Monday, September 28, 2009

Take My Kid and Shove It.

I take my kids with me everywhere. If you know me, you are well aware of this. I take them to work - Elle was 8 days old at her first Blue Valley rehearsal, she had her own desk at my tax office, and Demi is learning how to dance by being strapped to my chest at class; I take them to lunch - I used to ask if it was okay, now I just show up, Bumbo in hand; I take them to school - my classes always started a week earlier than Elle's . . . plus, she really has a knack for coloring syllabi; I take them to fundraisers, to neighborhood meetings, to First Fridays, to Library events, to karaoke night, to the movie theaters (yep. To see Harry Potter. At the 10 o'clock show.), to blogger meetups, to football parties, to baseball games, to company picnics, to weddings, to the freakin grocery store. And sometimes, I nurse my baby, and sometimes I even - ack! - bring a stroller.

I know this annoys people - I know even WHY it annoys people - but I do it and will continue to do it unless I am asked not to.

I did choose to have children. I didn't choose WHEN to have them - but I did choose to keep them when it looked inevitable that it was going to happen (you know, when I didn't know if my feet were there unless I looked in a mirror - or saw in the same mirror that my ankles really weren't). So, yes, that was a choice that I made - that Jeff and I made - that we were going to be parents and we were going to raise our hybrid spawn among the beauty and the ugliness of this world. I don't remember in this contract signing a clause that said that my kids have to be raised exclusively in my living room - or on the playground - or in front of the horrible pizza pies at Chuck E Cheese - or at Dora signings - or in the Disney store - or in the disease-peppered, fake-food and plastic-world disPLAY ground at Independence Center.

I know I'm different than most people. I love children - not just mine, but kids in general. I love the way they talk, the way they walk, the way they justify stealing fake vomit from their friends's house (oh, haven't I told that story yet?), the way they eat, the way they love. I've loved kids since I barely qualified to be one. So I get that my tolerance began higher and has only soared since I got my own little not-always-perfect-angels. The biggest difference is that now I giggle under my breath when a child is having a tantrum in the middle of a grocery store. It's actually a little less creepy for me now that I have my own kids - tearing up at the playground is a lot more accepted when you have some of your own DNA out there playing on it.

Its one of my loftiest goals in life to not judge people. Its natural for us to believe that our actions are the best - the most worthy choice in our personal situation at a critical time - that's why we do them.

I CHOSE to have children, just as many other people CHOOSE to not have children. One choice is not more proper than the other, more deserving of praise, more liberating. But I do feel at times that some people that I am less worthy of making my own decisions on what I do with my time, who I take with me, and what I'm allowed to tolerate (yeah, my kid whimpering may be a little annoying - but dude, your discreet headset doesn't make your hemorrhoid conversation any more private, nor your un-regimented hygiene schedule and anti-personal space issues any less irritating). I don't ask you to censor your language around my children, if you are engaging in something I find offensive or dangerous, I will take myself away. If my kid shits his pants on an airplane - I'm truly sorry for the inconvenience, but its not like I'm asking you to change him. Your choice to not have kids does not make mine to have them an affront to your lifestyle, but it is also not an abdication of my right to live the same.

As for the obnoxious kids in the restaurants - yeah, they kinda suck. But - news flash - the restaurants want them there. Of course, they'd rather them be behaved, but parents with kids are a huge slice of the population that eat out, and making kids happy make them a lot of fucking money. Unless you're eating out at Lidia's and Pierponts every night, I can guarantee that your $10 dinner is subsidized by a boat load of $2 Kid's Meals.

Whether you have kids or you don't, you're most likely going to judge me for everything I do with my own. All I can do is make sure that my kids think I kick ass and that they have the tools and the confidence to do the same one day.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Come away with me . . .

