Frozen Terror

Aaaand now I have two sick kids in the house. Ugh.

To put a funky spin on things, because normal illness isn’t fun enough, my oldest woke up last night in a sweaty, fever-induced screaming night terror. Well, technically he didn’t wake up, but my husband and I did. Thank goodness my other sick kid slept through it all. Oh, and it made the cat nervous in the service as well. Don’t get me started on how weird our cat is.

Most things about parenthood make you feel powerless, but this one pretty much takes the cake. And dear baby jesus, they are aptly named.

Took me a long time to calm down and get back to sleep after that.

The funniest part? My son was screaming lines from Frozen, which would have sounded way creepier had I not immediately known the reference.

Creepy because the line was, “HE HAS NO BONES!!”

I guess Frozen-inspired nightmares run in the family?

Maybe we need to lay off the Disney raves for a while.


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My Rock Alien

I was the last one alive on the ship, and I had just blasted the hell outta those alien assholes.

Seriously, slimy greenish translucent alien guts were raining down on me and were starting to coat the platform right next to the airlock.

I was too busy screaming in relief and celebration to notice that a few many-legged alien larvae scuttled right past me and disappeared into a crack between the wall and the floor. I looked and felt like a badass Sigourney – white tank top and toned arms.

The scene shifted abruptly and my ship had finally landed back on Earth. Somehow, I was able to maneuver and dock my poor, banged-up spacecraft into the interior of this official-looking massive gray building, like plugging it back into a socket to recharge. Was this NASA? Or some private entity, perhaps. A lot had changed since I’d been gone.

I disembarked and found the sterile, industrial building completely deserted. Something felt eerily off. I found the exit, shoved open the heavy steel doors, and ran to the nearest patch of dirt and grass, my whole body collapsing and my fingers pawing at the ground. The grass felt so good between my fingers and the dirt under my nails. Home.

And then, a clanging sound echoed from within the building. It became so strong that I started to feel vibrations through the ground. I scrambled to my feet and started to walk backwards, keeping the building in sight.

With little warning, the main double doors slammed open and a huge creature rumbled out. It looked like that rock-eating rock monster from The Neverending Story, only meaner. And faster.

It saw me and started walking. Crashing.

Oh shit.

I took off running, even though I didn’t feel like I had anything left in me.

The scene changed again, and I had found a house. Was it mine? It seemed familiar, and I knew it’d be unlocked.

I ran upstairs and hid, tried to steady my rapid breathing. The rhythmic thumping and crashing was shaking the whole house now, and any second I’d hear it start to rip the house apart.

Behaving more human than I’d thought, it came through the door and up the stairs, smashing them as it went. It was clearly searching. For me.

In an effort to not get cornered in the bedroom, I tried to slip past it and into the hallway. I figured out quickly that it had poor eyesight and relied mostly on sound. Maybe smell?

Pressed my back against the wall and held my breath, closed one eye. It (he?) stomped past and I wondered how long the house would stand at this rate. Once it was well into the next room, I threw myself down the stairs, avoiding the holes where steps used to be and all the broken, pointy shards of wood jutting out everywhere.

Sweaty, filthy, and heaving, I lunged for the door, or the wood in my way that used to serve as a door. I heard a growl reverberate from behind. My right arm reached out in front, and I turned my head to glance back over my shoulder.

That very moment…was when my kids woke me up.

That day, I was watching Frozen with the very same children who disturbed my slumber. It was the scene where Anna goes to Elsa in her ice castle to tell her what has happened to Arendelle. Her fear and desperation building, Elsa creates a huge and scary snow monster named Marshmallow.

Hey! I yelled at no one in particular, pointing to the screen.

That’s my rock alien!


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Some People Are Worth Melting For

Lately, I’ve been introducing my kids to more Disney movies with increasing intention.

I loved Disney movies as a kid – heck, I still love them – and I can’t wait to instill that love and share that love of magic with my kids.

Before now, we’ve seen a smattering of random Disney flicks, but last weekend I borrowed Frozen so that my kids would be in the know once the hysteria for the sequel hits young kids’ cerebral cortexes (cortesies? cortesi?) as of today.

I first saw this movie when it was new, which was before I had kids. What I particularly love about the story is the emphasis on family/sibling/sisterly love over romantic love. Not that you often have to choose in dire situations where you’re going to turn to ice forever – because everyone gets to have both – but you know. So it’s fitting that my kids are seeing this for the first time together, and that I get a front row seat.

We probably won’t be seeing Frozen II: Even More Ass Cold until it comes out on DVD because I’m still not positive my kids can sit through the entire thing in the theater (So no spoilers, please! I still don’t know who Olaf’s biological father is!). Along those lines, there’s a part of me that ABSOLUTELY CANNOT WAIT until we can get our butts to Disneyland but there’s noooooo way on this green earth I’m doing that until my kids are old enough to stand in line and be tired and hot and not completely fall apart.

