Saturday, March 31, 2007

Movies of the Week

Once again, my MIL is coming to visit, and once again, I've got a ton of movies scheduled to record. In order of appearance:

1. How to Marry a Millionaire I've never watched a Marilyn Monroe movie, so I'm going to give it a try.

2. We're Not Married Ginger Rogers and Fred Allen (and Marilyn Monroe)

3. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes I figure if I'm going to watch Marilyn Monroe, this is one I need to see.

4. Move Over Darling Oddly enough, I thought of this movie just the other day, so when I saw it on the channel, I had to save it. It seems they don't much like Doris Day on the movie channels, this is only the 2nd Doris Day movie I've seen on there since I started checking regularly over a month ago.

5. Charade Because I can't get enough of Audrey Hepburn or Cary Grant

6. The Bride Goes Wild The description sounded interesting.

7. Green Mansions Another Audrey Hepburn

8. Rafter Romance Ginger Rogers and it sounded interesting

9. Professional Sweetheart ditto

10. Father of the Bride I saw the remake, so I want to see the original

So, it's just 10 and I fully expect that some won't hold my attention and so will get deleted until next time they show.

Kid Brags

1) Hyperion's awards ceremony was today (they do them every 9 weeks). I told him I would do my best to come but didn't think I would be able to (it was at 9:15). At 9:00, I felt guilty, took my work to my boss and asked if I could use some comp time to go and he told me to "take on out". So I went. I am so happy I did. He got A/B honor roll, Homework Hero (means he turned his homework in every day), Perfect Attendance and Reading Hero (that means he met his A/R Goal). He was so excited to see me.

2) Everyone at Hyperion's school knows him. I'm choosing to believe this is because he is so cute with his freckles and smile and so charming. And not that he is so hyper and disruptive.

3) Oceanus had his awards ceremony Wednesday (I went to that as well). He got Principal's Honor Roll, Perfect Attendance (yeah, he didn't have perfect attendance, so I'm not sure how he got that), Homework Hero and Reading Hero.

4) Mr. Gaia was travelling for work this week. We made it with only one little meltdown (mine). We managed to go to McDonald's by ourselves without a meltdown. They did their homework with no problem. They were wonderful and patient with me.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Be Still My Heart

On our walk tonight, we came across a tomato hornworm. It was being attacked by fireants (I don't know if it had somehow managed to appear to be a threat or if they were hoping to fill their coffers with some gooey insect protein goodness).

The boys wanted to save it, but the damage these things have done to my tomatoes and peppers over the years taxes even my liberal heart. I did agree to move it a short distance and knock the ants away so that we could study it.

We discussed that insects have 6 legs, and then I flipped it over and asked them to find the legs. Hyperion pointed at the true legs, Oceanus got confused (or just wanted to disagree with his brother) and pointed at the prolegs. Fun teaching moment to explain the difference and allow them to observe the function.

Now, I do this all the time. Earth Sciences are my passion. Hey, forestry degree here. Usually they roll their eyes and gripe. But tonight? They were both excited and talked about how cool it was that I taught them that. Of course, we were on our way to McDonald's so they could have just been buttering me up.

On the way back, we found it almost where we'd left it, but curled up and almost dead. I suspect the venom from the ants was just too much for it. If you've ever been bitten by a fireant, you'll know what I mean. If you haven't, think of the worst steam burn you've ever had - the way it kept burning long after you've cooled the burn and that approximates the way these bites feel. They burn for hours.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A letter that will never be sent

Dear family members,

It has come to my attention that you wonder why my family and I no longer attend family get-togethers. I am sure you really know the answer, but refuse to be introspective enough to recognize it.

For many years, I struggled to be accepted and loved by you as a group. I spent every holiday trying to pretend that your words and actions didn't hurt me. I tried to be understanding when I got in more trouble than my cousin (your daughter/niece), Jane, even when we were both naughty and when it was her idea in the first place. I tried to not care when my feelings and likes were ignored.

I left every family event feeling depressed, angry, irritated, ugly, unloved, unlovable, socially unacceptable and just "wrong".

As I got older and a little stronger emotionally, I tried to assert my own self-worth. I then found out that my christian beliefs were the wrong brand of christian beliefs (apparently Christ didn't mean that whole "turn the other cheek" bit or the "blessed are the peacemakers" bit). Every event was a celebration of what was wrong with me - I was too skinny, too tall, too many freckles, too much gray hair, too big when pregnant, starting to get fat (when I weighed 135 lbs at 5'8"), I went to the wrong school, the wrong church, had the wrong job. I was used to it, I was even willing to put up with it.