Jeff and I went to see “Away We Go” at the Screenland Theater on Armour Road on Friday night. Let me first say that the theater sucks and no one should go there (at least I wish that were the truth so that I could always be guaranteed my recliner in the front row). It is really a beautiful venue and one that deserves far more traffic on a Friday night, even if it was First Friays. Eat before you go, unless you want popcorn, because the bar fare that they do offer takes a little longer than necessary, but it is worth the trip up North for sure – and even though they don’t have crushed ice or a popcorn seasoning bar or Butt-kicker seats, it is way more charming than the Main Street AMC. That being said, I would still see an action movie at the AMC – they probably don’t play many blockbusters at Screenland anyway – but it was the perfect place for a long-deserved date alone with my husband. And I don’t think we could have picked a better movie than the amazingly-acted and succinctly-sweet “Away We Go.”
Following an expecting couple on a journey to find ‘home’, this movie spoke to many themes of family, life, marriage and loss. Maya Rudolph’s Verona and John Krasinski’s Burt have been ‘abandoned’ by both sets of their parents – hers through death and his (played by Katherine O’Hara and Jeff Daniels) through an untimely chance to move to Belgium a month before their first grandchild is to be born. They travel to Arizona, Wisconsin, Montreal and Miami to meet with family, friends, and prospective bosses trying to find a place where they fit. I’m not going to say too much, because I really think you should see this movie – but it made me think about what marriage is and why the heck it is something that needs to be ‘protected’ so . . .
Okay, so I watched this movie pretty soon after spending an afternoon at the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis and after a heated debate this summer with a man I’ll just call “Slowpoke” (and I’ll call him that because that’s his nickname. For real.) If you know me (and if you don’t – you shoud – give a girl a ring!), you know that I’m pretty hot in the pants when it comes to gay rights. I truly feel that our reluctance as a nation towards affording people the right to love whomever they choose – and to profess their love in front of a judge, a participating pastor, a notary or a group of copulating robots for all I care –and to recognize that commitment as equal no matter who is at the end of our aisle, is the one thing that keeps us from being a completely liberated people. Our president sits at the most influential desk in the free world, as leader of a country that once claimed people of his race as property, treated them like animals and forbid them to own land or vote – he has risen to where he is through the persistent struggles of many men, the deaths of many husbands, fathers, daughters, sisters, brothers, mothers and sons, the audacity of many leaders for whom it would have been easier to just let things slide, through the perseverance of a people, and yet, STILL, finds it uncomfortable to grant federal recognition of equality for those who want to marry someone of their same gender.
LOVE is being stigmatized.
Marriage does not make love. Love does not make marriage. We agree – (especially after watching “Away We Go”. You haven’t seen that movie yet? Go see it!!). But why is the sanctity of marriage so important that we can’t mess it up by inviting more people in? Hitler was married . . . don’t you think we brightened the pool of married people when we let Ellen Degeneres in? At the party of married people, I would much rather drink a martini with Elton John than Danial Rinehart, sing a song at the piano with Tracy Chapman before Mariah f-in Carey (we don’t sing in the same key anyway), break it down on the dance floor with Rachel Maddow than try to slow dance with Limbaugh (my arms aren’t long enough, I’m sure), party with Jolie Justus before have a conversation with the Funk, make out with Bernstein instead of catch an STD from Beethoven.
Oh, you’re just concerned that giving these people the same rights, we’re saying to our children that their lifestyle is okay? I see your point – if you are close-minded and frightened of anything you don’t understand. What lifestyle exactly are you speaking of . . . the one where sex is easy and relationships are avoided? The one where drinking and drug use is prevalent? The one where sexuality is flaunted like it’s the only thing that matters? Oh, the one where multiple partners is a goal, and a mistake, and a reinforcement of self worth . . . oh yeah – that one. Well, news flash – that lifestyle is lived out in the open air entertainment venue at 12th and Main the same as it is in the dingy bar/nightclub on Southwest trafficway.
True, very true – homosexual relationships can’t organically produce children, so its just not natural. Its not god’s intention. #1 – who’s talking about god? We are talking about the government of the United States of America, so with that whole separation of church and state thing, I won’t even start on that conversation. #2 – masturbation can not produce children, oral sex can not produce children, having protected sex can not produce children . . . I enjoy all of these things – and have done them many times – they were very persuasive in my choice to get married in the first place. Should sterile men not be able to marry – what about women who want to so badly to have children but can not. Is that God telling them that they should not be married? Does adopting and loving children someone else bore make you second class parents – good enough, but not as worthy as the parents who created their children in the womb – many who regret it, can’t handle it, even deny it? (Watching one episode of Maury is reason enough to ban heterosexuals from marrying.)
Is marriage really that fragile? Is it even something that people would commit themselves to just to piss you off? Why is your love more real than anyone elses? Why do we cling to this need of feeling more right than other people? More just. More real. The struggle for civil rights was exactly that – a struggle. A struggle hard fought, a struggle hard won. We live in a much better nation because of it, we would never have know such great players in this game we call life had it not been for the hardships of many different groups of people. But that is no reason to perpetuate the hate and prejudice into today’s world, with its own struggles and hardships.
“Away We Go” was not a movie about gay marriage or civil rights – not in the least. But it made me think about marriage and how we as a people view this institution . . . Being so intolerant of my intolerance for intolerance – I need to hear the other side so that I can understand.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Waiting . . .

Okay, we'll go macro - micro . . .

The economy kinda sucks, I guess - I've given up watching any kind of television because I can't stand the news reports on 'how to get through these tough times' dealing with everything from candy to port-a-potties, I don't read any magazines because I can't get away from reading about the Octomom or the Batchelor (and that's just Newsweek and Time!), I've whittled down my blog reading to only local peeps - and only when they're not talking about the economy, octomom, and the Batchelor . . . so pretty much, I've been out of the loop. I bought a new car in this economy - knowing that I was going to be unemployed by the end of this month - but hey, blind optimism seems to work, right? Our mortgage gets paid - thanks to Jeff - and I don't look at portfolio's in the first place - I'm for damn sure not going to right now. So, yeah, besides playground chatter about layoffs and job searches and becoming part-time-paid for full-time-worked, I'm not really much affected. Not that I don't care - but come on, folks, there's more going on in the world and its going to keep going on whether or not you have the perfect job, a house to live in, or even a way to feed your kids. If you haven't struggled with any of these problems before - welcome to the Real World (non-celebrity edition).

Obama has risen to prove everyone right - those that thought he'd change the world and those who were waiting for him to fail. I'm enjoying watching the show and hoping to feel and see the positive change he's working on.

