I Work Out

I suck at working out. I suck at working out for enough time. And I suck at finding the time to work out.

Evening is no good. After the girls are in bed it is hubby time. Or at least couch time.  I have tried working out in the morning. My body doesn’t “do” morning. I have tried walking at lunch, at school. Cause I have nothing else to do, and returning to my afternoon classes all sweaty is so professional. All these workout plans crashed and burned didn’t work out.

Well, in case you missed it, Hell must have frozen over last month, because I joined a gym.

In August I got results back from a V02 stress test (I have “heart issues, ICYMI. Explained here.) The meds I’m on for this cause lower blood pressure and increase sweating, so I get all clammy-skinned and soaked. I know I’m sexy, you don’t have to say it. Despite having lower heart function, aerobically, or something, I worked out and breathed pretty much as a well as a normal person and have a “very good 5-year prognosis”. That does not mean I was expected to die of congestive heart failure in five years. That’s just how they say it – “How likely are you to die of this soon?” For me: very unlikely. I could resume my exercise routine now, and try to reconstruct cardiovascular strength. Wait, I had that? 

Actually, yeah, I (kind of) did. I’d done a Couch-to-5K app the whole way through, run several “virtual 5K’s” where you do the run alone and report your time (through The Fat Girls’ Guide to Running – site here) and allowed myself to be the sweaty, disgusting heavy chick at the back of the pack exactly ONCE in an actual a local 5K.

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Post-run, and what a lovely shade of purple I achieved.

The gym I agreed to pay to sweat at is one of the more expensive ones around, almost four times as much as the usual chain ones. My theory is that if I paid that much I will feel crazy-guilty if I don’t go, as opposed to the $10 a month that I wouldn’t miss. Included in the monthly price are several class times a week for Zumba, Spinning, Yoga, Water Workout, TRX, BeachBody, Cross-Training, Weight Lifting, and something called Aerial Yoga – which is, as far as I can tell, a Cirque de Solei-inspired method of breaking your neck. I have no plans of attending these yet. I am a lone wolf, thankyouverymuch. Also included is a personal trainer who works with you once a month to design a routine you’ll follow at the gym, teach you how to use all the torture devices weight-training and cardio machines, and switch things up so you develop different muscle groups and don’t burn out. In theory.

Actual picture of actual gym, and I actually know what to do with like 10 of these. #progress

You also meet with an R. N. monthly for a very dignified weighing, measuring, and strength-testing session. This was not as scary as it initially sounded. So far. Nor did it feel particularly dignified. The gym is extremely clean, cool, and the locker room is a little spa-esque. They play Sirius 80’s or 90’s radio. The pool looks lovely and family are welcome to swim on Sundays year-round.

I got all excited about one location near me having hot tubs. Then I remembered I'm probably not supposed to be in hot tubs. #heartcrap
I got all excited about one location near me having hot tubs. Then I remembered I’m probably not supposed to be in hot tubs. #heartcrap

Guest passes are a thing. The childcare room is big and well-stocked. And has a Game Cube so the girls get their little fix for the day. And, best of all, there are a few chubby middle-aged moms and older folks mixed in with the pretty people who don’t look like they need a gym. All this is lovely. But I seriously picked this gym for no other reason than its location, directly on my way home from workn – so I will have zero excuse to skip it and drive to Taco Bell. 

Why am I running an advertisement on the blog for this gym? (I’m not. If you want to know which one, email or message me.) But if I blog it I have to do it, right?


One hopes. The $$ per month doesn’t hurt my motivation either.  But then there’s the fine print. (And I’m not talking about the gym contract.)

Before I had kids a fellow teacher told me, as we were looking at a poorly-behaved set of siblings, that their mother was a teacher and therefore they should be better behaved. But, she explained, she left them in after-school care and went to the gym after her school day, and between doing her own teacher work after school, and her workout, she didn’t pick them up until *gasp* 5:30 some nights. This was the explanation for the kids being brats? Mommy stayed late and did her work and then took an hour+ for herself daily, so naturally the kids were suffering? I bought it, sadly. And it instilled in me enough guilt to rule that option out for years.

