Category Archives: Shallow Thoughts

I Got the Perimenopause Craziness

I have spent the last week mostly wearing pajamas and in bed. I haven’t been running. I haven’t been meditating. I’ve haven’t been writing. I sure as hell haven’t been Up With Me! No, I’ve been in the throes of a perimenopausal slump.

I got the perimenopause craziness. And it sucks. (I know you feel my pain, women of a certain age.)

Like my life is not challenging enough. Like I don’t have enough to deal with living in a foreign country where I don’t speak the language and don’t have any friends. Like I don’t have enough to deal with working full time, raising a child, and trying to keep my marriage and sanity intact (and doing that just barely, I might add).

Now, I deal with all THAT and with night sweats. I deal with all THAT and volcanic anger followed by sobbing followed by anxiety. I deal with all THAT and the inability to remember anything. [Note to readers with a gentle constitution: this is where you skip down to the next paragraph because it’s about to get all TMI in here.] And, on top of all this hormonally imbalanced behavior, I no longer have a period. I have a hemorrhage instead. I’m fairly certain that I’m passing whole pieces of my uterus, not just its lining, every month.

Damn you, perimenopause craziness!

Yes, I use progesterone cream. Yes, I take Vitamins B and E and fish oil in a who-cares-if-it’s-scientifically-proven-to-work-I’ll-try-anything attempt to stabilize my mood swings. And some months, it’s all fine and good, and I think I’ve passed whatever godforsaken phase I’ve entered. And then it cycles back when I’m least expecting it.

Wait! I thought I already did that blood clot thing [Oops, sorry, readers with a gentle constitution] 2 years ago. Well, here it is again. Time to do yet another load of laundry. Today.

Wait! I thought I was done with the unpredictable and volatile mood swings after last year. Nope, here they are again! Sorry, honey, for screaming at you then breaking down in tears. For no reason whatsoever.

Heavy, heavy sigh.

Peeps, it’s true. I got the perimenopause craziness. Sometimes, I suffer from it (in which case, so does the rest of my family). Sometimes I live with it (yay me!). Sometimes, I don’t even remember that I have it (thank you, Most Merciful Goddess). Regardless, it’s real, and it’s my life, and…

This, too, shall pass. I just have to keep telling myself (and those who live with me) that truth and believing it.

Oh, that it were this easy. Instant cooling that lasts 4 hours. Nope, it ain't that easy.

Oh, that it were this easy. Instant cooling that lasts 4 hours. Nope, it ain’t that easy.

It’s a Rant. Just Listen.

I sometimes have difficult work interactions, and I am shit for filtering my big mouth (even when 100% sober), so I’ve been known to respond to an email (read: overreact right this second!) and then once I’ve calmed down, I have to apologize. Usually to my boss. This is both embarrassing and not very professional.

I’m getting better though, and now I send eye rolling emails to my husband or heated texts to my girlfriends venting about what a jerk so and so is.

I did this last week, and over the weekend, my husband mentioned it. He said he wanted to discuss it.

“What?” I said. This was days later after all. “No. There’s nothing to discuss. I just wanted to vent.”

“Well,” he said, “I want to give you some advice.”

“But I don’t want advice.”

“Well I am giving you some anyway.”

And then he did.

(Note to reader: When someone explicitly says they do not want your advice, that they just want to rant, let me give you some advice. Shut up. You’re wasting your breath. When I say I don’t want advice it means that I’m not emotionally/intellectually capable of receiving advice right now. And your talking results in a Silke shut down. I can’t hear what you’re saying, because of all the steam coming out of my ears, because you’re giving me the unsolicited advice I didn’t want.)

By the time my husband finished “advising” me, I was crying, because (I’m overly emotional and) he basically sided with the enemy. And by that I mean not me.

 

So maybe I need a 3rd party to vent to. Done. Turns out I can vent to someone other than my husband or a friend, both of whom might want to offer more than just an ear. (Believe me. I just want your ear. Not your mouth. Keep that shut, please, because I’m the one doing all the talking here. That’s what a rant is.) Multiple websites exist for ranting to strangers. You can try blah therapy where a rant is free, but for $25 you can consult with a psychic (not really sure what the connection is there, but I am intrigued). Muttr offers anonymous vent sessions on any topic. And then there are all these sites (go here for a compiled list) where you can post highly specific rants. There’s a site (surely more than one) to complain about your boss, another site (ditto) to complain about your spouse, and on and on.

