Family Folklore

Every family has folklore. These are the stories that inevitably are retold whenever families gather together, becoming a part of the fabric of the family along the way. Many times the events weren’t funny at the time, but thankfully the passage of time has softened the edges and illuminated the joy.   My family has a lot of folklore because my Grandmother was one of six children. That means my Mother is one of twenty-seven cousins! It is through this family folklore that we have truly come to love a special verse.

            Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1-2a (NIV).

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One example of our folklore is the story of the first family reunion hosted by my Mother’s generation. This gathering resulted from their shock at my Grandfather’s sudden passing. They were all so young, starting families and their own lives. His passing startled them so that they wanted to reignite the closeness of their youth.

Spread across the field that adjoined my Grandparent’s house to the backyard of my childhood home, young families spent the warm summer nights sleeping in tents while the older folks got the cool air-conditioned comfort inside the houses. I was one of a herd of small children catching fireflies and playing in the dirt. Men tended the slow cooking barbeque; women cooked for the next set of meals and tended the washing machine that ran non-stop. (Imagine trying to keep up with just the towels from more than 50 people bathing each day and children playing in the garden hose to combat the hot summer temperature!) It was a glorious long weekend…until a sudden summer thunderstorm roared through sending everyone running for cover. The storm didn’t last long, but the tents were blown to the far edges of the fields. Linens, pillows, clothing, toys, everything that had been in the tents was soaked. The yard and field were now a muddy mess to be tracked inside the house. It was a catastrophe!

There was probably some anguish as everyone tried to use the dryer in time to put all the kids to bed. My Mother probably wanted to cry as they figured out how to squish everyone inside the house for supper. All the mothers probably wanted to scream as they tried to occupy all the children when it was too wet and muddy to send us outside. The perfect weekend took a turn, but as the years have passed it has become legendary. No one threw up their hands and headed home, they just took it in stride and had fun that weekend recalled with anything other than a smile and a hearty laugh. We don’t remember the damp sheets or muddy children, we remember the love.

As time has passed some of our dear ones have passed on. Their unique responses to the chaos and messes of life are remembered. Their humor, laughter, and personalities are remembered in our folklore. We honor their memory and the fun we shared with them. These loved ones who are no longer with us are shared with the younger generation in the retelling of these stories. These are the people who make up our family’s great cloud of witnesses. The folklore does more than bind us together with humor, it strengthens us. This is why these stories are so often told when we congregate for funerals, at weddings and the like (yes I realize we tend to gather in churches quite often these days). No matter what events we as a family may face, we can throw off the things that hinder us and persevere. We can take comfort and endure because we have been through difficulties in the past, we will endure still more grief and struggles in the future, yet we will still remain faithful and fix our eyes on the author of our faith.   We have our very own great cloud of witnesses surrounding us to make sure of it!

Trying to be quiet…

Quiet is not easy for me. No one who has ever met me would describe me as quiet. There is nothing about me that is quiet- nothing about my personality, my appearance, my demeanor. I am that loud library lady with the wild red hair.

In this season of Lent I have been trying to be quiet. The most wonderful message came to me in a [in]courage devotion written by Bonnie Gray the day before Lent began. You can read it here, and if you don’t subscribe to [in]courage I encourage you to sign up while you are there. (See what I did there? Love a good wordplay!)

In order to listen I need to be quiet. To hear what it is that God wants me to hear, I need to be quiet. To know what the next right step is, I need to be quiet.

Quiet is not easy for me. I want to complain loudly about circumstances of the day. I want to wonder aloud about the possibilities of the future. I want to wish, hope, dream, gripe, whine, commiserate with a friend, sing over the radio, say all the things. We are all busy. We are all hurrying all over the place, rushing all the time. We are all checking our planners and phone calendars wondering when we will fit it all in. I am hopelessly devoted to my planner but I am making it a goal to set it aside each day for just a few minutes in the morning so that I can just be quiet.  Being still, writing in my journal, listening to God.

It is because it is not easy that I am trying so hard. In the quiet I can listen to that still small voice that is leading me. I am not sure yet where I am being led, but I know that I am trying very hard to be quiet.

Do you find it difficult to be quiet and hear what God has to tell you?  How do you still your busy mind and be open to His messages meant just for you?

