Category: FAMILY

like a prayer

like a prayer

the prayer may take you there, but you don’t need to drag anyone else into it.

this morning, i was reading the tragic story of a young man, a quarterback with incredible athletic ability, somehow getting lost and perishing in the woods.  i should know better than to look at the comments after any story in a national publication, but i went there.

it started off with a woman offering prayers.

Dear Lord, take him into your kingdom, for all are weak and weary, and stumble and fall and fail..Have mercy Lord.

of course, some took offense over her line about people being weak and weary and stumbling and falling. considering the man may have had some emotional issues, this could have been taken in a number of different ways. at first people took offense to her prayer. they found it insensitive to the man and the family and noted it.

enter the religious folks. one wrote:

Great. A Christian makes a thoughtful and prayerful comment about a very tragic situation and all the atheist assholes come out of the woodwork. Go back in your wormholes.

so accept her thoughtful christian prayer, you heathen assholes. (not a very christian sentiment, i would add.)

backup comes. one person finally clarifies it all for the world (and i would add: sic):

YOU people must don’t go to church to understand her prayer…she meant NO harm by it!! People read your bible and go to church and maybe you WILL understand her prayer…geez!

so see? her prayer should be accepted and appreciated. and everyone else, you clearly need to go to church. fin.

like i said earlier, i don’t usually look at comment sections of national publications. usually, they are permeated with trolls and other bizarro people who often, though not always, hide behind anonymity to spew some really awful stuff, stuff they might never (although never say never with people, i suppose) say to a person’s face if they encountered them in real life. but i did, and it got me thinking.

it’s wonderful to offer support to people, particularly the bereaved.  the world surely needs love today. but isn’t it selfish if you are offering support that screams your faith? your faith may be a great comfort to you, but it may mean nothing to the person to whom you’re offering it. for example, i cannot tell you how many times people have invoked jesus’ name when they’ve sought to provide sympathy to me during my life. i smile and say thank you because i was raised to be a nice jewish girl; but honestly, invoking jesus’ name means literally nothing to me. well, nothing other than you are pressing your religion on me, possibly at a time when i really, really would prefer non-sectarian kindness. i don’t think all christians in particular get this concept. we realize that when you tell us you are praying for us that this is a comfort to you, as you are doing something which you’ve taught is something that should of course be a comfort to everyone. but for those of us non-christians — and especially for those of us who are atheists — telling us you are praying for us is kind of a subtle burden, a tacit moment of you pushing your faith on us. i do not doubt for one nanosecond that this is done unconsciously and with great love and caring; but if you ever stopped for a second and put yourself in someone else’s shoes, you might rethink it.

why not instead go for the human touch? why not extend condolences? why not say lovely things about the lost loved one? you might wish the bereaved the strength to get through such a tough time. there are a lot of things you can say to a person that are kind and loving and which convey your deep sympathies without getting all religious on him. instead of telling me you’re praying for me, why not instead say i’m in your thoughts? it works.


now, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t pray for someone if that’s what your religion teaches you to do. but you shouldn’t foist that on someone else who doesn’t share your beliefs. pray all you want — pray for the bereaved, pray for the lost love one — just do it for yourself, quietly, respectfully.

when my beloved father in law passed away a few years ago, i was so deeply sad for my husband, for my kids, for my mother in law and for the rest of the family. (i was also deeply sad, period. my father in law was a wonderful man.) as my father in law was catholic, he was buried in accordance with his faith. i would never have dreamed of pushing my religious beliefs on anyone in my husband’s family, then or on any other day. i walked up to his casket and let my heart speak. i remember thinking positive thoughts to send him on his way. and then, i remember, quietly, in my internal dialogue, telling him i hoped he would understand that i was going to quietly do what i was taught to do in this situation. i hoped, if nothing else, that he was looking down from heaven, and getting a giggle over his strange but ever-loyal jewish daughter in law.

and in my head, i quietly said mourner’s kaddish.

i would never want to burden any of the living with my religious beliefs (though i eventually told my husband, who i think smiled at the weirdness of the act), especially at a time like that. but i hoped that as he started his journey, my father in law would understand.

watch closely now

watch closely now

is anyone watching them now?

