Saturday, July 30, 2011

This Week in Tweets: It's Just My Opinion

My personal ten favorite tweets from this past week.

This week in tweets made possible by: @Brain_Wash @FozziesRevenge @grace134 @TheManwife @chimomwriter @suitcasetricks @KelleysBreakRm @JohnFugelsang @jillsmo

Now go... follow the funny.

(FollowtheFunny is a Twitter list of the tweeps that have recently appeared on my This Week in Tweets.)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Divine Bible

A few months back I wrote a post (Why Do You Believe) asking you what the source of your faith was. I was so overwhelmed by your responses. They gave me so much to think about. They posed so many challenges to the simple questions I had asked. It was amazing and I thank you all for participating in the discussion.

One of my big discoveries from that online conversation was that so many of you place the source of your faith outside of any specific holy book. This is a much different experience from my faith/faithless path in life. Back when I was a devoted Christian, it was based almost entirely on my belief that the Bible was the absolute Word of God. So I would like to pose a question to those of you who share that particular belief.

To those of you who believe that the Christian Bible is the true Word of God (or any holy book, really), why do you believe in the divinity of the Bible?

Personally, I have a whole host of reasons that I no longer fall into the "Bible is divine" camp, some of which I listed in my previous post. If you're curious, maybe I'll list some of them out in a future post. But for now, I'm curious about what your reasons are. Why do you believe that the Bible is divine?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Up Your Talking Points Game, Democrats!

A couple weeks ago I told you about how Michelle Bachmann and Joe Walsh were conspiring to make my head explode. They were doing this by suggesting that Obama is being dishonest when he suggests that if the debt ceiling is not raised, then the US government will default on its debt. While this could be conceived of as minimally true, it's just damn annoying since nobody really cares whether it's "technically" default when the US government no longer has enough money to pay all of its bills, so long as we continue to pay interest on treasury bills. *yawn* It's like the incessant debate a year ago about whether we were still in a recession or not. "Technically" you need to get over your damn selves and do your damn jobs.

Anyway, today I was listening to NPR (I know, news flash) and they were talking about the debt ceiling talks (again... shocking, I know). As I understand it, there are currently two main plans to raise the debt ceiling. The Republican plan raises the debt ceiling in a way that requires us to have this debate again in a few months (in 2012). The Democratic plan raises the debt ceiling in a way that requires us to have this debate again in a few more months (in 2013).

Now the Democrats are not fans of the Republican plan. (I know. You just fell off of your chair at that shocking news. You back up now? OK, good.) But the Democrats are sticking to their talking points of, "the Republicans are going to bring us to the brink of default with these tactics." Blah blah blah. Listen up guys, you can't say the Republicans are going to cause us to default when they have a plan that would allow the debt ceiling to be raised. That doesn't even make any sense. And even the most checked-out Americans can look at that statement and think, "Huh?" (Yes, that's about all most Americans probably have to say about this whole debt ceiling business, so you should just be aware of that.)

Democrats, you've gotta' up your game. You've gotta' be able to think on your feet. You've got to be able to counter when they parry. (Yeah, I have no idea if that analogy makes any sense. I took like three weeks of fencing in high school PhysEd.) When the GOP was all, "no tax increases," you were right on message. You say you're willing to compromise on entitlements, but the GOP is being stubborn. But when the GOP presents a plan that actually would raise the debt ceiling, you've gotta' respond to that. Say that it's crazy to have this discussion again in six months. Say that Americans want Congress to solve this problem now. (We do, by the way.) Say that nothing's going to change between now and then and that everybody needs to put on their big boy pants and make some tough decisions now. Say, "we can't kick this can down the road." (Republicans love that saying. You should so be using it against them.)

Whatever! Just say something that doesn't make it sound like you don't know what to do now that the GOP has a plan that flies in the face of your current talking points. The GOP is much better at the spin game and you know it. So stay on your toes. Anticipate their next move. And then lunge! (See that? Another fencing reference. It's like I know the exact social references that resonate with the American people.) At least give it a shot. Because "they're gonna' make us default".... not gonna fly.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Getting to Know You: All About Me

So today I finally created an About Me page for this little ol' blog. Mostly I just wanted y'all to know that I have an email address. But an About Me page with nothing but an email address is a little lame, so I went ahead and added some other random "things." You can click on the About Me link up there at the top of the page now and see it, but since the Internet is all about minimizing the number of clicks it takes to get you the info you want, I'm just gonna' put it right here for you to see right now. You're welcome.