Hello from the other side

Hello,
it’s me.
I was wondering if after all these years
you’d like to meet,
to go over
everything.

Opening with Adele lyrics seems like a good way to get back in the swing of things simply because she makes me smile. She is so amazing that any chance to include her in daily life just makes the world brighter. Seriously, have you SEEN her with James Corden doing carpool karaoke? If you haven’t we can no longer be friends. Go watch it here and come back.

Now that you have seen Adele and love her even more, let’s discuss why I think it’s fitting to use her lyrics in my first blog post in over three years.   More than three years have gone by since I wrote something specifically to share in this space. A lot of water has gone under the bridge. For example:

  • My baby girl is no longer a baby but instead a busy first grader.
  • My handsome husband has been through a crazy health scare.
  • We lost my sweet 93 year old Granny a week before Christmas.
  • I have lost (and then found again) more pounds than I care to admit.
  • I tried and loved a Crossfit style gym, then had surgery to repair the hernia that resulted from loving the new Crossfit style gym.

That’s just a random sample. Basically a whole lot of “life happens” type things have happened in the last three years. Yet even though I feel like so much has happened and we are so much farther down the road than we were three years ago, when I read back through my old posts I had to laugh. The topics I posted about are STILL so relevant to our daily lives that it makes me laugh.   Such as:

  • Powerball EVERYWHERE. Seriously the last post I wrote in 2012 was about the Powerball frenzy. We as a nation have been locked in Powerball Mania for over a week because the record breaking prize just kept climbing because no one won! The conversations Mike and I had about Powerball were almost verbatim what I wrote three years ago, which cracks me up
  • My giant Christmas tree made another appearance this year and once again she was STUNNING. I have lovingly named her Big Bertha, and I really enjoy laying on the couch basking in the soft glow of her many twinkling lights. Little A’s doggy Layla enjoyed Big Bertha this year as well, being her first Christmas with a home and family. I could not keep the tree skirt straight because she kept going under the tree to lie down, which even Mike had to admit was pretty darn cute!layla 3
  • Discipline and dance. Two words that sum up our parenting experience quite well I think. We are still parenting, as opposed to letting our daughter become a feral animal with no manners. (Please know that is a joke!) As she gets older this is getting more complicated and yet easier at the same time, which sounds strange when I say it but that’s just how it is. They grow and mature and change and the discipline isn’t about the same things, it’s about whole new things you hadn’t even thought of yet. Dance is still Little A’s favorite thing to do. We now spend two evenings a week at the dance studio, which I think is nuts and she thinks is not nearly enough. She has changed to a studio that has a focus on musical theater which we adores (she has been in two plays after all) and we will probably be going to see her perform on Broadway someday!

 

I am sure there are other things but you get the point. Everything has changed but so much has stayed the same. Things have happened that made our whole world tilt on its axis, yet we are still standing upright. There have been times when I have wanted to throw my hands up in the air and freak out (I may have actually done that a time or twenty). Yet right there in the panic, right in the sadness, right in the “holy cow what in the world are we going to do now” moments, there are these magically SAME things. Familiar. Safe. Anchoring. Same, similar, and alike enough that I am forced to slow down and think. No matter how much has happened even three years down the road, there is so much comforting sameness that I am reminded that we are not in control. Everybody has a life verse, and mine is:

For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11 NASB

This verse is framed and hangs on our bedroom wall so that I can see it everyday. The sameness gives me comfort that there are plans for our future. Even in the next three years down the line I imagine that I will be still be looking to this verse for comfort and grounding. What a blessing that sameness is to me! Is there a verse that you have adopted as your life verse? I would love for you to share why you love it and how it comforts you, and I look forward to reading your comments.

 

 

Powerball ponderings

Tonight there will a drawing for a record setting Powerball prize.  Apparently there have been no winners in a certain amount of days, so the prize total has continued to climb.  The number of millions now up for grabs is now greater than the number of people alive today in the United States.  (According to the US Census population clock, which can be found at http://www.census.gov/main/www/popclock.html. ) Statisticians and mathematicians have been ciphering and scratching their heads for days, and have finally announced that the likelihood of a winner being chosen tonight is great. (DUH!) The probability of multiple winners has increased as well.

