Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ranty Ranty Rant-Rant or I Freaking Hate Eminem

I got into a wee lil' flame war on Youtube about the Eminem/Rihanna collaboration "Love the Way You Lie". Specifically, it started over a comment that I left on the parody video "Love the Way You Like" by The Key of Awesome. I stated that I was glad the original video was parodied because I'm pretty sick of violence/manipulation/controlling behavior being glorified as just parts of any deeply romantic relationship (I love you so much, baby, I can't stop my fist from flying). The argument that I was countered with was that Eminem/Rihanna aren't glorifying it at all but are rather providing a cautionary tale. Bullshit. Just look at the video. Who are the key players? Dominic Monaghan and Megan Fox. In the case of Dominic, he lives in our hearts primarily as either the hobbit Merry from "Lord of the Rings" or the flawed but lovable (and ultimately self-sacrificing) Charlie from "Lost". Megan, for her part, is best known for stuff like "Jennifer's Body" (where she kills boys) and the "Transformers" movie franchise (where she holds her own against a bunch of alien robots) as well as being the current sex symbol for a generation. Basically, it's hard to get behind the idea of our hobbit friend pounding the crap out of his girlfriend and we kind of feel like Ms. Fox could handle herself in a physical confrontation. In other words, we're presented with a pretty level playing field. One of the things about domestic violence is that the playing field is never level.

Domestic violence is about dominance and control - not about being so passionately in love that you just can't stop yourself from blackening your lover's eye/punching a hole in the dry wall. The scenes in the original video show the acts of violence as being sexually charged. The couple fights, screams, throws things, and then ultimately they wind up doing lots of REALLY OPEN MOUTH kissing against a wall. Right. The violence is also completely mutual and, according to the bit Rihanna sings, the woman in question believes "that's alright because I love the way it hurts." Again, WTF?!

I don't doubt that Eminem/Rihanna want us all to believe that they are presenting a warning, I completely doubt their sincerity, though. Em is no stranger to misogynistic tirades about beating and/or killing some woman who is driving him crazy. Worse, his most notorious rant-to-a-beat is "Kim" where he explains to his very young daughter (he's talking to her all through it) why he just had to murder her mother. Guess what? She asked for it. This is also a theme in "Love the Way You Lie" - "It's the rage that took over/it controls you both", "but your temper's just as bad as mine is/you're the same as me". See? It's mutual! I don't doubt that there are ridiculously screwed up relationships wherein both parties are guilty of raging, screaming, and throwing punches at one another. However, this is the exception and not the rule when it comes to domestic violence. The one on the receiving end of the violence isn't likely to be a little spit-fire in boots like Megan Fox. Instead, he/she feels so trapped and scared that it's paralyzing. It's not a sexy picture AT ALL. It is NOT romantic. It does not warrant some dude in a field showing off his muscles and tats while a woman in her short-shorts and bikini top/jacket combo bites her lip suggestively at the camera and the two of them wail about how all of this is ok because deep down, they enjoy it.

The reason why I am so fond of the parody, aside from the fact that it's hilarious, is that it also points out that the whole "I'm treating you like crap because I like you so much" thing really shouldn't be humored after the 6th grade. Once it gets beyond that point, it's just sick.

So, sorry Em. Sorry Rihanna. I don't buy it. Not for a second. And I'm extremely disappointed that so many people seem to.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Parenting Fail

My brain fell out over the past couple of weeks. I haven't had a good thought in my head for a while and I still don't, actually. I moaned and whined on my Facebook page that no one was following my blog so I thought I ought to, you know, post something or whatever. Over the last few days I've been chastising myself for being a lazy lump. I've managed a yoga session, a trip to a pond, and a trip to the Children's Museum but that's about it - definitely not enough to keep myself and my kids happy. It's starting to show, too. Ethan was ridiculously crabby all freaking day today. Ben, though, has been handling it like a champ which kind of makes me feel worse. The kid is four, he should be throwing a fit that mom has been keeping him house-bound. Is he getting used to it? I truly hope not. If you've been reading my blog, you know that I have a tremendous fear of being that mom. Fortunately, I still don't own a muumuu (note: some perfectly great moms wear muumuus) and I haven't yet sent Ben off to the market with some cash and instructions to pick mama up a six pack but I fear I may have set my feet down on that path. I'm still technically working part-time so I haven't even been fully immersed in this stay-at-home-mom thing, yet. How can I be running out of ideas already?

A typical daily schedule runs along these lines:

10AM: Breakfast (yes, I sleep in. Sue me.)
11:30 AM: Rush around trying to get the kids dressed, the backpack packed (snacks, changes of clothing, toys, water, etc.), and groom myself into a state fit for public appearance.
12 or 12:30PM: Children's Museum. I love this place with one exception - the arts and crafts room kind of gives me a headache. There's scissors, glue, paint, scraps of paper, and play dough that smells like candy. Why would they make play dough that smells like candy??? Do they want kids to eat it???? Gah.
2:30PM: Picnic in the park.
3PM: Drive home to deposit Ethan in his crib for a nap. During this time, I typically attempt to take a nap but tend to fail miserably.
5PM: Retrieve Ethan, change him, and then give the kids their dinner.
6PM: Head out once more to either A) Take a walk by the river, B) Go to Greenough Park and let the kids chuck rocks in Rattlesnake Creek for an hour or two, or C) Get ice cream.
7PM-ish or 8PM-ish: Take the kids home, bathe them, brush their teeth, read them a story or two, and then retreat downstairs with a book to have a little "me" time.
And then here we go again.

