Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Super Rewarding

Today I made a trip down to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta with a bag full of super capes to donate. I had 14 in all. I'm still a little giddy over it all.
I talked about the idea here in my post Super Funny. After that I sent a cape to my nephew for a test run. It was a big hit.

My ever brilliant sister suggested that I sell a few to fund a bigger donation. Her idea worked better and faster than I would have thought. I got 5 orders just from mentioning it to my "running" group. Thanks to those ladies, I was able to make 14 capes of various sizes and colors, and thanks to an awesome fleece sale, I still have money to buy more supplies. I just ran out of sewing time before Christmas.

I ended up making things a little harder on myself, but with great reward, by adding satin blanket binding to the bottoms of the cape. It brought in more color and has a soothing texture. It required a bit more sewing for each cape, but was well worth it. Other than that it was as simple as cutting them out and sewing on a little velcro.

I consulted with some friends who have had long term and/or repeated stays at Children's. The easy on, easy off with no tying was a very important feature, as was it being washable. The thing the donation lady got most excited about was that I had them packaged individually and clearly labeled. Those two simple things made her work a lot easier (Thanks for that tip Laura!). She was also really excited that I had some that were obviously girly. There is a group that brings capes and tutus to the kids, and more often now girls have been wanting the capes. (happy dance!!!)

I didn't identify myself on the cape tags because one can not reveal their secret identity, but I did include a note on the back. In case you can't read it, I quoted Joshua 1:9 and at the bottom added, "This cape was given in hopes that it will help you find strength and courage during your fight." And, I'm getting choked up again. After I left the hospital I was all grins and floaty until I got in my car. It was then that it hit me that I was free to leave because my kids weren't there. My children are healthy. I went there because I wanted to, not because I had to. It crushed me for a minute, and I had to sit there and cry a bit before I could drive home.
I'm not sure where I want to go from here. I'm not much of an organizer, and tend to work alone. I know a lot of people who can and would help, but asking for it is where I always fail. Maybe once I run out of supplies and supply money I'll put something together. For now, I am just so thrilled at how this turned out, and can not wait to take another batch down there.

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Warning about Arm Knitting

I was pulled in by the promise of a chunky handmade scarf in just 30 minutes. It sounded so easy. You just loop things around and *poof* a scarf. I bought yarn. I made plans. I had a dream.
See here at Simply Maggie for the right way to make this.

I settled in on a video that had several angles and seemed easy to follow

My first clue that I was in trouble was that I only had one thingy of yarn, and there was no way I was going to give myself an excuse to go back to Hobby Lobby this time of year. I'd come out 3 hours later with who knows what and twenty eleven projects that had to get done before Thursday. So instead I unrolled the entire package of yarn and worked from both ends as if I had two packs. Surprisingly, this did not come back to bite me like I thought it would.
From here things went wrong. The following is the progression of my project.

  • I discovered that arm knitting a scarf "only takes 30 minutes" because once you get a couple of rows in, a claustrophobic type feeling sets in and you just want it off of you. I'm typing while looking like I have tied myself up with yarn and have a slightly panic/crazed look on my face. Scissors may come into play if I don't figure this out soon.
  • I've gotten to the stage where I look like I am making a dwarf beard. Dinner will be late tonight because Thorin's beard is attached to my arm. I get myself into the most absurd situations.
  • I'm fairly certain that if I had just unrolled the yarn and wrapped it around me it would look the same as it does right now. I'd like to think it is because of the yarn I picked out, but it is probably because of my awesome arm knitting skills.
  • I'd make a picture, but I am literally tied up right now. Thank goodness I ignored that part about using two full scans of yarn. This thing is gigantic and I don't know how to stop until I am out of yarn.
  • Oh dear heavens, I have to go to the bathroom.

Dobby is FREE!
  • I don't even care what this thing looks like. I am just so happy to have it off of me.
  • The video said something about finishing techniques, but there at the end I just started tying things into knots.
Once you start this thing you had better have a good hour where no one will need you and you have an empty bladder. If you have any sort of fear of having your arms tied down, don't even think about trying this. The crazy thing is that I am considering buying different non-beard hair type yarn and trying it again. It might make a fun car trip project. Hopefully next time I will get better results than this.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cow Down

I had to blog this because I don't want to forget it happened. We were gathering for family prayer time tonight when I looked at our manger.
I jokingly said, "Oh no! Cow Down"
JD jumped into action and said, "It's okay, I know mouth to mouth". He then proceeds to blow on the cow stopping to shout, "Don't you die on me" and then "We've been through too much together!" He then raises the cow up and exclaims, "He lives!" It's a Christmas miricale. 
It took several minutes for us to collect ourselves enough to have prayer time after that. 
JD has been on a roll lately. He suggested that a good gamer battle cry would be "For the llamas!" and then proceed to give a shout out "to all the kids and by kids I mean baby goats." 
He makes me wonder what Steve Martin was like as a child. 

Monday, December 02, 2013

Extra Education

Yesterday was world AIDS day, and after reading a couple of articles on the subject matter and a talk with Nix, I wanted to write a little something about sex ed. This is a departure from my normal light topics. Feel free to skip it, but if you have kids, you might want to push through the awkwardness.
Two big things prompted this post. 1. I have a friend who works at a health department who occasional likes to warn moms with things like, "Saw another pregnant 17 year old today. It isn't her first child" and "Guess what kind of VD is going around the young teens."  2. Nix has been hearing a good bit "locker room" talk in high school that prompted me to make a penicillin joke, and she didn't know what I meant.