Please understand that due to my lifelong math-phobia, all this talk about probabilities and statistics and millions post taxes has made my head hurt.  As always when numbers come into the conversation, the speaker suddenly turns into Charlie Brown’s teacher.  Handsome Husband came home explaining that the guys at work had it all figured out.  After taxes you would net BLAH million.  Dispersed in BLAH increments you would live on BLAH amount per week (which is BLAH per month) and would invest BLAH amount at BLAH percent to gain BLAH amount of interest…you get the picture.  I tried to keep my eyes from rolling back in my head during all that squawking, but I think he figured out he was talking over me.  He simplified it fairly easily after listening to my tale of woe regarding eBay (you can read that post here) by saying “If we won you could buy every purse on eBay and tell that lady to shove it”.  Love the way he knows how I think!

Our local news station was asking people this morning what they would do if they won the prize.  There were the expected responses about quitting jobs and moving to tropical islands.  This made me think about what I would actually do with that much money.  I have no plans like Hubby and his co-workers, I have not pondered the dividends and IRA options (those are real financial type things, right?) and I don’t have any clue what I might purchase or bankroll.  What I do know is this:  I would keep right on with my life, just with a LOT less bills.  I would still come to school everyday and encourage children to read.  I would still enjoy teaching students how to research.  I would still love standing in the stacks and being surrounded by the smell of books.   I would still take Little A to the same preschool, because I do believe we are right where we are supposed to be.  I would still live right on the middle of what is commonly referred to as “cop curve”, with a pre- civil war cemetery in the side yard because I love my house.  (Yes I would finally get rid of that awful carpet but that’s going to happen eventually anyway!)

My only big change would be that I wouldn’t be paying a lot of bills every month.  Student loans would be a thing of the past.  We would have Dave Ramsey’s envelope system down to a science, I swear!  I would do a lot of things that Hubby doesn’t even know about as well.  The tiny library in my hometown would get a major update for example.  The Tennessee Books from Birth program would never have to have fundraisers again.  Little A’s college fund would be set for anywhere she wanted to attend.  These are the things that are important to me.  All this talk of lotteries and Powerball and how people would spend their millions certainly made me think.  It even caused me to do something I have never done in my 36 years on this earth.  I bought a ticket.  Chances are slim, I know.  But that library really needs new books, ya’ll.   If you win, please send me a postcard or maybe even a plane ticket to come and visit your beautiful private island.  I’ll be tickled for you, I promise.  Hopefully if I win you will be as tickled with the book I donate in your honor.

You can’t win without a ticket, and for the first time ever I’m in.  I guess I was just waiting for the prize to get high enough to bother with.  I know we will be watching tonight. Wonder how many other people in the US will be doing the same?

 

Our GIANT Christmas tree

Last year after Christmas I bought my dream Christmas tree on sale. Handsome Hubby still hasn’t gotten over it. He thinks I have lost my mind. He certainly didn’t like going up and down the ladder to help me decorate all 12 feet of this mammoth evergreen (plastic) monster.  But Little A states up at it in awe, and I hope that somewhere in her little mind she is locking away a memory that when she was a little girl we had the biggest, most beautiful Christmas tree ever right in our living room. I am no Martha Stewart, and we only use cloth napkins to save money on paper products- but when I look at this tree I feel like I should be the subject of a feature article and centerfold in Southern Living magazine. I love the before picture, how tiny Little A seems next to the behemoth in the corner. She won’t always be so little but this memory will be with me always,  twelve feet tall and anchored in my mind by ten tiny painted toes.

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Kicking your own behind: eBay sellers remorse

I am an avid eBay shopper.  I swear you can find anything you could ever want on eBay.  For example:  Handsome Husband and Grumpy Grandpa purchased a “project truck” (aka the blue hunk of sheet metal on wheels that now resides in my once pretty driveway) for $1,000 for the purpose of having something to haul trash and mulch in.  I won’t even go in to all the details on the $500 brake job or various expensive trips to Auto Zone this truck has inspired in the two months it has been a part of our family.  Imagine my surprise when HH declared he needed an owners manual for this money pit!  He knows I am a resourceful school librarian, but where would I begin to search for a manual for a 1985 Chevy S-10? Why, eBay of course!  The shipping cost more than the book for heaven’s sake.  Where else would one find such a specialty item?  Truly eBay is the place where you can find anything you need.  Want some diapers with poop already in them?  They probably have some of those.  With famous people poop, I’d bet!

