Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Old Age is Hard on Scouts

     I am writing this blog as a plea to the general, cookie buying, public.  I know those cute little girls in the blue and brown Girl Scout uniforms are hard to resist when they ask you to buy cookies.  I know those big doe eyes on a 5 year old make it impossible to say no.  I know because I have one.  I'm glad their cuteness works and you stop to buy a box of cookies even if you don't want it.
     In our troop, we are thankful for every box sold.  I want to ask you, though, please, please, don't pass up the older girls.  Teenagers are hard.  I know, I have one of those, too.  As a troop leader, its even harder to keep the older girls engaged.  They have so much more to do between school work, many after school activities, and having a normal teenage social life.  So, to see them continue to invest in a program that is teaching them to be strong women who will change the world makes my heart soar.  The Biggest One is now a Cadette in Scouts.  She wears the tan uniform, usually with a cat ear headband, and she looks like she is 15, even though she isn't.  She is smart, funny, and driven.  She already has a plan for her life that I wish I had at her age.  This year, she is implementing that plan by going to a special camp where she will start as a councilor in training.  Her plan is, by the time she turns 16, be a junior camp counselor, and at 18, be a Girl Scout camp counselor all through college each summer for her summer job to help pay for books.
     The thing is, this camp is expensive.  Even more so than a normal scout camp.  In fact, most of her activities are more expensive as an older scout.  So each and every one of those boxes of cookies she sells are vitally important to her.  She needs to raise the money to be able to get to her camp, learn more about astronomy with trips to the closest observatory, as she is still trying to decide between astronomy and microbiology as degree and career path (she is leaning toward microbiology as she wants to be able to research lupis and find a cure or treatment that actually works).  Knowing that she needs to sell more, she works harder.  She works with every one of those little doe eyed girls and shows them how to sell cookies.  She teaches and trains them like a champ.  After all, she has been selling since she was a little doe eyed 5 year old.  She is willing to go house to house for hours.  She will work every single booth sale I allow her, in between play practice on weekends and all county band.  Even with all that hard work, she can't sell as many as the cute little girls do.  For some reason, it is easier to say no to the older girls. I guess you think they can take it. The last time she went door to door, she went to street after street, and only sold 5 boxes.  Hours of work for 5 boxes.  She was ready to go out for more, though.  She wants that sale.  Same thing happens at both sales.  I pair her with a little one as often as I can so that the sales are higher for her.  She knows it, too, but she doesn't let it stop her.  I respect that drive, and I wish every one out there would, too.
     So, the next time a girl in a tan uniform knocks on your door, please open it and consider buying a box.  If they are still selling by the time they look like they are about to drive, it means they are strong, dedicated girls who will be the next leaders and game changers of our world.  Consider that dedication, and buy a box, even though they don't have doe eyes, even though they may be as tall or taller than you, and even though they might wear cat ears when they ask.  I promise it means as much if not more than the box you buy from the cute little bitty ones.  Don't stop buying from the cute little ones, either.  I'm just saying, a scout is a scout, and consider your purchase equally.  After all, I have three girls, from the cute little doe eyed one in a blue uniform, to a middle aged (for scouts) girl in the Girl Scout green uniform, up to my oldest in the tan.  She is almost as tall as me, which is another of her life goals, but don't let that stop you.  Buy a box.  Please.  I promise she will say thank you.

If you want to buy any boxes from any of my girls, you can buy from the littlest one here.

You can buy from the middle one (she is pretty cute, too, though I didn't get to talk much about her in this blog) here.

And last, but not least at all, the biggest one here.

No matter who you buy from, what council, what age of girl, I appreciate each of you who buy cookies, and please, don't forget that if you can't eat them, you can treat them to members of the military by donating cookies.  (Cookie donations to the military are also tax deducible if your into that kind of thing!!)

Thanks again, and try the new S'mores cookie.