I know that it's good to have a schedule when dealing with children but I'm going a little crazy here. The reason why I have continued with the hellish yoga sessions has a lot to do with the fact that it gives me some time when I'm not required to look after children and keep everyone happy and entertained. I can concern myself with more immediate matters like not throwing up. It is oddly refreshing.

It is 12:12AM and both kids are still awake. We did not follow the typical schedule today. Ethan actually took an earlier nap which might lead some people to believe that he'd want to be asleep long before now. I was lead to believe that, actually. Silly me. Ben generally tries to stay awake long enough to be able to get a glimpse of Clyde before going to bed. If he doesn't, I believe he has trained himself to wake up in the even more wee hours of the morning to finagle a way into our bed. He has even, on occasion, taken off his pull-up in order to wet his bed so that he can come sleep with us. It is sad and pitiful and also very, very frustrating. I know that these things will change in a few years but even though I am nearly tearing my hair out right now, I'm not in a hurry for them to grow up. I just need some guidance. What can I do that I'm not doing? How do I make this work?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Holy crap, I didn't barf!

Last night, after some deliberation and pleas for guidance from my Psych homies, I went for Round 2 of Sarah vs. Bikram. It was a close match, people. There were a couple of times there when I was nearly out for the count but I held on. I held on and emerged from the room - after the entire 90 minute session - sweaty, exhausted, shaky, but semi-victorious! I say "semi-victorious" because I spent a fair amount of time lying on my mat in the "Corpse Pose" (my favorite) rather than participating in "Balancing Stick Pose" and "Camel Pose" and "Contort Your Body in Such a Way That You Can No Longer Breathe and You're In Imminent Danger of Collapsing in a Soppy Heap Pose". Actually, that last pose pretty much covers all of 'em. 'Cept for "Corpse Pose". I'm really good at that one. Did I mention that?

What made this second session much like the first is the fact that I spent nearly all that time berating myself in my head for hauling myself back into that pit of Hell yoga studio. It really didn't take much time at all before the running internal monologue started - "What the hell am I doing here? This is awful. This is stupid. I hate this. I mean I really really hate this. I'm never doing this again." And so on and so forth. What made this second session different than the first is how quickly that feeling evaporated once it was over. As I sat in the "cold room" (probably a mere 85 degrees) and enjoyed my hard-earned popsicle, the endorphins must've finally breached the gate and began to flood my brain. I felt awesome! And giddy! I babbled like an idiot! I started to kind of understand what runners mean when they talk about their post-run "high". (Note: I might understand runners now, but I still want to trip 'em.) I honestly did a little victory dance on the top floor of the parking garage as I made my way back to my car. Fortunately, there were no witnesses. I think.

I have officially gotten my money's worth of yoga sessions. But.......I think.......I might.....go back. I really like the idea of achieving that yoga physique and being all lean and bendy. And it really really does feel so good when it's over. I realize how stupid that sounds. I'm not going to pay someone to punch me in the face repeatedly so I can revel in how good feels once I'm no longer being punched in the face. However, in that scenario the aftermath involves heavy bruising, possible fractures, and missing teeth. The aftermath of yoga involves some muscle soreness, a popsicle, and the best shower of your life.

For now, at least, my mind remains open.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I hate grocery shopping. There's a huge gulf between what I ought to buy and what I want to buy. I know that to be a proper Missoula mom, my grocery cart should be full of tofu, carob, fiber-filled soy snacks, and every vegetable known to man. However, I kind of just want to run through the frozen food aisle and load up on pizza rolls and ice cream. I get terribly self-conscious when I shop for groceries. I can't escape the feeling that I'm being judged. I end up buying things that just rot in the fridge because I want people to think that I'm really healthy. Good lord, that's neurotic. I try to avoid the organic section primarily because I don't want to run into all the dreadlocked Earth Mother types who glare at me with disdain because I bought some ground beef instead of the rubbery seitan "chicken" that I would buy if I was actually a good mother, oh my god.

Another reason why I hate grocery shopping is because I almost always have to drag the boys along. In Ben's mind, grocery store = balloons. I hate balloons. I hate them so much. They are just big, stupid drama bubbles. The moment Benjamin sees one, he's got to have it. He will die if he doesn't get it. I am the worst mom in the world if I do not purchase that stupid Sponge Bob balloon or the Thomas balloon or EVERY BALLOON IN THE STORE. I have all but outlawed balloons in our home. We still have one stuck in the corner of our living room ceiling that's been there for about a month. It has to be out of helium by now so I think it's being held up by static electricity alone. In the past, I have had to come up with some clever and sometimes dangerous ways to retrieve our ceiling balloons but it is never, ever worth it. Not two minutes after the balloon is retrieved, it ends up floating back up to the ceiling, serenaded by the ear-piercing shriek of one or both of the boys. There are also those fun-filled occasions when a balloon pops. Somehow, Ethan's balloons always end up popping. Weird. Now, every shopping trip with the boys is preceded by the threat to sell them to gypsies if the word "balloon" is even mentioned.

