gratitude journal 10-31-12

  1. I’m grateful it wasn’t raining when we went trick-or-treating.
  2. I’m grateful this neighborhood turned out to be surprisingly hoppin’ when it comes to trick-or-treating.
  3. I’m grateful I got to see Ms. N, a lady from my childhood who practically raised me when my mom was sick.
  4. I’m grateful someone recognized Kidling’s costume. He wanted to be Slenderman, and I was afraid he would be bummed when no-one recognized what is essentially an internet meme. But someone did recognize him, and that was the highlight of his evening.
  5. I’m grateful today was payday. I like payday.
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gratitude journal 10-30-12

  1. I’m grateful Faith is safe. She was vacationing in NYC when this superstorm hurricane thingy hit. I was pretty worried about her. I’m glad she’s okay.
  2. I’m grateful for lean pockets. Because they make a delicious and quick dinner.
  3. I’m grateful my boss doesn’t mind me cooking lean pockets in the office. 
  4. I’m grateful Ms. Boss okay’d jeans for me on Thursday. It was getting uncomfortable running errands in a dress.
  5. I’m grateful Dee is going trick-or-treating with us tomorrow. John is working, so it’s kind of the first Halloween I can think of that things haven’t worked out so he can come with. I’m glad I have a  friend to wrangle the kids with, anyway.

gratitude journal 10-29-12

  1. I’m grateful my co-worker Cat found a new kitten to love. She was heartbroken over the death of the old one, and I was pretty worried about her. It’s nice to see her so happy again.
  2. I’m grateful we only have to read a chapter a week for my Tuesday class. And also this daily gratitude journaling, and a two page paper on the chapter we’ve read. But I don’t think I could handle a homework load like that of my 8 credit course, so I’m pretty damn grateful my 4 credit course has a much lighter load, especially given that several former Evergreen grads had warned me that the workload is more challenging than you’d expect.
  3. I’m grateful John took my car to the tire shop and got the tire changed today. Also he scheduled an appointment at the auto shop and copied the key. That was pretty darn thoughtful of him.
  4. I’m grateful John is feeling better. I always feel so bad for him when he’s sick. He’s so miserable, it’s almost like he feels like his body has shocked him by daring to get sick and he just can’t comprehend that level of betrayal.
  5. I’m grateful the office was pretty quiet today. I had a killer headache all day and just felt kind of draggy. Not sure if it’s impending period hormones or that I didn’t get enough sleep or that the sickness I spread to John has mutated and ricocheted back at me, but I’ve just been out of it all day. So a quiet office was a relief.

gratitude journal 10-28-12

  1. I’m grateful I was able to sleep in until 9:40 this morning. 
  2. I’m grateful we’re on the West Coast and not the East Coast right now. That hurricane/tropical storm shit looks crazy. They’ve evacuated downtown Manhattan. Blows my mind that there are still people out there insisting global warming is all a scam when we’ve had this kind of extreme “once in a lifetime” weather going on every year for the past 5 years running.
  3. I’m grateful we bought an AAA membership. Today we walked out front and the left rear tire was flat. We refilled the air, rolled it down to the road, and took out the tools to change the tire. Some dumbass in a shop the prior owner took it to had overtorqued the lug nuts, and we couldn’t move them. John actually lifted up the backend of the car a little pulling on them. So we’re sitting there trying to figure out how the hell we’ll get it to the shop tomorrow, and then John remembers the AAA membership we bought last month because we had a tow a car and the year-long AAA membership was cheaper than an 8-mile tow. So the AAA guy just came out, used a 3 ft bar as leverage, changed our spare, and left. It was awesome.
  4. I’m grateful we have two cars now. Because it doesn’t matter that the Kia has a flat, or that we’re taking it to the shop — I can still drive to work and school, and John is close enough to work that he can walk, ride a bicycle, or drive the motorcycle without issue (even in bad weather).
  5. I’m grateful payday is 3 days away. We fixed the broken exhaust manifold on the Pathfinder, but that basically took my entire paycheck to do. I want to repair my sewing machine next, which has been broken since 2008, and I’m just waiting until payday to take it into the shop.

