Thursday, December 20, 2012

Keeping Children Safe...Enough IS Enough...

As a mom of five small children, four of whom are still in elementary school, I am having a difficult time turning off the tears and my mind. The events that transpired last week have truly rocked my core. Not just because of how horrific the situation, not just because I have small children, but because I volunteer at an elementary school for a class of first graders. I realize they aren't my children, but when I went in to school Monday to help them with their math, I just wanted to swallow them and wrap them up with bullet proof armor! I went from laughing and enjoying my time with them, to wanting to protect them as I do my own children.

I don't think any of us can truly feel the pain of the parents and siblings of Newtown who lost their precious children. But I still feel a pit of grief in my stomach that is very raw and very emotional. I have been trying extra hard to be extremely patient with my kids, to fully listen, and to appreciate all the good within them. Rather than focus on all the things that drive me nuts. Let's face it, in the big picture, the things that drive me crazy are ideals that stem from me just wanting them to be PERFECT. All the time.

So much has been said these last few days about guns, mental illness, security at schools, grief, moving forward, and the loss of innocence by those who died and those who survived. But, how do we move forward? I honestly don't know. But we will. As a family, as a community, and as a nation. I was 100% convinced that Monday would be different at my kids school. In fact I made it very clear, to each of them, that it may be a quiet day for many to reflect and to expect some changes when they walked in the door. ALL five of my kids came home and said NOTHING was different. I wasn't sure if I was shocked, appalled or relieved. Even today, I am still struggling with how I feel.

I think the thing that upset me about how my school district handled the day, was their lack of reaction. I guess I just expected MORE. I can't say exactly what I was expecting, but Monday left me with that sick feeling of no-wonder-tragedies-continue-to-happen. A letter from the principal was emailed saying that the teachers had collectively decided NOT to discuss the events of last Friday, but if ANY child brought it up, their teacher would reassure the child and inform the parent. OK, I get that. The school covering themselves against those children who's parents chose to shield them from the gruesome details circulating around the world. Where my anger and disbelief lies is how they handled ME when I walked through the door. Granted they know my face in the front office, as they should! I've had five kids go through there over the last six years. But, what they didn't know was my state of mind, if I had a criminal record, whether I let someone in the back door that was locked, or what was in my coat or purse. In fact the secretary NEVER even looked up when I passed her by!!! NOT that I would ever harm anyone, I want to make that point VERY clear, but what stopped me from bringing in a weapon Monday? Absolutely NOTHING and NO ONE. So for my kids to come home and say nothing was different, I guess shouldn't have shocked me. But it did. And still does.

Something needs to change. This type of tragedy cannot happen again. We as Americans need to put our differences aside and collectively say NO MORE. Why did gun sales go up after Friday? Because a law might tell us we can't have an assault weapon? Let's be honest. Why does anyone NEED one? I grew up with guns. My dad is a collector. My boyfriend is a hunter. Never once have I felt the NEED to have my own. Why is the media trying to connect mental illness with violence? Why do more innocent people need to die before anything is changed? It reminds me of stop signs or traffic signals. How many people have to die at an intersection before one is installed? When is enough going to be enough?

I have hugged my children so hard these last few days that they are telling me I'm hurting them. My seven year old daughter has asked me night after night if it's safe to go to school tomorrow. My oldest daughter continues to ask me why I keep watching the news. In her words, "It's so sad." Even my little first graders have hugged me tighter these last few days. I just can't seem to wrap my head around the whole WHY aspect of this unspeakable tragedy. I don't think anyone can. And I truly believe that even if law enforcement officials offer an answer to why, that it really won't make any of this better UNLESS all of us are willing to make changes. We are all forever changed. One of my favorite quotes comes from George Bernard Shaw. He said, "Progress is impossible without change and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything." I need reassurance that our kids are safe in order for me to be OK. Children have an uncanny knack for being resilient, sweet, trusting, and inspiring. What a total disservice to all children everywhere if we as adults can't learn from what happened and vow to make changes to stop the unnecessary violence bestowed on them. We can't just say we need to change. We have to actually change. There are no valid excuses after last Friday. There is no denying that losing a child is as bad as it gets. Keeping our kids and everyone else safe, has to be a priority for every American citizen. Period.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Why I Didn't Vote....

