Thursday, July 29, 2010

GI Kelly Seeks to Impress Denzel Washington

Last night, my chemistry professor said we remaining kids were the Navy SEALS of summer students.

That's right. Not only was I able to slide under the 'kids' umbrella, but I can now compare myself to a guy that willingly jumps off a boat into the rough seas -- harnessed to a hell of a lot of gear -- who somehow has to swim to shore ready to bust out an AK and mow down evil-doers.

I was grateful for the comparison, without the requirement of a buzz cut.

We started out a class of 27, and now 14 remain. This shit is hard, yo.

And also last night, some asshole in my lab was trying to copy our figures last night. This is the same guy who decided to schedule a 9-day vacation in the middle of a 6-week summer course. And he wanted the professor to give him a make-up test for the one he'd be missing. And our professor was all like, ""

I wanted to take him aside and say, 'You're not Navy SEALS material, son, otherwise you'd know that you cannot copy our figures for your own acid/base titration. Now drop and give me 20, and then get the hell out of here.'

Speaking of push-ups, I had a dream about Denzel Washington last night. We were in a long hallway in some building constructed by the architects of my subconscious, and I was trying to show Denzel that I could do walking push-ups. (You know, where you do a plank and then walk forward and then do a push-up, walk forward again and then do another push-up? No? Okay, well I know for a fact that Jillian Michaels does staggered push-ups, so this is my own personal variation on them. (Note to self: copyright the walking push-up today.))

But get this. My hands were just covered in lotion. Just covered. And how can you impress Denzel Washington with your athletic prowess if your hands have just been dipped in a big ol' vat of Curel?

The answer, of course, is that you cannot. My hands were slipping on the beautifully finished wood floor of my brain, and so I had to stand back up and, rather embarrassingly, wipe my hands on my shorts.

I don't recall Denzel's dream expression, but I like to think it was this:

Practically smoldering. Despite my slippery palms, despite my questionable fitness routine. He was impressed, my friends. Totally. And then my subconscious was all, 'That's quite enough Denzel, Kelly,' and that was it. Gone, and most likely, never to appear again.

I do think Denzel would really enjoy the fact that I can do real push-ups, and not those wimpy on-your-knees variety. And I think he's be impressed by my Navy SEALS-like tenacity when it comes to chemistry.

I'm just not going to wait by the phone for him to call and congratulate me.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ludacris: Comic Genius

The other night as I was driving home from school, I was scanning the radio stations. This, admittedly, was a huge mistake. One could spend 30 minutes driving and continuously press the 'seek' button only to find crappy stuff that's been labeled music by someone.

Merging on to the highway, I stopped scanning and the DJ announced that a Ludacris song was coming up. I listened to the entire thing. I spent approximately 4 minutes of my life listening to Ludacris.

When I got home, I put down my 20 lb. schoolbag and told David, "You're not going to believe what I just heard in the car. There exists a song that actually has the line, "Welcome to my sex room" in it."

"You're kidding me," David says.

"I am completely not kidding."

And then I proceeded to take the remote from him with the express purpose of trying to find the video, knowing if I did, I'd be greatly rewarded.

"What is a sex room?" I asked, while scanning the R & B videos on demand. "Is that something you can find on architectural drawings? And where would you place it? It doesn't seem a first floor type of room."

"I thought it was just your bedroom," David offered.

"I know, right? Clearly. But obviously 'bedroom' is a bit too pedestrian for Ludacris."

I finally found the video, and David and I watched it, laughing the entire time. It was the funniest thing I've seen in ages. And this is the thing I can't figure out. I think it's supposed to be purposely funny. But because I know current R&B is given to sexual histrionics, I'm not sure. I mean, this thing is over the top. If there is a top, it has been reached and jumped over with this song/video.

I'm posting it, so you can help answer my question. Just keep in mind that it's not suitable for anything. It's not suitable for work, it's not suitable for children, and it's not suitable to remain in your computer's history.

