Thursday, September 29, 2016

STFU: A Serenity Prayer

We moved into our (now not-so-)new house almost exactly one year ago. I like the house a lot, obviously, or else I wouldn't have moved. It has a spare bedroom so we don't have to have sleepover parties when guests come. It's within walking distance of the ocean and coffee shops and restaurants and bars and DM and I ride our bikes around town on date nights.

It's down the street from a dog-friendly park and the elementary school, where they also host a rad farmers market on Sundays. But my children, when they're being grumpy and contrary, say they like our old house better and wish we still lived there. Like that time I sent Jackson Jay to his room and he cried, "I CAN'T LIVE LIKE THIS! MY ROOM IS THE SIZE OF A PEANUT!" Now, they're small children. And change is hard. I get that, and I don't hold it against them (very much). Being so young, I'm hoping they will eventually look back and see this house as the house of their childhood.

But even the man-child that is my husband whines about the new house on occasion. For example, we were recently hanging out with his cousins who moved to town. They're renting an ADORABLE little craftsman bungalow built in 1928 or something. And DM's like, "This place is so awesome I wished we lived here." It is super cute and has tons of personality, I will grant him that. It's in a really charming part of San Diego, close to downtown and surrounded by a fun, hip neighborhood. But it's teeny tiny, and old, and far away from the beach (I mean, at least 20 minutes ;)). It also costs more than our house even though its half the size. It's not just this one enchanting house, though. He says the same thing about other, "cuter," houses in our own neighborhood, or even imaginary houses in some fantastical nether realm ("I really need to stop using the word 'cute.'" - DM)

And in my mind (and sometimes under my breath) I'm thinking, "Are you joking me right now?!? Then why did we go through the upheaval of three arduous real estate transactions and moving and changing schools and all this DRAMA?! You're forty, not four. I didn't make you move against your will. This was a decision we arrived at together, or so I thought." In fact, the whole impetus behind moving was to head toward downtown, to be closer to work and more city-ish things. But we couldn't pull the trigger because we love our funky, beachy, surfy town at the outskirts of San Diego and we just couldn't bear to leave. And thank the lord we didn't because I just got a job a mile away from our [terrible] new house and I walk my kindergartner to school and buy local organic non-GMO fried cheese from the farmers market and we're basically a fucking Normal Rockwell painting here.

So, like, this is it. This is our life. And it's not too shabby. At least, that's how I see it. But apparently, I'm in the minority.

Just the other night we were stressing over the property tax bill and DM said "You know, if we were renting, this wouldn't be an issue." This is basically the equivalent of warning someone about the perils of face tattoos AFTER THEY ALREADY GOT ONE. Like, not helpful. At all. Of course when I say this out loud, DM replies "FINE, I guess I'm just not allowed to have any feelings or tell you what I'm thinking ever again." I mean... when it's about something that is, for all intents and purposes, irreversible (at least without arduous and painful laser treatments)? Yeah, maybe you're not.

I can't get too upset because Daddy Mack is basically the poster child for "the grass is always greener," and "buyer's remorse." At restaurants, or, for example, Cold Stone Creamery, he'll hem and haw and wiffle-waffle and then at the very last minute he makes an impulsive decision that he instantly regrets. He'll sadly consume his baked fish tacos while day-dreaming about the carnitas chimichanga that got away, or hate-eat his strange strawberry-banana-butterfinger-gummy-bear ice cream concoction. But I don't want him to think of our happy new house as baked butterfinger gummy bear tacos, you know?

Don't get me wrong. I loved our first house and feel nostalgic for it too. It will always hold a special place in my heart, kind of like how I imagine some people feel about their vintage two-seater sports car they had to trade in for a family wagon. But, you know, a two-seater sports car isn't real practical for a family of four plus two dogs.

Funny random small-world side-note - one of the partners at my new law firm actually owns our old house! So I suppose if DM and the kids really want to go back, I could send them for a visit :) Or we could arrange a house-swap.

Anyway, this new house debate is representative of a larger discussion regarding whining about things that you can't change. How does the serenity prayer go?