Still here? Good! First, I want to make clear the abstinence is the only 100% way to remain pregnancy and STD free. It is the method I teach first and most in my house. It is not only for the sake of physical health but also mental health, as I fully believe that sex has consequences outside of the physical that kids can not begin to grasp. Keep in mind a large number of teen see no point in seat belts or why starting to smoke might be a bad idea. Consequences are not their strong suit.
After a brief conversation with Nix about STDs, I realized there was a gaping hole in what has been covered up to this point. There has only been talk of HIV, which can kill you slowly, and a vague mention of generic STDs.
The CDC's site lists 10 STDs by name and also has an "other" category.
For all of our "enlightenment" on the subject, kids seem to still think that if a guy isn't gay, hasn't used needles in the their drug use, and looks reasonable healthy, then they are probably safe. That should scare us all.
Let's talk about herpes for a minute. They never go away. You might not be having an outbreak at the moment and appear fine, but the virus is still there. You are still contagious. FOREVER. Your partner may have only had one other partner who "looked healthy", but that doesn't mean there isn't a chain of herpes in that line.
Let's move to gonorrhea. Most people think of this as a harmless one because it can be easily treated. Here is where it gets scary. A lot of people don't have symptoms. Even when you do see symptoms, it can be mistaken for a bladder infection. By that time you have already passed it on to your partner. Even worse, a woman who shows no signs can let it go untreated for so long that it damages her ability to have children. Plus, it makes you more susceptible to HIV.
Chlamydia is very similar to gonorrhea, but even more common and more likely to go untreated. They report that 1 in every 15 sexually active teen girls has it. Many of them have no idea. They actually recommend women under 25 get tested annual for it.
Now for a fun one, syphilis. The first sign in a small painless sore that may go unnoticed. Then you might get a rash that you may or may not notice. Up to 30 YEARS later it can hit your brain, make you crazy, and then kill you.
Are you horrified yet?
These are the things we need to be making sure our teens know. My daughter is 14, and she knows at least a half dozen sexually active girls her own age. We live in a nice area. Most of my kid's friends are sweet kids. Unsupervised and naive, but sweet. Freshmen girls seem like targets almost. Older guys can show them attention, convince them that "everyone is doing it", and talk them into sex with a lot more ease these days. (Thanks Hollywood!) After that the girls seem to become the predators. If a girl's last boyfriend wanted that from her, but her current one doesn't, then he must not care enough for her. The pressure gets turned around, and even the most gentlemanly of young men start questioning the idea of waiting.
Talk to your kids openly and honestly. Tell them it is okay to wait. Tell them that sex does not equal love. Tell them that they are worth more than that.

On a side note, I am told by healthcare friends that size is a popular excuse for not wearing protection. Did you know that you can put a condom on your foot like a sock? Yeah, size is not a valid argument for forgoing safe(ish) sex.

I'm sorry if this post has been too gross/harsh/blunt/real/horrifying for you. It is important to take a look at these things so that we can do better, and teach our children effectively.  

Monday, October 14, 2013

What I teach my daughter about the "B" word

I'm not exactly what most people would call a feminist. You won't catch me protesting about glass ceilings or demanding my daughter have to sign up for selective service. I have never intentionally lit my undergarments on fire. I'm proud to be a stay-at-home mom, which was my dream job starting when I was very young. Having said all that, I do have my moments of fierce feminism.
Women were the last group of people to have their right to vote established by law in this country. People tend to brush that off without looking at the deeper meaning. It isn't just that we were viewed as weaker and without the intelligence to make informed voting choices. We were viewed as a possession. We were the property of our father until we married and then became a possession of our husband. Sometimes that meant being treasured beyond all riches, and sometimes that mean being treated no better than a stray dog.
It is that last part that I want to drive home. What do we call a stray female dog? It is the kind of dog that has been hurt by people so it cowers and growls and snaps at everyone. Some people respond by beating the dog down further. It is the most despised off all dogs. When you equate a woman to this animal you do more than insult her. You dehumanize her. You put her on the level of discarded property. When you look at it that way, does any man have the right to do that to a woman? Should any woman do that to another?
Just pointing all this out gets me called this word I despise. Why? Because I don't back down. I will not accept it. Words have meanings. Just because you don't think of that meaning when you use it, doesn't change that.
Today my daughter stopped a friend from calling another girl this name. The part that I'm most proud of is that Nix didn't even know the girl being talked about. She took a stand against the casual use of that word.
I have always taught my children that words like that are for people with small vocabularies. With that in mind, I made this handy word cloud of adjectives you can use in place of the "B" word.

Remember, when you resort to common name calling it means you have already lost the argument.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Minecraft Pumpkin

My son asked me back in September if you could buy a square pumpkin. It didn't take me long to figure out what my geekling was actually after. He wanted a Minecraft pumpkin for Halloween. I decided that this would be a fun project to obsess over and ignore chores for.
Step 1: Buy a medium sized square box, 4 different colors of orange, 2 browns and black craft paint. Get out a large ruler and a pencil. (I found the perfect size box at Walmart for less than a dollar.)

Step 2: Get over specific and search the internet for examples (none found? how is that possible?) and then move to pictures to be your guide.  Find this one and print it out.
Step 3: Make a numeric code for colors and plot out a grid like a detail obsessed dork.

Step 4: Draw out grid and numbers onto your box. Make sure you mark one side for the face.

Step 5: Use an exacto knife to carve out a face on one side.

Step 6: Paint until all your dishes are dirty and no one has clean underwear.

Step 7: Glue the top and bottom of the box shut and then paint the top remembering that this grid should contain the stem in the middle. 

Congratulations! You now have the coolest 8 bit cardboard pumpkin ever. 

The good things about this project are no pumpkin guts, it won't rot, and I can save it for next year.
The bad things are that the painting gets tedious if you don't space it out and you can't put a real candle in it (that one isn't too bad because the fake pumpkin lights are pretty cheap)
Learn from my mistakes. Think about what side you put the face on before you carve it. Mine ended up on a side where you see the edges of the top. It would look better if I had done it on a side where the fold was. And yes, I could have just changed which flap folded to the top, but two of the box flaps were printed with a large black UPC which would have been hard to paint over. 

Update: I realized after posting that I didn't have a picture of the top grid layout, which is very different from the sides. Here is the layout I used. 

In case you can't figure out my complicated code, 1-4 are the oranges with 1 being the lightest. B = black DB = dark brown, and LB = heliotrope ... or maybe that was light brown, I forget.

UPDATE: Check out the one I did for 2014

Saturday, October 05, 2013

A Personal Victory

I've got this running group of awesome women that let me come and walk behind them. At times, through no fault of theirs, I feel a bit like a sidekick. They talk of marathons and triathlons and I shake my head knowing I would never willingly do any of that. We've picked up a few more walkers recently to keep me company. It has been good for me. My appetite increases on those days and my old leg muscles are starting to appear again. 
I'm not sure what got into me, but I decided that I needed to do a 5K. I guess all the race talk in the group was contagious. Lucky for me, one of my favorite local charities, Whispering Hope, planned a 5K run or walk. It was going to be an evening race in October. Perfect! (I forgot I lived in Georgia. At 5 tonight it was still 85.)
I've had a infuriating amount of stomach trouble lately, so making it through this race was important to me. My goal was to take less than a full hour and to not be last. I met those goals in 45 minutes. I also managed to pass 7 people who were runners and sprint the home stretch. I finished before the woman carrying a baby in a sling and an elderly man who may or may not have been having a stroke. 
I might have finished behind a few senior citizens, several women running with strollers, and a dog, but I finished. My feet and legs feel like they are humming, but I finished. I got my first bib number and a race shirt and a new appreciation for runners. 
Oh, and by the way, I finished! 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Picture Dump

I did an opinion dump recently, so when I did a backup of my phone for the new iOS I thought it might be fun to try a picture dump as well. (click on the pictures to see them larger)

When I first saw this car I noticed all the animals pictured. Then I noticed the child on the far right all alone looking rebellious and had to make a picture.

