Monday, November 24, 2008

I Wonder What I Want To Do With My Life?

INSTRUCTIONS: Take one decade-changing birthday. Stir in two unexpected deaths in the family, one unfulfilling job, and enclosed spice sachet of a half-dozen passions that could never lead to paying full time work. Simmer in a medium saucepan on a stovetop for several months. In a separate bowl, whip together one slightly unfocused academic career, a penchant for short-lived bursts of enthusiasm followed by extreme boredom, and a husband with a grad school journey nearing completion. Combine and pour into a baking dish, top with a seven month old baby with plans for more on the way, and then bake until the admissions deadlines for law and graduate schools expire. Remove from heat, garnish with a staggering student loan debt which requires you to make some kind of money, and serve so hot that it burns your mouth, hands, and leaves a big scorch mark on your antique dining room tabletop.

This is how to bake up a fine Not-Quite-Mid-Life crisis. I’m enjoying one at the moment, and no, it does not taste like chicken. It tastes like desperation, actually, and a little bit of fear, and a lot of exhilaration. And brown sugar. Mmmmm, sugar.

Am considering law school. I’ve read all of the “Don’t Go to Law School, Even if Your Life Depends On It and I’m Serious, Yo” articles, and the “The LSAT is a Stupid, Scary, Horrid Test That Will Make You Break Out in Shingles” warnings, and the “I Went To Law School and Now I Have $160,000 in Loans” declamations. It hasn’t scared me away, but it has sent me skittering off to research just what exactly I could end up doing if I got a J.D. in three years. And the thought of choosing law, to the exclusion of all else, and possibly adding to our debt burden in order to do it, makes it a very sobering choice indeed.

Am also considering chilling a bit while the remaining 2-3 (HA!) babies are birthed, and then achieving my dreams, as it were, when the last kidlet is attending First Grade. It’s not so long from now, and I’m not so ambitious that I would be ticked off at hitting the game that late, whatever “game” I decided to “hit.” The problemo with this scenario, however, is the aforementioned ridiculous student loans. In order not to default on our existing ones, I have to work at something. The amount of money I make will either allow us to live the (frugal, stressful, not-even-breaking-even) lifestyle we now enjoy, or a little better, or a lot better. So that would be, like, part-time reception work, up to administrative work, and the up to full scale professional work. Would I rather just do the work I want to do long term right now? Or continue to add years of non-relevant experience to my life, simply in the name of deniro?

I could go to more grad school, but with a career in mind this time (weak smile.)

I could teach at the community college level.

I could continue in the career path I have now.

I could wait until we know where Darlin’s job prospects take us, and see what opportunities the new region of the country has to offer.

This latter seems like a recipe (do you dig my recipe theme in this post?) for accidental career trajectory, which I want to avoid. Making a preliminary decision, though, and turning my energies in that direction, could lead to supreme disappointment if I end up moving to a region of the country with no opportunities in my chosen life path.

Sometimes I feel hindered by my biology. Can you imagine if my law school finals week coincided with the due date of my next kid? I swore that I would take at least 3 months off when my next baby is born, but what if I don’t time it just right with the summer break? And if I decide to work, but don’t get a job immediately and haven’t worked in it at least a year before my next pregnancy, my leave (both for prenatal visits and after the birth) won’t be protected. So I could lose my job, and thus my healthcare coverage, right when we need the money and insurance the most.

Blargh. Blargh, I say.

I have been trying to think this way – when I’m 80 and looking back, will I think this was a good choice? Will this lead me to a happy life? Even in the name of art, being supremely poor is a stressor, but being miserable in your well-paid job would be, too. I wish I could just be an actress. Or a musician. A writer. A baby bootie knitter. A scrapbooker. A gardener. I wish I was independently wealthy. I wish I could make a difference AND make babies at the same time.

