Thursday, March 26, 2009

Moms Play Injured!

So, quite a long time back, I wrote about my first sick day as a mom, but today is my first day on the Mom Injured Reserve list. So with today being my first day hurt, I learned something about the Mom Injured Reserve list, namely, it is exactly the same as the team roster. There is no such thing as an injured list when you're a mom. Figures.

Yesterday, I'm pretty sure I broke my little toe. I was cleaning the kitchen and jogged over to stop Sam from doing something totally disgusting with the open dishwasher. I don't even remember what it was, but she likes to lick the jet-dry dispenser, or unload and play with the cheese grater, so those are the likely culprits. As I dashed over to stop her, I managed to run into the corner of the baseboard at full speed. Three toes went one direction, and two went the other and WOW! That hurt so bad, I consider not yelling a horrible world--to be overheard by my mother on speakerphone and immediately incorporated into my baby's very limited vocabulary--to be one of my very proudest moments of self-control. Yes, I've stubbed my toe before, but this was Seriously Painful. I knew immediately it was more than just stubbed. Of course, it it was an arm or leg, yeah, I'd have no choice but to go to the doctor or hospital and get checked out, but it's my baby toe for crying out loud! Five years ago, when I was in college, I would have hobbled myself down to Campus Health, gotten a thorough workup and anything they recommended to ease the pain (drugs, crutches, a wheelchair...), hobbled back home sniffing tragically and thrown myself on the sofa in a bubble of self-pity for the remainder of the week. "I can't possibly walk to class tomorrow, I have a broken (albeit miniscule) bone, and hey, can you hand me those Pringles, I'm soo sorry to be an inconvience, it's just adding to my suffering to know I'm imposing on others. Thanks so much (Insert sad self-pitying smile here)."

That was five years ago, however, and now, I am a mom. So instead of limping directly to medical attention, I thought about what to do long and hard. So, I'm in huge pain right now. I really don't want to pay a copay for Urgent Care, frankly the thought is more painful than the toe. I don't even know what kind of doctor to make an appointment with for an injured baby toe, it just sounds stupid saying it out loud. Geez, I don't even have a general practitioner right now, I've been meaning to get one, but who wants to pay to meet a doctor when they aren't sick--will my OB/GYN fix my toe? Besides, say I do get X-Rays and the toe is broken? What in the world are they going to do with it? Cast it? Hardly. Splint it? Next to what, the stupid toe is like an inch long tops!? What if it is broken and there's an off chance they do want to do something major to protect it like a cane or crutches? There is just no way that can happen, I have a baby and all her many accessories to schlep around, so a boot or cane or crutch is going to have to be a no, anyway. It's not like I can ask my husband to take a sick day for the health of my baby toe--is he seriously supposed to help me out while I dictate from the sofa with a bandaid on a centimeter of my body? What's the point of paying for medical advice I'm just probably going to have to blow off anyhow? How could the smallest body part I could think of cause all this pain and thought? Sheesh.

So along this line of thinking, I've done nothing. Actually, I haven't "done nothing", rather, I continued doing whatever I had to. I had to sign papers for a refinance, so I cringed, shoved my swollen foot into the softest shoes I could find and hobbled myself down to the title company. I fed Sam her dinner last night, played with her, and with Daddy's help, we got her off to bed. I made myself and Daniel some dinner and cleaned it up. In short, I'm just going about my day.

I woke up this morning and sure, my baby toe is much fatter than it ought to be, it's a disturbing shade of purple, I can't bend it on its own power and if I try to bend it with my hand I hear a decidedly nasty crunching noise, but what am I going to do? I'm a mom, and we play injured because we know not playing isn't really an option. The day I'm so injured I can't play, it's going to have to be something much bigger than a baby toe, and that flat out scares me. So here I am, sucking it up, limping along, trying to find the plus sides to my Barney-hued phlanges. How about the fact that my inability to put on shoes means I don't have to leave the house, ergo no makeup and a ponytail all day long? Yes, that will do nicely. I also think managing to function on a broken toe is an excellent reason to make and eat brownies, don't you? Or even better, I'll go get those Pringles myself and eat the whole can.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Not a lot of Big Love going around...

