About Me

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I'm the mother of four children who hopes to raise them to be productive, compassionate, humble citizens of our planet...who will also use their turn signals.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pop Quiz!

Everyone please take out a blank piece of paper and pencil. Okay, you don't actually need a paper or pencil for this pop quiz, but I'd like you to look at the picture above and tell me what you think it is a price tag for. (I'm sure many of you have recognized it is a product sold in Target.)

It's $14.99, so I guess that means it could be a number of things. Maybe a DVD on sale? A children's board game? A cookbook? Even a cheap pair of summer sandals could be had in Target for $14.99. Have you made your prediction? Well, hold on to your drawers because THIS, my dear friends, is a tag for PAPER TOWELS. BOUNTY paper towels, to be specific.

Does the answer seem as alarming and ridiculous to you as it does to me? It's CRAZY! I mean, you use them and throw them away (which also applies to my disgust at the cost of garbage bags, but that's another battle for another day). And did you notice they were on SALE? The regular price was $17.99! And if your family is anything like my family (and for your sake, I hope they're not) they use the Quicker-Picker-Upper faster than you can say Quicker-Picker-Upper. It's ridiculous. And the insanity is going to stop right here and right now.

Although I do drive a car and don't buy all organic, I have become much more mindful of what we are doing to our one and only Mother Earth. I've got four little freeloaders, I mean children, that are going to inherit these landfills, so I feel like I could do a little more to keep the planet healthy. Not to mention the savings I'm hoping to see by just consuming less.

So without further ado...Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you (drumroll) the cloth napkin.

When you get back up off of the floor and stop laughing, I'll tell you that I realize most people will think I'm completely delusional to bring back the cloth napkin. (I'll share that I did try to bring the "sexy back" awhile ago. I'm hoping my venture to bring the "cloth back" is much more successful and a bit less embarrassing.) I know that kids and cloth napkins don't necessarily seem like a good match, but I am really hoping to instill a little bit of environmental consciousness in them and maybe, just maybe, teach the little savages about some of the finer things in life.

As you can see, I've also invested in some new color-coded washcloths for kitchen clean-ups. Don't get me wrong, I am not banishing paper towels all together from the home. I do draw the line at cleaning up dog and/or people vomit with cloth....I'm just not willing to go there. But I do think we can cut back dramatically on our paper waste. And with as much laundry as I do, I don't think I'm going to see a big difference. These items are small and I can toss them right in with the towels.

So there you have my first installment in my quest for "LESS". I'd love to hear your environmentally friendly ideas as well!

Oh...and lest you wonder, I will say that, yes, I'm still buying toilet paper.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I've never been athletic...so I guess I'm an athletic supporter.


As far back as I can remember, I've NEVER been athletic. I mean, I took tennis lessons when I was younger, played kickball in the street, but when it came to REAL sports, it just wasn't for me. I'm sure it doesn't help that I'm really not competitive and am definitely not aggressive. I remember going into gym class at Riverside Elementary and breaking out into a cold sweat when I saw the dreaded rope hanging from the ceiling that we were expected to climb. And of course I always ended up in line behind the person who was part monkey and would make it nearly to the ceiling. Figures. I get up there, place my hands on the rope as high as they would go, pull with all my might, and would move about 3.2 inches. And just when I was getting my rope climbing groove on, I'd hear the gym teacher yell, "NEXT!".

Fast forward to middle school, where my gym experiences caused further nausea and vomiting. Our gym teachers would design units that were approximately four weeks and you could pick between three different choices of what you'd like to do. We'd all line up against the wall, wearing those dreadful polyester blue shorts that gave you a permanent wedgie, and wait to hear our name called. You'd have to tell them your first and second choice out loud. Some of the kids had a hard time picking between the three because they LOVED all the choices. Yeah, whatever. Just give me some line dancing. Is that too much to ask? I've got braces and a zit on my forehead and now you're going to make me run up and down a field with a Velcro belt around my waist to play flag football? I don't think so.

Our middle school was even "blessed" to have an indoor swimming pool! Woohoo! I will say that I did fine in swimming and actually preferred it to other sports they offered, but the after effects of having swimming at 10 a.m. were not attractive. You spent all this time primping in the morning, only to dive into a pool and spend the rest of the day with your hair stuck to your head. Not to mention those humid, moldy locker rooms. You'd have to peel off your bathing suit, dry off, put your bra on, and try not to drop your drawers into the inch of water pooled on the floor. I think that portion of the class taught me more coordination and balance than any other instruction they gave.

I guess the closest I got to athleticism was my cheerleading stint in high school. I know some people consider cheerleading a sport, but let's be honest, most people think it's not. Including me. At least not back in the day when I cheered. Yeah, we practiced. Yeah, we went to cheerleading camp in the 100 degree heat. Yeah, we withstood freezing temperatures wearing nothing from the waist down but bloomers and a mini-skirt, but I just don't see it as being the same as a "sport". It was too fun to be a sport. Decorating the boys' lockers for a home game, painting signs for pep rallies, getting yelled at on the bus by the football players because we were talking and they were trying to "concentrate". I call that a good time.