A little closer to home - Kansas City is a mess. The mayor is trying to salvage his reputation by being pretty scrupulous with the budget - the thing he truly is good at - but he's sacrificed so much in the name of love, devotion and stubborn stupidity - well, maybe not stupidity - more like ignorance - and lost too much of his political and social capital, its becoming quite a disgusting show. But the council members are just so worried about seperating themselves from him and not making sound decisions themselves - I'd much rather have Funkhouser than at least half of them. It's nice to have 'real people' elected onto a council in a pretty big city like our little home town here, but then they get to the politics part, get a makeover, open a Twitter account - and screw it all up. No one is boo-hooing your part-time $55,000 salary job - get your shit together and do something for the city, do something for the people that you're going to be begging for a vote in a couple years, stop acting like teenagers and grow some fucking balls already. We don't have to give Jackson County $2 million a year to back up non-existent economic development that the stadiums supposedly give us. Sales tax and earnings taxes besides, what do these sports teams bring us - besides mounting infrastructure problems on I-70, whiney sports team owners, more beef-cake suburban residents and their sparkly wives, increased opportunity to show off our barbecue-laden body-image on a national stage, and some tired old sports journalists that bicker back and forth like wrinkled old biddies in the nursing home. Hell, if the teams left because - boo-hoo - we didn't give them their $2million - we might have a chance to unsaturate the sports event market in this mid-range, kinda-on-the-cheap-side town and get someone to agree it would be lucrative to bring a basketball team here and stop using us as a jumping off point for negotiations (thought I'd get a Clueless line in there somewhere.) And F-no, we don't want a freakin Hockey team.


People are still killing each other and we still give sweet deals out to the developers who know all the tricks because they helped create them. We keep killing our authenticity and local businesses to cater to out-of-town scumbags who we are hanging our confidence on as they bounce their balls on our backside. There are too many people who have possible solutions to all the f-ed up stuff, but no one comes together - and no one is really listening. We just gotta get some more consultants in here - yeah, that should do it.

Oh, and did I mention, its still freakin cold? Yeah, not happy about that, either.

(How come my updates are always complaintative?)

My job - well, its becoming quite tedious . . . I have gotten to watch all of Dexter and Weeds - thanks to - which are two of my favorite series ever - but I am very bored. Doing taxes I love, sitting around waiting to do taxes, I don't love. I mean the occasional crackwhore is always nice, and my stalker does come around every other day or so with new presents, but really, give me something to do, people!

Well - now down to my house . . . the bathroom re-do is still not done, my husband has purchased a new comforter set that would make any high school girl woo (and this is one time that I don't feel like a high school girl . . .) for our room which has needed an overhaul for sometime, our roommates are still here and making life fun - even when they lock the doors - who does that shit?, Elle has a DS lite that makes incentive and punishment equally as significant, I still haven't figured out why my cat is so freakin annoying, I have way too much stuff and far too much laundry to ever feel comfortable. I need Clean Sweep to come and solve all my problems . . . well, actually 'cause I just want the new stuff. The floors are going to get redone while we're in Florida for the summer, so I look forward to shiny new boards to skate over in my socks - and rug shopping will be fun, I'm sure.

I got to go to Florida for Spring Break and see my friends and family which was really nice. My mom threw a little shower for me, so I have all kinds of fun baby stuff to keep me busy - and remind me how close I am to having a little alien invade my abode. Not that the heartburn and high blood pressure and this whole peeing business will let me forget.

But yeah, its just weird sitting around waiting for a lot of things to happen. Many things will change over the next few months, the next year, the next two - and I'm not ready for any of them . . . but I think that's what makes life fun. It's like a surprise party every day - without the annoying decorations. Questions abound . . . but the answers around the corner are what keep us moving forward.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Think I may have lost a friend . . .

Received a copy of this in a forwarded email from a friend. We have always disagreed politically, but have kept things pretty friendly. But goodness, gracious, I hate forwarded emails, especially when they're dumb and waste my time - and not from someone that I even know. And she knows I'm a pretty liberal person, and she chose to send it to me - I guess to say, 'ha, ha - look at this . . . ' so I thought it would be in good fun to send a little 'ha, ha' back.

My response:

I believe this was the agreement before the pilgrims came to America. . . We'll gladly take the shore states - but we'll leave you Texas to fight over with the Mexicans. Sounds like a grand idea, hope that the Independents don't get scarred in the custody battle, and hope your education system is left with some legs to stand on. I sure will miss my dad, a couple of friends and all you good ole' boys . . . but hey, at least we get to keep all the gays, communists and at least half of Joe Lieberman (you can have the top half, he's an ass to us anyway . . .) It was good while it lasted. Hope you find someone else to get together with, you know - to make that whole "United" thing still stand for something. Oh, and enjoy your Nascar and golf . . .

--Atheist, Subaru-driving hippie

p.s. Does this mean I have to take back my maiden name? I always thought 'France' sounded so much more lovely

We obviously don't have the same sense of humor.

(And for the sake of full disclosure, I am not an Atheist, I drive a Honda now, but have been driving a Ford Explorer for the last four years, and I do shave my armpits . . . all things I'm pretty sure she knows - I mean, heck, I was the maid of honor in her wedding - I just thought it would be a fun way to sign off.)

She sent this reply a day later:
Personally I wouldn't mind taking Texas. It has the largest population of Republicans, and we're not afraid of sending the Mexicans back where they belong. Our education system will be just fine. The way I see it now with the way things are going, I would have to put my (future) children in private school know to keep them from the liberalist agenda. I don't mind working to pay the $10,000 a year tuition. You still want Joe's ass? Suprised!!! I will enjoy Nascar and golf...not a problem. The way I see it is the one's who really fight to keep this country safe are those who love Nascar, wrestling, and golf. They know what it means to actually fight for something that is meaningful and how we became so free, even if it does cost them their life.

With my country loving military, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity I think we'll do just fine on the "United" front. When all of your resources run dry, you can ask Obama if he'll let you phone a friend. I don't mind having you over for dinner, but you'll have to pray and thank Jesus Christ before you eat.