We had ants this summer and lots of them. The sugar water with borax seems to have done the trick.

As if vanity sizing were not already insane, I found this confusing tag at Target. Size 26 is the new 4? You know what? Being confident enough to not need marketing people to patronize you is the new 4. This is just silly.

This is the handheld smoke machine Rocky and JD begged me to buy at a consignment sale. It is not a bong. The smoke does smell a little funny though.

This is a manhole cover at JD's bus stop and a glob of asphalt he is convinced is a buffalo breaking wind.

This is my stomach goo. It is aloe Vera juice with a few other twigs and spices. It helps with all sorts of digestive issues.

This is a recipe from an old church cookbook just in case you need to know how to cook road kill. My having this recipe is in no way related to my need for digestive aids. 

This is a screen shot of the new iPhone iOS 7. It is girly whether you want it to be or not, and comes with extras that droid users have had so long that the novelty has worn off and they don't use them anymore.

I hope you have in enjoyed the weird highlights of my last 6 months. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Christian Introvert

I am neither an expert on Christianity nor on Psychology. Please keep that in mind.
This morning I woke up with a real struggle. I'm tired from a hard week. I thought a Saturday spent in isolation (as isolated as one gets in a house of 4) would refresh me and have me ready to face the world again, but it didn't. The idea of going to something where I socialize with friends, listen to music, and be with others almost makes me want to cry. I know for a great many people that sounds completely backwards. Being in a setting designed to uplift and encourage you should be, well, uplifting and encouraging. For an introvert who is already tired, it can be torture.Here is where the struggle comes in. That place I don't want to go is church.
I love our church. I mean really love it. The people constantly touch my heart. The preaching is spot on and always interesting. So, why would I not want to go? Being socially engaged, even with fellow believers, is a switch I have to turn on. It isn't that I'm pretending to be someone I'm not, it is just that I am having to give a lot of energy to being me. Normally, I expend this energy happily, but when I feel like I am out of energy, church becomes a chore. (that is extremely hard for me to admit)
Most of the modern church is really designed for extroverts. There is one event after another in an attempt to give us a holy social life. We are charged to go out and invite others to join us. Music is played to stir our souls. Those are all really great things. The problem is, as an introvert, I don't have any kind of social life and I'm pretty happy about that. Inviting my closest friend to lunch takes planning and several drafts of an email before I finally do it. Imagine what inviting a casual acquaintance to church would be like.  The last time music really stirred my soul was probably many years ago singing "A Might Fortress is our God". A lot of Christians today scoff at the very existence of that song in modern hymnals. Actually, a lot scoff at the idea of hymnals at all. Praise songs are great for people who praise through music. For those of us who don't, it is a neon sign pointing to the fact that we can't clap and sing at the same time. There is nothing introverts hate more than being pointed out in a crowd.
This morning I got up to find my children reading the Bible with a daily devotional, and that soothed my tired spirit. For our house, God is not a once a week visit. Being a Christian is a daily walk. My faith is not going to fail because because half the house has a cold and I don't feel like being around people. Sunday is a day of resting in God and it is okay to do that in solitude every once in awhile.
The other thing I found helpful this morning was googling "Introverted Christians". It reminded me that we are all called in different ways. Even though my faith and service are not always on display, they are there and they are as valid as the front row's.
I hope you all have a restful Sunday whether that means sitting in service singing loudly or sitting in your closet being still.

(this post was not written to excuse an overall avoidance of all church, merely an occasional rest from corporal worship)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Actually Aware

I kind of tend to get a little irritated at how the word "aware" gets thrown around as was made evident last October with status updates such as "You can get cancer where?!" and "What are these gray furry things climbing on my tress?". To further explain my viewpoint I wrote a snarky blog post about how "aware" I was of awareness.
Yesterday I was actually made aware of something and wanted to share. This is Mitochondrial Disease Awareness Week (please join me in irritation that this little known nasty only gets a week). Here is a link to the official description with pictures and sciencey stuff. To oversimplify it, Mito keeps your body from using oxygen to make healthy cells. This means your body makes unhealthy cells everywhere. It takes your energy first, then you ability to eat, and eventually one system after another in your body fails.

Now for the bad new. This is by in large a childhood disease. Right now there is no cure or even treatment beyond pain management and an attempt to slow progression, neither of which works consistently. Finding a cure would be unspeakable joy.
Why isn't this something we hear about? Well, the stats run 1 in 4,000 which isn't rare, but also not super common. It takes forever to get diagnosed. It is one of those things where they rule out everything else first and the test for it is not easy. Even if a baby is presenting with problems it can take a year and a half to figure it out.
There is another reason that is a little harder for us to look at. Parents with sick children rarely have time to advocate for awareness of what is killing their child. They are focused on caring for their child and making their life as happy and as full as they possibly can. Often when you hear of a child with cancer, the people raising awareness are the friends and family, not the parents. Here is where it gets ugly. Cancer is a monster that can be fought. The battle is not always won, but it is won often enough to give us hope. Mito is a devouring beast that always ends in loss. Not many are going to sign up voluntarily for that watch. I talked with a mom this week whose daughter is in this fight. She said that the best advocates are sadly the parents in their first year or two of finding out their child has been diagnosed. After that, the parents are tired, the children are tired, and all of their focus has to be on their own family. That was the statement that made me want to post. This disease doesn't get flashy attention. Chances are good that if you didn't look for it, you'd never see a fundraiser or 5k or telethon for Mito. That doesn't mean that money and support are not needed. It means that people don't have the time and energy to ask.
So, now you know. If someone you know has a child with mito you can be ready. Ready to listen. Ready to support. Ready to help raise awareness for them.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Weird Worries

