How to be condescending

If you are on Facebook (and if you’re not, WHO ARE YOU?), chances are you’ve seen a link circulating recently about how your fascination with your electronic devices can make you miss your children’s lives.

If you haven’t seen the link, here it is. It appeared on my facebook wall more times than I can possibly tell you, always accompanied by “OMG, you must read this,” or “I’m crying. So true.”

Now, the content of this article is very heartfelt and very to the point. She talks about how being lost in one’s digital gadgets can be harmful to your relationship with your children, how the children learn that whatever is happening is more important than them, all sorts of statements that had just enough truth seeded into them to make any modern-day, smartphone toting, social media savvy parent feel like dog shit gone white.

Now, to be fair – she does dedicate a couple of sentences to how this is the modern world and sometimes we have to be accessible. Sometimes it’s necessary to allow laptops and smartphones into our lives.


May I offer my point of view? I’m gonna.

I’m a blogger, and a full-time online student. I’m also married to a podcaster who is also a full-time student. Technology and the gadgets involved are completely enmeshed in our lives.

I love my iPhone. My iPad. To a lesser degree, the computers and such which inhabit my house – and there are a lot. I love to text message. I love to steal a few minutes in the day to check facebook, tweet something random, or peruse my blog stats for the day.

Certainly, as a society, we are more interconnected than ever before. I talk to my husband while he’s at work. I always have a camera because I always have my phone. And yes, I check my phone before I talk to anyone in my family because EVERYONE IN MY FAMILY IS USUALLY STILL ASLEEP SINCE I WAKE EVERYONE UP.

Some people escape into books. Some into painting or gardening or building rockets. This has always been the case. I don’t really see any difference.

Of course it’s important to acknowledge your family and the others in your lives. To look them in the eye, listen when they talk, and be fully present when they need you – but I don’t see that as having anything to do with being less connected. I see that as being a decent human being.

So, my response to the article is as follows:

I am a connected mom. I interact constantly and I learn constantly. My children know they are important. They know because I’m their mom. I bandage scrapes and icepack bumps and come running when they have nightmares. They do not have some woeful mourning inferiority because I sometimes play Jetpack Joyride.

Because I show them moderation, they learn that I am, as they are, members of a continuous mechanism. Everyone is connected, everyone is important. I don’t have to throw away my iPhone to be a good mom. I just have to use good sense. And I think that’s a better example than anything else.



I’d like to say that I’ve been relatively quiet lately because I’ve been bustling busy, being scholarly and cleaning house and such. 




I think the fairest way to say it is that I just ran out of words. Like I’ve said before, I have this calendar of post ideas and the idea is to jog creativity and such. And everything I’ve ever read about serious writing says that to be a writer, you write. You write on days when you’re sick and days when you’re tired and days when you have nothing to say. 


And normally I do. But for the past week or so, it just hasn’t been there. Nothing at all. I’m not depressed or anything, I think I just needed a bit of a break. So I took one. I didn’t Facebook like I usually do. I didn’t respond to emails. I didn’t really tweet. 


This past weekend was pretty lovely, and Josh and I spent most of it geocaching, which is perhaps the greatest thing ever. If you’ve never heard of it, concisely it’s like a worldwide scavenger hunt, and you participate using GPSs. You drive around wherever it takes you (there’s a handy iPhone app), and you usually end up going some pretty cool places. 


Josh and I started geocaching last year, took a break over the summer because damn it’s hot, and then we remembered a few weeks ago…”oh yeah, that’s super fun, let’s do it again.”


So we did. This weekend we went all over North Mississippi/Tennessee/Alabama, following blinking GPS dots, digging in the brush, climbing hills, and – in one instance – trying not to get sucked into the muck of a sulphur spring.


I don’t really know why I like it so much. I have a habit of scanning out the window while we drive, to see if I see any dead bodies in the woods. 


I never said I wasn’t, you know, weird. 

My first two-part series. Thanks, Netflix

This has been a weekend full of eating. It’s a good thing I didn’t make any resolutions to eat less or lose weight, because I would pretty much have already sabotaged myself.
We’ve been doing a good bit of Netflix-watching over the past couple of weeks. Saturday night we went to see our friends Marty and Erin in Tennessee, because Josh has this kickass beef that he’s started making and they had yet to eat any. So we went.