Love ya,
Your SUV driving, Jesus Christ loving, Conservative

Okay, so I hit a nerve, obviously. Or maybe she was just showing off for her friends (Reply All is a choice, you know). So, thought I could play this show-boating game. I mean, it was still a game:

Sure, we'll take Joe - we like free thinkers - and where else is he gonna go when you make him thank Jesus Christ before he eats? And while I am very sorry that I left out all of the wrestling fans in your proud base . . . THEY actually do know what its like to fight for something that is meaningful - those belts don't come cheap . . .I'll have to disagree that they are the only ones who have kept us so free . . . I am too proud of my soldiers and the people that fight for this country - across all political, religious, and social spectrums - to limit my respect to only those that represent my ideology. And as much as you'd like to think, we bottom feeders will be okay without you - our resources are limitless - and much easier to tap without your agenda attached. And really, Rush and Hannity? - if they're the ones who are pulling you together, its going to be a shame to watch you fall apart. Because I like having you guys around - you keep things interesting. And by interesting, I mean enlightening. And by enlightening, I mean entertaining. And by entertaining, I mean that we laugh at you.

--Fickle Humanitarian Buddhist

Or, so I thought:

Really, Well when your Scott Peterson's, Charles Manson's, baby killers, baby rapists, you name it need to be fed too, please Enjoy!! If you would like us to take care of them for you like we do with everything else. We'll take care of them for you EXECUTION style.

Free thinkers, huh. More like free loaders. Please enjoy my hard earning tax dollars while I wake up every morning at 4:30 to go to work. While your I won't get a job because I am too damn lazy, won't get out of bed, government handout, the world owes me everything type of people live off of my money. Free thinkers!!! You helped appoint a man in office that you want to do all the thinking for you. PLEASE. If you would like me to keep going, I'll be here all month. Again, please enjoy my tax dollars....hope it feeds your parties addiction.

Oh and where healthcare is concerned, when the only providers left that you on your side are those that perform abortions and you can only get your diluted prescriptions from Canada. Good Luck with that!! I really pray for you not to get sick.

Well you did say you wanted Joe's ass. We'll take his brains, it seems to be his better half these days. He's coming around. Joe doesn't mind praying. We've seen him do it a time or two. We respect all kinds of religions. Hello!!! Jews are the chosen people!!!

Your too proud of your soldiers, the ones that your party decided to say we did not win the war. The 4,000 plus people that lost their lives, so you could rant and rave in your email. Nice going. Way to pay them back.

You're right, your soldiers. My cousin is your soldier. As her father lay in a casket in KC. She's fighting for your simple freedom in IRAQ to keep you safe. Yeah, she didn't get to go to her fathers funeral because she was fighting for those who lost their lives on 911. I am sure her and the rest of my family that fought for you to keep you on your soap box and say ridiculous things such as you do, would be so proud. Thank you for letting them put their lives on the line for you.

AND, YES WE DID WIN THE WAR!!!! You might want to let your holy leader BARACK OBAMA know that. He's not a free thinker, so you might want to help him with that.

Too bad that your party doesn't realize that the foundations of this country were built on the principles of Jesus. No matter where you go or what you do, he's everywhere. He's on the money that your party cashes every month from my tax dollars, to the pledge of allegence, to the scribes on the capital buildings. Sorry, but if my party has it our way, he'll continue to still be there. And, I will fight for it every step of the way.

I think it is funny you say something about Rush and Hannity. Please let me know what you like to refute and by all means, I will be more than happy to prove where they are not wrong. Sorry we look to people that know what they're actually talking about.

News flash. You live in a country founded on being able to get up in the morning and do things for themselves. Such as think, do well, get a job, have a career, have a family and live happily ever after. What part of that can your party not understand. Oh, they aren't given the resources that's right. Well neither was I, and look at me know. Hmmmm LIVING THE AMERICAN DREAM. What a concept.

You can laugh all you want, but when your annointed one can't save you, please ask Buddha what to do. He's so enlighting, he may have a couple of pointers for ya. Who will be laughing now...hmmmm

Your friend,
The bible beating freak, still loving Jesus, life loving CONSERVATIVE

She obviously put a lot of time into this response, so I wasn't going to take it apart line by line, but I couldn't just let it go. I thought I'd soften the discourse by giving a one-line response so that she didn't feel like this had to go on and on:

I'm sure Jesus would be very proud of your last email - executions and all.

--Hard-working, tax-paying, definition-of-'win'-knowing, non-label-taking, good-English-spelling, can't-stop-laughing, and, whether you like it or not, just-as-American-as-you, American.

Now she's just confusing me:

You're so right. I should ask Scott Peterson to come over for some tea. Maybe I should invite Dr. Phil too. Just as American ask me...thank you for proving my point!!!

Again, the bible beating freak, Jesus loving, Conservative.

Help me, my friends - what is her point? I've been trying to figure that out. Did I vote for Scott Peterson, or do I spout the wisdom of Dr. Phil?

It's just such a disappointing way to end this discussion . . .

Friday, February 20, 2009

Help me name my kid . . .

