Friday, May 31, 2013

There should have been more Darth Vaders

(As a preamble to this geeky post, I want to mention that I will be staying away from Extended Universe material (aka Star Wars novels, comics, and video games) as much as posible for this post. I'd rather go at this from a more accessible  pure-movie standpoint. However I do not object to people bringing up the EU in responses.) 

It's Star Wars time again, folks (it is my favorite movie of all time, after all). Last week when I posted about EVIL I mentioned that I was tempted to post about it within the Star Wars universe, in particular about why Jedi Order of the pre-imperial era was so ripe for the creation of Darth Vader, and some folks asked me to actually write that post, so here it is.

In the days of the old Republic, the Jedi Order had significant power, at least in the core worlds. They had a huge temple with vast grounds and resources right in the heart of the capitol planet, Courasant. At that time there were thousands of Jedi, all ultimately controlled through one central, and fairly small counsel. But forget the counsel. Thousands of Jedi. How did they get so many people to agree to live the life of the selfless monk? For starters, they captured them as babies.

Is captured a strong word? Heck yeah. But it's what they did. They had the power and influence, so that when a child in the core worlds was "identified" they would take them into the Jedi fold. And the Jedi were forbidden from having babies themselves, so that means all new recruits were taken from non-Jedi households (woah). Then the children were raised by their Jedi captors to learn nothing but what the Jedi taught. Think about that, what does that sound like? If you said cult, you're thinkin' like me. When Anakin Skywalker was first discovered on Tattooine (outside the core worlds) he was dismissed as too old by some on the counsel and he was only 9! This seems to indicate that the counsel knew that some level of brainwashing training had to start early to really take hold and mold the proper Jedi. Creepy, right?

So the Jedi get their little future padawans as babies, brainwash them teach them, train them, and draft them right into their own ranks as teachers and trainers (a classic move, making the trainees the trainers to drive their loyalty deeper, very popular in militaries around the world). They also impose very harsh/strict rules on the Jedi and Jedi-to-be. They are taught to control their emotions, quiet their desires, and "let go of anything [they] fear to lose." Basic attachment is forbidden. This means no real personal property and no romantic relationships. So sex and money are totally off-limits (I'm guessing they aren't a fan of drugs and rock-n-roll either). Jedi have to do what their masters tell them, they have little to no autonomy. Great. Sounds like a wonderful life.

Now you might be thinking that I've forgotten that Jedi do leave the order. Duku left. Obi-wan warned Anakin that he could be expelled. So one must assume there are some number of Jedi cast-offs wandering around the galaxy. But why so few? Well, it would be a pretty hard choice to make, after all that time the Jedi had invested into filling your head with doctrine and cutting you off from the outside.

Imagine, you're a young Jedi Knight. You've never known your family, maybe you've never really felt loved. You've got all those hormones of a young adult human (let's go with human for this example, I don't know much about the hormones of a Mon Cal or Bothan or anything else really), you fall hard for some hottie, maybe even another Jedi (I've heard stories from boarding schools, there's got to be some hanky-panky goin' down in the Jedi dorms), the two of you are in love (and/or lust). Then you and your master get sent to the other end of the galaxy on some wild bantha chase, and you're not sure when you'll come back. It's a classic conundrum  You might think to quit the order. But since you've spent your whole life with the Jedi Order you don't have any other support structure. No way to find a regular job. People don't trust you if you say you're a ex-Jedi (I bet they don't really even trust the regular Jedi, baby-snatching, mind-controlling freaks with swords, I mean really), but you have no other education or connections. So maybe you don't quit. You just stay in the order, getting more and more upset at how you're stuck between a rock and a hard place. One day you're going to snap and somebody is going to end up eating lightsaber.

Why isn't that a more common story? Or maybe it is and the Jedi just don't want us to know. Maybe it doesn't matter because all the angry/depressed/sad/disillusioned Jedi don't have half the raw Force ability as Anakin Skywalker. So was the Jedi Order really "good"? Or were they just getting away with being a big intergalactic bully until they finally ran into somebody stronger than them? Does anybody else feel a little bit bad for Anakin, like you can see why from his perspective the Jedi are evil? Yeah, I thought so.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Stop raising boys and girls, just raise kids!

Do you know what drives me crazy? I mean really, really crazy? Putting kids into boxes based on their gender and attribute their activities and interests to their sex rather than their social conditioning. I swear, if I see another "you know you have a girl/boy if" post I'm going to lose my mind. I'm sick of being bombarded with the idea that if my daughters like dolls it's because they are girls but if they like trucks it's because... I'm progressive? I wish we, as a society, could stop raising boys and girls and just raise kids.

In raising two girls, I see how often they are put into categories and defined by their sex. I also how the way their peers are raised impacts my kids. My oldest has come home from school and told me that "girls like princesses and boys like super heros" like it was some fact that could not change (she also tells me that boys dress "cool" and girls dress "pretty"). I've fought hard against these notions, but it's hard because I can't dispute her findings: in her class most of the girls prefer princesses and the boys super heros (since she likes super heros and princesses she has agreed that girls can like both) and I would bet hard cash that part of the reason is that many of their parents reinforce these interests by buying movies and toys only of the "right" type for their child's gender.

Its not just the shows we watch or toys we buy, but the activities we sign our kids up for. My girls just started T-ball last week. I'm not that into baseball/softball personally, but my brother and sister both did t-ball as kids, it seemed like a good basic sport for the summer time. My 3.5 year old's T-ball team has 2 girls and 5 boys. And in looking around at the other teams (there were 6 teams playing that night) they all were overwhelmingly filled with boys. I'm not even sure all the teams had girls. WTF? Where are the girls? Why didn't parents of girls sign them up for T-ball? Don't tell me it's a lack of interest on the girls' part, these are preschoolers, they don't know yet if they like T-ball! Most of the kids who were there didn't even know to run to first base after hitting the ball! (several chased after their own hits, it was so darn cute). Clearly they weren't clamoring to play a sport they obviously know nothing about.

In the reverse, there are activities that people just don't offer to boys like they do to girls. For example, why don't people play house with their boys? When my oldest was 2 she had a baby doll themed birthday party where kids were supposed to bring their own dolls and we had stations and activities, like feeding the babies or taking them to the doctor. But none of the boys who came had their own dolls! I was shocked because I knew they liked playing with dolls at school, there was overwhelming photographic evidence on the school website. So why won't their parents buy them dolls? Many of these little boys will grow up to be fathers, playing house as a kid might, you know, instill some good fatherly feelings in them. Would that be so bad?

