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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Your Agenda Is NOT on Today's Agenda

This is getting depressing.

Last time I blogged was in September, and it was a remembrance of 9/11. And the blog prior to that was about the Aurora, CO, theater shooting. Now, here I am again, writing about one of the biggest tragedies our country has ever suffered. Two days ago, some obviously deranged man shot and killed 26 innocent people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT; before that he killed his mother with a bullet to the face. Twenty of the fallen were children, all ages 6 or 7.

As a parent, learning about the murder of 20 children ripped me apart. I'm devastated for all of the victims' families, but even more so for the mothers and fathers who will have to bury their babies. I cried off and on all day. I cried because these parents would be going to school to identify their children rather than picking them up to take them home. I cried because I was thankful my kids would be coming home. I cried because those parents will have to look at presents under their Christmas tree that their children so desperately wanted but will never get to enjoy.

I searched the Internet for information and perhaps something to help make sense of this unspeakable act. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to find people using this tragedy to further their political and religious agendas.

Right now, the focus shouldn't be on gun control or prayer in schools. There's plenty of time to debate those things. For the time being, can't we just concentrate on coping and healing? If I lost my child in such a heinous manner, the last thing I'd want to hear is how his/her death could've been avoided if our country had stricter gun laws or let students talk to God during class. I'm not arguing the merits of either stance. I'm saying that's not what anybody, especially the loved ones of the shooting victims, needs at this moment. Oh, and equating the murder of these children at the hands of a madman with abortion is ridiculous at any time. Don't. Just don't.

We as a nation should be focused on the living victims: the loved ones of those who were killed, the children who survived something much too evil for their young minds to comprehend, and even the gunman's family. How will they ever move on from this? And what can we do to help them all cope?

Many a school morning I am irritated with Daughter, who seems to think "hurry up" is synonymous with "please take your sweet-ass time getting ready." On those days, I can easily spend the 10-minute drive to school bitching at her. Sometimes there are tears; they're usually mine. Since I know mine is not the only infuriatingly slow-moving child, I hope none of the parents had a rough morning with their child--not knowing that would be the last words they spoke, the last minutes they shared. I pray no mom or dad is beating her-/himself up over something like that. No matter how bad our morning is, I try to remember to tell Daughter and Son I love them. From now on, they will never get out of my car until they've heard those words.

I pray the families of these victims will somehow find the strength to get through this holiday season. I hope in the future they are able to reclaim some of the joy they once felt at this magical time of year. I don't know how I ever would, and I don't know how they ever will, but this is my wish for them.

A final note:

I will not post the murderer's name. Frankly, he's already been given too much attention in the media. Rather, I would like to acknowledge those who died at his hand:

Charlotte Bacon, 6
Daniel Barden, 7
Rachel Davino, 29
Olivia Engel, 6
Josephine Gay, 7
Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 6
Dylan Hockley, 6
Dawn Hochsprung, 47
Madeleine F. Hsu, 6
Catherine V. Hubbard, 6
Chase Kowalski, 7
Jesse Lewis, 6
James Mattioli, 6
Grace McDonnell, 7
Anne Marie Murphy, 52
Nancy Lanza, 52
Emilie Parker, 6
Jack Pinto, 6
Noah Pozner, 6
Caroline Previdi, 6
Jessica Rekos, 6
Avielle Richman, 6
Lauren Rousseau, 30
Mary Sherlach, 56
Victoria Soto, 27
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Allison N. Wyatt, 6

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11: A Mom Remembers

I don't remember what I was doing the exact moment the plane flew into the first tower. I had a 20-month-old, so I was probably changing a diaper, cleaning up spilled cheerios, or performing Itsy Bitsy Spider for the seventh time that morning.

I happened to turn on the TV right after the initial crash. At that point, the "Today Show" was still calling it an accident. I saw live coverage of the second plane hitting the second tower. I guess Matt Lauer, Katie Couric and I realized at the same time that our country was under attack.

