Thursday, November 20, 2014

With Ease

"So there's this girl in 7th period who keeps touching my hair," Big Kid told me.

"Oh, REALLY? What do you think about that?"

"It's weird. She's weird. People say she's...flirting with me."

"Oh, she's definitely flirting with you. That's not even a maybe. Do you like it?"

"No! Why would I like it?"

"Because flirting can be fun."

"Oh, god, mom. Gross. Gross!! No, I don't like it, she is STALKING me."

"She is not stalking you."

"Would you let some random guy touch your hair?" 

"No. No, I wouldn't. You have a point there. She is coming on strong. Would you like the flirting if it was someone else?"

"I don't even KNOW her. It would be one thing if we were friends or something."

"She probably doesn't know how to become your friend. Her approach is awkward, you're just kind of getting to that age where girls think this is what boys like."

"Well, THIS is not the way. Even if I am getting to the age, I was hoping the world could kind of ease me into it. With ease! Not like this, with her trying to sneakily hold my hand and touch my hair. Then the other day when she did it, someone said, 'Hey, Big Kid, looks like you could have a girlfriend,' and she said, 'I would never!' right away and I wanted to say 'Then WHY ARE YOU TOUCHING MY HAIR all of the time?'"

"Ahh. She was embarrassed that someone called her out on it and got defensive. Maybe just ask her, 'What are you doing?' next time she tries and see what she says. If you don't want her to touch you just say, 'Please don't touch me,' and I bet that will be the end of it."

"I don't know. The Beautiful Day Monster will be back tomorrow and she won't have as many chances since we get yelled at for breathing." 

"Well, that's good, the Beautiful Day Monster will rescue you you from love. What a twist of fate!"

"Can you do me a favor and not talk right now? Like, at all? Every word coming out of your mouth is hurting my head."

"Do you need a doctor, bubby?" little kid asked.

"I need a therapist," he answered.

(I later apologized for not answering like he wanted me to and he forgave me.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Rebellious Teen

"Mom, may I please have a yogurt?" Big Kid asked.

"Yes, and feel free to help yourself to the yogurt without asking. You live here, you know if you're hungry--have a yogurt whenever you want, hon."

"I won't ask! Then I'll eat ALL of the yogurts! I'm a rebellious teen and I'll do what I want, I'll eat 10 yogurts if I want."

"Except that you're not a teen, but whatever."

"As a rebellious teen, I'm rebelling against starting as a teen and starting now. AND I WILL EAT ALL OF YOUR YOGURTS!! I'll eat whatever I want."

"Okay, then."

There was a few moments of silence and some quiet sounds of struggle.



"Could you...could you help me open this yogurt?"

I tried not to let him see me laugh as I opened his yogurt. 

I think I'm safe for now.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Things That Don't Rot

Not long ago, little kid asked me for a box. I asked why he needed it and he claimed he needed it for a new collection. After further questioning, he said that it was a collection of things that don't rot and I decided that was good enough and let him have it.

Days later, he casually asked me for a box of pasta. When I asked why, he said he needed it for his collection. I told him it could be his but we'd keep it in the cabinet.

Eventually I found the collection box in his room with a gallon of water sitting inside of it, and I realized:

he is doomsday prepping.

The two of us got addicted to the Doomsday Preppers on Netflix and watched the entire series together. Although we had many conversations about how some of these people have serious issues, and he seemed to be in complete agreement, he has started trying to hoard food and water and has detailed plans to turn a school bus into what he calls an RV.

He occasionally quizzes me on what I would do in a tornado or bomb threat situation and critiques my answers.

So, future self, if he ends up living in a metal storage container buried in the backyard, this is why. All of those warm fuzzy family evenings of watching people prepare for the imaginary end of the world may result in an overly paranoid hoarder.

But it was fun.

Monday, November 10, 2014


"I almost won 'confetti' today," little kid announced at dinner tonight.

"Oh yeah?" I said, because it buys me about 15 extra seconds of delay.

"Yep. I was in the top 3 of the whole class."

"What's 'confetti'?" I asked.

"You know how she punches the holes in our cards?"

