Totally random inner dialogue.

Reflections on super powers

I go back and forth between enjoying my super powers and wishing I didn’t have them. I assume Superman felt the same way. I mean – just because you CAN save the train dangling from a broken bridge, seems to always mean you HAVE to, even if you’re just not in the mood.

superIn a whirlwind of activity this morning after being up at 2 a.m., 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. with a “threenager” who was being “pulled out of bed by a butterfly” I convinced him to sleep a little longer while I showered (miracle upon miracles), dressed (lookin’ goooood!) packed lunch (healthy), made oatmeal for the 4th grader (the real stuff, too! Made in a pan on the stove! …going for bonus points here) and everyone was dressed and ready for their day by 7 a.m. After buzzing the little tot to the babysitter’s I flew (with my super powers of flight) back home in time to hug, kiss and compliment the 4th grader on her fashion sense  before she got on the bus.

Now came the fun stuff. Wound care. With the help of my trusty super friend (Hi, Mom! We come from a long line of super heroes) we performed a delicate medical procedure on my ailing husband (a couple days out from a week-long hospital stay and major intestinal surgery, the incision was infected). Tweezers! 4X4! Gauze! Tape! Scissors! STAT! And that was just to make a decent cup of coffee. After the wounds were properly unpacked, irrigated, repacked and dressed – it was time to resume my normal, everyday persona and head into rush hour for my commute to work.

I think I have finally embraced my super powers. Whatever planet I came from must be blessed with witty, smart, kind, strong, fun and good-looking people like myself. The burden of all these talents used to make me angry and resentful. I guess that’s where bad guys come from. My nemesis is moody, she’s dark and scary and doesn’t let the kids have fruit snacks for breakfast (the evil bitch). She actually folds all the clothes real nicely but then makes everyone feel bad for not helping with the laundry.

I was chosen to come to this planet and raise this family so that’s what I’ll do, without a chip on my shoulder.

I was contemplating these things on my run last Sunday (yes, I do in fact slow down on purpose so that no one suspects my true identity) and my running partner and I discussed the finer points of how sometimes being willing and capable is a real bummer. How a broad and varied perspective on life can make you feel isolated at times. I began to suspect that he too was hiding a truer identity than that which he projects to the world: mild- mannered newspaper reporter. We were interrupted by the appearance of a man out for a Sunday morning stroll. He was wearing socks, shoes, a hat and nothing else. He carried a thoughtfully positioned gym bag. Without breaking stride or conversational pattern, we exchanged glances and continued on. I guess sometimes it’s really not our job to save the world (from naked strangers) and knowing that –  is a super power all its own.

Be awesome, everyday my Super Friends.


A life worth putting on chicken salad…..

As I may have mentioned before, I tend to overload my plate at the buffet of life. I mean, everything just looks SO GOOD! How can I not volunteer for this thing, or cook something for that person, or take just a SMIDGE of that evening with friends with just a dollop of work, school and kids? I mean…YUM. Right? Ugh…but then I get the side effects of a life too piled high and that’s never good. I have not been blogging for quite awhile but felt the tug to come back. I like this place, it’s nice here and I didn’t want to waste the awesome graphics a lovely, talented friend made for me. So here I am.

The KidsThe children are bigger. That tends to happen over time, whether we want it to or not. They’re still cute and I’m still keeping them alive. Mostly.

Girl Child is 8, and terrifying. The Boy Child is 2 and terrifying in a completely different way. They are funny and smart and hate having their picture taken. I prefer to film them being “bad.” Don’t want to give the impression that things are always smooth and easy, ya know?

So, speaking of smooth and easy, let’s get to the point of why I’m here today. What brought me back to ye olde blogge. (What?)

It probably started with the “food experiment.” It was not a diet it was an attempt to get back to feeling human. Many of you have probably heard of the “Whole30” food plan? Maybe not. It’s pretty awesome, now that I’ve made it through unscathed, I can say that. I did the extreme (EXTREME!) autoimmune elimination variety of the plan in an attempt to cut the inflammation in my body, banish my arthritis pain, shed some pounds and some fatigue and get back to some kind of starting point from 10, maybe 15 years ago when I maybe can remember feeling even moderately human. Story of your life, right? Long story short, I did it and it worked (for me). I feel oodles better and it also yanked me out of a cooking rut where a can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup poured over anything and cooked was good enough to call “dinner.” Bonus points if I could put it in a tortilla (to fill diversity requirements). So, of course, being me…my newfound energy and better health had me piling things back on my plate. I’m running more (we loves the running) but I’ve moved into the woods and stick to more trails than pavement. It’s quiet and soft there. But that also means I’ve put my toe in the world of ultra running – anything longer than a marathon distance. What’s that you say? I need meds? Maybe. I’ve never even run a marathon? Maybe not. I’m not worried. I’ll let you know how that all turns out in February (yes, February who wants to run in the HEAT, bleh).

