Friday, February 8, 2013

Top 3 WORST "Love" Messages in Popular Music

... or as we like to sing, "Lurrrrrrrvvvvv."

But seriously, let's stop and think here how often young people have their ear buds in.  At any chance they have, they place those in their ears, and listen to whatever they like.  I'm a whopping 30 years old, and I have to say that popular music has really gone downhill in the wholesome vanilla department.  When I was 14, I bought my first CD- Greenday...  The worst line in there was a little racy (think, "I bite my lip and close my eyes...).  But here's the thing... I had no idea what it even meant!  Nowadays, overt is the deal.  I've been thinking about this post for a while, and I've narrowed it down to the top 3 (in my humble opinion) worst messages that popular music offers in the love (lurv) department. I have also included links to the videos on youtube, just in case you would like to really soak in the inappropriateness of it all!

3.  Oh Justin Bieber... you know so very little when it comes to life in the long run.  "All I need is a beauty and a beat to make my life complete..."  Let's look at what that really means.  You want a pretty girl.  What heterosexual male could disagree?  Exactly.  A beat... so you like rhythm in your music.  Great, so does most of the world (those who "have" rhythm, anyway)...  But to be clear... hot girl, plus nice song, equals a complete life?  Please honey.  You put the "melo" in melodramatic... Your beauty?  She's gonna get old!  Gravity is nobody's friend.  Nobody's.  Your beat?  It will get old and tired just like every beat in history.  So as far as your life's completeness goes, we need to think again.  Way to tell the world that temporary, material things can provide fulfillment.  Check out his less-than-wholesome love message here

2.  "I've been locked out of heaven..."  I can't really go into much detail with this song, because I am admittedly prude (or conservative if you want to be generous, but the word is really prude).  However, to place that much emphasis on that one thing... just wrong.  Way to tell the youth of the world that THAT could possibly be important and defining enough to compare to heaven.  Whether you are a person of religion or not, you just don't go comparing that stuff to eternal life.  Sorry, Bruno Mars. You can check out his less than wholesome music here, if you are brave.  Not me... I found the link and busted out of there!

1.  The number one spot goes to... drum roll please... Ne-Yo! "Let me love you."  This song has a sweet melody, I like it. The problem I have with it is the message.  Partly this: "Girl let me love you, until you learn to love yourself..."  Great, girls, just great.  So now you think that you can only have self love when some romeo sweeps you off your feet and makes you feel worthwhile?  No, no, no way.  That is called codependency...  It is also called allowing someone else to control your sense of self-worth.  Guess what girl? You were worth a million before some guy came around and wrote a song about rescuing you.  You need to be happy alone, and happy with who you are, before you can ever expect to be happy in a relationship.  Being rescued is not the answer!

The world knows these things, I hope, on some level.  But bombarding people with the message that somehow, some relationship will rectify insecurity, self doubt, and an ugly past, is wrong.  It is also wrong to tell the world that physical and material fulfillment completes anything.  Period. 

Gosh dang, I almost hurt myself trying to climb off that soap box.  I'll be here all week... hahahaha.

PS: I Quit!

Confession: I am painfully practical, almost always. 

I strategically planned my first pregnancy (as strategically as one could possibly plan that) to deliver only months after completing my Master's degree. 

I knew my limits as a human being, and "retired" from working in youth ministry when baby #2 was scheduled to arrive just 17 short months after baby #1.  And as funny as that sounds, that timing was also on purpose. 

I keep three calendars, all up to date.  One for each school I work at, and one at home. 

I don't buy clothes that aren't comfortable, or clothes that might accidentally be interpreted as revealing.  Not my thing. 

Hubby and I started planning the wedding before I had the diamond ring/proposal, because obviously, since I was a teacher, we had to have a summer wedding.  And we knew we would get married.  So, out of practicality, we planned away, and got engaged somewhere in that time frame. 

In almost all aspects of life, I'm a practical girl.  I wear my sunscreen, I don't make reckless decisions, and most of the time, I'm level headed (except that time I taught my kids the phrase, "Get in the corner! I am done with you!"... that was not level... nor were the decibels at which I expressed those sentiments! And now, I am reminded of it daily when they yell it at me).