Grocery shopping with kids also means that I need to be extra attentive of their ninja-like grabbing skills. If I'm not careful, I'll end up with a cart full of scented candles, water balloons, lollipops, cat food, dog food, gardening implements, and who knows what else all because the stuff is shiny and colorful and it happened to be in their reach. Kids are sort of like magpies in that respect. One of Ben's favorite things to do when we're around company is to collect everyone's bracelets, rings, and watches. People will willingly give up their sparklies because he's just so darn cute but I can't help but think they're enabling a future kleptomaniac. So, I have to keep checking in on the contents of my cart to make certain that everything in there is something that I want in there.

Checking out is usually the biggest pain in the ass out of the entire shopping excursion. What's always right next to the check out counters? CANDY! Lots and lots of candy. And, more often than not, balloons. It's a double-threat. Once the candy is in sight, the chorus of whining and begging begins. Ethan just makes super high-pitched noises while stabbing his index fingers at the shiny wrappers. Ben begins by demanding the candy. Then, he moves directly onto the whinging and sobbing. When that doesn't work, he puts Operation Floppy Uncooperative Toddler into effect. He goes limp, leaving me to either let him drop to the filthy floor or attempt to keep him upright by hanging on to his wrist with one hand (while I swipe my card with the other and enter all the pertinent information) and draping him over one of my legs. The whole time this is happening, I'm getting the stink eye from everyone around me and no doubt they are all thinking to themselves about how their kids would never act like that. Or, they're secretly thanking whatever deity they believe in that it's not their kid who is acting up this time. By this point, I'm usually considering purchasing a couple of canvas bags to place over the boys' heads in the off chance they might act like parakeets and go to sleep.

This drama doesn't happen every time I go grocery shopping, but it happens often enough that I tend to wait until our fridge has nothing in it but a pitcher of water and jar of mayonnaise before I relent and make the trip. That being said, it's about that time again.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

How Bikram Yoga Handed My Ass To Me, or, Holy Crap I'm Gonna Barf

At the very enthusiastic urging of a friend of mine, I decided to try Bikram Yoga. What singles Bikram Yoga out from other types of Yoga is the fact that it's held in a really horribly, terribly, miserably hot room. The room is kept at a temperature between 95 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit and 40% humidity to ensure the most amount of suffering possible within the 90 minutes of class time. Or, you know, to encourage muscle flexibility and profuse sweating which, along with making you look super sexy and smell AWESOME, has something or other to do with eliminating toxins from the body, blah blah blah. I kind of forgot all of that once the postures began and I was hit in the face with the startling revelation that I'm a big ol' pansy. And I wanted to throw up.

Looking back, I did everything wrong. My friend let me know that I'd need a towel, lots of water, and that nothing was expected of me beyond just staying in the room. He DIDN'T mention the whole "eat only a light meal about 3 hours prior to the class" thing. Maybe he thought it was common sense but I strive to be uncommon in my life so I reject banal things like that. Dude should have told me. So, yeah, I ate a fairly heavy meal about an hour and a half prior to the class because I'm dumb like that. Also, I failed to keep myself properly hydrated throughout the day so I was already in need of some fluids before any of the physical fitness shenanigans began. To top it off, I removed my glasses because I knew they'd just be sliding off my nose the whole time. However, it left me with super fuzzy, unfocused vision which exacerbated the nausea. I was doomed. DOOOOOOOMED.

So less than halfway through, I had me a lil' panic attack and left the room. I tried to just sit down and focus on my breathing but with each breath there was a little voice in my head that went something like, "omg it's so damn hot in here I'm gonna die in this stupid hot room but not before I puke all over myself and omg did I mention it's hot where are the damn windows I'm gonna puke and die!!!!!" Once I got out of the stiflingly hot room, I went and had myself a good shame-filled cry. The instructor came out to make sure that I wasn't actually dead and offered some words of encouragement. It was enough to get my pathetic, pansy-ass back in the room for the floor exercise portion of it. I did NOT make it through all the floor postures but I DID stay in the room after that point, all the while checking with my friend to find out how many more postures we had to do before I could get the hell out of there for good and have my damn popsicle. I liked my popsicle.

Will I be going back? Well, I spent $30 for the Newbie 30-Day Trial Special (not what it's actually called) so I should go back at least one more time to make it worth the money (regular sessions are $15 a pop). But I remember thinking at the time that there was no way in hell I was ever going to do it again. I can kind of liken the experience to childbirth, however, in that the more time that passes, the less you remember of how painful it all was. Hell, I went through THAT twice so why not do the same with Bikram Yoga? Plus, it just feels so good when I stop. Or maybe I'm just happy that I no longer want to barf.