My kidlets are starting after school care this year, after having been home with Nana (Thank you, Nana!) in years past. So far it looks like a pretty tightly-run program with has beautiful toys, homework help, and special events monthly. The girls given me sad eyes when I came to pick them up. Yes it’s a long day. The guilt is strong with this one, and it needs to knock it off. But I am going to fight the guilt and take an hour+, several days a week, and do this for me. And my hips. I’ll get them by 5:00 at the very latest, every day. I will have taken time for myself, blasting my gym playlist (of course, and it will probably change monthly too), and I will have done cardio, a round of three sets of 15 reps on each of the 10 machines I’ve been ‘assigned’ this month, and then some more cardio. I will hopefully be renewed and ready to be Mommy all evening.

And I will be nice and sweaty.

03a80c162a5d469ecaa819974cf47ef6Oh and here’s the playlist:

Op/Ed: Children’s Music

I’m writing this post on my phone, at a 5 & under children’s playplace. Don’t pity me too much. I’m the only parent hanging in the nice little seating area. I have my Dunkin. I have my shoes off. I’m not crawling through tunnels to rescue a screamer who’s too scared to go down the slide (anymore). It’s kind of nice, except for one small issue:


The ceiling speakers are loudly playing a list that alternates between Laurie Berkner, The Wiggles, and Kidz Bop. I don’t hate Laurie. I will after our two hours here. But the rest of it is pretty much creating a “Kill. Me. Now.” situation over here on the Uninvolved Mommy benches. And that’s just unnecessary. 

Disclaimer: I am an elementary music teacher. I’m not going to pretend that 12 years of this (awesome) job automatically makes me an expert in children’s music. Parenthood will do that for  you just fine, anyway. It does, however, make me opinionated about the subject. There is experience, research, and Master classes talking here. And they’re opinionated too.#sorrynotsorry

Parents, teachers, child-centered businesses, I beseech you: Play actual music for your children. Please.

Kidz Bop is only good for elementary school pep rallies when you want to seem cool enough to play music the kids will recognize, but not lose your job from parental complaints. There’s nothing wrong with pop – I love it. But I think it’s better to play the actual artist whenever you can. If you can’t, there’s a good chance the song isn’t a fabulous pick for kids anyway, even edited with words that rhyme with the objectionable stuff and vocals by (what sounds like) freaky castrati.

Laurie Berkner does some nice stuff; a few covers of folk songs and mostly songs about kid stuff. I like her acoustic approach and she’s a decent vocal model for children (they can match her voice and sing along). But it all sounds pretty much the same and I can’t take more than 15 minutes without wanting to go all Pete Townsend on her guitar. 


And screw the Wiggles. Just screw ’em. I’ve been here for an hour and if one of those mates showed up to give a free concert it would take all my self control not to kick him Down Under. 

Please: Play decent recordings of folks songs. Put on “classical” (instrumental) music. There is a ton out there (See below) that is lively and engaging, the perfect sound track to imaginative play. Mix that up with pop songs that *gasp* YOU like, as long as you think they’re ok for your kids to hear.

Here’s a great CD set for this instrumental music that’s got some oomph:

Music for Creative Movement“, GIA public (click the title to find the CD on sale).


Play music that was written for the sake of Music, not to give children something kiddie friendly to listen to. There is already so much music out there for them.

That said, I’m sure there’s some newer ones out there, but here are my favorite “children’s” albums with as little ear bleeding as possible:

“Here Come the ABCs” by They Might Be Giants



Any of Sandra Boynton’s full book albums


“Snack Time” by the Barenaked Ladies


I realize this list is pretty dated. My kids are 8 and 5, and their mommy has Spotify. (We don’t buy full kids albums anymore.)

What are some of your favorites? Have you banned any albums from your home or car?

Have you ever fantasized about dropping a certain Australian singing group to the playroom floor?

A Question for the Kids

I am a teacher and a parent. The reason I don’t hate either of those jobs yet is because, to me, kids are awesome.  I like to ask them random questions. This time, I had my laptop out. I’ll have to make a habit of that. The question today:

“What would you do if all the adults disappeared?”

M: Wait. Everybody? She is dumbfounded.

E: Wait, does that mean my friend _____? She thinks her 10 year old friend is an adult.

Me: No. Besides eating all the candy in the world, after that, what would you guys do?

M: We would eat a lot more candy, and play video games. So would her father.

E: Do everything. (Spins on seat.)

M: Let’s just say I’d do whatever I wanted.

E: We would erase all our stuff on that. (Pointing to chore chart.)

M: I would invite a bunch of friends over and have a party. Lots of food. And go in the pool. All night. So would I.

Me: What would you do about food?