since anyone can remember, the big kids at the elementary school get important volunteer jobs. some are bus patrols. some help inside the school, like BC, who at the time asked to be a music helper because there’s no way on earth i am doing a job where you have to stand outside in the rain and the snow somedays. and of course, there are the kids who work the kiss and ride.

the kiss and ride is a critical part of the morning for a lot of us. sleep-hazed parents and children start to pull up at the designated strip of land around 8:30 or so, where, if they’ve shown up by then, one of six 5th graders opens the door, announces good morning! in a voice suitable for a mickey mouse club audition, waits for various numbers of children to tumble out onto the sidewalk, declares that you should have a nice day! in the next breath, and slams the door (hopefully not on the backside of the last child out. ) they also direct traffic, waving drivers to move up as far along the path as they can be, to accommodate as many cars as possible in a short period of time. it’s actually not an easy job, especially for 10 and 11 year olds.

now, in theory, these kids are supervised, much in the same way the bus patrols are supervised, in theory, by the bus drivers (who have nothing better to do than navigated miles and miles of suburban and urban tangles amidst drivers who really ought to consider valium prior to getting in their respective vehicles.) but as of late, i have scratched my head and wondered why kids are directing traffic without an adult nearby.

maybe it’s because i come on the early shift — usually between 8:30 and 8:40. perhaps the grownups come out afterwards in the height of traffic — the 8:40-8:50 timeframe when, i suspect, all you-know-what breaks loose. (or can. i wouldn’t put it past a lot of these adults, all of whom are’t-you-know-who-i-AM?) but i don’t usually see any grownups there supervising the kids. i should note i have been doing this run for six years now. i have a lot of years of kiss-and-ride patrol experience here. and while last year’s crew was head-and-shoulders the worst bunch of patrols ever, this year’s is giving them a run for their money. i have been driving up when one child is walking backwards, as if on a balance beam, on the very edge of the sidewalk, while cars nearly miss him. i have had kids nearly taking out my kid’s leg as they absentmindedly close the door behind him (too bad for my son, he’s not a speed demon every morning.)

and this morning took the proverbial cake. i pulled up behind a car where one of the patrols was holding the door open. unfortunately, there was no child getting out — in fact, the child was already down the sidewalk, turning the corner towards the school building. but the patrol, deep in conversation with the five other patrols, who were all sitting on the fence like little birdies, chirping amongst themselves, didn’t notice. i saw the mother behind the wheel yell something to the patrol. the spell broken, he turned and, realizing his error, closed the door so that she could proceed.

meanwhile, jools, who had by this time undone his seat belt and who had leaned forward to give me a goodbye kiss, had realized that no one was coming to open his door. those little birdies were still yapping away on the fence to the one standing, who somehow didn’t realize that another car had been waiting behind the first. taking the initiative, jools started to open his door and proceed out. the birdies were suddenly awakened — they leapt off the fence and started yelling at me to move my car up. hello — you didn’t get up off your butts to let my kid out, so you can wait until he safely gets himself out of the car. they continued to yell at me while jools made his way. i don’t tend to get into arguments with kids, mine or other peoples’ – but i did announce to them — maybe if you paid attention to your job and stopped yakking, this could have been different.

they were not amused.

but, my goal was not to get into it with a bunch of 5th graders (i do consider myself smarter than a 5th grader, at least most days anyhow) but rather to get my son safely off to school. and i did, though i didn’t get to tell him i love you like i do on most mornings — i just saw him slink sadly down the street toward school.

now, i realize that these are 10 and 11 year old kids. but that is exactly my point. i see the adult crossing guard who really has a time of it up the street from the school, trying to get people to stop so that pedestrians on their way to school don’t end up as road pizza. and she is an adult. and when kids are supervised at the kiss-and-ride, they are on the ball and pay attention to this job which they probably should hand off to grownups in the first place. but. left to their own devices and without supervision, kids will be kids. they will zone off. they will space out. they will chatter. and they won’t necessarily be paying as close attention to a job in which safety is paramount — for themselves as well as for the people whom they serve.

next year, jools has a shot of being some sort of school helper. i sincerely hope he opts to help out the music teacher, like his sister did. i don’t know how much she was supervised when she was a music helper, but my spidey sense tells me that the worst thing that might happen there would be he might drop a cymbal on his foot. i can live with that sort of mistake.

