Sunday, September 26, 2010

Getting Political

I was invited this weekend to attend an event hosted by a local CSA farmer and other concerned citizens.  The event was to promote Francis Thicke as the next Secretary of Agriculture in Iowa.  Unfortunately, due to a crazy, hacking cough, I decided that I would be obnoxious in a crowd, likely causing people to fear for their lives as I coughed and sputtered as politely as I could.

But I took the time to visit the candidate's web page.  And I liked what I saw.  Thicke's banner sports those most mesmerizing of modern metallic flowers: wind turbines.  The peace I get from watching those huge blades speeding through the air is indescribable.  I find them beautiful, serene and inspiring simultaneously.

Thicke advocates farmers owning mid-sized wind turbines, used to power their farms.  Any excess energy could be sold back to the power companies as a credit towards the purchase of the turbine.  Sign me up!  I want one!  Besides that, when the wind comes howling through my yard in the dead of winter, we'd likely not lose power due to a downed line miles away.  I bet those blades would crank out some real wattage in the middle of a storm...

His website talks of bringing fruit and vegetable production back to Iowa, something that could go hand in hand with the crops already harvested in the state, saving millions in transportation costs and increasing jobs in the state.  This is something that is important to me -- although I plucked 60 radishes from my garden today, why should my neighbor have to buy hers in the store, brought in from California?  As a side note, anyone want some radishes?  I'll have a bushel by the end of the week...

One of the other ideas Thicke suggests is developing and allowing the technology which would enable farmers to produce their own bio-fuels to power their equipment.  Wouldn't I love that?  Sure, my tiller uses a gallon and a half of gasoline a season, so bio-fuel for my hobby farm may not make sense, but my neighbor?  The one with the hundreds of acres?  Well, that would make a heckuva lot of sense for him.  Plus, he could sell me the 1 1/2 gallons I need for my tiller.

I have no idea why I was invited to this event, other than more and more frequently my blog is being discovered under the search term "organic."  Perhaps someone out there stumbled across one of my posts talking about my passion for locally grown food or describing our fledgling attempts at homesteading.  I'm not sure, but I do know that I feel strongly enough about the CSA movement to put a candidate's name in my blog, to come out vocally in support of local food.  I guess I believe that if agriculture is the leading industry in the state -- shouldn't we, as Iowans, be leading the agriculture industry?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Why Some People Should Not Breed...

I am about to tell you about an overheard remark, one that has been sitting on my brain for the last couple of months.  I keep coming back to it in utter disbelief, like one might look at an oddity in a Ripley's Believe It or Not museum.

One day, the hubster and I were enjoying a lunch on the town, just the two of us.  We decided to stop at a sushi restaurant and indulge in some tasty morsels.  We ended up seated within earshot of two men, both dressed in business-wear. 

I promise that I was not eavesdropping.  Our table was very close to theirs and one of the men, in particular, had a very loud and clear speaking voice. 

At first, Scott and I tried to talk around him.  But eventually, the xenophobic rant he was spewing became far too entertaining to ignore.  We are the exact opposite of xenophobic around here, so getting a glimpse into a close-minded mindset is always an education.  He tried to rally his colleague around issues such as, "What if I don't want my tax dollars funding a library that I don't use?"  His tone was fairly good-natured, but his colleague wasn't really buying it, at least as far as I could tell.

And then he dropped the bomb that inspired this post.  "The best thing about having kids is being able to go to kids movies and not feel like a pedophile."

THAT is the best thing about having kids?  THAT???!!!???

It's not sweet sticky kisses?  Not the joy of watching a baby discover his/her world?  Not thee feeling of pride you get when your child accomplishes something he/she has been working toward for months?  Not the overwhelming sense of love and peace you feel as a child drops off in your arms? 

Nope.  According to this fella, it's not feeling like a perv for watching a Pixar movie in the movie theatre.  Such an astounding display of maturity, so thoughtful, well-examined, and intuitive.  Why do women have children with "men" like this?  I have never understood the appeal of an adult with the emotional capability of a goldfish.  My five-year-old son could give you better reasons for starting a family.

I realize that not every child is born into a situation where both parents are ready and willing to grow up.  And that many immature parents really DO mature quickly once their kids are born.  And this isn't a comment on young parents, because Mr. Superdad looked to be at least my age, which isn't really young.  I've known plenty of young parents who have done a super job being parents and raising their kids.

But, seriously, would you ever consider the BEST reason to have kids is to feel legitimate while sitting in a movie theatre and watching a kids movie?

I wonder if his kids know that he's just using them for cover...

Monday, September 20, 2010

So Not a MILF

I have come to the realization that I am not a cool, hip, with-it mom.  I'm just... not.

When my daughter is twelve, she is not going to raid my closet, looking for something fabulous to wear to the middle school dance.

My son isn't going to struggle with embarrassment as a teen because he has a MILF for a mom, because the only one on the planet who remotely considers me a MILF is his DILF.

My ears are only pierced once.  I have no other piercings.  I barely remember to change my earrings...

I don't have a tattoo.  Anywhere.  That little pink spot above my knee is a birthmark and it has been there since, well, birth.

If tattoos and piercings are your thing, go for it!  They're just not my thing.

And right now?   I've got a lovely allergies-turned-cold thang going on.  Which means that unless you think it's sexy for your woman to sleep with Vicks under her nose, I'm not your woman.

But yeah, maybe it's because I'm ancient to have a five-year-old and three-year-old, but I'm definitely NOT going to be the mom all the kids want to be.  I think I'm OK with that.  But shoot me now if I start watching CBS for any reason...

