Obnoxious Opinions

Know It

I own what I say.

I accept sometimes that means eating crow.  So be it.  I still own it.  I’ll apologize if I feel I was wrong.  I’ll clarify things if the situation warrants it.

But please don’t assume you know what I said when you hear it from a third, forth, or fifth party.

If you have an issue with something you *think* I said, then grow a pair and ask me.  If I said it, I’ll own it.  If you need an explanation, I’m usually more than willing to explain the why’s behind it.

And please don’t assume you know exactly how I think based on one supposed 140 characters exchange.  Sometimes words are just words.  There’s not some profound underlying meaning to them.

The fact is, I’m not that fucking deep.

I have neither the time, inclination, or energy to bother to be.

It’s not that I’m shallow.  It’s not that I’m heartless.  It’s not that I’m intentionally cruel or evil.

I say what I mean.

I mean what I say.

I’m a pretty simple person.

And if you think I’m a complete bitch online?  You should meet me in person.


“Never utter these words: ‘I do not know this, therefore it is false.’
One must study to know; know to understand; understand to judge.”
~ Apothegm of Narada


Parenting Expert

It’s been my experience that many people who consider themselves ‘parenting experts’ are those who have managed to raise one or or more perfectly normal little children.

It’s rare to hear a parent of a special needs child refer to themselves as an expert in anything.

We quickly learn that what works for ‘most kids’, rarely, if ever, works for ours.

And so we’re left slogging through trying to come up with something, anything that will work.

Because what works today, probably isn’t going to work tomorrow, or an hour from now.

I can’t even begin to communicate the level of frustration that brings.

And yet for the solutions we do find that we manage to make work we are look down on and called out by parenting experts and even other parents.

YES MY CHILD WEARS A BACKPACK LEASH SOMETIMES WHEN WE GO OUT.

According to one of the parenting experts on twitter, this means I’m treating my child like an animal.

*insert tears of frustration here*

Never mind the fact that Vista actually LIKES to wear her backpack.  She often brings it to me and asks to wear it around the house.

Never mind the fact it’s an easy, no fight, solution to walking around busy places with lots of people.

It was suggested I use a ring-sling as a harness.  That would be great for 5, 10, maybe even 15 minutes.  But for a 1 or 2 hour walk with a 45lb Amazon 3yr old? With a child who often can’t bare to hold hands because of the feel of it? A child to whom a gentle guiding hand could cause a complete meltdown because I touched her?  A child who will wonder off and not even consider where mom and dad are?  A child who would walk off with a stranger without a second thought?  Uhhh….yeah….

But I’m treating her like an animal because I put her backpack leash on her.

Well parenting experts, you come spend a day with me.

You go through the 2 – 3 hour battle of the meds in the morning.  These meds are not optional.  She must have them.  Not taking them could result in seizures that could kill her.

You take a child with sensory issues, epilepsy, and other brain issues, for a lovely walk in a crowded place with just a ring sling.  Don’t forget the behind-the-head headphones to help her block out the sounds.  And a package of wipes just in case she accidentally touches something and starts screaming about her fingers being dirty.

Then come home and start battle #2 of the meds.

Now it’s time to fix dinner.  Don’t forget the bowl you serve it in cannot be warm or it’s considered hot and no food will be eaten.

Oh, no, you don’t get to eat dinner too.  No, this is where you sit and help the child with their spoon or fork, because at 3 years old they still aren’t able to manage it.

Now it’s time for battle #3 of the meds.

Tired yet?

Oh well, you still have to give the kid a bath and put her to bed.   Don’t forget that no water can get anywhere near the face or it’ll be an epic meltdown.  Oh, and brushing her teeth will require a specific tooth brush (her choice, it changes daily.  But don’t use the wrong one or…yeah, epic melt down).  Oh, and if you pick the wrong toothpaste?  Then you’ve just extended bedtime by half an hour while you calm her down.

Yeah, good luck with that.

If you make it through the day without ending up in tears yourself, then maybe I’ll consider your advice.

But only maybe.

Sex Positive

One of the highlights of my BlogHer trip was finally getting to meet and spend time with ToyWithMe. She is absolutely as fabulous in person as she is online.  Her ToyWithMe persona is not just some online facade. It is truly who she is, through and through.

When it comes to talking about sex, and being sex positive, she is frank, unabashed, and unashamed. It’s utterly fascinating to watch her speak with other women.

At the same time it’s interesting to watch these women go from squeamish and squirming about the topic, to grilling her about correct use of sex toys, all while standing in the middle of the conference floor.