Sure enough, cranky Carly is back again! It wasn't long at all, was it?
Anyway, special thanks to Snarky Belle (who is honestly the provider of most of my news these days), to bringing my attention to the Big Love fiasco. I'm not going to pretend I'm capable of doing a better job summing it up or stating my viewpoint than she did, so I'll just direct you all to her post .
When you are done there, come back and check out what I would add.
Am I outraged by HBO's decision to show what I deem most sacred on a TV show just for kicks and ratings? You bet. After the initial "I hate Hollywood!!!" ravings started to slow, I was able to think about a few things rationally and while I'm still frustrated, my viewpoint has taken a few shifts. Initially I was upset because it is so insensitive to show things of a sacred nature on any TV show and "how dare they?" As I thought about it, however, I started to think about all the religious ceremonies that are shown on TV or in the movies today. I've seen depictions of what are supposedly, (considering how inaccurate they are when displaying my religion, I won't pretend others are accurate either) Bar Mitzvah, a Jewish Bris, and the Jewish naming ceremony for baby girls (whose name I don't even know, but it was shown on House a few episodes ago). Catholic confession and mass is shown on a near-daily basis, even consistently parodied. For case in point, watch 30-Rock. Non-denominational Christian sermons are shown, crime shows (like Law and Order:SVU) just love to make Pastors and their families into the bad guy--what a twist, the pastor is our rapist!!! The producers of House love using Nuns and Priests as patients so house can prove what they thought were "miracles" was actually some little known disease symptom. Just last night, Criminal Minds was about a priest who murders people during exorcisms. Lisa Simpson became a Buddist, a few years back, and several years ago (like over a decade ago) on The Simpsons, the Flanders tried to baptize the Simpson kids when they discovered they weren't baptized in infancy. Additionally, the Simpsons regularly attend the Church of Springfield run by Rev. Lovejoy, where various aspects of Christian life are parodied. Basically, religious rites and attitudes are everywhere in entertainment, and rarely are they handled with much respect and dignity.

Now, what I'm not sure of is if this is always wrong or not, and I still do love a lot of these shows (some I don't watch regularly, but have seen the above examples). I honestly never thought much about any of these things as being truly offensive, but that might be simply because the things they show are not sacred to me and therefore off my radar. What I don't know, however, is how the respective church members and leadership feel about these depictions. I must admit to laughing my butt off when Homer Simpson opened the front door, and upon finding the aliens Kang and Kodos standing there, he sighs "Oh, great. MORMONS!!" Freaking hilarious. I can take a satiric barb as a member of the church, and I think there's a place to laugh at our own culture. It doesn't bother me at all when Mormons are portrayed as nosy, self-righteous, or uptight, or when outsiders hold a magnifying glass to our beliefs. We are people after all, and those terms do describe a lot of us (like it or not). I am not aware of any outcry from other religions that their rites and ceremonies were too sacred to be depicted, and if (and only if) they don't mind, I am ok with Hollywood doing what it does. Therefore, I have to concede that in a world where little is sacred and there has been no outcry over what it has done in the past, I do not condemn the producers of Big Love for not understanding what sacred even means. It's really quite possible it's never come up before this show.