M: We would eat it? (Ba-dum-tsss.) Oh, I mean, we would go to the store.

Me: How would you get to the store, would you walk?

M: We could drive! I know how to drive!! Well no… but I could figure it out. Wait. Who’s gonna be running the store?

Me: I don’t know… who do you think?

M: Teenagers.

Me. Ok….

E: I want to drive the car!

Me: What would you do about your clothing?

E: We would wear it.

Me: You’re hilarious.

M: We would make our own?

Me: You know how to make your own clothes?

M: We would wash them. I know how to do the laundry! Note to self, in that case, she’s gonna start doing her own.

E: I want to be like Rarity. My Little Pony reference. She makes dresses.

M: Wait – so like, ALL the adults in the world disappeared? It would be only kids on the road! And no policemen… we could speed. That would be fun. Another note to self: Maybe time to limit MarioKart tournaments at home?  …nah.

E: What if they weren’t coming back?

Me: That’s what I’m saying. What would you guys do?

M: Miss you. Awwwwww.

E: I would never get to see you!

M: It would pretty cool to get to do whatever you want though.

E: Mommy can we have candy?

So, what would the kids in your life say?

Happier Family Life, the French Way?

A reflection on Pamela Druckerman’s “Bringing Up Bébé”

Last summer one of my first posts here admired the seemingly hands-off style of 1970’s parenting. Go back and read if you like. Kitty Foreman’s hair shaking is priceless.

Turns out, what I really needed to do was go a little Parisian.

Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman, came up on my “must read” radar a while ago. But the sample text suddenly resonated with me after a stream of needy children continually interrupted adult conversation while having friends over for dinner one night.
“When American families visit our home, the parents usually spend much of the time refereeing their kids’ spat, helping their toddlers do laps around the kitchen island, or getting down on the floor to build LEGO villages…When French friends visit, however, we grown-ups have coffee and the children play happily by themselves.”

Though we have and know some pretty awesome kids, I identified with those poor American parents, and inpulse-bought the book.

This text is by no means some kind of revolutionary parenting ‘bible’. It’s a narrative of the American author’s marriage, her move to Paris, and her outsider’s view of the stark contrast between French and American parenting strategies. There are many research references to illustrate the preferable outcomes of the former over the latter. In later editions there is an addendum that includes her list of 100 pointers. – Druckerman calls them “keys to french parenting”. I’d call them “mini kid philosophies”.

This book explores a different overall attitude towards children: Boiled down, you can trust that a child can do things. Things like teaching himself to connect sleep his sleep cycles (without the dreaded ‘crying it out’) and genuinely sleeping through the night at 3 months (this is a very standard milestone at 3 months in France.) Or politely greeting all adults – and in doing so, taking on the behavior of a mutually respected person in the social group. Or, imagine this: self-sufficiently playing alone or with other children, without a need for parent intervention or baggies of goldfish crackers. All you tired-eyed parents who are repeatedly interrupted by your child needing stuff while you try to cook or talk to other adults– are you fascinated yet? I was. I spent July trying to get grad class work done, while my children were in pay-attention-t0-me mode during most waking hours. I wish I’d read this little philosophy book before summer. Or, like, 9 years ago.

Intertwined with the concept that a child can fend for him or herself is the ideal of balance. In other words, the mother and father absolutely cannot lose themselves in the care of their children. The sacrifice-for-the-child valor that I’ve seen so many moms tote around like merit badges does not exist in the same way, in French culture. There is no humble-bragging that you survived quitting the job your were educated for so you could stay home, breastfeeding until age two, or functioning on crappy sleep because the co-sleeping child won’t stay out of your bed. These are not accepted truths of parenting in the French model. The happiness and prosperity of the entire family – the marriage of the parents being the core of this – is valued over the needs of the child. It probably sounds ungrateful and selfish to a lot of American mothers…

And I love that! The eating and the independent playing chapters made me want to wind back the clock and do things differently with my kids. However, we’re working on it now. Already this summer we’ve expanded the girls’ vegetable horizons . Hey family: E eats Brussels sprouts now, and there is no crying! Almost every other section had me saying out loud, to nobody, “Yes! What have I been saying!?!” Disclaimer: I’m going to quote Amy Poehler’s peace mantra of “Good for her, not for me”, but, here’s an example: In my family, kids are not welcome in our bed unless it is family hang-out or reading time. That is our bed, our sleeping and couple space, and we like it that way. Grown-ups time is sacred, even if it really is just “Netflix and Chill”.

