Sunday, July 30, 2006

All I Really Need to Know I Learned On MySpace

Here are the top 10 things I've learned after a few weeks on MySpace, or as my friend Jennifer calls it, 'CrackSpace':

1. The #1 job for young adults is "pimpin'". If the "pimpin'' field is a little overcrowded you can always apply to be a "gangsta". If I had known this 10 years ago I would have changed my major.

2. The conventions of the English language are no more. all u need iz sum imagin8shun & a keebord & u can b sh8kspeer {} \]

3. tHe SamE gOes FoR CapitIliZaTIon.

4. If you ain't mad in your picture, you ain't representin.

5. Tom is everyone's friend.

6. But if you try to hook up with Tom he'll issue a restraining order accusing you of being a stalker.

7. Just kidding.

8. It's easy to be a stalker with MySpace. You can look up your preschool crush, your high school enemies and that guy that never talked to you on the bus even though you were best friends in the third grade. Anonymously. You can even do a search of your hometown and just see everyone in your age group at once. But then you need to cover your tracks so your husband doesn't know how much time you're spending looking up people on MySpace. You don't have a job and you can't afford a divorce.

9. If you have less than 100 friends you are a loser. Loo-hoo-hoo-zerrrrr. Don't even bother reading my blog if you don't have 100 friends. I don't want to be associated with you. And you ain't representin', yo.

10. All modern teenage girls are actually hookers. It's can tell by their pictures. In my day, back in the 90s, teenage girls were only a little skanky, now they're hookers. Somebody's got to work for all those pimps out there.

11. (Because 11 is one more than 10) The most important thing I've learned on MySpace is that 10 years from now, all of my children's online activity will be monitored my me and my husband. They won't know the meaning of computer privacy until they're 18 and out of the house. For shizzle.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Strawberry daiquiries + Shopgirl = I think I'm Claire Danes

Will and I have an intricate bartering system. He pimped my blog so I cut the grass. I cut the grass so he made me (clears throat) several rum heavy strawberry daiquiries.

The kids are in bed, the blog is up and running, the house is cooling down. We settled down to our Netflix selection, Steve Martin's Shopgirl. I should preface the rest of the post by mentioning alcohol makes me chatty. And makes me think I look like Claire Danes.

"I totally look like Claire Danes. Don't you think I look like Claire Danes?"

(Avoiding eye contact) "Yeah. You could look like Claire Danes."

"No really...if I did my hair like that and lost some weight. Don't you think I look just like her?"

(Trying to hide his condescending sober smile) "Yeah..."

"If you ever left me I would totally marry a rich older man."

"If you left me I'd go out with Claire Danes."

"Like...I wouldn't even think twice about it. Especially if you died. I'd find a rich middle aged man who thought I was cute. Someone looking for a girl in her twent...."


"Shut up! You better leave me soon, while I'm still young enough to get an older man."

"I'm trying to listen to the movie."

"This is a cute movie. Why would someone who wrote something this charming be in The Pink Panther?"

(Will pausing and reversing to catch missed dialogue.)

"Who does Jason Schwartzman remind you of? I was thinking Todd, but not really. Who does he look like?"

(Not even acknowledging me)

"No one would want to marry me now because I had my tubes tied. Older men want a second chance to raise their kids...You better not leave me. I couldn't get anyone else."

"I'm trying to watch the movie."

"When I'm drunk I think I look like Claire Danes. Don't you think I look like Claire Danes? Who do you look like? Who would play you in a movie? Ed Harris? No....who have I said you look like?"

"I gave you too much to drink."

Serves him right for putting so much rum in my daiquiries.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Oh my heck, these guys are good.

When I started my blog I struggled with what I wanted to do with this thing. In fact, my first post is a declaration of "I don't care what you think...I'm writing for all our relatives who want to keep up with us." Then I proceeded to write about politics and religion and whatever else I felt like writing. I probably waited a month before I even told our relatives about the blog. My blog turned into my own little editorial column.

In my initial efforts to generate traffic, I would spend waaaaay too much time jumping from Mommy Blog to Mommy Blog, leaving as many comments as I could muster. Don't get me wrong, I was sincere and only left comments on the sites I enjoyed...nevertheless, I was really hoping to get traffic to my own site. After a few weeks of this I was exhausted. It occurred to me that there's something slightly hypocritical about a mama blog in which the mama is spending her day glued to the computer desk.

