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I have a bone to pick with society. There’s a phrase I hear often, and heard a LOT when I got married. “Happy wife, happy life!” Really?!?!? Is that how it truly works? The wife always happy while the husband constantly works to maintain her happiness? Ummmmm no thank you!

My marriage is a partnership. We are BOTH allowed to be happy. We BOTH work at making each other happy. We BOTH are allowed to fail at that task. We BOTH forgive one another when expectations aren’t fully met.

Jokes about husbands only allowed to say “Yes, dear!” (there was actually a sitcom titled that) and saying the wife being happy makes everyone happy is absolutely demeaning to marriage.

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You want a successful marriage? A truly successful marriage?

Be. Equal. Partners.

That’s it! Were you expecting a 12 page dissection of good communication, showing respect, being loving, supporting one another? Nope, not my style. Just be partners.

Partners do all those things listed above. Their individual success is so closely tied to one another that they WANT to have the other succeed.

Maybe it’s not all that mind blowing, but it so rarely gets said! Let’s change that phrase, that unbalanced phrase of “Happy wife, happy life!”, to a very balanced “Happy spouse, happy house!”

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Because, in the end, isn’t that what we all want?

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I’ve been watching the case to be made for allowing trans individuals to use the restroom/shower room of the gender they believe they are. The drive behind these laws is based in compassion.

Compassion for the individual uncertain about their own gender is understandable. But where is the compassion for the countless number of girls and woman at best uncomfortable, and at worst terrified, of the loopholes provided to lecherous men with evil intent?

We’ve already seen cases of this happening. The reason this happens is we are not allowed to question if someone IS trans. We just have to accept that no one would ever lie about such a thing.

I suppose no one reading this remembers the show Bosom Buddies? I know, I know, it’s stretching, but it was a show about 2 hetero guys who dressed as women to save money on rent. I may add they both fell for women living in the same building. I mean, yeah, it was a situational comedy, but these guys had access to seeing these women scantily clad WITHOUT the women knowing they were men!

Are we so willing to allow our daughters to change at the gym in front of a man in women’s clothing? How do we know which are trans/harmless like the aforementioned tv show, or dangerous sex offenders? Could you tell them apart?

The solutions are incredibly difficult to go over and acknowledge. Someone IS going to be hurt. But we can’t protect everyone all the time. So here are the 3 possibilities. 1) Go back to saying whatever genitalia you have is the bathroom you go in. This could disenfranchise approximately .3% of our population. 2) Use whatever bathroom you identify with. This has proven to put women in danger, so roughly 51% of our population. 3) Consider creating a gender neutral bathroom, smaller than other gender specific ones, and let the trans population decide where they prefer to be. Their actual gender, or the neutral room.

Laws based on compassion aren’t inherently bad. The trouble lies with whom you are being compassionate toward. Our job is to protect the vast majority. I’m no mathematician, but I am PRETTY sure 51% is greater than .3%. Criminals will exploit laws. They’ve already exploited this one. Are you willing to wait for physical assaults before repealing them? I’m not.

In our house, we have no real tv. As a result, my kids have taken to watching various YouTube channels. Some are silly, like FailArmy. Some are annoying, like all the Minecraft reaction channels. Some are mildly amusing, like iisuperwomanii.

Now I personally prefer binge watching 9 seasons of Supernatural on Netflix inside of two weeks, but that is often thwarted by the YouTube stuff. Recently, my eldest daughter was going through the superwoman channel and landed on a video where the host, Lilly Singh, answered questions from fans.*

I normally cringe at this stuff because the questions tend to be sexual in nature, or just wholly inappropriate for my 12 year old to hear. However, I have to give credit to Ms. Singh for 1) choosing questions that were both funny and appropriate, and 2) answering them honestly.

One of the questions was truly intriguing. Ms. Singh was asked if she was a virgin. I braced for the response…and breathed a sigh of relief with the answer. Yes. She is (or at least was at the time of answering) a virgin. She used to be weird about answering the question because she feared shaming. Shaming for holding onto the very last piece of innocence anyone holds? Shaming for choosing to not engage in something so unique and special it should be reserved for husband and wife? Yep. She thought she would be shamed for admitting to not having sex.

My daughters listened to her response. They paid attention. Here was someone they admire and respect saying that it was perfectly fine to not have sex. Someone who is accomplished, young, funny, smart, successful, and (more importantly) who is NOT mom, voiced her advocacy for being a virgin as long as you can.