I have a crazy hypothesis  I think that raising kids as equals across genders will help raise more equal adults (shocking, I know, don't fall off your chair). For our daughters, let's put the sugar and spice on the back shelf sometimes and hand our girls some snips and snails (whatever the hell a snip is). The opposite can be said for boys, heaven knows many boys could stand to be raised with a bit more "nice" in them.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Today is a gif

Driving in my car the other day I saw an SUV with the words "Today is a gift" on the back, and I was overcome with an urge to scrape off that letter T. Because you know what? Today is a gif:

So remember, treat every day as a gif. Or something.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What is thinspo and why is it so dangerous

In my older post, Eat Right and Exercise... whatever that means, I put in this "This is a No Thinspo Zone" image. A few weeks later I was chatting with friends on facebook, because several of their Pintest accounts had been hacked and were displaying some pins I called out as thinspo. Then somebody asked me what thinspo is and it dawned on me that this might be a good subject for my blog. So here we go: What is Thinspo and why is it EVIL...

Thinspo is short for "thinspiriation" (thin + inspiration) and encompasses many pictures and sayings that are meant to encourage people in their weight loss pursuits. Of the face of it that doesn't necessarily sound entirely evil. Weight loss can be good when done in the right way and for the right reasons, and if there's some saying or picture that helps with that healthy goal, what's the harm, right? Well, that's not really what thinspo is all about. Thinspo is the tool of pro-anorexics (aka pro-ana) to not only encourage their own self-destructive behavior, but with the nature of the internet and social networks it also helps to spread the destructive idea that thinner is always better.

Pro-ana thinspo is filled with images of women with sallow cheeks, bones protruding so far it almost looks painful, images of thinness that reek of self-starvation. These pictures are often accompanied by words of "encouragement" and pro-ana slogans (such as "time wasting is never time wasted" - which is the only example I will give because it's the one that sounds the stupidest and hopefully isn't too triggering). And if your mind is healthy it's scary, it's disturbing, it's sad. But if you're suffering from your own body dismorphia it can be enticing, exciting, and very, very addictive.

And it's so easy to find. You could goole-search it (although I don't recommend it) and you'd find tons of sites, image repositories, message boards, and online communities all dedicated to thinspo and pro-anna encouragement. If you lurk on these sites (again, really, don't) you will find all that I've described and more. It's a disturbingly thriving community filled with women and girls (and some men/boys although not nearly as many, in my experience) who are desperate to look like Kate Moss, or Twiggy, or some even thinner ideal. They talk to each other, communicate their struggles, and urge each other on. They brag about not eating, or lament a pound not shed. The berate themselves publicly over their own "failures" and congratulate others on their "successes". They form pairs and groups and swear pacts to not eat. Just writing about it makes me sick to my stomach.

How do I know all of this? Because I've been there. I've spent time (often when I should have been eating lunch) pouring over pro-ana sites, saving my favorite images or memorizing little quotes to repeat back at myself later. And I used some of the worst of it to convince myself I didn't have a problem. Those girls were looking at thinner models, those girls were eating less, therefore what I was doing was fine. But guess what? It wasn't. And it still isn't. Even though I've stopped the destructive behavior, the thoughts and impulses are there. The Though Monkey still tells me I'm fat, gross, that people are talking about it, and that I should be ashamed, that I don't deserve to eat. And any hint of thinspo brings that voice to the surface (even the silly Medifast or JennyCraig commercials can get to me on a bad day).

So that, in a nutshell, is thinspo. I wish we could, collectively as a society, stop posting images or "tips" that focus on weightless above all, but I know that's not going to happen. I know I won't be able to completely avoid all the images and talk that smacks of thinspo. But I can stop from looking for it, I can avoid it where I can, and I can call it out when I see it. And I guess that's what I'm doing right now.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Why I blog... Dr. Seuss style

This week has been insane, I've had very little time to write, with my lunches taken up with work and my evenings filled with a million extra things (tattoo appointment, book club meeting, teacher conference...) and my stash of pre-written posts has run thin. But this blog is very important to me, so I really want to respond to the Finish the Sentence Friday's prompt... in the form of a dorky poem.

I blog because I want to share,
I blog in hopes that you might care,
about the issues dear to me,
a perspective that you might not see

I blog to share a laugh with you
I blog because it's something new
I blog about the good and bad
and shit that makes me really mad

I blog about my mental health
and keepsakes sitting on my shelf
I blog about my sweet-ass tat
I blog about the dog and cat

I blog about my love for tits
I blog about hot lava shits
I'll blog about most anything
I can write (but I really can't sing)

And if I'm telling the whole truth
this blog is like a kissing booth
so pucker up and comment on the post
that you have read and like the most

And if your heart is all a flitter
like my facebook and follow on twitter
I want to get to know you too
because I blog for me, and also you

Happy Friday everybody! If you're in the US, enjoy your long weekend and be sure to spare a thought or a prayer for the real reason we have a Memorial Day holiday. <3

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Theme Thursday: EVIL

The Theme Thursday writing prompt this week is Evil: Does it exist? What is it? How do you define it? Why does it happen? It's hard to write a post about evil without being tempted to dodge the hard subjects and just blather on about Anakin Skywalker and the shades of grey that separate the dark side from the light... But I won't, because real evil exists in this world and it's important to call it out, however hard that is. So instead of pointing out that the the Jedi Order of the old Republic was so fucked up and basically abusive that it's no wonder there weren't 100 Darth Vaders created every year (because that's totally true), I'm going to talk about the 4 darkest evils of our planet. These are the things that keep me up at night, alternately shaking with rage and weeping for humanity. These are the things we all should be fighting against every day. (Warning, there may be some swearing. Evil makes me angry.)

1. Rape and sexual assault. 1 in 4 college women in the US report surviving rape or attempted rape since their fourteenth birthday ( This is fucked the fuck up. There are no words to accurately describe how angry this makes me. When I think of the women in my life who I love, who have gone through some truly horrible sexual assault and rape experiences, my blood boils. It makes me want to give my daughters kung-fu lessons and send them to all-girl schools. And that's "just" the sexual assault we see most often from our comfortable suburban lives (as if that's not bad enough?). What we don't often see are the women and girls around the world being trafficked for sex, being forced into prostitution, being systematically raped while others profit.  This is one of the oldest and darkest of evils on this earth.

2. Child abuse.  I can't talk about this in much detail without shaking and wanting to cry. I don't even believe in spanking (I'm not calling that evil, but it's at least grey to me). So when I hear of kids being beaten, most often by their own parents, the people in their lives who should be loving and protecting them the most, it breaks my heart. And that's just the tip of the fucked up iceberg of things people around the world are doing to children right now. Anybody who would do anything to hurt a defenseless child belongs in the special hell.