At that point I put myself on a blog diet. I limited my mama blog viewing to less than 10 blogs per day...usually the sames one everyday. I only leave comments on posts that I connected if I'm commenting on your page it's really, really because I enjoyed what you're writing. Even if you leave a comment for me, I'll only comment on your blog when I think it's appropriate. This is so I don't get sucked into a viscious campaign to get more people on my own page. And so I keep the whole blogging thing in perspective; fun, therapeutic, socializing (sorta), but not another full time job.

So here we are in blog has been up for almost three whole months. I can safely say there are less than a dozen people visiting my site per day...and I am very ok with this. But then, THEN, I spend a few minutes scrolling through random Crazy Hip web pages.

"53 comments? Someone got 53 comments on her post???"
"People are getting paid to blog?? They get that much traffic???"
"What are all these ads? What's BlogHer? Are all these people actually meeting in person??"

What the heck? There are women out their with their own fan clubs...superstars in the blogging arena. And the writing...the writing....I don't even know what to say. Let's just say I felt like a 13 year old journaling out my pubescent emotions compared to some of these awesome writers.

"Dear Diary,
My face is broken out again. The pretty high school girl on the bus smiled at me. Maybe we can be friends and hang out at the mall. I am totally going to save up my babysitting money for a jean jacket like hers."

I think I'm better off just doing my little thing and not trying to be a blogging homecoming queen. Especially when, in the blogging world, the homecoming queens are gorgeous and smart and articulate. I'm the dorky debate club girl reading Newsweek during my lunch break. So if you read my blog, thank you. Let's be friends. Who wants to be popular anyway? I hear the popular girls are easy...just kidding.

Monday, July 24, 2006

This too shall pass.

Ummm....I don't know what happened to my blog. Will is in the process of creating a new design for me but he has to learn how to build one from scratch. Who knew this stuff was so hard to do????

So I've got this generic one here while he learns how to do what Izzy mom and all the other blog designers have already figured out. I'll go ahead and update my links tomorrow. But don't get too attached to 'Generic Green Blog'...better things are coming. Someday.

Some like it hot so let's turn up the heat 'til we fry.

Sometimes God thinks North Idaho folks are getting too uppity, what with their beautiful landscape and mild climate. So to put them in their place he sends a 100 degree heat wave. "But Kristi," you say, "The whole country is experiencing a heat wave. What makes you think North Idaho is being especially punished, pray tell?" Because these fools don't put air conditioning in their homes!!! Because I haven't been without air conditioning in 100 degree weather in over 10 years! And I'm yelling because I'm disoriented and muddled by the extreme heat!

Aaaaannnd I'm done.

You know how I usually do thematic posts, like little essays? Not this time. I. Can't. Think. So. Hard. So here's the one where I write random things that have no coherence whatsoever.

Birthday season is officially over. We had a hot, but fun soccer party for Charlie at the park yesterday. So I finished my first year of what I call 'birthday politics'. Politics in that you have to campaign to get families to your birthday parties. Among my top 10 fears of all time, up there with accidently forgetting that I'm not wearing my bathing suit bottoms and stripping down to my panties at the pool, is the fear that no one will show up to one of my kids' parties. So I'm a party politician. By the way, if you think that oreos and black licorice on a white cake will look like a soccer ball, you're wrong. Just buy the damn cake because you'll look like an idiot trying to make one yourself.

We're driving 2 hours to get to a Sonic today. That's right, you heard me...whatcha gonna do about it? I earned a trip to Sonic. And nobody, not you, not Mr. gas man, nobody's gonna stop me. At least our van has air conditioning.

I haven't seen a moose yet. Which is weird, because there's moose in all the decorations and pictures up here. Or is it meese?

To the guy who invented built- in sprinklers: first, thank you. That was a good idea you had there. Second, could you come over and show us how to use these bad boys? Our crappy leasing office won't show us and our grass is turning yellow. The neighbors are giving us dirty looks. One day I'm going to wake up with burning effigies on my lawn. Please help us.

