Hero

Hero. For such a little word it sure has a lot of meaning. When you label someone a hero, it’s kind of a big deal.

And then, as if being a hero wasn’t big enough, we also have the next level up which are super heroes. I am personally a big fan of one super hero in particular.

Yet being a hero doesn’t have to be such a status symbol or echelon event. We can be a hero to someone just by paying for their coffee if they’re low on money. Or sending a card to say “I’m thinking of you” when you know they had a shitty day. How about standing up for them when no one else will.

Or buying them a donut because you know they really want one and would eat it if someone gave it to them but would not buy it themselves.

Ok maybe that last one is just my idea of a hero.

I used to think a hero was someone who literally saved lives. Now I’d be cool with someone who just saved me a seat in a crowded room.

Isabella was asked to do a writing assignment about a hero. She had to include a main idea, 3 details, and a concluding sentence. Of course because she’s my daughter she did extra credit and added 2 extra details.

Here’s what she wrote:

My mom is a hero. Do you want to know why? If not, stop reading.

She is pretty. She gets her hair colored. Dad says she is beautiful. Every time she gets a haircut Cora says, “You look pretty.”

She is fun. She plays lots of games. She will play almost anything. She plays games on TV.

She is daring. She does the Polar Plunge. She does lots of scary stuff. She does belly flops in the water sometimes.

She is strict. Sometimes she yells. One time she took away my toys. She makes us follow so many rules.

She is nice. She bought us angel food cake. She gets us toys. She smiles a lot.

So now I’ve told you all about how my mom is a hero (if you read it).

See. All you need to be a hero is pretty, fun, daring, strict, and nice. Its achievable yet also enough criteria to weed out the posers.

Also, I don’t know where she got the belly flop thing because I never jump in the water….I’m afraid of water. Can a hero be a hero and still be afraid of water? I feel like that in and of itself shouldn’t disqualify me. I just won’t be the kind of hero to save you if you’re drowning.

What is a hero to you? Who is a hero in your life? Have you told them? Maybe you should. I guarantee they’ll feel pretty special.

Now let’s go talk about it over angel food cake. I’ll buy!

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$#*! My British Friend Says – She’s Back!!

I have some advice for you. Go get yourself a British friend. I highly recommend it. They sound cool when they talk- regardless of what they say (and they say some weird things). They eat some gnarly shit but they know good tea and how to drink it. And they’re just downright awesome people.

Ok so I’m generalizing. I can’t vouch for every British person there is. But I can vouch for one – the Brit.

The Brit and I had dinner the other night and it was fun to spend time together again. It was like old times.

Here are a few highlights.

  • He’s F*ing rude! But good. Don’t forget good.
  • I love it when you order pudding. I like watching you eat.
  • [The waitress] “Do you want 6 or 9 ounces of wine?” The Brit holds up 9 fingers and says “6”.
  • Are you going to finish your chips? I love to eat them like a sandwich with coleslaw in the middle.

In other exciting news, The Brit and I are planning a trip back to the Annex to explore our old stomping grounds and see what adventure we can rustle up. Stay tuned!!

The Box

I’m going to share a secret with you. Something that’s been haunting me for 5 years.

But first, let me tell you about last week.

I spent 2 days in a leadership class. In that class we talked about our saboteurs and our guardians. A saboteur is that negative voice in your head. The one that tells me I can’t do things or I’m not good enough or I might as well not try because I’ll fail anyway. The saboteur keeps me from sharing ideas at work because they might be stupid. Or from swimming because I could drown. Or from singing karaoke because people might laugh at me.

The guardian, on the other hand, is the all knowing voice that guides you, protects you and says loving thing to you no matter what. The voice that counters the saboteur and shuts it up. My guardian is a tiger. A strong, sleek, beautiful, warm, regal tiger. I call her Tigra.

And now for that secret.

I’m afraid to jump on the 2nd level box in the gym.

It all started when I returned to work from maternity leave with Cora, back in 2013. One of my first days in the gym, my trainer told me to jump on the box. No big deal, I used to do it all the time. So I jumped. And fell off. I tried again. And hit my shin.

That was it. At that point my mind said, “We are never doing this again” and it shut down. I tried to make myself do it but to no avail. I would bend my knees as if to jump but it was like my feet were nailed down. One day my trainer and I stood there for almost an hour trying to do it, staring at that damn box and no matter what he said or did, my mind wouldn’t let my body move.