3. Killing of innocents. There's self-defense killing, then there's evil killing. Killing because somebody doesn't believe what you believe. Killing for enjoyment. Killing to gain power. Killing because you hurt so you want to see somebody else hurt. Life should be precious. If you listen to the news these days though, you wouldn't think so. And that's evil, also very, very sad.

4. Denying others their rights as human beings. Here's where I tred on some political ground. I believe that denying other people their rights due to your personal beliefs is evil. This includes denying women the right to control their own bodies. Denying LGBT people full rights as citizens under the law. Those are the current battles. But we can't forget the battles we already think we've won, freedom from slavery, gender equality, racial equality, religious freedom... these are all being battled still by people on this earth. There are people who live as second class citizens do to something they have no control over. They can't get a job because they are muslim  They can't leave their house alone, because they are a woman. They can't marry the person they love, because they are gay. Those who would oppress others, deny them rights due only to their race, religion, orientation, gender... that's evil right there.

So does evil exist? Sadly, yes, it does. And it's not just in some country on the other side of the world, or some seedy back alley. It shows it's ugly head in our own neighborhoods, schools, offices. And it sucks. And now I'm angry and depressed. Thanks, theme thursday.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What does it mean to be homesick?

The concept of being "homesick" is kind interesting, and not as easy to define as I would have thought. My 3 1/2 year old recently learned the word but she doesn't quite get it yet. She'll tell us she's homesick after a 5 minute car ride to Target. Recently she claimed to be homesick during family outing at the mall. We try to explain that's not really how the word is used, but she insists that because she wants to go back to our house she must be homesick. And that got me thinking...

What is homesickness? Do you have to be gone for a certain amount of time? A certain distance?

I get homesick easily and always have, I suspect that's common among people with anxiety disorders. I was that kid who called her parents to pick her up from sleepovers (which is even more embarrassing than having a friend catch you sucking your thumb, believe it or not). It didn't happen every time, but enough to be memorable. As a kid, and even into my teen years, I preferred to stick close to home, for example I preferred to go to day camps (Camp Christmas Tree represent) rather than sleep-away camps. But despite my predisposition to homesickness, I always assumed I would go to college back in the New England. My family moved to Minnesota when I was 7 and the transition had been really rough, in a way I had been feeling homesick for the east for years.

When I was about 16 years old I went away to hockey camp in New Hampshire at Dartmouth. I was shocked to realize that New England was no longer home (had a little culture shock, doncha know). In those weeks away I felt extremely homesick (although my hockey skills got wicked awesome), to a degree that would only be topped by my time studying abroad (but that's another story). I couldn't wait to get home to Minnesota, to my parents, siblings, and friends. That's when I decided I was going to go to college in Minnesota after all (much to my parents' delight).

I still felt homesick when I was first starting college, even if it was only an hour from home. The first night, in particular, was horrible. The there was only one other person on my floor (and he was an upperclassman with friends and no need to talk up the shy kid down the hall), the shower had no hot water, my new towel left me covered in itchy blue fuzz, and I ended up curled up crying alone watching The Empire Strikes Back, unable to sleep. But eventually Carleton became home too, and when I left I was homesick for it too.

I guess any place can become home eventually if you can fill it with people you love and happy memories. Maybe that's why I never got homesick on family vacations, and why I don't think my daughter can be homesick when we're sitting together at Red Lobster. But I still think I'll stay in Minnesota forever. Just to be safe.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Bechdel Test and why I hate every movie I love

If you've never heard of the Bechdel test, you should, I declare it. The Bechdel test basically measures whether a movie has a female presence with real female characters by judging it on the following three criteria: (1) it has to have at least two named female characters, who (2) who talk to each other, about (3) something besides a man. Now that doesn't sound too hard, right? Well, the sad thing is how many movies don't meet that criteria. Check out this 2 min video about it. Go ahead, I'll wait.

It's not some crazy feminist thing conspiracy theory. There really is a long standing and very problematic tradition of movies being big ol' sausage fests. And what's even sadder to me is that the types of movies I tend to enjoy are they types that are the worst offenders. Sci-fi, fantasy, action. I'm not a fan of "chick flicks" - the big movies marketed to women - because they're all fucking romantic comedies or romantic dramas. If I'm going to invest my time and money, I want to see more than a man and a woman doing the modern mating dance. I want to solve a mystery, go on an adventure, or blow some shit up.

Unfortunately my interest in sci-fi and action means that seeing a movie which passes the Bechdel test is very rare for me. Let's take a look at 5 of my favorite movies (I'm not laminating this list as a permeant Top 5 or anything, these are just some I happen to really like)

1. Star Wars - Ok, let's get the obvious one out of the way. This doesn't even come CLOSE to passing. I guess Episode 2 passes, but only barely (Queen Jamellia and Padmé talk for a hot second.) But none of the originals do, nor do I or III.

2. The Fifth Element - Nope. There's only one named female character at all. She's totally badass, and I've even cosplayed as her, but the movie still fails.

3. Shaolin Soccer - Fail. Actually, pretty much all of the kung-fu movies I can think of fail.

4. Serenity - ding ding ding! This movie more than passes. Joss gets a lot of credit for being an advocate for having strong female characters. And the credit is well deserved.

5. Moulin Rouge - This is the only romantic movie I'd watch again and again... and still it doesn't pass. I guess even romances are not safe.

Not to mention all of Indiana Jones, most of Star Trek, The Lord of the Rings... It makes me sad and angry. I love these movies, but they ignore my existence  I feel like if women would start being treated like people then they could be any movie character, not just the love interest or damsel in distress or eye-candy. I wish I knew how get this to change (without boycotting my favorite movies). But I don't see that it will within my lifetime, and I'm not going to start only watching movies that do pass... It's a no-win situation, and that sucks.

What do you think? Do your favorite movies pass the Bechdel Test?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Anxiety awareness: oh, the things I get myself into...

Photo by Bing Shui, from
Yesterday I was officially invited to speak at the TEDx talks at Carleton College on October 12th! I will be working on my first draft of the full speech this month, then I guess we go from there (there are speech buddies and TED coaches... it's a real thing, man) I will be talking about anxiety and panic attacks, drawing from my own experiences as somebody with the glamourous anxiety disorder OCD. I'll also be drawing from YOU. One major reason I had the courage (or poor judgement, jury's still out) to audition in the first place was all the amazing connections I've made with people since I started to talk about this stuff here on my blog.

