Top Ten Tuesday: The Angry Edition

TTTsquid

Top Ten Things That Fill Me With Mindless, Irrational Rage

10. Stubbing my toe: My eyes turn red, the room goes dim, and I cannot be held responsible for what comes out of my mouth.

9. Geometry: “prove it. Prove It! PROVE IT!!!”  I have a better idea. How ’bout you shove it?

8. Power Outages: maybe more terror than anger most of the time, but it depends on what gets shut off, and in the middle of what.

7. Being cold: When I’m cold, I would happily slice something open and plunge into intestinal goo if it meant getting warm. Keep your Tauntauns away from me.

6. People Who Chew Loudly: How is it possible to make so much noise, even when your mouth is shut?

5. Blurry Photos: How do they even get onto my camera’s memory card? I’m sure *I* don’t take them!

4. My current town: Massive, mostly unwarranted ego. ‘Nuff said.

3. Careless grocery packers: Just let me pack my own. It will keep me out of jail.

2. When the radio station plays ONE SONG until I hate it with the burning, fiery passion of a thousand suns, even though I started out liking it.

1. Anything with Nicholas Sparks’ name on it

This was harder than expected because I kept thinking of things that legitimately deserved my hunka-hunka burnin’ rage. Things like “people who con little old ladies” or “rednecks who run over critters on purpose.” It’s harder to think of things that are truly irrational. What are your senseless-anger triggers? Play along so I can feel less like a psycho!

Losing LOST

Tonight, for better or for worse, it all ends. The last six years of angst and hope and horror and anger and joy and fear and happiness that has embodied LOST, the television epic, will come to a close.

Thank You, Jesus.

I can finally move on with my life and stop wondering why, if the Professor can replace Gilligan’s missing fillings with melted pennies and a drill operated by rapidly pedalling a stationary bicycle made from bamboo, can’t he just repair the wrecked ship and get them all off that damned island.

Wait.

heh heh

I got a little confused for a minute.

Frankly, I’m banking on more “worse” than “better” for the much-anticipated wrap-up, given that there still seems to be no sign of Juliet in the sideways reality, which means, given that Sawyer has begun to call Kate “freckles” again, and given that he has been casting mooney glances towards the polar bear cages and sighing in remembrance of Things Past, and given that Jack is The One To Stay, and given that Kate NEVER stays ANYWHERE for more than 5.6 seconds, that the writers are almost certainly moving towards a Sawyer-Kate “happy ending”.

Also, given that the whole theme of this season has been “learning to let go”, and given that the writers are obviously hoping desperately through the time-honored method of smoke and mirrors, to encourage us, the viewers, to “let go” of one or two pesky little questions from, oh, pretty much seasons 1-5, such as “wasn’t it VITAL that Claire be the one to raise Aaron?” and “Where is Walt, who was apparently telekinetically gifted and oh-so-extremely important?” and “Why did the hatch blowing up not blow anything else up except Desmond’s clothes (off)?” and “How can a giant wheel move the entire island and cause people to transcend time and space?” and “Why does the smoke monster have a distinctly mechanical sound when he appears, and why did Rose say it sounded *familiar* when she first heard it?”, etc, etc, ad nauseum.

I know there are people out there who will look down their noses with an air of supreme condescension and tell me that somewhere, in the reams of extra-episodic-writings like message boards and “Lostpedias” and “Lost podcasts” and “Lost experience games”, all these questions have been answered, but I’M talking about them being answered in a way that anyone besides OCD-afflicted, media-addicted, Lindelof-Cuse worshiping, fantasy-world-dwellers can remember.

Honestly, I think the most sensible thing to do at this point would be for the whole island to take off into the sky, thus revealing that it is, in fact, a spaceship, and that aliens are, in fact, to blame for the whole mess. The end. It’s Perfect!

I am committed to seeing the thing through for the simple fact that I am nothing if not dedicated, and I still believe that, even if the ending is  worse than horrible, the first season all by itself will shine forever as some of the Best Telebishon In The History of Telebishon, Ever.

