Not here for the drama.

I know this expression. This is "It's 10:30pm and we're still at the party and I think I'm having fun but Mom won't let me  have another cookie so I'm melting down!!!!!!!!"  (I've seen it before, obviously.)

I know this expression. This is “It’s 10:30pm and we’re still at the party and I think I’m having fun but Mom took away my second piece of cake so I’m melting down!!!!!!!!”
(I’ve seen it before, obviously.)

Seriously. For some reason it’s been Full Drama Season on social media lately. Generally speaking, I think we all should do a periodic spot-check of what we post, make sure we haven’t devolved into any annoying patterns. For example, do you use Facebook as a virtual Complaints Box? –Then everyone hates your statuses, I’m just letting you know. (Exception: my friend Micky, whose complaint posts are hilarious and involve things like flip-flops and out-of-tune harps. Micky, keep on keeping on. You make my day.)

I’m not even talking about my own friends, though. It seems to me that there’s a lot of late-summer manufactured drama rolling around, right? Even the Biebs, my favorite misbehaving middle schooler, bawled all over the VMAs stage last night. Maybe he was just up past his bedtime, and he was overtired and overstimulated by all the noise and flashing lights. Either way I find that I’m just not here for it. I’m not even trying to tell you I’m better than that, because Lord knows I am capable of histrionics; I just maybe have too much constructive stuff happening right now to deal with anyone else’s destructive stuff. So, Nicky Minaj can feud with Taylor Swift and football players can break each other’s jaws and Trump can spew hatred in every direction but his own; I’m just not here for it. Not today, anyway.

Check back tomorrow; maybe I’ll have freed up some time.

    From the Mind of Addie J

    1419442402217“Dad is like the Hulk. He’s very strong and he can get really mad, but most of the time he’s not mad. And he never gets mad at little kids. I mean, he never gets Hulk-mad.” -the J

      Oreo Balls

      I am not here for you if these don't rock your world.

      I am not here for you if these don’t rock your world.

      So my friend Denise stopped by and took a whole bunch of pears, thank God because I seriously was having stress over the pears spoiling. (N.B.: don’t think this means I have nothing significant to stress over. Also I am fully aware that it’s lame as hell to stress out over pears.)

      Anyway. When she said she was coming, she asked what she could bring to thank us, and I reiterated that she was reducing my (pointless) stress level. But she went one better and brought Oreo balls!!!!!!!! Dave and I have literally hidden them from the kids. Since those nosy killjoys already saw the plate and know we have them, we grudgingly agreed that they can each have one– but that’s freaking it. They think Skittles are delicious- their palettes don’t deserve Oreo balls. Dave and I are going to hoard the rest for ourselves– and by the way, Dave: this is a 50/50 situation and I’ve counted them. If you’ve never had Oreo balls, then first of all you’re not living and secondly, get up right now and go track some down. You’re welcome. They are ridiculous. They are so, so, so wrong and delicious. Listen, my friends: I don’t even really like Oreos. But Oreo balls?

      It goes without saying that I’m headed to the gym today.

        So Glad It Wasn’t My Kid, Part 1,086,305

        Man, my heart goes out to this kid who stumbled and put his fist through a painting in Taiwan. And the whole time I watched it I was imagining all the times we’ve been at museums and had close calls with the kids. Thanks to some divine force, we have so far managed not to damage any valuable artwork. Hopefully our streak will continue. In the meantime, please enjoy simultaneously cringing and thinking to yourself, “I’m so glad that’s not my kid!”

