Category Archives: FAIL.

Feet of Clay

Remember that one time when I said I was probably going to lose my marbles this summer? Well, I think it might have happened this last week. Specifically, three nights ago, when I had the shattering epiphany – possibly accompanied by ugly crying – that my slavish devotion to researching the shit out of every country we “visit,” finely honing my bulletin-board decorating skillz, and imposing random art projects on my children (who are not interested) and their friends (who are, bless them), is probably less about giving my kids a fun-filled-yet-highly-educational summer experience and more about showing the world that I really *can* do things with my brain and that I haven’t completely gone to seed in the years since I quit working full-time.

This is a lowering realization on several fronts. First, it means that those moms? The ones I sneer at for being all “craftier than thou?” I AM ONE OF THOSE MOMS. Argh. Second, as a lifelong feminist, I strongly object to the stereotyping of stay-at-home-moms as ninnies whose interests are limited to Kinder, Küche, Kirche. But apparently my own brain engages in precisely such stereotyping and is making me crazy because of it. Stupid brain. And third, FUCK I hate being so goddamn insecure about who I am or what I want to be when I grow up (and when does that happen, exactly?) that I feel like I have something to prove. To somebody. Maybe myself. Probably. Oh, and fourth, or maybe third-and-a-half: I’m an IDIOT, because it’s not like I have a fucking supervisor in this job. So, I mean, for whom am I performing? Who is supposed to be lauding me with praise for doing such an all-around swell job with this summer camp? Which I’m not even doing, given that I spend more time prepping each week than I do, say, interacting with my actual children. Not that it matters, because THIS IS NOT SCHOOL. THERE IS NO FINAL GRADE. I can’t “win” the contest to be, like, best mom or something, a contest that would make me cringe even if it existed, WHICH IT DOESN’T.

So: yay, insight into personal motivations!!! Boo, emotional breakdowns and crazy internal monologues!!! But the real question you’re asking is: What now? Or I’m asking it, at least. One thing’s for sure: this camp thing is going to be dialed down a couple of notches. We actually had a great week on France, links for which will be up shortly, but then we got a little bogged down in India, much like the British in the first half of the 20th century. Unlike the British, we only spent two weeks there, and the girls now kind of know what a sari is … and they can recognize Ganesha when they see him … and they might be able to tell you what the OM symbol means. Also they like yoga, but almost certainly have not retained that it is Indian in origin. Ditto yogurt. This coming week is supposed to be Mexico, and I’m trying to figure out how to do a lite version of that country while simultaneously prepping for the roadtrip we’re making at the end of the week, down to my sister’s house in Knoxville. (Or, as Sylvia pronounces it “Knoxpital.”) Maybe we’ll … eat quesadillas while listening to mariachi music, and then work on the great coloring pages sent to us by a friend doing a similar summer camp? Or we could visit one of the many mexican groceries in town. I dunno. Or we might just have “prep for epic roadtrip” week, and see if I can break my decade long streak of not packing until the night before we leave.

Speaking of epic roadtrips, I’m not even going to MENTION the children’s audio books I’ve gotten from the library for the trip. Or the totes cute three-ring binders I’ve spent hours making for each girl, filled with games and stories and activities to entertain them in the car. Or the roadtrip bingo cards I found online, printed out, and laminated. Or the car-organizational ideas I found on Pinterest.

It’s an illness, y’all. That, or I really need to get the hell back on the career path. Once I figure out just what career I’m pathing, that is. In the meantime, if you see me obsessively checking Pinterest or hoarding toilet paper rolls for future art installations, please feel free to tell me to Calm The Fuck Down. I probably won’t listen, but it might make me giggle.

Fair-weather blogging

I had plans, y’all. I had plans that sometime in early April I’d post one of my “I Write Letters” posts, and dash off a cute note to the blog, saying I’d missed it but I’d been hibernating and now that it was spring I’d start blogging again. It would have been clever and chatty, and you TOTALLY would have forgiven me for not blogging in so long.

But then it stayed winter until mid-May. As in shovel-able snowfall-type winter. IN MAY. Even my most diehard winter-lovin’ friends were like, OK, Minnesota: you can stop now. Given my serious lack of ability to cope with winter, you can imagine my state of mind. I lost what little gumption I had remaining, and the blogging, she did not happen.

So then we had, like, two weeks of spring-esque weather, only colder, and it just got warm around yesterday, in patches, because as has been abundantly proved, this state hates me and wants me to die. But at least the snow is gone and sometimes we can wear sandals instead of rain boots, so I guess this is as close to blogging weather as we’re gonna get.