So is Ludacris trying to be funny with purpose, or is it all unintentional?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Chemistry of Family

In a chemical reaction, you have reactant and products. The equation of such can be written as:

A + B ---> C + D

Of course, the variations are crazy and myriad, so for the purpose of simplicity, we'll stick with that. Essentially, you have the reactants, which in this case, are A and B. When they are reacted with one another, C and D are formed.

I haven't stopped studying for 2 weeks, and I'll be going at this pace for another 4. I've ignored my children more in the last 2 weeks than I have in years. Mostly, they've been handling it well. As long as I keep providing snacks.

This morning, they were playing school, and I was designated as the 'cafeteria lady.' The cafeteria lady's role was to bring chilled watermelon and mango. Hopefully, in their play, they're not envisioning me with a hairnet and multiple moles sprouting terminal hairs.

(Sloppy joes, sloppy sloppy joes, yeah!)

I couldn't forget about them if I tried. I was thinking about them, about all of us, last night in lab.
A + B ---> C + D could be Dave + Kel ---> Hannah + Lillian. Though Dave and I didn't dissociate into ions or break any bonds, we combined to form some really cool kids. Reactants to products, our own family chemistry.

When I come back home, the house is quiet and mostly dark. The kids are asleep, and David fills me in. Lillian was scared of the thunder. She finished all of her tofu stir-fry, but complained of a stomachache. Hannah wasn't scared of the thunder, but didn't finish her dinner. She didn't like the soy sauce. Both girls missed me. Both girls made me pictures.

I can't save everything. They all pile up. But it's one thing I'll never forget. Being 80 and sitting on the porch, I'll be able to recall the mountains of white paper filled up by two girls in my absence, each having a reaction they try to color away:

Lillian + Hannah + student Mom ----> A Bit Sad

This is what greeted me last night. Lillian is getting better at writing. Her motor skills are picking up, and she no longer scribbles a picture. She draws with intent, every line has a purpose.

Hannah has big ideas. Her latest is a slight fixation on roof-top garden.

I'm hoping that perhaps she'll have one, where she'll be able to relax after a long day at her bakery Baking Queens. She knows that baking is chemistry, and tells me every chance she gets.

She also has a bit of a fixation on cursive writing. She wants to impress her second grade teacher, so she's been practicing non-stop.

I get the fruits. Somehow, they still think I'm the best. I'll take it while I can get it.

After the middle of August passes, I'm not sure if I'll ever see another chemical equation. It might be all over, and I'll tuck it away with statistics and abnormal psychology and the philosophy I've forgotten. It'll reside there, most likely never to be dredged up again. But we'll always have our own personal equation, where the bonds made are stronger than ionic or metallic bonds, stronger than anything.

No dissolution. No disassociation. Just, together, forever.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Repost: Will You Be My Therapist?

The re-posting continues. This week's offering comes from a time when I was feeling...oh, a wee bit stressed.


This is probably one of my favorite posts, because I think it sums up both the discontents and joys that come along with family life. (Is it wrong to like one of your own posts? I don't know, because suddenly I feel self-conscious about writing that.) Apparently, the subject of this blog post is a hot-topic right now, with people yapping all about a study purporting to show that parenthood leads to an overall decrease in happiness. (And fighting about it. And being snarky. And showing just how ridiculous we all can be about each other's choices.)

I'll tell you this. Sometimes being a mother leads to me to brink of a giant cliff and makes me want to hurl myself off of it. But I'll also tell you this. Being a mother also leads me to experience some of the deepest joys. I'll never forget the time spent nursing, the walks, the trips together. The love my children have for me is the best thing ever. Having a great time with my them, with my family together, goes beyond what I experienced at other times in my life. That joy, to me, provides a generally solid balance against the shit.

Anyway, here is the original post at my old digs. (Which also proves once upon a time I had more than 4 readers. Look, 25 comments! It's a miracle!) From way back in 2007. And it contains a lot of swearing. Sorry.

Here we go. Hope you enjoy it!

Will You Be My Therapist?


Thank you.

