Tattle Tales

We all know them. We all hate them. So why do they exist?

I would appreciate it if people had a problem with me, in whatever capacity, that they would address it to me first instead of running to someone who holds authority over me. Whether it be at work, the PTA, or a book club. I think it’s cowardly. I don’t like others who deliberately try to get others in trouble. You may cloak it in a disguise of compassion or concern, but really you’re just a little pot-stirrer, a drama starter, a trouble maker.
I think everyone else in the world feels pretty much the same way.
So if you’re that person who likes to cause drama in your book club by ratting out your fellow book club member by saying they didn’t bring the cookies the week they were assigned, or you’re the kid in class who tattles to the teacher saying, “Johnny’s not doing his assignment!” , or the co-worker who has so little respect for their fellow co-workers that they love nothing more than to monitor them and rat them out the first chance they can get to the boss, I say stop it. No one likes it. And no one likes you.

Email Forwards

Email forwards are one of the most annoying things on the planet. My best friend has effectively banned anyone from sending her an email forward. If you do, you get a reply and a stern lecture. I wish I could be so courageous. I don’t want to see pictures of cats wearing costumes, a funny joke, or stupid people doing stupid things. I just don’t.

The most annoying of the email forwards are the ones who are falsely awashed in righteous indignation. You know the ones:
Really, I’m so tired of it. They’re so blatantly stupid you wonder how anyone could be so gullible as to forward it on to you. Or that they’re not smart enough to do some fact checking on their own. But don’t you think if the government was really going to give social security benefits to illegal aliens or the ACLU was threatening to remove all headstones that contain crosses from military cemeteries you would have heard it on the news first and not from a forwarded email in your inbox? Don’t you think?
My favorite were the ones I was sent during the 2008 election telling me how evil a man Obama was. It’s amazing to me that you can spread lies, half-truths, and hate around the world in just an email. It’s like nobody had the gumption to do some digging and find out the truth. If you’re going to base your vote on an email forward, that’s your right. But Dude, do some fact checking.
Snopes.com exists for a reason. Live it, love it, learn it. And I would be greatly appreciative to never receive an email forward again.

Lose It – Week 22

I finally have broken the 4 week streak of only losing 0.8 pounds at a time! Yay! So maybe I did something right this week…I don’t know.

I wasn’t feeling good all weekend and didn’t exercise, and I ate french toast for breakfast 2 days in a row. So I totally wasn’t expecting much out of the scale this morning. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised.
So I stepped on the scale this morning and….
I lost 1.8 pounds!!!
Isn’t that awesome? I totally kicked that only losing 0.8 pounds in a week streak. I’m only 16 pounds away from weighing what it says I do on my driver’s license. I’m thinking that should be my new goal…to just weigh what it says I do on a legal document. In more awesome news, I’m only 7.6 pounds away from being within the “normal” range for my BMI.
Sunday night I did something I haven’t done in a while. I ate about an ounce of BBQ potato chips and drank a mountain dew, for a snack. I felt like total crap afterwards. I guess I learned my lesson. A few months ago a treat like that wouldn’t have even phased me.
Rock on. I’m sliding into week 23. Which is going to be very stressful so I hope it doesn’t affect the numbers on the scale in an upward motion kind of way.

One tough kid

My 5 year old son is the toughest guy I know. He was born 4 weeks premature, and despite having a hoard of different medical professionals in the delivery room, he was pronounced healthy enough not to spend a single second in the NICU. Even the NICU nurses were amazed there wasn’t something wrong with this 5 pound 11 ounce little boy. Six weeks later the poor little guy was hospitalized for a week due to RSV. The nurses told my friend, who also had a child in the hospital with RSV, that he was the smallest baby they had seen with RSV (thank goodness they didn’t tell me that). But he pulled through. Even though we brought him home on oxygen and he was diagnosed with asthma at the age of 2. Somehow he miraculously overcame the asthma and didn’t even have a hint of it at his kindergarten check-up.