Major points of “Bringing Up Bebe”’s message:

  • Sleep: Babies are just little, rational people and can be helped along and taught. French babies sleep thought the night 7+ hours around 3 months old. Yes, that is what I said. This is because of a parenting instinct common in France, referred to as “The Pause”. It is not Ferber or any of the crying-it-out methods. That‘s viewed as a little distasteful.
  • Breastfeeding: Nursing is encouraged in France. But, formula is viewed as pretty much a same-same alternative. (A couple American moms reading this just gasped. Meanwhile, I’m over here like, “Thank you God.”) If breastfeeding isn’t mechanically working out, or Mom went back to work (she did this earlier because of quality childcare, see below), or it was interfering with the overall happiness of the family – it stops. Studies linking breastfeeding to improved health and intellectual outcomes have been all but discredited and results attributed to other factors. French mommies know this (more than American moms, for sure) and proceed to feed formula and have bright, healthy kids. Imagine.
  • Eating: From about 4 months old, baby food is not in jars, but is rather a ground-up version of whatever (vegetable-heavy) dinner Mom and Dad are having. Dinner is served in three courses, even at home, with veggies served first – when kids are most hungry. (They have one snack a day. Not one at every activity and in baggies in the car on the way there.) Kids are expected to try everything on their plate, but amounts are not designated and rewards for eating are out of the question. They just try it, and are are trusted to eat what will sustain them. Meals are not a power struggle, but an important and social time. Children are (ideally) included as respected members in a balanced conversation – not the center of attention when they finally try that piece of broccoli or they want to sing a song. Gadgets at restaurant tables are unheard of. (Thank you.)
  • Snack: Snacktime is pretty standard, mid-late afternoon, and includes some junk food – possibly that the child helped bake him or herself. Food is not a reward or a distraction. Hunger is not usually offered as an explanation for cranky behavior. Because other meals are healthier (not chicken nuggets, pizza, burger, repeat), chocolate is seen as a wonderful snacktime item. Kids are sometimes given a bar of chocolate on a baguette – hot dam! Also, denying the existence of sugar is just stupid. (That last part is my own bit.)
  • Social Skills: Children should greet everyone in a social setting, to take their place as a member of the group there (where they must act like it – no coloring on the walls or pulling out every tissue at friends’ houses). From Mommy’s friends to clerks at the store, kids greet other kids and adults, period.
  • Learning: The “earlier is better” philosophy that prevails in America, so that kids can get an edge and defeat the competition – to get into the better preschool or score better on the standardized tests – isn’t nearly as present in France. Probably because preschool is a given and testing isn’t as big a deal. Kids are trusted to “get it” in their own time, many children not beginning to learn to read until age six. Likewise, the constant stream of activities and sports, intended to better the child and give them everything the parent didn’t have, isn’t as accepted either. If a mother who is basically a “mom taxi” is looked down upon as someone who has lost the balance in her life. (Hallelujah. If you’re complaining about your kids’ scheduled activities, why haven’t you de-scheduled some of them?) Having multiple kids in multiple activities is recognized as potentially harming the quality of family life, so it isn’t the standard way. (Can I get a ‘Hell YES’?)
  • Go Play: Children are trusted to be able to entertain themselves and enjoy doing so. Family time exists pretty much daily and it is awesome. But Adult Time is not their time. Likewise, they do no need to hear that every drawing is ‘excellent’ and every dance step ‘the best ever’. All kinds of therapy bills come from this practice.
  • Couple Time: *This one is my favorite* The quality of the relationship between Mom and Dad (or whoever) is the foundation of the family. The needs of the children do not trump the needs of the couple. No, really. There is little to no co-sleeping, because that bed is Mommy and Daddy’s space. “Bedtime” means kids stay in their rooms and eventually go to sleep, though generally they are allowed to play or read until they’re ready to sleep. Mommy and Daddy must have time to be themselves, as a couple, without kids interrupting. “Date night”, is not really a thing, because romance and sex are very highly valued in French culture, and the fact that the couple has couple time out & about and alone is a given. Mommy and Daddy probably don’t share parenting and household responsibilities equally, but there is a division of tasks, and appreciation for the other’s contributions is (hopefully) shown privately, and modeled for the kids.
  • Childcare: The “creche” is state funded and almost every child goes. It is not the dreaded day care situation that stay at home moms detest in America. Workers are skilled, enjoy long-term job security, and are paid well. Even moms who do not work often send their toddlers to the creche, for everybody’s benefit. Mommy gets her groove back – getting to work out and see friends, in addition to having a career and contributing to the household – and baby gets social skills.