So, again, what’s the point? Why am I blogging today? Emotions. That’s why. Another thing I learned through doing my food experiment (not a diet, that food was delicious and plentiful!) Was the emotional hold I let food have, that we all pretty much let food have on us. It’s so strong! Anytime I had to write a paper or stress-grade a pile of papers or finish a big project on deadline, I made sure I had a GIANT ASS bag of Halloween candy beside me and I made sure I ATE THE WHOLE DAMN THING. Yes – all of it. IT’S MIIIIIIIINE!!!! I’d hide it from the kids, I’d raid their old Halloween

I don't care how bad they are, they're goooood.

I don’t care how bad they are, they’re goooood.

stashes because they never eat it (because they are smart, good little children and Momma puts the buckets on top of the fridge to be forgotten by tiny people). So, today upon receiving the news that my dissertation data collection had failed for the SECOND TIME and my light at the end of the tunnel was promptly stomped out and blown to bits, I wistfully looked out my office window toward the nearby Starbucks and imagined myself in the alley behind the cute little tudor-style building, guzzling pumpkin spice lattes (they’re out TODAY – all you PSL haters just SHUSH UP) and devouring their Frappuccino sugar cookies like a coked out Cookie-Monster-Golem-beast. MY PREEEEECIOUS!

But think about it. When something goes wrong I typically react with “I need a beer/wine/cookie/SUGAR.” Whoa, did I just create a new thing? Beerwinesugarcookies? Ok, that’s for another post. Let’s get back to the matter at hand. I don’t think it’s wrong to want to comfort with food, but I am definitely seeing the downsides to

Pretty Food

Pretty Food

it. For me (not for everyone) it means I can’t control the inflammation in my body and I have to rely more on things like steroids and other medicines to control my autoimmune disorders. Again, this is not the case for all. I found that picturing myself as the Cookie-Monster-Golem-Beast helped to dissuade myself from giving in. And really, isn’t this food so much prettier?!

Made some mayo.

Made some mayo.

The moral of the story. Make your own mayonnaise. Because even if it’s gross, it was fun and you can take selfies. And now for the “whoa” moment. Why mayo? Because mayo is all about balance as should life. You have to have the right amount of everything, you have pour slowly and everything has to blend. Emulsify your life! Go slow and blend well – if balanced you will have a life worth putting on chicken salad. 🙂

Women for the win in collective intelligence

I’m reading about collective intelligence and I come across this passage as a researcher discusses their recent findings:

“Finally, and most surprisingly to us, we found that the collective intelligence of the group was significantly correlated with the percentage of women in the group. More women were correlated with a more intelligent group. Interestingly, this last result is not just a diversity result. It’s not just saying that you need groups with some men and some women. It looks like that it’s a more or less linear trend. That is, more women are better all the way up to all women.”

The researcher goes on to explain that this is largely due to the level of social perceptiveness in the study group and that by and large women have a higher social perceptiveness and so the more women in the group, the higher the social perceptiveness which leads to higher collective intelligence – as determined by their study parameters.

So let’s talk about this.

1. Awesome…but we knew that, right ladies?

2. “most surprisingly to us…” why is it so surprising? I’m a feminist in the sense that I am female, a la Caitlin Moran and “How to be a Woman” so I’m not going to go all “men are dumb and women are smart” or anything, but I did find this interesting. We all have our strengths, we all have our not-so-strengths (that female brilliance shining here….).

3. Social perceptiveness is important. We’re social creatures. We live in a society, not in isolation (well most of us anyway). More and more the social aspects of “things” are being emphasized such as in education and learning. While technology can be scolded for isolating us from each other as we sit glued to our phones during social outings with friends, texting rather than talking….it shouldn’t be forgotten that those text messages are communication and communication is social.

