Monday, June 2, 2014

It's Not About the Clothing

“Girls, you need to be modest in your appearance so you don’t cause boys to have impure thoughts. They can’t control what they think, so you have to help them."  

This is what a very nice, very bright lady told Snark Girl’s 5th grade class last year.  It’s that type of attitude that causes rape culture. The idea that boys and men are base animals, unable to control their own thoughts and behaviors, easily distracted and thus unable to function. The idea that girls and women are responsible for being harassed, assaulted, and raped because they wore a dress that was shorter than fingertip length, or they wore leggings, or they wore a tank top. 


Rape doesn’t occur because of the way a woman is dressed. Rape occurs because there is a lack of respect on the part of the rapist toward their victim.

I was raped in college.

I was not dressed provocatively. I was wearing a very baggy men’s sweatshirt and sweatpants with athletic socks.

I was asked, by the athletic department, to help the guy with his English Literature assignment. I was not supposed to be forced to give him a blowjob while he sat on my chest and pinned my arms down with his legs.

I screamed no. While I could.

I struggled. He was more than twice my weight and was a full foot taller than I.

I later found out from his sister, he had been raping female students for four years because no one spoke up. She even said, “Well, didn’t you know that “helping” him is code for having sex with him?” No, no I did not.  That faint accusation that I should have known better is part of the reason I haven’t spoken of this in almost 20 years.

A mutual male friend “forced” my attacker to apologize to me. The apology went something like this: “Uh, yeah, sorry if I upset you. I thought you wanted it. When you said no, I just thought it was a game and that you liked it rough. I mean, what girl WOULDN’T want ME?”  

He didn’t have enough respect for me to ASK me.

He didn’t have enough respect for me to BELIEVE that no meant no.

It’s time to STOP this idea that boys need help not to be plagued by impure thoughts.

It’s time to STOP this idea that girls are in charge of the behavior and thoughts of anyone but themselves. 

It’s time to STOP teaching boys that it’s okay to disrespect a girl because she is wearing anything less than a burka.

It’s time to STOP teaching girls that they cannot express themselves via their attire or dance because some boy might get the wrong idea. 


IT IS TIME to teach ALL of our children that there will always be distractions – another person, music, etc. – but they must learn to focus through those distractions and achieve their goals while behaving as civilized members of society.

IT IS TIME to teach ALL of our children (and adults yet to learn this) that they should RESPECT ALL of their fellow human beings, regardless of how that fellow human is dressed or behaving.


Monday, August 19, 2013

My Story of Loss

December 28, 2006, was the day I realized the doctors were wrong, I had been pregnant and not only was I losing my baby, but I was about to lose my own life.

I had discovered in November that I was unexpectedly, but happily, pregnant with my third child. My doctor (NOT my obstetrician) didn't do any tests because she said the three at
home tests I had taken were as accurate as anything they would do. When I started spotting at 10 weeks and 5 days, I was sent for an ultrasound, the tech couldn't see a baby in my uterus, and she also couldn't see my left fallopian tube. Because my doctor had not tested, the tech refused to believe I had been pregnant and didn't feel it was a problem that she couldn’t find the tube. It was a problem.

That unseen tube is where my baby was hiding and would continue growing for another week until the tube ruptured, killing my baby and almost killing me. (While an ectopic pregnancy is not viable, I had been pregnant for almost 12 weeks and was attached to this baby and wanted it very much.)

The things I remember about that day are strange because I was bleeding internally and as a result was slipping in an out of consciousness:

Horrendous pain. The worst physical pain I have ever experienced in my life (I have broken bones, and have been through labor five times). It was in my abdomen, my back, and my shoulder (abdominal injuries often caused referred pain to the shoulders).

Snark Girl (then age 5) asking from outside the doctor’s office exam room, “If Mommy dies, who will take care of us?” (My heart broke. God bless my Aunt for telling her I was not going to die that day, but that if I did someday die, that she and the girls’ godmother would helping my Darling Husband take care of them.)

The ambulance ride to the hospital. The lights and sirens came on when my blood pressure was undetectable, and my veins were so collapsed an I.V. couldn’t be started. 