Whenever we go to Adamsville for dinner, Josh and Marty wait until we arrive to buy any of the preparations. We get there, we unload into the house, and the boys immediately leave to go get groceries for the meal.

And go to GameStop. And Taco Bell. And buy pies at the nearby gas station.

So Saturday night while the guys were gone, Erin and I decided to watch a movie (much to Lucy’s chagrin – she would be happy to watch the Birthday episode of Yo Gabba Gabba for the rest of her life).

Erin chose a documentary called Dive! which, in a nutshell, is about a bunch of people (and their families) in California who live primarily off the food they retrieve from dumpsters behind grocery stores.

I know, right? I think Erin chose it because she thought they were going to talk about dumpster diving for furniture or clothes or whatever – I know that’s what I thought.

But yea and verily, I was wrong. It was TOTALLY about food.

Initially I was grossed out. But then they showed the food they were retrieving…bread, meat, produce. All tossed out because of a cracked egg or a looming sell-by date. Stuff that was top-of-the-line shit…and perfectly fine. It just happened to have come out of the store by the back door, instead of a reusable shopping bag.

My snobbery started to wane when I realized that these people were eating organic, free-range, antibiotic free meats and veggies and most of the time I don’t even look at that stuff because it’s so expensive.

Then they started talking about the amount of waste the US produces and I felt like a greedy asshole.

Did you know that the US wastes 96 billion pounds of food a year? One year of our waste could feed the entire population of Haiti for like five years.

Yet, because we don’t share, and because everyone is so focused on profit, we still have hungry people in our country. That’s so bizarrely wrong on so many levels.

It’s sobering to be told things like that. Stuff we all know in the back of our mind and don’t really think about.

So while I won’t be scaling the dumpsters behind Kroger anytime soon (I totally would, by the way – but Josh said it was too close to the sheriff’s department and so he refuses to drive the getaway car), I am now actively searching for ways I can help do my part and reduce this terrible deficit between what we have and what we use – and what we need.

You can sign the online petition to Trader Joe’s here. It’s a start.

Tomorrow, I’m talking about catfish…kind of.

Robot Farts

Seriously, someone stop me.

I’ve been talking to this damn phone all day.

I have no idea why. And talk about laziness. I’ve asked this freaking program to find my husband (searching for Josh Stain), to average my grades, to translate phrases (I don’t know what you mean, Emily), and Josh asked for some boobs and got directions to five different strip clubs.

Not to mention, a full half hour before we went to sleep last night, my husband narrated a list of reminders for the next day. I’m not sure what he did a couple of days ago, before he had a program to buzz his phone and remind him to sneeze.

Overly dependent on technology? Meet the Steens.

In other news, Lucy (who now skips across the room yelling, “Siri, Siri!”) was peacefully lounging in the bed yesterday morning. Josh was getting dressed and talking to her, and he blew her a raspberry as he walked past.

Without a second thought, she lifted her leg and cut the juiciest, hootiest, diaper-muted fart I’ve ever heard, grinning the whole time.

I don’t think Siri can do that.

Sounds like an STD

So, most of you know that I like to…well, craft, for lack of a less corny cheese grandma word.

It soothes me.

I’ve found it’s especially effective at being soothing now that I have so many other things I could stress about.

I’m a selfish crafter, though, for the most part. I make stuff and I really would rather just keep it for myself. Especially the difficult stuff. I mean, sue me, but if I stress over making it I want to wear that shit myself.

So at the risk of boring the pants off all of you, I have to tell you about this project I think I’m going to undertake.

The shawl/scarf/wrap above is called a Clapotis, and if you’ve ever perused the Ravelry discussion groups (knitting message boards, that’s RIGHT), chances are you’ve heard of it since it’s kind of a legend.

It looks fairly simple. Apparently it’s not. Apparently it makes you want to cut a bitch. But then if you survive the whole process of twisting stitches and dropping rows and CUTTING YARN OUT OF YOUR SHIT IN PROGRESS, you have this kickass piece you can wear and be all, “That’s right this is ALL ME.”

It came out as a public pattern in 2004, and I’ve heard tales of it practically the whole time I’ve been a knitter.

I’ve never attempted it because I’m a pansy and it outright scared me. Still does.

But I really want to try to do it. For this fall and winter.