I nodded even though I don't know.

"We win them."

"Right, but what do you win?"

"The holes. The confetti that the holes make."

"The paper circles from the hole punch? That's the prize?"

He nodded excitedly. "Yes! I was so close!"

"So, wait. She punches your cards during the week, for what, good behavior?"

He nodded again.

"And then you win the paper from the holes that were punched?"


"And you like this game? You all hope to win?"

"We LOVE it."

His teacher is a freaking genius.

I don't know how she does it, but, wow. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Hard Boiled

When I was little, I used to love eating egg cups with toast. I decided to re-create that for my kids and discovered that the meal is called "eggs and soldiers"  on the internet, which I knew they would think was adorable, and they did.

Except I hard-boiled the soft boiled eggs by accident.

So they had to have hard boiled eggs and toast for dinner. They played it off really cool because they're nice like that but I felt bad.

At some point, we started talking about "Of Mice and Men" because random Steinbeck happens a lot around here.

"I loved Lenny," Big Kid said. "I really liked the differences in the characters. He is really good at describing things."

"Yeah, he's kind of known for that." I agreed. "It was sad."

"Like eggs and soldiers," he said.

"Okay, I know I messed them up but as sad as 'Of Mice and Men'? Because, really, that was some heavy stuff and I don't think overcooked eggs are THAT bad." I answered.

"No, mom, I said, 'I like the eggs and soldiers.' I'm telling you I liked the meal."

"Oh! I misheard you. Maybe I'm sensitive because they're more like bombs and soldiers this time."

"I think they're great."

I found this on the fridge later that night.

So, I can totally get away with feeding these people hard-boiled eggs and toast as a meal. They love me that much.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

What Would Amy Winehouse Do?

So even though they flat-out refused to be Forrest Gump and Lieutenant Dan so I could be Jenny, Halloween turned out okay-ish after all. little kid was Ash the Pokemon trainer and Big Kid was John Lennon, which was an okay consolation prize after my Forrest Gump dreams were dashed.

Max and I dressed as Dorothy and Toto and sat on the couch pretending kids would come and we would give them candy, while the boys ditched us to trick or treat with the neighbors and their huge group of kids. Kids didn't come, I just ate a ton of candy.

Then I went to an adult Halloween party as Amy Winehouse.

Five minutes after I left the house, I got pulled Amy Winehouse.

"Sir, do you mind if I ask what is going on?" I asked, since I knew for a fact I was going under the speed limit and he was offering no clues.

"You made a very illegal U-turn," he said, because I guess there are degrees of legality when it comes to traffic infractions.

"Seriously? Back there? I honestly didn't realize and I've lived here forever."

"Well, that's alarming, ma'am, it's very clearly marked."

"Hmm. Sorry about that. Okay, well, here's my license, insurance, registration and I think my beach parking permit is still clipped on there...ha ha ha, probably don't need that, just goes to show how long it's been since I've --"

"What are you up to tonight?" he said, staring at me, critically.

"I'm, uh, going to a party. Not, like, a wild party or anything...we're playing Mario Kart? I don't, uh, get out much. Ha ha...ha. I was just..."

"Who are you supposed to be?" He was obviously not amused.

"Amy Winehouse. It's not the best character to get pulled over as, is it?"

"Yeah, could have chosen better."

He ambled back to his car...and sat there for 30 minutes. In that time, I convinced myself he was calling for back up and I was going to jail, despite the fact that I don't think "very illegal U-turns" are even a thing but what the hell could take 30 minutes??

My wig was itchy so I took it off. I decided this WOULD happen the one time I try to leave the house to go have some fun. I felt bad for myself. I wondered if I could survive in jail. I started to cry.

400 years later, he returned, in a jovial mood now. "Amy?"

"No, my name's Ashley." I said, sadly.

"Yeah...but, hey, where's your wig?"

"Oh right. I took it off. I'm not going to be Amy anymore, I'm just going to go home."

"What about the party?"

"I'm not going to go to the party, it's not a good night to go to the party," I sniffled again.