DH running home for a bit to check on my Aunt and the girls, and the nurse calling his cell phone to tell him to get back to the hospital IMMEDIATELY. (He was 15 minutes away and they said it was too far and that he was not to leave again.)

Having the nurse assigned to stand next to my bed (stand not sit) and watch me and the monitors, tell me that I was so pale I was whiter than the sheets and it looked like my make-up was floating above my skin.

Being unable to move my left arm because of the pain, but being so hot the nurses had to cut me out of my shirt.

Waiting hours for a CT scan until the surgeon arrived and called the CT department and told them to bump everyone and hold the room because I was on the way. Because no one believed I was pregnant, they thought it was an acute appendicitis.

Having the pre-op nurse tell me I must possess an unbelievably strong will because she had never seen someone so pale and with such “crummy” blood pressure that was still conscious and cracking jokes.

DH looking terrified. (He had been a total jerk about coming home from work when I called him because I was in pain and vomiting and couldn't possibly care for the girls since I was wavering on the edge of being unconscious on the kitchen floor.)

Fear. Fear I would die. Fear I would leave Snark Girl and OCDiva without a mother at such a young age. Fear I would leave DH alone to raise our girls and worried that his grief for me would overwhelm him. Fear I would never be able to have another child.

The surgeon telling me he found a liter of blood in my abdomen and that he had called in an obstetrician to remove the ruptured fallopian tube.

My post op nurse being 8 months pregnant and after looking at my chart being horrified that she was assigned to a patient experiencing a loss of pregnancy. She asked if I wanted a new nurse, I told her no because I was sure she would be more sympathetic than any other nurse could possibly be. I asked her if SHE minded being my nurse, she said no. She was wonderful.

Seeing DH standing beside my bed, after surgery, crying in relief.

Obviously, I survived December 28, 2006. I lost a baby, a fallopian tube, and had a decent sized scar. But I lived. I got pregnant again, intentionally; about 5 months later and I lost that baby too, at 12 weeks. The loss was emotionally devastating and the D&C was not fun, but at least I was alive to experience it. I am so blessed and grateful for the five children I have, but I think there may always be two missing pieces of my heart and soul that belong to those two lost babies.

Blessings and love to any of you that have lost a baby.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

I’m Pregnant and I Really Want . . .

What do pregnant women really want? Well, I cannot speak for all pregnant women, but having given birth four times and being approximately 9 days away from delivering my fifth child I can at least tell you what I want and I’m pretty sure there are some other pregnant women out there that will agree with me.

I want people to keep their fricking hands off of my stomach! Even if I do know you, that does not give you the right to manhandle me, invade my personal space, or cop a feel. Contrary to my crazy Mother-In-Law’s assertion that “All pregnant women love to have people touch their stomachs” this is not true!

I want you to stay out of my decision on how to feed my child. Unless you a medical professional that needs to know, do not ask if I will be breastfeeding or bottle feeding. If you are in need of that information, accept my answer and move on. When The Boy was born the Lactation Nazi would not believe (even after the nurses and doctors told her) that The Boy had to be on a special formula for his kidneys and INSISITED that I HAD to breastfeed or I was not taking care of my child properly! That bitch is lucky she escaped with her hair still attached to her head.  

I want you to respect my privacy; do not ask me detailed personal questions regarding my pregnancy. “What position did you and DH use to conceive?” “Are you constipated?” “Have you passed your mucus plug?” “How much weight have you gained?” Contrary to what my MIL thinks, not all details of pregnancy are for public consumption and are only the business of me, DH, and my OB.

I want you to ask what you can do to help me. While I’m sure you mean well, offering to keep me company is just asking me to entertain you for a couple of hours and is not restful for me. Ask if you can watch my other kids so I can nap. Ask if you can do my laundry, or dishes, or some other household chore so I don’t have to do it.

I want you to ask me if I want to help with and participate in things. Do not assume I am completely helpless/worthless because I am pregnant. If the third grade needs two dozen sugar cookies and I am known for making awesome cookies, go ahead and ask me to make them. Don’t assume that because I am pregnant I can no longer bake and won’t want to go to a movie. I will tell you if I am unable to do it.

