Archive | June, 2012

What Were They Thinking?

21 Jun

“You’re so ugly, your kid should kill themselves.” Klein said her son committed suicide 10 years ago. 

I sat down to eat my lunch today and thought I’d catch up on the news. I really hate reading the news because it gets my blood boiling. Especially today. I’m sure by now most of you have heard about the 68-year-old school bus monitor who was bullied by a bunch of middle-school kids on their bus ride home. If you haven’t, her name is Karen Huff Klein, and you can read all about it here. I was beyond disgusted and beyond angry when I saw this and heard the horrible things they were saying to this woman. I felt ashamed of kids I didn’t know and embarrassed for how she must have felt. The suicide comment above must have hit so close to home for her that it made me cry.

It is incidents like these that make me so worried my own daughter and school. Because this is happening. This bullying is real. The sheer fact that there are so many avenues to bully people now just overwhelms me. Four different kids took videos of what they did to this woman and then decided to share it with the world. As if being bullied wasn’t humiliating enough, now the whole world knows. And maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it will open the door for us, as parents, to talk to our children and reiterate what is appropriate behavior and what is not.

How this woman handled it with such dignity is beyond me. I felt rage and wanted to scream at them for her. I wanted to yank those kids off the bus and march them up to their homes and have a talk with their parents. This is a 68-year-old woman and I’m sure their words hurt very much. At 68 I think she possesses the maturity and understanding to know her life is worth living. That she shouldn’t kill herself. But what about a 10-year-old? This is what scares me.

I don’t know what I would do if Ava were on the receiving end of treatment like this. Lord knows I’ve bought a few books to try and learn how to raise a happy, confident girl. I hope that if that day ever comes where she’s bullied or sees someone being bullied, she stands up and stops it. I hope that she is always 100% certain that her life is worth living. I do know this, if she EVER treated an elderly person (or peer) the way the children in this video treated Ms. Klein, she better be prepared for eight hours a day, five days a week volunteering at the local nursing home over summer break. She better be prepared to change bedpans and get to know the people who have come before her; people who have shaped this world she lives in.

I don’t know the types of homes these children came from. For all I know, they have great parents who are really, really angry at them right now. I can only hope that’s the case. I hope that the parents make these children right what they’ve done wrong. I hope that these children are taught a lesson they will never forget. I hope we are all taught a lesson we will never forget. Treat people with respect.

“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.” – Haile Selassie

What My Horoscope Should Have Said

12 Jun

“Capricorn, you’ve always felt the need to free yourself from society. You need to feel independent at any cost. You may need to face certain relationship problems at this time. Perhaps you’re hesitant to commit either at work or in your personal life. You may ask yourself if your attitude isn’t in fact revealing a desire to get away from it all. Perhaps you’ll find the answer today.” 

What I’ve learned from my horoscope today is that horoscopes are BS. The alarm clock went off for Mike at 4:44 am this morning. He asked me, “What time do you need to get up?” I responded. I hoped to fall back asleep but the bathroom beckoned. I used the bathroom, went back to bed and was just starting to doze off when the bedroom door flies open, hits the wall, my cat runs full speed across me, hits the window and starts going batshit crazy behind the curtains. I’m trying to untangle her in the curtains while making sure she doesn’t fall through the screen. She’s hissing at me, teeth showing and all I’m thinking is, “What the eff is going on with her?” Apparently there was a cat outside that she wanted to eat. It was 5:36 am.

At this point I figured I was awake and might as well get my day started. So I go to take the dog out and he won’t go to the bathroom. I’m standing in the backyard in a t-shirt and underwear begging him to please do his business because it’s cold. He’s walking around eating plants. I give up and leave him out there.

I walk to the bathroom, turn on the shower and step in. I immediately fly out of the shower sideways because the water is FREEZING. I turn on more hot water. Nothing happens. I turn off the shower, call Mike and ask if he had hot water this morning. He says yes. He then tries to give me directions on how to check our hot water heater settings. I’m pretty sure his directions were in French. I give up and tell him I’ll just take a cold shower. Have you ever taken a cold shower? This is not a cool shower, this is an arching my back, didn’t rinse all the shampoo out of my hair, screw conditioner, only wash the important body parts, cold shower. I got a brain freeze from the shower.

After getting out of the shower I wrapped myself in a parka, scarf, socks & slippers to try to return my body temperature to normal. I went to go wake up Ava and I crawled into her bed, only to be welcomed by a big wet spot…of pee. My daughter has wet the bed once since she’s been out of diapers. Once in three years! She has a cold and I gave her benadryl last night before bed…apparently benadryl makes kids dream they are on the toilet. I get her up and I tell her she wet the bed and she tells me, “Mom, I don’t think so. I went to bed and had wet legs last night after my bath and that’s why the bed is wet.” I tell her, “I’m pretty sure that funny smell is pee.” And she says, “Oh Mom. I think you’re right. I’m sorry I had an accident.” I tell her it’s okay. I strip all the sheets and duvet cover off her bed and go throw them in the washer.