My About Me Page
(feedback welcome)

Where to Find Me on the Interwebs

Sarcasm 101 (you are here)
My Mommy Blog: Little Ants
On Twitter: @rubyspikes
On facebook: Rubyspikes Fan Page
On Google+: Ruby Spikes on G+
On Pinterest: Rubyspikes' Pin Boards
Through Email:
newbie blogger
Chicago suburbanite
IT consultant
dog owner
home owner

my family
ice cream
Diet Coke
mac & cheese (from a box)
Broadway musicals
willful ignorance
poor grammar

evolution is real
climate change is real
an embryo is not a person
vaccinations don't cause autism
sexual preferences are not choices
talking on your phone impairs your driving

Saturday, July 23, 2011

This Week in Tweets: Thoughts Aren't Dangerous

My personal ten favorite tweets from this past week.

Now go... follow the funny.

(FollowtheFunny is a Twitter list of the tweeps that have recently appeared on my This Week in Tweets.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Unemployment Before and After Obama

A few days ago, a facebook friend of mine posted the following fact as part of his status: "2008 Unemployment = 7.3%; Today = 9.2%. Increase of 26%."

This kind of thing makes me a little crazy. Because while this "fact" might be a real, honest-to-goodness fact, it doesn't begin to tell the whole picture. In fact, it intentionally tells only part of the story. Do we really not remember where we were when Obama took office?

So being the crazy kind of person that I am, immediately went to Google to get some additional "facts". I only needed one site: the Bureau of Labor Statistics, where they have a lovely little table of the unemployment rates going back to Jan 2001. Perfect. Now looking at the straight numbers, you would see a chart like this:

I threw in a little line there so that you could see where Obama took office. But from this graph, you can only get a general sense that things were already going bad when Obama's presidency began. Let me show you the numbers in a slightly different way so that you can truly remember the cliff we were flying off of in January 2009.

OK, so I might need to explain this one just a bit. What it shows is how much higher the unemployment rate is in any given month compared to the same month a year earlier. So, for example, when President Obama took office in January 2009, unemployment was 7.8%. A year earlier in January 2008, unemployment had been only 5%. So in the year before he took office, the unemployment rate had increased 56%. In fact, in the months leading up to the beginning of the Obama presidency, unemployment numbers weren't just going up, they were going up faster and faster each month. Finally, in May 2009, five months after Obama took office and four months after the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the numbers finally started slowing. They were still going up, absolutely, but for the first time, the rate of increase was dropping. Over the months following, the overall unemployment numbers continued to climb, but each month they climbed more slowly that the previous month until finally, in August 2010, we saw a year over year drop in the rate of unemployment.

Now, do these numbers tell only part of the story? Sure they do. Did Obama single handedly rescue the economy from certain devastation? Of course not. But this is definitely a fuller picture than those who want to tell you a tale of how Obama has driven the economy off a cliff. Take a look at that picture folks and try and remember back. Back then we were talking about a second great depression. Today, we're wondering why the recovery isn't happening as fast as we'd like it to.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Snark Therapy: Socks and Sandals

So I posted a couple weeks back about my newly invented form of therapy that I have created for myself called Snark Therapy. Basically, I feel better when I get to bitch about stuff. Sometimes the target is stuff I love, sometimes it's stuff I think is nuts. You really never know. Just because I snark it, doesn't mean I don't still want it in my house. I've begun collecting my random bitching on my Pinterest Snark Board, but since many (most) of you probably aren't on Pinterest, I'm going to occasionally take some time here on my blog to share with you some of my favorites. Here you go.

Where the heck do I even start? How about just this: If you are decorating your bathroom and leave more floor space for a feathered gown than for your sink & mirror area, I really don't know what we'd talk about if we ever met.

Trust me on this: This will not look as cute in your house as it does in this picture. In your house, it is going to look like you're using old colanders as light shades. Also... it'll probably be pretty dark. (Colanders are not very translucent.)