Until that time…we have the movies, and the family sing-a-longs. And today, we met Anna and Elsa at a local mall.

And then we came home and did Frozen-themed Cosmic Kids Yoga, WHICH IS THE BEST THING EVER, btw.

When we were eating dinner, my son blurted out that the Anna and Elsa we met today weren’t real.

Was that because they weren’t like the cartoons in the movie? My husband asked.

My son shook his head yes.

But I went up and whispered to my son that they may not have been the same as in the movie, but they still had the same magic.

They had magic?! He looked at me like I was nuts.

Sure they did. The magic of the movies and the stories and songs and love and how cool it is to be a kid…or still feel like a kid. That Disney magic lives in all of us, if we just believe.

I hope he believes for a good long while.

 


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The One With All The Thanksgivings

This is the first year that my husband and I are hosting Thanksgiving.

I mean, there was one year where we had it just the two of us, in Boston, after we had just moved in together for the first time. That was…way back in 2006. It was kinda cute, because we didn’t have a dining table of any kind, so we ate sitting on the floor on opposite sides of our Ikea coffee table.

I don’t entirely remember what we did for all the food…we only cooked a portion of turkey, not a whole bird. I do remember feeling a little sad that we weren’t with our families, but also cozy, quiet, and comfortable being with my most loved one. No drama. No fuss. Just us.

Fast forward to now, when I was the one who decided to host and invite family over, and I am also the one who doesn’t cook. Ha! Hilarity will ensue! Let’s get a reality TV show camera crew in here.

My husband is a good cook, but I am a better planner. And I’m told that cooking for Thanksgiving, in the crazy all-out way that Americans choose to celebrate a holiday supposed to be centered around gratitude, is largely about planning. I’m optimistic that our dynamic Thanksgiving duo will be able to put on a fairly chill, simple-but-yummy holiday meal.

We’ll cut corners where we want. Like, we’ll cook some turkey parts again and forgo a whole bird. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I’m gonna bake the pie cuz I likes to bake. My mom is gonna make her famous potato casserole. Yum!

Our Thanksgiving will also have to include some kid-friendly backups, like turkey-shaped pb&js or something, because the last time I checked, my kids only eat the rolls anyway. Kids are so weird. STUFFING IS AMAZING, YOU GUYS! FOR THE LOVE, JUST TRY IT!

A side note about Thanksgiving, which I alluded to above. Only Americans could take a holiday supposed to be about appreciating things you have and surviving the winter by creating excess, by exercising gluttony. I picture the fat disgusting dudes from The Oatmeal cartoons saying something like, “Shit, James! We didn’t starve or die from the measles this winter! I’m so happy to be alive! Let’s celebrate the way our forefathers would want us to – by eating everything in sight and bringing on early onset diabetes. ‘Merica.” And then they high-five each other.

It just makes more sense to me that, in order to truly know and show gratitude for something, you’d need to know what it’s like to be without it. Maybe one of these days I’ll put my money where my mouth is and actually fast for Thanksgiving evening. Perhaps having control over the meal this year – and simplifying it – is one baby step closer to that goal.

And, having said that, perhaps my kids have the right idea by just eating the rolls.


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Meat, Vests, and Keanu Reeves

The past two days, my fellow hero in anxiety, The Bloggess, has encouraged her readers to first post things they hate that everyone else loves, and then the inverse – things they love that others don’t get.

This exercise was her way of reminding us that us, each of us, either who we are or what we write/produce/put out into the world (or all of the above) is not for everyone. Not everyone is going to like us or understand us, and that’s okay. Nay, it’s normal and expected.

As for me, I despise:

  • whiskey (I involuntarily shudder each time it touches my tongue. That’s what she said.)
  • David Sedaris (Okay, so despise is way too strong of a word for Mr. Sedaris. I just don’t get him, really. I’ve read several of his books and I keep really trying to find him funny, and I only find him mildly amusing some of the time.)
  • licorice (bitter and gross)
  • vests (your arms are still cold)
  • pot roast (dry and tough and I don’t want my meat tasting like carrots and my carrots tasting like meat)
  • potatoes that aren’t highly processed…like the kind in pot roast
  • turkey (like, the Thanksgiving kind. It’s dry and tasteless. I eat at Thanksgiving for the sides. And the pie. Mmmmm, pie.)
  • sausages (I’m a horrible mostly-German person)
  • I guess I just don’t prefer most meat, really…except bacon
  • IPAs (I don’t like drinking Pine Sol)
  • The Smashing Pumpkins (whiny voices)
  • Keanu Reeves (never cared for his acting)
  • Oregon.