Christmas of 1997, Mr. Gaia and I arrived at 4:40 for a 4:30 event (we did drive an hour and a half to a large, unfamiliar city and to a house we'd only been to once) and found that all the gifts were opened, all the wrapping paper cleaned up and people eating seconds of christmas dinner. I didn't make a scene. I did ask why you started before the scheduled time and was told I was "too sensitive" and "the kids couldn't wait, besides you were late!", when I pointed out that that didn't all happen in 10 minutes, I was told I was being argumentative. I didn't point out that for years we had waited over an hour past the start time for John and Jane to get there. I heard the message loud and clear - I was not as valuable as John and Jane.

Christmas of 2004 everyone in the family knew I was moving 2 days after christmas. Moving 750 miles away (and many times I think it wasn't far enough). I made no secret of it. When did you decide to schedule family christmas? The Saturday after christmas. The reason you gave was so full of holes a 2nd grader could have picked them apart. "Aunt Marcia has to work and that's the only Saturday she has off". Aunt Marcia works for a christian bookstore. She doesn't work Sundays, nor does she work all day on Saturday - we've often had family christmas starting at 6pm. I heard the message loud and clear - you didn't want me and my family to attend.

At this point, I stay away because I won't sit idly by while you "tease" other family members (always the young, the girls, and the "weak"). I understand that you would not be able to handle an "uppity woman" and that my standing up to you might make you violent (oh yes, I've seen the violence lurking just under the surface, I know it's there). I will not expose my children to your bullying.

I know much has been made of the special effort we make to see Mr. Gaia's family and that it "hurts" you. I make a special effort to attend events with them because they make me feel smart, attractive, loved and lovable, and just "right". Being around them is uplifting and wonderful.

You've conditioned me to apologize for saying these things. But I'm not sorry. You know in your heart that these things are true. I can't change you, but I can decide to not be around you.

Monday, March 26, 2007

New Purchase

After abusing my poor kitchenaid mixer by making 2 large loaves of whole wheat bread every other week, we finally splurged and bought the monster shown here. It's a KitchenAid Professional 600 series.

I haven't tried it out yet. I made bread yesterday, which, as Mr. Gaia pointed out, was a little sad, but Sunday really is my best bread making opportunity. Soccer practice is Monday and Tuesday nights, so they're out. By Wednesday, I'm too exhausted to even think about making bread, that carries over to Thursday and Friday. Saturday is for soccer games and naps. But we needed bread for this week.

I let Mr. Gaia pick out the color. I really didn't care. Our old one is white because that's what was available at Sam's (it came with attachments!). He liked the steel gray color, so that was fine with me.

I joked with him that what he really wanted was a commercial kitchen one - the floor stand model. Truth be told, that would actually be nice. I have enough pans to make several more loaves, but not the horsepower in a mixer or the upper arm strength.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Best Soccer Game EVER!!!

Oceanus' team played the "entitled team" yesterday.

I call them the entitled team because they think they have the right to take over a whole practice field (we're supposed to share) and to send their kids to run laps around and through other practice fields. The coach throws frequent tantrums and they require their kids to take private lessons and hire private coaches to come in. They have 3 different uniforms (most teams have just the one provided by the league).

There were only 4 players from our team there at 11:25 (game starts at 11:30) and the other coach started pushing to start the game. So they started a few minutes early. One of our players showed up at 11:29, after the game was started, but that's no big deal.

We only had 5 of 8 players show up total. The other team had all 8.

The final score? 4-2, our team won. I've never seen our team play so well. Oceanus played goalie most of the time because he's really good at it. The other players have a little bit of trouble getting the timing down to meet an incoming ball (but damn, turn them loose with a ball and can they score!). But the ball rarely even came to that end of the field. Our boys were stealing the ball, putting pressure on the other players, etc. And they played a clean game. No elbows, no shoulders, no tripping. We can't say the same for the other team.

Oh they hated losing. The league rules requiring equal time for all kids present? Totally ignored so that they could keep subbing in their best players.It was a marvelous win.

Poor Oceanus, though. He didn't enjoy the win very much. He heard the other team's coach tell the team that the ball always gets past Oceanus (not true, but he is the weaker member of that group of 5). I told him that when teams start losing they often start trash talk to try to psych out the other team and he did a good job of not letting it effect his performance.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Music soothes the savage beast

Hyperion had good behavior marks the last two days. In an effort to reward good behavior rather than punishing bad behavior, we decided to try to come up with rewards for him.