Wow. Who knew, right?

So maybe that’s what I’ll do next time. The next time I need to vent, I’ll go on line. I’ll figure out the exact site that meets my immediate bitch-fest need (boss site, husband site, customer service site, Walmart site, whatever). I’ll create a funny but accurate pseudonym (I’m not posting using my real name for crying out loud!). Then I’ll register with the site (you can’t just post, you know, you have to give them your information resulting in their filling your email inbox with spam and providing you YET another reason to utilize their website to rant). Then,  I’ll finally start composing my rant.

I imagine by this time, the anger energy has dissipated, and I’ll be over it. I won’t want to rant anymore.

Which just goes to show. A short pause may be the best way to diffuse anger and put things into perspective.

Maybe.

 

 

 

Asbestos, Cigarettes, Formaldehyde and Bacon

Remember that Smith’s Song, Meat is Murder? Well, regardless of how you view killing animals for food (or jackets or shoes or a new purse), the World Health Organization (WHO) is clear. Consuming certain kinds of meat is, at the very least, suicide.

It’s been in the scientific literature for years, but just yesterday the WHO issued a definitive statement that eating processed meats causes cancer. Not just lunch meat (which has been vilified in the popular press for some time), but bacon, ham, and beef jerky, too. These foods are now categorized in Group 1 of the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) list of carcinogenic agents. Yep, asbestos, cigarettes, formaldehyde and bacon, that shit can kill you.

This placement in Group 1 means that there is sufficient evidence that eating processed meats causes cancer. And, just to let you know, Group 2 (substances for which there is limited evidence) includes both DDT and lead compounds. So, bacon is worse than those.

Asbestos, cigarettes, formaldehyde and bacon.

Now, I (mostly) stopped eating meat about 8 years ago for health, not ethical, concerns. I was an animal researcher after all, and my professional life still revolves around animal research. But, I had high cholesterol (yes, I know it’s genetic) and a family history of diabetes (yes, I know that’s a sugar problem not a meat problem) and enough psychological problems without needing to add physical health issues to the mix. And, honestly, meat was easier for me to give up than other forms of ingested substances (wine, for example) that are also bad for you.

I (mostly) stopped eating meat, which means that I don’t buy meat to consume in our home. I order meat when dining at a restaurant maybe once a year, and, from rare time to rare time, I eat meat at a party or dinner where it’s served.

I am a firm believer that there’s nothing wrong with the occasional cigarette or side of bacon with eggs or even glass of wine while pregnant (yes, I just wrote that). And, I’m definitely of the camp that it’s your body and your choice. So pick your poison (another bottle of pinot grigio and some sunshine for me, please!), but the information is out there now and it’s hard to ignore. Just 50 grams of processed meat a day – that’s 2 slices of bacon daily or 2 slices of bologna – increases your risk of colorectal cancer by 18%.

So go easy on the asbestos, cigarettes, formaldehyde and bacon, because that shit will literally kill you.

Death by Hot Dog (images courtesy of morguefile.com)

Death by Hot Dog (images courtesy of morguefile.com)

https://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2015/pdfs/pr240_E.pdf

http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Classification/ClassificationsAlphaOrder.pdf

 

 

Weekly Musings

A summary of the week’s highs, lows, and in betweens…

Mantras I spoke this week:

  • May I set up the conditions that will help me be successful in my intentions.
  • May I remember all the good things people have given me in my life (smiles that brightened my day, anecdotes that made me laugh, words that encouraged me, money that helped when I really needed it) and Pay It Forward.
  • May I do the work I need to do in order to live an intentional and purposeful life, rooted in my deepest values.
  • May I continue to awaken myself.

This week was a lot of reminders to bring forth my best self, who is always present but needs some prodding on (most) occasions to be manifested.

 

Best podcasts I listened to this week:

  • On Being interview with Mirabai Bush. I listened to this episode after I posted Road Tripping Through Life, but it’s kinda the same thing. Living a contemplative life – there are many different paths. There isn’t just one way to do it and to awaken your truest, best self. Find your path.
  • Good Life Project interview with Kara Yar Khan. This is a great interview to inspire you to be grateful for all the wondrous miracles of your life. It’s not just about having the fanciest car or the cutest shoes. It’s about being happy with what you have, loving your life, and living to the fullest.

