We’re currently in LA but through the power of time travel, magic, and blog scheduling, I’m writing this in the past for the future! Every year, I make this trek and though it totally stresses me out, it always ends up being worth it. (At least the SD portion, my FAVORITE – which is yet to come!) This time, I am hoping it will be better than last year’s since I have scheduled more face time with friends than DH’s family. Is that awful? Not that we’re not going to see his family. I am just not going to go out of my way, bending over backwards to see them. Which makes me MUCH HAPPIER. And far less stressed out.

But I AM pleased that I made an effort to get in touch with more of DH’s friends. He’s the worst at keeping in touch with his college friends. The only reason he sees them at all is because I try to make sure he sees them when we’re in LA. I think it’s sad not to nurture friendships that have the benefit of time and nostalgia. Sure, they may be in totally different places now, but it’s still good to be around people who “knew us when.” so to speak.

Anyhow, this is a pretty blathery post because I still need to finish packing and finish a ton of laundry (well, all that’s really left are DD’s diapers) and me making sure my picky eater DS won’t starve and will at least have a ton of snacks. That’s the beauty of packing for a road trip in a mini-van. There is a TON of space. πŸ™‚ That’s the only thing that isn’t stressing me out. Heehee.

The last week or two, my right foot has been hurting a lot, but only when I woke up in the middle of the night. Then it would hurt off and on and stop. Well, starting this past Wednesday, it hasn’t let up. I tried not to put much weight on it and it was fine, but today, it had gotten a lot worse. So much worse that I was limping badly. I thought that I might have a broken bone but couldn’t think of how I could possibly had broken it. Particularly since I haven’t dropped anything on it, stubbed my foot, or whatever.

Since DH got home from Japan today, I left the kiddos with him and finally went to the doctor. After some possibilities of tendonitis, the doctor made me get an X-ray. She said I had a hairline fracture that seemed to have been healed and a weird bump and she couldn’t tell if this was an old fracture or a newer one. I mentioned that I had broken my foot in 1996 but I couldn’t remember which foot. She said if it was the same foot, my pregnancies have thinned out my bones and I could’ve easily fractured it by jumping or running or something else.

Well, I went home to look at pictures of my broken foot from college and it turns out, it was the OTHER foot. 😦 So, I have to go back and get more X-rays in a few months to make sure it’s healed. Currently, my foot is in an ace-bandage and in a hard shoe. (Much better than the moon-boot I wore in college.) She originally wanted me to be on crutches and I was like, that is not happening. Can you just imagine me running after two toddlers on CRUTCHES?

Plus, we are going to Disneyland in two weeks. I don’t know how I’m going to navigate that one. 😦 My friend said maybe I can get an electric wheelchair and we zip to the front of the line? MAYBE??

I totally forgot to mention this after our LA/SD trip. Remember my friend, B, who decided she no longer wanted to be friends? Well, when I went to visit some of our mutual college friends in SD this past May, B messaged me on Facebook saying that she wanted to hang out with our mutual friend, A. However, the only time A was free to see B was during our group hangout time at another friend’s house. B wanted to know if she could crash the hangout time (but she totally understood if I didn’t want that to happen). I said it was fine. I was under no delusion that B actually wanted to see me.

Well, it was good to see her. Not because I actually enjoyed her company. (I didn’t. It was weird and awkward.) But because it served a powerful lesson. I realized that I was not missing out with B not being in my life. In fact, I was shocked and constantly confronted with this thought that B was really quite the Debbie Downer. She was truly a negative person. Now, B is going through a tough time with her mom (her mom, I think, is dying) and that does put a damper on everything. I am not suggesting that B should go around pretending to be happy when she is not. However, I never realized that she has ALWAYS been like this. Everything is horrible or sad or whatever. Or everything is beautiful and joyful and wonderful.

I never truly realized that for two of the most significant events in my life (my wedding and my pregnancy), she was unhappy about them BOTH and took a long time to be happy for me because of her issues. AND, I allowed her to color those experiences for me. (Of course, I still had an awesome time, but I went out of my way to be “sensitive.”) (Come to think of it, she was really against me dating DH, too.)

When seriously, FUCK THAT SHIT. It was my fucking wedding and my first pregnancy. B should’ve just sucked it up and LIED. Yeah, I said it. She should have lied and acted like it was awesome even though she was a complete wretch. Seriously, all of DH’s groomsmen thought she was mean. And if enough people think that, it’s probably true.

So, what is the point of my rambling? Merely this. I am glad she’s no longer in my life. I am GRATEFUL. Of course, she was a good friend for a long time and I do cherish my times with her. But I am no longer the person I was (Thank the Good Lord) and we are no longer good for each other. I am glad I got a chance to realize that.

Just ran across this article in the Washington Post about an adult on a school board utterly failing their state’s standardized English and math tests. I admit. I was curious and took the sample quizzes myself. I only missed one math question (and that’s because I didn’t carefully read the question). I didn’t miss any of the English ones. Now, before I gloat about passing a test meant for 10th graders, I will say that I am generally a great multiple-guess test-taker. (Years of Princeton Review books during high school certainly help!) My doing well is partially my ability to retain my high school education as well as knowing how to think like the test makers. (Keep in mind, my brain follows babies all day. I hardly use this part of my brain at all!)