That’s not all folks, this is the kid who has such a high tolerance for pain that even when he was a toddler, we didn’t know that he had an ear infection until he had pus oozing from his ears. Yeah, it was gross. We couldn’t believe it because he showed no signs of a fever, never acted fussy, never grabbed at his ears. And even when his ear was so grossly infected, the dang kid was still smiling his butt off.
Today he came up to me to give me a hug and I noticed that his thumb was very swollen. Three times it’s normal size (I know because I compared it to his other thumb). There was also bruising on it. Three days ago, right before bedtime, he told me he had jammed it and I gave him ice to put on it. I was so deliriously tired from working for 11 hours that day that I barely remembered that. But the kid hasn’t said a peep about his thumb since. He went to school for 2 days and played for most of Saturday and never mentioned once that his thumb hurt. It was just dumb luck that I saw his thumb.
So I made the hubs run him up to the ER on Saturday night. The X-ray came back showing it had been broken. What kid breaks a bone and never says anything about it?! Seriously? Now you know why I say he is one tough kid.
Of course feeling guilty and like bad parents, the hubs brought him home from the hospital and we let him stay up way late and plied him with ice cream. I seriously love this kid. His wit, wisdom, and humor constantly amaze me. He is an old soul. But also his sheer toughness just blows my mind. I’ll have to give him extra tender hugs tonight.

Discussion – "The Gift of Fear," Chapter 3

Chapter 3: “The Academy of Prediction”

Gavin de Becker had a horrible childhood. This he makes clear in the first paragraph of this chapter.
“Before I was thirteen, I saw a man shot, I saw another beaten and kicked to unconsciousness, I saw a friend struck near lethally in the face and head with a steal rod, I saw my mother become a heroin addict, I saw my sister beaten, and I was myself a veteran of beatings that had been going on for more than half of my life.”
De Becker states that back then his ability to predict the behavior of others was as tantamount to his survival then as it is now. He says that people believe that they cannot possibly imagine what any given human experience might be, however, you can imagine different human experiences, which therefore gives you the same ability to predict human behavior as if you have lived those experiences.
De Becker calls this chapter, “The Academy of Prediction” because he believes that we have been educated our entire lives about human behavior just by living. He says that we already know how to spot violently inclined people and the presence of danger because we already know all about human beings. People often have an US vs. THEM mentality, meaning criminals versus normal people, but that is not true. Every human being is capable of what every other human being is capable of. I remember thinking at one time I could never kill someone or be violent against someone. Then I had children and I absolutely knew that if someone harmed them I had the capacity to harm that person or take their lives. The notable psychiatrist, Karl Menninger, once said, “I don’t believe in such things as the criminal mind. Everyone’s mind is criminal; we’re all capable of criminal fantasies and thoughts.” Einstein and Freud believed that “man has in him the need to hate and destroy.” I think a million years of human history and wars proves this true. One of the powerful things de Becker states in this chapter is that violence and homicide occurs in all cultures.
What de Becker is really stating in this chapter is we humans are more alike than we are unalike. It is this “sameness” that allows us to accurately predict human behavior. However, accepting someone’s “humaness” doesn’t mean we accept their “behavior.” Basically what he is saying is there are no monsters. Criminals aren’t always going to be the creepy guy down the street. Ted Bundy was extremely good looking and charming. Charles Manson had the intelligence and charisma to get many people to follow him. And do we need to even talk about Hitler?
Learning to follow our instincts and being able to predict the actions of others is our human way of protecting ourselves from harm. This is not always possible, but it does help to know that we have within us what we need to survive. One of the best quotes from his chapters is, “our judgement may classify a person as either harmless or sinister, but survival is better served by our perception.” We are judging people constantly, and sometimes those judgments are good. You know the creepy uncle who constantly gives you back rubs at family parties? Probably shouldn’t leave your kids alone with him. Or that weird lady at church who offers every day to give your child a bath? Probably shouldn’t let her babysit either. Or the man who is constantly asking you on dates even though you’ve turned him down in the past, yet he persists? Probably shouldn’t relent and go on a date with him.
De Becker states that, “people who commit terrible violences choose their acts from among many options.” He then asks his readers to think of the most horrible, disgusting thing that they can do to another human being. He says that be virtue of the fact that we can come up with something like that, it probably has been done to other human beings. In essence we must not think of the acts criminals do as “inhumane” and something “outside of ourselves.” Criminal acts are in their very essence human acts. Once we understand this we can understand, predict, and prevent such things happening to us.
De Becker goes onto describe how a person’s childhood was can predict how their behavior will be in the future. De Becker’s own childhood led him down the road of predicting criminal behavior. The most startling statistic de Becker points out is that 100 percent of serial killers have been abused as children, either with violence, neglect, or humiliation. He points to the example of the Kaczynski brothers. Ted is the Unibomber and David (who is the “sane” one) lived for a time in a ditch he dug in the ground (if you’ve ever seen him on “Bowling for Columbine,” you know how crazy he is). They were neglected by their parents and often left to their own devices. He also talks about Robert Bardo who is famous for killing the actress, Rebecca Schaeffer, who starred on, “My sister Sam.” Bardo describes himself as being treated like the family cat growing up, fed and left alone in his room. De Becker wants to make sure he’s not demonizing all parents of violent children, but he says, “as long as there are parents preparing children for little more than incarceration, we’ll have no trouble keeping the prisons full.”
I can’t help but think about the two boys that committed the mass murder at Columbine High School, Eric Harris and Darren Klebold. This book was written before that horrific tragedy. Their parents have often made statements that they didn’t know what their boys were planning or how emotionally disturbed they were. Klebold’s mother has just recently started talking to the media about this incident, a decade later. I’m sorry, but when you’re child starts isolating himself and wearing black, you notice. When you’re child is mercilessly teased as school, you notice. I can’t help but think how deeply dysfunctional Harris and Klebold’s families must have been. Does this excuse their behavior? No. Does it explain it? Yes.
De Becker talks about how his childhood could have made him into a violent man. Instead he describes himself as an ambassador between the two worlds. He can tell us how criminals think because it’s similar to how he thought throughout much of his life. Because his childhood became all about predicting the next violence experience, he began to live in the future. He did this so he could become a moving target: gone before the next attack occurred. He says living in the future gave him the ability to numb the pain of his worst moments. But it also make him reckless, and recklessness is a feature of many violent people. He said that he got so familiar to danger that it not longer became shocking to him. Just like a surgeon acclimates to the gore, so does a violent criminal. This is how you can spot people who do not react to shocking things. Like witnessing a violent altercation and there is the one person who isn’t phased by it. This is a person you should steer clear of.
Another characteristic of a predatory criminal that de Becker describes is a person who needs to control. How many times do we women learn that a controlling man is not someone we should be involved with? People are often controlling because they grew up in a chaotic, violent, or addictive home. He says that, “at minimum it was a home where parents did not act consistently and reliably, a place where was uncertain or conditional.” Therefore, people who grow up in homes like this become controlling because it’s the only way to predict others’ behavior.
De Becker is quick to point out that our experiences in childhood will effect what we do, they may not, however, always guarantee that a person will become violent. He says, “it is not an original revelation that some who have weathered great challenges when they were young created great things as adults.” I think of my brother-in-law who weathered a rather chaotic childhood and who has grown into a wonderful man who uses his life to help and protect people (whether they appreciate it or not). More often than not, however, many children of violence will contribute more violence in the future. De Becker warns that he has met “too many people who were brutalized as children and gave it back to society tenfold.”
This was a very powerful chapter to think about and ponder. It made me realize how important it is to provide stability and consistency for my own children.