gratitude journal 10-27-12

I got nothin’ new. Seriously. I’m so tired. I know I need to do this gratitude journal thing, and I’m grateful for plenty of stuff, but I just don’t even. Jesus. Okay, let’s do this, 5 gratitudes in 5 minutes:

  1. Grateful to come home to John and Kidling, because they make everything worth it.
  2. Grateful we bought that Aamco discount thing, because my car makes a funny wheezing noise after it stops, and I want to take it to the shop. 
  3. Grateful my teachers told me in student-teacher evaluations today that I’m on track for full credit.
  4. Grateful for Dmitri, who’s a cuddly stinky-breath adorable kitty that makes me smile everyday.
  5. Grateful for Sirius, who’s kind of a dumbass but is completed devoted and adorable and cuddles up with me at night when John has insomnia and goes out to look at the stars.

A Fan Letter to Certain Conservative Politicians

Came upon this very on-point blog post today, and damn does it say it all.

Whatever

WARNING: this post is going to be oh-so-very-triggery for victims of rape and sexual assault. I am not kidding.

Dear certain conservative politicians:

Hi! I’m a rapist. I’m one of those men who likes to force myself on women without their consent or desire and then batter them sexually. The details of how I do this are not particularly important at the moment — although I love when you try to make distinctions about “forcible rape” or “legitimate rape” because that gives me all sorts of wiggle room — but I will tell you one of the details about why I do it: I like to control women and, also and independently, I like to remind them how little control they have. There’s just something about making the point to a woman that her consent and her control of her own body is not relevant against the need for…

View original post 1,050 more words

gratitude journal 10-26-12

John is sick. He’s got whatever awfulness has been going around — I had it last week, Dee had it earlier this week, and several other people have been complaining of it. It sucks that he’s sick, and it makes me feel really bad for him and how ucky he feels, but it also makes me feel grateful that we live in these modern times.

  1. Paid sick leave. Fairly recent thing, in a historical context. Labor unions fought the good fight to get things like minimum wage, a 40 hour work week, and leave for illness or vacation purposes to be recognized as the normal run of things. Thanks to labor unions, my husband is able to stay home today in order to rest and recuperate. He won’t lose his job for getting sick, nor will he lose pay. That’s something to be grateful for.
  2. Medicines. This version of the flu or cold or whatever it is has these symptoms: Headache, severe congestion, fever and chills. Thanks to ibuprofen, acetaminophen, Nyquil, and DayQuil, my husband is able to minimize these symptoms to a much more bearable level. That’s something to be grateful for.
  3. The FDA. Thanks to Federal standards enacted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, my husband is able to eat healthy foods that have a dramatically decreased risk of food-borne bacteria. He can eat delicious soup that was been canned/ boxed for long-term shelf life, but tastes like it was just made fresh.  For that, I am grateful.
  4. Modern appliances, like fridges, stoves, and microwaves. This healthy and hearty meal is easy cooked either on an electric stove top or in a microwave. Gone are the days when a simple bowl of soup meant keeping the coals/ firewood going all day so the pot of soup on the stove stayed warm. For that, I am grateful.
  5. Modern tech. With modern tech, I’ve been able to stay in touch with my husband throughout the day. If necessary (it won’t be for this, but it’s worth mentioning in a post about gratitudes associated with illness), I could call the ambulance from my office, notify my bosses of an emergency, and be at the hospital in less than 10 minutes. By text or cell, I could arrange a sitter for my son, or arrange for my son to come join us at the hospital. I could notify my dad and sister of the situation and get emotional support. All this support is available at our fingertips and within minutes thanks to modern technology.

 