And if it IS worse than horrible, I’m ordering this t-shirt, pronto.

shirt

Witless Wendnesday

It’s pouring down rain outside. I mean, it’s like a monsoon. It was so dark this morning I was braced for the Four Horsemen of the Apocolypse to show up at any minute. It’s the kind of weather that inspires one to do precisely nothing except curl up on the couch and watch back-to-back Monk episodes. Which is what I would be doing if I happened to have season 3 of said program, but we only recently finished season 2 and I have not made a trip to Best Buy yet to plunk down $35.99 for 16 hours of rainy-day escapism.

I really should be rallying the troups to get some math and spelling done, but I don’t want to, and you can’t make me. Can’t! Can’t! Nanny nanny boo boo!

Since I’m taunting you and feeling cozy and safe behind my computer screen and shield of drenching water, I thought I’d just go ahead and make this true confessions Wednesday, or something like that. What would be a good alliteration for something like that?

I’m not usually controversial here at ye olde blogge; at least, I don’t try to be. But some things really get on my nerves sometimes, and I’m tired to acting like they don’t. So brace yourselves for a rare dose of Jenni, being belligerent.

Mom, you can stop laughing anytime.

1. Sometimes Pioneer Woman really makes me gag. Her posts about Charlie make me borderline homocidal, and her photo contests…*breathing deeply to remain calm*…well, let me just say that most of the time I think they are an absolute travesty. She’s a funny lady and 98% of the time I enjoy her blog, but the other 2% of the time, I want to kick her in the shins.

2. My over-the-fence neighbor has two mastiffs, a male and a female. The male stays in the (small) yard all day long. The female? In a (very small) kennel in the small yard. Always. Always. All day long. They breed them. Yes. They do. The latest litter was just a while ago, and the whole family of canines cried continually. I don’t know what they wound up selling all the pups for, but a hot tub just showed up in the back yard shortly after the puppies all disappeared, so I know their motives were pure and sensible. I’m sure there was all kinds of health testing going on to ensure the puppies were strong and genetically sound. I’m sure these dogs, who live out their lives with very little human interaction, are well-socialized and well-loved family pets. I’m sure they screened the prospective owners of the puppies carefully and thoroughly to make sure the puppies don’t wind up at the local pound six months from now. And I’m sure that, any minute now, Planned Parenthood will knock on my door and ask me to be their spokeswoman of the year.

3. Junk Shot. Seriously, BP? You’re planning to shoot golf balls, shredded tires, and knotted ropes into the hole currently gushing oil in the bottom of the Gulf? And this after spraying untold gallons of deodorized kerosene into the water to break up the oil, because, as we all know, kerosene is perfectly! safe! for everyone! I’d breathe it all day long if I could! It makes me so tingly!

Junk Shot. Kerosene. How about if we just fill in the entire Gulf with cement and call it a day?

4. STOP, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THE FLUFFY PUPPIES ON GOD’S GREEN EARTH, MISSPELLING DEFINITELY! It’s not definately. It’s not definently. And it is never, ever, EVER definintly. Do you want me to hurl a dictionary at your head? I think you do.

5. What is the purpose of geometry for the average human being?  Are these triangles congruent? Is angle A complementary to angle B? You think so? Oh yeah? Prove it! PROVE it! PROVE IT!!

Geometry: invented by channelling the spirits of all the obnoxious younger siblings that ever existed.

Sometimes, during the course of their schooling, your children will ask “when will I ever need this information again?” and sometimes, you can truthfully answer: NEVER. Never, ever. But I had to do it, and so do you. So there. Prove it!

6. The rain has stopped, and so has my diatribe. I have been as controversial and belligerent as I dare to be. I’m sort of a coward that way. Got anything you feel the need to vent? Let this be your engraved invitation to let fly. Ready, set, go!

Top Ten Tuesday

TTTsquid

Top Ten Things That Hold Some Sort of Strange, Mystical Obsession For Me

(in completely random order)

1. Baby Hands: Most people cite the teeny tootsies as the most noshable area on a baby. I find the hands so irresistible it borders on neurotic.

2. Office Supplies: This probably isn’t too uncommon, but it doesn’t make it any less strange. What is up with us Staples-stalkers?