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Day She Foiled a Trumpet Theft

     On school days, The Biggest One gets out about an hour before Middie does.  Her middle school is right in front of the elementary school.  So, each school day, The Biggest One walks over to the elementary school when she gets out, and I meet her there.  It makes pickup much easier and faster, and gives me an hour to work at school if I need to as part of my volunteer work.
     While we work, we always talk about her day.  Today, I didn't have to go in, and we just sat in the truck, waiting for Middie to get out of school, and chatted.  In the midst of all this, she starts to tell me a story.  One of her good friends is a boy we shall call Crush (because he has one on her).  Crush is a very nice kid.  We have had him over to the house to hang out.  He has asked her to a dance.  She isn't allowed to go on any dates yet, but they still hang.  There is a great back story, but suffice to say, he really seems to like her, and she thinks he is super sweet.  Totally appropriate for 12 year olds.  Anyway, they walk around together at school when they can.  Crush plays a trumpet in the band, just as The Biggest One does.  His trumpet was stolen at school.  His dad, also a very nice guy, had to come into school this week because of it.
     Its been a thing.
     Today, as they were leaving the school, Crush say to The Biggest One that he really wishes his trumpet hadn't been stolen.  As they walk, suddenly, The Biggest One sees an 8th grader carrying what she thinks is Crush's trumpet.  She tells him so.  Now, to give you a little more necessary background, Crush is on the short side.  He hasn't hit that growth spurt boys get sometime soon yet.  He is probably three or four inches shorter the The Biggest One, and she isn't that tall.  It only relevant for context, and you want that context.  The 8th grader is Crush's opposite. Big Kid.  Crush walks up to the kid, and calls him out for having the trumpet.  The kid starts yelling that no, no it wasn't Crush's.  The Biggest One, in all her hot headed glory, isn't having it.  She sees the escalation, and jumps in.  She goes over and starts to yell at the massive 8th grader.  Now, its a show down.  When the kid denies that the trumpet belongs to Crush, she immediately says "Then why is his name written all over it?"  She wasn't backing down, and believe me, she is fierce when she is protecting someone she cares about.  The kid knows the jig is up.  He drops the trumpet and runs.
    The Biggest One and Crush get the trumpet, and head off to the band room.
The story goes on.  Teachers and parents involved. Ultimately, though, she caught the thief, and protected her friend.  That is just who she is.  She knows no fear, which isn't always good, when it comes to jumping in for her friends.  I love who she is.  I'm proud of her today, and every day!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The progressive Suckiness of A Mother’s Night:

1)One of your amazing kids has a stomach virus with both ends going.

2) One of your amazing kids has a stomach virus with both ends going.  They flood their bathroom.

3) One of your amazing kids has a stomach virus with both ends going.  They flood their bathroom and they don’t tell you until the bathroom is totally flooded.

4) One of your amazing kids has a stomach virus with both ends going.  They flood their bathroom and they don’t tell you until the bathroom is totally flooded.  You finally get the entire thing cleaned up, wash you hands, and go to dry them thinking you are done.

6) One of your amazing kids has a stomach virus with both ends going.  They flood their bathroom and they don’t tell you until the bathroom is totally flooded.  You finally get the entire thing cleaned up, wash you hands, and go to dry them thinking you are done.  As soon as you touch the hand towel, you feel that it is soaking wet and you instantly realize that the same amazing kid tried to clean it up themselves, which is why they didn’t tell you immediately, and then hung the hand towel back up on the bar. 

7)One of your amazing kids has a stomach virus with both ends going.  They flood their bathroom and they don’t tell you until the bathroom is totally flooded.  You finally get the entire thing cleaned up, wash you hands, and go to dry them thinking you are done.  As soon as you touch the hand towel, you feel that it is soaking wet and you instantly realize that the same amazing kid tried to clean it up themselves, which is why they didn’t tell you immediately, and then hung the hand towel back up on the bar.  You start cleaning again.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Most Conflicted Loss

Today, my older sister passed away.

I'm not sure what to do with everything I feel.  So, I thought I would give it to you, the universe, etc, and hopefully let it go.

My older sister is really my older half-sister.  Sometimes that half matters, and sometimes it doesn't.