WTF were you thinking? Were you just bored off your ass one day? And even then, who wants to turn their lips into a fox? This is just nuts. And oh how I wish there was a picture of this woman's whole face. Because that would be priceless.

Check me out. I'm leaning on a stuffed zebra. (A little part of me really wishes she was wearing that headdress, too, even though it totally does not really go with the shoes.)

This... is not a joke. This is a real product being sold by a real website that really sells shoes. Part of the description of this item includes, "Wearing socks and sandals used to be an absolute fashion faux pas; now, it's a chic statement!" WTF happened to truth in advertising? They should be legally obligated to say: "Some of you will want to buy these. We want you to buy them because we want your money. But you should know that you're going to look like a total douche. But who cares what the world thinks? Now you can wear socks and flip flops!"

Full disclosure, if any of the above items appeal to you, you can find links to their actual websites on my Pinterest Snark Board. Word of warning though: If you repin something from my Snark board, I'm probably going to check out the other things on that board, and I'll probably snark those. But take heart, if I do snark you, there's a 50/50 chance that I really, really love it.. :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

This Week in Tweets: The Monster Won't Eat You

My personal ten favorite tweets from this past week.

This week in tweets made possible by: @MultitaskMumma @phxguy88 @Mama_Mash @MrsPickle_ @gonnakillhim @grace134 @mamachaplin @BorowitzReport @exlibris @RenegadeRuby

Now go... follow the funny.

(FollowtheFunny is a Twitter list of the tweeps that have recently appeared on my This Week in Tweets.)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bachmann Walsh Head Explosion

I listen to NPR. A lot. I go through phases while listening to NPR on my daily commute. There will be several days where I listen on the way to work, listen on the way home, listen at home, and all the while thinking, "Well, that's interesting" or "Hmm, I didn't know that." or even "Wow, that's really kinda' boring... next." And then I have days where I want to shake the holy hell out of the people whose voices are invading my car. Yesterday, that voice was Michelle Bachmann's when she said this:
This is a misnomer, that I believe that the president and treasury secretary have been trying to pass off on the American people and it's this, if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling by $2.5 trillion that somehow the United States will go into default and we will lose the full faith and credit of the United States. That is simply not true.
Um... really? Because I'm not an economist nor am I a member of Congress, but here's how I understand it: The U.S. government spends more money than it takes in. To do this, it must borrow money. But a while back, Congress set a limit (aka "debt ceiling") on the amount of money the U.S. government could borrow, so whenever we hit the limit, Congress has to raise the limit (again), which happens pretty regularly. We are about to hit that ceiling, meaning that the U.S. government cannot borrow any additional money. Which clearly means that the U.S. government will not be able to pay out on its obligations.

Now I know what Ms. Bachmann means. What she means is that the U.S. government does take in enough money to allow it to pay the interest on our debt, meaning that we would not officially default on our debt. But in order to do that, the President would need to decide where the money coming in should go and would have to decide that it should go to pay interest on government bonds and not to any number of other places (you know, about 1.1 trillion other places). Sure we can probably pay the interest and some other important stuff. But we can't pay all of it. Which of the other entities that are owed money will not get it. Should soldiers still get paid? How about Social Security recipients? Federal prison guards? How about all the people who work in the federal courthouses? The CIA? Should we take a break from investigating terrorists while we sort out this whole "debt ceiling" business? How about TSA screeners at airports that we simply had to make government employees after 9/11? What about border guards and the INS? Can we stop worrying about undocumented immigrants for a few months?

The list obviously goes on and on. And clearly it's not all that easy for everyone to agree on which areas to not spend money on or we would have done it already. And usually in these cases, I just shake my head and realize that our nation's leaders know a whole lot better than they say on TV and on the radio. They know darn well that this is something that needs to get done. They know darn well that this isn't something that "the President is asking for," but that it's something that is required in order for the nation to keep on keeping on without serious impacts on our economy and the world's economy. But Michelle Bachmann is running for President of the United States of America and so I am going to take her at her word. That if she were sitting in the big chair, she would not raise the nation's debt ceiling because it's simply unnecessary. So it's not like there was any real likelihood that I would have been voting for Ms. Bachmann next November, but now... I actively want her out of the race. Like now.