3. Glossy Magazines: Like a moth to a flame, folks. Like a moth to a flame.

4. Old Houses: The way they smell. The way they look. The stories they tell. The skeletons they hide. The bloodstains that just won’t scrub away. Okay, maybe not so much on that last one.

5.  Patterned Paper: Scrapbook paper. Wallpaper. Paper paper. Doesn’t matter. It all makes me swoony.

6. Greeting Cards: If I’m going to Hallmark, don’t expect me back for at least 3 hours. I will read every single card in the store. It’s a sickness.

7. Stuffed Animals: None of my kids care much for them, and yet we are overrun. My secret is out. I buy them for myself.

8. Organizational Tools: Maybe I buy office supplies just so I can buy boxes and baskets to put them all in.

9. Adrian Monk: He’s adorable. Tell me I’m not alone. Go on, I dare you.

monk

10. The Cheezburger Network: Why is it impossible for me to look at just ONE page on almost ANY of their sites? Please, someone explain this phenomenon.

All The Random That’s Fit To Print

I planted some red geraniums in a pot on my porch and tucked some of these daisies in around them. It was so cheerful and bright that it just made me smile to look at it. Then I noticed that the daisies were slowly looking more and more pathetic. Sort of like someone had sat upon them. Then I noticed that one clump was just…gone. And then they just continued to deteriorate.

At first I just thought they were fussy little flowers. I mean, I’ve had plenty of those sorts of flowers, the type that woo you with their siren song at the nursery and then die in approximately 0.4 seconds of getting them home because they didn’t like the new soil you put them in, or the amount of sun, or the amount of water, or the way you were looking at them. But then one morning I saw this.

P1010027 (3)

P1010028 (3)

You can’t actually see the white daisies behind the geranium, but trust me, that’s what she’s chowing down on. Who knew daisies topped the list of favorites on the squirrel buffet? Mystery solved.

I could have been angry that the little buggar had gone and eaten my five or six dollars worth of horticultural sweetness, but seriously. Who could be mad at that face? She’s adorable, and so obviously enjoying herself that I am happy to share.

But I’m planting more geraniums as soon as she’s done.

In other news, a friend pointed out this article to be read in light of the articles sited in my previous post. It’s interesting, and proves that people sure have devoted a lot of time to determining who is happy and who is not. Meanwhile, we all just get on with our lives and do the best we can.

And speaking of happiness, I saw Ironman 2 the other day. I found it highly satisfactory. Actually, I’ve seen it twice now. First I took my best friend to it, and then I took my mother. Anyone else still need to see it? I’ll make the sacrifice and keep you company. No, no…I insist.

Rather than review it myself, here’s a link to a review that pretty much echoes my own sentiments. Isn’t it handy when that happens? Here’s the only part to which I take exception:

“A very small quibble is that there is A LOT of building going on. Tons of hammering, drilling, and sparking. I felt like I was in a FORD truck commercial or the end of an A-Team episode on steroids. So maybe next time, less show and more tell.”

If he’s talking about the Mickey Rourke parts, then okay. But the part where RDJ whips out various sledgehammers, jackhammers, and wrenches and destroys his house in order to create a new element? I have no complaints. And less show and more tell? I don’t even understand what that means.

musclesJust TELL us about the muscles! It would be just as good! Wait. No it wouldn’t.

But speaking of show and tell (all hail the Queen of the Seque), I just want to point out that there are many new things in my Etsy shop these days. And by “new things” I mean “jewelry”. After protesting and whining and kicking and screaming and claiming that I never, ever wanted to learn to make such things, my BFF somehow taught me how anyway. And now I can’t stop. ALL monies go towards helping Kate and Charley go get their girls in the Ukraine this summer. Most of the earrings run a measly $5. Don’t you need a new pair of earrings? Yes, yes, you do!

Better Than A Sharp Poke in the Eye?

Lately, I’ve been reading some stuff. This stuff has lodged in my cerebral cortex and, as I have been going about my business, cleaning my bathrooms and teaching spelling and watching Robert Downey Jr. play Tony Stark in Ironman2 (more on that later), this stuff niggles. It pesters. It demands further review.