and so can he.

my sweet lord

my sweet lord

i heard george harrison in the car today and i had an epiphany. go figure.

tragedy has struck again in boston. strangely, there were people attending the marathon who had experienced a recent tragedy in newtown, connecticut. tragedy strikes at an alarming rate these days; i’m not entirely certain whether there are more tragedies actually occurring or whether the 24-hour news cycle is just better at bringing them into our lives, up close and personal.

and while some may become impervious over time to nonstop horror, i fear i may never achieve that. it tears me up inside thinking that there are people so disturbed in the world who would take others’ lives, who might even take their own lives, maybe for a cause — or maybe for madness alone. services to help the disaffected, the mentally ill, are not easily obtained. the weapons to create mass destruction are readily available.  it was patriot’s day in massachusetts, the boston marathon, and even tax day in america. was some sick individual or group trying to make a statement? time will tell, and while we armchair crime scene specialists ponder the few shreds of clues we have, we can’t jump to conclusions.  we must wait for the professionals to do their important work.

so back to george harrison. at times like these, when i know i can’t jump to conclusions, i want to know how to find peace somehow in all of this. i struggle to make some sense out of the senseless. and this, of course, brings me to thinking about G-d.

see, G-d and me, we have a strange relationship. i wish with all my heart i could believe in G-d, unfailingly, the way my son believes in the tooth fairy or even in me. but whereas my son sees a coin under his pillow or clean clothes unfailingly piled on his chair every few days, i don’t see anything tangible that cannot be explained. my heart has always wanted to believe, but the analyst in me has struggled. after all, there is a lot of scientific evidence which, for me, makes it pretty clear.  personally, i don’t believe in the bible as the word of G-d; i believe it is a wonderful recounting of how the world happened, according to the people who wrote it, full of their attempts to make sense of what was happening, complete with deus ex machina moments galore. (i have loved reading it, as literature, since i was a child. when i think about it, english major that i am, it isn’t very different from the way the greeks and romans wrote their mythologies.) and yet, i find myself praying to G-d at services, talking to G-d when things make no sense. and then, i am left wondering: with Whom am i actually talking? am i talking to myself?

and these awful things that happen. if there really was a Being who loved us, why would He/She let this stuff go down? who lives and who dies — it is all so capricious. maybe i’m still bitter. see, in high school, my mom ended up with cancer. at the same time, my friend’s mom did, too. my mom survived two bouts. his mom didn’t. grateful as i have always been that my mom is still a pain in my ass to this very day, i never, ever forgot what a heart-wrenching, horrific shock it was for my friend and his family, all good people who didn’t deserve such pain. so, in short, i have read what theologians have had to say about this — why bad things happen to good people, yada yada —  and yet, for me, it doesn’t compute. it doesn’t work. it simply doesn’t add up.

but today, as i was singing along with george in the car, i realized: maybe it will never make sense. and maybe by not understanding why horrible things happen grinds home the idea that yes, i am just human.  i need to accept that. but maybe, just maybe,  i need to appeal to something bigger than me. maybe i am talking to a spirit of goodness. (no, i’m not a hippie here. just a mom.) yeah, other people can call that spirit G-d or whatever, but to me, i want to believe that there is some spark in the universe, a flash of goodness that can be inside all of us if we let it. no, it probably didn’t create the universe or hear my prayers to save my cat (he died though i prayed and prayed he wouldn’t) or outline one specific way that all people must live their lives. but that spark is the infinite possibility that there can be and there always must be something good in all of us — and that all of us can use that good for the world. clearly, on dark days like this, i realize that not everyone is possessed by that positive, and it saddens me.  and in prayer, or in my conversations, maybe i am reaching out to the universe, hopeful for a better day, for strength, and for peace.

all of which i might find within myself, if i just look carefully.

you don’t have to be jewish or christian or muslim or buddhist or a subscriber to any particular organized religion to feel this way, i think. (and if your religion gives you the comfort that i was lacking, more power to you. just use that power to bring about peace.) george sings about really wanting to know his lord, really being a part of his lord. and on days like this one, i don’t know about knowing G-d. but i do know that i want to believe — and i have to believe — that good does start out inside each and every one of us. some of us ignore it; some of us are ill and can’t find it. but it is there.

and believing that buoys me.