Naming Elle was an ordeal - went through lists and vetoes and more lists and more vetoes - until we had two options left at the end . . . Elle and Ava. I wanted a name that was a palindrome since she was going to be born in 2002 - but I also wanted something with a little more meaning as well. Elle won out in the end - and I love it. My middle name is Mechelle, so is her Godmother's, if we called her 'Ellie' (which we never did, thank goodness), it would sound like Kelly - my best friend forever, Jeff's dad's first name is Lewis, so he is L . . . it was just all around a good name. Quinn is my grandmother's maiden name, and also the last name that was first printed on my dad's birth certificate - and I freakin love it, so I sneakily added it to the birth certificate within the week's time frame after leaving the hospital (Jeff doesn't have a middle name, so he didn't think she should either . . . )

While I think I should have a little more say in the naming because, A. I care more about it - I think about it every day - by god, I'm blogging about it! and, B. he gets the last name (which for purposes of my seemingly paper-thin attempts at remaining anonymous, along with my need of your help in the complete process, we will just say that it sounds like FrozenFat), and C. I'm the one who is getting fat (and the heartburn alone should get me something, right?!) - I still have to take Jeff's consideration into well, consideration. So, some options that are immediately removed - even though I love them with all of my heart - are Icie (my great-grandmother's name) and Beatrix (Jeff doesn't have a problem with this name, just with the fact that I would insist on calling her Trixie - a strippers name in his opinion, and a wonderfully sweet-sounding and unique one in mine).

And please take into consideration that I have been waiting for another baby for the last 4 years, so this list has been compiled and edited many times . . . I just need your opinions - not because I care if you hate the name, or if you knew some wretched person with that same one, or you know a creative way that the kids on the playground will make fun of her . . . please, feel free to share these, but I just really am writing this post so that 15 years from now when Icie Beatrix FrozenFat is sulking in her room, crying because the other Icie's in her class make fun of her because she's the only one who spells her name with an -ie instead of a -y (like any sane mother who thought she was giving her child a sweet name would do) . . . I can at least show her that I put some thought into it - that I may have failed her, but it wasn't because I didn't try to do something good.

So, so far . . . my options are:

Matilda I really love Matilda - its been on the list the longest. Matilda is my favorite book by my favorite author - Roald Dahl - and she is portrayed in the movie version by one of the cutest young actresses ever . Possible nicknames are "Millie" and "Tillie" - both of which I adore. It's a German name for "mighty in battle" - maybe she'll grow up to be in roller derby. I could spell it Mathilde - but I think I'd have to teach her how to shot put if I do that to her.
I like Matilda Jane (Jane is my father's biological mother - my aunt who died last year) because it sounds good together and there is a cute line of children's clothes that would give me an excuse to spend too much money on little girl's fashion - 'Hello! Its already personalized! There is no way to quantify the value of that!)
I also really love Matilda Bee - I would get to have a little of Beatrix that I want (Beatrix Potter will always and forever remind me of my maternal grandmother - Granny - and the books she would read to me and the kind of person she was), Jeff's dad has bee hives and harvests honey, it would show a little hint of my political and humorist sides, and I would be able to credit a fellow blogger with helping to name my child (and what self-respecting 21st century girl wouldn't love that!) Also, wouldn't have to put too much thought into her first Halloween costume. Also, Secret Life of Bees is one of my favorite recent books - such a great story of womens' strength, vulnerability, sisterhood, and love.

Amelie is a french name form of Amelia meaning 'industrious and striving, work' - I know, really romantic, eh? But it is a beautiful name, and of course, the name of one of my favorite movies - and favorite characters ever written for page or screen. It was also the first romantic comedy Jeff and I ever saw together in the theatre (and one of the few since) - all you have to do is make him read subtitles and it instantly gets credit. I could call her 'Millie' here as well - and Elle and her would share French first names.

May is my first choice for a middle name if her name is Amelie . . . because hopefully, she'll wait until May to be born. But also, May is an important month in my family - my birthday, my sister's, the first granddaughter's, my Granny's, Mother's Day . . . all very important ladies in my life. It means 'the fifth month' in English - I know, all my favorite names have no good literal or translated meaning, that's why its so important to have a personal one attached - but it also is a Sanskrit word for 'illusion' - which I think is pretty cool. But also, Maya has always been a favorite of mine - to be named after Maya Angelou, author of two very important pieces to my love of the written word - "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" and "Phenomenal Woman", civil-rights activist, and Womanist - but the name Maya, or Mia, or Mya, or Maia are way too popular and graze the top 100 lists, which is an automatic veto in my book. And she'll always feel like she's allowed to do things - in the 3rd person, but still - it'll give the girl some confidence to make her own decisions.

My newest favorite name is Demi - or Demme - haven't decided how I'd spell it. If you don't know much about me, you may not know that I love to dance - love to teach it, to do it, to create it - and 'demi' to a dancer is foundational to her understanding of technique, execution, scale, and universality. It means 'half' in translation, but 'small' or 'little' works, too. I think it's a precious name for a little girl. And for a far-reaching literary connection . . . Demi Moore portrayed Erin Grant in the movie version of Strip Tease, based on Carl Hiaasen's book of the same name. To name my daughter after an actress that played a hard-working stripper with a concious created by a long-time favorite Hiaasen (a babysitting charge of my maternal Granny, btw) . . . how can you pass it up?

The last one is Kersten - my maiden name. Easy enough.

Some runners up - and ones that still have a chance if I can find a good combo with something with a little more meaning . . .
Dorothy (to solidify my fag-hag status . . . also my great aunt's name)
Jala (one of my favorite people ever - and a pretty kick ass name to boot)

But the big contenders are:
Matilda Bee or Matilda Jane
Amelie May OR Amelie Maeve
Demme May OR Demi Kersten OR Kersten Demi (half Kersten - I dig it) OR Demi Maud

I just need help - what do you think?