So on this play-off day for the Ravens, I'll probably watch a few minutes, but mostly I'll be doing what I do best. Supporting my team from the kitchen. I've made a huge pot of chicken fettuccine Alfredo and some purple cupcakes. And you never know, perhaps one day I'll learn more about penetration in the end zone....or maybe I'll learn about football.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Is it just me?

And so it begins. My blog. In all honesty, I probably need to be blogging like I need a hole in the head, but Facebook has reconnected me with so many great friends from days gone by and it's been REALLY fun. I have loved having them be a part of my everyday. Being a work-at-home mom sometimes means you are pretty secluded, but Facebook saved me from taking the next step as a shut-in, which obviously would have been my becoming a recipient of Meals on Wheels. It really was getting that bad. Don't judge.

So what will this blog be about, you ask? I guess the short answer is, "I don't know." That's also the long answer, by the way. I'll share my photos, my recipes, fun stuff, and, because I'm a court reporter, the stories from the ugly underbelly of our legal system. I guess it's a good thing that I have the ability to laugh at just about anything, because you need it in this career. But mostly I guess I'll just spout off my thoughts on life. Life as a mother of four, life as a wife, life as a middle-aged woman in suburbia. And that, my friends, is a segue way into my first topic. Being a middle-aged woman in the year 2010.

Is it just me or do you sometimes feel that we got the shaft from that whole lets-burn-our-bras-equal-rights-movement? Don't get me wrong, I wholly believe that women deserve equal rights, equal pay (which we're STILL waiting for), yadda, yadda, yadda, but somewhere along the way I kinda feel like we got SCREWED. My theory was confirmed after my past birthday. I'm very grateful for my gifts, but they highlighted, in my mind, the demands that we all seem to be facing. Let me explain.

I got three gift cards for my birthday. I love gift cards. You use it and it's gone. It's not some dust collector that you move from shelf to shelf for the next three years because you don't have the heart to throw it away. I got a gift card from Ikea (LOVE!), a gift card from Williams-Sonoma (ALSO LOVE), and a gift card from Victoria's Secret (LOVE not so much after 40). It hit home with me that I am supposed to make a lovely home, cook delicious, healthy meals, all while wearing a thong and sporting voluptuous cleavage. Good God, do the demands EVER end?

Here are some of the thoughts that run around my head on a daily basis. It's kind of like a verbal to-do list that you can never complete and that speaks in a condescending tone. Enjoy it with me, won't you?

- We've got to be educated, devoted, sympathetic, and creative mothers.
- We have to make all meals homemade and healthy.
- We've got to be there for our friends and make ourselves available for "girl time".
- Don't forget the housework! I mean, you don't want your house to look like the houses they break into on "COPS" do you?
- What about exercise? If you want to look great and stay healthy, you'd better
fit a workout once or twice a year. Unless you're just a lazy blob and want to die sitting on the couch with the remote in your hand. Or, even worse, while sitting on the toilet.
- And when you're done cooking, be sure you recycle all that trash. And why don't you start
a compost pile? What, do you hate the earth?
- And if you were a REALLY good parent, you'd check Edline EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
- Once you've checked those Edline grades, you'll be helping with more homework. You'll have plenty of time to do the homework after you run out to the compost pile and before you ....
- DO THE LAUNDRY. It's not like you have to go down to the river and beat the clothes on rocks. Sheesh. Live like Nike and "just do it".
- And don't forget to check your email when you've removed your head from the dryer. The personal email, the work email, the email that shows kittens sitting in tea cups. If you don't keep up with these things, you'll never know that someone in Nigeria is trying to send you a million dollars.
- And speaking of a million dollars, have you done your online banking lately? If your family has grown accustomed to electricity and water, you might want to get to that.
- I'm not one to gossip, but a few of the PTA ladies noticed that you didn't sign up to bake anything for Teacher Appreciation. They think you don't like teachers.
- And what about your "wifely" duties? You know if you don't keep your man happy, someone else will. At least that's what that cheatin' husband on Dr. Phil said. Make your appointment for your Brazilian wax, tuck your ankles behind your ears, and take one for the team.
- Speaking of the team, why aren't you coaching any sports this season?
- Since you're not a coach, maybe you can carpool the kids to practice and games. Of course, you'd better drop off those six bags in your car to Goodwill before you pick up those six kids for soccer. And clean out the cup holders. They're gross.

I'm pretty sure you can see where I'm going with this. And it only gets worse once I get out of bed in the morning. Do you feel frazzled, too? Do you feel like you're always juggling? Did the women's movement keep the same items on our plate and just pile another 60 more like I do at a bad buffet? Tell it to me straight.