I want gift receipts because how many faux fur trimmed pink bedazzled hoodies can one infant use? I am grateful for every gift, but have, with past children been given three and four of the exact same baby item.  Want some really great gift ideas to someone with a newborn? Gift certificates to a restaurant that does take out or delivery. A couple of hours of housecleaning. A babysitter for when the new parents are ready to go out in public.

This one is for all the Darling Husbands (or whatever the baby’s other parent is called), I want you to get me a gift (sometimes called a Push Present) to acknowledge my hard work that culminated in our new little bundle of joy. Flowers, a favorite snack, even a card! Something! My own Darling Husband has failed to do this EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I have explained to him, as have my daughters and best friends that this time he needs to come through. I told him this will be the FIFTH of his GIANT children I have pushed out and I would like some acknowledgement of those efforts.

In short, I want you to treat as normal human being. I am not livestock, a wimp, or public property. I just want you to be respectful, treat as you would like to be treated as a non-pregnant human being, think about what you are going to say before you say it, and for the love of all of that is holy DO NOT TOUCH OUR STOMACHS!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"Payback Is A Bitch" or "Toys As Revenge"

We have a saying in my family regarding giving gifts to children, “Paybacks are a bitch.” This all started because when I, the firstborn grandchild, was about two years old my aunt and uncle gave me a monkey with cymbals. It was so obnoxious and creepy all at the same time.(I still have it, hidden in a storage room, because I am rather afraid of it coming to life at night and killing me. I also cannot get rid of it for fear of angering it.) Anyway, my mother did not find this to be a great gift for a child, so she bided her time, and when my aunt and uncle had two children the ages of two and four, she struck back.  She bought EACH OF THEM a
Yes, a drum, complete with drumsticks. My mother handed the gift wrapped headache inducers to my cousins, smiled at my aunt and uncle and said, “Paybacks are a bitch.” (My mother has a mouth as dirty as a Paris sewer.)  So, the rule was established, if you give a kid in our family an obnoxious gift, you’d better hope you are childless or your kids are too old for toys.

I think this probably happens in every family. Given that the official kick off to the Christmas shopping season, Black Friday, is rapidly approaching, I thought I’d help you out with a list of awful toys. You know, just in case it is your year to deliver the payback or if you just know some kids and hate their parents.

I have given each of these toys a Payback Scale Rating from 1 to 10, 1 being that you are a wimp and 10 being that you not only want revenge but never want the parents to speak to you again.

Popcorn Popper –PSR of 4 - I LOATHE this toy and its heinous poppity pop noise. It is SO annoying and there is no off switch and no batteries to take out to claim the toy is “broken”. You are just stuck with it.

Furby  - PSR of 7 – It’s irritating b/c it speaks in gibberish, has no off switch, and can randomly turn itself on. It is also irresistible to toddlers when it belongs to their older sister. Snark Girl has owned it for a week and I already want to smash it with a hammer.

V-Tech Learning Tunes Karaoke – PSR of 8 - My boys have this toy (given to them by my father, his payback is going to be a bad nursing home some day). It has different voices and one of them is super creepy like a serial killer/child molester voice from “Criminal Minds”. This toy is now hidden away because it came on in the middle of the night and scared me half to death when I heard it over the baby monitor.

Baby Alive – PSR of 9 – This doll is a pain in the tush. It eats, drinks, and then pees and poops. My girls had this toy; it was super creepy. Its eyes moved and made a weird clicking noise. I also had to pour water through the doll every time the girls “fed” it because if I didn’t the “food” would harden to cement and render the doll inoperable. It was heinous and I was so glad to sell it at a garage sale!
Handy Manny Toolbox – PSR of 10 – My sons had this toy. It is the DEVIL. It is ridiculously loud and there is no volume switch. We even covered the speaker with duct tape and it was still crazy loud! This ranks as Darling Husband’s least favorite toy of all time and his mother gave it to The Boy (you can imagine how bad HER nursing home is going to be.)