However, the second church leaders informed them of the sacred nature of these ceremonies and their importance to the members of the church worldwide, they should have stopped out of respect for religious leaders. I may not be Catholic, but as my mother and I recently discussed, upon meeting the Pope I would give him all due reverence and respect--even though he is not my religious leader I understand that he is to many people I love and respect. If any other religion asked a show not to depict their rites in the show, I would support them wholeheartedly and join their cause. In fact, if I were to find out that my Catholic or Jewish friends were offended by a show built around mocking and misrepresenting their beliefs, I would stop watching it simply out of respect for them. That's not just lip service, I'm a big believer in justice for all. That's where my anger and offense comes from, not that the producers of Big Love would think nothing of showing a temple ceremony in the first place, but that they would fly in the face of a world religious leader, and 12 million people worldwide asking them not to and show it anyway. I don't think they would show that kind of disrespect to other world religions, if only to not risk alienating that large a chunk of the viewing public. Further, the fact that when the show first started they promised the church not to show these things, but after all this Prop 8 kerfuffle with Tom Hanks, it seems the producers are taking off the gloves and taking pot shots at a world religion. Classy, really, guys. It looks like you're being sore losers with the timing of all of this. Losers being the operative word.
So, considering my new found understanding of Hollywood's lack of understanding, I was finally able to craft a response that I believe took into accounts all sides and properly channeled my anger to the disrespect they have shown, and not the lack of judgement they may not have realized they were showing initially.
You can read my email here if you would like. If you want to send your own, Snarky has posted the link at the end of her post!

Dear HBO,
I must admit I am surprised and saddened by your decision to depict an LDS temple ceremony in your show Big Love. Although you may not have realized this to be offensive when the idea came forth (after all, so little in this world or any religion is truly considered sacred anymore so I understand the confusion), surely, once you were informed by church leadership that this was discouraged, you should have stopped in your plans immediately. To me, it is a matter of respect to the religions of the world an those that practice them to respect the members wishes. If the Catholic church were to ask you not to show a sacred rite on the show, I would hope you would show them the same courtesy and fight for their dignity--as well as any other religion out there, Christian or otherwise. It speaks volumes of your producers and network that you would mistreat any religious leaders and show such disregard for their wishes. In this diverse world, I do not believe there is ever a valid reason for intentional offense of others. There is certainly enough unintentional offense to go around, and no reason to add to the anger, intolerance, and misunderstanding in the world. This is obviously a very sacred rite for the members of the LDS church and close to our hearts, please refrain from vindictiveness and disrespect. It is especially suspect that the decision to air this ritual it seems to come specifically on the heels of ill-informed and rude comments on the part of one of your producers (Tom Hanks) and truly seems to be used as a way to "punish" those who do not share your producers political views by exposing what LDS people hold most sacred. If that is indeed the case (and of course, only you would know) I am even more saddened by the juvenile use of retribution and intolerance.
Please do not show this ceremony and illustrate to the world that there is still respect for the sacred in the entertainment industry.
Thank you!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Good Mood, go figure!

Okay, I can see people like me better when I'm back to my crotchety and political self...
Point taken, everybody. I was going to come back swinging at some political notion I am completely and totally irate over, but--and no one was as shocked by this as me, trust me--I am in way too good of a mood, and can't think of anything to complain about. Don't get me wrong, my morning has been a total mess, I need to go to the grocery store but am still in my workout clothes--even though my workout got cut short--and I just discovered that my daughter has learned not only how to get around my carefully placed obstacles and fill her lap (and my family room) with every DVD we own (this morning), but she also learned how to actually pick up and dump out her toy bins one by one (about 5 minutes ago, I'm now sitting in a room that looks like a tornado blew through it). And I was afraid she would figure out a new way to make a huge mess in another few days...not only a few hours. Silly mommy, tricks are for Sam.
Anyway, the disturbing truth is, that despite all these fun and messy adventures--despite actually watching the news the other day, and finally, despite the scale going up another pound today completely flying in the face of a week of careful calorie counting and intense workouts--I am in a bizzarely calm and happy mood. Case in point: I'm watching the mess build in amusement, instead of going nuts and trying to stop the bin-dumping.
Why am I so zen today? Because I am uber-excited about something, and it seems like the closer it gets, the more my happy side wins out.
What am I waiting for?
In less than two weeks, we are going to Disneyland! Well, Daniel and I are, Sam is going to be staying behind with some very wonderful friends to allow us to travel to all the rides we want without breaking for a nap or diaper change every other ride. Daniel's mom is actually paying for the trip, because we offered to take his twin brothers (who are graduating from high school and get a trip as a gift) as long as she agreed to come too instead of stay behind as she usually does. I am so excited, not just because I love Disneyland so very much, but because this will be the twins first trip, and I can't wait to introduce them to the Happiest Place on Earth. I can't wait to introduce Sam either, when she's old enough to go on some rides and enjoy it for what it is--but that will have to wait a couple of years.
In fact, I haven't exactly waited to introduce the boys to the Disney magic, as every day, starting a month before our departure, I send them an email with pictures and a description of a particular ride, or show. That's how excited I am, really, it's nuts.
So, since I am in too good a mood to complain, and all I can think about is the House of Mouse, I'll steal a little from my daily email to the boys and post my favorite top 10 tricks to enjoy Disneyland, in case any one else has a trip planned any time soon. Keep in mind, these are aimed at teenagers and adults, but anyone can enjoy them.