In my previous life in the corporate arena, I had visited the World Trade Center for a business meeting. As a 20-something woman from Iowa, I was terrified of navigating New York City solo. My company sprung for me to stay in the swanky Marriott World Trade Center Hotel, so I only had to take a cab from the airport to the WTC and back. The hotel was connected to both towers. It had reopened only a few months prior to my visit, having suffered extensive damage from the 1993 WTC bombing.

Knowing I would be staying at the site of a recent terrorist attack contributed to my uneasiness about the trip. It was eerie, and I couldn't wait to get out of there. I never would've guessed that--just six years later--the hotel (and the rest of the World Trade Center) would be obliterated by a far worse attack.

On September 11, 2001, Hubs was in North Dakota on business. As I watched the events of that day unfold, it became clear to me that Hubs would not be flying home. Somehow, amid the chaos and growing number of stranded travelers, he was able to rent a car and drive the 12 hours back to Iowa.

As a toddler, Son was blissfully unaware of most things taking place outside of our home. Lucky him; he had no clue our country had just been rocked to its core. But my 7-year-old niece would surely have questions when she came home from school. My sister (her mother) had passed away in January of that year, so my niece was living with us. I wondered if she'd heard about the morning's events while at school.

She had. And, as expected, she was full of questions--questions I couldn't begin to answer. Why would somebody want to kill people they don't even know? Why did they pick our country? Why did they pick today?

Will they do it again?

A week later, I found out I was pregnant with Daughter. With our country in a state of devastation, anger and confusion, I could've easily freaked about bringing another baby into this messed up world. But I didn't. Yes, our country had been caught with its guard down. Depending on which account you choose to believe, we had no idea what was coming, or we failed to heed the warnings. Either way, the 9/11 attacks brought to light some weaknesses in our government's defense strategies and communication policies. We are no longer such an easy target. They knocked us down, but they didn't knock us out. And we're stronger for it.

I can't think of a better, safer time to live in the United States.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Aurora--A Parent's Perspective

I try to blog at least once a month, but this month has been a challenge. I was all set to post about my break-up with Son (more on that later), or the duct tape purse business I've started with Daughter (more on that later, too), but the massacre in Aurora has been heavy on my mind. Posting my usual sarcastic fluff feels wrong when a tragic event has just rocked our country.

I don't have any profound statement to ease people's pain. Nothing will help a sane person understand this insanity. All I can do is share my perspective as a parent, for what it's worth.

Up until a few months ago, the shooter was in medical school. That anyone would commit mass murder is shocking. But I'm truly mystified that someone who studied to care for people is now responsible for 12 intentional deaths. Somewhere on his path to the Hippocratic Oath (frst, do no harm), he instead became a hypocrite, choosing to hurt rather than heal. How does that happen? We want answers. We want to know what turns a seemingly normal person into a mass murderer. We want to know how we can prevent it from happening again. Whatever set James Holmes on his murderous course, we can't blame his parents.

I don't think any parent sets out to raise a killer. Most of us do the best we can and pray our kids will become decent human beings despite our parenting blunders. If a 24-year-old man doesn't realize by now it's wrong to gun down innocent victims, his parents are hardly at fault. By all accounts, his mother and father are ordinary, well-respected, contributing members of society. Of course they are standing by their son. He's their son. That doesn't mean they condone his actions. I'm sure they'd like to crawl under a rock and stay there until the next lunatic--who isn't their child--monopolizes the headlines. Without a doubt, their lives are ruined; add them to the list of people injured by their son's senseless act.

Internet commenters are up in arms because six-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan was at a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises." (Please don't ask me at what tender age I let my dino-loving son watch "Jurassic Park." Other than an affinity for Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up," Son seems to be turning out OK anyway.) We all make parenting choices that give others pause but, as they face the unbearable task of burying their baby girl, Veronica's parents need our compassion, not our self-righteous judgement.

Veronica Moser-Sullivan, 6-year-old victim of the Aurora shooting
If I take my kid out of school to go to Disney World and--God forbid--she gets killed by a maniac, is it fair to vilify me as a shitty mother? Everyone's entitled to their opinion, but I hope that little angel's mother never comes across those posts essentially blaming her for her daughter's death. Unfortunately, she probably will, and that will just compound the horrible guilt she will feel ... just because she took her young daughter to see a PG-13 movie at midnight.