And then on top of all that, today Joe Walsh said this:

President Obama, quit lying. You know darn well that if August 2nd comes and goes there is plenty of money to pay off our debt and cover all social security obligations. And you also know that you and only you have the discretion to make those payments. 
I know you have a willing media that protects everything you say and do, but have you no shame sir? In three short years you have bankrupted this country and destroyed job creation. You are either in over your head, don't understand what makes this country great, or are hell-bent in turning us into some European big government wasteland. 
Come on President Obama - quit scaring the American people and quit talking about band aids and peas. Lead for a change - get members of your own party to support a Balanced Budget Amendment
Really, Joe? I won't even get into the job killing thing. I'll deal with that later. But again, you are splitting hairs. The U.S. government is about to run out of money to pay its bills. And you're basically suggesting that it's all fine because people who hold US treasuries will get their money. Guess what... somebody's not going to get their money, Joe. Money that WE, the American people, promised to pay them. WE promised to pay federal workers who go to work every day and are due paychecks. WE purchased services, equipment, and goods from businesses and other countries and now WE need to pay for those things. WE promised unemployed Americans that we would send them a check every week to help them get back on their feet and hopefully become hard-working, tax-paying citizens again very soon. Someone that WE promised to pay is not going to get paid, Joe, and I for one don't like the idea of you turning us into a country of deadbeat debtors.

Ugh! Joe, Michelle, do me a favor. First, go read my previous post on the debt ceiling: One American Family. It's a parable; maybe it'll help you understand why we need to do this. And then... and this one is important... please stop speaking. At least for a little while. You're really making my head hurt. Seriously, a homemaker in the 'burbs should not be able to punch holes in your reasoned arguments a mile and a half wide. Next time you try to take us all to Crazy Town, try and think it through a little better, OK?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

How Well You Know Me

There are a few stores with which I have mild obsessions. Potterybarn. Crate & Barrel. Pier 1. The Container Store. It's not really healthy. I have a collection of Potterybarn catalogs that I should really throw out since they're several months old, but I keep them around as though they are back issues of Better Homes and Gardens. Practically every decorative item in my house came from either Potterybarn, Crate & Barrel, or Pier 1.

And then there's The Container Store. Oh how I love buying containers. Boxes, bins, hooks, totes, bags. So delightful. And then I bring them all home and put all my stuff in them and line them all up on the shelves and for ten minutes, my life is totally organized. (Then of course my kid or my husband or I take something off of the shelf and don't put it back and the whole thing spirals into chaos, but that's another story.)

I get regular emails from The Container Store telling me of products that I might like. Here is part of the last email I got.

My first thought when I saw it.... Dude! I own every item on that top row. I have about three under shelf baskets, five of those teardrop soap dispensers, definitely have a Lifehammer (I don't want to drown while trapped in my car, you know), and an accordian drying rack in my utility room.

So does this mean that The Container Store knows me very well? After all, they did recommend four Great Choice items that I clearly would love. Or does it mean that they are totally not paying attention? Because I did buy every one of those items at their store! I mean, come one! I don't need those items, I already have them. Or maybe this is TCS's clever way of saying, look, we know what you like, so look at the rest of this ad for other stuff you can't stop yourself from buying.

Well, if that's the plan, TCS, you're gonna' have to try again. Because I really do not need a container to hold an open stick of butter. A) I do not cook. ANYTHING. And B) the fold-the-paper-over-the-open-end method has been working for me just fine. I like organization and all, but that's a little nuts.

But it does make me think.... I could use some new containers for the Lego kits I just bought for the kid. I should probably take a trip to The Container Store.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

This Week in Tweets: Three Times as Nice

This week, I've added a couple "special features" to the usual line up. Hope you enjoy.

This Week in Tweets: From I Hate You to Google +

My personal eight favorite tweets from this past week.

Why only eight instead of the usual ten? Well, two reasons: One, it really was a light week this week due to my need to spend more time off of Twitter than on it. But two, it also allows me to add this one time feature: The Lobbyists. I got two tweets this week related to this post, both of which made me laugh, so they had to be featured. Just a note though: this will never work again. I mean it. Behave.

This Week in Tweets: The Lobbyists

Finally, because for me, this has been crazy narcissism week, I can't possibly not feature myself on my own post of funny tweets. 'Cuz people, I'm funny, too. (Or hadn't you heard.)