rosh hash, or how i need to watch my honey

rosh hash, or how i need to watch my honey

so here we are, day one.

i’ve been writing down my food like a champ. we of course ran out of milk, so i broke out the almond milk and mixed it up with my protein powder,  the new stuff (designer whey) which i don’t like so much. (i like this, but it ain’t cheap.) i ended up walking some paperwork into school’s front office, and from there, i hit the store to get some groceries.  so much for dropping him off and working out, right?

ah well. after getting the brisket into the crockpot and getting carrots chopped for tzimmes (both inherently diet-friendly foods — not!), i finally went for a walk/run in the hood which was 30 minutes long or so, 30 minutes that was sheer ow on my knees. (this is what i get for not going go shul on yom tov. G-d is not amused.) it’s not a marathon, but it’s a start. and i did get out there.

and good thing i did, too; for at the stroke of 12:30ish, i saw those familiar digits show up on caller ID: the school nurses’ office. the boy is sick. nothing earth-shattering, of course — basically, his allergies were so bad that he had already been through an entire box of tissues and was threatening to use a forest-full by day’s end. after actually arguing with him in the clinic, i could tell that he felt pretty lousy. so now, he is home, on antihistimines, and knows the drill: no TV, no video games, no nothing fun until the school day is over. (i’m mean like that.)

so he’s having a giggle with his 30-minute reading assignment. and hell, since he has time to kill, he is working on another 30 minute reading assignment for later this week. little does he know that i would kill to get 60 whole minutes just to read for pleasure. (well, i do get that once every four weeks: it’s called getting hooked up to an IV.) i told him if he did that reading PLUS the reading log work, then i would give him 30 minutes off for good behavior. and lo and behold, it is done.

of course, in the midst of this, i am trying to work and cook. mom, jools yells, you know, i could teach you how to play pokemon right now. it’s really fun.

little boy, do you think i sit around and eat bonbons when you aren’t here?

so now, i’m stressed. and i’m trying not to eat for fun and profit.

and also when i get stressed out, i bake. it being rosh hash, i am baking honey cake — well, a honey cake that is supposed to be honey cupcakes.  see, the recipe looks a bit lighter than the usual, heavy as a brick honey cake. i just don’t feel like something heavy — not that i should be eating it, anyway. but between the honey in the tzimmes, the honey in the cake, and, well, pretty much everything has honey in it (note to the non-jews in the crowd: it’s SYMBOLISM. you know, starting a year sweetly!), it isn’t going to be easy making my calories conform.

i guess i will stick with apples dipped in honey and call it a day.

it’s not a perfect food/fitness day, but i guess i am at least conscious of things.

happy new year to all who celebrate.

bus stop

bus stop

here’s a back-to-school equation for you: bad decisions + poor communication = really pissed off parents.

so arlington county public schools is a pretty awesome district. we moved here specifically for the schools, and we’ve been quite happy overall with our kids’ experiences. we’ve especially loved our elementary school, taylor elementary (go tigers!) the administration is open and receptive; the teachers have been caring; and so far, so good. my house is .9 miles from the school; and we are among the people situated closest to the school from out of our school bus stop pals. most are further away, certainly a mile or more. [pay attention to this info;  there will be a test later. maybe.]

this summer, we received two letters from APS.  the first letter from our superintendent, dated july 9, told us about first day packets (which we can now fill out online at the Student Info Center — yay, arlington! you answered some of my prayers!) also, it hinted at fun things to come in transportation land. APS apparently had hired consultants (motto: got a problem? if not, we’ll show you that you do!) to help figure out the nightmarish transportation conundrums facing a school system that is overcrowded and yet still growing. yes, changes were afoot:

“With the start of the school year this fall, we will be moving forward with the plans that the Office of Transportation has outlined. One of the first steps underway includes the implementation of bus‐routing software to help us plan routes that are more efficient so we can maximize the capacity of our bus fleet.

The second step that is critical to this plan is to serve students who are eligible to receive bus transportation services. As outlined in School Board policy, elementary school students who live more than one mile from school and secondary school students who live more than 1½ miles from school will receive bus transportation.