What I tried to figure out is, what is it about ToyWithMe that allows people to feel safe enough that they can open up and have that sex positive dialogue with her?

Then I realized, a better question is – why isn’t there more of that going on?

Most of the people I chat with on my blog and twitter, are mothers. Most of my friends in real life have kids. Generally, having kids = having sex at some point in time.

And yet this continues to be a taboo topic, quietly whispered about in corners. And some women are afraid to even opening the conversation for fear of being labeled ‘over-sharers’.

We’re all adults here, right? (and if you’re not over 18, you shouldn’t be reading my blog, so stop it right now).

Why is sex such a difficult topic for us? Why are we so embarrassed to discuss it?

Maybe it’s just that my filter is broken. I have no problem discussing sex.

Perhaps it’s that I’m comfortable with who I am.  I also have no problem with another women changing in front of me. It doesn’t make me any more uncomfortable than it would having my husband change in front of me. They’re a person, they have a body. Yay. I mean, really? What’s to be uncomfortable about? We all have the same parts, right? It’s not like i don’t know what they look like.

I can remember being embarrassed as a kid in the change room of the local swimming pool. I mean, OMG, what if someone SAW me!  *dies*

I have no idea when I finally got over that. But I did. It’s just a non-issue now.

But that brings me to Vista and how she’ll view herself growing up.

One of my ultimate challenges in life is going to be figuring out how to raise my daughter as sex positive, while stripping the hypersexualization that media encourages in young girls.

Yes, those are two VERY different things.

I want her to embrace who she is as a female and be proud of what she looks like. I want her to view sex as a normal, healthy thing (between CONSENTING ADULTS).  I want her to be free to express her sexuality and ask questions.  And I want her to know she can do all of that without dressing, looking, and acting, like a two-bit tramp.

I think it’s time we start educating our girls (and other women!) to be empowered, rather than embarrassed.

I’ll Never Fly With American Airlines Again

Sunday night, Nic, Dre, and I were sitting downstairs having a few drinks at hotel bar while we caught up on life, kids, and the like.

We asked our waiter, Patrick, for another round and he brought out Nic and Dre’s glasses of wine.  He apologized to Nic; they had run out of the Pinot Grigio she had been drinking so he substituted a different one for her.

She took a sip. “This is a chardonnay.”

Patrick looked confused. “No, it’s a pinot grigio.”

Nic took another sip. “Nope. Definitely a Chardonnay.” She handed the glass to Dre for her opinion. “Definitely a Chardonnay” agreed Dre.

He paused. “I’ll be right back,” Patrick said, disappearing behind the bar.

A minute later he came back with another glass and a bottle of wine. “You were absolutely right. It was a chardonnay. I am SO sorry for the mistake.”

We all had a great laugh and high-fived Nic on her stellar wine tasting abilities.

Patrick poured her a fresh glass out of the bottle of pinot grigio. There was about a quarter bottle left. He put it on the table. “I’ll just leave that there for you,” he said with a smile.

This was a simple mix up. Not a big deal in any way. But the recovery from the mistake? Amazing. Two days and and a few drinks later, I still remember our waiter’s name. We even tweeted the Hilton telling them that Patrick needed a raise (and he really does). That quarter bottle of wine probably cost them $5. Good publicity? Priceless.

This is the area where a lot of companies in the customer service industry fall flat.

Issues happen. They do. Nothing ever runs smoothly all the time.

But it’s how you recover that will make or break your reputation these days of social media.

Take for example my flight to get home from NYC on American Airlines.

All I wanted all day was just to get home so I could cuddle Vista, and smother her in kisses, and tell her how much I missed her. I’d been away from her for a whole week. That’s about 6 days too long for me.

It was going to be a late night (my flight wasn’t due to arrive until after 9pm), but Bil and Vista were going to make the drive into the city to pick me up. I couldn’t wait to see her. I breezed through my flight from Newark to Dallas. And then the day started going downhill.

First one gate change. Then another… …and another… The depart time on the flight kept getting later. 6pm…. 6:40, 7:00, 7:10, 7:50, and on and on.

With each time bump I got more and more upset.

I. Just. Wanted. To. Go. Home.

I was tired. I missed my daughter. I missed my husband.

By the time the depart hit 8:30pm, I did the math. By the time the plane lands + get my luggage + make it through customs, carry the one…. and…. it was going to be to late to bring Vista into town to pick me up. And no way I could afford the hour and a half cab ride to our town, IF I could even find a cab to take me. I was heartbroken. I sat in the airport wiping away tears of frustration.