I call Mike and ask him if he can throw her sheets in the dryer when he gets home today and there’s this long pause on the other end of the phone. I ask, “Mike, is there a problem with you putting the sheets in the dryer?” He says, “No. It’s not that. I just don’t want her to go to school smelling like the ‘pissy kid’ and we have no hot water.” You guys…looking back…I should have burst into laughter because if you know Mike, this is such a typical response. Out of all the things to worry about, namely our expensive, tankless hot water heater not working, the fact that he’s worried about Ava smelling pissy is hilarious. So after promising to wipe her down with a wash cloth and baby wipes I get off the phone with him.

I get in the car and am seriously worried about driving to work. The way my morning is going I just have that “What’s next?” feeling. I get in the car and my phone won’t connect to the bluetooth. After dropping Ava off I run back home to get my headphones. As I’m pulling into the driveway my phone connects (finally). I just started crying. I was having such a frustrating morning and I was now in a seriously BAD mood. I pick up the phone to call Heather and she doesn’t answer. I try calling Casie, she doesn’t answer. More bad morning luck. I get on the freeway and as I’m pulling on two cars in the left lane and one car in the right lane all decide MY lane is the one they need to be in. Thankfully there was no accident but I was really thinking, “Boy howdy this would just cap off the morning, wouldn’t it?”

Heather was the first to call back and I knew she was really busy and I knew she probably couldn’t talk long but after hearing me relay my frustrating morning girlfriend stayed on the phone with me until I got to work and my bad mood was forgotten by the time I got there. And Casie called back too but I was mid-conversation with Heather…but I know she would have lifted my spirits up too. I’m so thankful for my girlfriends who listen to me bitch…girlfriends are like boo-boo kisses and band-aids for grown-ups. They make everything all better.

P.S. I still think horoscopes are bullshit.

Running Changed My Life

6 Jun

Today is national running day so I thought it was a good time to write about running. You know…I get asked alot if I really, truly like running. I think so many people associate running with a form of punishment to whip our bodies into shape. A chore that some of us add to our exercise routine to burn fat, to look good, to be healthy.

At the prodding of my best friend, I signed up for my first 5k in 2008. I smoked a pack of cigarettes a day at the time. I had been a smoker for half my life and had tried to quit more times than I could count and failed. Every. Single. Time. The problem was I really, truly liked smoking. I ran that 5k, still a smoker, and it sucked. I hated it. At the end of the race she looked at me expectantly, wanting me to love running. I looked at her like she was crazy and vowed to never sign up for another race ever again.

I honestly have no idea how she talked me into running a 10k next. “6.2 stupid, stupid miles” was all I kept repeating in my head. Why did I sign up for this? I had to actually train for this race. I couldn’t just wing it. So I trained. I kept smoking. But something changed when I finished that race…6.2 miles, to me at the time, was a REALLY long way…and I did it. There came a sense of accomplishment. A sense of pride. But inside I felt like a fraud…who can call themselves a runner and still be a smoker?

So I did something really crazy and decided to sign up for a half marathon. I quit smoking. I vowed that as long as I was going to spend the money and do a half marathon, I had to take it seriously. Something happened during training for that first half marathon. I went out diligently for my training runs. Mike joined me with Ava in a jogging stroller. He carried water and paced me. He kept me honest. He decided to sign up for that same half marathon. Our lives began to change…we talked about pacing, injuries, injury prevention and we ran many, many miles together. We did our long runs separately each week. Before I knew it, I started looking forward to the long runs.

My long runs were the only time I had that belonged to just me. No phone. No conversation. No bills. No Facebook. No email. No child. No husband. No friends. No chores. Just me and my thoughts. I wasn’t a wife. I wasn’t a mom. I was just a runner. And I knew as long as I kept running I would not smoke. I started to appreciate my body. The legs I once hated became the legs I adored. Not because they looked awesome but because they were strong and powerful and carried me along the way. My thoughts changed…I learned tenacity, commitment and sacrifice. I fell in love with running. The further I ran, the more I loved it. When everything in my body screamed for me to stop, I kept pushing on. I refused to give up. I counted light poles, trash cans, beach cruisers. I raced people on the bike path. I raced against myself. I raced for imaginary finish lines.

I get asked often, “What do you think about all that time while you run?” You have a of time to think when you spend that much time running…that’s for sure. Mostly I think about nothing and everything. I think about finish lines and seeing the people I love at the end of them. I think about the anticipation as I’m standing in the chute waiting for the race to start. But mostly when I run I just have this immense sense of gratitude for life and everything in it. Running is my meditation. It’s when I let go of everything and just run.

Running changed my life in a lot of ways. It brought me closer to my husband. I finally found something that made me want to quit smoking. I started living healthier. It changed the way I thought about my body. It made me realize that I was a hell of a lot stronger than I ever thought I was, mentally and physically. It taught me about commitment, tenacity and sacrifice. And I really hope that me running, sets a positive example for my little girl. I don’t know what her passions will be, but I hope that seeing her mama run lets her know that she is absolutely capable of anything she sets her mind to as long as she’s willing to put in the work.

Running is my therapy. I live for the long runs, the lost toenails, the sore muscles, the feeling that comes only when I know I’ve left it all out there on the path and given it every single ounce I had. I’m so glad I gave it a chance.