We've noticed that his behavior is much better when he's listening to music (any kind of music), so Mr. Gaia ordered him a cheap MP3 player (he has a portable CD player but it eats batteries like you wouldn't believe, plus CDs are not really 6yo friendly). We replaced the earbuds with headphones and left the plastic protector on it.

So we gave it to him tonight. I swear, it's like he was on a sedative. He ate quietly and quickly (we normally do family meals, but tonight was a relaxed night where we just ate when we were hungry). He took his vitamins and brushed his teeth without complaint. He sat quietly while Oceanus got ready for bed.

It was night and day. I don't know if it will last, but it was definitely worth every penny Mr. Gaia spent for the MP3 player and every minute he spent loading it with music, even if it only lasts a few days.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


So, my MIL brought me a book about ADHD. I do see Hyperion in the descriptions. But more than than, I see myself.

This is an interesting book, it's 20 Questions to Ask if Your Child has ADHD. It describes the way it stresses your family, which I soooo see in our family. And it describes the dysfunctional way families deal with it.

Trip down memory lane:

I'm 12 and a half. My brother died from injuries from a car accident 6 months before.

I became old enough to be in the youth group of the church at the beginning of the school year. We are at a youth group retreat. This is my first real event as a member of the youth group. My parents are there.

Also there is a boy who has always "teased" me (I'd call it bullying, but the adults insisted it was "teasing").

As part of the opening exercises we are supposed to do a trust building exercise. We are to reveal our biggest secret/fear, etc to the group. Starting with the youngest - me. I was a very vulnerable child, I was picked on constantly - by my family, my classmates, parents of classmates (I wish I was kidding). For me, this was just too much. I'm supposed to lay myself bare in front of EVERYONE, including my bully? I refused to go first. I told them that someone else needed to go first. When my parents intervened (rudely, in my opinion) all I could express was that I could not possibly talk about something like that in front of my bully. My parents had the nerve to take me to task for hurting his feelings.

When I started crying because I couldn't explain myself with my dad yelling at me and my mom griping at me for hurting Bully's feelings and the youth director for telling me that I HAD to follow the rules, my parents packed me up and took me home.

As an adult, I'm really angry and hurt that my parents never seemed to take my side or even listen to me. I'm angry that the adults were too stupid to realize that you NEVER make the weakest person in the group lay themselves bare first. I'm pissed that everyone could excuse outright bullying as teasing.

In my situation, I really think that any child would have a problem in those circumstances, but what I'm sure now is ADD in me (and maybe a slight bit of Aspergers) led me to be more than normally emotional (well that and having lost my brother 6 months before, I mean really - WHAT THE HELL??!!).

I'm so terrified that I will make the same mistakes my parents made. I see myself doing many of the things they did and that made me feel less valued and less loved.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Apparently there's now a tint for nipples. Geez, who knew there was a "right" color for nipples?

I don't even like to wear makeup on my face. I do it because it is expected in the office environment. I'm already bucking convention by refusing to wear pantyhose, I don't feel I can do it with makeup.

I know, I know, there is makeup that is so light you don't even feel it on your face. But damn, it's expensive. I want the cheapest shit I can find. I keep the bare minimum - blush, eyeshadow and foundation. No eyeliner, no lipstick (I am truly blessed in that my lips naturally look like I have on lipstick), no mascara, no concealer, etc. $5 for a single item is more than I want to spend.

I hate the way it rubs off and leaves residue on phone earpieces and smudges up my cellphone screen.

I hate the way it gets on clothes unless you're extremely careful.

I hate that it often ends up looking uneven because one side has rubbed off on the aforementioned items.

This, of course, doesn't mean that I think it's wrong if some women love it and love to play with it. If you love it, play with it to your heart's content. Just throw me a bone and sympathize with my hatred of it - okay?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

In keeping with a theme

Several blogs are discussing the myth of the "Opt Out Revolution". The idea that women are choosing to be SAHMs in greater numbers than ever before.

At Pandagon it's pointed out that for many women, it isn't a free choice. It's a choice we make because our other choices are less palatable. Like the choice for Mr. Gaia to be a SAHD was basically forced because the daycares available to us were abysmal and my choice to be a SAHM was that my job market was absolutely flooded and I had a new baby.