I have wished and wished for this grad school experience of my husband’s to just be over, already, and now that it may be ending soon . . . I wish I had a little more time to decide what it means.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

my happy

tonight, my little family and i will eat homemade stew and rolls for dinner. afterwards, we will turn on some christmas music and decorate the house for the festive season. it is a special night and one when everything always feels right with the world.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Good Things Going On

Yesterday was a good day. The wonderful things that happened to me:

Superman surprised me with tickets to Handel's Messiah at the Kennedy Center the Saturday before Christmas. I cannot wait!

WALL-E came out on DVD yesterday. Pizza for dinner, WALL-E on my t.v., and my husband at my side? Perfection.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I Wonder Why I Didn't Post Yesterday?

A niece for G Love. 2008 has been a wonderful year. Everyone, meet Boo!
What wonderful has happened to you lately?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

my turn!

let me preface this by saying that i do not have the eloquence of my fellow ww. i cannot write the way they do. i cannot express myself with big huge-mongous words that i have to look up on i just can't. and i don't. okay, i feel better now. let's begin, shall we?

g-love - i envy every little, single, solitary inch of the talent you possess. folks, if you have never heard this girl sing, you are missing out! heck, i even have her on my ipod! seriously, her voice is soothing and magical and oh, words can't describe it - hence, my jealousy. i love your humor and your perspective on life. i love that you are so in love with the men in your life that you can hardly stand it. your pride and affection for them shines through in all that you do.

g-love's boy (let's call him p-love, shall we?) - i don't believe we've ever met, but i think you're hilarious. the pictures that i've seen of you make me laugh, so i know that you're funny. you have to be. and, well, if you're not, i still love you because you love g-love and that's that. i admire that you are still in school and pursuing your phd. that, my friend, is fantastic!!! and you make beautiful babies with g-love, so i think you're cool.

wicked - i envy your hair cut. i envy your spunk. i love that you are a strong, secure woman. you have gone through your fair share of challenges and changes these past few years, and you have emerged from them with your head held high. you are a scrapper and i mean that in the very best sense of the word. you fight for what you love and believe in and don't back down. i think i need a little bit of that tossed my way.

the hub - i remember getting teased a bit for "invading the head table" at your wedding. and while the wine may have prompted me to introduce myself before the time was appropriate, you didn't bat an eye. i think i may have even given you a hug and you took it all in stride. you treat our wicked m like a princess and that's exactly the type of man she needs and deserves. thank you for taking care of her.

mso rin - my first memory of you is in the sorority house kitchen making penis cookies. i envy your attitude and the confidence that you exude. you have this "take me as i am and if you don't like me, to hell with you. oh, and by the way, it's obvious you don't know what you're missing" attitude that i find amazing!!! you always provide a listening ear and can add humor to any situation. oh, and i wish i had your body.

the boy - first and foremost, i like your name! ;) any guy named what you're named is worth keeping around, in my opinion. obviously, mso thought the same! i remember hanging out with you and many others one night here in town. i agree with wicked when she says that you compliment rin perfectly. it is a definite match made in heaven. thanks for watching over her.

and that, my friends, is my love fest for the day!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Oh, How I Love These People!

I am fairly free with my emotions so most of these folks already know the many ways in which I worship them, but everyone likes hearing nice things, so here goes!

G Love: Your quick wit and sharp intellect is something I envy greatly. You are kind and adaptable in more ways than you will ever know. To see you blossom as a mother has been lovely to watch these past few months. You do not sugarcoat things and I will forever love you for that. You handle things in a refreshing way that is pragmatic and passionate. Your passion for the arts is refreshing and your sarcasm is biting. You live life large, lady. Love. it.

G Love's Husband: I have never met you but just hearing G Love talk about you tells me all I need to know. You are good to our girl and you love each other with a kind of love that is rare. I truly appreciate that.

Super Jane: Your ability to laugh through situations that most people would sob through gives me strength during hard times in my own life. You are one funny lady. Your relationship with your daughters is magical and I always love hearing you talk about them. It is clear that you get the most joy in your life from them. Your relationship with Super Jas is clearly one of enduring love and while things are not always perfect, you two manage to come through things with a smile and a laugh.