4. I wasn’t going to get political here, but as I wrote this, news came that a pay equity bill was blocked in the Senate that would have created some rules and laws that would bring transparency to payday and require that women receive equal pay, among other things. Beyond the fact that it’s just sad that a bill like that has to be proposed in the first place, let’s just think about the findings of this collective intelligence study….let’s just look at the number of women in government (growing but still low, obviously) and draw your own conclusions. This is not an invitation to gender bash, it’s just a point of discussion, one among many.

The researcher explains how they define intelligence – basically when someone can do a lot of mental things well most of the time. That’s broad but I get it. Think about how most women you know operate. We do A LOT of things, most of them requiring mental capacity, all at once all of the time. When I work at home, I change a diaper while answering email. I conduct a conference call while answering emails and planning dinner. I write reports while creating surveys and put out fires (figuratively, not often literally) and fold laundry. Not all of these tasks require the same mental capacity, but I am willing to bet that the female mind, if we want to use a physical analogy, gets much more of a work out in a day than the average male mind. And if I were to make very broad generalizations about the genders, I’d say women are more social creatures and if social perceptiveness is important in collective intelligence – pair that with a healthy dose of multitasking (which has been shown to indicate good working memory capacity which in turn has been shown to be an indicator of overall intelligence) and I’d have to agree with the researcher – but I’d ask again….why is it so surprising? I’d be more surprised if it had turned out the other way around.

Lame “link to something on the web” post

So, it’s been awhile. I am not giving up or quitting, but things have been a little “busy” around here. So, I am going to make a lame post where I link you to something I would have written myself if I had the time. I think you’ll enjoy.


Keep it real, folks. Spring is coming, seriously, there are green things growing in front of my house and while they may be killed in a day or so when we get a last dose of white stuff, they are there now and that’s all that matters.

A Tribute to Grandmothers

Let’s just take a moment to pay tribute to grandmothers. As our mothers, we maybe didn’t like them so much.

The ultimate in grandmothers, the GREAT grandmother and my daughter throwing in the bunny ears

The ultimate in grandmothers, the GREAT grandmother and my daughter throwing in the bunny ears

We argued and disputed and tried real hard to do whatever it was they didn’t want us to do (yes, we knew it then, too but wouldn’t admit it…what?! We get that from YOU) BUT, as grandmothers, these are the women who come through for us.

Who else would go to the store for you for one banana?

Who else would offer to wash baby clothes for you (even though you have a perfectly acceptable washer and dryer)?

Who else would let your children finger paint (certainly not you in your dining room…)?

Who else makes Halloween costumes the day before Halloween?

Who else bakes cakes when you forget?

Who else can show up at a moment’s  notice with a fully cooked pot roast when you lamented to only having frozen pizza because you forgot to plug in the crockpot…again.

Who else makes silly putty from glue and Borax?

Who else can pick up your kid from school early for a doctor’s appointment you forgot about?

And who else will accept an overtired baby for the day when you have to go to work?


Grammas let granddaughters help make perogies.

Grammas let granddaughters help make perogies.

At first, I thought becoming a grandparent made these people who I used to know as my parents a little crazy (ok I still believe that…ahem, mother-in-law feeding granddaughter cereal while she sat ON the potty…) but it also makes them wholly devoted to a new little human in a very special way. My husband often retorts: “this is not the woman who raised me” when he sees his mother allowing her grandchildren to do things HE was NEVER allowed to do as a kid. But becoming a grandparent probably means something went right along the way. You managed to see your own children through enough of their life that they were able to go out and reward you with….more children. It’s a strange cycle. Is it that you get to send them home again? That they love you no matter what and it’s OK if you feed them Happy Meals every day for a week because ultimately it’s not your fault if they’re messed up when they get older?  Is it because you get to see your own children flounder aimless and at times, humorously, through parenthood?

Grammas rock babies like it's their job...wait, it kind of is.

Grammas rock babies like it’s their job…wait, it kind of is.

Regardless of the reason, being a grandparent looks like a pretty awesome gig. I’m sure I will become one, someday. My daughter informed me awhile ago she’d have 6 children, but no husband because “that would be TOO much to take care of, so no husband for me…” I refrained from commenting.