In this world of Kim Kardashian dropping clothes faster than the Flash can get across town, here is a breath of fresh air! Now, I have no idea if Ms. Singh is still a virgin, but I did come across a post she made on her Facebook page a couple years ago that bolsters what she said in the video.

Regardless if she is or is not still a virgin, she advocates for those who are! She is doing what she can to take away the weird stigma society gives to 20 somethings who make a choice to not give away that piece of them to just anyone. What’s crazier is that stigma gets worse for those older than 20 something! Why? What good does it do for a woman to go have sex with anyone just because she is “too old” to still be a virgin?

My life choices made sure I did not wait until marriage. I regret that. Of all the decisions I have made in my life, that is the one I wish I could go back and undo. The truth is sex is emotional. Very emotional. You do tie yourself to the person you have sex with. Taking that out of the equation actually allows you to see the relationship through a much clearer lens.

That’s the lesson we should be teaching our children, and especially our daughters. You get one shot at giving that last piece of innocence away. One. Don’t waste it on someone not willing to love you, honor you, and stay with you even in the worst of times. Your body is yours, right up until you give it fully to another. Make a wise choice where that is concerned.

*For the record, I attempted to find the actual video, but there are SEVERAL ask superwoman videos, and I simply could not sift through them all.

Recently, my middle child turned 10. Her wish was to have a real party. This may not seem an odd request, but her birthday is December 30th. While we are always able to make a big deal out of her birthday, it is not always easy to get even a few of her friends together over winter break for a party.

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This year, I vowed to make it happen!

 

In October, we picked the venue. In November we bought the invites. A week before Winter break started she delivered the invites. I got one RSVP. Now readers, please don’t fret!!! We knew of 3 girls coming to the party already, so to have one more confirm was awesome!

 

The tricky part was the cake. You see, I have a shoe problem. By problem I mean I can see 15 pairs of shoes from where I sit, and I know there are at least 8 more out of my line of sight. I also may have just purchased a pair of Mukluks from a friend…but I digress. My point is, I have somehow transferred my shoe passion to my 10 year old. So much so, that when we were looking for cake ideas, she saw a picture on the internet of these amazing high heeled cupcakes. Guess what cake she HAD TO HAVE?!?!?

 

So, being the wonderful mother that I am, I gritted my teeth and said “Of course darling! Mommy can make that for you!”

 

Now, I do have a background in baking, and my decorating skills aren’t terrible, but the task at hand was daunting. Still, it was her 10th birthday and dang nabbit, I was going to give her what she wanted.

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I have included some pictures of the cupcakes, not to brag, but to show you what 3 hours of baking/frosting making, 2 hours of assembly and 1 hour of transportation looks like from the determined mother.

 

I hear parents say all the time “There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my child!”, and I can safely say, this is true for me!

 

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It’s late. I am exhausted. 4 trips to the kids school and a sports meeting have left me little time to reflect on today.

But…

This day creeps up on me every damn year. And even though I can recall every moment of it 12 years ago with insane clarity, there is one moment that defines the day for me. When my husband came home from work and saw me sitting on the floor, holding our not quite one year old son, sobbing as I watched the images over and over again on the little 13 inch screen tv we had, he didn’t wrap me in his arms. He didn’t pick up our son and tell him mommy was ok. No, what my husband did was the most heroic thing he could ever do.

He marched across the room, turned off the tv, unplugged it, took it in our bedroom, came back out and said “No more for you.” It wasn’t done out of hate or sadness or even love. It was done because he knew it had to be done. Because he knew I didn’t have the strength to do it myself. Because if I watched that plane hit that building one more time, I was going to have a nervous breakdown.

Sure, I was shaken to my core about all the events that day, and the implications it all held for our country, but my husband’s simple act that evening saved me. I was able to sleep that night. And I was able to get up the next morning, and every morning since.

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Last night I was watching Glenn Beck. He talked about a defining moment when you changed a major thing in your life. He said that if you didn’t have an exact moment when that change occurred that you could point to, you most likely didn’t change a thing but the words coming out of your mouth.

 
I’m not sure why those words resonated with me. Perhaps because I have fundamentally changed so many things in my life over the last 5 years. Perhaps because I can recall every time I made the conscious change in my thinking. Regardless, I know my journey has been one of transformation for me and not for others.
 
See, before 2008 I was wholly liberal. Abortion was a woman’s choice, illegal immigrants were just looking for something better and government was my friend. Only, that’s not the whole story.
 