And I love:

  • therapy!
  • the smell of gasoline
  • writing resumes
  • Hanson
  • Almond Joys (sometimes you feel like a nut)
  • really depressing and/or traumatic reading material

People who know me – was there anything I missed? I’m sure it’s easier for my friends to remember just how much of a weirdo I am. Much thanks.

Now you! You go; it’s your turn. What things do you love/hate that most others don’t?


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Robin Egg Blue

My grandmother died when I was 14 years old.

It was the spring of 1997 and she had suffered from colon cancer and lost her battle.

She was my mom’s mom, and she was the grandparent I felt closest to.  Before she got sick, she was delightfully squishy and smelled like mothballs, cheap lipstick, and brown sugar.  I can still hear her voice in my head (that warm, Midwestern accent where the vowels go on for miles), and sometimes, her voice comes out of my own mouth when I least expect it.  Usually when I am giddy and happy.

She was the first person I’d known to pass away, the first funeral I’d been to.

Her casket was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.  It was this robin egg blue that was sparkly and gleaming.  Her body rested on this baby blue satin that looked so smooth and shiny and comfortable.

I remember wanting to get out my camera and take a picture of it before it was covered by earth forever, but instinctively I knew that people might not like that, so I didn’t.

Looking back, I kinda wished I had.  I like being able to remember all things – the good and the sad.

I still remember, even without that picture.


I first wrote the above post on April 1, 2013. I never posted it, until now. Not quite sure why…maybe because it’s about death? Maybe for the same reason I didn’t take that picture?

And now, all these years later, my daughter’s middle name is hers. My grandma’s. They are both feisty and warm and gooey and delicious. They both smell like brown sugar (among other things). I love them and they are mine.

A picture is worth a thousand words, but it would never be able to capture all that.


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Did you know that boys can wear pink if they want to?

We were having dinner the other day as a family. My kids were talking about what they were gonna do when they grew up.

My son said, “When I’m a daddy, I’m going to go to work!”

My daughter chimed in, “YEAH! When I’m a daddy TOO, I’m gonna work!”

My son corrected, “NO! You can only be a mommy, cuz you’re a GIRL! And mommies stay home, they don’t go to work!”

My stomach gave a lurch.

I interrupted them – both my husband and I did – and we together explained that some daddies stay home and some mommies go to work. And that me, this Mommy, used to work, and that someday soon, I will again. And that we know mommies who work!

I totally understand that kids his age are very concrete, very black/white, right/wrong, what have you. They need to categorize in order to understand the world, and all those shades of gray can be confusing. Girls do this, boys do that! Easy-peasy. Plus, my kids have never seen me work. Why would they think any differently? To them, whatever our family does is familiar, natural, expected, normal.

I’m just very quick to point out that gender stereotypes don’t have to be followed if we don’t want to. I don’t want my kids feeling like they have to be put in a box, act a certain way, be a certain way, in order to be liked, accepted…whole.

One time, I took my son to get some rain boots. I was going to pick them out myself, but I figured I’d let him choose because then he’d be more likely to actually wear them. I was going to pick out some dark-colored ones from the “boy” section, but when I led him to the kid rain boot aisle, I made sure to motion to ALL the rain boots, the “boy” ones and “girl” ones. He looked at some pink ones, put them down and then mumbled that oh, those are girl ones.

How do you know that? I asked

Because they’re pink. He replied

Did you know that boys can wear pink if they want to?

(Pause.)

And you can choose whatever color you’d like.

Okay.

He still chose some “boy” ones, and that’s fine (they were freaking awesome, actually. they were green alligators with fucking sunglasses on, that’s how cool they were). I just want him to know that 1) there actually are boys who choose pink and mommies who choose to work, that there are many shades of gray and they are all okay, 2) he has the choice, for real, it’s not just lip service, and lastly, 3) he has my support whatever his choice.

I just hope that, if I say it enough, my kids will hear and understand. But it’s so hard when they’re mostly seeing family and friends and a world that strongly encourages and rewards adherence to gender norms. Because if they can’t see it, they can’t be it.

Hopefully I can help them see it.


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We could all use more rainbows

I’ve been reading the blog Raising My Rainbow for a long time now, and if you’ve never checked it out, please do, because it’s as fabulous as it is heartbreaking and informative.

It’s written by a mom who is raising a gender nonconforming kid in Southern California. These people are such an inspiration! They practice what it means to be kind, inclusive, and advocates for LGBTQ folks.

Recently, I read a post where CJ, the author’s son, wrote his own version of the Three Little Pigs. It was so fabulous that I had to share it. (That, and I’m running on empty in terms of my own blog posting ideas.)

The Three Little Pigs Reimagined

Please enjoy!


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