I'm a worrier by nature. I try (often failing) to suppress the urge to tie myself in knots over one thing or another. Today I suddenly was filled with worry over something too silly not to fess up to.
I got in the loaner car today and turned on the radio. Instead of the radio, it began playing my phone's playlist. It took me a second, but then I realized when Rocky had said, "Oh cool! Let me see your phone" what he really meant was "I'm going to enable Bluetooth so the car knows more about you than I do"

 So, there I was driving down the road singing along badly when the phone rang and the call came through the radio. (New fangled technology) My next thought was immediately what if I could accidentally call someone and they heard me singing Adele loud and off key. This ranks right up there with me not liking to take my phone into the bathroom just in case I accidentally hit the FaceTime button. Has that in the history of smartphones ever happened? I mean, to someone without the aid of a toddler. 
I think our Xbox is what has made me tech paranoid. Sometimes it will pick up random words in conversation and think you are talk to it. We were sitting at dinner last night and heard strange voices from upstairs. The Xbox decided that we wanted to watch Myth Busters. I still don't know why. 
And that is why I will never walk naked passed modern technology. 

*On a really random side note, if you haven't found it yet, and are looking for a new blog reader, try Bloglovin  I really like their app. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

One of THOSE Days

My check engine light came on. I am a tiny bit Sheldon Copper when it comes to the check engine light. It must be on for a reason, I mean beyond causing frustration. Just for fun, the light decided to turn off and on depending on the car's mood, and it seemed to be more confused than a chameleon in a bag of Skittles. When the funny noise showed up, even Rocky agreed that it needing checking out. Thankfully our car is still under warranty, but to have it serviced I have to drive to the Mall of Georgia area, which is a good 45 minute drive (common life in ATL burbs problem), We made an appointment to have it checked first thing this morning hoping it would be simple and I could get home before my whole day was shot, plus I'd be next to a giant mall and had a great excuse for a little shopping.
The Toyota Mall of Georgia is not a normal dealership. They take the service department seriously, and have it down. There is a nice waiting area, clean bathrooms, fancy coffee, wifi.... and a cafe if you get hungry. I got the car checked in, settled in with my "leave me alone" earphones and a good book. That is when it happened. My stomach perked up and said, "You know what we haven't done in awhile? Had a public display of our incompetence."
It wasn't even that bad. If I had been at home, or even close to home I would have shrugged it off, but no. I'm a about an hour from home with no car. The smell of the food and people was making it ten times worse. I made a few trips to the bathroom before giving up and trying to sit outside. Do you know why they have a sitting area outside? It is for smokers. I got about 10 minutes of peace before a woman who looked 70 (but was probably 45) lit up. That was my last straw.
I went to the desk and told them I was feeling sick and struggling. I needed my car done or not. Sometimes being naturally very pale comes in handy. When you tell people you are sick they kind of assume that you shouldn't be that color and tend to take pity on you. They grabbed my sales mechanic and he hunted down my car. It had been taken to the serious problem section because it turns out that sometimes the check engine light means your transmission is throwing a hissy fit. He looked at me and said, "You feel bad and just want to get in the car and go home, don't you?" Yep. So, he fast tracked me in the loaner car line.
I'm not sure how long it will be before I can have my car back, but at the moment I don't care. I have on stretchy pants.
So to sum up, stomach- annoying, Toyota Mall of GA- nice, Mondays- bad, stretchy pants- good.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Opinion Dump

I don't have a real blog post, but I do have an abundance of short opinions that if I don't get out I might explode.
I wonder if there is a good guy in this fight. Is there a side we, as a county, can stand on and know that we are in the right? I do know that we all need to be watching very carefully.
Fast Food Strikes:
They want $15 per hour for a "Would you like fries with that?" job? It does ease my mind a bit to hear that many of the protesters were not actual employees of the business they were boycotting, but paid union lackeys. Even still, it is disturbing that there are so many people out there that don't seem to understand our economic system well enough to know what the end result of such a high minimum wage would be. People like to throw out how high the minimum wage is in Australia, but they forget to look also at what it has done to their cost of living. For fun I checked. If you are curious, here is a link comparing Atlanta (not a cheap city) to Sydney.
1. Miley Cyrus: If Britney and Christina hadn't already been there and done that then I might be shocked, but they did, so I'm not. I'm just sad for her. This topic is so much not new that even Annette Funicello did it. (see Walt's opinion of her in two piece suits for beach movies) Don't forget, Haley Mills did a nude scene after she left Disney. That's right. Miley isn't even as bad as Hayley Mills. 
2. Robin Thicke: He is now on the list of people not allowed to be in the same room as my daughter along with that creepy guy who lives on Heardsville Road by the park, and former president Bill Clinton.
3. Parents: I have no sympathy for the parents outraged that their child was watching that. When have the VMAs ever been safe for kids to watch? Even if you did think it would be okay, you should have turned it off the second the giant bear opened to expose the horror inside.
The high school has drink machines with soda in them. I'm cool with that. Sure it isn't the best thing for you, but a lot of kids do better with a little caffeine. My problem with it is that they only have diet soda. So, caffeine is fine, carbonation is fine, but we just can't have natural sweeteners? I've promised Nix that I won't stir up trouble about this. We both know that the end result would not be regular cokes appearing, it would be everything except water being taken out. Because that is how public schools work.
Okay, I feel better now.
To reward you for putting up with my opinions I leave you this picture taken on the emergency exit door at Chili's

Here in Georgia, even our doors are packing heat. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Following Rules

Our character is not defined by what we do when people are watching, but by what we do when they aren't. 
My kids have been in school for a little over a week now, and the biggest lesson I have learned is that parents do not play by the rules. My first warning should have been open house. The mom in the halter top swimsuit with short shorts and the one who felt it was okay to bring her dog, should have clued me in. Basic rules of etiquette were going to be ignored. 
The next big warning sign was car line. There is always that parent who thinks it is some sort of race track instead of a parking lot, and the parent who ignores every posted sign by stopping by the door to drop off instead of pulling forward to allow others space. Then their child gets in trouble for being a "line cutter" in the hallways and they wonder why. 
The automated calls to parents the first week back were telling. One school reminded parents that there was a dress code clearly outlined, and it was expected that parents would pay attention to what their child wore. The problem has not improved. Another school was reminded that parents could not bring in fast food lunches for their child and their friends, leave it at the office, and expect it to be delivered. Rules do not apply to me or my child is the message that is sent. 
I have a book suggestion for next year’s summer reading list

