24 February 2009

One of these kids is doin' her own thing

I went to Target last Sunday wearing this shirt.

Yeeeah. That probably wasn't too bright.

Might as well have been naked and riding a horse down the housewares aisle for all the freaky looks it got me.

Even better than the looks I get when I wear this one:

I think I just need to get one like this to complete the "odd-one-out" wardrobe trifecta.

Yes, I know. Everyone thinks California is one big liberal love-fest. (That, and we all surf.) But it's not true. Sorry to burst your Baywatch bubble. But California has communities that rival the Bible Belt in their conservatism.

There seems to be an inversely proportional relationship between conservatism and living distance from the ocean.

And my house is HOURS away from the ocean.

I live in a god-fearin', gun-totin', right-votin' bastion of political and social conservatism (think Mayberry circa 1950).

It's not all bad ... in fact, there are many things I really love about this little town.

But, every once in a while, something happens to drive home the reality that I do not quite fit the mold.

And that's okay, I guess. I'm not really one to worry too much about what other people think about my personal life.

I figure, live and let live, right? You don't need to "approve" of my life any more than I need to "approve" of yours. We can all just do what makes us happy, right? And leave everyone else alone to do what makes them happy. Right?


Mmmm. Wouldn't that be nice?

20 February 2009

I don't do pink

Inspired again by Sci-Fi Dad, who had an insightful exploration of Gender Bias on his blog this week. Reminded me ...

I really wanted to get the boys a play kitchen for Christmas.

They love pretend-cooking. (Well, the four-year old likes to pretend-cook. The 19-month-old likes to bang pots and pans together and move things in and out of bowls.)

Anyway, I saw this neat, dark blue "Play Wonder" wooden kitchen at Target during the summer and thought it might work. It even had some matching plates and potholders and utensils and such. Great!

But, when I went back a couple of months later, I found this in it's place on the shelf:
Holy Pepto-Bismol, Batman! What the - ?!

Even worse, all of the kitchen accessories were pink now, too! Blech.

Yeah, yeah, I know I should be all cool and say that it doesn't matter and that boys can play with pink things just like girls can play with blue things.

But I detest pink. Hate it. Can't have it in my house. In fact, it's causing me some physical discomfort just to have this picture on my blog. *shudder*

And, really? Things just don't work that way in our society. Not yet, anyway. Even at four years old my Minion can tell you which of the toy aisles are "Boy Rows" and "Girl Rows" just from the color scheme.

And now, at Target, the Play Wonder Kitchen aisle is a "Girl Row".

Target does sell some other, neutral-colored kitchens. And, checking online, I see they once again have a blue wooden one not unlike the original one I liked last year.

But I'm still disappointed that, in the months before Christmas, Play Wonder - which, near as I can tell, is a Target-specific brand - only had the Pepto-pink version available in stores and online. (The pink is still the only one on the shelf at my local Target. Had to go online to find a blue one.)

They did, however, have the matching Play Wonder Tool Bench ... in dark blue. Only. What? No pink tool bench, Play Wonder? Just the kitchen gets the Pepto-makeover?

Why? Because girls play kitchen and boys play tools?

Well, joke's on you, Play Wonder. In my house, Daddies cook, Mommies use tools, and Boy-Minions play kitchen.

So, sorry, Target, I might still buy a play kitchen. But not your play kitchen.

So stuff that in your pink apron and bake it.

19 February 2009

Marlin or Crush?

One of my favorite dad-bloggers, Scifi Dad over at Tales from the Dad Side wrote a post a little while back about how tough it can be as parents to balance Safe or Happy when it comes to our kids.

He got me thinking ...

As the parent of a pre-schooler, I have, of course, seen Finding Nemo about 7,000 times. In addition to learning about anemones, jellyfish and the EAC, there's a parenting lesson to be found between the reef and the bay.

There's a parenting spectrum with Marlin the Clown Fish (Nemo's Dad) at one end and Crush the Sea Turtle (Squirt's Dad) at the other.