I appreciate your willingness to undertake what surely will be a tedious process, especially since you'll be doing this pro bono.

Sliding scale? Well, I guess I can pay, like, $10.00 per session. Will that work?

Okay, great.

I know all therapists like to spend at least one session on history, but we haven't time for that here, so let me try to sum it up for you in one run-on: I'm a former cutter with a depressive nature, prone to melancholy ruminations without acting for beneficial change, a classic procrastinator when it comes to fulfilling my dreams, and prone, also, to fits of rage and a strong, out-of-body, intense yearning for escape from responsibility (preferably somewhere tropical), and possessing of an insane desire to be appreciated, which in the career of the underpaid mother, is highly unlikely as well as quite comical.

No, no, no, I haven't harmed myself in a really long time.

Do I ever want to? Well, if wanting to includes a sudden desire to put my fist through a window, I suppose yes.

Of course I'm aware that it's not a good idea.

No, I never abused drugs or alcohol, unless you count that one time I drank so much at a college party that all I could do was prop myself up against a tree and vomit down the bark.


Is that necessary?

Yes, I have it. Actually, since I weaned Lillian, I have a lot of it. Heh, heh.

How many partners have I had?

I don't see how that pertains to the current situation, perv.

Well, thanks for asking. I'll tell you what the problem is.

Let's start with a generalized malaise, feeling like doing a whole lot of nothing but lying in bed; frequent headaches and a stiff neck; wanting to run away to the local K-Mart and hide in the racks of clothing while hoarding Doritos and Gatorade; worst-case scenarios running through my head when I try to sleep; hating dinnertime because I try to make yummy food and nobody could give a fuck, the 4-year old wrinkles her nose at it, the 21-month old takes a few bites, spills some milk and yells "Done!" and then stands up in her chair, and quite frankly, the husband always finds something wrong with it, too bland, not enough spice, where's the side dish; it takes 3 days to do one load of laundry, because I'm finally refusing to go up and down the stairs with a basket of laundry on one hip and a chubby toddler on the other; and if one little body climbs on me or screams or so much as rubs against me, I will lose it; and my husband is always asking why the kids' feet are so dirty, where is the dirt coming from, like I can fucking isolate a room or corner or space where the floor just looks so goddam dirty and just clean it and then the kids feet will return to a soft peachy pink and because I'm so entirely sensitive I feel like I'm being attacked; and the other night I went to dinner with some other moms and before I left I put the little one to bed and fed both husband and other daughter and got everyone all set and when I got home the kitchen was left a mess, and I think, well shit, I don't want to henpeck or nag or be a bitch, but how unacceptable is this, that I make life easier for everyone else but somehow I have to pay my dues for actually going out by still cleaning the goddam kitchen; and my temper kind of sucks these days; and why do I keep fucking up every garage door I come into contact with, trying to close it with the car's trunk still up, or crashing into the frame and getting the door all off its track, which was really because the car was silent, for once, and I was lost and coasting on the lyrics of this one song, and so then I don't turn the wheel enough, and bang; and I'm wondering if my last psychiatrist was right, that I was more bipolar than depressive, because I get these happy jolts where I'm crazy busy accomplishing and possessing of endless patience and cheer, and then it just goes away, I wake up one day and my kids are sullen and then I am too, gone, kaput, there goes the neighborhood.

And then, you know, I can just look at them, my family, and go all goo-goo, my eyes water with the sudden affection I feel for them, I need them so much, and my heart, if we're doing metaphors, is the ocean, and my love for them the Mariana Trench, that sweet spot in the Pacific, the deepest place on Earth, if you went any further down you'd burn up or something, and that's it. Sometimes I'm down there, my eardrums bursting, my body being crushed with the force, the pressure of that love, and I'm wondering how I keep them all safe, this unit we've created, and so this is the balance, the intensity of my love for them and the scratch-my-eyes-out tedium of this life at home.