Dear God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. I think what God was trying to say here was: Quit yer damn bitchin'.

As my mom always used to say, don't complain about it unless you have an actual solution.

I was talking to my brother and sister about our mom's old adage, and my brother said, "See, I totally disagree. Validation is so important. You have to let someone know their feelings are heard." "Spoken like a true millennial," I said. But then he reminded me about my anxiety and how DM and I learned this wondrous tool from Dr. Psych mom:

Instead of minimizing her feelings, "try to meet your wife where she is in her anxiety and stress. And, like a magic trick, she will actually get less stressed." True story.

So okay, fine, one point for the young millennial with feelings ;)

And, as DM reminds me, not everyone has a blog where they can bitch about things. Some people have to complain the old-fashioned way. And that's legitimate, I suppose.

Still. Pity parties should have time limits, shouldn't they? Like birthdays at those kiddie places where they kick you out when your time's up. Move along people! What's the point of repeatedly grousing about something that just "is what it is?" At what point does it cross the line from being therapeutic to you being a big fat whiner pants?

A couple months ago my BFFs were in town and I witnessed a moment of pure parenting genius. One of Claire's kids was crying about something and she said "Oh man that's so sad! Let's cry about it for 10 seconds and then we need to stop, okay?" Then she slowly counted to 10, and in some mystical feat, the kid stopped crying! (Editor's note: I tried it, and my children appear to be impervious to this particular brand of parenting wizardry.)

I guess that's essentially what blogging is for me, except instead of 10 seconds its 1,000 to 3,000 words :) Like journaling, or writing out your "To Do" list before you go to sleep. It's basically dumping the pity party out of my head onto "paper" so that it's no longer taking up real estate in my brain. And I guess that's how I should think about it the next time some big or little person comes to me to get their grump on. Get it all out. Wrap it up. Tie a nice little bow around it. And let it gooooo.

This place is the WORST.
Reminds me of this crazy friend of a friend we hung out with in the Virgin Islands who would always say, while drinking rum cocktails on a secluded white sand beach with crystal blue waters lapping at his toes, "I hate this beach! This beach sucks!"

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Presidential Prereqs

Alright hangonaminute. Let me get this straight.

Have penis. Puke on Japanese Prime Minister and then faint. = PASS. It's all good. I mean, slightly embarassing but also kinda hilarious. No worries, man!

Have vagina. Faint/almost faint because you have fucking pneumonia and even still you tried to power through a public event because you knew if you didn't show up, that, too, would be a sign of weakness = FAIL. I'm sorry! Better luck next century! You're too fragile and frail for this office. May I interest you in this velvet settee for the express purpose of lady faints instead?

Girl. I am sweaty, nauseous and fainty just gettin' 'em ON!
Caissie St. Onge on The Twitter
America, to Hillary: "SHOW NO WEAKNESS! Okay well now you just look like a bitch. BE HUMAN! Relatable. NO, NOT LIKE THAT!"

A woman can’t afford to stay home and nurse a cold – or even recover from pneumonia – when she’s trying to break through a glass ceiling,” writes Dahleen Glanton in the Chicago Tribune.

Story of my fucking life. Not to mention, when you still have kids at home, you don’t get to call in sick, even when you have pneumonia (speaking from experience), because you already used all your sick days on your bite-sized biohazards (that you love dearly and thank your blessings for daily, of course, thank you and amen).

It’s such BS. I think I’ve already mentioned this before, but a while back, shit was hitting the fan in work and life and the kids were sick (and of course they never get sick at the same time, no no no, that would be too simple. God/Karma/Mother Nature like to space it out to maximize the professional collateral damage).

Anyway, DM and I were having to alternate days home with the little sickies and he was getting frustrated and I was like, “I’m so sorry, I hate that feeling when you know you’re going to get those passive aggressive comments from your bosses and you feel like you have to work double-time to get out from under the assumption that you’re a slacker.” He looked at me funny and said, “No one at work cares. They understand sick kids. I just have a bunch of shit to do.”

Oh. Well. That must be nice.