My saboteur was in full control.

You’re going to fall again.

Do you want to hurt yourself?

It’s too high.

You can’t do it.

When you miss everyone will laugh at you.

You’re too old for this.

Just go get the small box. That’s s all you can do.

And on and on.

It bothers me. I pretend it doesn’t but it does. I want to conquer that box. I hate that it has control over me. Every day I walk by that box and it mocks me. Or when I see another woman jump on it with ease it’s like a knife to my gut. The competitor in me comes out and thinks, “How come she can do it and I can’t? ”

Well the truth is, I can. I just won’t let myself.

That all ends now. I’ve decided my next goal in the gym is to beat that f*ing box. I am going to take a step bench and raise it a little higher every day until I have my confidence back.

I will succeed.

Goodbye saboteur. Tigra is winning this battle.

Silly Little Sentences

Sisters:

Isabella: Cora, think of something to ask Google.

Cora: Shamrock paper.

Isabella: No, it has to be a question.

Cora: Shamrock paper!

Isabella: A question! But not something like when are mom or dad going to die. Google’s not a doctor….

Cora:

Dad, can I call you mom for short?

Isabella:

Let’s sit at the table and talk about Smores. Maybe that will get mom and dad interested.

Isabella:

Mom, I love little cakes. They taste like heaven. Unless they use poop as an artificial ingredient. Who wants poop with sprinkles?

I love those 2 silly girls!!

Innocence

The other night as I was making dinner and Isabella was doing homework, she casually said, “Mom, did you know that on YouTube they have videos of naked people having sex?”

Well that was not the conversation I was expecting to have on a random Monday night in March.

In my head I’m thinking, “Yes of course I know that! It’s called porn! There’s all kinds of porn out there.” Then I switch to, “Wait a minute, how do you know this? Did someone tell you? Have you seen it? What exactly did you see?” And from there, “What should I say? Do I acknowledge it? Do I brush it off? Is this a teaching moment or a funny ‘remember when Isabella brought up porn’ moment? “

Turns out that with kids, if you wait long enough, you don’t have to do anything and they’ll just keep going.

“Why would anyone want to see naked people having sex? That’s like so gross. I don’t even like to see you and Dad kissing.”

And there it is. The sweet innocence of youth. For her it’s not about political or societal taboos or what’s right and wrong or even an intrigue into something much older than her. To her it’s giggle worthy and on the same grossness level as puke or salad.

We’ve tried hard to keep our kids innocent for as long as possible (though we can’t plan for everything). They don’t watch violent movies or overly romantic shows. We don’t talk about very adult topics in front of them (little pitchers have big ears!). We even have a code word for sex – Cheetos [You know, if I want to hint to CJ that I’m in the mood, I’ll say, “Hey, want to have Cheetos later?” It’s worked pretty well. Neither one of them has caught on to the fact that sometimes mom and dad eat Cheetos in their room late at night after they’ve gone to bed].

Rabbit hole: at work we have many different systems and each of those systems has their own release schedule. They also all have their own release names. One team names their releases after Super Heroes. Another has gone with Pokemon characters. Yet another one was using natural disasters for a while until they realized how depressing it was to say “The Chernoble release is scheduled for next month”. Well, the manager of one of those systems sits next to me and their releases are named after comfort foods. So they had the Cheetos release a few months ago. I tell ya what, it was an interesting day for me when I heard her say on a call, “Yep, that one goes in Cheetos….Well Cheetos is on schedule right now but can be moved to later if need be….Let’s keep that in there because I’d rather go with Cheetos than Mashed Potatoes”.

Where was I? Oh yeah, protecting the innocence of our kids.

Isabella then added, “My friend at school told me about it. She watched it.”

It’s disturbing that a 9 year old has watched porn already. However, I remember being in grade school (6th grade maybe?) and finding my friend’s dad’s stash of Playboys. We were fascinated by both what was inside and also by the fact that we’d found something secret and forbidden. It was naughty in an exciting way. Back then, this kind of stuff wasn’t as readily accessible as it is today which made it that much more exhilerating.

Isabella then changed the subject and moved on. I was spared from having to really do much of anything. All I said was, “I don’t want you watching any of those videos so if you’re with a friend and they want to watch it, you need to say no and tell a parent.”

She nodded in a way that indicates that would be the only logical thing to do and continued about her homework.

Meanwhile I was left with a lot to think about. And suddenly with a craving for Cheetos.