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Waterworks

Last night, my son's elementary school had an outdoor event for the whole family!  Fun, fun, fun!  And it was, at least the first 20 minutes of it.

And then I realized that I needed to use the bathroom.  Badly.  And Violet was sitting on my lap.  Perhaps sitting is inaccurate -- she was sitting, sliding, climbing, bouncing, wiggling, melting, squiggling, poking, prodding, and jostling on my lap. 

And I had to pee.

Since we were outside, my super power of Crazy Allergies kicked into high gear.  And I started sneezing.  Every 45-60 seconds, as regular as Old Faithful.  And I don't sneeze tiny, dainty girl sneezes.  Nope, I sneeze sneezes that sound like car accidents, metal crunching metal, splintering glass -- horrible, hideous man-sneezes.

With Violet "sitting" on my lap.  While I had to pee.

I have given birth to an 8lb boy with the head of a two-year-old and an 8.5lb girl with an appropriately sized head.  Bladder control?  What's that?  Haven't seen you in years.

So this is adding up to a NOT GOOD situation for me.  I excuse myself and assume that since there are 350 people gathered on the lawn of the school, at least one door would be open so that someone could use a restroom. 

I was wrong.  Painfully, waddling like a sick duck wrong. 

I weighed my options:

1.  Run to my office 4 blocks away.
2.  Go to the car, grab some wipes, and relieve myself behind something.
3.  Track down someone with keys in that sea of people, oh, did I mention the program was starting?
4.  Drive somewhere with a bathroom as fast as I can.

My only real option was #4.  So, if you happened to be at the public library last night around 7:55 and noticed a woman flying through the stacks to the bathroom and heard her practically cry with relief as she peed like an elephant, yep, that was me.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bye-Bye Baby, Hello Big Girl

Last night I sang my two-year-old baby daughter to sleep for the last time.  Today, she wakes up a three-year-old big girl, her blonde curls wild from sleep, her cheeks warm and pink from her pillow.

I look into her eyes, deep pools of knowing, and see an old soul eager to plunge into the depths of childhood imagination.  She has an amazing fortitude, an aptitude for remarkable consistency, and an uncanny precision.  Most surprising is her innate ability to just know how things are done.  I always feel that when I give her directions, I am simply repeating back instructions she has given me a lifetime ago.

My now three-year-old has a tremendous grace -- physical, mental, and emotional.  Her sense of humor is spontaneous and timely.  Last night, she slipped on a blanket, landing with a plop on her rear.  Her face registered shock, then quickly dissolved into a fit of giggles as she sputtered, "I fell on my BUM!"  She wasn't annoyed, she knew that she wasn't hurt and wasn't looking for sympathy.  She simply knew that she landed on her rear and that it was funny.

I spent most of Violet's first two-and-a-half years thinking that all I knew of her was the top of her head because she was addicted to the mom pacifier.  And, honestly, I indulged her in the for as long as she wanted because Violet has never seemed to need anything from anyone.  Even as a tiny infant, she could self-soothe, self-entertain, and pretty much self-anything as long as she could reach it.  Sometimes I wonder if she only keeps us around so that we can drive the cars, use the stove, and reach things from tall shelves.

Oh, my independent little one, I hope that your burgeoning self continues to grow, that you will always explore with as much gusto as you do now.  I melt when your sweet little laugh peals when you are delighted, ringing through my heart like a chorus of bells.

I embrace you now, now before the world of, "Geez, mom!" and "Aw, c'mon!" creeps into your vocabulary.  Now, while you still call "Play with me!" as you skip to your dollies and princesses.  Now, while your big-girl-you is still small enough to cradle in my open arms.  Now, while I can press my cheek into your soft hair, still smelling like you.  Now, while your life is still perfect.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Rumble of Shame


That is the sound my 2001 VW Jetta is making.  As soon as I turn the ignition it roars to life, scaring the snot out of pedestrians and slumbering old people in their homes.  The sound is deafening inside the car, my seat vibrates when I accelerate; I can't hear my children speaking to me from the back seat.  OK, maybe that part is not so bad.

Yeah, it's time for some exhaust work on the old girl.  She's got 161,000 miles and has been crazy dependable.  But she sounds terrible and I am mortified to be driving her around.  Mor-ti-fied.

So why am I?  We have three vehicles -- the Jetta, a Saturn Coupe, and a Ford F-150.  Couldn't I just swap the car seats to the Saturn and call it a day?

Well, the Saturn is sitting dead in our driveway, an expensive lawn ornament at the moment.  The starter is out and, since Scott doesn't mind driving the truck, we've kinda let it sit there for a couple of months because we didn't really need to fix it.

Until now.

Naturally the local Ford dealer won't touch the Jetta.  And the earliest appointment available at the VW dealer Scott prefers is next Tuesday afternoon.  I'm not sure if he'll agree to take the car to the other dealer, his opinion of them is pretty low.

So, in the mean time, I drive around town in the loudest car I've ever driven, refusing to make eye contact with people I know, ashamed to be driving something so uncouth, so rough and uncivilized.  The campus I work on employs many people I like who are as green as Kermit, and I drive past them, chugging loudly up the ridiculous hills next to campus, and willing myself to look like another person, terrified of being recognized.

Oh, I am sure that there are likely a few testosterone-mesmerized teens out there who think I might have created this monstrosity intentionally with hot-rod mufflers and glass packs, but nope.  It's just me, the weary mom of two pulling up in a fuel-efficient and nerdy import.

If you hear me coming, and I'm sure you will, please be decent enough to pretend you didn't notice me, that's all I ask.