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WELCOME! I'm so happy you came to check out my little corner of the world! If you're not already a follower I hope you choose to follow Real Housewife of Maine as I have a lot of fun projects, recipes, and book reviews on the way! If you're already a follower, welcome back!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Been Awhile

It's been a while since I last posted here. I guess life got in the way. But . . . I will be posting more. I have some ideas, and starting next week, there will be a whole new look to this space.
So until then . . .

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

One Big Playroom

Today I learned that I saved $20,000.

Yup, that’s right. Twenty big ones. Of course, my penny pinching ways might keep my daughter might from getting into an Ivy League college, but only time will tell, I guess.

I’m referring to the woman in New York City who spent $19,000 to send her daughter to a school that promised to prepare the kidlet for the ERB, the standardized test that many elite schools use when determining whether to admit kids. Supposedly this school, which the mother claims promised great things, was—wait for it—one big playroom.

Did I mention that the kid is two?

Maybe it’s just because I live in the wilds of Maine, where anything that costs $20,000 better have a motor or indoor plumbing (or both), but this lady needs to get a grip. I’m all for quality education and child care, but getting pissed off because you spend all that money to prepare your toddler for college and all she learns is her colors and shapes seems a little bit like spending money to take your dog to obedience class, and getting mad because all he’ll do is sit and roll over.

As far as I’m concerned, two year olds should be in a big playroom. They should have blocks, crayons, dolls and fingerpaint. Being two is all about exploring the world and learning what happens when this crashes into that. And not to brag, but my daughter just turned two, and knows her numbers, shapes, colors and about half of the alphabet. She learned them through books, and playing with me and her dad—not at some fancy preschool that costs as much as a year of state college. Since she also puts bowls on her head and sticks French fries up her nose, I’ve held off on calling Mensa for now.

I realize things are different in different parts of the world, but I just cannot understand this push to make kids achieve so soon. To repeat the cliché, why can’t kids be kids? I’ve heard my approach to parenting referred to as “free-range parenting” but for one thing, it makes my kids sound like livestock, and secondly, it doesn’t need a name. If anything, it should be called “Happy Childhood” parenting. There is plenty of time to learn quadratic equations and Mandarin Chinese. Let the two year old go to the big playroom, and stop worrying so much about whether she’ll get into elementary school or high school or Harvard or Yale. I figure that growing up in a happy, secure, loving environment where she can explore and make discoveries on her own is far better than pushing her to memorize flashcards and fill in bubbles on a test.

My advice to the woman in New York, and the others like her, is to take that money you’re spending on preschool tuition, and to hire lawyers in your frivolous lawsuit, and put it in a college fund for the little Einstein. That’s probably going to do more good than paying someone else to teach her stuff she’s going to learn anyway.
Then again, my kid’s got French fries up her nose, so what do I know?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Just Stay Home, Will You?

There’s a war going on, folks. And no, I’m not talking about the Middle East, Camille vs. Kyle, or Charlie Sheen vs. sanity.

No, I’m referring to the battle between those with kids, and those without.

I love to read funny blogs, and one of my favorites is STFU Parents, which basically makes fun of parents who do stupid stuff on Facebook. You know, the ones that post EVERY detail, including photos, of their kids potty training. Nothing is off limits to some people on Facebook, and those people deserve to be called out on their stupidity.

And naturally, a blog like that is going to attract a certain segment of the population who has nothing for disdain for “breeders”. Not just the obnoxious people who give their kids weird names and behave as if the world should fall at their feet because they gave birth to the most-precious-and-amazing person EVER. No, they hate all people who procreate. To these people, if someone’s sperm happened to meet your egg, or vice versa, you are automatically stupid, unable to make good decisions, arrogant, annoying, self-entitled and selfish.

‘Cause we all know that’s the case.

A few months ago, I had a firsthand encounter with these fine folks during one of my favorite pastimes, arguing with faceless internet people I don’t know. The owner of the blog, who seems like a reasonable person, posted a status update from a woman who had the flight from hell. This poor woman had a screaming child and got sick on the plane, and posted a status update about it. The blog proceeded to trash this girl for having the audacity to share her experience on Facebook—and most of the commenters on the blog not only trashed her for posting that update, but made the inevitable comments about how kids shouldn’t be on planes, people with kids should stay home, blah blah blah.