 

My Wrist of Intentions:

These bracelets are my daily notes to self. I bought the Love bracelet a while back and made the other two this week. These bracelets don’t come off (okay, they can, but I haven’t taken them off). They run with me, shower with me, sleep with me, do everything with me. And every time I look at my wrist, I’m reminded of some very important truths/life lessons.

My Wrist of Intentions

 

Gratitude this week:

  • Deepak/Oprah 21-Day Meditation Experience. The current meditation series is Manifesting Grace Through Gratitude. Love.
  • Relationship Harmony. My husband and I are working on our relationship dynamics (which were in a state of total suckiness) and I’m amazed how little effort it has taken on both our parts to be more loving, kind, and compassionate with each other.
  • Pay It Forward project. Over the past year, I sent gifts to 6 women friends/acquaintances of mine. Some big, some small, all were thought out and sent with love. What a phenomenal experience for me.
  • Running on Wood Mulch. I went for a run today and city workers had laid down wood mulch in part of the Englischer Garten. I have never run on mulch before, but it was so soft and springy. And it smelled so earthy. It was in a part of the park right by the surfers, with a green canopy of tree coverage. I seriously had a “Wow, happiness!” moment.
  • Girlfriend Love. I get to see several of my closest friends in August. One is coming to visit in 10 days. And then a few days after she and her family leave, I’ll fly to the States for a month (thank you, sweet baby Jesus!). I won’t go to Texas but to my mom’s other home in North Carolina, where a couple of my friends are flying from Texas to see me. It will be like grown up girl camp for a week, and I can’t wait!

 

That’s what I’m musing about this week. What about you?

  • What did you tell yourself this week to inspire you, motivate you, or help you on your path?
  • What words of wisdom has someone else (through reading, a podcast, a talk) shared with you?
  • What are you grateful for in your life?

 

 

Spring Break 2015

Recently, I flew home to Austin for 12 days of sunshine and family/friend time. The trip did not involve going to a beach, getting a tattoo, or, frankly, anything you might see on an episode of Cops, but I’m still sharing the highlights with you.

Before I start, let me say that I LOVE the U. S. A. (that’s me below wearing a flag dress in support of a friend who became a US citizen a few years ago). Yes, it has its problems (which, frankly, are too many to name here), but it’s my home and there is nothing like 4 years in Germany to make me want to get back to Texas as often (or as fast) as I can and re-embrace American culture to it’s fullest.

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Proud to be an American!

First stop, Target, where I prefer to go on a Sunday at 8am to avoid the masses and shop with ease. I can pick up my decaf-coconut milk latte from the Starbucks inside and sip it while I browse the endless aisles for a new summer skirt, batteries, mascara, and a bottle of wine. Oh, scratch that. Despite that I can bring my concealed and loaded handgun into a Target in Texas, I can’t buy a bottle of wine before noon on Sunday. That law’s been on the books way too long in my opinion.

After shopping for the essentials, I headed out for lunch. Being on vacation means eating out and eating to excess. So, it was off to Chuy’s with the family, where the overindulgence began with the endless basket of chips and ended with the Elvis Presley Memorial Combo. In between – don’t mind if I do – I treated myself to a Mexican martini, maybe two, because it’s 5 o’clock somewhere. Even though I can’t buy alcohol from a store on a Sunday morning, I can still buy it from a restaurant. Bottoms up, y’all!

Once I’d consumed more calories in one meal than I typically consume over several days at home, I waddled to my car. (This is the only thing non-American about my trip. My mom, born and raised in Texas, does not drive an SUV. She drives a Toyota. Oh, Mother!) This is a driver’s paradise – highways, toll roads, and long commutes. There’s no walking or cycling or taking a bus in my hometown. Don’t make me laugh! These modes of transportation are a lost cause unless you live downtown and want to grocery shop exclusively at Whole Foods, which you probably can afford to do if you live downtown. Even in your immediate neighborhood, you drive. Going down the block to pick up your prescription at Walgreens? Get in your car. Want to take the kids to the neighborhood park three streets over? Get in your car. My mother-in-law told me she drives her car to pick up her mail. From her mailbox. On her property.