Can you tell I like this stuff? Now, I’m fully aware that this model is not solely a “French” thing. Some of these philosophies I’ve had for years, and I know friends who have executed them beautifully all along as well, in one department or another. I also know a lot of moms who would look at aspects of this and wonder why French women bother having kids at all, if they’re just going to put a bottle in their mouths and send them off to someone else’s care?

I guess the impressive aspects of this philosophy for me are balance and trust. In this country there seems to exist an unspoken social norm saying that major sacrifice for your children’s comfort and development is proof that you are a “good” parent – because childhood is fleeting and you have your whole life to talk to your friend on the phone uninterrupted for 20 minutes. I think that’s total crap. We are talking about 18+ years, here. Balance is the goal. Trust makes that happen. This is definitely a goal to work for, in my book. American levels of happiness are reported lower from parents than non-parents, and lower with the birth of each child, despite children supposedly being a major source of lifetime happiness. What’s missing? What can we do differently to feel less harried and stressed?

Maybe try a little Francais.

The book, again, is called Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman. (Her website is HERE.)

What do you think of this? Old news (probably but not to a lot of my generation)? Selfish? Wonderful?

Do you disagree with any of these basic points? Do you practice them at home with your own kidlets?

Boy (and Girls) and Their Toys

My kid: “I am part boy because I like some boy stuff”.

Response: “I think you are yourself, and you like what you like.”


You attempt to raise a girl who doesn’t need to be told that she can do anything a boy can do, because it would never occur to her that she couldn’t. You buy her blocks and non-caretaker play toys (I have done a crappy job of this, but I will get better), along with the usual girl stuff they receive. My older one in particular has always loved the usual girly stuff just as much, because, again, she likes what she likes. You tell them that there are no “boy” jobs, there are no “girl” toys, and they can play what they want – just as they can choose their own path in life.

And then? You take them to Target.

Damn it, Target.
The 8 Year Old, when I showed her this: “Mom. That’s ridiculous. They’re called LEGOS.”

Some good news on this front broke on Saturday: Target is removing gender labeling from their toy and bedding aisles.

This classification system has irked me some, but never inhibited us from wandering into the blue section and picking up some Nintendo figurines. My kids are as Nintendo-Obsessed as their father was, 25 years ago. The big one can beat me in MarioKart. However, the reality that not every boy looks, acts, or plays “like a boy”, and vice versa, simply needs accepted. I appreciate this small step towards empowerment and acceptance. Dear Toys-R-Us, please follow suit.

The acceptance part is probably what scares the more “traditionalist” shoppers:  In this heapin’ helping of crazy, (my opinion, not the title of the article, I swear), the blog BizPac Review seems to think the lack of direction as to where junior can shop indicates that the world as they know it is crumbling. Almost anything with “pac” in the name should induce at least low-level vigilance for, as John Stewart called for this week, “bullshit”. They also decried the White House’s installation of a gender-neutral bathroom. But anyway…

Is this un-labeling a welcome change, unnecessary, or a sign of the unraveling of our society that would “make Ike roll over in his grave”?

What do you think?
Do these store sections mean anything to you and yours, and did they guide you as a child?
Please weigh in.

Sweet Potato Salad with Broken Glass

The correct name for this recipe is: “Sweet Potato Salad with Carmelized Onions, Watercress, and Guajillo Chile Dressing”. This dish had more oil-everywhere problems than BP. (Too soon?) Ultimately we LOVE this recipe and we’ve already repeated it for friends, since making it the first time. The second time I didn’t even break anything.

Please do not laugh at my lack of knowledge of thermodynamics, or whatever tells you that heat and cold break glass. Who knew?!

I can’t find my pic of the ingredients. The list appeared pretty long for someone who grew up thinking Hamburger Helper was complicated. (Oil, guajillo chiles, garlic, vinegar, red onion, sweet potato, watercress.)

You can buy guajillos at an upscale food market for about $50 per pound. I wish I were kidding. They come in hermetically sealed packages of 6. OR you can buy a big handful of them from the various dried pepper bins at your local tienda (Mexican grocer) for a total of 48 cents. I gave the clerk more than that, because that was ridiculous. Additionally, despite the fact that neither of us spoke each other’s language well, she helpfully explained the heat levels of each pepper to me.