Our "flying to Texas at Christmas" fund is getting a little boost. I'm watching one of Juliet's playmates 3 days a week. Poor Charlie, too much estrogen in the house. He's spending his summer avoiding prancing little fairy princesses who like to get into his stuff. He got a scooter for his birthday. He'll be scooting over to his buddy's house for the rest of the summer.

My five year old daughter is boy crazy. This is normal, right? Her current obsession is a nine year old neighbor. Let's call him "Moose". " you think Moose likes me?" She wants him to be her boyfriend. She also uses her Barbies to play a game called "naked club" in which all of the guessed it...get naked. Now I told Will that I used to have crazy crushes like this when I was little, too. And then I spent my entire adolescence behind big hair and glasses that covered my whole face and no one had to worry about me and the boys. On the other hand, I happen to think my girl is particularly pretty. And pretty + boy crazy = teen pregnancy in my book. So is it wrong to hope that your daughter needs coke bottle glasses?

Three weeks ago Charlie wouldn't let go of the side of the pool. Now he can swim the length and he's jumping in doing flips and all kinds of craziness. I still pinch my nose to go upside down underwater.

Ava reminds me of Margaret O'Brien. Margaret O'Brien was of the little girls in "Meet Me in St. Louis." Ava also likes to say "Oh snap" at random moments.

This is all. Thus ends my completely random post.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up...

...At all.

My oldest is seven today. Most of our parenting instruction up to this point has revolved around pushing, or even forcing our children towards independance. Hugs, kisses and affection, yes. But no coddling of whiny kids trying to get their way. No baby talk. No "boo-boos" and "owies". And no one, not even nightmare terrified toddlers, can share the big bed with me and Will.

What may sound draconian to some parents has suited us fine as wine. Over the years I've noticed how one's parenting style is often a reflection of their circumstances. For example, I'm priveleged to know a few older parents who struggled with the conception and successful birth of their children. And they approach parenting with such a grateful attitude, cherishing the miracle of their child, that you can see their love on their faces and in their body language. They may be more likely to coddle and use the baby talk out of a true sense of wonder and privilege. I love being around parents like that. They encourage me to take the edge off my voice a little and sit back and smell the sunscreen.

Parents like me have a different worldview. I couldn't put into words the absolute and unconditional love I have for my babies. And I know that they know they are loved. But from day 1, even before day 1, say day -152, I've been preparing myself for their release into the world. The day when they would, hopefully, pack their bags and leave for a whole new life. To us, loving them and preparing them to leave us go hand in hand. You can't do one without the other.

My son is 7 today. Seven years ago we gave birth to someone who would someday have to pay his own bills and find his own way in the world. And like all parents, we want him to avoid our mistakes. Ask him about credit...he'll tell you that we don't borrow money to buy what we can't afford. Ask him about his chore money. He'll tell you that he has to put $2 into his savings envelope and he's never ever allowed spend it. He also has a fairly sophisticated understanding of his parents' religious differences and a slight understanding of Libertarianism. All these years, for seven years now, I have been preparing myself for the day when I let them go. And today I realized how soon the day will come.

Ava walks into my room, real tears streaming down her face. "She won't wet me play with her toy!!!"

I usually correct her, "Let. L L Let. Say it again, please." But I didn't correct her.

How long will her 'lets' be 'wets' and her 'verys' be 'berys'? How much longer will she ask to sit on my lap? How many more years before Charlie stops creating elaborate soccer matches between his toy cars? When will Juliet be done insisting on wearing Easter dresses with black tights and dress up jewelry? How much longer do I have before the sarcasm and rolling eyes start? It's only been seven years since we started this family but seven years is a millenium in the world of childhood. Yet it goes so fast. So, so fast. In another seven years he'll be taking his pre-SAT and beginning high school. Seven years from that he would have been three years out of the home. I married when I was 21. Could he be married in 14 years? In 14 years I'll be looking at my grown up son. In 14 short years I'll have a 19 year old daughter and a 17 year old daughter. In 14 years my whole world of parenting will be over.

I turned 30 two days ago. Cheers to me, I was carded on my birthday. Fourteen years ago I was a high school girl, waiting for my life to begin. Now my life is happening...and every day, every minute I need to remember how precious these hours are.