Angry feminist lawyer mama.
Courtesy of HillaryMoji from the App Store
BY THE WAY - If a male President/Candidate actually had pneumonia, he'd probably have Air Force One fly him to the Vatican so the Pope could personally perform his last rites. Just sayin. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Pease Porridge Lukewarm


Life is weird and hard and good.

I just made myself toaster waffles for lunch. I did not cook them long enough. I had a sneaking suspicion this was the case, based on their color and texture. But they're gluten free and gluten free things always look kind of unappetizing, so I thought, "Eh," and proceeded to apply butter and syrup. Lo-and-behold, I go to take a bite, and the waffles are still cold in the center. But I can't put them back in the toaster oven because they're covered with butter and syrup. So I put them in the microwave. One minute later, there is a sticky beige lump in the middle of the plate. Ergo, I am eating soggy waffle soup for lunch. Well, really it's more like waffle porridge. Goldilocks I am not.

I don't have many spare words lying around these days but I just wanted to sound off real quick about the Colin Kaepernick drama.

I will say, when I first saw this story before it caught fire, I thought to myself, "Well, that's probably now how I would've gone about it." But hey, to each their own. I am not a person of color in America, so I don't feel it is generally my place to police the manner in which persons of color protest.

Next thought: Why are people making it about the military? I don't get it. Since when did refusing to stand for the national anthem become a personal fuck you to veterans? Probably not as long as the national anthem has been an underhanded fuck you to African Americans.

Also? The swill these so-called "patriots" are spouting on the interwebs??? IT'S SO INSANE! Sickening and backwards and racist and ignorant and INSANE. Like, do you hear yourselves? Did you skip school the day logical reasoning and rational thought were taught in school??? Or the minimum standards of membership in a civilized society - namely, try not to be a terrible human being? "MURRICA! THE LAND OF THE FREE! WE FOUGHT AND DIED FOR YOUR RIGHT TO DO WHATEVER YOU WANT AS LONG AS IT IS NOT THAT, OR THAT, OR THAT..."

"GO BACK WHERE YOU CAME FROM, KAEPERNICK, YOU [Insert Despicable Racial Slur Here]." Um, okay...  So... Milwaukee, Wisconsin?

I loved this piece by Kareem Abdul Jabbar in the Washington Post:

"One of the ironies of the way some people express their patriotism is to brag about our freedoms, especially freedom of speech, but then brand as unpatriotic those who exercise this freedom to express dissatisfaction with the government's record in upholding the Constitution." 

I'm actually glad, in a way, that the conversation was monopolized by the military because out of that came one of the most refreshing and heartwarming things I've seen in a long while - the #VeteransforKaepernick hashtag on The Twitter. Made my freeze-dried little heart swell three times its size.

At the end of the day, though, it wasn't about veterans at all. It was and is about the iconic image and anthem of a country that systemically devalues the lives and brutalizes the bodies of people of color. Did you know my husband gave a presentation the other day at the local chapter of the NAACP? The topic was "How to not die as you make your way from Point A to Point B in your own damn country/city/neighborhood/street." I'm paraphrasing. It may have been, "Get home safely." But still. In the words of Larry Wilmore, "Black people have to strategize [and/or act like the Dowager Countess] so they're not brutalized by the police." This is not okay.

I don't have the magic pill or the silver bullet (but I'm pretty sure anything having to do with bullets is not the answer). One thing I do know what sitting around wringing our hands and drowning in white guilt, avoiding hard conversations and truths because they are icky and uncomfortable? I know that is NOT the answer.

Side note: I find it FASCINATING and TERRIFYING to compare the treatment of famous athletes who do drugs, beat their wives and girlfriends, and kill animals and humans, vs. one who refused to stand for the national anthem in protest of police brutality and inequality in his country.

Everything is terrible, but I have a stubborn sliver of faith that we're going to figure it out. Things like #VeteransForKaepernick give me hope.


A little refresher course - MLK, Jr.'s Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

10 Ways White People Can Help Black Lives Matter on The Good Men Project

10 Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide from the Southern Poverty Law Center