my job, but I knew if I deeply examined my feelings about the job - the job I bragged about on Facebook and that would have been my dream job in 2007 - I would get even worse at it.

To be clear, I sucked so much at that job that they're not renewing my contract next year. And after digesting the massive blow to my self-esteem and my wallet, I realized that I did not, in fact, love what was supposed to be my dream job. I am tempted now to list exactly why I wasn't considered good at it, and why that's not entirely my fault and how their version of good isn't necessarily right but. . .

that's just my ego talking.

My ego is a loud bitch and she feels like we not only screwed up the job this year, but that we also screwed up a volunteer position that was dear to our heart. . . .

(You're noticing the weirdness thing now, aren't you?)

and she would like to populate this post with excuses. She would also like me to stop talking about her because, you know, . . . .


Anyway, the 7 drafts. Most of them are some version of this post - disorganized brain dumps that I'm not sure should ever be published. But clearly, until I publish a poorly organized, not clearly written brain dump I'm not going to be able to go back to actual blogging.

And I really do want to go back to actual blogging.


So. . .

I lost touch with the blog again, obviously.

I do love the blog.

Not well, obviously.

The blog is like that dear, long-time friend that you don't get to see very often but when you do? It's like no time has passed.

I'm not even looking at when the last time I posted was, because it doesn't matter. This blog is my dear friend, and it's like no time has passed.

Except, you know, my kids are now 14, 12 and 10. The blog will turn 12 right before my middle child turns 13 in a couple of months, if you'd like some perspective on that. So time has passed, obviously.

My kids are really interesting and independent and delightful these days, even when they are having puberty moments. I'm decidedly less so, especially when I am having reverse puberty moments.

(FYI, I used "reverse puberty" to describe menopause to Ironflower BEFORE that NY Times article about it came out. And this is part of my real inspiration for posting. If I'd blogged that before the article came out, I'd have proof I'm just as clever as people at the Times.) 

Reverse puberty sucks, obviously. But it's way better than the alternative. Hell, it's better than original puberty. Let me tell ya, if you thought watching your kid learn to walk was painful? Watching them navigate middle school is terrible. Probably because I keep having flashbacks to all those times I thought I looked cute rocking a side pony and socks over nylons. Also,  my kids go to a wonderful school and are neurotypical and have few academic struggles. Their (our?) struggles could be so much worse.

And I realize that I'm sort of talking like Hugmonkey is in puberty too. That's because I'm pretty sure he is, despite being a tiny 10 year old with no physical manifestations of it. It's like it's contagious.

Anyway, despite taking on a much bigger (but still technically freelance part-time) job, and volunteering too much and trying to exercise more. . .I think I'm coming back to blogging. I mean, I need to do something with this reverse puberty insomnia I'm desperately trying to embrace instead of bitch about it.

(Obviously that's not going very well)

Just, uh, don't expect consistency.



Oh, hey there. How are you?

I've been busy again.

Too busy to write, I mean. Last weekend, between deep cleaning the boys' room and reorganizing their closet and Lovebug's birthday party and seeing the local high school's production of Into the Woods (impressively good)  I did not really get around to writing much. And then I had to complete the program for the middle school musical.

I did the program for the fall play so I thought I knew what I was doing.

Of course, the fall play program doesn't have ads. This one has lots of ads, most of which were not in an easy format or created with the size of the program in mind.

 Despite the extensive information sent to all the students and parents detailing the expectations and showing examples from last year's program.

Another mom helped me with proof reading and finding a good printer

I just did a simple paper one for the fall play, which I was able to print for free at the school. This is apparently not good enough for the musical. 

but she had signed up thinking that she would be soliciting the ads from local businesses. So she knew even less about actually putting it together than I did. She offered to come over and help, but since I knew there would be a lot of cursing and ranting, I turned her down.

This is the wisest move I have made in weeks. 

But it's done! Yay!

Of course, I'm also trying to do this cute little lollipop sales thing, which we have never done before, but at least that I can do while I'm watching TV.

I really believe in helping at school as much as possible, but I'm not willing to fall behind on The Walking Dead to do so. I'm not a saint. 