"Oh stop. You're just getting a warning for the u-turn. What would Amy Winehouse do?"

(Amy Winehouse would probably do heroin, but I didn't think that was a good answer.)

He continued, "She would go to the party! You should put your wig back on and...uh...clean yourself up a little and go!"

"Well, thank you for the warning," chin trembling. "I just don't know if I can go to the party."

"Take a minute here, to, you know, get yourself together. Just be safe and go have fun."

I thanked him again and felt immense relief about my warning as he drove away. I decided that I would just feel more sorry for myself if I had to turn around and go back home. I looked in the mirror to re-adjust my wig and realized my thick black liquid eyeliner and mascara had run in dark, crazy streaks down my face just like the real Amy Winehouse.

I laughed out loud and went to the party. (I did clean up first, though, because it was scary crazy and not in a fun way.)

I then told this story all weekend long, making the entire experience worth it.

The next night, I was invited to a Dead Celebrity party (this is a total of two more parties than I'm typically invited to in a year) and the vast majority of women were either Audrey Hepburn or Amy Winehouse, which was hilarious and created instant camaraderie.

I didn't really know anyone there except for the two friends who had invited me, which I thought might be awkward but it was actually awesome. I had a great time and several people that I met said some variation of, "I can't imagine what you look like not dressed like this, I'm afraid I'll never recognize you in public," and I realized that's exactly why I was having so much fun, and I promised them I'd probably never let them recognize me in public since I was having more fun as Amy Winehouse anyway.

So it was a real rock star weekend in that exciting and yet still pathetic kind of way, minus the drugs or money or fame. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Anti-Big Business Boy on Halloween

Big Kid had to write a poem about Halloween for Language Arts. It was hilariously Big Kid-like:


A long time ago, on October thirty-first,
People believed that the spooks would come and haunt the earth!
So people put on costumes, to confuse these fears,
but Halloween has certainly changed over the years!
Nowadays, this holiday is simply a device,
For corporate businesses to sell cheap merchandise!
Half of the costumes you see aren’t even scary!
With costumes such as pirates, princesses and fairies!
Although Halloween has changed, that’s not a bad thing, see,
We still get to enjoy sweets and festivities!
Halloween’s a time of joy, whereas it used to be controlled by fear,
So Halloween’s here to stay, year after year.

I shared it on my personal Facebook where it got a lot of attention and positive comments, so I told him about that the next day.

"Really?" he said, looking perplexed. "Huh. Imagine if they read something I actually wanted to do." 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

That Guy

Big Kid is active on some video game-related wiki. I still don't know what it actually is, but I checked it out once and it seemed innocent enough. His people are there, so whatever.

"The other day I asked on the wiki if people considered me a friend," he told me.

Since I know that people on the internet are complete and total assholes (except for you guys), particularly in the forum-type format, I was a little nervous as to what was coming next.

"Yeah. How did that go?"

"It went really well," he then went on to tell me about all of the people and what they said. It seemed positive. (I hear A LOT about this wiki, and I tune a lot of it out for my own mental well-being.)

"Huh. Well, that's good. You know, sometimes we just assume people don't like us and then, ironically, we close ourselves off and become harder to like. I think it's best to just operate on the assumption that people like you because why wouldn't they? You're awesome."

"Yeah, I know what you mean. I was just wondering if they think of me as an actual friend, or more like that guy that sits by your wife in yoga class."

"The guy that sits by your wife in yoga class?" I asked with a laugh.

"Yeah, you know, the guy that everyone thinks is weird but you kind of have to put up with because he's not technically doing anything wrong? No one wants to be that guy."

"Well, congrats on not being that guy."  (I have no idea where he gets this stuff. I swear no one in this family complains about guys sitting next to me in yoga.)

"I'll be honest, it feels pretty good." 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Being a Not Really

So I mentioned in the last post that I've been battling the Beautiful Day Monster. I broke a molar earlier in the week and it hurts and I'm not sure how I'm going to be able to get it fixed and that's about the best thing that happened this week, if that gives you any indication of how things are going. Life's just kind of a jerk like that. 