I. Just. Wanted. To. Go. Home.

Resigned, I called my parents, and asked if I could stay at their house in the city until Bil could get in to pick me up in the morning.

Another gate change.

A change in terminals.

Another delay.

The flight got later and later.

And through all this there was no communication around WHY our flight was so delayed.

Finally at 9pm, we got on a plane. And sat there. We all looked around the plane. We’re we EVER going to get home?

The plane did, eventually, take off. By the time we got in, it was almost midnight.  I had left the hotel at 9:30am.

And what did American Airlines do to make up the huge delay and hours of treking around the Dallas airport?

Nothing.

Not One Thing.

Not the offer of a complementary beverage. Not even a cookie.

Not only that, but they didn’t even bring enough customs declaration forms on board. Not even enough for half the plane.

Don’t you think during the HOURS of delays they might have been able to get that one thing together?? Yeah, you would think. But no.

As we say on twitter. #EPICFAIL

How much does a cookie cost? Weigh that against all the tweets that went around with their ID in it complaining about the flight delays, lack of explanations, and lack of recovery.

Service companies take note.  Social media rules these days.  Put your best foot forward and when things do go sideways make sure you have a recovery plan in place.

 Ill Never Fly With American Airlines Again

I’m Not.

I see this all the time now.

“I’m PR friendly!”

Perky, isn’t it?

I go and look at the sites of the people who claim this loud and proud on their Twitter profiles, trying to figure out what makes someone ‘friendly’. As opposed to … unfriendly?

Does it mean you can’t ever swear on your blog?

Well, fine. But can you guarantee me that these people never swear in their every day lives? Never let the occasional F-bomb slip after dropping their grandmother’s precious china serving dish on the kitchen floor? Because if you agree to represent a brand, does it start and end at your blog?

Does it mean you can’t have any ‘questionable’ ads on your site?

I’m definitely guilty of that *cough* Toy with Me and Nipple Charms *cough*. I choose to run these ads because I like the ladies behind them. And I believe in the message of being sex positive. After all, most of us got to be moms by having sex, didn’t we? Are we supposed to deny our sexuality because we’re now moms? And yet some brands believe you can’t be both. A mom and a sexual being. How… interesting.

Does it mean you can’t write about controversial or hot-button topics?

Isn’t that part of what a blog is about? Our little space of the world to tell it like we see it. To be able to state our views loud and proud.  To prompt discussion.  And air our feelings.  Do we really have to abandon that to become PR friendly?

Housewife Im Not.It seems likes a lot of major brands want us to conform to the image of the perfect 1950’s housewife.

But that’s not my reality. That’s not who I am.

I am not a perfect mother. I am not a perfect wife. I am not a perfect blogger. I am not a perfect anything.

And in my imperfections I find beauty and the opportunity to learn and grow.

So, if being PR friendly means I have to create some false persona and project a sweet happy image to the world, then I think I’ll stay over here being unfriendly and true to who I am, instead.

The Victim

There is a particular brand of women I don’t tend to be friends with in real life.  I have no patience for them.  I don’t want them around me.

funny pictures melodrama cat The Victim

Yet I find it harder to escape this type when I’m online.  Social media tends to breed them.

I’m talking about women who are The Victim.

These are women that have a pervasive ‘woe is me’ attitude… about everything.  And they’re too busy crying about how life has done them wrong to change anything.

I know everyone goes through their ‘things’.  People are entitled to bad days, bad weeks, even bad years.  Sometimes shit happens.  Even I’ve had my fair share of downer moments on this blog in the past few years.

But it’s when you’d rather sit around feeling sorry for yourself, wallowing in your own self pity, that I tend to tune out.

My friends in my day-to-day world tend to be women of strength.  Women who, in some cases, have been dealt a pretty shitty hand lately.  And they’ll talk about their frustrations and what’s bothering them.  Sometimes they even have a good cry over things.  Then they pick themselves up and move forward.  Because life does not stop.  They are women who choose to focus on what is right in their lives and make the best out of what they can’t always control.

Then you have the other category of women.  I sometimes wonder how much of their constant personal drama is locked into a cycle because they feed off the attention of others.  They surround themselves with people who will pat them on the head, tell them how life has dealt them a raw deal,  and constantly confirm to them how wonderful they are, over and over and over and over,… and over and over and … yeah, well… If you’re that type, I probably stopped reading and commenting on your blog about 5 ‘overs’ ago.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I never expect people to agree with me on everything (just like I don’t expect everyone to agree with this post).  My friends regularly have discussions on differing opinions.  I love that.  I feel it helps me learn, grow, view the world as I might not have thought to.