I'm not usually so sentimental, you know. But my baby turned seven today.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

An Inconvenient Alarmist

Not Gore. Me.

I have a love/hate relationship with online news coverage. Having violently ripped cable and network tv out of our home, I've been spared from ongoing Michael Jackson/Britney Spears/ridiculously trite items that seem to dominate tv reports. On the other hand, I spend a fair amount of time reading online news from the same sources. And do you know which headlines I always click? The most morbid, sensationalist pieces I can find. Let me give you a sample:

21st Century Foot Binding

N Sync Boy in Gay Bar! Read All About It!!!!

Las Vegas Hookers Want You to Love Them in the Morning

Sex Addict Teacher/Nude Photos/You Get the Picture

What's wrong with me? I'm only moderately aware of global events but I can tell you about every murdered child and renegade teacher in the United States. It's as if Giraldo Rivera has taken over my fingers and forces me to read crap. "Don't read about Putin's strained relations with Bush, Kristi. That's boooorrrrring. Oh look..Jessica Biel is auctioning off a date with herself to benefit a teenage amputee." I have not once in my life seen anything that Jessica Biel was in. But I know she loves the teenage amputees.

So here's another manifestation of my news reading habits: I truly believe we're all going to die any minute now. Like before I finish this post. Remember Y2K? Remember the crazies who thought all the airplanes were going to crash into their bedrooms? That was me. Remember Katrina? I read about Katrina coverage and hashed out a survival plan with my husband. Not, "Oh let's be sure we have some blankets and water and extra food stashed in the van in case of an quick escape". No. My plan was more along the lines, "Could we survive in the mountains if all of civilization self destructed? Could we hunt bears?" My husband, being the masculine guy that he is, "Yeah. Of course. I don't think we'll have to...but duh...I could hunt bears." ( That's a joke. Will doesn't hunt and I've never heard him say "duh".)

I'm the girl staying up at night wondering if the one homeless guy in Sandpoint is going to break into my house and kidnap my children. I'm the girl wondering if a runny nose is really the dreaded chicken flu running rampant in my home. I'm the girl who is convinced India is going to take over the United States in our lifetimes because our children are graduating college as illiterates. Don't get me started on all the different scenarios in which the United States is completely dismantled. It doesn't help that my husband won't eat at a restaurant with his back to the door. You know, so he can get any bad guys that come to rob the place. Duh.

So here's where my nuttiness gets complicated. First, a riddle: What do you get when you cross a wacky conspiracy theorist who loves stories of doom with actual predictions of doom? Crazy Kristi, the girl who thinks Mr. Global Warming is going to gun down her family any minute now. With a machine gun. Why are there wildfires in California? Global warming. Devastating hurricanes? Global warming. Unprecedented number of stingrays on the New England coast? Global warming. So now I'm sitting here getting to choose between the crazies who think global warming is going to kill us off in our kid's lifetimes and the crazies who think we have another couple of hundred years or so. What's an alarmist like me to do??? Stephen freakin' Hawking thinks we need to get off the planet! I know nothing about space travel. I'm screwed.

So I'm starting to think that the constant reporting of sensational news bits compared with the occasional mention of the earth rapidly heating tells us a great deal about ourselves. Maybe Americans feel so helpless in the face of global warming that we'd rather read about gay N Sync boys as a form of relief. Relief Roman circus style. Here's a headline that is sure to get our attention:

"Gay N Sync Boy Travels to Space to Escape Effects of Global Warming"

Beat that, ABCnews. So I'm off to go build my spaceship. Wish me luck.

Monday, July 10, 2006

George Bailey, I'll love you 'til the day I die.

Can you believe it? Crazy Hip etc. used my prompt for their writing collaboration project:

“What song or movie best tells the story of your life/family?”

Having already written about my love affair with the Tenenbaums, and reluctantly dismissing my first instinct to write of my similarities with the protagonists of "Weekend at Bernie's", I decided I must write about the movie that makes me weep everytime I see it. The movie I was thinking of when I wrote the prompt in the first place. "It's a Wonderful Life".