My beliefs were shaped…no, I allowed them to be shaped…by those around me. When Reagan ran against Mondale, I only knew about Mondale. And I only knew about Mondale because his running mate was Geraldine Ferraro. This is important because my mom fancies herself a feminist and my sister’s name is Geraldine. So clearly, that ticket was the better of the two.
 
My first time voting was for Bill Clinton. I was so excited to vote and I wanted to make my parents proud of me, so I voted democratic all the way. I even wore a t shirt that said something akin to “Everyone should vote!” I don’t believe that anymore either.
 
In 2007 I went to work on Hillary Clinton’s campaign. It was exciting! I had my mother’s love and encouragement, and I was working toward helping make history. Then Obama happened.
 
I guess I should thank him. Without his presence on the political scene I would have never questioned anything. But question I did when I saw people bussed into my precinct to vote. When I heard the Union members say they were barred from voting if they had Clinton materials in their hands, or said they were voting for her. And most of all, when Obama said he wanted to “fundamentally change the United States of America”. That scared me.
 
I love this country fiercely. I have lived in two other countries and traveled extensively. While I enjoy going other places, I can’t imagine living anywhere else but here. We have freedoms almost unheard of elsewhere and diversity galore. If I want to live somewhere tropical, or desert, or arctic, I can. So to hear a potential president say that all needed to change made me sit up and take notice.
 
It also made me take stock. This man represented my core beliefs…and I didn’t like what he was saying. So I made everyone in my life shut up, I closed myself off from people and I read. I read articles, books, the constitution and blogs. I studied the pros and cons of several “hot topics”. But mostly, I listened to the other side. 
 
My defining moment? My husband had Rush Limbaugh on. I can’t tell you the topic or what was being said. What I can tell you is that I commented on it, and 2 seconds later Rush said EXACTLY what I had just said. Whoa…talk about a 180. I agreed with Rush. No, Rush agreed with my opinion! After all, I said it first.
 
I had found what I truly stood for. It didn’t matter what anyone else thought. My conclusions were my own. They came from an obscene amount of research and questioning. It’s hard to rattle someone when they come to their own conclusions, and I am NOT going to be rattled ever again!
 

ImageWhen Disney gets ahold of a classic narrative, you just know they will do something truly special with it. Tonight I was allowed to screen “Oz the Great and Powerful”. Special doesn’t even begin to cover what this movie is.

Confession time people: I am a HUGE “Wizard of Oz” fan. I have read the books and I pretty much have the movie memorized. I tell you this so you understand my bias in writing this review.

Let’s start with the basics. The screening I went to was in 3D. Now, I’ve seen “Avatar”, “Tron:Legacy” and “Superman” in this format. All were fantastic, but they have NOTHING on the use of 3D in “Oz”. The opening credits alone are worth the price of admission, but then…oh my…then you enter Oz and the spell binding artistry takes it to a whole new level.

To say that “Oz” is a pretty movie is an understatement. From mountains, to raging rivers, to the Emerald City, each frame is a new feast for the eyes. I felt like I saw colors that I never knew existed in a land that even my best dreams couldn’t conjure. Truly, Disney outdid themselves in the effects department.

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Now to the plot of this film. It is the story of how the Wizard ended up in Oz, what he had to do to prove himself worthy and (of course) the tale of the Wicked Witch. There are old familiar characters made new like Glinda and the Munchkins. Even though you know what they are like in the original, these representations are fabulous, albeit quite different!

Overall, the movie kept a good pace and engaged the audience fully. What the plot lacked was made up for in the performances and the visual effects. The only true critique I can give is the end of the film. No, no spoilers here, but it seemed as if they weren’t sure how to finalize the events, so they created three endings…and put the audience through them all. It was the only time I felt the movie dragged at all, which is a shame.

For parents looking to take their little ones, I say not under the age of 7 at least. There are some scary moments and the winged monkeys are quite terrifying. There is some adult humor, but it would go over most kids heads. That being said, I believe this is a great family movie. Something for everyone!

On a five star rating system, I would give this 3.5…maybe 4. The references to Baum’s original books and the 1939 film are seamless and fun for a fan. Even though we all know essentially how this story will end, they did a good job keeping you in suspense throughout. A few script issues and the ending issue keep me from going full fan girl and giving it a 5.

With money being tight nowadays, I know people are being choosy about the movies they go see in the theater. DON’T miss this one on the big screen!!! It is made to be seen that way! And spring for the 3D too. You won’t be disappointed.