This Week in Tweets: Rubyspikes Edition

This week in tweets made possible by: @MommyMonologues @scotthajer @daydreaminfool @roxisbrilliant @Brain_Wash @JimGaffigan @TheBloggess @MrsPickle_ @smonkyou & of course @rubyspikes

Now go... follow the funny.

(FollowtheFunny is a Twitter list of the tweeps that have recently appeared on my This Week in Tweets.)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Why Does McDonald's Hate Me

I eat McDonald's a bit more than your average human being. Actually, let's just say that the definition of the word "bit" is open for debate. So last summer when I was crazy pregnant (the babe was born in late September), I was all over the Arctic Orange shakes. Never heard of them? Well, that's because they came out around the same time as the fruit smoothies, and McDonald's was gangbusters for promoting the smoothies. Turns out they didn't really need to promote them that much because McDonald's customers were gangbusters into buying the smoothies. So that worked out nicely for everyone. Well, except me. Because I tried the smoothies and was like, "Eeah." They were fine. Whatever. But I had also tried the Arctic Orange shake. Man that sucker was delicious! Basically it was an orange Dreamsicle in shake form. They were a little too sweet, so that after about 3/4, you almost couldn't eat another sip. But you could totally go back for another 3/4 of Arctic Orange goodness in a few days. (Some people waited a few days, I'm sure. I was 8 months pregnant in August. I thought a 24 hour waiting period between shakes was plenty sufficient.)

Anyway, one day I pulled up to my local McDonald's, ordered my Arctic Orange addiction and heard the drive-thru-order-guy say to someone else, "Do we still have any orange shakes left?" At first, I just thought that they had  had a run on the orange dreamy goodness, but when I pulled up and he gave me my shake, he mentioned that this was the last day they'd have them. WHAT???? Yes, this was a summertime promotional item. Other McDonald's might have some stock left, but when it ran out, that was the end of the Arctic Orange shake. WTH, McDonald's? This thing was delicious. Maybe if you had promoted them a bit then people would have known of their deliciousness.

So I mourned the loss of the best shake that McDonald's has EVER had and hoped that maybe they would treat it like that God-awful shamrock shake that tastes atrocious but that they continue to bring out year after year. Maybe it would become a summertime staple. But it's July now. No Arctic Orange shakes in sight. Bummer.

Oh well, I've been consoling myself with a different McDonald's frozen delicacy: the McFlurry. I've never been a huge fan of the McFlurry since they are A) entirely too big and B) no one who works at McDonald's can ever be bothered to mix those things longer than 2.1 seconds, which might as well be 0.2 seconds because they're never mixed and you get a whole huge cup with a little ice cream and a ton of Oreo at the top and then you get through the mound of Oreo and are left with half a cup of so-so ice cream and NO Oreo left AT ALL. Ugh. Sorry. It's just that, really? You can't just mix the thing the way you're supposed to so that I don't get a cup of ice cream with Oreo sprinkled on top?

But McDonald's has done two things that has made me a new fan of the McFlurry. No, they have not begun training their staff on proper mixing. That, I'm afraid, is too much to hope for. Awesome thing #1: They have started offering the snack sized McFlurry. That, my friends, is awesomeness. It is a much more appropriate size (for me anyway). Awesome thing #2: They have introduced the Rolo McFlurry. OMG! Ice cream and chocolate and caramel. Oh it is heavenly delicious (if the staff would kindly mix the silly thing). Actually, even if they don't mix it, it is still delicious. Nom nom nom. So good.

Then the other day, as I was in the drive thru getting a large Diet Coke (and not a McFlurry, thank you), I actually noticed the McFlurry sign in the corner of the menu board. Here it was:

Well, from that picture, you can't see much of anything. How about this:

What? You still can't read that tiny little print? OK, fine. Here's the image that appears on the McDonald's site:

Now can you read it? Yes, that's right. It says "limited time."

Why, McDonald's? Why do you hate me so much that you keep introducing fabulous, delicious products that I can fall in love with just in time for you to take them away?