It's like domestic apathy over here, and so all I want to do is pack the kids in the car and drive around with the music on high and try to get construction workers to stop waving their flags and wink at me. I need someone to tell me, every day, you're a great mom, a great wife, a great provider, to provide me with the compassion I give out, but instead I feel like a punching bag, and my family keeps landing these really painful----


Time's up?

Already? It's been like, five fucking minutes.

Well...okay, I'll see you next week then?

Oh, you're all booked up?

Oh, well, okay, I guess I'll see you around then?

Thanks for listening, or something.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Time to Use Old Posts!!!

The next six weeks are going to be a bit brutal. I was in class last night until nearly 11, and didn't arrive home until well after.

If you're still reading me, if you followed me through the URL change and have stuck with me through weeks of inactivity and lazy-ass writing, if you're still have my eternal gratitude. I cannot foresee being able to write new material during this time, unless it's a new version of the same old oh-my-god-I'm-going-crazy bit. I have plenty of that.

The kids were pretty good this morning as I did my first assignment. I threw them some goldfish and turned on Phineas & Ferb got them settled nicely at the table to do some math enrichment worksheets with some cut-up veggies, and got to work on chemistry. But really, it's all a giant experiment. How to make sure my kids aren't killing one another while working to complete a course that is challenging at 15 weeks, but condensed maddeningly down to 6. (Villanova, you'd better accept me!)

So, anyway, I'm rehashing some posts from my old blog, A Child Is Born.

In honor of my latest summer class, I take you back to 2008, when I began my back-to-school adventure by taking Sociology during summer session. That teacher should have never been allowed near any students, ever. He was devoid of any valuable knowledge whatsoever, and was a complete waste of my time. Thankfully, I still got an A. Because otherwise, I would have gotten violent. And thankfully, every teacher I've had since then has been great. (Keep in mind it's from '08, when Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the only female on the Supreme Court. We now have Sonia Sotomayor, and perhaps soon, Elena Kagan. But I doubt my former Sociology professor knows this.) Here is the original post:

Pop Quiz

My last Sociology class is on Monday, and in honor of the last time I ever have to sit through that insane blender of inaccuracy and offensiveness, I give you a pop quiz. All you have to do is make some educated guesses as to which craptastic statements actually left my 'Professor's' mouth.

1. a) Called special education students 'Crazy wacked-out kids'
b) Said Sandra Day O'Connor was the only female on the Supreme Court
c) Referred to female Jamaican Professor as a 'double-minority,' adding, "But she knows her stuff."
d) all of the above

2. a) said San Francisco was the last place he'd want to raise his children, because of 'the gays'
b) when going around the class to find out about his students, stopped a recent immigrant from Poland from speaking to ask the class what some stereotypes are about Polish people
c) imparted great wisdom when suggesting we all go out and buy Forever stamps
d) all of the above

3. a) In regards to divorce..."Sometimes it's cheaper to keep her."
b) Described the philosophy of positivism (which is the application of strict scientific method to study sociology) as acting in a positive manner to keep people happy. A lengthy example of positivism, discussed for 45 minutes in class, was the customer service of Southwest Airlines.
c) said that Sen. Arlen Specter represents Delaware.
d) All of the above

4. a) "It's a shame we can't discriminate based on age."
b) Homeschooled children are 'just weird,' as they haven't had any socialization experience.
c) "Want to see something funny? Watch a fat person try to use a Blackberry."
d) all of the above

5. a) Referred to abortion as 'Getting out the vacuum.'
b) Expounded at length about the absurdity of family medical leave laws, especially concerning men taking time off after the birth of their children.
c) Stated that the FMLA was passed by Bush Jr. in his first term.
d) all of the above

6. a) Stated that Donald Trump is an architect of bridges
b) compared female genital mutilation to ear piercing
c) called the Amish a bunch of weirdos
d) all of the above

7. a) "Doctors have to stick their fingers up your butt to check your 'prostrate.'"
b) Referred to ambidextrous student in class as a genetic reject, stating that her dominant and 'regressive' genes couldn't decide what was in charge.
c) Stated that he could tell when the female students in the high school he teaches went on birth control, because they got fat and their breasts became 'ginormous.'
d) all of the above

8. a) "It's easy to tell in a lesbian relationship who the man is."
b) "Children are the worst financial decision you could ever make. They provide no return on your investment."
c) "There's nothing worse than a drunk woman."
d) all of the above

If you guessed 'all of the above,' you'd be correct. I give you 10,000 gold stars.