10. Appreciate the little things--Disneyland is the cleanest theme park I've ever been to, and they work hard to keep you safe and entertained even when you're waiting in line. Appreciate the authentic props, the friendly cast members that all have tucked in shirts, the full sets of teeth on the ride operators. Seriously, you won't see that anywhere else!
9. Know they're here to make money, and they've been perfecting it for over 50 years. Everything in the park is expensive, that's how Disney does it. Just accept that and move on. You can spend the entire trip gagging on the price tags of everything, or you can be prepared for it, and just not buy stuff that's not worth the extra money. Don't spend your stay being shocked and appalled, you're only sucking the fun out of it for yourself (and anyone stuck traveling with or shopping in your earshot). No one will force you to buy a souveniur at 100% markup, I promise, so be shocked once and get over it.
8. Use the Photopass people! These people are pros stationed at the best picture spots in the park and they are armed with cameras to take portraits you can buy later. What most people don't realize is, they don't have to just take pictures with their camera and charge you an arm and leg at the end of the day, they will gladly take a picture with your camera so everyone can be in the shot. Not to mention, since they do this all day, they are really great at framing the shot to get both you and the attraction you want in the picture! Much better than some wee little shapes in front of the towering, but cut off, Matterhorn mountain. I still recommend letting them take some with the pro camera too, they'll fill a card with pictures all day for free and you can buy them for up to a month after your trip, sometimes a nice large picture of all of you taken by a pro is the best souvenir. If you don't buy any, no harm no foul, but you can still show the online pictures to your friends for free.
7. Despite #9, you just have to splurge sometimes, especially on classic theme park treats. Disneyland is known for it's awesome churros, and if I don't have a frozen banana in the park every day, it's like I didn't even go to Disneyland at all. Decide what you like and want--maybe it's Mickey mouse shaped ice cream pops, or popcorn from a cart (all the carts have different "characters" turning the popcorn, depending on the land they're in, by the way) and just go for it. Life is too short not to buy a 4 dollar churro or overpriced cookie--once in a while. It's not like you're there all that often (if you are there every weekend, this clearly doesn't apply). Not into the edible stuff? That's fine (odd, but fine)--buy a fiber optic light to wave at Fantasmic, or a classic Mickey balloon. Just enjoy a few hours or moments of pleasure, everything doesn't have to be a permanent investment. I just have two totally awesome words to add here to the non-food loving weirdos: Dole Whip. Only available at the juice bar outside the Tiki Room, and flat out fabulous! Picture an ice cream float with fresh pineapple juice and pineapple ice cream...mmmm. Still anti-food? You are nuts.
6. Package pick up. If you do buy something non-edible, you don't want to carry it around all day and risk breaking it on the rides, so use package pick up. Pay for your purchase at the store, and a few hours later, it will be waiting at the newstand by the front gate for you to pick it up on your way back to your hotel. This is awesome, and it's free, so no more cramming into stores 15 minutes before closing with all the other suckers who didn't want to shop and carry it around all day. This is win-win.
5. Don't be ashamed to buy or wear Mickey Mouse ears. It's okay, at some point in every life, everybody does it. They make endless variations of the classic ears, even mickey ears with graduation caps (seems appropriate for the twins) and it's totally okay if you want to get your names sewn on the back and wear them around the park. We've all done it, and you'll see people from all walks of life doing it too. I'm not ashamed of my pink Minnie ears that represent my childhood--I'd wear them with pride if my head was still that small.
4. Especially for teens and adults: It's the land of the mouse, so embrace the cheese! Yes, we are all old enough to know that its not "really" Mickey Mouse sweating in that giant head, but if you want to wait in line to get a picture with a character, that's okay. I've had a bad experience with Goofy, so I'll stay a few feet away from anyone whose face I can't actually see, but you are never too old to want your picture with someone you loved as a kid, and we won't mock you and it's not "doing the park wrong" if you want a break from the rides to enjoy the characters, or shows, or stories. Besides, one of my favorite memories of going to the park after High School is when Daniel fell into the clutches of Princess Atta (yep, the giant ant) who wouldn't let him go until she gave him a kiss. I don't think I've ever laughed so hard in my life as I did seeing Daniel looking beyond mortified to be kissing a giant plastic head. I'll never forget it.
3. Along those lines, Disneyland is so much more than rides. If you are only in it for the rides, you may feel ripped by evening that you waited in line all day for brief moments of awesomeness. Watch the street performers that are everywhere, look for hidden Mickeys, talk to your family while waiting. Watch little kids waiting in line to meet a character, if they're either peeing their pants with excitement or screaming their heads off in terror, it's hilarious. Don't just run from ride to ride--walk, look around, and you are sure to see something fun.
2. Use the railroad. It has four stops and goes around the outside of the park. Further, a train hits each station every 10-15 minutes. This is the best way to get from Main Street to Toontown without fighting crowds or being hard on your feet--trust me, they'll take enough unavoidable abuse. I love the train! Plus, if you ride it between Tomorrowland and Main Street, you visit "the primordial world" which is awesome for it's campiness and vintage creepiness. Who doesn't want to do that?
1. Be willing to try new things, and enjoy the ride (no pun intended). Don't chalk anything off as "too little kid." Disneyland is the place to be young at heart. You may be surprised that some of the quieter rides become favorites. Maybe you'll go crazy for Dumbo, you'll never know until you try! Just have fun, be open-minded, and you'll discover things you never expected to love. I had to be talked into all my favorite rides at some point, and I'm so glad I went on them after all! It's fun to be a kid when you're tired of being adult. Try new rides, new foods, new experiences--you may fall in love with Gumbo as well as Dumbo! If you let Disneyland be the Happiest Place on Earth, it just might live up to it's slogan!