For us, that half meant she wasn't raised with us, and was raised by a mother who chose to lie about our father.  Her mother told her that our father was an alcoholic, and that was why she divorced him.  She said that he used to beat them.  She said they were poor, while we were raised with everything, because he didn't want to take care of her.

All of it was lies.  The truth is that they were divorced because she chose to cheat on him, and he caught her.  So, he filed for divorce.  The truth is that my dad was is a pretty rough guy, but he never was an alcoholic.  He didn't get drunk like that.  I'm not going to lie and say he was perfect, far from it, but I can tell you that what she said was far from the truth.  We weren't rich, either.  Her mom was just money hungry.  We grew up with very little by the time my dad paid child support for her, and took care of the three of us,and our mom.  We wore hand me downs.  My mom can make a meal out of nothing.  Seriously.  The woman has an unbelievable talent for being cheap.  Most of all, my Dad did want to take care of her.  he gave my sister the choice of living with us, but she wanted to stay with her mom.
That choice was poison.
She was raised to see bad things.  So, she saw them.  She let that affect her relationships with all of us for the rest of her life.  She was always distant.

In college, I tried.  I went to school close to the salon she owned.  It was very, very highly thought of.  All the drag queens in the area went to her to help them get started.  She was someone in that town.  I would go to her shop, where she also lived in the top floors of her building, after my classes, and i would spend time with her.  I wanted that big sister relationship that we never had.

It didn't work though.  Time goes on.
Eventually, I washed my hands of it.
I quit when she would tell me that she wanted to see my child, and then didn't show.  That was it.  You could break my heart, but you can't break hers.
She saw Middie only once, when she was very small, at my brother's wedding.
She never met The Littlest One.
We have lived in state for two years, and I haven't seen her since we came back.
These are the choices we make in life.
I realize that she was raised negatively, but eventually, we all become adults and have to make our own choices.
I chose to quit beating myself up over it.  I chose to finally move on.
Then, she died.
All those friends that she used to have, the ones she chose over us, weren't around.
In fact, no one was there.  My parents were on their way.  Her mom and other half sister, with whom she did have a relationship, weren't in the room.
She quit.
She had been battling problems for a while.
I think her demons were just stronger than her this time.  Sometimes, that is how it is.  Sometimes the demons are stronger than us and they win.

I had been checking in nearly constantly to see how she was doing, and then the phone rang.  My mom said she was gone.  Done.  Over.
I was really angry when mom called.
I am angry with my sister for giving up on us.  I'm hurt that she threw us away.  I'm livid with her mom for poisoning her for all those years, and robbing me of the big sister relationship I never got to have.
It hurts.  I'm sad.  I'm sad for my kids who will never know her laugh, or big blonde hair.  They won't get to have their hair done by her for their weddings.
I'm mourning.  In all honesty, though, its the relationship that was never there that I mourn the most.  I'm really heart broken over the fact that it will never be.
I'm sure I will go to her memorial service, because I want to be there with my dad.  I want to give him a kiss on the cheek, and tell him that I know the truth about who he is, and even though he isn't perfect, I would never throw him away.

So, I lost a sister today, and its complicated.  Please, don't offer to send something, or do something.  Please, don't try to pressure me to be more upset for you than I feel like I need to be in the moment, because I'm really not sure how to feel.  A simple,"That sucks" will be fine.  I'll appreciate it.  It does suck.
Also, I'm probably calling into work Friday (for my volunteer jobs).  So, if you could just excuse that with out any ado, that would be awesome.  I'll let you know if I need anything else.

I'm leaving you with a picture that I do love, from when I was little.  My sister and I, back when I used to think she was the coolest thing ever, and looked forward to every single time she came over like it was my birthday, even if she did accidentally pop my shoulders out of socket once.  Something I can now do all the time thanks to her.  This picture brings up the good memories, and this is what I'm choosing to keep.

You will be missed.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Dear Cancer, F*** You. Sincerely, Me (And Everybody else)

I hate cancer.
No.  I F***ING HATE cancer.
Yeah.  That's much more like it.