I am a pro at shopping on eBay.  It’s so easy to use Paypal that sometimes I forget just how much I have purchased, and it’s a little shocking when all the packages begin to arrive.  The thrill of winning an auction is a heady one, as I am sure you know.  That being said, selling on eBay is an entirely different animal.  I have sold a few things, and all in all it has been pleasant.  But as with all things, sometimes there just has to be a fly in the ointment.  

I listed my old purse for sale on eBay. (Not the purse of Wal-Mart alarm fame mind you, I listed its predecessor.) It never even got a bid, because someone snapped it up at the Buy It Now price.  I was overjoyed!  I carted it off to the post office, packed it up in a priority mail box, waited fifteen minutes in line and paid the man $12 and went on my way. Little did I know that I had just signed off on a nightmare.  Four days later the buyer sent me a message that she had gotten the package.  She left me positive feedback, so being a nice southern girl I did the same in return.  I happily went along with my larger Paypal balance and didn’t think another thing of it, until… four more days pass and the buyer sends me another message.  This time she says she DID NOT get the package and she wanted the tracking information.  I managed to dig around in the floorboard of my Mommy-mobile (what appears to the naked eye to be a simple Chevy Equinox but is actually a breeding ground of Little A’s tiny McDonald’s toys- I swear those things are like rabbits!) and find my receipt from the USPS.  That’s when I got a big old knot in my stomach.  I made an error.  I screwed up.  In my rush at the post office I didn’t make it clear that I wanted tracking and delivery confirmation.  The priority mail medium flat rate box shipped, but there is no way to know where it ended up. 

I have now been to two branches of the USPS here in town, which is slightly akin to standing just inside the gates of hell at this time of year.  I have opened a case to search for the missing box.  I have called two separate offices of the USPS Consumer Affairs, and all assure me that they will find it.  It has to be somewhere, right?  Each postal employee has listened kindly to my story and gently reminded me that buyers are known to scam people.  I am well aware that this person may well be fishing for a refund, and then she will have my purse and my money!

Fast forward to today, and the buyer has opened a case against me with eBay.  I could have cried!  Yes I am a good girl, everyone is supposed to like me and be happy with me and be dazzled by my lovely manners all the time. (See Mom, I listened!) I reread all the messages between this woman and myself.  And then I got mad.  I decided to call eBay and tell them I am being scammed.  Do you know how hard it is to find a phone number for eBay?!?!?!  I succeeded though, and I spoke to a genuine eBay customer service rep name Habib.  He listened to my story and apparently could read all the messages on my eBay messaging (scary thought!).  When he saw her message saying she got the package he told me to respond to her dispute and defend myself.  He said that the customer service team would not only look at those messages but at both parties’ eBay histories.  He assured me that the matter would be handled and all I had to do was state my case.

I have spent an hour drafting my message to the eBay gods in dispute resolution, and finally submitted it.  I really believe this lady got my package, saw that I didn’t put tracking on it and saw a big blinking sign that said “SUCKER” on it.  I’m crossing my fingers, toes, eyes and everything else crossable that this can be resolved.  If they find in her favor I will gladly refund her money, and I hope that it will not affect my feedback rating or eBay status.  Those little stars are serious business, people!  I still haven’t heard back from the USPS, by the way.  I’m still holding out hope that they will pull through for me in the end.

I’ll keep you posted on how this goes.  For now I am sitting here crossed like a black cat just went across my path, kicking my own behind for not being more careful.  This might be a very expensive mistake.  Maybe I’ll go browse on eBay to take my mind off of it…