Here’s the deal: there have apparently been several different studies published over the past decade that have all come to one resounding conclusion:

Having children decreases your overall happiness in life.

Well. Tie me to an anthill and fill my ears with jam.

You can read more about the studies here, in the April 2009 issue of The Psychologist in an article written by social scientist Nattavudh Powdthavee. It’s a very thought-provoking article, or at least, it provoked many thoughts by yours truly. Don’t worry, I will share them with you. I know you were worried.

Obviously, the idea that children will increase your happiness is inherently flawed. Happiness, as everyone should know (at least intellectually), comes from within, and if you are an unhappy, negative person as a non-parent, you will certainly not become a happy, positive person when you introduce a demanding little suckling into your life.

However, the suggestion, or–seeing as how it has been settled by the intractability of empirical data–the fact that child-free couples are happier than those with children is a bit of a startling concept to those of us, well…to those of us who have ’em, frankly.

Four different studies have apparently shown that, once children arrive on the scene, happiness levels decrease, and marital satisfaction, life satisfaction, and mental well-being all take a serious hit.

Oh my stars and garters, what have we done? I checked my kids; there’s no return address label!

But let’s back up a little bit before we start researching time machines. I’m not arguing with the results of the studies at all. I truly do believe that they are correct, for what it’s worth. It’s just that they beg a few important questions.

First of all, how do we define happiness?

If we are ranking how happy we are, shouldn’t we seek to ascertain if we are all on the same page first?

I would hazard a guess that if your criteria for happiness includes things like a clean house, a peaceful, quiet existence, a toned and fit body, plenty of spendable income, minimal stress, and maximum free time, then having children is almost certain to make you less happy than if you remain childless.

I’m not in any way saying those things are bad, or selfish to want. But thinking you can have them ALL and children too is unrealistic, which I believe hits close to home in the “happy” arena. Many people go into parenthood with a grossly unrealistic view of what it will entail.

The studies were concentrated in Europe and the USA, which is also telling. What other cultures are as steeped in the have-it-all mentality than we are? We are told daily and repeatedly that a certain body and a certain lifestyle will make us happy. Happiness is defined continually for us by the billboards and advertisements that bombard us every moment of our lives. Children are diametrically opposed to that definition.

Let’s look at the facts.

Children will affect your pocketbook. While I do not hold to the popular “how much will it cost to have a child” statistics, it is undeniable that adding children to your life will require certain expenses to increase. Period. You might have to give up weekly pedi-manis. You might have to sell your boat. You might have to give up your home office to make way for the little tyke. You might have to choose between glasses for jr. and the latest home entertainment center.

Children will increase your stress levels. Sure, they bring immeasurable joy to our lives that we would never experience otherwise, but let’s face it: sometimes they can bring levels of grief we never thought possible, too. If you protest that your children have never, ever qualified for that equation, then get out of here. No, seriously. Go away. I don’t want to know you.

The more children you have, the greater your chances for that grief, in the form of sickness, emotional upheaval, or, God forbid, death. You have more to worry about, for pete’s sake. If you don’t worry, you’re some kind of android and, once again, I wish you well, but leave now. Most of us run into issues with our kids, and suddenly it becomes apparent that our superpowers are not going to be sufficient to protect them from everything. And what parent in the world would claim to be “happy” if one of their kids is hurting? And the more you have, the more your chances that one of them is not going to be blissfully content every moment of every day.

Along those lines, can I just say? Having children is cripplingly humbling.  Think about your opinion of yourself before you had kids. You were patient. You were cool. You were intelligent. You were loving. You were kind. Frankly, you were ten shades of awesome. Then kids came along and proved that all previously established levels of the aforementioned descriptives were grossly unchallenged and thus inherently erroneous. In other words: ya never knew just how great you were until you were incessently forced to prove it.

So there you go. The three reasons kids make us less happy:

  1. We can’t have all the crap we want.
  2. We worry more.
  3. We aren’t nearly as bodacious as we thought.

But hold on one minute.

When I see this list, two words come to mind.

Personal Growth.

Now, no psychologist in the world would argue that personal growth is not something to aspire towards in our lifetimes. Sure, our yearbooks all have “don’t ever change!” written in them by our classmates, but who truly wants to remain static, stagnating in immaturity and boredom?