Use your imagination

Use your imagination

I feel there is an art to swearing. I used to do it a lot more than I do now. A particularly vulgar ex of mine kind of cured me of it. Hearing some of the foulest and unrepeatable things ever in my life a billion times a day sort of makes cussing lose its glamor. But I do believe you can swear with grace and skill. Substitute swear words are the best. I good bellow of “Oh the Pope’s Nose!” when stubbing one’s toe is always good for a belly laugh. But there are a few things that make me really cuss. Cold is one of them. Cold, cold weather. It was -13 (real temp, not windchill) this morning and that made me drop the F-bomb from my car to my office building door. Over and over and over. There is really no other way to deal with the cold than to swear liberally. My husband does not swear and it’s nice. I never worry about the the kids looking at us with astonishment because Daddy said “the s-word” or whatever. And it’s cute when our daughter says “gosh darn it” or “dagnabbit.” But I got to thinking, I am going to have to teach them to swear. It is a necessary skill in life. I have won many conference room arguments with a skillfully placed cuss word. They are powerful, all words are powerful. I am kind of looking forward to the day when I can teach my daughter to swear properly. You can’t over do it and you can’t do it with weakness. You have to know when and how.

And, it is always OK to drop the F-bomb when it’s 13 below zero, real temp, not windchill.

The Work Sweatshirt

I am not a power suit wearing kind of working mom. No, not even close. Definitely more function than form here. I like to be dressed for comfort and fast movements and you just can’t do that in heels, well, at least I can’t do that in heels. I would love to feel confident and Super Womanly in even the stubbiest of heels but it just ain’t happening. I need to be able to kick some ass should the occasion arise and you just can’t do that if you fall over before you get to your target.

And it’s winter. While it might be technically OK for the undergrads bopping around my office to wear black leggings and boots with the shortest of shirts, someone needs to explain the terms opaque, sheer and translucent to a few of them. No, I require pants of a sturdy fabric and preferably stain resistant  (this more often than not equals jeans) and boots. Because for three months out of the year, I give up and put my super trendy (only to me) hiking sandals away.

The point? The point is I still have not grown accustomed to my post-second-baby body. It’s not extra weight, I have disgustingly lost more than I gained and while I would love to gloat and flaunt this fact, I am just not comfortable. My chest is still large with lactation and any of you who have done this will know that nursing bras wouldn’t support a cotton ball if the world depended on it. So on the days I go to work, I employ the cover as much of me as I can style of attire. This morning in my sleep deprived state I ignored the single digit temps and left home with a t-shirt on (and

My heart belongs to you, O breathable footwear

My heart belongs to you, O breathable footwear

pants, I did manage clean pants) and only realized the consequences of my mistake when it was too late to go back home and put on something warmer. My car contains many things, I could definitely survive in it for a long time should the need arise but on this particular morning it only contained one warmer article of clothing and that happened to be a safety orange hooded sweatshirt. In the hopes of keeping my flexible employment situation, I felt that this might be pushing the envelope of professionalism a tad. BUT – huzzah! I work for a university so university apparel is always acceptable workplace attire, right? Right. SO a quick buzz through the bookstore and I was set, I now had a “work sweatshirt.” It had a collar and everything. I realized only late in the day I looked like I was dressed to coach a women’s basketball game. Meh.

And now for a bit of feminist musings: What’s wrong with a “work sweatshirt?” Nothing I say to you and all the men in my department who can don nice looking but very comfortable tops supporting the university while I still feel that women are expected to dress in uncomfortably nice clothes and that my (nice and clean) pants and sweat shirt are not seen as dressy on me as they would on my male counterparts. So – that’s all I am going to say about that.

Two things happened during the purchase of this sweat shirt that made me smile. One, the book store manager deemed me mature enough to confide a “kids these days!!!” comment in me AND tried to convince me that my size medium fancy sweatshirt would be too large for me. Thank you book store manager lady, thank you. I have no problem being taken out of the “kids these days” column and put in to the petite and mature adult column. Thank you. Little did she know I was hiding my ginormous and now leaking (reason number two for needing to purchase a shirt on the way to work) milk jugs under a skillfully arranged scarf. My husband later referred to this as “jug smuggling” while chatting online while at work and I nearly peed which would have required me to then go purchase fresh trousers to get through the rest of the work day. This would have just been too much.

So what have we learned here, today?

  1. Hiking sandals go with anything, yes even power suits. (do not question this, just be confident, no one will ask why).
  2. You too can have a “work sweat shirt”  – just be confident
  3. Jug smuggling – ‘nuff said
  4. Be confident.