Why all the ire?
Cancer sucks.  Great big donkey balls.
I have seen too many people I love, and just too many people in general have cancer.
I have an Aunt who just had a total double mastectomy.
My dad had skin cancer.
My grandfather did as well.
My great grandmother died of cancer at the age of 92.  It wasn't her age, but the cancer that finally did her in.
My mom's family is riddled with cancer.
My mom is a breast cancer survivor, as I have written about before.

I'm just hitting the tip of the iceberg, too, if I were to really delve into all the people I know that cancer has touched with its long, ugly, gnarly, blackened fingers.
Right now, I have a friend who is about to start chemotherapy for breast cancer.  She is a wonderful person.
She isn't post menopausal.  She isn't even in that age range.   Her body just decided to turn against her.
What are we, as women supposed to do?  I look in the mirror all the time, and note that my chances this becoming my future are very high.  Very.
There really aren't a lot of options if this is likely your future.  You can go the preventative route.
We have another good family friend who did just that.  Her mother, one of my own mother's very best friends in life, had breast cancer.  She passed away at a much younger age than she should have.  So, her daughter decided not to wait for this to be her future.  The Drs suggested a preventative double mastectomy, and she did it.  She wanted to be sure.  Its becoming common to take such steps, too.
I could do genetic testing, find out, and go from there, but the kind of cancer that runs in our family causes more than just breast cancer.  I couldn't lop enough organs off to stop everything that will try to kill me, if I am predisposed.
My friend who just started her fight has two beautiful boys who are close in age to The Big Girls, each one of hers being a year younger than mine.
Now, they have to watch mom go through cancer treatments.
No child should need to watch that.
Moreover, no child should have to go through cancer treatments themselves, but it happens all the time.
Yes, I am filled with anger and questions because of all this.  The big question, though, is what do we do from here? How do we stop this?  So much money is being thrown at a cure, but what about the cause?
Has it always been this bad and we didn't know it, or are we killing ourselves somehow now?
Something needs to be stopped.  Somewhere, we need to recognize what has changed to cause our bodies, our breasts that are meant to sustain life, in to weapons that will take it in an instant.

I'm not sure where the answer to all of this lies, but someone, somewhere, must.  We have to do something.  I love all of the beautiful survivors that I have in my life, but I don't want to add any more people to the list of those touched by cancer.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

So Afraid Of Screwing This One Up

When we first moved to this area, we knew very little about it.  We knew no one here.  We picked this particular area because of the schools.  I have to admit, most of the schools in the county (and everything here is run by the county) suck.  I mean suck big time.  In perusing the schools, I found a pocket of a few schools that looked great.  The community reviews for the elementary schools were good.  The academic scores were good.  The Great Schools rating for the middle and high school was even good.
So, when I happened to find a house for rent that hit the school track we wanted, we jumped on it.  I mean jumped on it like drove two hours down here from where we were staying while calling the rental office before it opened in the morning so that we could be the first there.  Then putting in our app the moment we left the house to get first dips.  We decided to stay here, too.  WE bought a house that hit the same elementary and middle schools, but go to a different high school.  The zoning here it totally screwed up, trust me.
So, when I started looking into the other high school, I started getting worried.  I started talking to parents and teachers, and now I am totally freaked out.  In the process, I started talking to parents about this middle school, that was supposed to be great.  Turns out, not so much.
The middle school scores well, but there is a reason.  Apparently, this is the most strict middle school on the planet.  I have been told repeatedly this is not a nurturing place.  At all.  I know for sure a couple of teachers were reprimanded for telling kids to shut up.  I had a teacher who happens to work at the high school that freaked me out tell me she would never let her kids go to this middle school.
That sounds awesome.
So, I started looking for options.
The Biggest One is supposed to be there next year.
Private school is out.  We are poor, or at least way too poor for that.  I don't even think a scholarship would be enough, unless it was a full ride.  Although, if I could, there is one I would totally be down for starting tomorrow for all The Girls.
Anyway, the other option is magnet.  There are a few she can still apply for.  The deadline is tomorrow. There are four, with 3 of them being arts based.
One in particular sounds like her.  It has a focus on visual arts, creative writing, theatre and theatre arts, dance, and so much more.  I mean, it seriously sounds like her.  There are big comic book style art images on the main school website.  She would be there for a long time, and not have to transition any more, something that is difficult for her.
There are two dilemmas, though.  First, she doesn't know anyone who will be going there.  This is a huge problem.  She finally has a few friends and she doesn't want to leave them.  We won't make her, either.  The Biggest One has a very domineering personality.  She is also very sensitive.  Honestly, she puts up this mean bossy front as a way to keep people from hurting her.  Kids are cruel after all.  She has some good friends now, though, who like her just the way she is.  They love a lot of the same things.  Even if there are just 4 of them, that is enough.
The second is that while this seems like it would fit the Biggest One, right now I do not see it as a fit for Middie.  This school is for grades six through twelve.  So, I would have Middie and The Biggest One going to two different schools.  I'm not sure I like that, either.