I'm also in the process of trying to re-commit to my yoga practice. I go through phases of convincing myself I don't want to do yoga and don't have to do yoga, but like medicine, I know I need it even if it doesn't always give me a good buzz.

I also just love being at the yoga studio. I work there and am probably one of the few people to truly miss work while on vacation because I love my co-workers and friends and the atmosphere so much. When I walk in the door, I feel the same way most people do when they arrive home after a long trip -- happy and relieved and comfortable to be there.

And those excellent friends I have made gently and firmly suggest I meet them for yoga because they know I need it, and I do and I feel better.

But that doesn't mean I'm not an asshole about it. Our studio's methodology is all about "being a yes" and today I was being a solid "not really."  This is what I was up to this morning:

1. Decided I didn't want to practice on my own mat, used a spare.
2. Decided I was slippery on the spare, left the room to borrow a non-slip towel.
3. Decided the towel smelled like yoga teacher training and wondered why.
4. Decided the apple I ate for breakfast was too big and wondered if my stomach might start to hurt.
5. Decided I was too hot and yes, my stomach hurt.
6. Decided maybe I should plan an escape since I had convinced myself my stomach hurt.
7. Decided that wouldn't work since I knew 75% of people in the building.
8. Decided I needed to floss and wondered if I should go do that instead of chair pose.
9. Decided I was not going to do the next pose no matter what the teacher said (at least 40 times).
10. Decided to do the next pose but only because I was in the front row.
11. Decided the girl behind me was too pretty and looked too amazing in her outfit.
12. Decided I'm never doing crescent lunge ever again.
13. Decided to do crescent lunge again.
14. Decided to take up Scuba diving.
15. Decided to make "why are we doing this?" faces at my friend who made me do it.
16. Decided to strain my eyes to see the thermostat.
17. Decided to lean far enough forward to see the clock.
18. Decided 75 minutes was just way too long.
19. Decided I would take A LOT of time getting into each pose so I'd have to do less time for each.
20. Decided not to do abs, even when the teacher (a friend) said, "Core is important. Even if we don't want to do it, we should...Ashley!"
21. Decided I couldn't breathe normally and wondered if I was having an asthma or anxiety attack.
22. Decided I was over-obsessing about the breathing because I wanted to not do things. 
23. Decided I would go ahead and do things. Kind of half-assed, but still.

And then it was time for savasana (AKA lying down quietly at the end) and I decided once again that I do actually like yoga. Which makes me suspect that I really just like lying down quietly but whatever, at least I do something well.

And that's how I yoga.

If you were picturing strength, serenity and grace, you were probably picturing that girl behind me.

But I do it anyway, sometimes, and that's got to count for something.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Beautiful Day Monster

Big Kid has a teacher in school who sounds like a bit of a jerk. He's always on their case for bizarre reasons, like scratching an itch or getting up from their chair in a way he dislikes. He has Big Kid feeling so on edge and self-conscious that he often comes home feeling stressed, even if it's other people being picked on. There's not a lot I can do about it because there's no way to word that I don't like the way this guy doesn't like things so I just explain that dealing with jerks is a part of life, to scratch his itches freely regardless of consequences and to let this guy's drama roll off his back.

Today he got in the car and said that this teacher reminds him of a Sesame Street skit where the Beautiful Day Monster followed a little girl around and ruined everything. If she said, "At least it's not raining!" then the Beautiful Day Monster would make it rain.

I so get that. I'm pretty sure the entire universe is my Beautiful Day Monster lately. I have decided that I was probably Hitler in a past life to deserve the week I've had -- and it's only Wednesday.

I can't even get into it all here because it's boring and it would take too long. I've considered therapy so I could demand a captive audience but I guess those people want money to sit there and listen to me and, frankly, I don't blame them for charging prices I can't afford since I wouldn't want to hear it either.

So there's no real point to this other than to say that even if you do the hard work and shift your perspective and keep on keeping on and kick, kick, kick and all of that other positivity jazz, sometimes the Beautiful Day Monster is waiting for you regardless.

And maybe that's not your fault.

(Unless you were Hitler in a past life and then you're just screwed.)