One final note: I was so touched to hear about the three men who were killed because they shielded their girlfriends. As a parent, I hope my daughter finds a man who would put her first like that, and I hope my son becomes a man like that.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Who's Your Daddy?

I had intended to write this post prior to Father's Day (two days ago) so Hubs could read it on his special day and bask in his own awesomeness. But I procrastinated. Luckily, I found other ways to make him feel loved. (wink, wink) Now that I've burned that mental picture onto your brain ...

Dear Son and Daughter,

You know your dad; he's that freakishly tall, dark-haired man that blames his farts on the dogs. But there's so much more under that handsome (and sometimes smelly) exterior.

Did you know your dad leaves for work before 6 a.m. every day so he can get home by 6 p.m. to maximize his time with you? Yes, after putting in a 12-hour workday, your dad still manages to coach your soccer team, Daughter, and help you, Son, with your math homework that gives Mommy hives.

Your dad is an international man of mystery, in that he travels around the world frequently for work, yet he still gets excited about going to Disney World with us. And, get this: Daddy's been known to fly home from Italy and then drive us on a road trip the very next day--jet lag and all--while Mommy catches up on her People Magazines in the passenger seat.The most mystifying thing is that he never complains. Never.

Son and Hubs enjoying a rainy day at Dollywood

You probably don't remember when Daddy went back to school to get his MBA ... while he was working full time and traveling like crazy. Somehow he still found the energy to attend school events and play countless rounds of Go Fish.

Daughter and Hubs before their annual daddy/daughter dance

Did you see your dad kicking back this Father's Day with a well-deserved beer and his favorite business bestseller? Of course not, because he was helping Grandma prepare for her garage sale and upcoming move. Then he took you two swimming and spent the afternoon setting up a sports paradise in the backyard. So, he spent his special day doing things for the people he loves.

Daughter and Hubs setting up backyard games

In case you don't think this stuff makes your dad exceptional, just look around. Plenty of dads can barely hold down jobs. And those dads who do work hard? Lots of them would rather spend their free time doing man stuff, not hanging with their kids. Don't even get me started on "dads" who never see their kids. Yeah, when it comes to dads, yours is the gold standard.

Now, go clean your rooms.

Love, Mommy

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Happy Mother's Day. Here's Your Spray Cheese!

Dear family,

When it comes to gifts, I know I always say it's the thought that counts. But, if you're thinking about giving me any of the following for Mother's Day, please think again.

Redneck Snack Basket

Look, I can appreciate the merits of spray cheese, and SPAM holds a special place in my childhood memories. But, if you give me a basket of redneck snacks for Mother's Day, you may end up missing teeth like a redneck.


Free Wings at Hooters

Obviously, nothing says "Mother's Day" like boobs and chicken wings, but don't take me to Hooters ... ever.

Sex Toys

This seems like a real hot deal, but no. Sex is what got me in this predicament in the first place. Besides, I could just see Daughter mistaking my new flavored lube for hand sanitizer.

By the way, if a company can't even spell fantasies correctly, their products aren't getting anywhere near my hoo-ha.

Beer of the Month Club

Better yet, just stop giving me so many reasons to drink.


I don't have a need for speed. Plus, how am I supposed to put on my eyeliner in a car going that fast?

White Water Rafting Adventure

I have no desire to hurl myself at sharp rocks with an inflatable dinghy thingy as my only buffer. Do black people even go rafting? I mean, it's called white water rafting for a reason, right?

I don't mean to sound picky. I'm sure I'll love whatever I ordered for myself last month and told you to count as my Mother's Day gift.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Extreme Makeover: Wedding Vows Edition

Look at us: So young, so innocent, so clueless.