gratitude journal 10-25-12

  1. I am grateful I have my own car, that I don’t share with my husband. I love John, but I don’t love his tendency to create messes. My car, for the first time in 10 years, is clean. No empty soda pop bottles or crumpled paper or food wrappers or dirty plates. I’ve had this car for a few weeks now, and it’s still clean. I love it.
  2. I am grateful John started dinner in the slow cooker.
  3. I am grateful John took me out to Mini Saigon at lunch. Love that place.
  4. I am grateful I’m comfortable in skirts. Given the choice, I’d prefer to wear jeans. But I own lots of skirts. They’re comfortable and I’m used to wearing them, thanks to being raised in a church that required dresses and skirts for Sunday wear. I know that may sound like a kinda dumb thing to be grateful for, but people always tell me how they can’t wear skirts because they feel uncomfortable or weird in them, and I really am grateful that I don’t have that issue. It makes buying and supplementing my work wardrobe so much easier.
  5. I am grateful for warm tights. I’m not down with this gross trend of bare legs with skirts or dresses. I don’t think bare, flabby (or chicken-neck skinny) legs with all the flaws — little red hair bumps, faint bruises, stretch marks, veins, etc. — is very professional. Plus it’s cold. So I’m grateful tights seem to be making a fashion comeback, and I’m grateful there are so many options for warm, cute, fun tights. I really like tights.

#allthesmallthings

wasting time and musings on sibling favoritism

I’m supposed to be reading chapters 2 & 4 of Understanding Labor Law. But it’s an e-book, and I left my galaxy tab on all day and I haven’t charged my Nook since starting school in September. So I’ve got to wait for a device to charge.

I’m kinda bummed today because John and I had a little miscommunication. He thought when I suggested he take split days off and watch Kidling during one of the days I’m in school I meant he should split his days between both days I’m in school — ie, that none of our days off would be shared. That’s not what I meant. Unfortunately, since our schedules are so misaligned, we only get to see each other for about 3 hours a day, generally speaking. So we haven’t really had a chance to even address the fact there was a misunderstanding until he’d already arranged to take split days off for the days I’m in class.

I’m hoping we’ll be able to work it out and fix his schedule, because I pretty much push myself through the rest of the week looking forward to Sundays. I don’t know how I could handle all this without having that family day.

Anyway, I was a little short with Kidling right after I found that out, and then I felt bad for taking my bad mood out on him. So we spent the evening until his bedtime cuddling and watching YouTube videos. I helped him make another Ugly Dance (it’s a website, it’s kinda cute) and showed him how to attach pictures in an email. He wrote an email to his grandma with pictures of our last few family outings and a link to his Ugly Dance, and then he found an email she’d sent him a few weeks ago in his inbox. That got him pretty excited.

Right before he went to bed, he turned and looked at me and said, “I’m lucky to have parents like I do, and I’m really grateful for that.”

I was kind of surprised at this out of the blue compliment — especially considering I didn’t have the maturity to realize how much my parents did for me until I was about 22 — and I kind of smiled at him and said, “What do you mean?”

“Well,” he said, “Most parents don’t buy their kids all the cool stuff you guys do. I mean, my friends don’t have x-box live and a computer and a typewriter. And most of my friends don’t get to have special family days where they all go out to some kind of cool place, and stuff like that.”

I laughed a little and said, “Well, hon, I appreciate the compliment, but that’s less that we’re awesome parents and more that you’re an only child.”

He tilted his head and said, “Because more kids would cost more, right? Because you have to –” he wiggled his hand expressively “– feed them and stuff, right?”

“Yes,” I agreed. “You have to feed them, clothe them, buy them school supplies. But it’s more than just the necessities. It’s that when you have kids and you buy one kid one thing, you have to get something of equivalent worth for the other kid to be fair. It’s a balancing act. When I was little, if my parents gave me a doll for Christmas, they’d give my little sister one, too, but with different color hair. Or if they bought me a pink dress, they’d buy her a blue dress. They never treated one of us better than the other, and that’s good. Like, say you had a brother, right? And let’s say I bought your brother a nice brand-new bicycle, but I didn’t give you one. How would you feel?”

He thought about it for a minute and frowned. “Bad. Like, why does he get a bike and I don’t?”

“Right,” I said. “And how would you feel if I bought you both bikes, but I bought him a brand new one and I bought you one that was all broken down and sad?”

He shook his head, his frown growing. “I’d feel like you didn’t like me as much.”

“That’s right,” I said. “On top of that, look at your friends — Teddy doesn’t get along with his brother so well, does he?”

“No,” said Kidling. “They just fight all the time and they’re always stealing each others stuff and calling each other names.”

“Yep. But Remus and Romulus aren’t like that, are they?”

“No,” said Kidling. “They’re best friends.”