Friday, February 13, 2009

A little advice, please

So, when a guy comes in to my office to do his taxes so that he can get some cash to pay his prostitute, and she drives away with his car while he's sitting at my desk and he springs out of his seat to chase her down the road and jumps into the passenger side and kicks the bitch to the curb and drives back and parks just in time to catch her fist in the parking lot and the ensuing tussle attracts 3 more SUV's to the parking lot and so she runs into my office to call 911 and tell them she was trying to pull a trick when this guy beat her up and she wants to press charges and starts yelling to the guys outside that they don't know who her man is and they better go before the police get there and I give him his paperwork back as he leaves and politely tell her that I'm closing up for the day because I have to go pick up my daughter and she's mad because I won't wait for the police to come and tell her to find her at her apartment - right next door - but I still let her use the phone to make one more call - to the guy that just left to see if he would pick her up and give her a ride . . . and then the guy comes back the next day to complete his return and apologize and tell me he's really a nice guy (but when a crack whore steals your ride, what else are you to do but kick her ass) and I give him a refer-a-friend card to give to a friend or family member and the prostitute comes back in the next day with it . . .

should I give her the $15 coupon that the card provides, or just go ahead and give her the 20% off local business discount?

(dang, tax season is tough)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Don't Fake the Funk . . .

No, this isn't a post about our mayor. You can read other blogs around town if you want to read of his highs or his lows.

I wanted to let you all in on my blessed connection with a certain 7' basketball player out there. That's right, Shaquille O'Neal and I are cosmically connected, I swear.

From my first time meeting him when I was at my 8th grade dance recital . . . no, unfortunately he was not my Pas de Deux partner, but he was touring the Bob Carr Auditorium - right next to the O-reana (yeah, you know back in the old days where arenas had names and not branded labels) - and was backstage right before one of my numbers - 'woah' is all you can really say - well all a group of little white girls in tutus can say when meeting this large man with hands the size of a strip mall . . .

to the ever expansion of my creative brain when making up poems about Shaq in ninth grade English class:
'Don't fake the funk on a nasty dunk'
That's what Shaq says when he dunks on a punk
(See - I told you guys I was good)
or chants to yell at the Finals games:
Shaquille, Shaquille - you make me squeal!
Hakeem, Hakeem - you make me scream!
Yep - all of my creative energy that went into such pairing of words and manipulation of phrasing - could have been harnessed and exploited in the making (and ultimate saving) of Shaq-Fu

to my evening at Steak and Shake where I first had an intimate conversation with him - as I watched him manually eject himself out of his little red sports car - one perfectly elongated, muscular limb at a time - come in and order Takhomasak (or however they spell that mess). The words weren't much - but the meaning behind them was sacred. I think it went like this -
"Um, hi, are you Shaquille O'Neal"
"Uh - yeah."
"Ohmygosh,itsreallygoodtomeetyou - ImeanIveseenyoubeforebutIdon'tthinkyouwouldremem
bereventhoughIdo - wouldyoumindsigningthisplacematformybrother - hesareallybigfan - likesupergeekyfanandhesonlyninesohehasanexcusetobesooverlyenamoredwithsuchagoodbasketballplayer - buthewouldtotallyfreakOUTifyousignedthisforhim - causehetotallylovesyou - waitletmegetapen - ivegotoneinmylunchbox - itsbluelikethemagic - notBlueMagicbutliketheteamsnameyouknow - thoughBlackMagicmightbecool - actuallywhydontyougobythatnickname?andthenIcouldtell
everyonethatImadeitup - wouldntyouwanttodothatforme?Ohokay,yeah,justsignitandI'llleaveyoualone. Ihopeyougotfriesbecausetheyrethebesthere
Ivegotextracheesesauceifyouneedsome - ohIguessyouwouldordersomeifyouwantedsome."
"Yeah - I'll sign it."
"Oh,thanks,foreverthanks - thatssocool,Shaq,he'sgoingtopeehispants - butIwonttellanyonebecauseImacoolbigsister.Thatsareallyniceautograph-doyouthinkyoucould...oh,okay.Well,Ihopeyouhaveagoodnight.Bye,Shaq!Ohmygod,guysdidyouseethat?"
(Yeah, have I ever mentioned how utterly cool and non-annoying I was as a teenager, especially hopped up on french fries and milk shakes and soda pop?)
But yeah, later on that night I found out that the Magic had lost a really big game and I'm sure the poor dude was trying to get away from freaks like me and just get a nice juicy burger and a milk shake - why else would he have been in Apopka? - and chill out. But then again, he didn't realize he would be meeting his soul mate, either . . .

A couple years later, right as I left Central Florida to pursue my own dreams of something bigger - you know, like a cramped dorm room and alcohol poisoning - Shaq announced he was on to better things himself - like the LA Lakers, and a multi-million dollar contract. Everyone felt deceived, even I felt a tinge of regret that I didn't pursue our burgeoning love before it was too late - until I saw him in his Laker's jersey - #34. That was MY number - you know, the one you put at the end of a page to someone's beeper so that they knew it was you - it had to have been a sign, or a coded love letter waiting to be opened. Oh, Shaq . . .

. . . you shouldn't have. But, I love you, too.

Anyway - he went to LA fell in love with Kobe, fell out of love with Kobe, won a few National titles, moved to Miami (bienvenido a Miami), became a cop, you know - moved on - after leaving me. I followed a similar path and it led up to my life as of yesterday.

