mother's day

Is it just me or is Mother's Day one of the most loaded holidays of the year? It is so complicated!

First - let me say too many of my mom groups were filled with very upset moms who felt unappreciated, posts about how they were up with the baby at 5am and their husband slept until noon, or their family didn't do enough, or they had to do all the mental load/work of making it a special day. These were sad posts. Reading into it, I thought a lot of them sounded like "my partner is an asshole all year and I hoped this day would be different". I have seen too many relationships like that from the outside. They are not well.

In my house we very much about making your days your days. Birthdays, mother's day, anniversaries... if there is something you want to do, do it! If there's a special dinner you want, request it! But nobody else is obligated to try and surprise you or guess what you want or jump through hoops to make it happen. Shortly after having a baby, I joked that for mother's day I wanted to be left alone. This has actually worked itself out pretty well. Last year my sister and I went on a fabulous road trip.

Then there are the posts that just make me want to de-emphasize the whole holiday - women who wanted to be mothers but couldn't, people with complicated relationships with their mothers, people who can't be with their mothers, and we all miss our moms.

Maybe I will just avoid all social media the weekend of mother's day.

If I'm disappointed at all, it's that we can't have a day like father's day... mostly about dad jokes, no overpowering pink color scheme, lighthearted, fun. Play a game outside and chill! Motherhood is so SERIOUS though.

Maybe we should separate it out, and have a day to talk about pregnancy and childbirth and 5am feedings and craziness, and then a separate day to just celebrate our motherhood that is playing games, taking walks with our kids, teaching them airplane parts, watching the princess bride, playing lego? I can't think of a way to fix it, and I'm never sure who messed it up.

Hollywood altitude opportunities

Marc had Godzilla on the other day, the Matthew Broderick version. Marc watches the worst movies, you guys.

I had to stop watching this one because Godzilla was tearing up NYC and the military was trying to fly helicopters around shooting at him with what seemed like pretty small guns, and Godzilla kept smacking them into buildings and dodging them while they navigated the city streets, zooming in between sky scrapers.

I don't care if it's an airplane or a helicopter... it is totally silly to show any aircraft zooming in between sky scrapers. I'm calling Hollywood BS on the whole idea.

It's not the first time it's been shown. 2012 had a "new" pilot escape from a los angeles earthquake, dodging falling buildings left and right, and they leave the city without ever thinking to put a few thousand feet between them and the ground.

You know what airplanes and helicopters are really good at? Climbing. You know what would be an easy place to shoot at Godzilla from? The sky above him. You know what a newbie pilot learns to do within his or her first 30 minutes of flight training? ascent. I could teach a toddler to do it. Pull back on the stick, houses get smaller. Push in on the stick, houses get bigger.

And YET disaster movies continue to show aviators tackling their obstacles head-on, in obvious danger of collision.

sky for rent

Well, I guess I have bad news for movie goers: fiction is fiction. But good news for everyone else out there: Airplanes are pretty good at flying UP into the sky, and lots of people can figure out how to make that happen.

Christianity for young adults

talking with a friend about college experiences the other day, I was reminded why churches have trouble recruiting young adults. I realized this in college, too... christianity at that age demands a very different lifestyle from the world around you. At that particular age, it creates a divide. And it's really only at that age.

You can watch kids playing together and have no idea which ones do or don't go to church.

You can hang out with married 40 year olds at a dinner party with wine and it never comes up.

But in college, the things college kids do to party (drink, hook up) are frowned upon by the religious types. it is VERY important that you are not drinking, not having sex, dressing modestly, and among the party kids it is equally important that you ARE drinking, having sex, and dressing suggestively. They are polar opposites. Both groups will grow up a little. The party kids will start wearing more clothes. The Christians will allow sex once sanctioned by God. Many Christians will drink alcohol once they're of legal age, many college students will curb the binge drinking.

One obvious solution I see here would be for Christianity to change its message a bit. Given the fact that millions of partying college-goers eventually become good citizens, I don't think it's a complete betrayal of the faith to ignore the beer and sex for just a few years. I mean sure, encourage people to be healthy and responsible, but stop treating 20 year olds like 10 year olds. They are not monks.

How great would it be if all those campus Christian groups became places to study deep, relevant concepts about how we can actually make the world a better place? "Social Entrepreneur" is a huge term now, with young people making waves in the world by opening zero-waste businesses, raising money to save wildlife, educating communities, breaking poverty cycles. They're not exactly being churned out by religious groups. What if those college years were a four year study on the challenges facing our world? 800 million hungry people do not care if you are having sex with your boyfriend or not.