In early August, principals will be sending families of students who are eligible for transportation services a letter that will include their child’s bus stop and route. This addresses a critical safety concern for students who ride buses and allows us to better communicate and serve families when we may experience a delay or other changes in service.”

hmm. we’re .9 mile from school, but others are more than a mile. i hope we get that info soon, i thought. i will need to plan if my kid loses his school bus. it’s a 20 minute walk to school, barring he doesn’t get run down on North 31st Street (motto: Death Race 2000 wasn’t filmed here, but it could have been), or wiped out walking up our congested main street (the equivalent of 10 flights of stairs while carrying a 35+ pound backpack — yeah, yeah, you walked to school uphill in the snow both ways when you were young. hey, the 1970s called and wants your sad, fat ass back. would love to see some naysaying adults walk this walk with a backpack in either snow or 90+ degree weather during rush hour.) if i walk with him, that’s 80 minutes a day i have to carve out. daily. you know, from my bon-bon eating, soap opera-watching life as a stay-at-home mother. (isn’t that what we stay-at-home-moms do? oh yeah, i do have contract work. and, uh, i dunno. basically keeping things afloat. but i digress. per usual.)

there’s no short-cut to school, unless you consider a wooded park behind our house. and anyone who knows kids knows that given the choice of walking down and up a long, boring, traffic-lined sidewalk with stinky cars all around or walking through a park, well, the park wins. only this park has no path directly to school from our neighborhood. imagine the boy, running first through my kindly neighbor’s yard to get to the park, then crossing the stream that runs through the park, and then, going through a heavily wooded, very hilly area to get to and from school each day! yee ha! only now imagine 20, 30 children doing that each day. and no, we don’t live in east boofoo, nowhereland. we are less than one mile from a major city.

so. not. safe.

and i’m digressing yet again.

fast forward your little time machine to early august. august 3 to be exact. and heeeeere’s another letter. oh goody. i’ll get some clarification, right?

Transportation Assignment Letters: Transportation Services will be mailing letters to the parents of APS students who
are eligible for bus transportation later this month. Please look for your letter in the mail the week of August 20. It will include your child’s bus route number, bus stop and pickup time. The lower portion of the letter includes a “voucher.” Please be sure to tear it off and have your child carry it and present it to the driver when boarding the bus.

Walker Letters: A separate letter will be mailed for children who live in the school “walk zone.” Bus transportation is available only for students who are eligible for transportation and have received a transportation “voucher” in the mail. Otherwise, we hope you will encourage your student to walk or bike to school – this is a healthier option and will also help our environment by reducing the number of cars transporting students to and from school. Information about biking or walking to school is available online at or

whatwhatWHAT? so let me get this straight: you MAY BE taking away my child’s bus, but i won’t know until i receive a letter posted august 20th? seriously? half of arlington is on vacation in late august; we are tied to the congressional vacation schedule, and you people know it. so you are sending information that is critical at a time when tons of affected parties aren’t around? and even if they are, you are giving people roughly two weeks to figure out how exactly to collect their children from a school that is already wildly congested at pick-up time as is? there is no parking, people. it is a safety disaster that is nearly averted every single day of the year. and now, you are adding MORE CARS to the picture?

let me go to the Student Info Center. i’m SURE there will be answers there. let’s see… BC has a middle school bus assignment, which is good since her middle school is a 10-minute drive from here, and that’s with miss jerseygirl driver at the wheel. let’s have a look-see at jools’ info:

To School: Information cannot be found relating to how this student is transported to school.

From School: Information cannot be found relating to how this student is transported from school.

uhm, so let me get this straight. are you replacing buses with star trek transporters? because i don’t see a bus stop here. i don’t see anything here.  i talk with a friend in another neighborhood, and she indicates that her former bussed students are now being designated as walkers.

this doesn’t look good.

so, i call the transportation answer center, the one proudly mentioned in one of the aforementioned letters. the one that’s supposed to help me, right? answers? the lady who answered the phone there had no answers for me. none.

so i went with some parents from a nearby-neighborhood who are in the same boat that i’m in. off we trekked to the APS school board meeting to learn about the new transportation plan. i listened carefully to what the director of transportation said. and i still have no answers. i *did* hear someone say that the children are getting bus PASSES to ride busses and not bus VOUCHERS (which, i believe, is what they were called in one of the aforementioned APS letters.) and all i kept thinking was, really? my kid can’t always remember to bring home his homework. how long do you think it will be before my kid loses THAT? (assuming he is even on a bus, that is.) i even got up to speak about my situation, and other concerned parents spoke, too. i understand that only certain schools are affected by losing some busstops. is it just that our school has more helicopter parents who recognized this and jumped on it? are we just canaries in the coal mine?