I made the fatal mistake of jumping in and commenting that I thought they were being harsh, that I saw nothing wrong with the original post, and that people needed to accept that babies would be traveling on planes. I was soundly—and I mean soundly—rebuked. Forget the fact that my family lives 1,000 miles away. Doesn’t matter. I should not, under any circumstances get on an airplane with my kid. Oh, and if I could avoid restaurants, stores, doctor’s offices, libraries, post offices, banks, and, oh, anywhere that isn’t my home while I’m at it? That’s be great.

My response was somewhere along the lines of screw you.

I’m seeing more and more of a divide lately between those with kids and those without, and not just on blogs like STFU Parents. I’m seeing it in response to news stories, blog posts and Twitter feeds. And honestly? I’m tired of it. Kids are loud, they’re messy and have a complete inability to control themselves. And there are some parents out there who are unwilling or unable to control their children. They annoy everyone. They probably annoy those of us with kids even more, since most parents that I know turn themselves inside out to control their children and prevent them from being a nuisance in public.

But this trend of lumping all parents into one category, and acting like we have no right to be anywhere because we have little ones is disturbing. Correct me if I’m wrong, but haven’t we as a society been fighting against that sort of thing for hundreds of years? And it’s not just that. The assumption that just because we chose to become parents, we have no right to complain about anything is absurd. I chose a career as a writer. Does that mean I’m not allowed to complain about editors and deadlines? If we make choice the barometer for deciding what’s worth complaining about, then no one would ever have the right to express anything other than delight with the whole world. I mean, isn’t life nothing more than a series of choices? Just because I mention that I’m getting tired of telling my kids to stop jumping on the furniture, or that I would love to have an uninterrupted dinner alone with my husband doesn’t give you the right to attack me for choosing to have kids. If I post a picture of my placenta or my daughter’s poopy diaper on Facebook? Well attack away. I deserve it.

Oh, and Charlie Sheen? Reality’s gonna kick your ass pretty soon.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Why I Watch the Bachelor

I watch the Bachelor, and I hate myself for it.

I never used to watch the Bachelor. I always thought it was ridiculous. I mean, seriously? The whole competing for a man--crying over some dude you just met--national TV humilation thing just never appealed to me.

And then I tuned in.

It was kind of an accident. I had been watching Jeopardy! because I'm convinced that I'm smarter than everyone on that show (except for the computer. That was just creepy) and left the remote in the kitchen. Now seeing that the kitchen is approximately 8 feet from the living room, it wasn't a major stretch to go get it. But it was, and I found myself sucked into the train wreck of hair extensions, boob implants and Forever 21 dresses that was these 25 women fighting over Jake Pavelka. (which . .. really?) It took less than one episode to get sucked into the drama and catfights, and soon the DVR was set.

Now I should backtrack a bit and say that I do believe in love at first sight, or at least early in a relationship. My husband and I were engaged 6 months after we started dating, which was 6 months after we met. I knew the first night that we hung out, talking for hours, that I wanted to be with him, even though our first real date wasn't until months later. But it was just me and him. I wasn't fighting with 24 other women in bikinis and cocktail dresses who interrupted every 5 minutes with a giggle and a "Sooooorrrry . . .can I steal him away?" At least that I know of.

Anyway, as much as I enjoy the entertainment value of the Bachelor (I mean come on, some of those girls are batshit crazy and fun to watch) I also feel a little dirty watching it. With each episode, it sets the women's movement back about 50 years and this coming from someone who doesn't define herself as a feminist ( but that's a post for another day.) My favorite contestant ever was the vampire-girl from this current season, who basically said "You know what? This is ridiculous. Buh-bye." What seemed like a good idea at the time, and a way for her to get her 15 minutes, was exposed in about 15 seconds and she just couldn't deal with it. I cheered when she walked away, not only because she was one of the more interesting "characters" they had come up with, beut because she had a spine.