“Yeah, but you don’t know if your sibling is going to be someone you like and get along with and would want to be friends with whether or not you were related, or whether they’re just the person you share a gene pool with until later. And while you’re figuring all that out, you have to live together and share a home.”

“I’m really glad,” Kidling interrupted, “That you let me have a choice, because none of my friends got a choice. They just have brothers or sisters and it seems like most of them don’t even like their brothers, and I would feel really bad if I had a brother I didn’t like and you treated him nicer than me.”

“Well, what if you had a brother you did like, and we treated you nicer than him? How would you feel then?”

“Bad,” he said decisively. “You should be fair. If I had a brother I got along with and you made him mad at me because you were being nicer to me, that would be worse.”

“Yep,” I said. “So that’s part of it, too. We stopped with you because if we had more kids, we wouldn’t be able to spoil you like we do. It’s not right to get one kid better or more stuff than another kid; you have to be fair. And if we can’t afford a computer for each of you, or you don’t get along well enough to share a computer . . . well, then, obviously there wouldn’t be any computers for you then, would there?”

I guess he was tired of the heavy discussion at this point, because he fake-fainted to the floor and began dramatically death-twitching at the idea of not having a computer, so I tickle-monstered him until he fled to the bedroom.

I’ve often wondered how my parents did it. How they made fairness such an ingrained part of our lives that I didn’t even realize some parents treated their kids drastically differently until I was out in the world. When I tell Kidling these examples out loud, when I explain that my sister and I got similar gifts, it sounds so cookie cutter and cold. Like my parents just went out and bought two of everything, but that’s not it. They did buy us very different gifts, gifts that were tailored to our personalities and interests — but they never got us presents that outshone someone elses’ in worth.

I’m not talking about financial value or worth here, because there were plenty of times we got inexpensive or downright cheap gifts. I’m talking about emotional worth. Like the time my mom sewed an empire waist dress styled after one of Audrey Hepburn’s outfits in War and Peace, or the time my dad bought me one of those expensive library display dictionaries for my birthday. Those types of gifts were chosen with me in mind, with my interests and my appreciations at the forefront. Mom sewed a swing-style dress for my little sister another year, and my parents once bought a dresser for her and made it over in the shabby-chic style she liked. There are stories like that for each of the kids, of gifts that were hand-made, refurbished, or carefully selected with that specific child in mind.

My parents would never buy one kid a brand new, expensive something — stealing from the example above, a bike — and then buy the next kid a beat up piece of shit. They would either not buy any kid a bike, or buy all the kids used but reliable bikes, or do without themselves to make sure all the kids had brand new bikes. And again, it’s not the financial value of the gift that’s the big deal here — it’s what it says. It’s the message it sends, the message of either:

  1. All you kids are equally important to us, and we treasure each of your individual talents and worths, or 
  2. Hey, only this one kid is special to us, out of all of you. This one, that we buy all the nice stuff for, this is the one we like. You guys get used goods and leftovers because that’s what you’re worth to us. We won’t even put the time into getting you gifts that reflect your interests, because that’s a waste of our time.

And to be honest, that seems to be the norm. I look at other families and I see that way too often. I see parents lavishing presents and attention and financial aid on one child, and telling the ignored kid(s) that they’re selfish or jealous, and that they don’t deserve presents anyway because they can’t be trusted or they’ll break them or whatever.

I mean, parents (in the end) are only human. They’ve got personalities and biases and weakness and, yes, favorites — just like everyone else. I don’t know that I could have been as fair and as even-handed as my parents were, and I didn’t want to cause the hurt and psychological damage to my kid that I see in the unloved, unfavored kids I meet. It’s not right to break your own kid’s spirit like that.

gratitude journal 10-24-12

  1. Grateful for the internet, cell phones, and social networking. Because without all that, my friends/ family would have no idea if I was dead or alive.
  2. Grateful it’s a clear crisp but not-snowy day outside. I can handle grey clouds and cool days. I can handle rain. I can even handle frost. But snow is some horrific shit and I will never, ever enjoy it.
  3. Grateful my stupid hat makes people smile. I’m an abominable snowman. Rwar.
  4. Grateful I get to go home to a warm house, a full pantry, and a great family. 
  5. Grateful John’s lunch hour aligns with when I get off work. Kickass.