So while these are not all the horrible toys you could use for paybacks, they are few of mine and Darling Husband’s least favorites to see our children receive. As you go about your Christmas shopping this year, perhaps beginning on Black Friday, keep in mind what can happen when you give an obnoxious toy and what obnoxious toys for which you might need to say, "Payback is a bitch"!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Target Time Warp

You think to yourself, “I’ll just run in to Target and grab some dish soap, tampons, hairspray, a bag of tortilla chips, and a birthday card for Dad. It’ll take 10 minutes, then I’ll go to my nail appointment.” (Well something like that runs through your head, does mine anyway.)You walk in the red door, under the bulls-eye. You have the best of intentions as you grab that red cart, walking directly toward the household cleaning products to get the dish soap.  ~ Oh, look at those little metal buckets! Those would be perfect for small toys! ~

Once you have the soap you head towards the feminine hygiene products to find the tampons. ~That headband is so cute it would be perfect with OCDiva’s orange dress! ~

Once you have the tampons (why is the cart so heavy) you wander in the direction of the snacks to grab the chips.  ~ Snark Girl has been asking for some new flip flops, hmm, neon yellow/green in her size, perfect! ~

.Finally you make it to the chips and throw them in your basket. ~ I should really grab more pretzels, and Goldfish crackers while I’m here. ~

Next you need to find the hairspray because your hair is just not going to stay cute on its own. ~What an adorable pair of plaid shorts, oh and they have a matching polo. The Boy could really use those for church. ~  

You aim (again) for the beauty department and the hairspray.  ~Car trashcans! DH really needs one of those because the trash on the floor of his car is just unacceptable. ~

You notice that, oddly, your feet hurt a bit, but you power through because you really need hairspray.  ~Well, we do need new beach towels for summer, and if I don’t get them now, they’ll be gone. ~

With the hairspray in the basket you move toward the last item on your list, the birthday card. What kind of card to get, there are so many to choose from. ~Well that is such a cute Little People school bus! The boys would love it! ~  

Finally, humorous (yet appropriate) card in hand you head toward checkout lanes.  ~ Those are the shorts Snark Girl wants for softball, oh, on sale, better grab those. ~

You start emptying the basket and wonder how on earth you ended up with all of this stuff! Is this someone else’s basket? Was someone slipping things into your basket? Are you on one of those hidden camera shows? What the heck happened? Because without even realizing it, you’ve gone from a ten minute, $15 trip to pick up dish soap, tampons, hairspray, chips, and a card, to a 90minute trip for metal buckets, headband, Boo-Boo Buddies, flip flops, pretzels, Goldfish crackers, shorts, polo, car trashcan, beach towels, Little People Bus, and  softball shorts, and your total is over $200!

Clearly, you’ve been a victim of the TARGET TIME WARP. (It’s even worse at Super Target because they have Starbucks!) Now if you’ll excuse me I need to run to Target for Vitamin Water and overnight diapers, I should only be gone a few minutes . . .

Sunday, April 8, 2012


When does it happen? Are there signals? How do you know when it happens to you? Does something change about you and mark you forever? What makes other people know it’s your time?
 I’m talking about when someone call you “ma’am” for the first time, well someone other than a member of the military. It shocked me when it started happening to me. I was in my early twenties and suddenly teenagers, not that much younger than I, were calling me (shudder) “ma’am”.  I was appalled! I would check the mirror for wrinkles and signs of rampant aging! Why on earth were these people, less than a decade my junior, calling me that hideous term reserved for people that were really old, like my mother?

For years I cringed (internally and externally) when I was called “ma’am”. But gradually, as I aged, I no longer cringed. Instead I began to kind of accept it. Not because I suddenly looked “that old” (I’m often told I look 8 to 10 years younger than I am by people for whom there is no benefit in lying to me), but just because I seemed to have reached that point in my life. I had made peace with it I suppose. A recent event made me realize that I not only accept it, but I except it.  What was this momentous event? I shall tell you.