The problem is that the school exists to educate our children, not police them. They don't have the time, resources, or energy to enforce rules that should be taken care of in the home. We, as parents, can choose to either teach our child that rules are to be followed even when they are not enforced, or we can teach them that cheating is okay when no one is watching. The school is supposed to help grow their minds. We are supposed to help shape their character.
Your child is watching you. If you show no respect for their teacher, then they will show no respect in the classroom. If you take short cuts to get ahead, they will have a "me first" mentality. And maybe most importantly, if they know you are not completely honest with them, they will never be completely honest with you. 
My teacher friends joke that they have no problem students, only problem parents. I'm starting to realize just how true that is. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Opposite World

Picking Nix up at high school is a daily test on my self control. No matter what the school says officially, the county dress code is not enforced. When I'm dropping her off and I see girls walking in with super tight clothes and low cut shirts, I like to pretend that their first period teacher sends them home to change. When I pull up in the afternoon and see a girl wearing stretch pants as pants I can no longer pretend. 
On a side note, in case you haven't heard, it is never okay to wear stretch pants as pants without something covering your backside. This is regardless of your size and age. It is one of the most basic fashion crimes.
Believe it or not, this post is not so much a rant about what kids are wearing to school as it is about where the line is drawn. 
Gym uniforms haven't changed much, but what has changed is that they aren't available in just any size. The smallest size they have is adult unisex small. The shorts, made out of a semi-transparent fabric, are enormous. "Oh, they have a drawstring waist to fit even the smallest students." When you can fit both your legs through one side and still have room to move, it doesn't matter that they don't fall down. They fall up. You are not allow to substitute better fitting shorts even if they are the same style and color, but smaller. It is silly, but I can see how things could go badly if they relaxed that rule, so  I get her bike shorts to wear under the school approved clothes, because the school approved clothes are inappropriate. Since they like to take PE outside from time to time and it can get a bit chilly in the mornings, Nix took a zippered hoodie to wear. The PE teacher informs the class that you can not wear anything over your PE shirt, even if it is a sweatshirt with the school logo.
To sum up, cleavage, painted on pants, and underwear showing gym shorts are fine, modest shorts and covering sweatshirts are not. 
Can we please have school uniforms now? I'd be happy with just polo style shirts and jeans. You could hardly call that an uniform.
On a funny note, Nix came home the first day with the observation that in an effort to be "unique" all the goth kids were dressed alike.  

Friday, August 09, 2013

Accidentally about drinking

I'm going to be a bad band parent. I went to my first high school band booster meeting. I knew I was getting ready to hear about fundraisers and volunteer needs. I hate fundraisers. I despise asking people to buy overpriced stuff so that an organization can get a small cut of the sale. Even still, I'm a band parent now and wanted to give the "team player" thing a try. I'm already getting out cheap because Nix is only doing concert band, so I don't have all those horrendous march band fees. 
The boosters were really excited about fundraising this year. There are two major events. We can either sell $10 beer at the Verizon Amphitheater or promote a poker tournament. They were so excited about all the money they were getting, how much easier it was, and how we no longer had to try to sell candy/fruit/gift wrap. I wonder now if I was the only one in the room uncomfortable. Maybe I should have stood up and asked if there was an alternative for Baptists. That's unfair, not all Baptists keep a sober house. 
There has actually been several very good Christian blog posts recently about the choice to abstain from alcohol. It has very much become an issue that is considered a personal conviction rather than a demand if a religion. There are two main points that I go back to when faced with the choice. 1. My father's life was negatively impacted by abusive alcoholics. I honor my father and what he went through by not drinking 2. Both Rocky and I have had alcoholics in the family. If alcoholism is even a little genetic, then one or both of my children could have that gene. If one of them grows up to struggle with alcohol, it will not start in my home. To be perfectly blunt, the idea of alcohol in my house scares me more than a gun.  If you are going to have a gun in the house then everyone in the house should know how to safely handle it and how to respect it's power. I think most gun owners follow that guideline, but somehow we miss doing that with alcohol. I'm not trying to shame people into not drinking. My point is that if you are going to have it in the house, be mindful of how, in the wrong hands, it can ruin lives. Take the time to explain the lines you don't cross to your kids before they hit partying age. 
Well, this post took a much more serious turn than I intended, but it is something I've had on my mind a lot lately. 
As far as the poker tournament goes, I just can't bring myself to encourage bad math skills. 
"Support the band, but only if you are over 21" just hasn't set well with me. It is one of those times when my personal convictions makes me odd man out. It is a good thing that I'm comfortable being odd. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I tried to clean again

My stove was long overdue for a good top to bottom cleaning. I decided that today was the day. I went at it in phases. First there was the wiping of crumbs. From there I moved to a lysol wipe. Then the big guns came out. I strapped on a mask and went hardcore with the nasty spray stuff. The only thing that none of that will touch is the strange funk that the burners get. Cue the googling. Everybody on the net says that the only way to get it done is to put the burners in a ziploc with a splash of ammonia. Left to sit overnight, the fumes eat away at the funk and make it slid right off in the morning. It is like magic, or so they say.
Here is my before (eeeewwwww!)

I am so sure this is going to work that I decide to make step by step pictures. This is the picture of putting them in the bag, and then the ammonia running out of the bags as if I had poked holes in them.

Here is a picture of the large trash bag I quickly tied them up in. Notice that it is now leaking also.

My garage now smells like a hair salon in the 80's or the house of that weird lady in the neighborhood who claims to breed cats. I haven't taken them out yet, mainly because if I get one more smell of ammonia I'm afraid the inside of my nose will catch on fire. I plan on sticking with it and washing them in the morning. If by some miracle they still get clean, I'll update the post.
I'm not sure why every time I try to really clean, bad comedy ensues, but I can only assume that it is because I was not meant to clean.
Update: There was enough ammonia left in the bags to reek when I got them out this morning. The gunk was falling off of them fairly well. I rinsed them off and then threw them in the dishwasher. Here is the official after shot

While it is obviously a lot better, it is not the magically delicious I was promised. A friend said she had better luck with putting them in the oven when she runs the self clean cycle. That trial will have to wait until the weather cools off. While I understand that the ammonia trick saved me some scrubbing, I don't think it was worth it. I've done almost as well with a magic eraser, and they don't smell.   