Why I will never shop at Wal Mart again

So I made this my facebook status last week.  This was all that I could manage between sobs and screams.  
“Yes- that was me that set off the sensor as I pushed my buggy out the front door of WalMart today. Yes- that was me that had my bags & receipt checked. Yes- that was me that emptied my purse & pockets when asked, even took off my cardigan so the camera could see I was in possession of NOTHING I had not paid for-all while standing there in the doorway being gawked at. Yes- when I asked for a manager they brought over a lady (NOT the manager) who inspected it all and asked if I got my (recently purchased) purse there, and NO- it’s a Coach so it isn’t from WM. She finally decided after this whole embarrassing 10 minute ordeal that it must be my purse, and YES- she walked away without even so much as an apology. So to my students, neighbors, and church friends who walked by and saw the whole thing…the moral of the story is- YES you should shop at Target!!!!!
Long story made very short, I have sworn off the evil conglomerate that is Wal-Mart.  I am horrified, embarrassed, chagrined.  Fortunately the manager of our store’s wife works with me so he was quickly made aware of this event, and I have been assured that this was NOT how this should have happened.  I am still awaiting my corporate apology, though.
Sad thing is, they will never notice that my family will not longer be patrons of their stores.  They are so large that my little family doesn’t make a ripple in the water.
If you need me, I will be at Target or Publix.   With my trouble causing Coach bag.

Just say no to those Halloween costumes and other musings

I had a conversation with a good friend the other day about a Halloween party we have been invited to.  I am really hoping that I feel up to going to this party.  She is trying to think of a way to get out of it.  Why?  The costume factor.  That’s right.  As kids we all loved Halloween.  The costumes, the candy, the parties.  As adults in some ways it becomes a huge pain in the butt.  Why?  The costume factor.

Here in ClarksVegas we have something that shows up every year in the early fall (not really- it arrives in late August but who’s counting) that marks the beginning of the Halloween season. Rising from the gravel field across from the Target and adjacent to the mall parking lot, the huge orange inflatable structure rises out of the dust.  This year it even had a big sign that said “NOW WITH AIR CONDITIONING”.   It is commonly called “the big pumpkin”, but the official name is Halloween Express.  I have seen inflatable kids toys, but this is the first inflatable business I have ever seen.  The structure itself causes many mothers to lose their minds because our children insist on driving by the stupid thing every single time we are on that side of town!  Kids love looking at it, parents want to drive their SUVs into the side of it.  But I digress.

Little A has never been into the big pumpkin.  Aside from the fact that I can go hog wild buying her costumes on that little site that has everything (LOVE me some eBay!), Handsome Hubby and I went a few years ago and I knew immediately that Little A won’t be going in for a long, long time.  The scary stuff abounds, plus it was hot as hades in there (plastic building,  no ventilation, August heat in TN, sun beating down, you can imagine).  Things hanging from the ceiling, spooky music, it is just not a toddler scene.  Plus……the costume packages and mannequins.  These are extra special.

I must have missed the memo that said Halloween is an excuse for all people with XX chromosomes to dress as slutty as possible.  Maybe it went to my spam folder.  Or Barracuda stopped it.  Or the voice of my Momma in my head telling me not to let me not to show my tail to the world deleted it.  For whatever reason I just missed it.  I recall in college dressing up, and we were all cutesy and funny.  Not “hoochie”.  But then there was a long span where I was getting degrees and getting married and having a baby that I just sorta skipped Halloween. So maybe that’s where I was when the memo came around.  ANYWAY…the theme of Halloween for all females (regardless of age) seems to be on the extreme side of pushing the envelope.  The displays and the costume packages show how short, tight, corseted, low cut, and generally revealing the costumes for sale are.  Do not get me started on the area in the back of the store where the “dressing rooms” are.  You might accidentally see something that is not meant to be seen by the general public.  You just can’t unsee things.

Handsome Hubby and I attended a party two years ago which I admit was the first Halloween party either of us had attended in nearly a decade.  We went to the big pumpkin shopping, which is where I learned how behind the times I am.  We settled on a gangster & flapper girl combination, mainly because I managed to find a flapper girl dress that I could wear a bra with and tights as well  so I wouldn’t feel totally exposed.  Trust me it was the least offensive of the options.  This was a neighborhood party and I didn’t care to show all the goods to the neighbors thankyouverymuch.  I had a one year old baby, and wasn’t exactly feeling my most body confident if you know what I mean.  It’s a family event people, gotta keep things covered!  Last year Hubby and I bought new costumes but didn’t get to wear them sadly.  I went for the funny and not the revealing, and I think we will wear them this year.  We are going to be the Spartan cheerleaders from Saturday Night Live.  (I will wear legging under the skirt, FYI.) Perfectly safe, no danger of flashing cleavage at anyone.

Back to the upcoming party and my friend.  She is seriously trying to ditch the party and leave town rather than

A) braving the big pumpkin to see if their new AC has broken the oppressive heat

B) face co-workers and friends dressed like extras from a late night movie on Cinemax,

C) searching for a costume that will cover all her major flaws and private areas while still seeming cool and not dowdy in the least.