(sorry. i love the police.)

anyway, i am left perplexed. this process never involved me or any parents i know. it is greatness thrust upon us, with very little time to make arrangements. this is not a matter of people being too lazy to walk. some of these kids will be walking down major streets with no sidewalks. some of these kids will be crossing streets where cars don’t even stop when a school bus has it’s flashing red lights on (North 31st Street, I’m looking at YOU.) according to the transportation director’s remarks last night at the meeting, the school district has added 1000 new students to its rolls this year but 0 new busses. Zero. Zilch. (maybe, children WILL be using star trek transporters to get to and from homeroom.) and, to paraphrase a quote that sage of sages bart simpson, he was proud of it, man.

it just takes one little kid to become road pizza and then your big ol’ cost savings on a bus goes out the window, folks.

can’t wait for these infamous bus/walker letters to get received. i bet when other parents discover — SURPRISE! — that their little kids are now walkers that there will be more  gnashing of teeth, shock and awe.

in the meantime, i feel like APS is taking people like me for a ride.



just read this article in the Washington Post. it makes me want to run screaming. with scissors in hand, too.

here you have frugal mama (check out her site.) she has some neat recipes and ideas. she also has some lovely photos of her beautiful children. i’m sure she’s a really excellent mom, and i don’t take issue with that end of things. such a clean, nicely-decorated house! such well-scrubbed kids! and how big of her — she saves money by sending her children to the public schools. that’s what passes for down-to-earth, you know.

there’s this wonderful fantasy moms, especially urban ones, foster: the one about the simple life where they grow their veggies for the kids, watch little to no TV, and have this contained existence over which they have perfect control. this seems to be the idea this mom blogger is perpetuating. la la la — see my house, organized with categorized mason jars, toys all contained in container store containers, my kids eating natural veggies and fruits from the farmers market. pinterest feeds on this sort of thing; i’m guilty of harboring the fantasy myself at times. and who doesn’t want to spend more time with their family? (okay, let me rephrase that: who doesn’t want to spend more quality time with their families?)  however, as a mom (and a blogger since 2002, long before most of these mommy bloggers were mommies, i would add), i find some aspects of this existence head-scratchingly irritating.

for starters, i cannot bring myself to take any sort of financial advice from a woman who has no retirement savings. unless she expects her children to come circle Marmee and support her in her old age, she’d better start contemplating that idea or else hope that these frugal ideas get kicked into high gear for her future blog where she extols the virtues of being a frugal senior citizen (with hopefully no medical issues to speak of.) i don’t know how fashionable it will be to eat cat food while waiting for your social security check to come in.

secondly, life can be controlled (to a certain point) until kids hit their teen years, when pop culture and hormones intermingle in such a way where you may ultimately be making the choice: have your kid conform to your TV-free lifestyle (not that TV is a treasure, but put yourself in the shoes of the average teen) and be ostracized socially, or relent and let those new demons into the home. lady, do you remember middle school? it’s tough enough because everyone is different (and different, as we all know, is so horrible at that age) — but you might be setting your kids up to be sitting alone in the library at lunchtime… well, maybe they won’t be alone. they may have the tiger moms’ kids in there, though they’ll be too busy studying to talk to your kids.

you don’t go grocery shopping anymore; you do all your shopping online with amazon prime. i know that’s a tip that will work well for folks on food stamps.

finally, how freaking frugal are you, really, when you can afford a house in NW DC and afford renovations? Why not move into a less tony area and see how much you enjoy the perks of frugality. not saying that frugality isn’t a noble idea. but I do wonder about this patina of elegance that this sort of idea has gotten these days. it’s a frugality that appears to come straight out of a Pottery Barn ad. like your home decor.

let’s call this all what it is: upper-middle-class fluffy fantasy of slowing down your family life. that’s nice if you can afford it. unfortunately, a lot of people in this world cannot. they are actually working to earn money for things, and not just $1000 tables (which you just had to have. hopefully, you aren’t one of those who frowns on welfare families who buy things that are frills when they cannot even afford the necessities.)