So, I cannot really explain to myself WHY ON EARTH I thought I was capable of raising a family, working full time (I go to 2 schools, every day, to be clear, and teach 5 periods a day), maintaining many household responsibilities because Hubby is working with a new business as well as his old job, AND GET A DOCTORAL DEGREE...  Seriously.  I mean, just read that last sentence again... it spells bite-off-more-than-any-human-can-chew-like-ever, and a little bit crazy too.  But along with being practical, I am a little stubborn.  Bull headed, some might even say.  But I HAD to do it.  Why?  No definite direction, really. I wanted the challenge, and I wanted those three pretty letters next to my name.  I dreamed of a wedding invitation addressed to Mr & Doctor... Pay raise?  No, unless you count the $3,000/year I would get.  Which would never pay back what we were spending on the degree.  So, with reckless abandon, I dove in.  The first class was truly great, and I learned so much.  I was starting class number two, when I realized that in a month's time, I had not even completed a third of the first assignment, which was required to even be considered "enrolled" in that course.  Uh-Oh! 

After contemplation, tears, and many conversations with my family... I quit.  It rocked in many ways.  It rocked me, because I felt like a failure, and a quitter.  It also rocked in a positive way, because I started to feel human again.  I didn't want to sacrifice time with my kids in favor of course work, so I would stay up late and rotate between reading, writing, falling asleep, waking up startled (and stressed if too much time had passed), and then repeating.  But most of all, it rocked because I knew I made the right choice.  So, with pride, I announce to the world (well, all 7 of you who actually read this): I QUIT... and I'm proud of it!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Great Unifiers

Lots of milestones in life unify people for one reason or another.  Home ownership, entering the working world, and becoming parents are just a few of the world’s great unifiers.  But if you really stop and think about it, those things really bring people together.  And when you are in the company of a person with something like that in common, it seems to take quite some time before there is even a slight lull in the conversation.  These unifiers are just the things for which we can all offer differing perspectives, and tell a story.  And because of that commonality, we can relate, be entertained, and just shoot the breeze. 

Many of these unifiers brought me into some fun conversation last weekend.  I attended a holiday sweater party in the neighborhood.  For starters, we all have our neighborhood in common.  Now, I am somewhat left out of this because the neighborhood is filled with custom homes (for none of these do I actually know the name…) and then we live in the original farmhouse.  I know. We are lucky.  Our house is, well, an awesome piece of history.  But, choosing this place, owning a home there, and having a genuine interest in the neighbors brought us all together.  And might I say, it was a supremely fine time. 

Motherhood is another big one.  It is not unlikely to have a glass of wine or two, and then find yourself trading labor stories.  For people who have not yet had kids, or do not plan to have them, this probably sounds completely barbaric.  But I promise you, get one woman talking about pregnancy, and the next thing you know, you have learned most of the labor, start to finish, what the husband/partner was doing that time, and obviously, how it all ended (sometimes down to the last gory detail)… But if you’ve been through it, or want to go through it, it gets pretty darn interesting.  Motherhood unifies us. 

These unifiers brought me to another, rather entertaining, realization:  I probably would not have been friends with ANY of these people in high school.  While I didn’t eat lunch alone or anything like that, I was more of a theatrical person, and my social group reflected that.  I was somewhat shy (until you knew me), and probably didn’t give myself enough credit in terms of a social life.  But, you certainly did not find me at the “popular” lunch table.  I was a nice person (except in fourth grade… I don’t know why, but I was the meanest little brat on earth.  I guess I was insecure.  Why does a 4th grader act sadistic?  I do not know… if I could turn back time I would lay the smack on my 4th grade self!!!) . But in any case, at the top of the social ladder, I was not.  And as I looked around this party, it seemed to me that I was surrounded by people who were probably infinitely cooler than I was in high school.  And this gave me the greatest laugh, because who cares?  Look at us now.  We all pay bills, go to work, or run our households (or both), and we all enjoy donning a silly sweater, having a cocktail, and eating delicious food.  And we can trade some darn fine stories in the process.  Some people dread the real world: the bills, the responsibility, and gasp, the gray hair (well, at least for me!).  But you know what?  The real world can be super sweet too.  Because somewhere along the lines we all get real, barriers come down (if they ever even existed in the ways we thought they did in high school), and we spend time for the sake of spending time.  And we enjoy.  It’s all good, man.  Happy Holidays :)

Friday, November 16, 2012

The teenage mind, and my soapbox

I'm a high school teacher.  I have taught elementary and middle also.  I pretty much liked it all, but middle school was awesome, and high school is definitely pretty sweet.  I'm a reading specialist, though, so you can imagine what kids think about being in my classes in high school.  Understandable...