To you, McDonalds, I say: What. Ever.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Twitter Friends

If you are on Twitter, then chances are that you already know about Friend or Follow. If you do, bear with me while I talk a little about that, but a little bit more about my new love: Twitter. Even though I just hit 5,000 tweets last week, I'm still claiming the Twitter newbie title while I can. There is just still so much that is new. Aside from the general coolness of Friend or Follow, here's the new thing I learned this week: I could totally be the crazy facebook tattoo girl of Twitter. Well, not really, in that I'm totally not a tattoo girl, pain girl, needles girl, or anything too permanent girl. But other than I could totally be the crazy facebook tattoo girl of Twitter.

In case you don't know about the crazy facebook tattoo lady, all you need to know is that some lady was reported to have tattooed the faces of her 152 facebook friends onto her arm. Turns out, it was just a hoax. But the point is, that when I saw the story for the first time, I thought: Really? (Re-read that with the voice of Seth Meyers if you will.) Really? Your whole arm? I'll bet you hide most of those "friends" from your fb news feed, too.

But then this week my husband was reading my tweets, as he is wont to do. (He's not on Twitter, he just reads my tweets. So it's kinda like having a stalker, but he's my husband, so it's kinda sweet.) Someone had suggested in a tweet I go to for some reason or another. I was probably either apologizing for my poor follow-back skills or whining about how Twitter just randomly unfollows people "for" you and how would I even know if Twitter had unfollowed someone I really liked following? So as my husband was reading my recent tweets, he says to me, "You haven't been to Friend or Follow? It's kinda cool." So when your non-tweeting husband is in the know about a twitter-tool website and you're not, you of course, have to stop what you're doing and go directly to that site. And OMG! I love this site. It's super simple, but so cool!

So what does all that have to do with me becoming the crazy tattoo girl of Twitter. Well, I'm getting there. Geez. Patience, people.

For those of you who don't know what Friend or Follow does, it basically just breaks your Twitter peeps into three groups, which I will show you.

Following: These are the people whom you follow, but who don't follow you. These are mine.

There's really nothing too shocking here. Except, of course, that @AlecBaldwin hasn't followed me back yet. That's a little weird.

Then there are your fans: people who follow you, but you don't follow them. Again, these are mine:

I could't believe this when I saw it. I know I am rather horrible about checking out (and hence following back) new followers. I usually just wait until they talk to me first. Then I follow back. But this was a large number. 116 to be exact. I decided I'll visit here regularly and choose some interesting looking avatars to investigate for potential follow back.(But if you actually want me to follow you, it's really best if you just talk to me.)

And finally, there are your friends: people whom you follow and who follow you back. These are my Twitter friends:

Now if you don't follow me on Twitter, this is just a group of 235 random avatars. If you do follow me, you probably recognize some of these faces.  But when I saw this group of pictures, I just smiled. Really smiled. These really are my Twitter friends. I sent out my very first tweet on February 26, 2011. Since then, not only have I acquired this many Twitter friends, but I look at those faces (and cartoon faces and even some pictures of just random stuff **ahem shoes**), and I see the faces of the people who keep me company, make me laugh, share their lives, ask me about my day, send me eHugs after a crummy day, and just all around make me love Twitter. It's not Twitter that I love though, it's you.

So at the risk of sounding like a drunk college kid, I love you, man!

But no, I am not tattooing your faces on my arm.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

On the Brink

Disclaimer: This post does not contain a lot of funny. Consider yourself warned.

Today has been a tough day. Really tough.Nothing truly significant or catastrophic happened, but I've realized I'm getting terribly close to my personal breaking point. Wanna hear about it? Nah, probably not. It's boring, typical, "that's life" sorta' stuff. But I'm going to tell you about it anyway because I'm hoping it'll free up some space in my brain. (I'm pretty sure my brain works just like my computer. When it starts to feel full, I can just move some of that "stuff" to my blog to get some of that space back.)

Work has been tough. The project I've been working on for the last six months was just about to wrap up when a related project appeared with this crazy deadline that seems practically impossible to hit. Everyone is going to have to bend over backwards to make it happen. And I, as the project manager, am going to have to be the person begging lots of people to stop the really important stuff they're working on at the moment to do my really, really important stuff instead. Add to that I'm managing the project, but currently have no one to actually give the work assignments to, so I'm ending up attempting to do most of it myself. This isn't working out so well since there are only so many hours in the day and so much that one person can accomplish. But I'm not the kind of person who likes to see things get missed, so it's really stressing me out that it looks like if we continue the way we're going, lots of stuff could get missed.