It's interesting that I spent years going to sunday schools, youth groups, and church classes, but have still taken so long to learn on my own about economics, team building, leadership, negotiation and compromise. I know there are bright spot out there and churches who strive to be relevant. There are Christian social entrepreneurs. But again, those churches seem separate, set apart. Different. The weirdly progressive ones. The rest need to recognize someday that when you're not a kid anymore, your education needs to evolve. You went to Sunday School, you learned the Bible studies, now how do we actually help people?

friday five: bands

I suggested the questions for today's thefridayfive and feel honored to have been chosen, but I feel like it's cheating to answer my own questions because I had a preview of sorts, right? so I'd encouraged everyone to support that community as always, but I'm taking my questions from today.

What instrument in an orchestra would you least like to play professionally?
Least? Probably some brass instrument, they look hard on your face, which is funny because my dad used to play the trumpet. I also never wanted to learn to play the flute because I thought too many people were trying to play the flute. This was before Lizzo made it cool.

How long would it take you to find a rubber band wherever you are now?
Like thirty seconds. There are some in the office drawers and some in the craft room. Never know when you need to hold something being glued and a clamp isn't right for it.

In your area, what’s the name of a local band you like?
Candace and the Business Casual!

How good was your high school band?
Great! Hundreds of kids with a good marching program.

Of bands whose names are listed like Joan Jett and the Blackhearts or Neil Young and Crazy Horse, who’s got the best name?
I'll just list some favorites:
Hootie & the Blowfish
Florence & the Machine
Alison Krauss & Union Station
The Mamas & The Papas (does that fit the format?)

pre-pandemic life: a poll

Poll #2101484 pre-pandemic life

Pre-pandemic, how many days per week were you usually out among people in groups, events or activities?

I was never out, didn't even leave for work/school
I'd see people at work/school but that was usually it
1-3 days a month meeting friends or going to events, but not every week
1-2 days a week meeting friends or going to events
3-4 days a week meeting friends or going to events
5-7 days a week meeting friends or going to events

facebook marketplace

about every day, I facebook marketplace something. I didn't used to think it was worth it, but now I'm so darn bored it's something else entertaining to do. I even sold something for $5 yesterday. I would never in my life drive to somebody's house to buy an item that's only $5, what a pain. But it worked.

People are weird and I'm figuring out how my cadence. By default, facebook tells them it's a great idea to send a message that says "is this still available?". It drives me crazy, because of course it's available! Why would I still have it posted if it wasn't available?

So I respond with: "Yes! When would you like to pick it up? I leave near (major intersection)."

And that's when it gets weird, people are totally caught off guard by that question. Sometimes they don't respond at all. Other times they say they're going to be busy for the next week. So I'm like okay, check in with me closer to when you'd want to pick up, if it's still available we'll set something up.

Why would they ask if something is available when they can't come get it?

Anyway, I'll frequently get 5-7 people messaging me, and one person follows through and actually gets the thing.

They leave cash under our doormat. So far every person has paid the agreed-upon price. We take the money in, put it out of the way, and wash our hands very well. Then I post up something else.

what it was like before

going through our camping stuff in the basement, we found a little travel pack of anti-bacterial alcohol wipes. remember that scene in "somewhere in time" where he sees the penny from his previous life and vanishes from the island? the pack was something I got for free in some conference swag bag, with a corporate logo considered more important than what was inside. I threw it in a storage bin and forgot about it. It was a time when getting germs on you was a mere inconvenience.

flu season drove different habits in different people. I never thought much about it. Our pediatrician wanted Olive to stay on her asthma treatments "through the flu season", a concept that hadn't crossed my mind. A fellow engineer did not want to ride on our school bus full of girl scouts to go between plants at our February factory tour, because flu season. I hardly ever used hand sanitizer but was thankful for it when I visited a middle school... of course, by then, there was a little bit of coronavirus news, so the idea of getting sick with something bigger had started to cross our minds.

now there are no schools to visit and we are in "bleach everything - kill everything" mode, things with rubbing alcohol are gold because you can't find that stuff in stores.

physical therapy ended

I graduated from physical therapy, so to speak. The plan was six sessions, I completed six sessions.

I was going for back pain that I encounter while sitting and I still have that same problem, but I've learned some things to keep working on. There's a lot of good stretches that I can do for a break that decrease the pain. Moving around has always diminished it, and now I have more ways to move around. Working with a professional has given me the confidence to try more things. For example, when we did planks or warrior III balances in my yoga classes my back would start hurting. My old solution was to not do those things. But every time I brought something like that up to my physical therapist, she'd point out how I could engage other muscles in those positions. The back pain was a sign that something else wasn't working hard enough - core, glutes, sometimes shoulders.

towards the end we did a ton of plank sort of exercises, and I started getting better at them. the biggest challenge is the up-down plank, that I couldn't even do with my knees down. You get on knees and elbows, then without moving your hips, use your arms to get up on your hands. I felt this in my back almost immediately and told her it was a terrible idea. But now I can do 4 or 5... still on my knees, but getting there. I can hold a plank for a while now, and even do side planks to work on my obliques/side abs.