No trip home is complete without going to the mall. In my defense, I’m perfectly happy to do all my shopping at Target, but my 6-year old daughter demanded a trip to the mall, and who am I to deny her the occasional shopping spree.  I figure it’s never too early to start promoting consumer debt and acquiring more stuff, so let’s go shopping! The beauty of the mall is that I can uphold these American ways of life (acquisition and debt) while munching on a giant pretzel and contemplating whether or not to get my teeth whitened at a kiosk that is conveniently located next to the pretzel stand. I love the U.S.A!

At some point, I’m finally able to drop off my daughter with my mom and have some ‘me’ time. This is one of the greatest perks of visiting home – free babysitting 24/7. Normally, my daughter would use this opportunity to park herself in front of a TV, something we try to curtail at home. This is apparently a concept that’s lost on grandparents. Luckily for me, however,my sister-in-law had her first daughter a few months ago. So on this trip, Emmy preferred to play with her adorable 6 month-old cousin instead of being glued to a screen. As a result of this, whenever I returned from whatever it was that I was doing, Emmy would beg me to have another child or let her get a dog (bless her little heart, she’s really not picky) so that she could have a playmate. In hindsight, maybe it would have been better to let her watch TV.

Childless, I headed out to see my girlfriends. Four of us went to get Botox from my friend Kristin, who works for a plastic surgeon. If you’ll recall from my post a few weeks ago, I’ve entered a new stage in life, which mostly sucks. But, it sucks slightly less since I got neurotoxin injected into my face. And, what an awesome experience to do it with my tribe. Going with my girlfriends ensured not only a temporary face-lift from the Botox but also a flab workout from the laughter.

(Postscript: I’m just slightly bitter that Diana, below, didn’t need any Botox. You bitch, you’re older than me. Look like it already! Just kidding. You’re beautiful, and I love you.)

 Diana

The beautiful Diana (who has no wrinkles and needs no Botox)

The girlfest continued. Thank you, Laura, for hosting a Girls Night In. This was a Saturday event that started early and involved about 10 of my good friends. We drank aperitifs and ate appetizers. We sat outside under a barbed wire chandelier that Laura made (she’s an amazingly talented artist). The chandelier hung from a mountain laurel tree, which was in full bloom and smelled heavenly. We ate a fabulous dinner paired with great wine and the conversation was full of love and laughter. After dinner, and more wine, we played an obnoxious round of Cards Against Humanity (that game cannot be anything but obnoxious), and then headed back inside to finish the night with drunken karaoke. Juanita killed it. Oh my goddess, it was such fun.

Around 2am, I crawled into bed at Laura’s house. Her guest room, my room for the night, is what we lovingly refer to as the Dead Animal room, a moniker acquired when my daughter and I stayed there this summer. Lying in bed staring up at the ceiling and walls, my daughter asked me, “Mommy, why are there so many dead animals in here? It’s kind of scary.” Laura’s husband is a hunter, and the walls of this room are covered with deer skulls and antlers and pelts and taxidermied ducks. So when my daughter, who watches the sidewalk to ensure she doesn’t step on pill bugs, asked this, I felt a little badly because honestly, I hadn’t even noticed the carcasses in my field of vision. Taxidermy is Texas decorating de rigueur, so I just chalked it up to being back home. But, Emmy’s home is Germany, so she’s less oblivious to these decorating choices than I am.

IMG_7989 Laura, the hostess with the mostest, among her taxidermy IMG_7988

Laura, the hostess with the mostest, between some of her taxidermy decor

The rest of the week in Austin continued much like this. Twelve days of Texas. Twelve days of shopping, overeating, drinking, visiting friends, and staying up late. By the time it ended, I needed to get back home and detox.

Austin, it was fun, and I love you, but I’m not sure I can sustain my spring break lifestyle anymore. Tattoos and a Cops episode might be easier on me.

Flab Workouts, Mechanical Bulls, and a Trip to the Gyno

I have the best girlfriends on the planet. The Best. These gals are my rock, the women I text at any time of the day or night when I think I might go over the edge, the women who came to the hospital when I was pushing my babies out of my girl parts. They have seen me from all angles, literally, and they still love me.