Super Jas: I know you from way back. I actually met you before I met Super Jane and that makes me laugh for some reason. You are just a very nice person and let me tell you how rarely I say that about people. You are also one tough guy and I admire anyone who can come out of major surgery with a smile on their face. Your ability to support Super Jane in all of her endeavors is admirable and your strength in living with that much estrogen in your house is to be respected. Re-spec-ted, yo.

MSO Rin: Dude, you are totally awesome. Your excellent advice, ability to make people laugh in any situation, and your calm through a storm is amazing. Your beautiful smile lights up a room and your steadfastness in your beliefs is welcome in this crazy world. You are someone people can count on and that means a lot these days. I also enjoy it very much when you curse!

The Boy: Your verve for life and your professional career is something that does not come along very often. You are a truly dedicated soul to your craft. I love that. I appreciate that you are just the counterbalance that our gal MSO Rin needs and that you also understand that sometimes she just needs a hug. Your enthusiasm for anything is only part of what makes you really fun to be around (it may also be your enthusiasm for giant beads of the Mardi Gras variety!) and fun to take pictures of. You are a good man, a good person. Thank you.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I Wonder How Rin and The Boy are doing?

Our Wonder Woman Rinny and her husband The Boy are having a rough week. I will respect The Boy’s closely guarded privacy, and simply tell you readers that it involves a death in the close family. Close genetics-wise, but not close geographically, which adds to their stress.

So I thought I would do the thing that is my favorite thing in the blog world, which is to say – I thought we would Wonder how much we love our friends, real and virtual, and we would send them support.

So, how Wonder Women all, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways . . . Rin, I love your laugh. I know you won’t be laughing much this week, but when you do I hope you know that you lift up everyone around you. And I do mean everyone around you, probably within a 5 mile radius. I also love how you make your friends a priority. Not many people do that. I’m thinking of you this week.

The Boy, I love your enthusiasm. You are a boy in that way – you get that little kid at Christmas kind of attitude over lots of things, like grilling out, or tending bar at a party, or going on a trip. I think this is one of your best features, and I would venture to say one of the reasons Rinny loves you so. It makes you really, really fun to be around. I’m thinking of you, too.

Wicked, I love your commitment to the people you love. From moving to a new place, to handholding in the hospital – from showing visitors a fantastic time, to making trips to visit them in their homes – from competing with your husband over who gives the best gifts (not who GETS), to virtual roller skating and martinis showing up on my fb all the time – you are a Wonder Woman who loves her people and doesn’t hesitate to show them. You are an affectionate soul and it is really wonderful.

Superman, I met you for like three minutes, and in that span of time you complimented me twice. So you’re clearly a keeper.

Super Jane, you are super. Reading about your life right now makes my head spin, and yet somehow you aren’t a bitter old crank like I tend to be when my schedule gets packed. You are a big old trooper, and despite some serious setbacks in your young family’s life, your faith in God has never wavered. That’s not something I can say for myself, and it is something I really admire in you.

Super Jas, you were a stay at home dad for years, and as my husband can attest (with a screeching Frog Baby in the background), that ain’t easy. Way to take care of those gorgeous girls.

SIL and BIL – your little girl is almost here. I am ready to explode with excitement about this, but I’m sure it’s nothing compared to what you’re feeling. You’ll make it, and everything will change, and it will be wonderful.

Who do you want to give a shout-out to today? Don’t feel like you have to stick with just the Wonder Women – shout out to whoever the heck you want. It’s LOVE week at WW.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

my new law.

if i were president, i would mandate that all children 3+ yrs not be carried down rain slicked stairs by their mothers if the mother is wearing black, leather high heeled boots.

this law would've saved me a lot of pain and money. the above scenario is exactly how my friday morning began. unfortunately, it ended with a nice trip to the ER and being diagnosed with a concussion. and with that, i'm going back to bed.

Friday, November 7, 2008

I Wonder What I'd Decree?