Today is our 13th wedding anniversary, which got me thinking about the traditional vows we made. They were romantic and all, but knowing what I know now, they didn't really touch on major issues we face in our marriage. These are the vows I should have said:

I, Ivy, take you, Hubs, to be my lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold in bed at least 3 nights a week (and on your birthday). I vow to love you with all my heart, in good times and bad ... such as when you're listening to hideous '80s hair bands.

For better or for worse, I will wash the whites in a timely manner so you do not run out of undies. For richer and for poorer (but still able to afford frequent trips to Disney World), I am forever yours.

In sickness and in health and in times when we're just sick of each other, I promise to love your badly written Facebook posts, honor your need for peanut M&Ms, and cherish the made-up words you use in Boggle. 

From this day forward, I will only talk during movies and TV shows when I have really insightful observations to make. Finally, my beloved husband, I promise to not touch Robert Downey, Jr.,  until death do us part--at which time, all bets are off.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Girl, You Must Be Field Trippin'

Daughter and I just spent three days in Colonial Williamsburg for her fourth-grade class trip. I passed the background check (I guess an unnatural obsession with Rick Springfield doesn't make one unfit to care for children), so her school let me be one of the chaperones.

It was a great trip. You just can't beat living museums for educational value. Recreations and actors in authentic costumes performing activities how they were done in the past really bring history alive. The colonial wigmaker guzzling a Big Gulp and sporting a cleavage tattoo kinda brought me back into the 21st century, though.

Daughter at Jamestown Settlement

I learned a lot--and not just about colonial times. After more than 20 collective hours on a bus with a bunch of fourth graders and sharing a hotel room with three little girls, I learned that:

  • I love kids--as long as they're my own
  • Bus bathrooms are an endless source of fascination for 10-year-olds
  • All chaperones are not created equally (apparently, laziness isn't detected during the screening process) 
  • I may or may not be smarter than a fourth grader, but I definitely have better hygiene
  • Some people shouldn't reproduce; if they decide to pop out kids anyway, they shouldn't inflict the results of their crappy parenting on others (i.e., you screwed 'em up, YOU take care of 'em)
  • In fourth grade, "boyfriend-girlfriend" means never talking on the phone and never, ever being seen together in public (basically the kind of relationship some grown men would kill to have with their girlfriends)
  • My stress level is inversely proportionate to the percentage of charge left on my iPhone

Monday, March 12, 2012

"There Once Was a Man From Nantucket ..."

You probably came here hoping to finally see that dirty limerick in its entirety. Seriously, whenever I'd hear that limerick on TV, they would never finish it. Took me years to find out the whole joke. And, let me say, it is NASTY!

But, I digress.

I entered a limerick contest and want to share my entries with my loyal reader(s) for two reasons:
  1. Who doesn't love limericks?
  2. I haven't written a post for a while, and I figure this'll buy me some time.
Disclaimer: This is a PG contest, so don't expect the foulness we all know I'm capable of.
Disclaimer 2: I know I ended a sentence with a preposition, but "of which we all know I'm capable" sounded too stickupmybutt-y.

Here you go. Multiple entries were allowed--and the alternative was cleaning my house--so I entered multiple times. You might wanna cover your nice chair in plastic, because you'll probably pee your pants laughing.

Clean limericks just don’t make the cut
So give me a limerick with smut
‘Cause the naughtier blokes
With their off-color jokes
Always make this old lass bust a gut
He wooed her with flowers and kisses
But still she remained quite dismissive
Til a blue box from Tiff’ny
Gave her an epiph’ny
And changed that near miss to a missus
Young girls, don’t get down in the dumps
When the little boys treat you like chumps
For when you’re all grown
Those boys hearts you’ll own
With the help of lipstick and some pumps
I'm an editor. Fear my red pen.
Your mistakes bring me feelings of Zen.
And when my corrections
Are met with objections,
I say, “Kiss my asterisk, then!”

I drink to the troops who protect me
I drink to the men who respect me

I drink 'til my liver
Fills up like a river
This good will has just about wrecked me

If I win the contest, I'll tell you all about it. If I lose, I'll tell you all about it in a pissy, resentful manner.