When we hang out, it is a win-win for everyone. Our time together often results in a serious flab workout, because when we laugh so much that our abs ache. Like the time Laura and I had a sleep over at Diana’s house. She kicked out her husband and son for the night so we had the house to ourselves. We drank lots of champagne. We stood on the couches, dancing and singing into wooden spoons. I broke her stereo speakers blasting Billy Joel (me and my hair brush anthems). When I woke up fuzzy headed and hurting the next morning, I left a note for Diana. Unfortunately, Diana’s husband found it first, when he came home from his enforced exile. Diana told me that she pinned the note to her inspiration board. I guess so she can be inspired to laugh every day, thanks to me.

IMG_3690

Years before this, I took my then 2 year old son to my friend Juanita’s house. We love Juanita and her husband. They are incredibly funny, incredibly bright people. And Juanita is a great storyteller, who, like me, loves to embellish. Let’s be honest here. Embellishing just makes the story better. It’s like Photoshop. The basic idea is still there, but all the good parts are highlighted a bit more than they were last time the story was told.

Anyway, while Juanita and I sat and chatted inside, my son had been sitting in Juanita’s convertible with Juanita’s husband. The boys spent 30 minutes opening and closing the top of the convertible and pretending to drive. You can imagine what a buzz kill I was when I came outside and told my son it was time to leave. Little britches got completely bent out of shape. “Stay with Day!” he screamed. (“Day” is how he pronounced Juanita’s husband’s name.) “I want to stay with Day! Stay with Day!” Then, crying hysterically, he ran inside the house. Either in an act of defiance or just a toddler antic (at times they are one in the same), Little Britches pulled down his pants and pooped in the middle of the hall. I would have been mortified, but Juanita comes from a family that values poop (and farting) as much as I do, so she thought it was great. We still talk about that story and it happened over 20 years ago.

The last really good laughing-induced flab workout I had happened right before I left Texas to move to Germany. I was hanging out with my gal Csonga. Her real name is Chris, but we’ve called her Csonga since forever, because one time she was playing Yahtzee with the boys and me and they couldn’t read her dyslexic-crap handwriting. The Littlest Britches asked, “Who’s Csonga?” We’ve called her that ever since.

About a month before I was set to move away, Csonga and I were went out on the town. I should mention it was the middle of the week. And not much past 6pm. We’re moms and I would have been asleep if we waited until 10pm to go out. Plus, we wouldn’t be able to get inside any club if it was a busy night, and we were competing with the 20 year olds. Yep. Tuesday, 6:12. We’re about to get crazy up in here, y’all!

We were walking down Congress Avenue, stopping to go down a side street if something looked interesting. We sat at some tropical themed rooftop bar for a drink then moved on. A doorman, trying to get customers inside of another club on an obviously slow evening, called out to us, “Ladies, bull riding is free until 8. Come on in and try the mechanical bull.”

Csonga and I looked at each other and had the exact same thought, “Oh hell yeah!”

Now, neither of us had ever been on a mechanical bull before. We’d never even seen one, and we certainly weren’t dressed for bull riding. Csonga was wearing jeans, but I was in a ridiculously too short (for my age) dress, and we both had on flip-flops. I’ve seen Don Gay’s Best Rides and Worst Wrecks. I’ve been to the rodeo. Cowboys don’t wear flip-flops. But we were inside that bar in seconds and had our game on. Bring on the bull!

Csonga went first, climbing a little step stool to get on the bull. She wrapped the rope around one hand and the other stayed free. The bull started to rock slowly, up and down while moving in a circle. As the bull picked up speed, Csonga managed to stay on until being violently thrown off into the padding around the bull.

“That was hard,” she said after she stopped laughing at herself. Naturally, I was laughing with her, not at her, because I am a good friend.

It was my turn. I climbed up the little ladder and daintily crawled atop the bull. I wrapped the rope around my right hand, and used my left hand to tuck my too short dress under my butt. I decided to treat this ride like driving a car on ice, just steer into the direction of movement, don’t fight it. I clamped my thighs against that bull like my life depended on it, and altogether, my strategy seemed to work, because I lasted just as long as Csonga. Actually I think I lasted 8 seconds and she did not, but she says that’s not true. And, since I’m older with 1 more kid than her, my memory is subject to creative recall.