My most important royal edict (no, I wouldn’t turn the presidency into a monarchy … I just like the sound of “royal edict”) would be this:

For every hour of volunteer work one completes for a non-profit organization or as independent community service, $10 of one’s consumer debt will be forgiven. All banks, credit-card companies, stores and car dealerships will agree to this proposal. No one can skip making a payment, of course, but one’s principal will be accordingly reduced every month.

Genius, right? I mean, how much more enticing can giving back to one’s community be? You can pick up litter at the park, you can cook in a soup kitchen, you can read to kids at the library, you can call out bingo numbers at the senior-citizens center, you can clean litter boxes at the animal shelter, you can usher at the symphony, and you can help get yourself out of debt!

And you’ll get addicted to helping others, I promise. So you’ll gladly keep doing it once your debt is gone, and the only incentive you’ll want is the feeling of goodwill and satisfaction that’s worth way more than $10/hour.

Of course, there would be other things, like having low-fat-but-you’d-never-know-it ice-cream vending machines. Like making eco-friendly products cost less than eco-harmful products. Like stopping production on high heels that hurt your feet. Like making it mandatory to give at least five hugs a day, and seven on Saturday. Like making sure that everyone in the country is given the chance to learn to read.

It sounds like if the WW were part of BHO’s Cabinet, things would be pretty great—maybe even more great than they’re going to be anyway!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

If I Were in Charge ...

... absolutely nothing would be done today.

I can't seem to stop weeping with joy at my desk to type, answer the phone, plan or attend meetings, or do anything other than whoop and holler and hug everyone who walks into my office today.

The only words I can muster are those that Tom Brokaw spoke last night that were, in turn, a quote from one of his political mentors:

"What a country."

I'll take a crack at my Presidential platforms on Friday. For now, I'm gonna go re-watch the acceptance speech (brilliant, poignant, transformative) again and try to find a job in the BHO administration.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

If I Were In Charge...

**All of the Wonder Women wish you a very happy Election Day. We hope you exercised your right to vote!**

If I were President, there are quite a few things I would change. Here are just a few of the things that I would put into action:

-Election Day would be a national holiday. This would free up people to vote without worrying about getting to work, voting around work hours, and we could all sleep in if we want. I will also give every person who votes a small tax cut.

-Work days/nights will be flexible and people can work when they are able/when they want. Mothers/fathers who opt to stay home with their children will be given a yearly salary and insurance coverage.

-I will remove all of the energy-sucking vehicles from our roadways and replace them with energy efficient bumper cars that allow drivers to smash into that jerk who just cut them off. Incidentally, helmets will now be required to be worn by drivers. Drivers will also be given 100 "You Suck" Driving Points to dole out at their discretion. If a person receives twenty-five YSDP in a quarter, the driver will be restricted from driving during certain hours and/or to certain places. If a driver receives 50 YSDP in six months' time, their license will be revoked. If a person receives 75 YSDP points in a year's time, their license will be revoked for their lifetime.

-I will put two people that I trust inherently, my parents, in charge of the educational systems of America. They will not want to accept these positions but I know they will take our current system to task and have it in prime condition in a short period of time. I would then allow my parents to put other people in charge of this new system and then my parents could retire to the Caribbean ASAP.

-Anyone who wants to get married can.

-On The Border would become the official caterer of The White House. A margarita machine would be installed in The Oval Office. I will not mention a wine cellar because I have no doubt that there is already one at TWH. I am also sure that there is a fantastic beer selection.

-Vacations would be required for all people. I do not care if you want to travel or stay at home but you must not work for at least two weeks every year. Your brain needs a break.

-Universal healthcare.

-I would institute a pay raise for people in service professions. Teachers, police officers, EMTs, etc. would all be given an immediate raise in pay. I would also give each person a bonus based on the number of years of service/standard of service/coolness. I would do this by taxing the entertainment industry more heavily and by reducing the salaries of actors/actresses/models, etc.

-Pajama pants would be acceptable to wear in any situation. This is a must.

Again, this is just the start of my plan as President. I have a list of about 100 other things that I could have list here. Obviously, I would not try to abuse my power, but these are all things that are very important to me. I may never become President, but a girl can dream right?