I know, I know. I really debated on even writing this piece, and I KNOW it's going to spark a WHOLE LOT of controversy. But this is my blog, my thoughts, my place to vent, and my opinion. I don't EVER believe any of what I write is anything more than that.  So please do not be offended by what I'm about to write. No, I did not vote this year. I had several people ask me if I did. When I responded, "No. I'm not voting" the look on their face was that of pure shock.

There were several reasons I didn't. The first was that I'm so sick of picking the "lesser of two evils". If one more person I talked to said, "well, what's the alternative?" I may have actually slapped them. I mean come on! Why should we as Americans settle for mediocrity at this point in the game? We are a nation that is crumbling, who's priorities are sidelined, and yet we continue to elect politicians who are so corrupt, that I'm starting to question why we don't let some of the animals housed in our prison system back on the streets? Honestly, it's no wonder other countries shake their heads at us! I am too!

The second reason I didn't vote was because I never feel like I have the correct information to make an educated choice. The ads on TV are so grossly misleading and the materials written for us to read are long and overwhelming. I'm a single mom of five. The last thing I want to do is sit down at night and read a LONG dissertation about some crazy politician that makes a bunch of promises he or she can't keep. Let's face it, the reality is that all the other crooks we elected can't get their shit together and actually make decisions that could help our nation and economy. Why aren't the members of Congress taking a pay cut? I bet they aren't worried about where their next meal comes from, whether they will have a roof over their head tomorrow, or whether their family will have health care. We have schools that are laying off teachers left and right, soldiers who aren't paid squat, police and fire squads running at bare minimums, small business owners trying to figure out how to keep employees and afford medical care, and towns ravaged by storms that have left families with nothing. Nothing! Yet a couple of politicians can raise BILLIONS for a campaign????

Someone please explain to me how two people can spend BILLIONS, yet can't pull a nation out of debt? Nothing makes sense to me when it comes to politics. And ALL of it disgusts me. The kicker for me is not only the ridiculous childlike mudslinging of grown men, or the blatant twist of wording in speeches, but the fact that the media makes it seem like if we don't live in Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Florida, that our votes don't count anyway! Or one step further? The fact that the Electoral College actually determines the President NOT the popular vote! Something just seems so wrong about all of that. Maybe I'm missing something. Or again, I'm not educated enough in politics to understand the whole process. But it sure seems to me that my vote actually DOESN'T matter?

And someone PLEASE tell me why we have the most archaic voting system in the world? And why we have to hear election after election about some state that counted wrong or ballets holes were misaligned? In this age of expanding technology, there has to be something more accurate.

I'm just frustrated with the whole system. I'm frustrated with every crooked politician. I'm tired of settling. I'm tired of my hard earned money paying some politicians kid's education instead of going for my own kids. I'm tired of hearing about all the wasted tax money going for some lavish business trip or meeting. I'm tired of hearing about prominent officials affairs, security breaches, and over the top expense spending. I'm tired of hearing about money being wasted on different laws and bills tied up in our government. Politicians remind me of selfish spoiled rotten children. They want the most toys, the best toys, and they don't care who they hurt to get them. They want their cake and to eat it too. Well what about the rest of us who just want the best for OUR children? I want to know that EVERY soldier is paid properly for protecting my family day after day. I want to know that EVERY teacher has the best tools to give MY kids the best education. I want to know that there are ENOUGH police and fire fighters to protect my family ALWAYS. I want politicians to realize that their priorities aren't in line with average hard working families. I want them to start making choices that affect us positively and not keep putting us in the spot light of over-the-top-thrifty-all-about-me spending. I really don't think I'm asking or saying anything that most people aren't already thinking. It's just MY thoughts written down so that maybe, just maybe, I can find an unbiased answer for me My hope is that next time there is an election I CAN make an educated vote and one that I feel actually matters and counts.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I Know What I Want To Be When I Grow Up

I was standing doing my hair today wondering where I went wrong in life. How come I'm working my ass off trying to find a job, take care of a home, take care of my kids (who most days hate me), and take care of myself? Which the later seems to be sorely losing out. Honestly! Did I make a mistake in college when I chose a Business degree that focused on Advertising and Graphic Arts? Did I make a mistake when I opted not to pose for Playboy when they were at my college campus? Did I make a mistake when I thought having kids would fix my troubled marriage? Did I make a mistake when I chose to stay home and be a full time parent for my kids? or did I make the biggest mistake of all and not get into reality TV?????