We celebrated our success with 2 dollar beers and agreed, ‘Well, there’s one for the storybooks.

Of course, the real story was a few days later, when I showed up at the girl doctor for my annual private parts check up. I lay on the exam table, feet in the stirrups and legs spread open for God and all to see when my doctor says, “Muse, I don’t mean to imply anything, but I have to ask. Is everything alright between you and your husband?”

“Um, yeah,” I said, thinking this is a weird question for her to ask me since he’s been in Germany for most of the last year while we prepare to move. “Why?”

“It’s just that…the inside of your thighs, it looks like someone’s beaten you.”

Well, I had been a bit sore since my outing with Csonga, but naturally I attributed that to a serious muscular workout riding the bull. And, not normally in this position, splayed open with a lamp illuminating my hoo-hah like I’m about to be in a porno, I hadn’t exactly studied my body post-rodeo romp. Until now. And what I saw wasn’t pretty – huge green and purple welts covering the insides of my thighs.

My face turned red. “Ha ha, oh that,” I stammered. “Right. Would you believe I rode a mechanical bull the other night?”

Mechanical bull induced injuries lead to suspicion of domestic violence at the gynecologist’s office. Now that little tale is one for the storybooks. And it’s always good for a serious flab workout with my girlfriends.

For Listicle Lovers and Those Who Share Stupid Quiz Results on Facebook

My “friends” on Facebook range from teenagers (children of good friends) to my 90-year old Granddaddy, and they live all over the globe. Some friends are unemployed, some are students, some are business execs, some are authors, some are scientists and a bunch I have no idea what they do. Yet, among all these disparate people, whose single common feature is at some point interacting with me, one thing is for certain. My FB friends love to post listicles and inane quizzes on their newsfeeds.

I love the word listicle, although I admit I didn’t know that’s what these things were called until I started writing this post. A listicle is a combo, an article and a list, or an article masquerading as a list. I guess it’s not called an artlist, because that implies the list is art related, like 10 Impressionist Paintings Every Person Should Recognize, 5 Body Parts Van Gogh Should Have Removed Before He Cut Off His Ear, or 7 Substances the Greeks Really Filled Amphoras With. I think those would be examples of artlists.

Take a second and Google the word listicle. You get half a million results. What is up with these listicles? Duh! They’re way easier to digest than a long article or, goddess forbid, a book. Listicles are made for our fast moving, speed-addicted society. I don’t need to spend hours and hours reading a book on parenting when, in one minute, I can scan the 10 Traits of Good Moms and have my children saved from years of needless therapy. Come on, peeps, I got shit to do. I don’t have time to waste reading content. I need bullet points, Power points, or infographics!

Here are some examples of listicles I found in a 30 second search on the Huffington Post.

11 Bizarre Christmas List Requests From Kids Around The World

18 Things You Should Say Yes To

22 Things That Are Better Than Sex

13 Things You Secretly Like

5 Things Everybody Gets Wrong About Napping

10 Things Every Living Room Needs

 

As you all know, the Huffington Post is an online newspaper. Yet, I fail to see how any of these lists is newsworthy or even mildly entertaining. (What is there to get wrong about napping?!) But, because these are in the Huffington Post I can claim to be reading the news while actually discovering things that are better than sex. By the way, I didn’t need to read the listicle above to learn that napping is better than sex. I discovered that on my very own shortly after I gave birth to my first child.

As I’m living my frenzied, chaotic, fast-paced life, reading listicle after listicle, I get overwhelmed. I can’t go on because I haven’t said yes to 17 of the 18 Things in that listicle above. (Shit. I’m screwed now.) I need a mental break to regroup. So I take 2 minutes to find out what burrito filling I really am. (Note: I’m taking this quiz as I type and the questions to determine my “inner” burrito filling include which Monty Python character I identify with and what underwear I am wearing. Clearly, serious data are being compiled and analyzed for my results.) This is harmless and funny, right? Okay, fine, but unlike my dopey friends, I have never shared the results of these quizzes on FB. You won’t know me any better, and you might even unfriend me, if you see me posting that I am barbacoa,  the truffle of milk chocolate.

Again, below are actual titles I cut and pasted from Playbuzz and Buzzfeed, the two most popular sources of FB quizzes.