We are selling Blow Pops with the little saying, 'You Blew Me Away!' and bunches of Sweet/Sour Pops

Those were the only bunches I could find pre-made -

with the little saying, 'Sweet Job!' to raise money for the arts association. I'm also tying ribbons on.

It sounds cute, but

And did I mention that I couldn't get the labels to print so I just started writing them? 

I suppose we could have put off the idea until next year, but I have enormous guilt because the fall play

which was my responsibility 

lost money this year. I think I've figured out why and I know what I can do to fix it next year, but the arts' foundation's budget can't exactly take hits. So when one of the teachers working on the musical suggested this idea, I jumped on it. 

As if in penance. Even though I'm not Catholic. 

But I forgot how incompetent I am in the craft department. I don't think the kids receiving the lollipops will care, if my own kids are any indication. But the people buying them might. Of course, those people are welcome to join the arts foundation next year and take the project over from me. 

I hope I can find the nerve to say that if anyone has the audacity to complain to me. I'm definitely doing that if anyone says anything negative about the program. 


Finding My Balance. Again.

So as part of Lovebug's birthday celebration, I took him and a couple of friends to the local trampoline park

and to his favorite diner and Dairy Queen and for a sleepover and to another kid's birthday party the next morning, but that's another post

for an hour. While there, we encountered a couple of his classmates. The kids hung out together for a while

my favorite thing about middle school is the relative ease with which they can pick a few friends to do something special with instead of having big birthday parties. I like parties, except for the fact that my budget necessitates inviting a reasonable number of kids  but my heart wants to invite every kid in the entire grade and all their siblings. 

and I noticed something odd. The classmates' parents were not at the trampoline park. Like I was all excited to have someone to talk to and then I realized it was still just me and Words with Friends.

I love the Lightning Round game on the updated version, though. 

It hadn't occurred to me that I could just leave them at the trampoline park, which is quite well run and littered with fairly kind teenage workers. But it feels different than letting him walk to town with his friends during the day time.

Okay, he usually does that with Ironflower and her friends, but still. 

He's also stayed at our local lake in the summer when I've taken Hugmonkey home, but again, that felt different. Maybe because the lake is littered with parents and lifeguards he knows and only members can get in?

Yes, I think that's it. Even when they're in town, my kids know that they can go to Ironflower's dance studio or their orthodontist's office and find a reliable adult that we all know. Same thing at the lake. We discuss what to do if this or that happens, where they can go if they're worried or whatever.

And yes, we could have that same discussion about the trampoline park or the movie theater in the town next door. But I can't rely on a local parent or dance teacher or swim coach being there. And that makes me uncomfortable.

Perhaps I am my over-protective mother's daughter after all.

Of course, my mother was over-protective in that she didn't let me bike to our local lake to swim by myself when I was 11. I couldn't walk into town with my friends until 5th grade. And she made me wait until I was 12 before I baby-sat for the neighbors. Not exactly over-protective by today's standards. 

It was so much easier to encourage their independence when it meant taking off their own shoes, or ordering for themselves in a restaurant. Now shit is getting real, and suddenly I'm like those moms who used to baffle me. You know the ones I mean, the ones who babied their kids so much that the kids entered kindergarten without being able to put their coats on.

Is my discomfort hampering my kids' independence?

I don't want to send them off to high school unable to put on their coats, or whatever the high school equivalent is. But at the same time, I don't want to be one of those parents at the other end of the spectrum, either. You know, the ones who started potty training at 18 months or pushed their kids to read at 4. I've always believed in child-led milestones.

Except for that time I pushed potty training on Hugmonkey before he asked for it, so he could go to that preschool at 2 and a half. That was a disaster. 

Lovebug and his friends did not seem to mind that I was at the trampoline park, but I don't think they would have noticed if I'd left, either. I think, as far as the trampoline park is concerned, I'll wait until they ask me to leave them there and then I'll re-evaluate the situation.

I feel like I was easily able to find a balance between pushing and hindering when my kids were younger, but now I'm bewildered and new all over again as the parent of two adolescents.

What's your take? When did you start dropping your kids off places?