My funny kid

My 5 year old son is hysterical. He always says the funniest things. I try to write them down so I can remember them and embarrass him with them when he’s a teenager. For the purpose of this story you should know that my kids call my Dad, “peepaw.”

This weekend my Dad’s youngest sister came all the way from Texas for my brother’s wedding. It’s easy to say that my Aunt Laura is my favorite Aunt. She’s always been there for us for our important events even though she’s always lived far away (and in many different places). Her husband couldn’t take off the time for the wedding because of work and so she graced us with her presence alone.
Sunday we were at the park playing around with the kids and having a family get together. Aunt Laura was taking pictures of the kids when my 5 year old asked her where her parents are. She told him that her parents were dead. He asked her, “is that why you live with peepaw now?”
It was so funny. We got a few laughs out of that for a while.

Fat Jeans

You know that pair of jeans you own that are usually two sizes too big for you? You wear them on the days you feel bloated (thank you, Mother Nature) or if all your other favorite jeans are in the wash. I got mine on clearance at Target for only $5. At the time I knew they were two sizes too big, but I figured, hello, they’re 5 bucks! About two years ago my fat jeans suddenly became my go-to jeans. I wore them all the time. In my defense, I was in the first stages of my last pregnancy. I wore them until I had to wear maternity jeans. And after I had that adorable baby, I still wore them. Even thought I bought other jeans that somewhat fit, my fat jeans have seen my through since having the baby. I think they’re ugly and they have some weird whiskering on the hips that used to be the style (really? Using bleach to make our hips look wider? How is that attractive?). Well I have good news, my friends, my fat jeans are now officially too big! That’s right, they’re officially about two sizes too big once again. Now they can be returned to my closet as my fat jeans, only worn on days I feel bloated, instead of my go-to jeans. Woo-to-the-hoo. My next goal is to get into my skinny jeans that I have been saving for the last 10 years of marriage hoping that I’d ever be that skinny again. A girl can dream.