Having an anxiety disorder can feel so lonely at times. There's so much pressure to just suck it up and get over it (whatever it is). How many times have we heard "don't worry about it" and felt like that was impossible? If you start listening for it, it's amazing how often people are told how they should feel. Don't be nervous. Don't feel bad. Don't be shy. Cheer up. Calm down. How about shut up? Most people mean well, I'm sure. But to somebody like me, these "helpful" bits of advice sound more like "you're just not trying hard enough." And that can hurt. It can also drive us anxiety-having slackers further underground. (it reminds me of the scene in X-Men when Iceman's parents ask, "have you tried not being a mutant?" even though I know the whole thing was an allegory for being gay, not crazy)

This all is to say, that part of doing this talk will be to raise awareness of what having an anxiety disorder really feels like, from the physical and emotional pain of a real panic attack, to the social struggles of trying to get those around us to understand that we don't choose to be anxious any more than people choose to get cancer. And hopefully through that embolden more people to speak out about their own struggles. Because we aren't alone. There's actually kind of a shit ton of us.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Passing notes

Passing notes was my favorite "subversive" act in high school (maybe because I could no longer cut class for imaginary cello sectionals). I'm not talking about little notes that have a sentence or two scrawled on them, like "Sarah loves Chris" or "everybody drop your books at 2:07" (do kids still do that? Do they still think it's clever?).

No, I'm talking about long, beautiful notes, written in purple jelly pens, with doodles in the margins, sometimes several pages long and folded like origami envelopes.  Those were real notes. Those were notes worth passing. Those were notes you guarded with your life because they often contained gushing paragraphs about how your crush's hair looked extra sexy that day.

Here the bee is being drawn and quartered... by rats.
Yeah, my friends and I were weird.
I kept a metric ass-ton of my old high school notes and pulled them out for this blog post. They are hilarious. One friend and I were such big note-passers that we not only graduated to a notebook (and filled up several) but we also had rules for what needed to be contained in each entry: 1. You have to kill the bee (this is an X-Files reference we kept up long after our obsession with the X-Files abated) 2. You have to have theme music for the note. 3. You have to mention a speedo.

With other friends we talked about classes, hockey, friends, dreams, teachers, whatever was on our minds. Going back now and reading them almost brings a tear to my eyes (sappy, I know). I wonder if note passing is a lost art. Do kids still do it or have texts take over completely? I would be sad for the younger generations if that's the case. There just isn't as much creativity and excitement in a "omg matt is sooo hot 2day!" text as there is in a handwritten master piece like these.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Youthful ambitions: I was gonna be famous!

When I was younger I wanted to make it in Hollywood! After I discovered my love for Star Wars, I discovered a love for film and I began to set my sights on becoming a famous movie director and producer. I was never the acting type (in my last attempt to audition for a school play, I was cast as a mouse in Cinderella, not one of the cool talking mice, one that scurried around and then turned into a horse), but everything "behind-the-scenes" seemed fascinating and magical. Sets, camera angles, special effects, shooting on-location, editing, it all dazzled me. I took my first video editing class in junior high, where we learned to edit on the tape-to-tape VHS editing machine. I LOVED that machine. I could spend hours and hours on it. Even seeing one now makes my heart flutter.

My first "movie" was Godzilla X-Files. Yeah, you read that right. We spliced together footage of ourselves, episodes of The X-Files, and old Godzilla movies, then re-dubbed it with our own dialogue. (nerd alert! nerd alert!). Later we made it longer and dubbed it into German for my high school German honors project (seriously NERD. ALERT.) and for some odd reason that's the only copy I have. It is fabulous. I'd share it with you, but YouTube is being a punk ass and not letting it upload because it "may have content that is owned or licensed by FOX". We also dubbed several episodes of Fushigi Yuugi into German. Yeah, that's anime. I don't even need to tell you how nerdy that was...

In college I graduated away from VHS tapes and moved on to iMovie and Final Cut Pro. I may have majored in Asian Studies, but I still had a love for film. Now I work at a college IT department and as part of my job I get to teach students how to make videos for their classes (including for German class! How life comes full circle!). It's super fun.

I wish I had time to make more of my own productions. I did make a series of videos for the hockey team I coach, which I hope to expand on for next season. Maybe I'll make a film version of Kaylee's Story with the kids this summer, that would be so much fun... Anyhow, as you can clearly see, I totally nerd out on this stuff. So even though I'm no hollywood director, my youthful ambitions still have a place in my life. And I think that's pretty omanko-lickin' cool.

(For some reason the banner hates me, but I was inspired for this post by the Finish the Sentence Friday blog hop. What did YOU want to do when you were younger?)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

All about the boobies

Although I am a believer in saying vagina instead of vajayjay, cootchie, or anything animal based for my lady parts, I am not so clinical when it comes to my chest. I have boobies. I have breasts too, but they are in the fridge marinating in some teriyaki sauce. Because they're from a chicken. (just so we're clear).

Like most women I have a somewhat complex relationship with my boobs. But mostly I just love them to death. They've been good to me, and to my babies. My boobs are pretty amazing. So I wrote them a sonnet...

As a girl I'd wish on the brightest stars
Please grant me some boobies, I'd pray
I must have been wishing on the shine of mars
For they grew from zero to C in what felt like a day

Although descending the stairs made me hold them tight
And bras were a puzzle that turned my cheeks red
I would be thankful every night
As I cuddled my boobies alone in my bed.

Over the years, these boobs served me well
They fed my two babies, so sweet was that bond
And I can't be too sad that their perkiness fell
They're beautiful still (my husbad is fond)

Whether you say boobie, ta-ta, knocker, or breast
Mine are my own and I love them the best.

So for this, my first "Theme Thursday" I am proud of my boobs. What are you proud of?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

(Mostly) Wordless Wednesday: My kids are morbid

I was going to write a post about this image... but even I didn't know what to say...

(they were in their underwear, hence the drawn-on dresses)

Best motherfucking award ever, from Marjorie of Don't Call me Marge:

Happy Hump Day.

A Mother Life

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Preparing for your first kiss...

How did you learn the art of romantic kissing? How does anybody? Does anybody have a first kiss that's as cute or magical as in the movies? Are these enough rhetorical questions? Did I even listen to my English teachers when they told me rhetorical questions are a shitty way to start an essay?

I was a hopeless romantic as a tween. I didn't really talk to boys, and if I did I spent more time trying to be like them than getting them to like me (what guy doesn't fall head over heals for the girl who knocks him over in gym class?). But I did imagine talking to, and kissing boys (I didn't realize I was queer until after my first kiss, just in case you were worried about continuity and heteronormative storytelling). I would totally practice kissing on my arm or (totally embarrassing to admit) the shower wall. I had big ideas about how a first kiss would be, and I wanted to be prepared. Doesn't everyone?