By surrounding yourself with people that will only agree with you, and attack anyone who says the least little thing outside of the acceptable rote responses, you are locking yourself into victim mode.

What I’ve been considering, lately, is how much I contribute to this by not saying anything.  By not commenting that ‘hey, I’m sorry you’re having a rough time, but look at your wonderful healthy kids, your great job, your nice house,’ am I just as bad as those people who smother The Victim with the protective shield that drips with venom for the naysayers?

And I guess that’s why I don’t speak up.  I don’t want to become a target for the whiners posse who are posed to attack anyone who doesn’t agree fully with everything The Victim says.  I don’t feel like causing huge internet drama through one comment.

And so, the next question becomes, as my hand hovers over the unfollow and delete buttons, why don’t I just eradicate these people from my online life like I would my real life?

Possibly because I have learned that in this day of social media that a simple unfollow, a quick delete, a removal from my blog roll (blog rolls are meant to be dynamic, people. Sheesh.  Who I read changes on my mood), can cause just as much drama.  Because for The Victim, anything that can cause drama means more attention for them.  Booyah!

So either way I’m left feeding the addiction for these people.  And I do believe it’s an addiction.  To attention. To blog stats.

So what to do?

Cause drama, or sit back and watch it?

The Lowest Priority

Raise your hand if 99% of the doctors appointment you’ve been to since having kids have been for them.

I’m totally guilty of this. I spend at least a portion of each week running to this appointment or that therapy session for Vista. And I would never, ever, ever forget her nightly meds.

But when it comes to doctors appointments for myself, or even remember to take my daily dose of happy, it sort of falls into the ‘I’ll get to that eventually pile’.

I’ve had a doctors visit on my to-do list for the past two-and-a-half years. It just hasn’t been that big a priority. It’s not like I was dying or anything. I simply am getting headaches and migraines more often. It’s been like that since I first got pregnant with Vista. But, in the grand scheme of things, it just wasn’t life altering enough to actually bother with the hassle of organizing a visit to the doctor for myself.

The past few month have been worse, so I finally got my act together and made an appointment.

Sitting in the office today, I felt sort of silly whining about headaches. I mean, really? But he nodded, raised an eyebrow when I mentioned how persistent they were and the occasional dizzy spell. He whipped out the handy-dandy blood pressure cuff and took a reading, and then a second one…. and a third one to confirm the first two. 150 over 90. That? Is not good. And that would probably explain the headaches.

I used to have perfect 120/80 pressure. But once I got pregnant with Vista, my blood pressure started creeping up. The day I finally went into labor it hit 160/115.

But after I had her, I got busy with new baby stuff. And there just didn’t seem to be time for anything else.

I’m realizing now I should have made the time. And I know most parents are guilty of that. We neglect ourselves in favor of our children.

So, I walked out of the doctors today with a prescription for blood pressure meds, two prescriptions for migraine meds, and a lab requisition form with almost every other box checked off. Evidently my doctor thinks draining every last drop of blood from my body will somehow help things.

But I will give him points for being thorough. He wants to make sure there’s nothing else I’ve neglected. So I’m getting the full panel – Electrolytes, glucose, cholesterol, vitamin B12, vitamin D, thyroid, protein, and a bunch of others I have no idea what they are for. Oh, and a bonus ECG, just for the fun of it.

I think we need to remind ourselves every once in a while that our own health is just as important as our kids. It doesn’t help them if we leave things too long and end up sick ourselves. So the next time you think ‘Oh…I’ll get to it…eventually…”, just go do it. That’s the voice of personal experience speaking.

 The Lowest Priority

Insert Something Witty Here

I’m seeing this more and more.

The feeling of ‘I wanted to say something, but couldn’t come up with anything witty to say, so I didn’t say anything at all’.

I’m guilty of this.

I’ve typed many a tweet and blog comment and then just before hitting that post button, I’ve deleted it because I didn’t feel it added anything to the conversation.

And I find myself doing that more and more. This self-censoring.

But why do we put such pressure on ourselves? Why does everything we write have to be just perfect, better than the other persons comment, tweet, whatever ?

Honestly, I’m happy to have any blog comment. Even if it’s just one that says ‘hey I was here and I liked this post’.

I don’t ever read my comments or tweets and think ‘Wow…why did they even bother writing that?’.

To me it doesn’t matter if what someone has written is witty, smart, funny, profound.

What matters more is that they felt it was worth taking the time to comment or reply at all. And that means a lot.