it’s awfully easy to be frugal when you have money.

f*** you (with dedication to the susan g. komen foundation)

f*** you (with dedication to the susan g. komen foundation)

susan g. komen foundation, this one’s for you.

yesterday morning, i woke up to my favorite newscasters sharing the info that the susan g. komen foundation had decided to no longer provide funding to planned parenthood because of their relatively-new policy of not giving funding to any grantees currently under investigation. i first thought to myself, wow. this can’t possibly be a smart public relations move. and my second thought?

f*** you, susan g. komen foundation.

so basically, the same people who have an army of lawyers running about suing everyone who uses the phrase for the cure, the same people who have spent oodles of money blocking legislation that would actually help women who are patients, the same people headed by a woman who has  corporate interests in multiple organizations that might cloud her original purpose — are now messing with poor women and their ability to get cancer screenings.

particular bronx cheers go to this woman and this woman, both of whom are right-to-lifers who apparently care more about a blastocyst than a real, living human being, as blogger southernbeale shared in a righteous rant. who knows — they could be pressuring other cancer charities as well. here’s hoping those charities don’t bow to this sort of pressure.

i’m just delighted to see people taking the opportunity to send pledges to planned parenthood. many are asking that their donation be sent in honor of the susan g. komen race for the cure, which ensures that their honoree will get a lovely card from planned parenthood. i’m sure it’s suitable for framing. (i’d frame it, anyway.) in one day, over $600k rolled in to planned parenthood. so hey, all you right-to-lifers — you’d better start coughing up some cash to support SGK now.

yes, yes, they are a private nonprofit. they are entitled to give money to any organizations they want. but see, there are all these people who have dedicated time and energy toward fundraising for this behemoth of a group. those adorable ladies in pink who walk miles and miles and collect dollars upon dollars to help in the fight against breast cancer. they’re not going to shill for you anymore. they were willing to raise gazillions of dollars for you when you were a fighter for the cure. now, you’re apparently a fighter for the cure — for anti-abortion folks, only.

(note to karen handel: you’d better start your serious outreach to the teaparty types. like, yesterday.)

and another thing: people aren’t going to be buying pink shit anymore. corporate sponsors don’t like when you up and change your mission like that. they get jumpy. more importantly to them, their investors sometimes get a bit jumpy. and you know the expression: money talks, and bullshit walks. those corporate sponsors will walk right out of your big-ass, multimillion-dollar pink tent.

and now people are learning more about your history. as for me, after reading lots of material, i have come to the conclusion that you’ve turned into a big-ol’ marketing machine. fuck the cure — instead, let’s market our organization.  to paraphrase from one of my political heroes, it’s about the brand, stupid. that, and our executive paychecks and possibly our political clout.

don’t misunderstand me: i’m willing to listen about how your organization’s dollars have actually funded any sort of progress towards a cure. my mother lost both breasts to breast cancer, so believe-you-me, i am VERY interested in progress toward a cure. give me a holler when you’ve got that info.

in the meantime, what you have here is a brand, a brand supported by marketing and marketing and more marketing. and honey, lots of marketing dollars will shrivel up drier than a witch’s, well, you know what body part i’m talkin’ ’bout. SOMEONE’S got to pay all the lawyers and nancy brinker’s and karen handel’s and all those other folks’ salaries.

but it won’t be me.

i’ll just post this video for now. for the cure.

she’s waiting

she’s waiting

…because her mama trained her properly, that’s why.

no, she’s not waiting in that way. or at least, not what you folks might think. this is a pet peeve of mine, and on this last day of NaBloPoMo, i thought i would end on a cranky note. (cos that is what folks expect of me.)

i am a carpool queen. i shuttle kids here, i shuttle them there, mama wreke shuttles kids everywhere. as a stay-at-home mom, i tend to take on rides in the early afternoon, when a lot of my kids’ friends’ parents are still working or quite possibly sitting in traffic somewhere, cooling their heels.

