Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Having never been a boy, I have no real idea what it is like to be a man. I can joke about it and take silly quizzes on Facebook and pretend to undertand men, but it's all just that - pretending.

I do happen to have a little experience being a woman, however, and let me tell you... it is confusing business. It's confusing because no one out there can seem to agree on what is acceptable female behavior.

If a woman is too giving, she falls victim to those who would take advantage of her. If she is too demanding, she is a bitch.

If a woman stands up for herself, she might hurt someone's feelings. If she keeps her mouth shut, she could get more than her feelings hurt.

If a woman shows off her academic prowess, she is a haughty. If she tames her intellect, she is a bimbo.

If a woman proudly displays her physique, she is a brazen hussy. If she covers up, she is frumpy.

If a woman allows her sensitive side to show, she is over-emotional. If she keeps her feelings to herself, she is an ice princess.

If a woman initiates physical intimacy with her partner, she is a nymphomaniac. If she waits for him to make the move, she is frigid.

If a woman makes and enforces rules in her household, she is a control freak. If she doesn't immediately discipline her children for infractions, she is permissive.

If a woman chooses to have a career, she is not putting her children first. If she chooses to be a housewife, she is not living up to her potential.

If a woman calls her mate throughout the day to check in with him, she is clingy. If she leaves the cell phone in her purse, she is more interested in her work relations than in her man.

If a woman enjoys "girls night out" with her friends, she is not attending to her family's needs. If she stays home every night and asks her husband to do the same, she is needy.

If a woman asks for help, she is helpless. If she takes care of business, she is too independent.

If a woman is soft and curvy, she is weak. If she is muscular and strong, she's butch.

Of course these are glaring extremes. And... we've all heard them. The point is, it is difficult, of not impossible, to find balance. And feeling off balance is perhaps one of the most common causes of distress in a person's life. I sure wish someone would make up my mind for me.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Say It Out Loud...

One fine morning, while the sun was shining and the clouds were gently gliding across the prairie sky, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers saddled up Champion and Trigger and set out for a leisurely trail ride.

As they rode along in companionly silence, Gene noticed that Roy was wearing a pair of loafers, the kind of shoes fit for a city slicker and no one else. Not at all the type of thing any self-respecting cowboy would wear on a trail ride.

Not wanting to embarrass his friend, but driven to distraction by the inappropirate use of footwear, Gene finally broke the silence by asking, "Why, Roy, I thought for certain that you just came back from Mexico with a brand new pair of custom-fit boots. A finer pair of boots I don't believe I've ever laid eyes on. Did something happen to them? Why are you wearing loafers, for cryin' out loud?"

Roy looked down at his feet, sighed heavily, and answered, "Well, funny thing you should ask, Gene. I did indeed buy me a pair of custom-made boots last time I was down Mexico way. Last week when I was out ridin' with the boys, at the end of the day, after a little pickin' and singin', I left 'em by the campfire as I settled in for the night. When I woke up the next mornin', I found one of 'em chewed to bits and t'other gone completely. Spied some tracks leadin' away from the site. Some big cat must've had 'em for a midnight snack. Had to ride all the way back home in my sock feet."

Nothing more was said about the boots. Gene had his answer, and Roy was obviously a little embarrased by the whole thing.

Later that evening, after the beans and corn fritters were polished off and the stars were beginning to twinkle in the deep night sky, the boys were startled by a cougar's scream somewhere in the distant yonder. When the horses and the hairs on the backs of their necks finally settled down, Gene drawled, "Pardon me, Roy... is that the cat that chewed your new shoes?"


I am a cool mom. Not just because I baked The Little One a birthday cake fashioned after one of the Jonas Brothers' guitars. Not just because I download tunes to the Not-So-Little-One's mp3 player once a month. And not just because I do a mean hoe-down in the kitchen.

This is why I am quite possibly the coolest mom on the planet:

I am the coolest because I not only agreed to having this in my home, but I also handle it daily.

And when it recently showed no interested in it's meal, I split open the brain of the thawed pinkie mouse and smeared brain matter and blood all over it's naked little body in hopes of making it more appetizing. That has GOT to make me the coolest mom ever.

And then there is the house gecko that one of the neighborhood boys caught and offered The Little One as a gift. I have learned to squelch my utter terror of bugs and help feed it crickets. We buy a dozen crickets at a time, and we actually house and feed the victims until their time has come.

We laid two green iguanas to rest several months ago. They didn't fare too well in captivity. But while they were living, I prepared a lizard salad every morning for their dining pleasure. And I wrestled them while the girls tried to put leashes on them.

When the Not-So-Little-One rescues baby birds from the yard, I resist the urge to remind her that we have yet to successfully keep one of these little dudes alive. Instead, I help her arrange a heating pad beneath a cardboard box and try to hand feed them.

The Not-O-Little-One brought home a caterpillar several years ago. I got online and researched methods of housing them. We nonchalantly plucked leaves off of a neighbor's mulberry tree and kept a moist cotton ball in the jar for water. I'll be hornswaggled if the darn thing didn't metamorphose and emerge as a little white moth. I dried her tears as she reluctantly released it.

Some kids may rate a mom's coolness factor according to her choice of music or the style of her clothes. Some may base that rating upon whether or not she turns a deaf ear to the conversations they are having with their friends in the backseat on the car.

My daughters might tell you that I listen to some weird music and that I have a style of my own. They will definitely tell you that if I hear something hurtful or disrespectful, I will verbalize my opinions about it. Hopefully they will also tell you that I encourage them to enjoy the entire animal kingdom, and that I make an effort to enjoy it along with them.

Monday, April 6, 2009

One Down, One to Go

My girls competed with their dance team at a contest on Saturday. Their group performed in four numbers, and they joined the rest of the teams from their studio for a production number. Here are the results:
  • Tap, Jr Intermediate - "Little Less Conversation" - high silver achievement
  • Ballet, Jr Intermediate - "Blackbird" - gold achievement
  • Jazz, Jr Intermediate - "Ain't Nothing Wrong with That" - gold achievement
  • Lyrical, Jr Intermediate - "Gravity" - gold achievement
  • Combined group production number - "School of Rock" - high gold achievement
The judges then compared points and ranked the teams according to their score and category. In the Jr Intermediate Large Group category, their team took 2nd, 4th, and 5th place overall. This was very exciting!

All but one of the girls on the team were competing for the first time, so the results exceeded everyone's expectations. They compete again in Oklahoma City at the beginning of May, and they have high hopes for a good showing.

In an age when kids seem to lose interest in things quickly and bounce from activity to activity, we can't get over the fact that these two girls are in their 8th year of dance at the same studio. After every year-end recital I ask, "Are you sure you want to do this again next year?" And each time they respond with a resounding, "Yes!"

Be careful when you tell your kids to get involved and do their best. They might just do it.