I didn't win the contest. I'm pretty sure the judges were intimidated by my astonishing wit. What are you gonna do, right?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Black History Month


As a black person, I have mixed feelings about Black History Month. It's one of those things that arose from good intentions, but seems to do as much bad as good. Black history is history. Every day we use items, eat food, read words, sing songs, etc., that came from the mind of a black person. And, like nonblacks, black people have made positive and negative contributions to our history--American history.

So, why do need a month to celebrate black history? Why devote a measly 28 days (with a bonus day during leap year) to acknowledge what black people have done for this country? Doing so implies that it's ok to ignore those contributions throughout the rest of the year. Doing so implies that blacks still hold second class citizenship status here. Those who hate blacks aren't going to like them more during Black History Month. If anything, it causes resentment in bigots.

I understand the need for Black History Month because, sadly, there are still people who consider the black race inferior. I even see the need for Affirmative Action (as long as there are employers who would deny a qualified black candidate a job solely based on his skin color.)  But, you know what? I don't want to be hired because I'm black any more than I want to not be hired because I'm black. I don't want my kids learning about Martin Luther King, Jr., Booker T. Washington and Rosa Parks in February--I want them to learn about black history January through December.

Don't treat me special because my ancestors were mistreated. Just treat me fairly. I'm no better or worse than anyone else because of my skin color. Sometimes I'm lazy, sometimes I'm generous, sometimes I'm bitchy, and sometimes I'm pretty brilliant. I'm also black--all the time, which has nothing to do with my other aforementioned traits.

I'm perfectly aware that some white people who claim to think I'm wonderful would open up a vein if their son were going to marry me. Black History Month isn't going to fix that.

Monday, January 23, 2012

I'm Doing It, Damn It!

It's taken me 4 years to write this post. Not this post, specifically, but my first blog post. I've attempted to blog I-don't-know-how-many times since 2008 and just couldn't get past coming up with a catchy name. Well, I'm doing it now, damn it! So, welcome to my first post.

Let me introduce myself: My name is Ivy. I'm a wannabe author and stay-at-home-mom. I love writing, reading, watching movies, all things Disney and true crime stories. I hate the usual stuff--diarrhea, cold speculums, and weak handshakes that remind me of grabbing a flacid penis. Oh, and massages. Ewww! Some stranger rubbing on me for an hour does NOT relax me. You wanna relax me? Use those "magic hands" of yours to fold my laundry.

My Family
Since I don't have a job to bitch about or something to sell, my family will probably be the main topic of this blog. To protect the innocent--and the easily embarrassed--I'll give them nicknames.
  • Hubs: The man to which I'm emotionally and legally bound. He's tall, dark, handsome and unfailingly supportive of all my crazy whims and ventures.
  • Son: Our 12-year-old, who considers "no" the beginning of the conversation. He's also the most kindhearted kid I know. Luckily, middle school hasn't sucked the sweetness out of him ... yet.
  • Daughter: Our 9-year-old, who wouldn't know low self esteem if it smacked her in the face. She's gorgeous, smart, and talented--what's not to love?
  • Grandma: My mother, who holds a large part of my heart and will soon have one of my kidneys, too.
  • Sassy, our 13-year-old yorkie who has an unnatural attachment to me (If she had opposable thumbs, she'd probably call my cell phone every ten minutes when I'm not home)
  • Phineas and Ferb, our yorkie pups. Hubs and I like to pretend they cuss like drunken sailors.

Why Mommy Dourest?
Well, aside from the fact that it's a really clever title (if I do say so myself, and I do), I sometimes feel like the grumpiest mom alive. I love my kids, I really do. But, if I see one more GoGurt wrapper on the counter five inches from the garbage, I may kill them.

I have some pretty awesome kids. That said, there are those rare occasions when I want to sneak out under the cover of darkness and change my name. Ok, that's an exaggeration, but moms who say they love every day with their children are full of crap ... or heavily medicated.

*        *        *

So, now that you know a little about me, I'm hoping this will be the start of a long, albeit mostly one-sided, relationship.