Which Movie Villain Should Be Your Drinking Companion?

Which Internal Organ Are You?

What Pubic Hairstyle Should You Rock Next?

Which Original Sinner Are You?

How FINNISH Are You?

Which Horrible Historic Disease Would You Have Had?

 

Which pubic hairstyle should I rock next? I’m lucky I don’t need elaborate braiding and pube pins just to tame my unruly nether nest and put on my granny panties.

Okay, I cannot believe I wasted even 2 minutes of my life on these stupid quizzes.Time to go back to reading listicles, and I’m gonna start by scanning the 10 Traits of Good Moms, because I only have 1 more child left to get this parenting thing right.

 

(Potty) Mouth Wide Open

“Take it easy there, Sailor,” my husband will say to me when I start swearing. He says this, that is, unless (a) our daughter is present or (b) he’s not feeling very generous with me, which is most of the time honestly. He doesn’t like my potty mouth. He doesn’t even like me to euphemistically curse, which I find really funny.

“I can’t say Fudge around Emmy?” I’ll ask, smirking. “But, it’s not even a bad word.”

“It is if that’s your intention for saying it,” he’ll respond. “Tone is powerful. Words are powerful.”

“Seriously? Then what the fuck am I supposed to say?”

This is the point where he rolls his eyes, sighs heavily, and walks away.

 

When I taught high school, my preferred profanities were “Hot desert sands!” and “My stars!” The former I yelled when I was put out. Like, if I actually stepped on some hot desert sand, I would probably scream, quite angrily, “Fuck!” “My stars” was for when I was a bit dumbfounded or in awe, like “Holy shit! That really just happened?” Of course, on occasion a real bad word did cross my lips in front of our impressionable youth. One time, I was opening a freestanding locker in which I kept a model of a human skeleton (I was an anatomy teacher) and the entire skeleton and locker fell on me. I screamed, “Shit!” trying to hold up this huge weight. All of my 18-year-old students just sat there, staring at me. Finally, one sweet girl who always wore shirts that exposed her cleavage – which was so lovely that even I was distracted by it so I have no clue how the boys her age actually sat across from her in class and learned anything – jumped up and helped me right the locker and put the skeleton back inside on its hook. I apologized for swearing in front of my class. Again, the students just stared at me. And why did I even bother?

One of my former gang banger high school students once told me a favorite quote of her grandmother’s, “Profanity is the crutch of the conversationally crippled.” I like that quote and have repeated it often (like when my students cursed in class). But I am not conversationally crippled. I don’t curse in front of my 90-year-old Granddaddy or at work functions. I don’t drop the F bomb in every sentence I utter, but in front of my friends, or my immediate family, I’m not censoring myself.

In general, I am not known for having a good filter. If you meet me and ask me a question, I’ll be honest. Sometimes this mouth-wide-open quality gets me into trouble; sometimes it upsets people. But, those are probably the people I don’t want to be good friends with anyway. My life is an open book. My mouth is wide open. Deal with it.

Yesterday I was listening to an On Being podcast interview with the Lutheran pastrix Nadia Bolz-Weber. She is also a sailor and if I were a Christian, she is totally the kind I would be. Nadia cusses a blue streak and prays things like, “God, please don’t let me be an asshole today.” Her response to people questioning her language is, “Hey, this is the community I come from.” Truth be told, she grew up Church of Christ, and I’m 150% confident those people didn’t speak like she does, so she must mean her current community. She is the pastor of Denver’s House for all Sinners and Saints, a diverse congregation that, according to their website is “Christo-centric, social justice-oriented, queer-inclusive, incarnational, contemplative, and irreverent.” Sounds pretty badass for a church group.

About an hour after I listened to that podcast I was surfing Facebook when I saw a post about women who have embraced their foul mouths. Now I’m thinking this is a sign. The language gods are either telling me to go ahead and cuss like I want or to stop it altogether. Which way do you think I interpreted it?

Fuck yeah.