This is a serious problem.  Especially since these more revealing style outfits are now being marketed to teens, preteens, and KIDS!  Several of my favorite blogs have articles about this very topic recently, complete with pictures of the costumes now available.  Check out what Jenny has to say about it here on Mommin’ It Up.  For another view check out what Jamie has to say about it here on Blonde Mom Blog about cherishing the princess years (man I am dreading the zombie years!).  For even more check out Brigette Raes, Style Expert’s thoughts from last halloween.

I know I only have a few more years where I will get to be the final vote on Little A’s costume.  I did let her choose this year.  Yes both choices were girly and glittery, but she chose.  (She will be a monarch butterfly BTW.) I know that seeing other girls and women dressed in revealing costumes is going to remove some of the “shock factor” for her and make it normal.  I guess I will just have to talk louder so that I can be that voice in her head like my mom is in mine.

 

The Mommy Wars: now in children’s book form!

First let me say that I totally needed something to distract me from my recovery.  I have watched WAY too much TV and read far too many trashy magazines in the past few days.  I was cruising through my Google reader yesterday, checking out all the latest “momspiration” (that’s like Thinspiration for a mother FYI) from my favorite mommy bloggers.  One of my favorites is Mommin’It Up by Jenny and Emily.  If you haven’t fallen in love with their daily dose of hilarity and insight check out the whole blog here.  Go check it out and come right back, because I can’t wait forever to drop this next thing on you.  Hurry up! Go!

Okay now that you have learned all about Jenny and Emily and have become a follower of Mommin’It Up ….I am going to draw your attention to one particular article.  Emily posted a little parable entitled “The Mommy Wars: Storytime Edition” yesterday.  Being a school librarian (as well as a Mommy) I was of course interested.  By the time I finished reading the piece I was literally screaming at my iPad.  My blood pressure went up exponentially and I might have opened up my healing incisions gasping for air.  Seriously.  The book that Emily is discussing in this article is enough to cause heart palpitations or panic attacks in anyone- much less someone like me who is recovering from surgery.

First let me say THANK YOU to Emily.  I appreciate your writing about an uncomfortable situation.  If you didn’t say anything to the school or the teacher then you are a much better person than I.  You handled the situation admirably. There would have been angry letters and screaming and possibly cursing (but not in front of the kids) if it were me.  I love that Sam’s school has a book sharing bag.  I am guessing that this book was chosen for the bag for the month of October because the mother is a witch.  That is no excuse, but I am assuming that was the rationale.

Second, as an educator and a library media specialist I fancy myself well versed in literature for children and young adults.  I make an effort to know pretty much every book I can, because a patron (student) may ask me about it and all they can say is “I think it has a blue cover and it’s about a fish” (or my personal favorite query “I am looking for that book, you know, the one about the girl who does that thing and goes to that place and that guy that does the stuff”  YEAH- I know just the one you are looking for!).  It’s my job to know what book they are requesting.  I sorta need to know what I am doing.  This book however has never crossed my radar.  How is that possible?  Perhaps because the librarians who came before me did not deem it appropriate or wise to purchase for the libraries I have worked in.  Book salesmen have been smart enough not to bring it as a book sample for my consideration.  The many book stores I have perused don’t waste shelf space on things that won’t sell. (Just guessing here.) That being said, a simple search tells me that the fair people of Goodreads (whose opinion I generally trust) apparently have no problem with this book.  Their reviews are all positive, there is no visible outrage as I expected.  (Check out the reviews on Goodreads here.)  The illustrations are instantly recognizable as the work of Tedd Arnold, beloved for his Fly Guy books.  I am shocked.  Strike one for Fly Guy’s future in our house!  I hold grudges HARD, Tedd!

This makes me reconsider my initial reaction.  I have mulled this over for 24 hours now, and I have come to one conclusion.  I still strongly dislike this book.  I do not think that it simply strikes a nerve within my working mother heart.  I do not think that it is a symbol for my own frustration and worry.  I do not think that I am making a mountain out of a molehill.  I am deeply offended by this book!  Yes it worries me and it hurts my feelings, but dang it it is sending a completely incorrect message!  The actual verbage may not be SAYING to my daughter that having a working mother is a bad thing, but it is certainly IMPLYING it.  I could go on and on but that’s not my point.