Marlin was afraid to let "anything" happen to Nemo. But, as Dory said, that's "Not much fun for little Harpo ... Nemo."

Crush, on the other hand, gave Squirt the freedom to explore and learn and maybe even make some mistakes. Valuable lessons, there. :)

I'd like to say I'm one of those cool parents who's learned to take Crush's approach. But I have to admit that I'm more Marlin by nature.

The Husband, though, is a Crush. And he balances me out and keeps from crossing the line from "protective" to "lock-them-in-the-house-until-they're-21".

So, whenever I'm tempted to coat the Minions in bubble-wrap, I try to get in touch with my inner Crush.

While my natural instinct is "safety, first" ... I know I sometimes need to make myself relax a little bit and let them have a little freedom ... and maybe even make a mistake. (Not jumping-off-the-roof freedom, of course. More like going-on-the-slide-all-by-myself freedom).

And, oh my gawd, is that hard!

The Marlin side of my brain screams: "I need to keep my kids safe. And this is a very scary world."

And the Crush side drawls, "Duuuude. Let us chill see what the little Grommets can do."

I think it's getting a little easier. At least I hope so. If not, I think their teenage years might give me a coronary. Or at least an ulcer.

Of course, sometimes safety wins out and the answer is "No" ... but I know it's just as important to help them understand why the answer is no. Because there's a lesson in that, too.

I guess it's one of the many balancing acts we have to pull off every day as parents. And I know I make mistakes along the way. But, maybe the best anyone can do is "Just Keep Swimming."

So, who are you? Marlin or Crush?

16 February 2009

14 February 2009

Happy V Day

I'm not a "traditionally" romantic kind of girl.

I mean, let's face it, I'd way rather get a new book than a shiny rock. And I get much more excited about the newest sci-fi/action movie than about the latest chick-flick. Roses? Nah, let's plant some tomatoes in the garden. Fancy dinner? How about our favorite Mexican place, instead?

So, yeah, Valentine's Day? Meh. I don't need a special day set aside for love. I'd rather spread it out over the whole year. :)

So, if you are one of those sweet, romantical (yeah, I made that word up) types, you should probably skip today's show-n-tell ... compliments of wrongcards.com.

'Cause these are my idea of fun Valentine's Day cards:

Have a Happy V-Day!

09 February 2009

Kid Logic: Geek-in-Training

The Husband took the Four-Year-Old to fly a kite today in the parking lot of the church down the street. On the way:

The Husband: "We have to walk on the side of the road so the cars don't get us."

Minion#1: "Yes, cuz if they hit you, you die ... then you become a zombie."

Apparently, there IS a geek gene. And we have successfully passed it on.

When our palm crystals turn red, we will be able to go to Carousel without regrets.

06 February 2009

Don't Divorce Us

I still don't understand why people want to control who other people love and marry. Or why they think they have the right to.

"Fidelity": Don't Divorce... from Courage Campaign on Vimeo.

I hope the courts will have the courage to correct this injustice. And I hope that more people will be able to grow their compassion and embrace equality.

04 February 2009

Thanks for the meme-ories

I was tagged by that "25 random things, facts, habits, or goals" meme going around Facebook, so I thought I'd post them here:

1) I bite my nails.

2) I have a degree in journalism and have made my living as a writer of one kind or another for 13 years.

3) I'm a scifi/fantasy junkie: Movies, TV, books. I can't get enough of spaceships, aliens, magic, elves, comic book heroes, vampires, werewolves, etc. But I don't like horror. Especially not the gory kind.

4) I had my first child when I was 30 years old. My last when I was 33.

5) I want to live in Hawaii. On the Big Island.

6) I'm a certified scuba diver. I love to dive. But I don't really like being in the ocean when I'm not diving or snorkeling. On boats, I get terribly seasick. In the water - without gear - I get creeped out thinking about what's under the surface that I can't see.