I forgot how much he meant to me until last night after I fell asleep. I was dreaming about bacon (the breakfast kind - not that silly Canadian stuff) and pineapple pizza, and someone whispered in my dreaming ear,

"You know, that's Shaquille O'Neal's favorite pizza, too."

Ah, nothing like sweet nothings to remind us of our lost loves.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Good things

I feel I have been complaining lately - even started out writing about how tired I was - but wanted to stop and smell the roses. (Not that there are any roses - or anything close to anything that looks or smells like Spring - or Summer - or Fall. Definitely Winter here - but I will stop.) There are good things going on in my life right now - really good things and I wanted to share with you so that maybe I can start appreciating them myself.

1. will always be my family. I have Elle - she's fun, funny, smart and still loves to cuddle me. Jeffrey and I still struggle to understand each other, but we're learning to let things go - and it gets easier every day. My parents are still alive and well and I talk to them often and get to see them occasionally. My sisters and brother are doing well in their lives and we share frustrations and joys - there's nothing like a good sibling conversation to make everything feel just a little bit better.

2. My president is black. As much wisdom is being spouted about how to recover race relations in this country - about how we should start to un-label people by their physical characteristics but by their accomplishments and policy - it sure feels good to say that. My president is white, too. It keeps the conversation open - it exposes the haters out there, and brings to light a lot of ignorance that most of us have in regards to everything related to race, class, gender, and even just plain physicality. And it doesn't even matter what color he is, Barack Obama would have been saying the same things, and bringing the same strength back to the presidency, and reaching out to us, the citizens of this country, to reign in the control of our democracy. . . to start being responsible for not only our lives, but the lives of people in our community, the future of our businesses and cities, our childrens well-being and the culture of their learning. Its a good day when people in the media every day try to rain on the parade - its been a long time since we've had one to watch.

3. I don't sleep a lot. It hurts to walk. I'm getting fat. I don't have any clothes to wear. I get violently kicked about 200 times a day. Yep - still counting my blessings, I swear. You forget how freakin cool it is to have a little alien inside of you when its been so long in the waiting . . . thankfully you forget how much it sucks sometimes, too - or there would be far more only children out there in this world. I can't believe I'm already 6 months in.

4. I have a job. I get paid to do something I love - even though I hate sitting around waiting to do it. But when there are so many people out there stuggling and trying to put together resumes and searching websites and networking, networking, networking - I get to be collecting a salary. Jeff has to fire half his staff by the end of this week . . . a lot of them good friends, but he gets to keep his job - and our health benefit, and our sanity. A lot of people in Kansas City will be getting the proverbial pink slip over the next couple months, but for the moment, I'm safe. Good thing, too, I have to pay for all those girl scout cookies I've eaten.

5. I don't live in Alaska.

6. I have two crazy roommates right now that come with a huge flatscreen tv, the Wii and Wii Fit, PlayStation III, all episodes of every television show I could ever want to watch (hello, Dexter!), top-shelf liquor, conservative perspective, and a flair for fashion. This new kid is going to have some big shoes to fill (and some huge purchases to make) when they leave.

That's it for now. Stress levels rising . . . too much to do. =) Talk to ya'll later!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Secret Poem

Do you see what I see?
When I look in the mirror, I see me.
Oh, when you look there, you see you?
When I look there, I see eyes of blue.

You see eyes of green, I see . . .
You have different eyes than me.
But at night, I do, too
Have different eyes than me and you.

I have eyes of brown, you see -
but, please, keep this between you and me.
Because brown eyes are nice, but I do, too,
like my eyes to be the hue of blue.

And everyone says, "Oh my, oh me,
What beautiful blue eyes I do see!"
I like to hear this (especially from you),
So, I change my eyes from brown to blue.

I used to write ludicrous poetry like this all the time - from middle school up through college. I always thought I would write children's books . . . you know, on the side of my real career - which I still don't know what that is. =) But I miss writing silly stories, miss having fun making stupid poems for every occasion, miss having fun writing. I want to find a Writer's Workshop - any suggestions?

Monday, January 26, 2009

I really have to pee

I am sitting here in my office and I really need to pee. I realized that I don't have toilet paper just a little too late this morning. I have my 32oz water cooler halfway drunk already and this kid must have some sense of humor because she's kicking more than ever right now.

It's moments like this that I really wish I had a penis. Actually, this is probably the only moment I would wish for a penis.

Did I mention that I do taxes?

Oh yeah, I do.

And I'll do them for you.

I'll give you a special blogger discount.

Just email me:

kcsponge at gmail dot com

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Blanc Blues

My daughter is in first grade at Academie Lafayette. There are many reasons that I sent her to this school - #1 she has a French word for a name, so she was already one up on the rest of the class - #2 its like 5 blocks away from my house - #3 its a really good school - good free school, even better - #4 she would be going to school with a lot of the little kids I taught at the YMCA - I liked these kids, I knew these kids.

A lot of parents like to say that they have no other choice - but there are other choices.

Border Star Montessori is just as close to my house as Academy Lafayette. They even have a preschool program that could have saved us $7,000 before Elle started Kindergarten. But my kid is not one you would call a 'self-starter' - she's not even reliably a facilitated starter. Her first progress report this year said, "Elle spends a lot of time getting lost in her own pencils and not focused on the task at hand." So, Montessori is probably not the right choice for her - even though I really love the lessons of nurturing and mentorship you get in a classroom that spans many ages as it progresses at each child's own accomplishment and growth and not solely on age.