There you have it people. If that drove you crazy, stick around, surely, I'll be cheesed off again soon and back to the grizzled and angry writer you've been missing, but for now, I'm in Fantasyland.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Them's Fightin' Words!!!

You know those days you are going along, minding your own, happy as a clam and then out of nowhere, you hear something. Could be from a spouse, child (usually), or even just from a friend, but all of a sudden--yep sure enough, here comes a tizzy, and I'm about to be worked up into it!!! Oh, no! Instantly frustrated.
Whether we admit it or not, I'm convinced everybody has instant triggers, or fighting words, virtually guaranteed to impact your mood, even if only briefly. These are the phrases or comments that you hear so often, or in such a way, that they go straight for the jugular. You swear they only exist to annoy you. The trick to these things is that they are so superficially innocent, the people that say them may not even realize they are grating your mood like a cheese grater, but it bugs you nonetheless. I am not talking about things that are meant to be hurtful ("Gee, you've gotten fat!") but just ordinary phrases that people say every day and 99 people out of 100 might hear them and think nothing of it (or even use them), but to you, AUGH! Have you ever accidentally mixed up Bruce Wayne and Bruce Banner in front of a comic book fan--I'm convinced there is still a guy out in the Universe lecturing me on that one, I've never regretted a mistake so much, if only because the consequenses were so long and boring. I clearly touched a nerve. Lately, I've taken this theory to the road to find out if it pans out, and sure enough, when people actually think about it, they usually can come up with something that drives them crazy in two seconds or less.
It's harder than you think, because you may not realize that is what triggers the bad mood until you really analyze it--what do you know, I am always crabby on days my kid asks why we're not having pancakes for breakfast, I just thought it was them being extra annoying that day! There's no right or wrong to this, you may be completely rational by your triggers, or you may be way off in left field, but the point is, as long as you don't actually throw anything or act on it, it is okay to feel that way from time to time. Maybe you don't realize how deep it goes in your psyche, someone is innocently making conversation, and you assume it's a slight to your cleaning skills because deep down, you know you're not a clean person (see below).
Admitting it is the first step, so here are some examples to help you get thinking about what drives you into a tizzy. It may even make you a better parent/coworker/friend to realize that sometimes, it truly isn't them, it's you. Dang it.