She says it takes six months to build real strength, so keep working at home and come back in a while. I can do that.

I debated quitting in April with all the pandemic going on. Is my physical therapy really essential? But the place grew less crowded and we all masked up in there, so I went for it. I did decide not to do the traditional 1-month follow up though. I finished the last session and that was it. It's hard to say if I'd quit without the pandemic. Maybe. I only know one world now and that's the one where we all stay at home all the time. I bought some resistance bands from them, and was happy to get them since home gym stuff is sold out of big stores. Before the pandemic I was just going to the actual gym to work out. Now I can do my lateral pullbacks at home, which might just be better.

building up shoulder strength with a wide variety of arm exercises. for core and glutes it's a lot of bridge pose, bicycles, planks, cat/cow stretches, twist stretches. And really just finding new things all the time. There is no one right workout, cross-training will always be the key, so I try new things. Yoga one day, interval cardio the next, pilates, then a run outside or long bike ride. my back is better when I do those things, but it's not just magically better, that seems to just be how life is. we'll see if there is are still improvements to be made.

friday five: one movie, many questions

from with the introduction, questions taken verbatim from a certain favorite movie.

So — so on Monday, what happens?
I go to work. Mondays are good days, I come in feeling quite refreshed and have the whole week to deal with any craziness that comes up.

What was that ruckus?
Any ruckus in my house is typically caused by ferrets, who need to get out of the damn trash.

What do you know about trigonometry?
It is the best math. Beautiful. Poetic. I sometimes wonder what I'd be like in the cult of the pythagoreans. If used math more often, I'd get a SOHCAHTOA tattoo.

Vodka? When do you drink vodka?
On the weekend, with some lemonade, and a mint sprig. I have so much mint, by the way, I am open to all the ideas to use it up.

How’d you like to go fishing this weekend?
I'd like that, but we are not equipped for fishing and have only done it a few times with friends and borrowed equipment. Last summer we went to a fishing pond with the family of josie's school friend, we camped in tents and the girls fished off the dock, releasing what they caught. they were delighted! but I can't invest in every activity and now there are no social things so we will not be fishing.

Incidently - rewatch The Breakfast Club someday, as an adult. It is barely tolerable, all you can think is that these kids have most everything provided for them and yet their lives are SO HARD. Also the point of the movie is that they realize they're not that different, but from the adult perspective... they were never that different! They just THOUGHT they were because all teenagers think they are the most unique teenager in the world and no one has their problems. But they're the same problems, because they're teenager problems! Well, except for The Criminal who lives in a very abusive household. But the point of the movie isn't that the kids hear out that guy, the point is that he hears them. Anyway when I was in high school I remember thinking it was such a deep film... not anymore.


I noticed that AT&T switched CEOs last week. Interesting time for new opportunities. I've had an AT&T phone forever... or at least since they bought Cingular, whenever that was. Remember when cell phone companies were young cool startups? Now they are definitely like utilities, except with shinier, tech-friendly, "this is still fun!" exteriors. But on the inside they're a commodity. Glitches, price increases, and miserable customer service. Last time I had an issue they sent me a survey, can you believe it? I reported back that their customer service made me want to self-harm, and they weren't sure why.

Last year they gave us a deal on internet. We probably shouldn't have fallen for it, but it would be fiber, and cheaper than what we were paying. The cable company hadn't done us many favors lately either. Let's face it, it's like a customer service race to the bottom there. So we signed up.

It took four months to get the bills right. It started off as a separate bill, but the whole point had been to bundle it with our phones. We weren't allowed to merge bills during odd times in either cycle, or when we'd been late on payments. And we were late on payments a lot. Why? Get this... we signed up for autopayment, and they didn't auto-pay themselves. Yes. Each time, we called, asked why they didn't take the money they said they were going to take, and each time they apologized, credited our account, assured us it was all set up... then failed again. And each of these debacles took an hour or more on the phone. Chat help was terrible, it's like the tech was chatting with 75 people at once. You'd type, then five minutes later get a reply. Their internet people were on a different planet from their phone people.

When we finally merged the plans, they double-charged us for internet... once for the bundled plan, then again for the actual plan. More phone time.

We eventually got it sorted out, but I still joke that our AT&T bill is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get. Marc broke is damn phone in February and got a new one, we got all kinds of surprise activation fees on the new one, but you just have to go with it.

phone and internet is our highest bill by far. I shudder to think of what my old college self would think of it. I remember shaking my head at the financial irresponsibility of having cable... my old self would absolutely pass out if she saw the annual cost of phones and internet.