It didn't help that I got all my "knowledge" about kissing from movies and TV (my parents aren't really the make-out-in-front-of-the-kids types, which is a-ok by me). First kisses were especially romanticized. There are tons of iconic movie scenes of first kisses. My Girl came out when I was 7 and I loved it. I totally dreamed that one day I'd have a cute first kiss right out of that movie.

But for me, those cute childhood/tween years came and went without a peck, and my idea of what a first kiss might look like morphed into something... sexier. I don't know at what age "frenching" (does anybody actually use that word?) became so fascinating, but when I was a young teen it seemed so titillating. I started picture my first kiss in a much sexier way. I was 12 when Clueless came out, and although I didn't see it until it was out on VHS and my parents totally fast-forwarded through the part where they talk about penises, I did see it, and I did dream that one day my first kiss would be as sweet and romantic (and followed up with lots of making out) as Cher and Josh's.

But I was destined for yet another disappointment. I finally scored my very own boyfriend when I was 15. Yes! All my romantic notions were finally going to come true! We dated for 3 months and NEVER KISSED. Then we broke up. I wasn't heartbroken, I was pissed. I felt like such a lameass, like the only high school girl in the world to date a guy who never kissed her (aren't they all supposed to be trying to get in your pants?). Eventually I got back together with that same guy, I actually told him (over AOL Instant Messanger, of course) that I wanted to be kissed. Then after all the fanfare and lead-up and hopes and dreams, I had my first kiss. A quick peck on the lips and a hurried goodbye. sigh.

In the years since then I learned all about good kissers and bad kissers. Kissing with braces. Kissing girls. Kissing men with facial hair. Drooly kisses, bitey kisses, too-much-tongue kisses, and of course the magical makes-you-melt kisses. Everybody has their own style. And somehow I doubt practicing on inanimate objects ever helped anybody, but who knows?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Top 10 Reasons Vegas Vacations RULE

My husband and I have been to Vegas twice (well, ok, 3 times, but I was only 19 the first time so I couldn't do anything so it didn't count) on vacations with friends while the kids stayed at home with the grandparents. They were great (of course they were that's why we did it twice!) and here's why...

1. Drinks at the pool at 9 am. You can start every day right in Vegas. Both times I was there I went in the summer, which was rough in mid-day when 1 minute outside felt like an eternity in hellfire. But at 9am the temperature is just right to lounge in the sun by the pool, with a cocktail of course. 

2. No kids. If you're doing Vegas right, you did not bring your children. Vegas is not for little ones. Vegas is for grown-ups. Although there are children in Vegas, if you're looking to avoid not just your own spawn but the spawn of all of humanity, there are plenty of places that are totally ankle-biter free.

3. Being unabashedly touristy. When you visit a more... high brow city, you might want to try and blend in. I do. I hate standing out as a tourist. No fanny packs and cameras around my neck, no standing on the street corner with a map (haha, map. what is this 1998?) But in Vegas I play tourist loud and proud. One of the most fun things to do was to exaggerate our Minnesotan accents, especially when talking in elevators. Ooh, Jen, didja see dat der sign for da club, I'd like ta go there doncha know, oh you betcha dat would be a hoot! And since most everybody around you in Vegas is totally wasted, they not only believed our accents were real, but they started to talk about it with us like we were some exotic creature they just met. Speaking of being completely drunk....

4. Be drunk everywhere! You can buy and consume beverages everywhere you go. Vegas is like a crazy bar that never closes. The hardest part of coming back from Vegas (other than the hangover) is realizing that you can no longer stroll down main street with a two foot tall margarita in your hand. *sad face*

5. Free drinks on the casino floor! If you find the right machine you can put in a dollar, poke the buttons, and mooch off the free drinks for hours. If one of your favorite pastimes is hanging around with friends chatting and drinking, than all you're really missing is the shiny buttons to hit, and the chance of winning a few bucks. What can be better than friends and free drinks, really? And if you like free things...

6. Free entertainment on the strip! Just walking down the strip is like going to a show. Actually  there are shows there. There are the fountains at Bellagio, and that pirate thing at that pirate place (ok, I admit, my friend Jen was the one in charge of usering us to and from the various shows on the strip, maybe you should take her with you to Vegas with you too). There are street performers and of course, don't underestimate the fun of people watching in a city as insane as Las Vegas. 

7. Find the humor in the seedier side of Vegas. At every crosswalk along the strip you will see men handing out little stacks of cards. These are advertisements for hookers. They thrust them into mens' hands before they know what's going on, and as a result they litter the ground up and down the strip. You could find this distasteful, wasteful, and sad. You could yell odd obscenities like "kangeroo-cunt" at all of them (although people might think you have tourettes). Or you could these intrusive advertisements them as trading cards and collect a whole set. Extra points for every hooker you find who shares your name (warning to other Alisons out there, you will lose this game, even if you could Allison, Alyson, Allicen, and any other spelling)

8. Food! Food! Food! There is almost as much food as booze in Vegas. There's something for everybody. You can stuff yourself silly at an all you can eat buffet, or empty your wallet and have a few bites form a world renowned chef. The best meal of my life was one I had in on of Hubert Keller's Vegas restaurants. There's something for everyone to eat in Vegas.

9. It doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg! You could drop a truckload of money easily, for sure. But you don't have to. We stayed at Excalibur and it cost less than $50 a night. It's not the Bellagio, but it's easy walking distance to the Bellagio (unless you wear stilettos  then the walk gets less easy... at least for me). Also, all that stuff I already said about free drinks and entertainment. And if you bring your own partner, the sex is free too. ;)

10. What happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas... and, apparently some of it ends up on this blog... but not all of it does *wink wink, nudge nudge*

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

I've looked up to you from day one
I still do and always will
You've taught me more than you can know
My kids are lucky, I learned from the best
I love you Mom, Happy Mother's day.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Through the Force, things you will see, other places, the future, the past, old friends long gone...

I didn't make a May the Fourth post on May 4th because I was way too busy celebrating the wonderful fabulousness that is Star Wars, and now that I've gotten back into some Star Wars books (I'm on The Joiner King right now) I want to go back and talk about Star Wars and May the Fourth. For this geeky holiday we had a handful of friends over, bought a bunch of frozen pizzas, revved up the kegorator, and called it a party. We took out even more Star Wars toys for the kids, like our little voice activated Artoo (he's more like a pet than a toy to us). The kids played and the adults watched Star Wars and talked and generally geeked out. I have some amazingly geeky friends, y'all. Arguing about TIE fighters and the Hoth battle made my day (even tough it's totally stupid that TIE fighters can handle entry into the atmosphere without thicker hulls or shields).