Today was the first day back after a three-day weekend. I had plans to accomplish three high priority tasks today. I got a call 5 minutes after arriving at my desk that de-railed those plans. I spent the rest of the day working on fixing stuff that was supposed to be fixed last week. None of my three things got done. The thing from last week still isn't fixed. I also added four more things to my "things that have to get done NOW" list.

Add to that, I've been really struggling mentally with being back at work full-time. I had been working part-time for the previous two years, but the extra 2.5 days is adding much more stress than I had anticipated. I actually have an amazing job. Flexible hours, flexible location, and decent pay. Plus, I'm pretty good at what I do. I also have a nanny who watches my kids and I am able to work many hours from home. As I type this, I know that there are so many moms who would kill for that kind of arrangement, and I am very thankful for what I've got. But nothing's perfect. Every hour that I work from home with my kids in the next room feels like an opportunity missed; like I am choosing work over them. They will be all grown up in the blink of an eye and I will have spent so much time in the very next room, but with the door closed tight. Every time I hear the nanny reprimanding my four-year-old, I wonder if he'd be acting up if it were me out there. I wonder if I would have handled the situation differently. I wonder if he's acting up more because I'm in the other room instead of at the office. I am actually very productive when I work from home, often much more productive than when I'm in the office, but I often pay for this increase in productivity with a feeling that I'm failing at my more important job of being a mother.

Add to that, today was my 4 year old's first day of swimming lessons. He hasn't spent much time in a pool. Kiddie pools and splash pads and sprinklers, sure, but actual pools, not so much. My husband and I really want him to learn to swim this summer and he was SO excited about starting swimming lessons today. I actually left work a little early today so that I could take him on his first day. He was giddy. We got there early and he was so excited while we were waiting by the pool. When it came time to sit by the pool and put his feet in, he sat right down. But when it came time to hold the side of the pool and get in the water, he was absolutely terrified. The instructors put him in the water and when he turned his face toward me, I could see that he was bawling. He pulled himself 90% out of the water and was gripping the side of the pool like his life depended on it. I wasn't sure what the official rules were regarding parent involvement, but I didn't really care. I walked over to the side of the pool where he was. He was so scared, but I got him to breathe and to calm down. I explained that he didn't have to get back in the water if he didn't have to, but that we would stay there by the water in case he changed his mind. For the next forty minutes he sat on the edge of the pool with his feet barely in the water. I watched the eight other kids in his 4- and 5-year-olds class get carried through the water by the instructors. One other child looked terrified as they did this, but they continued to go through the motions. They continued to ask my son if he'd like to try and again and again he said no. I didn't leave his side the rest of the time and could see the fear in his eyes rise every time an instructor would come near. I know that the he would be fine if I let him go. I know that they would not drop him. I know that he would learn that even though it was scary at first, he was safe. And I know that eventually he would learn to swim. But I also know that there is a way to teach a child to swim that doesn't involve them becoming absolutely terrified. I will find another swimming instructor.

So after a work-day filled with stress, incomplete tasks, and de-railed plans, I spent forty minutes with my son holding on to me in terror. As we were driving home, while waiting at a stoplight, he says to me from the back seat, "Mommy, you see that man in the pickup truck?"

"Yes," I say.

"I was waving to him. Wasn't that nice of me?"

"Yes, sweetie. That's very nice."

"I was waving to him because he is a good guy. I could tell he's a good guy because he was smiling and waved at me."

Hearing him say this was when I hit my wall. I wanted so much to take the opportunity to tell him (again) not to talk to strangers, or take things from strangers, or go anywhere with strangers. But having just spent forty minutes watching him terrified, it was all I could do to just not speak and hope I could hold it together while the fear of my child not knowing that a smiling man is not necessarily a good guy threatened to tear me apart. When I got home, I promptly handed him off to Daddy, who had a very thorough conversation (again) about what we do and do not do with strangers. (Waving at strangers from our car = OK. Everything else = NOT)

Just a tough day. Tomorrow I will wake up and continue to convert oxygen into carbon dioxide. I will put one foot in front of the other. But today, today was tough.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Snark Therapy

I've been in a particularly crummy mood the last few days. (Probably the last few weeks if you asked my husband, but you didn't and he's not available at the moment.) I've got a ton on my plate at work, I haven't been sleeping much, and when I do, I've not been sleeping well. And when I am tired, I get cranky. Really cranky. To be honest, I've kinda felt bad for the people who live with me these days. I try to be less cranky, less snarky, I really do. But it's like asking a hungry person to stop being hungry. Tired me = snarky me. It's just a fact of life that my poor, poor husband has to deal with.