You put them in heated oil with garlic, and they smell like freakin’ Heaven.

447 (2)
Caution: The oil is burny and the pepper is burny so either way, you’re gonna get burned.

Tips about oil:

  1. Don’t accidentally use too much oil, like I did.
  2. Don’t get confused about the cookbook wanting the oil to cool.  They mean for you to let it cool in the pan, on the stove top. You are using it for the dressing in a second.
  3. Do not, under any circumstances, decide to speed things up by pouring the  hot oil into a glass and putting that glass in the fridge to cool. (You idiot.)

This will end badly for your pretty glass. Who knew?!

IMG_20150709_193036536 (1)
Clean break, though.

Then you cook a chopped red onion. After that, you discover how a potato peeler works and cube up a million (or 4) sweet potatoes. This will make more than will fit in your largest pan, so you will have to cook them in two separate pans. They will not be uniformly cooked through, but whatever.

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The dressing is made from the sauteed garlic and peppers, blended smoothly with a vinegar – either sherry, balsamic, or, as I used, champagne. #fancy

The recipe called for the cooked, dressing-covered potatoes and onions to be served over a “bed of watercress”. I discovered that this is actually a kind of lettuce! Who knew?!  The recipe said to remove the stems from the watercress. I see from the picture below that I missed one. I thought this combination of foods sounded rather odd, but it was, upon tasting, kind of amazing.

IMG_20150710_095803 (1)

Otherwise? I would eat this weekly. The dressing would probably make it ok to eat salad for a year.

However, R. I. P. to my blue, coincidentally Mexican margarita glass. You were shattered before your time.

What We Have Learned:

  • Glass breaks when you change its temperature quickly.
  • Entire sections of common sense-type knowledge were taught when I was apparently absent.
  • Learning to “adult” is satisfying and good. And so is this potato salad.

How To Do Your Homework

Preface: I am a grad student during the summer, working on a Master’s in Music Education with a concentration in French horn performance. This is less glamorous than it sounds. It sounds like I’m spending a ton of money on something I should have done 10 years ago? Yeah, that’s how I hear it, too. I love horn, but I have not played lately because of health issues. All classes in the Master’s program are considered “accelerated”, cramming the usual semester into 4-5 weeks. They emphasize this ahead of time, so you forfeit your right to whine about the workload. Boo. While it’s been fun, it’s also been…”fun”. But it’s getting done. I am dead set on balancing this endeavor with the need to experience a lovely, rejuvenating summer with my family and friends. So naturally, I leave class work until the due date and do it all at the last minute.  #responsibleadult

As the expert, I will now share the important process of:

“How To Do Your Homework”

  1. Make coffee, do morning things, hug & kiss Hubby goodbye.
  2. Instruct children to please pick up their rooms and go play, because Mommy is working.
  3. Go into kitchen to get coffee mug first. Become concerned that the pile of dishes in the sink will attract ants. Do dishes.
  4. Head downstairs (split level) to office, with coffee. Scroll through Twitter, check Facebook, read The Skimm, play Crossy Road and Brain Dots on phone, because ‘all work and no play’…
  5. Break up argument between children in the laundry room. Notice that laundry needs “flipped over”. Do that.
  6. Upon returning from laundry room, look longingly at the lovely curled form of the horn on its stand, in the office. No. Not right now. Decide that it’s time to work.
  7. Play horn anyway. Marvel just a little that high C still comes out fine, after months off.  Gloat a tiny bit. Feel very happy and almost decide to text brass-people friends, but try to rein self back in and get to work. Actually open a text book.
  8. Discover that there are actually no less than five separate assignments due. Re-evaluate whether a Master’s degree is really that important.
  9. Untie, open, peel, and fix something for each kid, a minimum of 3-4 times.
  10. Realize that the correct Spotify station is essential for concentration, child noise-coverage, and ambiance. Spend 10 minutes deciding on which list and another 10 trying to find the one pair of earbuds left in the house that works.
  11. Sit down. Get back to work. Wait, where is coffee? Go find mug.
  12. Focus and complete the first of five assignments, like a boss.
  13. Play with hair. Wonder if French braiding own hair is still in personal skill set. Braid own hair, enjoying the fact that ‘dos like the popular girls at that 1992 Girl Scout camp are now finally within grasp.
  14. Swivel aimlessly in desk chair while playing with hair. See horn. Think of playing again but turn around to get back to work.
  15. Realize that coffee is cold. Realize that this whole routine has been going on for quite a while and only one out of five assignments are complete. Realize this is not ok.
  16. Respond to texts from Hubby, friend, and sister, and play new Monument Valley levels.
  17. Decide that now it’s very seriously time to do the other four assignments. But first, coffee.
  18. Heat up coffee in kitchen where the dog has found a My Little Pony toy to chew to bits. Clean that up.
  19. With coffee, half a grapefuit because breakfast never actually happened, and a new mindset to be productive, go back downstairs. Sit down, resolved to knock out those other four assignments. Right. Now.
  20. Blog about the process instead.