In the name of fairness, I'll go first. Every single time I tell Daniel about a major mess in the house, he always asks "Did you clean it up?" AUGH! Drives me up the wall! I just want to say (and sometimes do, because he loves me for who I am) "No. I put a velvet rope around it and am charging two bits a gander." Seriously, never once in our marriage has he come home to a mess I knew about and just left there. Ever. I always want to blame him when I'm in a bad mood after that, but deep down, I know it's the way I automatically react to his automatic response. He's just talking out loud, and I can't help but take the bait as if it's a personal insult to my cleaning ability. Instant frustration. Now it's become so common at our house it's turned into a running comedy bit, where I try to fire back with new and clever things to tell him I did with the mess other than clean it up, and he knows I did really clean it up, like any sane person would.

One man's instant trigger is when his wife is going to try on clothes and says, "Watch my purse!" Innocent enough, right? Not to him. This drives him crazy because they've been married over 30 years and "does she really think that if she doesn't say that, I will stand there and watch some guy run off with her purse? I would never just do that, she doesn't have to remind me not to let someone steal our credit cards. " He says he always has her back and she doesn't need to ask or remind him to take care of her. I had never thought about asking someone to watch your purse rather than assuming they are at your beck and call as rude, but to him, them's fightin' words. His frustration comes from a sweet place, he wants his wife to always trust him, but in the meantime, she's driving him nuts.

A mother of teenagers says her instant trigger is "Whatever." In all it's forms. Enough said--who doesn't understand how that can sound like a total blow off?

I've heard several people mention they hate when the kids ask "Why can't we have that/buy that/do that?" They know the kids aren't doing it on purpose, but hate the fact that their tough financial situation is being brought to mind by someone who thinks a dollar is a fortune. Like it's not bad enough to feel broke, they have to explain to their kids that they can't afford something...even though the kids don't really care what that means, and need to learn that they can't have everything, it's good for them, etc, etc, they still find it irritating or embarrassing.

A final example. One wife gets a little nuts when her husband opens up the cupboards full of groceries and says "There's nothing to eat..." Okay, I'm totally guilty of that one, but as the grocery shopper in the house, I feel entitled to whine, since I'm not critiquing anyone else. I completely understand the feeling of frustration when she carefully shops, sticks to a budget, and provides food for her family, only to be told that there's "nothing" in there. It is truly a mark of her infinite patience that she hasn't once yelled "If there's nothing you like in there, here's the car keys, head to the store! Oh, and by the way, we've maxed out our grocery budget for the month, so whatever you buy better be free...and you're taking all the kids with you!!!" Seriously, she's a saint not to snap back.

So, now that you've seen what I mean, think about it yourself! If you want, add a comment and let us know we're not alone! It will make you feel less crazy to explain what makes you crazy! You can even change names to protect the frustrating--"I really hate it when home from work late and asks what time dinner is."
Darn dog, even though we know he doesn't mean it. We hear you, and we get it, even if we don't actually feel that way ourselves.