For 6 weeks, I've had to sit through this class, outraged that this clown receives a paycheck for his crap. One of the first statements he made was about O'Connor on the Supreme Court. Currently, there is only one female on the Supreme Court, and this is what she has to say:

I am neither a high school teacher nor a community college instructor, but I know that Sandra Day O'Connor resigned, a few years ago, leaving Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the only female on the Court. Also, if you reside in PA, you should know that our nationally elected Senators are Arlen Specter and Bob Casey. As much as I wish we could trade Specter for Joe Biden -- amazingly engaging Senator from Delaware -- alas, we cannot.

For 6 weeks, I've listened as comment after comment, displaying a wealth of intolerance, exited the mouth of a man who had most likely experienced some amount of racism in his own life. Perhaps it shouldn't surprise me that we all have the capacity to be assholes, despite our experiences. And for 6 weeks I scoured the classroom for someone else with mouth agape, and found no kindred spirits. I was left feeling vaguely isolated in my outrage over both his lack of general knowledge about current events and sociology, as well as his general demeanor, which was something more akin to a Howard Stern sidekick than a supposed professional. This man teaches high school students? The state of our schools is surely in peril.

Also outrageous was the fact that he gave me an 85 on my midterm. Simply for sitting through his bullshit without my head exploding into a gigantic cloud of bone fragments and grey matter, I deserve nothing less than an A+.

Here's hoping my Anatomy Professor is a vast improvement.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Don't Ground Me, Mom & Dad

Lillian likes to point to things using her middle finger. I'm not sure exactly where this comes from. Maybe her parents' penchant for vulgarity has passed itself down in some fashion, and before truly harnessing it, most likely in adolescence, she is unconsciously doing so now.

Everything get the treatment.

"Look at the bunny."

"Mom, a cicada shell."

"Ooh, that's a big plane."

Middle finger. Middle finger. Middle finger.

It's going to be a really sad day when she twirls it appropriately up and directs it at me.

If you have young kids, do you ever wonder what in the hell they're going to try to get away with? I mean, my parents kept a tight leash, and I STILL managed to do some damage. I'd write about some of it here, but I worry about my future employment. And I suppose my parents could STILL ground me, although it would be awkward explaining that to my kids.

Okay, I can give you ONE example only. And it involves the theft of construction paraphernalia. Namely, orange cones. A few co-conspirators and I set out to do this one night. And we did it. And I am duly ashamed. Sort of.

I am keeping a running list of things I hope my kids never do. This list involves syringes, getting in the car with drunk people, bypassing latex, and passing out drunk against a tree in college and having a female lacrosse player carry them home. Or to a friend's apartment, which is what happened to me one night. She was very strong. Okay, that was seriously it with the personal examples.

The list also involves squatting in vacant houses, joining a fight club, hanging out in the bathrooms of bars, and creating bonfires on a school's soccer field. That last one may or may not have involved me. I'll keep you guessing.

Have you ever seen that show 16 & Pregnant? For once, MTV has done something right, and shows the general realities of allowing your punk boyfriend to use the line 'but it feels better without the condom.' Watching that show made me want to scoop up all the adolescent girls and carry them somewhere to have a talk.

I mean, imagine. You're changing diapers at 15, and your boyfriend didn't even know what he was doing in bed. Lose, lose, if you ask me.

Not that a talk would make a difference. Because I'm thinking back to my late teens right now, and cringing heartily. Sigh.

So, what's the answer? I pay attention to my girls and love them and make them understand their value and worth. We set limits and keep them. My husband does the same. And we cross our fingers?

What I do know is this: if the worst thing that happens is a middle finger directed at me? Not so bad. Not so bad at all.

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