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Reversal of Fortune

I had something pointed out to me recently and I felt like I should pass on the information. There has been a huge blow up revolving around the celebrity chef Paula Deen. This post is not about what she said, didn't say, guilt, or innocence. This post is about being tried in the media, sort of. Prior to this whole mess the media was content to use pictures of her supplied by her publicist. They were retouched to the extreme just as most celebrity pictures are. There were no signs of wrinkles, her skin was perfect, her eyes were bright. Now let's look at a comparison I worked up of that verses the images of her that are being used now.

That is a pretty big difference.  (Click on the image to make it bigger)
This got me to thinking. How often does the media decide to go with a bad picture when a pretty one is available or when do they pick a pretty one when they could have one that is a bit more realistic?

You can often tell a writer's political leanings just by the pictures that go with it. Is the president looking presidential or sweating? Poor Marko Rubio didn't even get a shot in focus when the author disagreed with him, but in a more favorable article he looks in charge. The message here seems to be that if the writer likes the person then the picture is pretty. If they want to sway you against someone they will go to extreme lengths to find an unflattering shot.
Just this past week Alec Baldwin got wrinkly bags under his eyes and thinning hair. Who'd have thought that the simple act of insulting a journalist on twitter could age someone so quickly.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Super Funny

We had one of those classic "Did that really happen?" JD moments tonight at dinner. He said that he wished there were real super heroes. I struck a movie poster type super hero pose, Nix did a nice Wonder Woman stance, and then JD stood up and walked like an Egyptian. Think Steve Martin as King Tut. Rocky asked him what kind of super hero that was.
"Super Funny!"
And it was. Keep in mind that JD not only has never seen the King Tut bit, he really doesn't have a clue who Steve Martin is. He did see his version of Pink Panther, but prefers Peter Sellers. I asked him if he had the urge to learn to play the banjo just because it is funny. He does not. Although, he does feel that the bagpipes would be hilarious.
I wonder if Martin's parents are still living. I could use some parenting advice.

Since we are on the subject of "super" things. I am in the process of tweaking an idea. I'm working on a pattern for super capes/blankets for kids in the hospital. I'm experimenting with sizes and fabrics. Once I get it perfect, I'm going to make sure that the children's hospital will allow them, and if so I will be calling on friends to help me crank some out. I think my best option so far in a basic fleece that won't require sewing beyond attaching Velcro at the neck.

After I started working on this I saw this news story from Brazil about turning chemo into superhero treatments. This gives me hope that the cape idea will fly. If not, I'll give away my prototypes on here later on. If it does work, look for future begging for help and supplies.

Friday, June 07, 2013

No Privacy

I grew up in a small southern town that was made smaller by the number of people I was related to. Long before Facebook and twitter I was use to everyone knowing my business. There are two ways to handle this. You can try to shut everyone out and attempt to hide parts of your life, or you can just be open with who you are and what you do. I think you can probably guess which way I went. I was never gossiped about much partly because my life is too boring to be talked about, and partly because if there was something to be told, I was the one telling it. No one really ever has to wonder what I'm up to. I'm an over-sharer. Just try me. I'm an open book.
Having said all that, it is my choice to be that way. Never in a million years would I have thought that there was anyone out there that might be cataloging my online life. I'm a law abiding citizen. No one in the government should know more about me than that I am a voting, driving, married, mother of two, because those are the things I have documented with them. There is still part of me that hopes that is all the file on me says, but the truth is that I can no longer be sure about that. None of us can.
Whether or not these stories on the NSA and IRS pan out, the fact of the matter is that the government is watching closer than many expected and for reasons other than national security. It has gotten me to thinking about what I want my file to say about me.
If there is to be a file on me let it say this. I am a Christian. I believe there is one true living God. I believe in absolute truth, right and wrong, the sanctity of life starting at conception and ending with a natural death. I support the Constitution of the United States of America. Along with my family, these are the things that I will gladly stand for at any time. If you track me, do it for these reasons.
It is kind of like that old question preachers like to ask. If you were put on trial for your beliefs would there be enough evidence to convict you? I guess I just took care of that. 
Is there anything you'd be proud to be tracked for? 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Extra Roll Conspiracy

Since Rocky has been working out of the house we have been managing to swing a date lunch each week. We've been to a lot of different restaurants, and I have noticed a conspiracy. When you go to a place that brings bread to start, they always bring one more roll than there is people at the table. At first I thought it was a fluke, but then I realized it was a standard. It's a trick! They are playing on our politeness. They can not bring more rolls until the basket is empty, so they put in one more than you have people counting on you not to take the last roll.
If someone at the table is bold enough to take that last roll, your basket gets refilled with the exact right number, which is also a trick. If one person at the table has already had their second roll because they took the last one then once everyone else gets their second there will still be 1 extra roll sitting there.
The only way to win is after everyone gets their first roll, take the last one, and cut it into equal parts to divide with everyone at the table. Then stare down the waiter until they refill your basket and restores the balance.
It is either this, or they are hoping to watch a fight break out over the last roll.
Speaking of weird things I've noticed at restaurants, Rocky orders Diet Coke, and I order Coke, but over and over again they bring me the diet. What's the deal? I am not saying my husband needs to diet, but between the two of us, I am clearly not the one dieting. Do they just default to the woman? I've finally started saying, "regular Coke", which seems to make them take notice and remember.
If I'm being truly honest, our mixed drink marriage goes deeper than that. This is what is in my frig right now.

I know, I know, but we make it work in spite of the differences.