Several of the commenters say that of course women choose to SAH, it's a free choice and anyone that says that they're choosing it mostly because the feel there are no other choices are just whining. Men there are saying that of course it's fulfilling and wonderful and more WOMEN should choose it.

These discussions remind me of a workshop I had while working for the USDA Forest Service in 1995. The point of the workshop was to stop sexual harassment and discrimination. At one point we broke up into groups by gender and wrote what we saw as the benefits and drawbacks of our gender and the same for the opposite gender. In both of our categories we had childbirth. The men had a FIT when we revealed that. How dare we think childbirth is a negative part of being a woman. THEY would give anything to be able to have a child. No amount of us explaining why it was a negative (harder to find a good job, being expected to balance job and family in a way men aren't simply because WE give birth, etc) would convince them.

Seriously, if staying a home is such a great choice that more and more women are choosing it simply because they want to and society has no effect on that at all, why aren't more men choosing it? Why when a woman works 80 hours/week she's seen as neglecting her children, but no one says boo when a man does it?

Apparently I'm radical because I think the "choice" to SAH is all too often a matter of choosing the lesser evil. For us it was put our son in a substandard daycare or live in relative poverty with a SAHD (or abject poverty with a SAHM). Of course, we benefitted from Mr. Gaia staying at home - when he went back to work a short 2 years later, it came with a 50% pay raise and good benefits (with absolutely no change in his qualifications). When I went back to work, it was to a 10% paycut and the only benefit I have is a part time work schedule (and that 10% paycut is based on the idea of what I would make if I worked full time, if I compare what I actually make part time to what I made full time, it would be a much larger paycut)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

One down, 2 to go

My MIL visited this weekend. I enjoy my MIL and we get along well, but I can't pretend that it isn't stressful having company.

FIL (my inlaws are divorced and remarried) comes this Wednesday. He'll leave Tuesday. Before he leaves, Mr. Gaia's aunt and uncle will come visit on Monday and will stay until Friday. None of them will stay in my home, though (cat allergies).

We had a nice visit. Neither boy won their soccer game, but they played well and tough. Poor Oceanus got hit really hard and sent flying, but still got up and continued to play. Winning two games in a row gave their team new found confidence. They played a tough game and really it was just a matter of some luck and just a tad bit extra skill (the other team were masterful at ball handling) plus not being afraid to be extremely physical. Besides the flying tackle, I saw one kid grab one our boy's foot and all but pull him down, Oceanus took a kick to the nuts, and there were multiple elbows, shoulders and kicks thrown at our boys.

MIL and the boys got to play some games and just have the time together they like to have. I'm glad they get to have this time together. I'm sad that we live so far apart, because I want them to have a close relationship.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Blog against sexism day

So, I've been reading various blogs (Bitch Ph.D., Feministe, Redneck Mother, Mom 101 and Pandagon) and discover that today is Blog Against Sexism Day.

As a child, I was raised in the Southern Baptist Church. It was a big deal to them that women were not meant to teach men, women were NOT to be smarter than men, women were best kept at home. Unconsciously echoing Galileo's thoughts ("I do not think it is necessary to believe that the same God who has given us our senses, reason, and intelligence wished us to abandon their use, giving us by some other means the information that we could gain through them."), I would say "God wouldn't have made me this smart if he didn't intend for me to do something with it". This was considered almost as bad as blasphemy and I was told that God wanted me to submit, and he just made me smart so that I'd have more to sacrifice. Other people told me that God didn't give me my intelligence, but Satan did.

The Mother's Day I was pregnant with my first, I went to church with my mom. I've never sat through a more misogynisitc sermon (and that is saying A LOT). My husband was extremely offended. Basically, we were told that if we worked outside of the home we were neglecting our children, UNLESS, of course, we were like the preacher's wife and made sure that we were home when the kids got home from school.

At the time, we had all but decided that Mr. Gaia was going to be a stay at home dad. We were still trying to find a good daycare but were growing discouraged and realizing that we were not going to find the right daycare for us.

I walked out of that church, turned to my mom and said "Would it really be better for ME to stay at home, even though I SUCK at the childcare thing? Mr. Gaia is GOOD at it, why would it be better for me to be with the baby than him?" My mom looked me in the eye and said "Because God's plan is for you to stay home and be supported by your husband."

I lost all respect for my mother that day. All respect. At that point, I knew that it wasn't about what was best for my children or me, it was about what these people thought God wanted. And what my mom knew was that I made 50% more than Mr. Gaia and there is no way we could have lived on what Mr. Gaia made.