I decided we should watch Star Wars in the Machette order, where you watch A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, so you get the "I am you father" reveal, then jump into a flashback and watch Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith (you skip Phantom Menace, which is ok, I like parts of it but as a whole it was pretty worthless). Then you finish the whole thing off with Return of the Jedi. It was my first time watching it this way and it was awesome. It really brought out the heart and soul of the series, which to me is all about the fall of the Jedi, the rise of Vader, and then his eventual redemption through his son. (corny, I know, but I love the sappy Jedi stuff) All in all, between my fabulous friends and the wonder of Star Wars, May the Fourth was pretty magical.

Unfortunately, since then I have found myself in a cycle of depression. Fortunately, Star Wars is something that really helps me muddle through these times. I don't really know how to explain it without sounding like a real weirdo, but when I'm stuck in the emotional suck that is depression, there's some relief to be found in surrounding myself with as much of the comfort of Star Wars as possible. I don't have to force a smile for my lightsaber. Or  make conversation with a puzzle. And when I'm reading a book or watching a movie I don't even have to think. Star Wars is like a big fluffy security blanket. How do other people cope with depression without it? Star Wars FTW.

May the Force be with you.

Depression sucks but still there are things to be said.

I'm going through a bout of depression, so I'm not going to be posting much these days I'm just going to draw your attention to a few things (clicking the links brings much enlightenment):

  • I'm mother fracking failing at this gorram swearing challenge (I totally count sci-fi swears as swears). What is today, h? Hell of a letter, that one.
  • Right after posting about Dead Raccoons, my dog came in from the yard smelling horrible. I bathed him, assumed he rolled in some poop and moved on. The next day it happened again, and I was pretty sure there was no poop. So I investigated. Turns out he had rolled in a nest of dead baby squirrels. UGH. So I bathed him again and went about scooping up rotten maggoty squirrel babies while my kids squealed in delight at how cute they were and how cool the "little worms" were. Then I took a bath in bleach.
  • If that doesn't make you believe in Jinxes, I don't know what will.
  • My leg itches like a motherfucker, and unfortunately while a bit drunk this weekend I may have scratched off a scab on my tattoo. Argh. I suck. Touchups here I come.
  • The Thought Monkey has been a giant douchey asshole lately and so last night I finally got out the big guns and took my magical friend ambien. I still feel a little woosey, but at least I slept. even if all my dreams seemed to be about the cats peeing on things.
  • This weekend I'm auditioning for a TEDx talk based on my post Panic at the Disco... of My Mind. Unsurprisingly this is making me panic, and I spent last night doing a Star Wars puzzle when maybe I should have been preparing.
  • Today my state government is voting on the issue of gay marriage. I'm kind of freaking out, since LGBTQ rights are so important to me.
That's all I got. My brain is drowning in depression and anxiety right now. It really feels like it is drowning. There are manic moments which feel like being really happy. Then there's numbness, dispair, and panic. I'm going to fight this and I will get out from under it, but please forgive me if I'm not on top of things for a little bit.

Finally something to make you smile:

Dani (3 year old): I could hear Kaylee (5 year old) saying "no, no," all night
Ethan (husband): She wasn't, it must have been a dream.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

How much for a steamy hour of hotel time?

When you think of hotels that charge by the hour, what do you think of? What do you picture? Being a big fan of Law and Order, my mind immediately jumps to something out of an episode of SVU. A roach-infested skeezey joint, with hookers and crack dealers, hidden away in some sketchy New York neighborhood. 

Now, Love Hotels are a bit different, they're hourly hotels in Japan and Korea and they're legal, apparently some are quite nice. I learned about the existence of Love Hotels when my high school boyfriend, an exchange student from Japan told me how romantic it would be to take me to one (I was not particularly impressed by the idea). I even got a glimpse of a few in Japan (fromt the outside) when I visited Osaka in 2006. There are some interesting cultural differences between the US and Japan. Nothing illustrates them like... well... actually a million things you can see walking down the streets of Osaka, and this giant fucking ass-covered building is one of them. But I've gotten off topic. Hourly hotels aren't really my... scene. So I never cared that they're illegal in many (all?) states. 

Until I needed one. 

In my husband's first years out of school, before he was my husband, he worked and lived in North Carolina. Between my junior and senior year of college I went to live with him for a summer. Somehow in the middle of the summer the water in the apartment got turned off. Now he says the billing people didn't bill him, but I'm pretty sure he just forgot to pay. But whatever the reason, the water was shut off. And it took some time to get it back on. 

After a couple days in the unforgiving southern heat, we were both in desperate need of a shower. So we found a little motel, explained the situation (there might have been some begging and promising that it wasn't a sex visit, I imagine it that way but I don't really know, I was hiding in the car) and ended up renting a room for an hour so we could shower. And that's my experience illegally renting a hotel room for one hour with my boyfriend. Steamy, right?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Dead or alive, raccoons suck

We get a lot of wildlife in our yard (see this post for more details). Most of it is awesome to see, and now that we have a dog it provides great entertainment as he "protects" us all from the squirrels and ducks and whatnot. But nobody was too pleased when a family of raccoons moved in to the space under my neighbor's deck a few years ago. If you don't have raccoons where you live, they are evil, rabies-infested, trashcan-attacking psychos.

We all basically hated a feared the raccoons, especially when they started to procreate. You see, the baby raccoons were adorable. Too adorable. I lived in fear that my children would toddle over to the cute little fur balls and be attacked by the protective mama raccoon. We tried our best to at least keep the beasts out of our yard and away from the children. At one point we resorted to throwing tea candles at them to get them down of our pergola.

One guy in the neighborhood apparently got fed up enough to really do something (or at least something more serious that pelting them with berry-scented wax). He put some poison out in his back yard. Poison is bad, y'all. I don't know why people every buy the stuff. You know what happens when you set out animal poison? An animal dies. You don't know which animal. You don't know how many animals. And you especially don't know where they end up dropping dead. That last part is key.

We didn't actually know he'd put out poison until one hot and steamy summer day (yes, Minnesota does get hot) when we discovered a giant, bloated raccoon corpse on our lawn. There were maggots. You could smell the thing from the house. My husband bravely disposed of the body, which was apparently half melted into the grass (gag). Later that week we found another one by the side of the road (where we were taking a nice family walk). We didn't clean that one ourselves, we let the city take the hit there.  We haven't had raccoons for a while, but if we do, my biggest concern will no longer be the stripe-tailed buggers themselves but what kind of corpse I may find if our neighbor plays animal god again.