Troost Elementary is even closer to our house then either AL or Border Star. With a Great Schools rating of 1 out of 10, a parents rating of 3 out of 10, 0% of 3rd graders who read at or above proficient levels, 3% who are proficient in math by 5th grade . . . it just didn't make the cut. The white-guilted hipster in me would love to send my child to a school that would put her in the 3% minority, what a social experiment for me!, and the community-minded, public-school educated, urban education sympathizer inside of me would love to support my school district, but the big fat nerd inside of me who took the SAT's twice because a 1280 just wasn't high enough would never find solace with low expectations that would be fostered in a school that loses proficiency in every subject at every grade level each year.

Another charter school close by is Brookside Charter by UMKC. Elle went to the dayschool there for a year - faltering under the High Scope curriculum and an administrative staff that was over-worked and, I'm sure, underpaid - and it showed in their attitude. The learn-through-play approach is not carried through Kindergarten and beyond, but the I-don't-care-so-don't-bother-me approach to parents doesn't jive with me. I like to be involved - and I like to be liked. So, continuing at Brookside was not an option either.

#2 on my list was University Academy. Jeffrey went to temple at B'nai Juhuda growing up, and I watched the new school being built on that same site as Elle was a little baby, and thought how perfect . . . and it was a K-12 campus, with stringent curriculum, college-prep atmosphere, and started by a family I knew well, the Bloch's. The very visible library made my heart ache as I waited for Elle to be old enough to attend (and navy blue bottoms instead of khaki - much more fashionable uniforms!) But Jeff, in his very bossy way, vetoed the decision after having students from UA visit Science City for a field trip. He thought the students were unruly and the staff disrespectful and lazy. So -poof- no University Academy for Elle (just like -poof- no naming my 2nd daughter Trixie). He's a pretty laid-back guy, but when he makes a decision - man, it is made.

So, we were left with Academie Lafayette, and I have loved my time there. Elle had a hard time with the French at first, and I had a hard time with the culture of the educational environment at first, but we have thrived as a family in this short journey, and I have made many friends and enjoy a very tight-knit community of parents and students and faculty and staff. I still have some issues, but Elle loves school, can't wait to do homework, is showing such strength in mathematics, and will continue to learn words I will never know in a language I love to listen to, will learn a history of our nation - a history of our world - from a perspective I was never taught, will go from a classroom led by a Haitian man to sing with a teacher from Belgium, will befriend children from every corner of the city and every walk of life, and will, by the end of her 8th grade year, be ready for anything that should come next.

But, as was pointed out to me yesterday, I chose the 'white' school. Because it represents the diversity of the overall population, and not the racial makeup of the student population in the Kansas City Missouri School District, my decision to send my child to this school has perpetuated the exclusionary practices of the school's admissions policies. Because this school is successful and has a track record of good test scores, continuing student excellence beyond the 8th grade, stable and growing community involvement, and city and state-wide recognition for accomplishments, there is a demand for admission to a small and already over-stretched campus. They have an established early admissions policy that is open to all students in the KCMS district, with a lottery system that fills the remaining spots after the deadline. They only enroll in Kindergarten because of the immersion education, so this leads to a high attrition rate - which has actually been going down over the last few years, but still causes the upper classes to get smaller and smaller. But they have an over-abundance of interest with incoming Kindergarteners. The admissions policy allowed for only 8 minority students to get admitted in a class of 85 this year.

There is a proposal now for the Kindergarten classes to move to 80th and Holmes in the old Benjamin Bannekar campus, increase enrollment for the Kindergarten class and hopefully one day increase the size of the school. It would increase the incoming K class to 135 - with only 30 of these being non-white. So, it separates the community, utilizes a piss-poor site in a fringe-suburban location, and does nothing to solve an over-arching problem for education in Kansas City, and it doesn't even maintain the diversity of student population it thrives on. I don't like it. I don't like it at all.

So, my question is, how do we maintain the culture of the school, the needs of the students in the district, and keep the admissions policy fair to guarantee the continuation of the unique character of this mid-town, 'neighborhood' school? I think we should admit so many students from every sub-district - ensuring a wide-range of socio-economic, geographic, racial and ethnic contributions to the student and parent community. Its a hard thing for me to say because I think that community schools are the future of urban education, and having a school down the street encourages parental involvement and community activation - but its what will work right now.

The same person that told me that I chose the 'white' school told me that policies are judged by their outcomes and not their intentions. So, I had a choice for my daughter - one that results in her being part of a diverse population with test scores that are envied by suburban schools around the state, or one that perpetuates low-expectations and a quick-sloping funnel for success.

I'm not sure if its unconcious racism or an elite sense of entitlement or a fear of judgement by my peers that made me make this 'white' choice . . . I just know I made the right one.


So, hi - my name is Sponge. I used to blog, now I spend my time slaving for The Man. Well, I actually never really blogged, but I at least spent time reading others' blogs and commenting and every once in a while spouting off my own little rant here and there.

But now I realized, I spend an inordinate amount of time every day in front of a computer and don't take too much time to take a break. So, I'm committed to stopping that. I may not stop to eat lunch - but hey, I can stop to complain a little (I always have something to complain about), or maybe talk about how much I like food, or how life is great, or people are stupid. You know - bi-polar rantage, if you will.

So yeah, I'm back . . . and I am working 12 hours on this lovely Friday afternoon, have no appointments, got through an audit yesterday and have nothing better to do . . . so watch out.

I'm taking in all the happenings in Kansas City and saving you all the trouble . . . I'll let you know whether to soak it up or squeeze it out!!