          Wednesday Bullet Blog

          • I’m preparing a new course this semester. I think it’s either going to be really fun and awesome….or not. From what I see thus far, I don’t think there’s a middle ground.
          • We are no longer up to our ears in zucchini. Now it’s tomatoes.
          • OMG and pears. I didn’t count how many pears we picked from our tree on Sunday… but if I had to throw a dart at a number, I’d go 50. That’s fifty pears and don’t suggest that I can them: I’d have to buy stuff that I don’t understand how to use, and learn all kinds of canning lingo and start wearing flowery dresses and calling Dave “Pa” and I don’t have room in my life for that much upheaval.
          • The kids have started school and all is well. I’m so happy.
          • Dave was unfortunately settled with the middle name of Wayne. This morning, Gabby said to Dave apropos of nothing, “Dad!!! Your first name should’ve been Bruce!!!!”
          • …..Which, actually: hilarious.
          • Project Renovate the Bathroom status: floor is in. Tile is on three walls. If we can just get that grouted, then we can start installing fixtures (and no one will have to come to my front door and wonder why there’s a toilet in the entryway anymore). By the way: when I say “we” I blatantly mean “Dave.” In this particular home project, he is the GC and I’m the assistant. Also, the deep burnt-orange color I painted that room a few years ago, which at the time looked so nice, now screams “Happy Halloween!!!!!!” and I can’t wait to repaint it.
          • Gabby just showed me some crazy meme on her phone. I looked at it, looked at her and said, “Why do you hate me?” And she laughed and said, “Because I knew I’d get that exact reaction.”
          • Happy Wednesday!

            Lost Lizard Fallout

            GABBY: Mom, can I have a corn snake? I will name it Fuego.

            JULIE: Gabby, you guys misplaced a lizard. I’m not interested in your misplacing a snake.

            GABBY: But that was Cameron, not me!

            JULIE: Have you proven yourself a responsible pet owner with your fish?

            GABBY [dismissively]: Those fish are dead.

            JULIE: Exactly.

            GABBY: Mom!!!! Don’t blame me for nature taking its course!!!!

            JULIE: That was nature?

            GABBY: No, actually that was whatever that stuff was that Dad put in the tank. [whispering] But don’t tell him I said that, I don’t want him to feel bad.

            JULIE: None of this is helping your case.

              School Days

              With school either in full swing or on the horizon for families everywhere, here is my list of things I just decided not to deal with this year. You might do the same.

              1. The exact brands and quantities of each school supply list item. Addie J actually opened the door for this, when I was sharpening her pencils and noted that I had about 75 pencils to sharpen for all three kids. Addie casually said, “Mom, just sharpen the top row in the box. I’ll keep the rest in my desk.” And the skies opened: for WHY was I dutifully counting glue sticks and eraser caps and Dry-Erase? These supplies are for the entire year, my friends. So you can only find one pack of ruled index cards? Send them with the one pack. I promise, the kids will let you know when they need more.
              2. Some kind of gorgeous outfit for the first day. I don’t tend to buy a crapload of school clothes in August or September; I save that for late fall, when they can’t wear their shorts and t-shirts anymore. But I used to splash out on some amazing First Day outfit, and do everyone’s hair, and expend lots of time and energy on those moments. And…… eh. Turns out the kids don’t care even a quarter as much as I did. This year, Addie was obsessed with the idea of wearing overall shorts on the first day, so we went out and bought some. Otherwise? Let’s just say the morning of the first day has been much more relaxed since I allowed the kids to present themselves however they like.
              3. Interesting, visually stunning, unerringly nutritious lunches. Listen, I think Bento boxes are beautiful. I also refuse to buy a series of nitrate-stuffed Lunchables to send to school. At the same time, it’s not going to kill anyone to occasionally bring a piece of pizza instead of a turkey sandwich. I am a working mother and there has to be a middle ground.
              4. Temperature-appropriate clothing. This was the hardest thing for me to let go: my former insistence on the kids’ bringing a jacket to school. Or wearing pants and not shorts on chilly days. Or even my kids’ propensity to pull on a zip-up fleece when I know it’ll be in the eighties that day. I just got to a point where I thought, “Fine. If you freeze (or boil) all day, then you might make a different choice next time.” This does not apply, obviously, to freezing temps– I don’t want them to lose any fingers or toes. I just don’t want to argue over windbreakers over morning.
              5. Where Addie J parts her hair. I know this seems minor, but the J has the most adorable bob, which– on special occasions– I will lovingly style in a cute-as-shit side part. Every other day, however, she insists on parting it right down the middle. I can’t decide whether she reminds me of Shemp, but I HAVE decided that I don’t care enough to fight her on it. Some day, she’ll point to photos from this age and be like, “I can’t believe you let me wear my hair like this!!” –and I’ll be like, “Yeah, there were too many other things to worry about.”