(oops I totally forgot about the A to Z swearing challenge. Raccoons are real dick sucking elephant fuckers aren't they? Bam.)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Filters, or lack there of (a top 10 list)

We all need filters. If we said everything that popped into our heads nobody but the true pure saints (or brain-dead zombies) would have any friends. There are many types of filters we employ at different levels for different occasions. And they can all fail. Here are the top 10 brain-to-mouth filters and how they can fail spectacularly:

1. The Child Filter:
Kids have no filters, the parents are suposed to somehow filter for them, but it often doesn't work. This demonstrated by my kids yelling about my "hairy 'gina" in a public restroom. And by the fact that my mom still remembers the time when I was little when I saw a big tattooed biker dude and loudly noted that he was "funny looking!" (before she quickly fled the scene).

2. The Inner 12 Year Old filter:
Everybody has a 12 year old inside them waiting to burst out (to be clear I mean a metaphorical child). At least most of the adults I interact with do, or else there wouldn't be quite so many stifled giggles around the conference table when somebody says "I do do" in a meeting.

3. The Don't-Look-Crazy Filter:
This is what keeps you from talking out loud to yourself. I think I need to take mine in for a repair. I routinely find myself accidentally saying a few words or phrases from my internal dialogues out loud. And inevitably it's just as I turn a corner and end up face to to face with some stranger who gets to hear me say "yeah well fuck that" to thin air.

4. The Cuss Filter:
Speaking of "fuck that, my cuss filter is terrible. My colleagues at work swear (we say that a meeting isn't official until somebody drops the f bomb). I think that must be why my filter is so weak. And so, when I stub my toe in front of the kids I just can't bring myself to say things like "gal darn flipping cruddy bum"when what I want to say is "goddamn fucking cuntbucket asshole" so instead the filter fails initially and is slowly re-applied as the curse continues, so it becomes "goddamn ferking cursaberblefsdk d'ahh!"

5. The Honest Opinion Filter:
A lack of this filter must be what causes so many people to run up to pregnant women and exclaim "you're huge! are you sure it's not twins?!" (in case you're confused, although pregnant women are generally bigger than their non-pregnant selves, you still don't get to say that. So stop it. Seriously.) Screwing up the application of this filter will basically make you look like an asshole.

6. The Aware of Your Surroundings Filter:
In order to properly apply the correct level of filter, you not only need to know who you're talking to, but also where you are and who else might be coming around the corner at any moment. It's like picking a wedgie, you really gotta take a look around before you dive in. That way you won't end up doing an imitation of somebody calling you a "cracker-ass bitch" just as the president of your husband's
company walks up behind you.

7. The Vomit Filter:
Parents have to apply this filter liberally when around their child-free friends. People don't really want to hear about the time you were in Target and you noticed liquid poop dripping down your child's leg and onto the floor. Other parents laugh and come back at you with a poo-explosion to the face story. But the child-free generally will want to vomit. I had to give this sucker a workout after slicing my leg open. Because apparently talk of bone deep gashes caused by hockey skates turns some folks a little green.

8. The Booze-Affected Filter:
The first time in college that I got really stinking drunk, my filter failed and I told a girl I honestly didn't like "I hate you." But I realized my mistake and tried to cover it up with "...oh, uh, because you're beautiful!" I think I then pet her hair and waxed on about it for a while. Slick recovery, right?

9. The TMI (too much information) Filter:
AKA the sex story filter. Although I was the queen of the beer-induced personal confession back in college (ok, maybe I still am), it didn't always take beer to get me to bust out with a steamy and hilarious sex story. I was even awarded the TMI award by my hockey team. Actually, I don't know if I've gotten better about filtering those TMI stories since college, or if I've just had kids so there are fewer sexy tidbits to lay on my victims friends.

10. The OCD Filter:
I don't really have a 10th thing, but I can't make a top 9 list, because the Thought Monkey tells me that everybody will hate it.

Happy weekend, everybody!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

It's spring cleaning time, bitches!

Despite the fact that it's 37 degrees outside and feels NOTHING LIKE SPRING, I've totally gotten into spring cleaning mode (my husband thinks I'm nesting because my good friend just had a baby on Monday, but I think he's just trying to distract me from the giant pile of cables in the garage he still needs to sort. Not gonna work, buddy!) So far I've tackled youngest daughter's closet, the disaster that was the kids' dress-up clothes area (also known as the cats' alternative litter box. ew.) the guestroom dresser area, and the garage (minus the afore mentioned pile of husband's crap).

Making clutter my bitch.
I actually kind of love dumping out a closet or totally rearranging a room. It is soothing to the compulsive side of my obsessive-compulsive disorder. Give me a glass of wine and a shelf to organize and I'm in heaven (bonus points if I can also be near a TV playing something totally trashy like Real Housewives). The thing I hate about it though is how it totally sucks all my attention away from the day-to-day chores. So while I've been giving these projects my attention, the laundry has piled up to mountainous heights and the bathrooms are just plain icky. So this weekend I think I'll have to take a break from spring cleaning and tackle some normal cleaning (which is also more pleasant with a glass of wine, just don't get the wine and the windex mixed-up).

And in the spirit of spring cleaning, there's some blog housekeeping I want to attend to.

First, if you've enjoyed my posts, please follow me on Bloglovin', Twitter, and/or Facebook. It helps me stay motivated to keep writing when I know people are reading (all I want is love, y'all).

Speaking of love, back in the middle of April I was nominated for a Liebser Award by the awesome Rebecca of Mad Scientist, Crazy Mom. I've put off addressing it until after the A to Z... and then today, as I was working on this post I was nominated again, this time by Silvia of Silvia Writes. Thank you, ladies! I'm honored.

Ok, here's what I am suposed to do...