So I’m currently trying to focus and decide on a yarn to use for it (and I know, Dan and Josh are all YOU HAVE SIX THOUSAND POUNDS OF YARN WHY WOULD YOU EVER NEED MORE, but this puppy needs 650 yards at least. I may have lots of yarn but I do NOT have that much of any one kind). When I decide, and once I start, I’m totally telling you about it. I need accountability here. Like a prayer partner to pray to LaQuee the goddess of craft.

So there it is. It’s out there. Now I have to do it.

Confessions about ice cream

According to a calendar I saw, today is national ice cream day.

I know it’s trivial. But I love ice cream. Ice cream and French fries.

Cheesecake, too.

Iqqqass (Lucy’s typing again. Damn kid.)

I know everyone loves ice cream and that’s no big deal, and I don’t claim to love it more than anyone else. and please spare me the laments that you don’t like ice cream and sweets aren’t your thing. Forgive me, but it is the right thing to do, enjoying sweets. Why else did Jesus serve Welch’s to the disciples?

I do realize, though, that when it comes to being an adult and controlling consumption of things like ice cream and cake, candy, bacon, and things like sugar sandwiches (that’s a joke. Kind of.), I am woefully inadequate.

I would eat ice cream for every meal and dessert.

Josh and I have gotten into this habit of buying two half gallons when we buy groceries. Kroger is obviously plotting my demise, what with their damn 2-for-$5 deals on their delicious ice cream.

I mean, a responsible adult eats ice cream for dessert, maybe once a week.

I ate it for breakfast twice last week.

It’s not that I set out to be an idiot about the things I eat, but it’s the perfect food. Creamy. Cold. Exactly the flavor I want. It’s even useful as a cold compress.

Hippies and smart people say that your body is your temple and you have to take care with what you input. Especially if you’re worried about your gut, and I know they’re right. That’s pretty much why I’ve stopped complaining about my gut.

Even if I’m on a diet.
I just can’t help it.
It’s a sickness.

This may be hard to say

I looked at my pill bottle the other day.

Every morning I take some vitamins, birth control, and another pill that hasn’t been around on my medicine rotation for as long.

After Lucy was born, my doctor asked if I’d had any problems with postpartum depression.

I had never been diagnosed, but after Max was born I quit my job and went back to school, and after Ava I got a divorce, so I’d say maybe there were some underlying issues.

So I told the doctor I might be a little at risk, and she gave me a prescription for sertraline (Zoloft), just in case.

We filled the script the day we left the hospital.

After some initial adjustments, that medication changed my life.

Seriously. I embellish none.

I had perspective on things I’d exploded about in the past. I was able to slow down, pace myself, and while there were a few times I wanted to run and hide from everyone and everything, they were manageable. Obviously I didn’t get too far.

So life has gone on for the past year. My meds incorporated themselves into my routine and the fireworks and fanfare have been minimal after that.

Until I looked at my pill bottle.

My prescription runs out in a couple of months.

Not only do we have no insurance (want me to start in on universal healthcare? Yeah, I didn’t think so), but I’m totally lost as to the mechanics of this.

“Hi, yeah, I think I may have had postpartum depression and just the thought of not taking my medication makes me want to kill pandas, can I please keep taking it?”

I’m pretty sure the fact that I can form that sentence in all seriousness means that I should never stop taking those pills. Ever.

I mean, I know that my OB-GYN isn’t necessarily the person to depend on for my mood altering medications, but what happens when I want to stay on those meds?

Do I go to a shrink? Do I talk about my childhood and my mom and my birth order?

Do I just go to my family doctor and say, “Look, this works, please just continue to give it to me until I die or become immune,” will that get me on the drug seeker list?

I’ll readily admit that I don’t really like that I’ve become so dependent on chemicals. I don’t like that the first thing Josh says when I get upset about something is, “Have you taken your medicine?”

It’s not that it isn’t a valid question, but sometimes I find myself on the outside, thinking, “Am I crazy? If I were normal would this still bother me? Pills or not, am I inventing problems? Am I crazy?”

But then I think about not taking the pills and I realize that if I didn’t, I WOULD be inventing problems. I’d be tearing up and pulling out my hair because there was fuzz on my shirt.

No, I’m not kidding.

For now, I’ve got some time. I guess we’ll cross that bridge later.