ALSO, I’m embarking on a certifiably insane program for the summer, and I will need to share the details with you as a kind of pressure-valve, if nothing else. I expect large parts of it will be humorous, at least to people not personally involved. More on that soon. But for now, I just wanted to say “hi.” I’m still here. The state hasn’t killed me yet. How are you?

He’s the reason for the season

Whoa, where did that week go? Christ, the Christmas prep is killing me this year. It’s like a perfect storm of no money, no time, no ideas. Speaking of Ol’ Jesu, our kids, who have darkened the doors of a church I think once in their young lives, have recently adopted their parents’ blasphemous epithet habits. Ellie, on stubbing her toe: “JESUS CHRIST, my foot hurts!” Sylvia, on anything that affects her in any way whatsoever: “OH MY GOOOOOOD!” We cringe, we reprimand, we give them more acceptable alternatives (“say ‘Oh my gosh!’ instead! Or ‘holy cow!'”) , we talk about being respectful of other people’s belief systems (yeah, I’m THAT parent) … nothing has really made a dent. The irony is that, of course, Chad and I say those things primarily to avoid saying something even less appropriate for a 3 or 6-year-old. And I guess I’d rather hear the occasional (ok, constant) “Oh, my God” than “Holy shit!” or something. It’s just our little way of appreciating the Messiah, in this, the appropriated month of his birth. Speaking of which:

2012 Xmas CardYou know how in most family photos, there’s that one kid who never looks quite right? Yeah. I’m that kid.


2012 Xmas Letter


This was our Xmas letter this year. I love being married to a graphic designer, I tell you what.

We’re heading out to parts southern tomorrow, to spend Xmas with family. Blogging will almost certainly be light. Hope you get lots of good loot! Also world peace!


You can’t spell “Christmas” without “r-a-c-i-s-m”

Today was a good day. Chad let me sleep in, which he always does, which is why I will never divorce him no matter how often he makes me listen to Bryan Adams songs; we took the girls to see Santa and his elf, Albert, and for the first time ever *both* girls were brave enough to sit with Santa; and then we had lunch and sat down to watch some holiday programming on Netflix. Sylvia requested The Nutcracker, Maurice Sendak’s awesomely designed version of the ballet, so we rocked that. Then Ellie chose “Christmas Classics, Vol. 1,” a collection of short Christmas-themed animations from the 30s, 40s, and 50s. So: awesome, right? We embrace classic animation! Max Fleischer rules!

And the first video, the original cartoon of Rudolph, is just what you’d expect. Snow-Whitish animation, cheesy music, Reindeer doing silly things. All good. The second short, “Santa’s Surprise,” however, is … how can I put this … RACIST AS FUCK. OK, no, that might be too strong. On a scale of racism where 1 is a Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial event and 10 is a KKK rally, this movie was, like, a 7. So it could have been worse, but it’s still not something you want your kids watching.

It’s funny, because when you describe the film, it actually sounds kind of progressive. The story is that after Santa gets home from his journey around the world delivering gifts, an assortment of kiddies from different nations get together to make a Christmas surprise for Santa – they clean his house, get him a tree, and leave him a nicely wrapped present. Kids of all nations and colors working together! World harmony! It’s sweet! Except for how all the non-european kids are represented by the most screamingly blatant stereotypes you could possibly imagine. The little Asian boy personifies the Yellow Menace, the African boy is like the love-child of Little Black Sambo and Aunt Jemima – you get the idea. It’s bad enough when they’re just marching around singing about how they’re going to make a surprise for Santa, but then they start cleaning up and the white girl is sweeping whilst the black kid is shining shoes “to a boogie rhythm” and the Asian boy is … sigh … doing the laundry.

The thing is, it’s a short film, and I was so taken aback that all I managed to get out was “Um, this movie has some problematic racial stereotypes, kids …” (“What’s a stereotype, Mama?”) and then it was over. Fortunately, the rest of the shorts were harmless. UNfortunately, I’m pretty positive the girls are going to want to watch this collection again, and I have no idea how to explain in 6 and 3-year-old terms why that second film is a problem. I guess I could just forbid the whole thing, but that seems extreme. I feel like this is one of those educational opportunities you hear so much about, and I AM BIFFING IT.

Also I just found out that Bing Crosby was an asshole. So, you know. Whee!