So, You Want To Run For Public Office?

Let’s pretend you want to run for a seat in government. I know. Just go with it for a second. 

Let’s pretend I’m in charge of making all the rules governing U. S. political campaigns. I think this would be a pretty cool responsibility. Congress: Call me!


Yet another Facebook test crossed my path, and I liked the 2-dimensionalness of it. Instead of asking me if I’m pro-choice or anti-Obamacare, it measured your left vs. right-wingness, and your liberal vs. communitarianism-ness.  Don’t worry, I didn’t know what that last thing was either. And I will stop saying “ness” now.

Communitarianism is a philosophy that emphasizes the connection between the individual and the community… strict limits on governmental power. – Wikipedia

My results:

I am most aligned in thought with Obama , but slightly more liberal. Or at least, my values are more liberal than the way he’s governed.

I’m 33 years old and except for making fun of it on the Daily Show, I’m burnt out when it comes to politics. Granted, I live in New Jersey (insert mob corruption joke here), but that’s just sad. And I’m part of the problem! It’s not that I particularly like or even know much of Hillary Clinton’s voting record. I just really want to see her in the powerful position that her husband had when his actions caused her to be very publicly humiliated. Not that THAT whole situation with Monica had much to do with his decision-making abilities as president, either. Or… did it?  😉 But these are superficial, ill-informed reasons to vote for someone!


Entirely willing to ignore my own naiveté and ignorance in this matter, I decided that this test thingy should really be the basis for all political campaigning. No ads. No question-dodging. I can’t watch political debates anymore – I just talk angrily at the TV. The talking heads don’t answer any questions and I just want to hear what the guy in the blue tie would do about Veteran’s affairs, or something.

My “system” would go like this:

So, you want to run for public office?

  1. You should probably have to pass a physical and mental evaluation, background check, and blah blah blah ‘details’. Then:
  2. You complete the comprehensive 100+ questionnaire regarding your public policy.
    1. Yes, you must answer every question on a sliding scale of 1 “Completely Disagree” to 5 “Completely Agree”.
    2. Yes, your answers must be published. Be happy I haven’t decided to identify you as “Candidate Alpha” or something, so nobody can be racist or sexist when reading names.
  3. Your answers are published. Explanations of the questions are included to help the public understand the issues.
  4. Voters can decide on their hot-button issues, or seek out a general profile like the one on the test above, to see where they lie in relation to you and the other candidates.
  5. You will pretty much be expected to vote in alignment with your questionnaire answers.
    1. Life and situations can change your mind about some issues. If you end up voting in a way that is not consistent with your pre-stated values, you can always publish a statement explaining your choice.
    2. If people don’t like the way you vote, they can just vote you out of office next time. You know, the way it’s “supposed” to work now?
  6. No campaigning or fundraising. No public funds used for anything other than collecting and publishing this information. If you want to make appearances, they have to be benefiting a charity or school. Go home and raise your family and/or do your actual job. Those things that make you who you are, and a decent enough person to be trusted with the extra responsibility of governing? They’re more important. 
  7. Did you get more votes than anybody else? (There will probably need to be elimination elections, and people can still vote for who they most agreed with each time.) Congrats! You’re now a politician. No baby-kissing required.

I realize this is an extremely simplistic system and would probably only be accepted in a 6th grade Social Studies paper. But something like this plan is literally a fantasy of mine. Please comment! Tell me why you hate or love this idea. Tell me what won’t work and what will. Tell me if Donald Trump is for real or just stays in character as a well as Andy Kaufman, to amuse me. Cause that would be awesome.