*Incidentally, if I were a magician (and not President), I would totally make the whole no exercising, eat whatever you want, stay thin deal become a reality. Because that would rule.

Monday, November 3, 2008

I Wonder What Would Change if I Were President?


The heck with being President, I want to be Dictator. Here is what I would decree:

· The standard work week will drop to 35 hours from 45 (8 to 5 is 9 hours a day, people, and who snuck this change in hours by without a popular vote?). If it tries to creep back up I will slap its hand and tell it to go back where it belongs or it doesn’t get any dessert after supper.
· If you promise to work out for at least 30 minutes at least 3 times a week, I will use the resulting extra money that isn’t spent on your health care and give you $500 per year to buy cute workout clothes and sneaks, and $100 per year to buy good jammin’ songs for your Ipod to listen to, because we could all use some extra motivation to keep our wobbly office-chair butts heading to the gym.
· For every extra curricular activity that involves visual art, music, theatre, extra science projects, creative writing, and air guitar, I will give a school an additional $10,000 to fund the project, and $10,000 to go in its general fund as an incentive. While we’re at it, every teacher who elects to stay after school and administer these programs will get a $5000 bonus. Per semester. I will pay for this with a tax on any big corporation that pays its CEO more than $2 million per year. Whatever they pay the CEO over and above this pretty-durn-reasonable cap, they have to match in the “Keep Arts in Elementary Education” fund.
· I will implement universal health care. Um, how I would do this effectively and without significantly raising taxes is a secret. Shhhhh.
· I will set a minimum inches standard for celebrity thighs, arms, and middles, and any celebrity who fails to meet the standard will be forced to donate 75% of his/her earnings to the eating disorder prevention organization of choice.
· It will be free to adopt children in this country. If you decide to adopt a child over the age of 10, I will provide his/her college education at any public institution free of charge. Private institutions may match my generosity, if they see fit.
· Speaking of college – I will make that sucker cost $5000 or less per year to the students. I will tie repayment of any loans taken out for school to the graduate’s earnings level. This means recent graduates have the freedom to take low paying jobs if they wish – such as, I don’t know, acting jobs? Or service jobs, or naturalist jobs, or jobs at a non-profit, or whatever. It also means they have the freedom to travel a bit, to explore, to make employment and life choices that aren’t motivated largely by their need to meet their monthly student loan payments.
· I will make it legal for any two people to get married who want to get married.
· I will limit the number of frivolous lawsuits each person may file in his/her lifetime to three. Choose your frivolous lawsuits wisely – you may want to set one aside, just in case somebody insults you when you’re eighty. Who will take you seriously at age eighty if you haven’t got a frivolous lawsuit in your back pocket to threaten people with?
· I will force companies to bring back pensions, because hel-LO. 2% of my salary in a 401k ain’t no lifelong pension. I don’t know how companies wiggled out of THAT obligation, but I’m wiggling their tails right back in.
· I will make David Sedaris my speechwriter. Sheryl Crow will be my stylist. Or her stylist will be my stylist, I should say. Tina Fey will be my stunt double, to do my appearances on days when I’m feeling under the weather. Amy Poehler will be the White House resident Fool. Yes, she will wear a hat with bells on, but I’ll make it worth her while.
· Lastly (and this will be my most popular resolution, I feel) – I will declare November 3rd to be Wonder Women Day, a day when you are supposed to reach out and connect with all of the women who inspire you, about spending a second to call or email or visit a girl you love. I will force all networks to play re-runs of SATC all day, ice cream and pizza will be sold at half price, and I will send Air Force One all over the country to drop chocolates from the sky. OK, maybe that could get dangerous, maybe I’ll send out legions of chocolate via the U.S. mail. In any case – it will be a celebration of women and womanhood*, and it will be my legacy long after my term is up and I’m dead and gone.

*Don’t call me sexist! We’ve had a gazillion men Presidents so far who all had the opportunity to make a Man Day, it’s their fault they didn’t think of it first.