Seriously! Out of all the poor decisions I've made in the last 20 years, I can honestly say I most regret not getting a degree in Bayou Gator Hunting, being Hugh Heffner's 20 year old girl friend, signing up for Dave & Julie Plus 5, or selling out my kid's tantrums to some ridiculous dance show, nanny show, or talent show!!! I want to know exactly what Sharon Osborn wants to do for Honey Boo Boo. Give her money for a college education??? Make her a talent star because she's an over weight mouthy little girl?? What??

I want to know what the rest of the hard working people around the world did wrong that they don't make $300k AN EPISODE for drinking, smoking, swearing, tanning, and sleeping with every warm willing body! I want to know why I wasn't born a red neck!!!! Look at all the GREAT vacations they go on!!! The Hamptons and Europe! I want to go there! Oh wait I can't...because I'm an "average" American trying to find a job so that my "real" children can eat and continue to have a roof over their head.

Why wasn't I born extremely wealthy? or marry someone extremely wealthy so that I can throw my 12 year old daughter a birthday party, where ALL the guests are required to bring a gift totalling more than most people make in a month. Then belittle and berate all my staff because the money I have is an entitlement, not something I worked really hard for.

Better yet!!! Why wasn't I born a gifted athlete who wins the hearts, admiration, and respect of millions?  Only to believe I'm invincible to the laws. OOOOOhhhh even one better than a professional athlete? A politician!!!! Sooooo above the law! I could have been a crook, a murderer, an adulterer, or a rapist and gotten away with ALL of it! Why? because I'm a politician.

I'm just completely sick of all the job opportunities I've passed up in the last few years. Clearly there were some good ones! Clearly ones where I wouldn't have to have ANY regard for hard work and self respect. Ones that teach my children about the easy road in life. Ones that don't require any of life's skills. Ones where I don't even have to speak clear English! Ones that destroy my loved ones trust, honesty and self worth. Ones that DON'T represent everything I was raised to believe. I don't want the easy road. I just want a job that pays a few bills. I don't want to be any one's boss. I just want to go to work, do my job, come home, and boss around my five kids. I'm not asking for much. Just a chance. I suppose I can always resort to gator hunting if all else for the kids and a new belt and shoes for Mama! Win win for everyone!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Some Days Suck

Waa, waa, waa...I know, I know, we all have our problems. Some just seem worse than others. And some days just totally suck. I try very hard to stay positive and I try very hard to make sure the glass is always half full. But, having to be the bad guy, or in my case, the meanest mom in town, just blows.

Whoever said kids suck the life out of you, wasn't kidding. That's exactly what they do! They take your life and your wallet without a blink of an eye. After my son got through telling me I was a horrible mother because I wouldn't spend 99 cents on ANOTHER video game for him, my daughter came after me because I told her she couldn't go away for the weekend due to too much homework. My other son had to remind me that it was ALL my fault that no one was home to play. And my other two daughters were mad at me because I made them sit and eat a healthy meal before they could play with their friend. I'm so mean right???

I honestly don't EVER remember being that mean to my mom. Sure I remember being disappointed because I couldn't do EVERYTHING I wanted and being pissed off because I couldn't have the rainbow shirt ALL my friends had. But I never talked to my mom the way my kids talk to me. Like the world owes them. Like they deserve to have EVERYTHING. It's disgusting really. Deep down it makes me wonder if I did something to create this? Or can I blame all their friends that DO get everything and tease my kids because they don't have the latest and greatest new toy? Or can I blame all the ridiculous TV ads for pushing all the new technology my kids THINK they need? I don't know the answer. I really don't. What I do know is that I'm the meanest mom ever because I don't always give in.

As I listened to my friend yesterday, I am reminded that things can always be worse. She has to be one of the kindest, most giving people I know. She is one of those people who literally has nothing, yet would give you the shirt off her back if you needed it. She is one in a million. More people should be like her! My kids should be like her! I just feel for her. Like many families, they are struggling every month just to get by. She works and her husband works two jobs. Yet it's just not enough. She is absolutely someone I wish would win the lottery or fall into a pool of money. Why? Because it's people like her that need a little luck. Why is it that those who can potentially squander good fortune do? and those that truly need it are eternally grateful and use it wisely? Again, answers I can't wrap my head around. I just hate knowing that those of us who work really hard to keep what we have, get the short end of the stick. We have to beg, borrow and plead just to keep our heads afloat.