Monday, May 20, 2013

High School, Here We Come

In just a few short days I will be the parent of a high school freshman. Every time I say that I hear dramatic music play in my head. It is like the kind you hear right before the commercial break of a soap opera, or maybe when the killer jumps out in a horror movie, I'm not sure which it is yet.
We have had three pretty great years in middle school. I remember being equally nervous when she started middle school. I was so concerned about all the new challenges that she would face. I worried about peer pressure and bullying and if the work would be too much. The truth is that the work is harder, there are more pressures from friends, and there are always bullies, but she was ready to take it all on. She made new friends, sadly lost some old ones whose lives took different directions, and became much more sure of herself and of what friendship meant. In short, these challenges I was fearing became the very things she needed to mature.
This new change has me fearing something totally different. Sure there are the same old questions of course load and peer interaction, but what keeps me up now is the knowledge that these next four years are my last chance to ready her for leaving home. The school seems to be doing their best to remind me of this. All the talk of colleges and tests and career paths just drives home the feeling of time slipping away. Hearing things like "By now your child probably has an idea of what they want to major in when they go to college, and narrowed down the field of possible places they'd like to attend" gives me heart palpitations. It hasn't been even a full year since my daughter ruled out "professional ballerina". That is only one step removed from "fairy princess". Now she is researching things like forensic psychology and the best pre-law degrees. I'm not ready for this! But, she is, and that is the only thing keeping me sane.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Secret Hero

Nix has taken ballet classes for 8 years now. Since the start she has taken from our local Park & Rec. There are a lot of unusual things about our school. The teachers are not the harsh task masters that you picture dance teachers being. When I say all are welcomed, I really mean all. They do not discriminate on size, shape, or ability. You will never hear one of these teachers tell a girl that they need to lose weight, or tell a child with a special need that they can't participate. In fact, this past weekend, a girl with Down Syndrome was the star of her tap class. I didn't realize just how amazing this school was until my mom overheard a conversation just before the recital started.
Costumes are often a topic of much discussion between us dance moms. We love them, we hate them. we are glad our class got short, long, pink, not pink, this year. Just your basic dealing with a hundred stage moms type talk, only mostly nicer because we are a fun group. My mom heard two moms remarking that this year's costume was not nearly as itchy a last year's. (tulle is scratchy) Then one of the moms reveals that her daughter has sensory issues and could not stand the costume from the year before. Her teacher, Ms. Sara took the costume home and made a soft lining for the entire inside of the costume. Who does that? Awesome people who are secretly heroes, that's who!
Here is the part that made it even more special to me. If you were to use one word to describe each dance teacher you'd hear words like happy, bubbly  chipper, perky, and energetic, but for Sara, you'd probably say serious or perfection. Her hair is in a clean, tight bun, her dance shoes are on, and her matter of fact manner is what you always see with her. Even though she is a very nice person, I don't think I would have suspected that she was secretly ensuring that a girl with issues a great many dance teacher would have no sympathy for, could not only enjoy dance class, but could perform in the school's annual show.
I am positive that Sara would not tell others that she is up to this kind of service, so I'm outing her. It is exactly this kind of attitude that has kept us going to this school for 8 years.
 Nix backstage

Thursday, May 09, 2013

And this is why we should never take up drinking

Rocky and I don't drink alcohol, at all, never have. There are a number of reasons why. Some are religious, some personal experience. This week I found a new reason that we should not be allowed to drink ever.
Rocky was super busy with work one morning and didn't have time to make coffee. I thought I'd be all helpful and make it for him. This argument was a result of that kindness.

Me: How many cups should I make?
Rock: 10
Me: Hahaha, I'm not drinking any. Really, how many? 4?
Rock: No, really. They measure it weird on the pot. At least make 8
Me: You drink 8 cups of coffee in a day!? That is WAY too much.
Rocky: No, I drink 2.
Me: Then explain again why I'm making 8
Rocky: It takes that much to fill my cup up twice. I drink 2 cups.
Yeah, his mug holds 24 ounces at a time. A serving of coffee is 6oz.

I instantly get a picture in my mind of him saying, "I promise officer I only had 1 glass of wine." And then I'd be no help because I suspect a half of a glass of wine would have me drunker than Reese Witherspoon. Except, I don't think I'd be a stand by your man kind of drunk like she is. I'd be telling the cop how I told him that the glass held 12 oz and that was really almost 3 glasses of wine, but he wouldn't listen. Then we'd all go to jail. I'm not sure how I would end up arrested too, but I think it is a safe bet.
Since I went ahead and threw Reese Witherspoon under the bus here, I thought I'd mention that I actually buy her "1 too many" excuse. The girl is literally smaller than my 14 year old. Anything more than 1 glass is probably 1 too many for her.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Are Bullies Aware?

I'm starting to wonder if bullies know that they are bullies. I know the stereotypical "Give me your lunch money" guy probably knows, but does the snotty girl who is passive aggressively mean know that she is a bully? This past week Nix came out and asked one of her tormentors, let's call her K, what her problem was, and was pretty taken aback by her answer. K accused Nix of thinking that she is better than everyone, and that she was just trying to bring Nix down a peg. Keep in mind that my kid is the no makeup wearing, wouldn't know one boy band from the next, British tv watching, introverted geek (so, me at that age, but smarter). The super popular, athletic, brand name everything, party girl was accusing her of elitism. This was confusing on so many levels.
I have to hand it to Nix, she kept her wits about her and asked for specifics. Nix and K have Spanish together. K struggles in class where as Nix, who has taken Spanish for several years, excels. K sees life as a competition. Since she feels superior when she beats someone, she assumes that others feel superior when they beat her. Nix is winning a competition she didn't even know she was in, and is being punished for it.  It gets better. Other signs of Nix's superiority complex include her advanced vocabulary and lack of swearing.  Apparently, because she does not work to fit in with the mainstream, it is assumed that she thinks they are beneath her. SERIOUSLY?!
Someone who was a popular kid, please tell me this is not standard!
How can it be possible that the bullies are walking around thinking they are in the right and the introverted nerds are the snobs? Was that girl in high school who started hating me out of the blue just reacting to some slight I had no idea that she was perceiving?
Just in case you are wondering, thin people don't really care about your weight. Smart people don't care about your IQ. People are usually too concerned with what they think is wrong with their own appearance to worry about yours. Introverts are not avoiding you, they are avoiding people in general because they find certain types of personal interaction very stressful.
We'd all be better off if we embraced the idea of not assuming what people think because chances are good they don't think of us at all.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Glitter Glitter Everywhere