Personally, I think standardized tests are unnecessary for the most part. However, I do think that absent a better means to evaluated millions of students, I can see why universities use them. I also understand why states use them to evaluate the efficacy of their schools. But just because I can see WHY people in power use these tests doesn’t mean I think they tell you particularly much about the student. All these tests tell you is that you’re good at taking that particular test.

Unfortunately, I have yet to encounter a standardized test that will predict success at LIFE. And isn’t that really what we are trying to set up for our children? I’ll tell you a dirty secret: I was a pretty fucking smart kid. I excelled at school, the subjects, graduated top in my high school, got into UCLA (as well as a bunch of other awesome schools). Yet when I got to college, I completely bombed. Why? Because I was with a bunch of other super smart kids. I could no longer get by on my innate smarts – I had to STUDY. What?? Given the option to rise to the occasion, I did not. I just coasted along and got C’s and stuck to the middle of the curve (unless it happened to be a subject I had a natural affinity for – then, I did very well).

When I graduated, I got some good jobs and was successful at them, but then, I became a financial advisor. Let me tell you something: being great at high school or being smart has absolutely NOTHING to do with being a good financial advisor. Also, let me qualify what “good” means in terms of financial advising when you work for a firm. It has nothing to do with how well you actually advise your clients. It has everything to do with how many NEW clients and NEW assets you bring in. You are considered a stellar financial advisor based solely on how much money you make the company! (ie: How good of a salesperson are you?)

Being a good salesperson is not taught in a school. It cannot be tested on a standardized test.

That is just one example. Of course, there are plenty of counter examples. For instance, I would NOT want to be in any building, on any structure, or use any engineered thing if the originators/manufacturers of these objects were NOT stellar in school. Exploding due to bad math/science is not the way I planned on leaving this Earth.

However, barring the occupations that actually apply math/science (or any specialized field) at a very high level, I find college a waste in terms of successful job doing and life living skills. Let’s face it: most jobs aren’t really that difficult. When I worked in a lab, they required my fancy Microbiology decree to get the actual job. But doing the job? A trained monkey could’ve done it!

Take DH for example (which is not to say he is a trained monkey – however much I may wish it). He went to a state school (and took eight years to graduate because he took a break to work full time and hadn’t ever intended to finish school) and did just average on his standardized tests. He was not groomed to be academically awesome as I was. (Being drilled with 20 SAT vocab words every week for six years is grooming!) However, look at him now! He out-earns me by leaps and bounds (even before I became a SAHM), is highly respected in his field, and in general, is very successful. But if you looked at his tests and schoolwork, you probably would not have pegged him for the stellar success that he is now.

Sorry, this post is rambling, and I may have lost the point somewhere in my ranting.

One more thing: one of the test questions was on how to read a graph. A simple X/Y-axis graph where the Y was population and X was years. The question asked you to find what year the population doubled from 4,000,000 people. If indeed these questions are representative of the ones on the test which this school board member took, I find it incredibly troubling that HE COULD NOT READ A FUCKING GRAPH. (The guy blatantly said out of the 60 math questions, he did not know the answer to a single one.)

I’m sorry. If he has a BS in Education and two masters (Education, Education Psychology) and is an alleged successful person who regularly speaks to 22,000 people, HOW CAN HE NOT READ A FUCKING GRAPH??

Sometimes, I can’t believe that two babies came out of my body. I was just holding DD as she snarfled in her sleep and cozied herself against me and I inhaled her sweet baby milk smell. It was so surreal. Half the time, I still feel like I’m a young twenty-something just out of college, full of sixteen year old insecurities and nonsense. Instead, I’m a mother of two with a husband and mortgage and all sorts of other grown up stuff.

That’s crazy to me.

Sorry I don’t have more to say tonight. I’m busy being a teenager, reading a book. πŸ˜€

Kicking it old school tonight. For some reason, I came upon Shai’s acapella version of If I Ever Fall In Love on YouTube today. And of course, I had to listen to it over and over again. Of course, that lead to memories of that time period in my life (give or take a few years).

As usual, it reminded me of college and a particular boy in my life. (The boy I can never find no matter how hard I try to use my Google skills to stalkerize him.) It’s actually the lyrics that make me think of all the boys that I thought valued me but didn’t.

And if I ever fall in love again

I will be sure that the lady is a friend

And if I ever fall in love so true

I will be sure that the lady is just like you

When I first heard the song, I was in high school and young and stupid. I thought this song was so romantic. After all, this guy wants to be with this woman – and clearly has had his heart broken. But tonight, after the nostalgic hit, I wondered, “Why does this guy have to fall in love again? If she’s so great, what did he do to screw that up?”