Recently, I have been slapped in the face with the reality of job hunting. It is clearly a world of who you know, not what you know. In the last month and a half I have applied to almost 50 jobs. No one has responded. I am thoroughly discouraged. So yes, I have to remind myself that things could be worse. Some days do suck. I am mean because I'm trying to make my kids appreciate what they already have. And I am reminded daily that with a little hope, patience, and luck things ALWAYS work out. Some times we just have to go through hell to get to happiness.

Monday, September 10, 2012


When it rains, it pours. I don't know who coined that phrase, but it always seems to hit right on the money. I had a horrible weekend with my kiddos. I've decided that they are the most selfish, ungrateful, rude, self centered people I know. The depressing part is that I feel like it's all my fault. The reality is that a good majority of it stems from their father. I run a tight ship. I can make Mommy Dearest look like a saint some days.

After I went on strike yesterday and refused to help them or cook for them, AND reminded them countless times that they treat me like dirt, a few of them finally apologized. I still want to choke them this morning. But for the moment, and for my own sanity, I feel the need to be funny. Not all weepy. After all, laughter is the best medicine. And, if I don't start laughing, I may actually spend the day crying again.

So here's the skinny. I am a relatively small person. However, if there is one thing I can't stand, it's my belly. Thank you again ungrateful children. I just hate the way it looks when I want to wear something fitting. Hence the miracle cure, Spanx. Or so I thought. I have actually spent a fair amount of money on these get-ups. All with the hope that it will sausage my belly into looking like a movie star.

The first one I bought rides up my bum. I figured that it wasn't supposed to do that, and I bought another one with tighter tummy control. The second one with straps, squishes my boobs so far together that I look like a porn star. Thus prompting me to purchase a third. The final one, a super tummy control, flattens both my boobs and sometimes my tummy so that I now look like my 11 year old daughter. Notice the word sometimes??? Yes, I finally figured out that Spanx are great, provided you purchase the right one. The problem is this. Spanx do not allow you the freedom to eat and drink as much as you can and still hold your belly in. Clearly there was no mention of that in the ad. Otherwise, I would have saved myself hundreds of dollars and just ordered a salad and a water. Not an appetizer, burger, fries, and beer.

The concept of Spanx is great. And granted when you finish squeezing yourself in and stop sweating, they do actually make your outfit look great! However, I'm not a movie star. I don't starve myself before I attempt to get into one. I don't order a salad, or not eat at all, before, during and after wearing one. I wrestle myself into it, eat and drink all kinds of bad stuff, then wrestle myself out of it. It's truly a process! And now that it is WAY tighter than when I stuffed myself in, I HAVE to have help getting out. Kind of takes the sexiness out of the moment. I'm sweaty and exhausted and I haven't even had any fun.

This is what women endure to look good for their men. Years ago it was a corset. Now it's Spanx. I keep asking my man, "How come we don't stop running? Let's just be fat and happy. Let's become part of the majority, not the minority and eat and drink all we can!" Granted this statement ALWAYS comes in the middle of a long run, followed by nachos and beer at our favorite restaurant. We run, so we CAN eat and drink like we want. With the occasional over indulgence thrown in. But who's pointing fingers? Not me! I guess my point is this. There is no miracle cure for the Buddha belly. Either embrace it's existence, or stuff it in and pray it doesn't spring lose! Now where did I hide that chocolate?????

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hormone Therapy

It was suggested to me today that MAYBE I should try hormone therapy...My response was VERY clear, "Why? I don't have any problem being a B*$ch! I don't want to fix it." I have definitely reached my whits end. And it's not just my kids this time. Shocked? Yes, I realize you are.

I have been trying to get a job for the last month. OK, it's been longer than that. But, I have been REALLY trying this last month. It has been an absolute nightmare. For several reasons. The ex lost his job at the end of July. It was the ONLY responsibility he had. Literally. I do everything else. So now the push is on for both of us to come up with something. Me because I cannot stand to be strapped to a clinically depressed-unmotivated-poor me-idiot anymore. And him for his children.