Post the award on your blogs 
Thank the blogger(s) who gave you the award and link back to their site 
Post 11 random facts about yourself
Answer 11 questions that the presenter of the award has asked
Nominate 11 new bloggers with fewer than 200 followers you want to pass the award on to
Ask your nominees 11 questions

OMG, 11?? Ain't nobody got time for that. At least not that x2, so I'll do it once and count it for both. :) 

11 Random Facts About Me:

  1. I worked as a cashier at a hardware store for 6 years (high school and part of college) and it was awesome. 
  2. I love, love, love hockey but I get little to no enjoyment from playing with men or watching men play on TV (NHL or college) and prefer to keep all my hockey girls/women only, on the ice or on TV.
  3. I didn't read Lord of the Rings until college, but I lied and said I had read it earlier to seem geekier in front of my new college friends.
  4. I have an "officshmate" (a fish that lives in my office) named Mac and he is so much stupider than poor Carl (my first offishmate who died this summer) that I kind of resent him, but I'm also really dedicated to keeping him alive forever after the untimely death of Carl. 
  5. I am aware that I have excessively complex feelings regarding pet fish.
  6. My favorite comfort foods are shepherd's pie, tacos, and kraft mac-n-cheese with tuna.
  7. If I could get you to read one older post to understand my sense of humor and my OCD it would be Crazy Goes to the Gym.
  8. I looooove photoshop. I photoshopped pretty much every picture on this blog in some way.
  9. My favorite non-english swear word is "biaozi" which means bitch. I use it so often I forget that it's not english. 
  10. I moved from MA to MN when I was in first grade. I hated it and was pissed about moving for years. But at some point in high school I saw the light and now I love it here and never, ever want to leave (even when it snows in May).
  11. I'm very sarcastic in real life, which it turns out doesn't always translate into other cultures well. Some cultures do not have sarcasm. This blows my mind.

11 Questions Answered (I picked my favorites from both nominations):
  1. What is your happiest childhood memory?
    • There are so many. But maybe playing Sound of Music with my sister at night when we were suposed to be going to sleep
  2. If you could have a super power, what would it be?
    • Is "being a Jedi" a super power. Because I want that.
  3. What has surprised you the most about how your life has turned out?
    • I always thought I'd be a stay at home mom, but I'm not and I'm happy with that
  4. If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?
    • Independently wealthy. Everything else is pretty awesome. (or I could get rid of the OCD... but then what would I blog about?)
  5. What is your ultimate vacation?
    • Traveling around China, staying in interesting hotels, and eating amazing food with my husband and perfectly behaved children.
  6. If I were to meet you in person, what is the first thing I would notice?
    • I think that's more about you. I tend to notice hair, but my hair is pretty boring right now. You might notice my fabulous ass and sweet rack. Or my giant leg tattoo. Or  that I have spinach in my teeth.
  7. If you needed to emigrate, which country would you choose and why?
    • Canada. It's the most like Minnesota. I'll visit anywhere, but I'd want to live someplace that felt like home. Also, I can't live without hockey.
  8. What is your ultimate way of relaxing?
    • Drinks, snacks, and something fun to watch with the family. 
  9. What instrument have you ever wanted to play?
    • Fiddle. I really have to just get one and teach myself one day. 
  10. What role/part would you play in a movie?
    • Jedi!!! (am I redundant?)
  11. What’s your favorite song when you’re traveling?
    • Depends on the type of traveling. In the car I have a very complex system. Most of the time I listen to NPR, but if I'm crabby or it's late at night I listen to Revenge of the Sith, if I'm heading to hockey I listen to something I can sing along with, and if I'm feeling festy and/or riding with the windows down I love some Irish fiddle music. 

11 Nominees (how is this different from a chain letter??)
  1. Slimegreen
  2. Masked Mom
  3. Ponderings of an Urban Gypsy
  4. Facebooking from the Edge
  5. This Girl's Messy Head
  6. My Mom's a Whackjob
  7. Bookish Geek
  8. The Cowardly Feminist
  9. Quirky Chrissy
  10. The Transformed Non-Conformist
  11. Geek Banter

11 Questions for my Nominees

  1. What's a bad habit you have?
  2. What's your favorite blog post (you've written)?
  3. What is the physical feature you dress to highlight?
  4. Odd or even numbers?
  5. Movies or plays?
  6. What's your favorite slang/silly phrase to say?
  7. If you could only have one piece of software on your computer, what would it be and why?
  8. What's your least favorite color?
  9. If I say "soup to nuts" what does that mean to you?
  10. If we're getting together for drinks, what's are you going to order?
  11. What's your favorite comfort food(s) when you're having a rough day?

Ok, that's it, I'm tired. Spring cleaning is a pain. Luckily spring is short in Minnesota and soon we can move on to summer not-giving-a-damn. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Don't jinx me, bro.

OCD and superstition go together like peanut butter and jelly... actually no, it's more like vodka and redbull, they get you all amped up, and it can seem like harmless fun, but they will kill your brain cells, kill 'em dead... Now I'm not talking about big superstitions, like believing in ghosts or alien conspiracies or anything (that would be silly). What I'm really talking about are jinxes. The kinds of things normal people might not notice but get me frantically searching for some wood to knock on. Like accidentally saying a wish out loud, then kicking yourself because clearly, now it won't come true (that's just basic science).

The most common focus of my superstitions are sports. Sports fans are notoriously superstitious and I am no exception. I mean, how could I not believe in jinxes when the evidence is so... evident? For example, back in high school hockey, a teammate and I would keep track of the win/loss stats of my coach's pants, and when it became abundantly clear that the blue pants were winning pants and the grey pants were losing pants, we started hounding coach not to wear the grey pants to games anymore. (we almost had a heart attack the day he showed up in brown pants - we had no stats on brown pants! how could he do that to us?) Once he stopped jinxing us with poor pants choices, the season was much less stressful.

For some reason clothing is the key to winning or losing any athletic endeavor.  It's true. Don't ask my why. The universe works in mysterious ways. I have a really cute Vikings (american football, for y'all foreigners)  tank-top at home (show of hands, who else is totally in love with the VS Pink pro sports line?) but the Vikings can not win if I wear it on game day. It sucks, but I make the sacrafice and keep it packed away every time they play. I'm just doing my part to help the team

Maybe you're not into sports. Well, parenting is full of moments that prove jinxes are totally true too. I mean, which parent hasn't had this conversation:

Parent 1: It's so great that baby is finally sleep trained and sleeps through the night all the time now.
Parent 2: Nice work, asshole, now the baby is totally going to regress. Jeeze, do you even think before you talk?

And Parent 2 might try knocking on wood, but the damage has been done, and the baby will inevitably wake up 3 times that night and every night for the next 6 months. If you have kids, you know what I'm talking about. The one time you leave the house with your newly potty trained kid and forget a spare set of clothes, they'll pee all over the floor at Target (at least you can buy clothes there). The one time you decide to take your cute purse instead of your big mom purse, your kid trips on the sidewalk and gets a bloody knee and now you have no bandaids.

Or maybe you were telling your friend how well your children get along, and immediately your youngest grabs the doll out of her sister's hand and throws it across the room yelling "you'll never get it now! hahaha!" (in a perfect imitation of Swiper the Fox). None of that ring a bell? Well, let me know where you got those pants, because they must be extra jinx-proof.