The librarian part of me cannot let go of this, so I continue my research.  Kirkus reviews of this book are good.  It was published in 1994 (the year I graduated from high school) which wasn’t THAT long ago.  The trusty Scholastic website has not flagged it as the work of the devil (not that they do that but you know what I mean).  School Library Journal actually LIKED it.  What gives?  How am I so offended by this and the rest of the world (at least my professional world) is not?

It turns out that while I was busy raising a toddler and working (OH the irony!) there has already been a virtual sh** storm about this book.  If I had taken the time (oh the luxury of time) to read Tina Fey’s latest book “Bossypants”, apparently she experienced a similar reaction to this book and it became a strong conversation point on her book tour.  Read all about it in this article from “The Business Insider”.   Another blog I have loved The Tired Feminist discussed this way back in April 2011, and you can read that article here.   I am just late to the party apparently.  But if I am late then so is Emily.  And so are all the angry mothers commenting on Emily’s blog!

Am I making too much of this?  My mommy brain and my professional brain seem to be in agreement that this is just wrong on so many levels.  I do believe in what we librarians call “reader’s rights”, but this book is just crying out to be colored on or to fall victim to a terrible Kool Aid accident.  With hot melted chocolate.  Left outside in the rain.  Overnight.  Covered in trash so that raccoons would be attracted to it.  It would be a perfect example for my “this is what happens when we don’t take care of a library book” lesson.  Sleep with the fishes book.  Catch my drift? No offense to the author or illustrator, but I am really torn about this.

What do YOU think? Mountain, molehill, or mommy wars 2.0?

Hysterectomy, hairdos and having it all- part two

It’s hard to believe that eight days ago I had surgery.  I really do feel pretty good, for someone who had a major body part sucked out of a tiny incision beside my belly button.  I’m not really in pain anymore, just uncomfortable and tired. I have even “stepped down” from the pain medication I was taking to something that makes me slightly less like a foggy brained dope head. I seriously dislike how pain meds make me feel, in case you can’t tell.

I’m not up to doing all my Mommy duties, so handsome hubby is still in charge of all things parenting. Little A is adjusting pretty well, since he is trying to maintain our routines as much as possible. Only a few meltdowns since the surgery, so hopefully she has turned the corner on the tantrums. She has been really sweet about helping take care of Mommy. She wants to rub my tummy since that’s where the boo boos are. Problem is that since I’m sitting around in pajamas with no bra on, she winds up gently patting my chest instead of my belly. I have to hide my giggles because she doesn’t know any better and she’s just being so darn sweet. Fortunately my mom and hubby have been taking her to preschool everyday and her afternoon activities, so her schedule hasn’t been affected too much. I know, I know. Even in the face of medical maladies I will abide by this child’s schedule as if it is the word of God himself. Trust me life just goes better if we stick to the schedule. I swear it’s made her the exceptional child that she is- even if it has made me nuts!

My friends have shown their true Southern style and bombarded us with enough food to feed the entire state of Tennessee. And the food! Holy cow! Chicken and dumplings, vegetable soup, lasagna, meatloaf with all the trimmings, you name it they’ve brought it. No store bought fried chicken here! This is the real deal! Hubby is gonna be sad when he has to go back to my cooking I can tell. If I really had much of an appetite I would be gaining massive pounds with all this yummy stuff in the house. That’s another topic for another day though.

I’ve had a lot of time to think about things during this whole recovery. I know how blessed I am to be healthy. I’m blessed to have a husband who is willing to take it all on and just do what needs to be done so that I can get well. I’m blessed that my parents retired and moved to this area so they can help take care of Little A (and ME) through all this. I’m blessed that hubby is finally learning how to create a decent ponytail on Little A’s head- because my friends were joking before the surgery that if God forbid something happened to me one of them would have to be responsible for doing her hair everyday! They know I won’t send her out into the world looking all jacked up, and they love me enough to understand it AND volunteer to fix her hair forever if necessary. That’s friendship right there people! Dumplings and hairdos for your daughter- you can’t ask for more from a friend!

I’m so blessed in so many ways. More than I ever knew. Guess it took losing my uterus to help me see just how much!