I've been slapped into the reality of it is CLEARLY who you know these days, not what you know. It's sad really. I have applied to so many jobs with very little response. Other than, "We got your resume and it's now in our data bank..." with millions of other people trying to get a job too. No one actually sends you a thanks but no thanks letter anymore. They just send a generic data bank letter or nothing at all. The thing that truly aggravates me is the time it takes to actually fill out an on-line application! It is beyond ridiculous. It takes an hour for EACH application. Then to get nothing or a generic response is just discouraging.

I made the executive decision that I am applying anywhere. If I'm going to be the one to support my kids, then I get to dictate where we live. Right? So where to??? Hmmmmm Bermuda, Belize, Fiji, Hawaii, Caribbean???? Why not right? I have no problem packing up my bathing suit, sun screen, and Kindle and moving out. I can home school the kids on the beach. They can learn about real life by ripping off tourists and selling t-shirts on the beach. If the wackos from Jersey Shore can do it, why can't my kids?? My kids are WAY smarter than those nut jobs! Imagine what they can learn! Math, Science, Social Studies, Foreign Language, street smarts...What?! Why can't I just do what the locals do there? Open up a fake business with no insurance, and pray no one gets hurt...I'm 99% sure that's how most businesses operate down on the islands.

OK, so maybe I'm delirious with frustration. I'm trying very hard to stay positive and do a little bit everyday. But, it really is hard to stay focused when you know going into a job posting that your odds of getting a human being to respond or that an internal candidate has pretty well secured the position are slim to none. Why can't I win the lottery? or at least buy some property that miraculously has natural gas hidden under it? Or oil? Jeez, now I sound like the hoo poor me. NOT!!! I am a firm believer in making your own happiness. Therefore, I will keep plugging along with the belief that only good will come my way...Oh cabana boy!!! Have you seen my chitlings???? A girl can dream right??

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Back To School

Ahhhhh...The day has FINALLY arrived! The first day of school. I feel like Mr. Rogers, "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day in the neighborhood..." I love my kids, but wow were they ready to go back and I was ready for them to! Woot Woot, bring on the Mommy-ritas!

It wasn't many years ago when there would be moms crying at the bus stop and totally appalled at me for smiling and doing the happy-I-have-my-life-back dance. Now guess who's happy and doing the same dance?! Once you get that taste of freedom, there is no turning back. My house stays clean, there is actually food that lasts more than five minutes, I'm not racing around picking up toy after toy after toy, AND there is no "I'm bored...." every hour on the hour.

My oldest started Middle School this year, two in Fourth Grade, and another two in Second Grade. They aren't babies anymore. In fact all of them WISH they were older. I wish they were older some days too! I can't wait to buy my studio apartment and futon. Have one key and not tell a sole where it is. The old, "Don't call us. We'll call you" will apply.

And it's not just me who's happy that they went back to school. Though they would NEVER admit it, they are too. It gets to a point where they can't stand one another. The bickering lasts from morning until night. The toys aren't fun anymore. The neighbor kids are boring. Even video games become lame. Kids need their space. Mine play all day, pretty much together, share a room at night, then wake up and do it all over. Again, and again, and again. After two and a half months, it gets to be a bit much. And I can't blame them! They have five completely different personalities. Five different sets of interests. And five different taste pallets. Playing mediator, jury and judge gets old real quick. Everyone needs a break. Including the dog. She's out like a light.

I like the routine that school sets. My kids like structure too. When we all know what to expect, things run like clock work. Breakfast, brush, make beds, dress, lunches, out the door. Start cooking dinner at 3:30pm so they can eat like horses, do their homework, and play for another couple hours. Throw in the odd after school activity (which there are several) and call it a day. It's not rocket science, it's just a schedule that's easy for everyone to follow. What's not easy is the homework. No, I am clearly NOT smarter than a 5th Grader! I had trouble with some First Grade stuff last year. I can pretty much hold my own with everything about the kids going back to school. But that homework stuff is a nightmare. I am forever telling my kids, "I did my share of homework. Now it's your turn!"...partly because I have no idea what the hell I'm doing. Thankfully they don't ask for help often. And thankfully I can look up stuff on the Internet!

Well I can see I'm running out of my mommy time. My oldest will be home in a few hours. Damn that went fast! But peace has settled in the house, power cleaning will start tomorrow, and for now my blood pressure has restored itself. There's nothing a good Margarita can't fix!