7) I love camping and backpacking. We go several times a year.

8) My husband is 7 years older than I am.

9) I'm situational introvert. With friends and family, I'm garrulous. With acquaintances and strangers, taciturn.

10) I'm a grammar ninja. If you're wondering, that's two degrees more polite, but three degrees more deadly than a grammar snob. I abhor poor grammar in professional venues and I've actually boycotted businesses for it. Yes, it is THAT important.

11) I'm a perfectionist. (Now c'mon. Honestly. After reading #10 are you even a little bit surprised by #11?)

12) I have a mild addiction to LOLcats. They make me, well, LOL.

13) I'm agnostic and consider myself "without religion". But I'm attracted to Taoism and Buddhism.

14) I love Disney cartoons and Disneyland. If I had my way, we would go to Disneyland at least once a year.

15) I really dislike the color pink. Especially in pastel form. *gag* But one of my favorite shirts is a bright pink "Where the Wild Things Are" T.

16) I like to take photos and to scrapbook. Though, I have to admit to being pretty far behind on the scrapbooking since Minion#2 came along.

17) I'm an armchair science geek. I love to watch shows on the Discovery Channel and Science Channel and PBS and the like about astronomy, physics, biology, etc.

18) I really, really dislike "reality tv". But I do like DIY and home-and-garden type shows.

19) I think "Good Eats" is the Best. Cooking Show. Ever.

20) But I don't cook. Really. My husband does, like, 90 percent of the cooking in our house.

21) I could probably eat Mexican or Italian food every single day, if given the chance.

22) My favorite flavor of ice cream is Rocky Road.

23) I've never been to a high school reunion. I don't really feel like I've missed out on much.

24) I'd rather read a book than do almost anything else. Unless it's read a book in a long, hot bubble bath.

25) I love quotes. I collect them. Did I mention that I am several kinds of geeky?

03 February 2009

Love and Money

Mormon Church reports spending $180,000 on Proposition 8

That's more money than a lot of people around here make in year.
But, no.

Preventing the legal recognition of same sex love is a higher priority for this church. Really?!?

I'm disheartened by the fear and hate that drove such a tragic waste of resources.

02 February 2009

Happy Groundhog Day

The amazing weather predicting rodent Punxsutawney Phil poked his nose out of his stump up on Gobbler's Knob this morning and predicted six more weeks of winter.

I love Groundhog Day.

For two reasons:

1) It's such a silly holiday.

Granted, it's not as silly as National Static Electricity Day, but still.

I think it's great to revel in the silly every now and then. So, yeah, why not celebrate a weather predicting rodent who, by the way, has his own fan club and merchandise line? Heck, there have been whole religions built on less.

Plus, what the hell else is holding up the economy of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania? They need this. So I say, let's support them.

2) I really like the movie "Groundhog Day" with Bill Murray.

Yes, it's funny. But it's also kind of Zen, if you think about it.

Phil (the cranky weatherman, not the 120-year-old prognosticating groundhog) learns that every action does have consequences, even if you can't see them right away; He learns that there is no self that is separate from others; He learns to live in the moment and to serve others; and, when he finally stops trying, he succeeds in breaking the cycle that held him back.

Other people might see something else in that movie. But those are the things I see.

That, plus, Phil the weatherman driving through town in a stolen pick-up truck telling Phil the Groundhog on his lap, "Don't Drive Angry" just makes me laugh every time.

01 February 2009

Even the braaaaaiiins are bigger in Texas?

I am not the kind of person to break rules without a good reason.

I tend to be pretty black-and-white about right and wrong. With the possible exception of occasional speeding (shut up, Jarrod), I'm that boring person who doesn't even think about breaking the rules - even when no one is looking.

Yeah, I'm boring like that.

But even *I* think this is pretty funny:

Maybe it is because I'm also the kind of person to have a Zombie Attack Survival Plan.