Like many of you, I had seen this movie every year since I was a child. It was only a few Christmases ago that I realized the frustrations, worries, helplessness and joys flawlessly portrayed by Jimmy and Donna were exactly what I was experiencing as a young mom and wife. While not as altruistic as the Baileys, we waged an ongoing battle with poverty. Blessed with fertility, our colic plagued babies kept on coming. We had our moments, our days, our weeks, when the dead end jobs and constant crying nearly did us in. I could see George's frustration and hopelessness growing in Will. I could see Mary's fear and helplessness in the mirror. I prayed for endurance.

Seeing the movie reminds me of intimate whispers of future travel and adventures, dreams thwarted by babies and bills.

I'm shakin' the dust of this crummy little town off my feet and I'm gonna see the world.

Sleepless nights, debating which bills we would skip out on this month.

You call this a happy family? Why do we have to have all these kids?

Worrying about Will. Wondering how much longer he could last.

[to George] Look at you. You used to be so cocky! You were going to go out and conquer the world!

And then something happened. It wasn't an epiphany moment or divine revelation. It was a series of fortunate events. New jobs, new house, a permanent end to the baby making. We both matured a little and began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And then, our own Bedford Falls called us to Idaho. See...I told you'd we'd travel. Look at us! Boating and swimming and skiing and biking and hiking. We're adventuring. We made it. We passed our terrifying night of panic and were celebrating Christmas with bells and friends and joy in our lives. And here we are. Still poor, but still in love. Occasionally frustrated, more often grateful. And the dreams of the future are back, too, only now I'm more appreciative of the present.

Remember that night we broke the windows in this old house? This is what I wished for.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Wasted days, wasted nights.

Someday, in waning days of this disappointing administration, I'm going to do a lengthy post about the wasted opportunity that was George W. Bush. On that day, I'll paint a picture of the glorious presidency that 'could have been' had W. stuck to the vision he sucked me into in 1999. I'll shed a tear, drink a glass of wine, and nostalgically blather about my pipe dreams of privatizing social security and America's new non-interference policies in the global community. What a sad day it's going to be.

In the meantime, I came across this article articulating what exactly is going wrong with Republicans today. "Why Conservatives Can't Govern", or "Why Kristi Abandoned the Republican Party and is Now a Libertarian Even Though She Doesn't Believe They're Ever Going to Get Anyone Elected and Should Stop Reading the News Because it's All so Disappointing Anyway."

Maybe I'll get that glass of wine today.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Have I got a link for you!

Do you spend countless hours neglecting your work/children reading online celebrity gossip?

Do complain about our celebrity obsessive culture yet find yourself drawn to photographs of latte-carrying, tiny-dog-owning, anorexic ingenues?

Have I got a link for you! Now you can keep up with celebrity gossip while self righteously mocking the absurdity of it all. Don't feel guilty for ogling...just feel better about your ordinary, healthy weighted, normal lip sized self.

Blogger isn't being cooperative so you have to cut and paste:

And don't blame me if you don't leave the computer for another 30 minutes or so.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Just another myspace loser

Myspace Icons

All this time I thought myspace was for singles trying to hook up with other singles. Or at least teenagers trying to make their unique and independant statement to the world through highly stylized pouty photographs. So I mocked and disparaged myspace. Now it's time for my comeuppance. Because it turns out that everyone I've ever known in my life (that's about 11 people at this point) has a page on myspace. Who knew? Not me. So now I'm another myspace loser. You can check out my page and invite me to be your friend if you want. Or you can make fun of me for following the herd. But please, whatever you do, leave lots of glittery, shiny graphics in my comments. I don't have enough glitter in my life.

Holla at cha girl!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

She comes in colors everywhere. She combs her hair.

She's like a rainbow.

Today we celebrated Juliet's 5th birthday with a full-on-invite-everyone-we-know pool party. I invited kids I met last week. I invited kids I've only spoken to once. And everyone came! It was a surprisingly successful party. They played, they swam and I hooked up with other moms for some future adult conversation dates. It was nice to see Juliet playing with other little girls. She misses her San Antonio friends.

So after a full week of fretting whether or not anyone would come, preparing a pool-shaped cake, filling goody cups and thoroughly working myself to silliness over a 5 year old's birthday party- I'm exhausted. So this is all for now.

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Kristi From Texas
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