i don’t mind it, really. i get some of my best material listening to the kids talk.  i’ve learned more about which boys are awful, which girls are snooty, which kids are kind, and which people should just be avoided at all costs. i’ve listened to silly-ass knock-knock jokes, i’ve listened to retellings of some pretty nasty pop music lyrics. sure, i make the kids listen to whatever is on my mp3 player, though anything with NSFW lyrics gets the fast-forward treatment. i don’t care whether my kids hear these things, but i suspect the rest of the world would be upset if johnny or janie listened to some of the finer verbage from panic at the disco. like, say, this:

anyway, my kids are trained from the get-go: when someone is picking you up, you wait at the appointed time by the window and watch for your ride. when they come, you shout out and let me know, and then you proceed directly to the car. people are kind enough to give you a ride, and you need to be kind and not make everyone else late by dallying.

apparently, though, this concept is not common knowledge. i can’t tell you how many times my kids and i have to come to people’s doors and knock and collect them. worse than that, though, are the times when the person isn’t ready, and when i mean not ready, i don’t mean that someone had to suddenly hit the loo before leaving. i get that, and i’m actually okay with that. but i have had situations where the person had to finish homework, finish texting someone, or finish talking to someone on the phone. and, in all of these cases, the people weren’t immediately trying to wrap things up, either; they were taking all the time in the world.


i get that stuff happens, and so when it does, i don’t get annoyed or upset. but i have noticed as of late that there are recurrences of these sorts of events with the same folks. it really burns me up. am i supposed to be teaching the kids that they need to stop what they’re doing and get in the car if they have any intention of getting to point B? then, of course, i will get the rep as the mean-ass mom who scares all her kids’ friends.

then again, maybe that’s not such a bad thing…



just give me some steam.–s

wow. i have been struggling to write something every day for a whole month, courtesy of NaBloPoMo. i have actually done this bloggy endeavour now for several years, but this year, it has been tough going. this year, i decided to not to use a theme, probably to the dismay of everyone out there who reads this. in previous years, i have spent the month happily skewering 70’s or ’80s music, pet peeves, and all sorts of other things. somehow, it takes less effort to criticize things than it does to create something.

not that i c a n ‘t create something.

but it’s not as easy now for so many reasons. when i started this blog, almost 10 years ago (yes, it’s true), i mostly threw a combination of funny memes up  as well as tales of my one, then two, children. now, memes end up on my FB page when they end up anywhere; and it gets increasingly tough to write about the kids because both they and their friends are old enough to read and surf teh internetz. once they put two and two together, they’ll realize that them there’s some good fodder in here, if you’re willing to dig. (note to all current mommy bloggers — one day, your children will hate you for writing about their toilet training/bed wetting/nose picking/etc. i’m glad i never went down that path.)

so, with my favorite topics somewhat off-limits, i have to either tilt at windmills, review concerts and music, or simply blather about the weather. well, maybe i don’t do the latter, but i suspect some of my navel-gazing may seem that way to some people… in which case, let me share my two most hated (by others) works with you.

here, for your reading displeasure are:

1) my somewhat ignorant  but historic (in that it is the only bit i ever wrote where i had to cut off comments because people were insulting MY MOTHER, A WOMAN THEY HAD NEVER MET) diatribe on homeschooling; and

2) my feelings about the song wildfire, which, i must tell you, i still firmly believe, even if loads of people disagree with me and send me hate mail over (which continues to come on my old site, so if you’d like to see a total stranger call me an anus,  click here.)

anyway, one more day of the bataan death blog march. hoping i have enough steam to cross the finish line.



planning ahead can be cute.

i’ve written before about jools and his BFF M, who decided to marry when they were in kindergarten and then decided to be BFFs instead last year.  she is so very sweet to him and seems to understand him in a way that no one else seems to do.

today, M and jools had a playdate. jools thought about changing his shirt before he went; he wanted to look (his) best, he said, though he wouldn’t elaborate. when we were getting into the car, he ran suddenly back into the car. he ran back out about a minute later. when i asked him what he did, he told me that he had taken a piece of candy from his halloween bag for M and one for him.  if he had done that for anyone else, i think i would have wondered about ulterior motives; but when it comes to M, i know he just simply adores her.

anyway, after i picked him up from the playdate, i asked him what they did. we just spun around and around, he said, and we had a snack.

oh, he added, we decided that when we have kids, we are gonna let them eat all the junk food they want as long as they don’t get sick.

ah, yes.  nothing telling in that statement.

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