Honestly, I'm so conflicted right now it isn't funny.  I want to do what will be best for her, but I have no idea what best is.  As a parent, my biggest fear is screwing up a major decision for her.  You want to get everything right, but so much of parenting is a crap shoot.  You roll the dice and you just hope that you are making the right decision.  Unfortunately, you don't find out until much later, if you ever really know.
This decision is was too important to screw up.
So, in the next 24 hours, we have to either apply or not apply.  We have to knowingly send her to a pack of wolves, or knowingly take her away from her friends.
Life is hard.
Parenting is hard is really hard sometimes.
Knowing that you might screw up for your kids is nearly unbearable, and it hurts just thinking about it.  Seriously.
I think I'm going to go snuggle with her and hope that somehow, someway, one of those snuggles produces the right decision for her.  That's all I got.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

If You Have to Hide To Be Hatefull, Don't

I was saddened to learn today about the passing of Cassandra Lynn Hensley.  You might have seen it on TMZ, or somewhere else on the web.  She was a Playboy Playmate, a beautiful girl, and also an acquaintance.
We actually had a mutual very good friend, and it was through this friend that I met Cassandra.  All three of our families made a very memorable trip to Disneyland once.  Yeah.  I went to Disney with a Playmate.  Not, I'm sure, the first think most people think of.
That is reality, though.  She wasn't all done up in her makeup and such.  She was there with her daughter and we were celebrating a birthday.  Again, reality.  People who are in the public eye are still real people, with families, husband, children, etc.
Cassandra wasn't perfect, but back to the whole reality thing, no one is.
So, when I began to see articles about her online, I was shocked at the horrible things people were saying.  I do mean horrible.
This was a tragedy.  Regardless of how it happened, it was still a tragedy.
When Cory Monteith died, people wept.  They celebrated his life on television multiple times.
However, when a beautiful young woman died in a seemingly similar manor, the claws came out.
The anonymity the internet provides let people rip her to shreds, just because.  Probably because they are jealous of her beauty.  Probably because they made a lot of assumptions.  Probably most of all, though, because they feel the need to dig at other people to make themselves feel better inside.

These people didn't know Cassandra.  Admittedly, I didn't know her well, either, but to think of being so disrespectful to anyone who died like that just blew me away.

Those of you that wrote the nasty comments, so vile and full of vitriol, should look deep down inside yourself.  When you do, I hope those comments make you feel as ugly as you looked online.  You are shameful trolls.
The first one of you who is perfect, who hasn't ever made a mistake can be the first one to condemn her now.  Go ahead.  By all means.  Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

I don't see any rocks flying.

Cassandra was a daughter, a wife, and a mother.  Many people loved her dearly, and those people are hurting.  I mourn for her loved ones.  I am saddened by the tragedy.  I pray that none of you find yourself in a bad situation, and pass.  Should you, I also pray that no one is so disrespectful to you in death that it would hurt your family as they try to move on.

Cassandra was a beautiful girl, inside and out.  I hope she has peace now, and I hope somehow her family and loved ones can find peace as well.