I'm a reasonably crafty person. I have a craft table and various craft supplies, but in the past I've shied away from glitter. It is an understatement to say that it gets everywhere. Scientist have used it in air vents to test how biological weapons could be deployed and the impact they would have. At Christmas time I open the mail over the trash can in case someone has sent us a glitter bomb disguised as a holiday greeting. I have been an avid grumbler when my daughter's ballet recital dresses were glittery. Don't even get me started on the spray glitter moms. I don't mean the ones who spray a little on their child. I'm talking about the moms who use it like hairspray backstage at the Miss GA World pageant infecting all who are within a 10 foot radius.
I started with the easy stuff. Glitter glue. You don't have to worry about it going everywhere because it is already in the glue. I made this nifty thing from pinterest where you take a bottle and put water, glitter, and glitter glue in it. When you shake it up the glitter slowly floats to the bottom and is very peaceful. I decided that my glitter was settling too quickly and added more glitter glue to slow it down. The problem is that it didn't break up right and I now have what looks like glitter poop in my jar. Red glitter poop is not relaxing.
This past month I bought some gold tulle to use in making a fabric flower to go with Nix' 8th grade dance dress. I didn't realize at the time that I bought it that the glitter on the fabric wasn't so much attached as it was sprinkled on. I noticed that when I stood up from making the flower and saw that my lap looked like Tinkerbell had thrown up on me. Somehow the fabric still seemed to have plenty on it.
Next came the mask. Her dance is a masquerade. Naturally, her dress doesn't match any store bought mask. In fact, most of the masks outright clash with her dress. This lead me to purchase loose glitter to aid in decorating one from scratch. I actually ended up experimenting with mod podge to glitter ratios.
The final straw came this week when I voluntarily offered to get tiny silver glitter top hats for Nix' ballet class as they will be circus magicians in this year's recital. These hats absolutely rain glitter. I decided to bring them all home and spray them down with a clear acrylic to help seal it all down.
I need a glittervention. Just the fact that I made up the word "glittervention" means I have gone too far and need help. It is the glue and spray fumes. They have gotten to my brain. Last night I went to wash my face and there was glitter all over the wash cloth. I don't even know how it got there. I've had a glitter blackout.

On the upside, look how the mask turned out! It looks beautiful on her. Believe it or not, I had most of the supplies laying around the house.

Friday, May 03, 2013

No Really, This Happened

Sometimes things happen that are so bizarre that I hesitate to tell people about them because I'm not sure I believe it actually happened even though I witnessed it. JD has been pulling a lot of those lately. Yesterday probably topped them all.
We were in the car driving home, and out of nowhere JD says, "Hey. I'm Christopher Walken". ??? No one would actually mistake him for Walken, but he kind of had the right accent and inflection going on. Christopher Walken doesn't exactly do children's movies so at this point I'm more than a little confused. Nix had to ask who Walken is, and I said he was probably one of the creepiest actors out there and the "More cowbell" guy. At this point JD says in his Walken voice, "I am offended." I almost had to pull the car over to collect myself.
He finally fessed up that there was a bit on a Disney Channel show about how all of this kid's impressions sounded like a bad Christoper Walken. Although he didn't actually know who Walken was, he knew it was funny, and knew it would be funnier to spring on me. He was right.
I wanted to video him doing it to prove it happened, but now that he knows it is funny he has exaggerated it and it doesn't sound the same as when he did it off the cuff. Rocky thinks that my shock in processing what he said made it sound better in my mind, which could be true. Even still, if your kid did even a really bad Walken out of the blue, you'd be freaked out, too.
Some days I really wonder what JD will grow up to be. The most likely choices right now seem to be comedian, politician, or con artist. Rocky says that is ridiculous. JD would never go into politics.
Since I can't give you JD, I'll leave you with the best prescription for a fever. (SNL clip to follow and all that implies)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Fun with $2

First of all, I feel like I need to say that I am not a practical joker. I have never seen the humor in rolling someone's house or scaring the pants of someone. In general, if a prank has been pulled, I am not behind it. I have aided in a few, but I'm never the mastermind. This really is an exception.
I was at Walmart and noticed that they had those little stick figure family stickers on clearance for only $2. I don't typically put things on my car windows, but I know a few people who do. This is when I remembered something I saw on Pinterest. A guy had taken an extra woman sticker and placed it on his neighbor's car making their stick family look like a plural marriage. It took the neighbor weeks to discover it. Que the evil laughter.
My first victim was my friend Tiffany. Her family likes a clear car window as well, but after running a half marathon she put a 13.1 sticker on her back window. I happen to know exactly where her car is going to be at a certain time on a certain day of the week because she is in the running group I quit shortly after I started. So, while Tiffany was out training for a new level of sticker, I added a cat to her window.

Part of what makes this funny is that she has a cat that spends the night mousing in the garage with the car. It was my deepest hope that, if even for a fleeting second, she'd consider the possibility that the cat put it there.
It took her 2 and a half days to find it. Not bad actually.

My other victim was one of my dance mom friends. She already had a stick family on her car, but they were a different size than the ones I had so adding an extra kid (my first choice) was out of the question. Instead I gave my friend a cute little purse. I always love the purses she carries, so it seemed fitting. How long did it take her to notice? Well, let's just say I will soon find out if she reads my blog.

Tonight's sticking was for a single friend of mine. (singularly awesome) This is my fun way of saying that this is the only man she needs. I know she reads my blog so if she doesn't see it tonight, she'll get a laugh tomorrow. I was going to behead the man, but there is a good chance her ex will see this and I don't want to start real trouble.

Mainly I think this week has been so hard for this country that I needed a few minutes of silly. I needed to smile at something completely stupid. It was a good distraction for me, and I hope it has lightened the mood of others as well.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Animal Family

I took a psychology class half of one year in high school. I didn't learn much in that class, but I do remember a couple of very useful things. For example, the first day of class the teacher wrote a number on the board, told us all not to remember it, and then erased it. That number was
I wish I was kidding.
I also learned that in any crowd of people there is always one person thinking about Abraham Lincoln.

Now, that person will be you. That is unless I am there because this little nugget worms it's way to the surface much more often than it should.So really I learned more about needing a psychologist than I did any real psychology.
One fun assignment we had was to draw our family as animals. My family looked something like this:

My dad is tough, but kind so he got the smiling rhino. To me, kangaroos are the picture of motherhood. My brother was actually in college at the time and taking a repelling class and cave exploring and it all just seem kind of monkey like to me. I actually meant it in a  nice way... I think. The tiny bird for me is pretty clear even if you haven't had my level of training in psychology.
I was talking about this with Rocky and the kids. We all took turns talking about what animal each of us should be. What you pick for yourself is always so telling. I think the animals we picked for each other are much more flattering, and probably truer. Here is how we ended up

Rocky was probably the hardest and we are still on the fence between bear and wolf. Either way I think it lands on cuddly and yet fierce. Rocky picked fox for me, and the kids chimed in saying that was perfect. We all quickly agreed that JD is our little capuchin monkey, and Nix is sweet and cute and caring like the river otter.
I'm working to embrace the idea of being more of a fox, but often inside I still feel like a little bird.