It became abundantly clear to me WHY women make less than men. Why women aren't equally represented in upper management. It's because there are enough people out there that believe women are supposed to stay home and care for the kids while their husbands support them. That believe that allowing a woman to make a living is actually perverting God's plan.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Gratitude Wednesday

I haven't had a gratitude post in a while.

1) The TAKS scores. I know it's silly, but if we have to devote so much time to them, thank goodness they were good scores.

2) Clean laundry.

3) Having a husband who is good at cooking and cleaning.

4) Family who are willing to travel for hours and hours to come visit us and spend time with our kids.

5) A good soccer coach and good soccer families.

6) A husband who is willing to step up and help coach the team.

7) Healthy kids.

8) Good jobs

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

This week's movie list

Here's the list of movies I'm recording to watch this weekend:

Summer Stock
Return to Peyton Place
Dangerous Blondes
Paris When it Sizzles

History of the World: Part I
Love Potion No. 9

I have no idea when I will get to watch these, necessarily. My mother in law is coming to visit Friday morning and won't leave until Sunday. Our "guest room" is the front room of our house (the one we don't really use) and I will disturb her if I watch TV in the family room (adjoining rooms). So, some may get sacrificed in order to make space for the tv shows we tape.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Reading TAKS scores are in

And our school did well. Thank God. As much emphasis as they put on these stupid tests, I'd hate for it to have been for naught.

Oceanus got Commended Performance (along with about 7 others in his class).

Now this isn't surprising for him. He reads well and a lot. We spend time reading to him and discussing what we read.

I gotta tell you, the Series of Unfortunate Events books are downers and really, really depressing, but they do a great job of enriching vocabulary. Hyperion has an amazing vocabulary and I'm sure a lot of it is from listening to us read these books.

We've done some reading about ADD and I have to say, Hyperion fits most of the characteristics. His teacher didn't mention it just because he is active, she specifically mentioned his need to "fiddle", his inability to control himself when he knows the answer, his lack of impulse control (he will do exactly what he just got reprimanded for and says he just couldn't help it). I don't think drugs are the answer for him - he is learning and doing well, but we do probably need to look into some behavioral modifications, if for no other reason than because I don't want him being "that kid", the one that distracts the class, the one that "doesn't live up to his potential", etc.

I've got to remember my own behavioral modifications. I let myself go too long without food today. I know better. I totally snapped. I yelled at Hyperion for asking for help (there was a bit more to it, but it was still not something I should have responded so strongly to). By the time I had my self back into control, it was time for soccer practice. Thankfully, soccer practice went well.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

In this day and age

I really thought this shit had stopped.

In the delivery from school today, ie - the flyers, the notices, etc, was "Champs Camp 2007".

Done at the baptist church during spring break. $40 for the week and it's 8-5. This is cool, if we needed child care that week, I'd be all over it.

Until. I look at the list of activities and see: Basketball, swimming, volleyball, soccer, skating, golf, baseball (guys only), softball (girls only), tennis, aerobics/dance (girls only), football (guys only), arts & crafts, martial arts.

This is EXACTLY why I will not attend a baptist church. Why do they see the need to keep girls from playing baseball and football and boys from playing softball and doing aerobics/dance? My boy? Would love to do the aerobic/dance. As a kid, I would have wanted to play football and baseball. I HATED softball and dance. I would have been upset, the adults and kids would have teased and I would have had a meltdown (because of the teasing, not, as they would claim, because I couldn't do what I wanted). I would have spent the rest of the week being embarrassed by my meltdown, IF my mom or the organizers had let me go back. Hyperion is so much like me, it's not even funny.

Oh, and kids are required to participate in every sport (gender appropriate of course) so a girl who doesn't like softball is SOL, she's expected to participate. A boy who doesn't like football? Equally SOL.

Okay, seriously? Why can't girls play football? Because they might get hurt? And? Boys might get hurt too. Boys aren't tougher than girls when it comes to pain (who lives with menstrual cramps?). Boys aren't immune to getting hurt. If a girl chooses to take that risk, who should say it isn't her right?

And why shouldn't boys be in aerobic/dance? Are they afraid it will turn them gay?

I want to call and at least say "hey listen, I got your flier from the school and my daughter saw it and wants to play football, but it says "boys only". Is there a reason it's only for boys? Because my daughter really likes to play football with her dad and brothers and is pretty good at it." I'm just not sure I can do it without being insulting to them.