Luckily, I have found a new form of therapy that is proving to be truly helpful. I'm calling it "Snark Therapy." It's based on some basic character "traits" that my husband has helped me identify:

  • You really do have an opinion about everything, don't you?
  • Do you have to criticize everything?
  • Do you really need to share every criticism out loud?  

The answers to those questions are: yes, yes, and yes. (I know! You are totally wishing that you were my husband right now, aren't you?) Funny thing is, most of my criticism is directed at things I'm generally pretty happy with, things I enjoy, things I love. I don't view it as criticism so much as "room for improvement."

But since I know that my constant fault finding with all that is not quite perfect in our home gets really old really quickly, I have decided to turn my snarkiness toward the Internet, specifically Pinterest. (If you don't know what Pinterest is, it's basically a website where you can "pin" pictures from anywhere on the Internet. Pictures of things you love, places you want to go, books you want to read, words that inspire you, stuff you want to buy, etc. You just collect cool pictures, group them into pin "boards", and then look at other people's boards to see what cool stuff they've collected.)

At the peak of my grumpiness the other day, I created a new board: Snark. I haven't gone more than a few hours without pinning something to it since then. And let me tell you, this is working wonders for my mental state. I'm getting all the snark out of my system. I go back and look at the board and (yes this is true) I crack myself up. So then I not only have eliminated some of my snarkiness, but I've also smiled in the process as well.

What kind of things have I been snarking on? Well, here are a couple examples.

This thing is sweeping Pinterest. Really? How do you get into it? How do you get out? And that guy... really? He makes me want to get a really big pair of scissors.

Trust me, this is JUST what your guests want! They WANT to crawl around on the ground in your backyard so that you can prove, once again, that you can kick their ass at Scrabble.

Oh crap, ladies. Really? At this point I'm just going to assume that you WANT the world to hate you. The bodies, yes, we're all jealous. But the pose? We really just want to slap you now.

Now am I supposed to think that this is a great boat for displaying my pillows or that these pillows will look great in my boat?

Do I really need to tell you what the guy across the street thinks about the Hello Kitty townhouse?

Finally! I am so tired of having to keep my extra dryer in the living room!

Well, that's a sample. Gosh. I feel better even now and those aren't even new! Ahhhhhh. Oh this has definitely become my favorite board on Pinterest.Watch out people of Pinterest, the Internet, and the world: you may soon be snarked.

Psst. If you do end up on my snark board, there's a good chance that I really LOVE what's in the picture. For example, if you didn't hang that basket thing above a friggin' body of water, I would love to have it in my backyard... in case anyone is looking for my next Christmas gift. I would totally dig a backyard scrabble game. Those women, yes, I'd like to slap them, but I'd also let you slap me every day for the rest of my life if I could have either of their bodies. There are approximately three things in my house not from PotteryBarn, so if they decided to start selling that boat that they display their pillows in, I'd probably buy it, too. I'm not really sure what's going on with the three washers/dryers, but if I had that kind of money, I think I'd just pay to have my clothes laundered instead.

But the pink house.... yeah, that's just a crappy thing to do to the neighbors.

Anyway. I'm gonna keep on snarking. Feel free to follow along: My Pinterest Snark board.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

This Week in Tweets: Mumma in Hiding thru Twitter Takes Out ORD

My personal ten favorite tweets from this past week.

This week in tweets made possible by: @MultitaskMumma, @gonnakillhim, @JimGaffigan, @mommyboots, @smonkyou, @slackmistress, @OakParkGirl, @TheNextMartha

Now go... follow the funny.

(FollowtheFunny is a Twitter list of the tweeps that have recently appeared on my This Week in Tweets.)