Ah, the difference almost two decades makes. This reminds me of that boy from college (we’ll just call him, “F”) because he spun a good tale to me. He was a bad boy who had a tortured past. He was suffering and wish he could take me out and spoil me and all this nonsense. Meanwhile, he was seeing another girl and seeing me on the side and I took it all. I thought I was doing the noble thing, “suffering” on the side, not claiming him for myself. Not seeing that if this guy clearly didn’t value me or he would date ME and date the other girl on the side. (Just kidding!)

Sometimes, I really, really wish I could just reach my hand back in time and smack the shit out of myself. Talk about delusional. But that’s what happens when you’re just figuring out your budding sexuality and power and womanhood. You make a lot of stupid mistakes. It’s also what happens when you never felt desired or attractive and think that if a boy likes you, that it’s HIM that makes him see how special you are vs. it being YOU that makes you special – and he’s lucky to have you.

You add Daddy Issues to the mix and you have one sad, insecure mess! That’s why I am so grateful for DH. I am grateful because I never have to date again – that I’m stuck with The Most Patient Man in the World and I never have to find someone else again. But in addition to that, I am grateful that my little girl has such a loving and dedicated father. A father who will treat her like the prize that she is and will be – so that she will never mistake a man treating her well as something that commends the man rather than a behavior of which is the minimum that she deserves. She will be so used to a man treating her well that she will not fall for any old line and some douche bag preying on her insecurities.

At least, that is what I hope and pray for my little girl. And I also pray that DS turns into a man that treats women just as well. Parenthood is a tough task sometimes if even a pop song makes you all crazy.

My brother posted an article from The Washington Post on Facebook and a particular passage stuck out to me:

Lauren wrestles with the balance between wanting a lot from her job and the reality that she has bills and debt. Her parents and grandparents didn’t have the kinds of expectations for work that she has: β€œMy mom never even thought about a career. She was supposed to marry her high-school boyfriend and become a housewife.”
Lauren wants to do something meaningful, putting her in step with what countless surveys find: Twentysomethings want careers that have an impact beyond their bank account.

β€œI feel the need to contribute to society,” she says. β€œIt comes from the fact that I feel so incredibly fortunate that I was able to go to college, live in a wonderful city, and go to an incredible law school. I definitely feel like I have more privilege than my parents.

β€œOne thing I wonder is if you can ever love a job. That would be so amazing if you found something you felt passionately about and every morning you woke up and were excited to go to work.”

– From The Washington Post article, “Are Twentysomethings Expecting Too Much?(emphasis mine)

I love the juxtaposition of the two bolded sentences. As if there is nothing meaningful about getting married and being a housewife. Truly, I want to smack both the writer of this article and the woman quoted in the article. (Although, perhaps the quoted woman is not making the implication that being a housewife and raising children is not meaningful.) This is not just another post on what is better or more meaningful, a career or raising children. I think both are valid routes to a meaningful and fulfilling life.

What my gripe centers on is the assumption that being at home and raising kids and getting married are inherently UNmeaningful activities. That “important work” is somehow only to be found in a career or being famous or doing something grand.

Truly, I can’t think of contributing more to society than RAISING future society MEMBERS. *eyerolls* Ok, maybe this will turn into a rant post. haha. Plus, it is in the nitty gritty BORING parts of life in which LIFE is actually lived! I am even more reminded of the book, The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy, and “Women’s Work”, and am supremely grateful to have read it.

The best I can do is quote my own review of this book to encapsulate how I feel about this subject:

All I can say is that I read about this book on a Christian blog that extolled the virtues of repetitive “women’s work” and it rang particularly close to home for me. After all, I spend all day taking care of a toddler and doing dishes about a million times. I do laundry almost every other day and I spend most of my day picking up after (or encouraging my son to) my little boy.

Mostly, I took comfort in the idea that our daily work of laundry, cooking, cleaning as being worship and holy. That what we do to take care of ourselves and others can be both an act of indifference or an act of supreme love. That the work that can seem contemptful in the eyes of “feminists” is actually a beautiful and vital thing, that makes me happy and joyful. After all, who wants 90% of what they do all day to be deemed as lowly or simple?

It is indeed this contempt and sneer I hear in the tone of the article and Lauren, the woman quoted at the end. I’m not sneering at folks who are working hard to pay off student loans, to pay for their mortgage and their kids clothes and food. Why should I be looked down simply because I’ve chosen to stay at home? I realize that it is a luxury in this sense, for me to stay at home. Many women want to stay at home but cannot afford to do so. However, I also know that there are many women who want to go to work but also, ironically, cannot afford to do so, because the childcare itself would cost more than the money they would make.

Instead, we should sneer at these twentysomethings who think that every single aspect of their life (especially work) should be filled to the brim with Meaning and Significance. (Just kidding! Kind of…)

Perhaps I am most scornful because I used to think in this manner. I wanted to change the world, etc. I believed I was super special. (And of course, that part is still true. I am super special.) Now that I am older and hopefully wiser, I see that there are many ways to save the world. That you are not shunted into either a path of Meaning or Selling Out. You choose to invest whatever life you have with meaning. You choose to make whatever you choose as a way of selling out.

There is no perfect life or perfect job. There is only the one that you have. To quote Tim Gunn, “Make it work.”