I hate seeing these girls get caught up in the yachts and the resorts and the "fantasy dates" with rappelling, helicopters, volcanoes and caves. You want to have a real dating show? Show these people waiting for a table at Chili's on a Friday night, or playing mini-golf. These crazy "dates"--which, newsflash, girls, are planned by the producers, not the Bachelor himself--are bound to create conversation. Even if it is just "This is so pretty/awesome/scary/incredible." So let the Bachelor plan his own dates. I want to see him take a girl to a Star Trek convention or a UFC fight, just to see how she'll react. I guarantee you, more girls would run for the exit when they find out the supposed dream guy is actually into action figures and watching grown men roll around punching each other in the head.

And yet I watch. Every week, I tune in, and spend two hours rolling my eyes and making fun of the Bachelor and the women who make fools of themselves to get his attention. I managed to get my reality TV-hating husband to watch with me, and we actually discuss what's happening on the show and who we think is going to stay or go--and then make fun of ourselves for caring.

So I've been trying to figure out why I watch. I know that if one of my daughters went on the show, I'd be mortified if she thought that she would actually find lasting love while the cameras were rolling, never mind participated in the champagne-fueled hot tub meltdowns. I be embarrassed for her as she stood in a group of women waiting for some schmuck to offer her a rose to stay in the competition--just like I'm embarrassed for the girls on the show now, all of whom left behind their family, friends, homes, careers and in some cases, children, for the chance to humiliate herself on national television. Sounds like must-see TV, right?

I've come to the conclusion that I watch because 1.) there's not much else on during that time slot and 2.) I'm a sucker for a good fantasy. After almost six years of marriage, two kids, a mortgage, and all that comes with it, the idea of spending a defined period of time focused entirely on developing a relationship sounds kind of fun. I miss the days when a weekend away meant a change of clothes, a toothbrush and a tank of gas, and not a babysitter, dog sitter, diaper bags and daily kid checks. I miss staying up talking all night about something other than whose turn it is to get up with the baby, or why that child just won't go to sleep already.

I realize we're not the only ones who struggle with the romance/adult relationship aspect of life. There's an entire industry built around rekindling the marriage spark. And it's not that I'm unhappy. I'm anything but. The thing is, it's kind of nice to live vicariously through reality show contestants. It's sparked a few serious discussions with the hubster, and inspired us to dream about places we'd like to visit. So while I roll my eyes at the behavior and wardrobe choices of the girls on the show, I silently thank God that I'm not single and competing for a guy that will probably humiliate me in UsWeekly, and for the good guy that I did marry.

And for that, I guess it's good TV.

Hello, World

I've thought about starting a blog for a while. And every time I have the thought, another, more insistent thought takes it over. It's the nagging little voice that's says, in a snotty tone of voice sounds an awful lot like a certain girl in my 7th-grade Spanish class, "Who cares what you have to say?"

I've also thought a lot about what the blog would focus on. I had another blog for my scrapbooking and crafts a while back, but well, I just didn't enjoy it. And those are a dime a dozen. The couponing/saving money thing? Done--by one of my good friends, no less. Ditto for the cooking, things to do, absolutely hysterical observations on life thing. In short, it's pretty much all been done.

And then it occurred to me that it doesn't really matter. It may have been done. And as much as I would love to be the next Dooce, we'll have to see. Even she started off just writing snarky observations about her co-workers. So here I am. Who knows what this little slice of the interwebs will wind up being? It might be a combination of all of those topics above, it might be something else.

To start this off, a little about me: I'm in my mid-30's, live in Maine (obviously) and I'm married with two girls, ages 2 and 9. I'm a grad student, a writer, and wannabe fashionista. I dream of Manolos and Christian Louboutin's, but I wear Dansko's and carry a Vera Bradley bag. I'm a reality TV and chick lit addict, and spend far too much time on Facebook. My favorite authors are the aforementioned Dooce (aka Heather Armstrong), Jen Lancaster, David Sedaris, Emily Giffin, Jennifer Weiner, and a host of others that I plan to emulate at every possible turn.

Oh, and I love me some boxed wine.

So here we go . . . and so begins my sarcastic, perpetually perplexed and hopefully interesting take on the world . . .