There are no dumb questions, but there are really awkward ones

After last week’s heavy posts, here is something a little light-hearted from my past life as a teacher. Oh, the stories I could tell…

 

Despite being 23, I looked about 12 when I first started teaching high school. My classes were filled with Latina girls who outlined their lips in black and penciled their eyebrows into the thinnest possible lines. The boys sported homemade tattoos and wore colors, bandanas for the gang of which they were purportedly members. A few students were pregnant, some with their second child. In addition to these kids, the regular lot, my classes always included a large percentage of special needs students. I’d like to think it was my passion for teaching and skill with all learners that got these students into my room, but, honestly, it was because I was a first year teacher and too naïve to know better or demand something different from the administration.

“Today, we will discuss the parts and what they do – using strictly biological terms. Tomorrow, you can ask questions, but you must use the correct, biological terms,” I said as I introduced my first lesson on sex ed.

I was mostly saying this for my own reassurance. While I was fully prepared to answer questions like, “Can you get pregnant if you have sex for the first time?” or “Can you get pregnant if you have sex in a pool?” I thought the students should have some correct information about the parts and process before we engaged in the kinds of questions I anticipated their asking.

The students labeled a worksheet, male and female reproductive anatomy, while I stood at the board and talked. I sensed their growing disinterest. The drawings did not look like what they’d seen in movies, or in person, and the word ‘vagina’ was only funny the first few times I said it.

But I persevered, launching into the comparison of male and female gamete production, where and how eggs and sperm are made.

“In human males, sperm are produced continually from puberty until death. They are made in the seminiferous tubules of the testes and over the course of about 70 days they mature and travel to epididymis, where they are stored until they are ejaculated during orgasm. Males can ejaculate several times a day, each time producing about 150 million sperm.”

“On the other hand, human females are born with all the eggs they will ever have. Then for a defined period in life, typically around 30-40 years, the female body releases 1 egg a month, regardless of an orgasm, which is viable for 36 hours or so. If it isn’t fertilized, that’s the end, no continuation of life. When you think about these numbers, it’s a wonder anyone ever gets pregnant.”

I was feeling pretty confident. No one had interrupted me. However, it wasn’t because the lecture was so engaging. The silence was more likely due to the fact that many students were utterly bored. Some had their heads on their desks, sleeping through the lesson. Others stared at the windows, which looked, rather anti-climactically, onto the dumpsters and the teacher parking lot.

‘Really?’ I thought. ‘I just said the word ‘ejaculate,’ for crying out loud. That didn’t even register a snicker from the class?!’

Sighing silently, I was about to continue when a short, round girl in the 2nd row raised her hand. Apparently someone was paying attention! But before I could call on her, LaQueenta began to speak.

“Mizz Moe-reen,” she said, in her carefully articulated Southern drawl, “I know a man know when he’s havin’ an orgasm. But how do a woman know?”

What?! All those students who had been napping or writing notes to friends or staring off into space suddenly showed an interest in the lesson. Heads snapped to attention. Jaws hung agape, and every face, every eye, was looking to me, waiting for my answer.

Unfortunately, I was totally stymied. I needed to say something, but what? How does a woman know? Is this even appropriate for a group of 14 year olds? (Okay, many were repeat freshmen, so may have been 17, but still.)

As I was composing my thoughts, LaQueenta continued.

“My momma tole me,” she said.

‘Oh, sweet, baby Jesus,’ I thought. ‘Is she going to tell us how her mom knows she’s having an orgasm? Wait, would her mom tell her that? Oh, shit, please, don’t say anything, LaQueenta.’

While I was standing failing to send LaQueenta my telepathic message not to continue, she did just that.

“My momma tole me when she’s having an orgasm she get all cold and shivery. Is that true? And why is that?”

There was about 2 seconds of silence in which I stood dumbstruck, jaw agape like my students. Then their riotous laugher broke the spell. LaQueenta smiled when her classmates started to laugh, but she was earnest. She really wanted to know how a woman knows when she’s having an orgasm, and if her mom was correct in her assessment.

At that moment, every bit of knowledge left my head. I was utterly flustered by the thought of LaQueenta’s mother, a woman I had never even met since she didn’t bother to come to Back to School Night, having her cold and shivery orgasms and then sharing this experience with LaQueenta.

The laughter died down and the students sat silently. They looked at me. They expected an answer. I could read their minds. They were silently screaming, ‘Well, is that true?!’

In a clumsy and hurried voice I blurted out, “You just know, LaQueenta. Believe me, a woman knows when she’s having an orgasm.”

I sat down at my desk and contemplated my career choice.