And yet, can I just suggest that personal growth isn’t always a “happy” experience to go through? Frankly, growth is painful, often to the point that it makes you want to lay down and die rather than go on with it. No one going through a trial will say they are “happy”, although once they are through it they will probably assure you that it was for their greater good to have been there. Trials and testings produce character we never could have found in a peaceful little cloister of our own making.

I’m not saying that the child-free have no opportunities for personal growth, just that those with children are prone to daily re-evaluations and personal assessments that might never occur otherwise (should the parents choose to accept such challenges, which is a whole ‘nuther issue).

So, do the results of these studies simply boil down to one real question?

Is happiness, after all, the be-all, end-all goal to life?

It’s a good question. One that we probably don’t really consider on most days. We spend an inordinate time seeking to preserve our well-being, establish a status-quo that ranks considerably above “just okay”, whether we have children or not. But, especially if we claim to be Christians, we are called for quite the opposite: to give our lives away for a greater cause. Happiness was never meant to be an earthly pursuit; our Lord has plenty of it for us where we’re going. Delayed gratification is a concept our culture will never embrace as a whole, but if we individually do not, we will most certainly be desperately unhappy, no matter what lifestyle we choose.

Metaphor Monday: Oil

MM

It has been 7 years since our last trip to Alabama, and a long paper chain in shades of the sea winds its way around our dining room, strips torn off daily in anticipation of the trip planned for this summer. The soft white sands of the Gulf Shore beckoned. It was finally going to happen.

And then, tragedy. Eleven men killed, their families bereft, and a hole in the ocean floor gushing oil into the salty water like a ruptured appendix, throwing the whole system into shock.

Soon the white sands will be covered in balls of oil. The slick, spreading mass will invade the estuaries and wreak havoc. Nesting turtles and birds will die along with countless sea life, fishermen’s livelihoods will falter, and no one is sure just when we can expect resolution.

How can something be so harmless when it dwells beneath the surface, so much a part of the elemental earth, and yet so toxic when extracted from its home within the layers? Like bile within our bodies, it serves our purposes but we don’t want it leaking where it doesn’t belong.

Human bodies have recovered from ruptured appendices, with enough help and time and intervention. I hope the same is true for my beloved, poisoned Gulf.

Kitchen Sink Saturday

Have you heard of this guy named Michael Buble’? I have no idea where he came from, but apparently he’s a little bit popular with some people. I thought “some people” were all, like, okay, my mom, but then I accidentally saw him on SNL and he made me smile, and I wondered if there might be more to his music than just inspiring Frank Sinatra-flashbacks in older folks. Then I forgot all about him. Then I heard him on the radio and remembered. And then I forgot. And then I heard he had some huge concert in Tulsa and I remembered. And then I forgot.

You see a trend here, I guess?

But TODAY I looked him up on YouTube, and oh my word. He has the cutest music video I’ve ever seen. Call me a sucker for the lonely guy in the supermarket who winds up dancing in the aisles to a ticker tape parade with his one true love, but if it doesn’t make you smile, your heart is made of glacial ice, and that’s just my completely impartial opinion.

Haha! as if there is such a thing.

If I’m the last person on earth to see this, don’t tell me. I already know I’m hopeless.

However, there is ONE THING that I am NOT behind the times on. I’m waaaaay ahead of the game here. Counting down the days. Until what? UNTIL WHAT, you say?

Only this.

yes

Six more sleeps, my people. Six more sleeps.

Last night I had a dream that I was playing the female lead opposite RDJ in Sherlock Holmes. We were making fun of Jude Law for being such a weenie. The only way the dream could have been better would have been if I had woken up and found his corduroy coat in my closet.

Friday, May 7th. I’m about to launch a campaign to get My Beloved to shave his goatee into a Tony Stark version in honor of the occasion.

ironman2

C’mon honeeeeeeey….pleeeeease?

Thank you to everybody who said such kindly congratulations on my last post, and who prayed for me when I disappeared off the face of the earth.  I’m happy to be back, and keeping you abreast of the lastest items of earth-shattering importance.