              There are other things on which I do insist– getting to bed at a reasonable time, eating a healthy breakfast, homework time each afternoon. However, there are only so many hills I can defend, here. Oh, and by the way: I am also That Mom whose kid wears a dumbass outfit of his or her own choosing on Picture Day. Just letting you know.

                I guess it was bound to happen.

                CAM: Mom, two things. One urgent, and one not-so-urgent.

                JULIE: Okay….

                CAM: Well, the not-so-urgent thing is that Zulu* needs crickets.

                JULIE: Okay….

                CAM: And the slightly more urgent thing is that Zulu is not in his tank.


                CAM: Like, he seems to have escaped.


                CAM: And I don’t know when that happened.

                JULIE: Well, then let’s hold off on the crickets, you think?


                *Zulu is (or, I guess, was) Cameron’s leopard gecko.


                  I’m wondering…

                  I just want to know if anyone else thinks it’s really weird that Tom Brady apparently tools around with his Super Bowl rings all the time. Really? He takes his most prized and valuable professional trophies to four-day Vegas trips? I want to know the logistics of this. First of all, physically where is he keeping them: like, does he throw them in his luggage with his deodorant and underwear– or are they in his pockets? Which of those options is stranger?

                  Then here’s my other question: he also passed them around and had people try them on. How does this even come up? Why would anyone think to ask Brady– ever, at any time– if he happened to currently have all four of his Super Bowl rings? I can really only see this scenario unfolding if Tom Brady brings it up himself. And I can’t picture that happening in any non-douchey way.

                  That’s my question of the day.

                    Confidence is in the work.

                    I’ve been reading a lot about Mindy Kaling’s new book and what she has to say about hard work and confidence. Please note that I love her, so I’m obviously biased in favor of whatever she has to say already. But in particular I like this passage:

                    People talk about confidence without ever bringing up hard work. That’s a mistake.

                    This resonates so strongly for me, in particular right now because of my twelve-year-old daughter. She’s a good Irish dancer. She has natural talent. And, because natural talent takes you a long way, she has had a pretty good track record in competitions. And then, some time in the last year, she started to have some trouble: you see, she has reached a point in her competition where everyone has natural talent. She’s at a point where the difference between competing and winning is, quite simply, working hard.

                    I talk to my kids about hard work all the time. For example, I’m not a great runner. I’m a solid runner, with an average pace, for which I have worked hard over a period of years. Running doesn’t come easily to me. I fight and sweat for every mile, for every second shaved off my pace. I have to work harder than everyone else. But I like working hard. I like that challenge, and I like the confidence it brings me: accomplishing something that’s difficult.

                    Meanwhile: moving up to this competition level, where winning didn’t come as easily, came as a surprise to Gabby. I was proud of her when she made the decision to work harder. She focused on her challenges, she listened to difficult feedback, she wasn’t deterred by competition results that were less than what she hoped. She kept moving forward, an inch at a time, fighting and sweating and working, and believing that the work would bring results. And I am so proud to say that, as of this weekend, she qualified for regional championships this year. And Gabby’s proud, too– not just of the accomplishment, but of the work she put in to get herself there.

                    Which brings me back to Mindy Kaling. She’s right: hard work begets confidence. Now, if I was working on this lesson with Cam, I’d probably have to use Dwayne Johnson rather than Mindy Kaling…. but honestly: I’m just glad there are people out there who are proud of how hard they work. My dad was always proud of how hard he worked, too. And our kids, they’re watching.



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