I had to go to Walmart the other evening. While in the toy department, a young man, in his late teens (I would estimate) felt it appropriate to bounce a basketball repeatedly and loudly through the aisles of the toy department store while shouting (repeatedly) "I gots da rock!" Upon my first encounter face to face encounter w/this youth I said, "Yes, it looks very nice sitting on top of your neck." This caused a nearby man in his 30s (?) to laugh uproariously, and nearly fall over when the youth did not get that I was implying he had a rock for a head. The youth continued to bounce the ball through the store (it was loud and echoed). Then, as I waited in line to pay, I was again treated to the sound (from the next lane) of the basketball being slammed into the floor and the "I gots da rock" verbalization. After few rounds of this noise. After watching other patrons roll their eyes and sigh and mutter about they wished he would quit. After hearing the cashier beg Jesus to make it stop, I said, "I’ve got this.” Then I very loudly said in my best “mom” voice, “IF YOU BOUNCE THAT ROCK ONE MORE TIME I WILL SHOVE IT SOMEWHERE SO YOU GOTS IT FOREVER!" My statement was accompanied by dead silence. Then I heard cussing from the youth. He then rounded the corner to my lane, with a look of anger on his face, his girlfried (?) following nervously behind him, he took a step toward me. I put my arms out to my sides in a "bring it" gesture, and said, "Yeah! What!?" He stopped short, held his hands up in surrender and said, "Uhm, nothing ma'am, nothing." Walked back to his lane and we did not hear anymore bouncing. The cashier asked if she could be my bestie.

It was at the moment the youth called me “ma’am”, that I realized I liked to be called “ma’am”. I accepted it. I owned it. I expected it. I no longer think of being called ma’am as a sign that I am “really old”. I think of it as a sign of respect, one that I have earned by no longer be an inexperienced teen myself.  I especially expect it from ill behaved punks at Walmart!

Thursday, March 22, 2012


They may begin for different reasons, but they all pretty much follow the same pattern; flinging of oneself to the floor, kicking of feet and banging of fists, thrashing about of the head, inarticulate screaming, sobbing, and need for help to reach a mutually satisfying solution to the trigger problem.

 It’s embarrassing really, this lack of control. This anger so intense it annihilates all ability to function.  Yes I’m talking about temper tantrums, fits, meltdowns. No matter what the trigger, the end result can be terrifying for both the child and the parent. Yes, it is both awesome and frightening to behold, and what’s a child or husband to do when confronted with the ”Mommy Meltdown”?

It’s not as though a child can just walk away and leave Mommy screaming in the middle of Target. Well, they could, but it would probably just exacerbate the MM. It’s not as though a husband can just ignore his wife during her tantrum, because the screaming is probably directed at him. So what to do?

Having recently had a “Mommy Meltdown” (mine was mostly directed at DH), the only advice I have for husbands and children is to look contrite, agree with whatever Mommy says, and BY ALL THAT IS HOLY do not contradict her or tell her to calm down (this will likely set off another wave of screaming and possibly things being thrown).

What sets off the MM? Mine was being denied (AGAIN) any “time off” from the job I do 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. I think every person in the world (no matter how much they love their job) occasionally needs a day off to recharge their “battery”. I haven’t had any “time off” since before The Boy was born (he’s 3 ½ ). Being repeatedly promised my “time off” and then having it ripped away at the last minute through inconsiderate behavior by DH was the final nail in the coffin of my sanity.

I threw a fit at DH. I didn’t yell, but I did use a very firm, not sweet voice to express my displeasure and unhappiness with the “no time off for Mommy” policy that seems to have developed. He offered to completely skip some necessary yard work so I could have “an hour or so” off, if I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my time! He doesn’t get it, I want time to go do whatever strikes my fancy, no itinerary. To have some time without a phone call every 20 minutes asking where something is, and when I’m coming home. I also don’t want to come home to a bigger mess than I left behind just because he cannot manage to wash a dish while the kids are around! (His mother would come help with the kids, but he ”just can’t seem to get around to asking her”.) So, no real resolution was reached and the MM simmered.

The next day the MM boiled up at the girls as they bickered, were hateful, were defiant, and yelled. I explained to them that I had had it and they’d better shape up or Mommy would leave them with a babysitter (DH hates to hire them because then we have to pay them, he’s cheap) and they could be raised by Daddy. They didn’t care. Didn’t change their behavior one little bit. Way to show some love to Mommy.  
The MM is still simmering, ready to erupt again (a Spring Break during which it has rained non-stop is not helping), so DH had better get on the ball, and call someone to help him with the kids so I can have some “time off”. Because soon, the MM will no longer simmer, it will boil over and that is something NO ONE wants to see (especially not the cashiers at Target).