Enough Of This Emo Shit. Let’s Talk About Vaginas

3341605323 4ed626a455 m Enough Of This Emo Shit.  Lets Talk About Vaginas
Image by Kuzeytac via Flickr

Latin names always freak me out.  Take rosacea for example. Sounds more like a skin condition than the family of flowers known as the rose.

Oh wait… it is a skin condition too. Well nix that.

But you see what I mean. Latin names are confusing.

You don’t tell a woman she has a nice gluteus maximus. No of course not. You complement her on her fabulously toned ass, which she’s obviously spent hours in the gym for, and isn’t it nice that she has that kind of time, while the rest of us sit around eating bon-bons all day in our muumuus. Pass the chocolate please.

Same as you don’t talk about bumping your ulnar nerve. No, you hit your damn funny bone which isn’t so funny when it’s your own elbow, is it? Ha! Who’s laughing now?

And how many of you pick umbilicus lint? Show of hands? Well there you go. Although apparently some people have a fetish for it.

My point is, Latin is the root of many body parts. But the English language has mangled it or ditched it all together in favor of the comfortable, the known, the easy to pronounce.

So….

Why the hell haven’t we done that for our own vaginas? Oh sure we have nicknames for it.

  • Vajayjay.
  • Hoo-ha.
  • Beaver – my personal Canadian favorite
  • For those who don’t wax – Bearded Oyster
  • Cooter (I’ve always wondered if this was where the word ‘cooties’ came from).
  • And for those who are really fru fru and need to get their heads out of their asses (sorry, anal cavity) – Flower

But we haven’t really come up with one solid, specific name to replace the dreaded ‘vagina’.

And things just go downhill when you start talking about the rest of the bits down there.

Clitoris. Sounds like a celestial body, doesn’t it. You know. ‘Clitoris; second star to the right and straight on till morning’.

Then you have ‘mons pubis’ which I’m pretty sure is a mountain on a moon circling around Venus. (If your first thought was ‘Hey, Venus has no moons’ you are a) TOTALLY missing the point here and b) in serious need of a sex life)

And don’t forget about the two constellations Labia Minora and Labia Majora.

No wonder men are clueless about how things down there work, when WE can’t even pronounce them.

The only word down there that is recognizable to them is ‘hood’, but in typical fashion, half of them these days look under a hood and have no idea what to do with what’s there.

So I vote we rename everything. Start with a clean slate. Something maybe men will relate to and want to play with (I was thinking penis, but that’s already been taken).

Or maybe we just need to start renaming things men like.  The Heisman Trophy could easily become the Hymen trophy, right?

So lets hear it.  What would your naming theme be?  Sports? Women’s Magazines?  Car parts (since we’re already started down that path anyway)?

 Enough Of This Emo Shit.  Lets Talk About Vaginas

Spot the Difference

As I sat on the couch last night and tried to finish up a client ezine, Vista got up from the floor where she was using Bil as a jungle gym, grabbed her ‘laptop’, and climbed up on the couch next to me.

V at photoshoot Spot the DifferencePart of me laughed, but there was a little part of me that was completely horrified. I want her to be two. I want her to play with blocks and barbies. I want her to create with paintbrush not Paint.Net.

So I watched the great interest when Momspotting was launched on BlogHer back in November. I wanted to see how other moms handled technology with their children. I wanted to see how they navigated this digital minefield.

I have to say, I’ve been a bit disappointed so far.

Momspotting has become less about families and technology and more about being in an exclusive group.

It’s easy to find this group of moms. Just do a search on Twitter for the hashtag #momspotting.

Oh, but don’t use it yourself. Oh no. That hash tag is just for this exclusive group. If you use it and they catch you, you will be sent a sternly worded DM or email letting you know that YOU are not a Momspotter and THEY are and YOU can’t use #momspotting because it’s only for THEM.

I wish I was kidding, but I’m not.

I’ve never personally gotten one of these gems myself, but I have several friends who have and have showed me the polite, but stern, ‘you’re not one of us’ notes.

So instead of Momspotting opening a dialogue about how we protect and direct our children in this age of technology, it’s become a marker to denote a closed group. This has been evidenced by more and more of these tweets having nothing to do with technology (and wasn’t that the point?)

I think this was a noble initiative. And it had (and still does have) huge potential. But it needs to be an inclusive conversation starter.

Rather than having these 20 or so moms ‘owning’ this hashtag, why not make them the leaders instead? Let them prompt, coach, and encourage everyone to share their own experiences, their own tips, their own rules around technology and their families.

But by shutting people down when they try to participate and use the #momspotting tag, they’re nullifying a huge part of the effect they could have. People want to be part of a conversation, not just spoken at.

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