And, let's be honest, I'm not as young as I used to be (shoot! how did THAT happen!?!?!).  I have been catching myself recently thinking about how students should "know better" and be "thinking about their futures" and blah blah blah.  Well, slap me silly!  Have I MET MYSELF????

I remember when I was in middle and high school.  I did care about my grades, and graduation, but whatever was going on socially was paramount.  School was difficult for me for a while, compounded by the true confession that whatever was going on with friends (in the small social life that I actually had), always seemed like the most important, or the most insurmountable issue ever.  Academics just dropped to number two (well, not to poop, just to second on the totem pole:).  You know I can't resist a little toilet humor... but I digress... I think (I know, we all know) that is just the way the mind of an adolescent works.  Their psychological development is such that they are the center of their universe.  That's not a dig, just the real deal.  And for a while there, in my teaching career, I realized this, remembered it, and relied on it to keep me grounded.  It also helped me remember not to take things (such as students not remembering to do my homework) personally. 

So every time I climb on my little soap box, I think I need someone to backhand me right back off of it!  Of course, if you're thinking "I'll do it! I'll backhand you!  Pick me, pick me!" ya better get in line...  But seriously, is it annoying that sometimes kids expect that walking through the door of my classroom is enough? That by being physically present but not feeling like doing anything to better themselves will suffice?  Yeah, it is supremely obnoxious.  But it is also the nature of the beast.  So I guess I better pony up or peace out.  And we all know I'm not peacin'.... so giddy up!  Ride like the wind... I am SO glad it is Friday :) 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Ignorance: Alive & Well

My kids are bi-racial.  They are half Korean, and half... well... mutt.  White.  Whatever.  Caucasian to be exact.  Sometimes, when I have them out with me, and my husband isn't with me, people will ask questions.  I don't mind at all!  I love my kids. I think they are fabulous... please, ask about them!  Once, at a consignment sale, a lady said, "Where did you get your babies?"   To which I replied, without thinking, "Korea!"  She said, "really?"  I responded, "Well, yeah, Korea and my uterus.  They are bi-racial.  My husband is from Korea"  She promptly apologized, telling me that her babies were from South America, and mine looked similar to hers.  I just laughed, and told her not to worry.  I was happy to have someone notice their beautiful skin tones.  Questions like that, I don't mind. It is understandable that people might think my children are adopted.  And I would be proud if they were, of course, as adoption is the best gift you can give to a child.  I like that people notice differences.  After all, both my husband and I have adoption in our families (that's how he got here!), and we celebrate all sorts of different family make-ups.  And let's be honest... my kids are cute (in my own, extremely biased opinion)!

However, some people have less than celebratory things to say about my kids.  And I don't think they mean it at all.  But on two occasions, I have been extremely shocked (and somewhat appalled)...

Once, when the boy was about 5 months old, I was at the lab getting a blood draw.  My friend (his God Mother) was holding him in the lobby so I could go get stuck.  When I came out, the receptionist said, "Awww, your baby is so cute!"  To which I replied, "Thanks!"  But could she leave it at that?  Nooooooo... she continued, "He's so cute! He has chinky eyes."  I don't even know how to spell that word, but the point is REALLY?!?!?!?!?!? YOU JUST SAID MY BABY HAS CHINKY EYES?????????  Seriously.  I looked at her, and smiled, and said, "Well, that's because his father is Korean..."  She was mortified.  Apologizing all over herself...  Good.  Her embarrassment was a necessary side effect of her ignorance.

Fast forward a few years to when I am daycare shopping.  I show up with the girl this time, and begin the tour of the daycare.  In conversation, I mention that the girl is half Korean, which is why she doesn't look like me.  To this, the daycare provider replies, "Well, that's okay!"  Really?  Okay?  Because I definitely was not just APOLOGIZING for the race of my own child.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Before we speak, maybe we ought to think. Agreed?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Love at first.... nevermind....

It has been a while!  And I'm not so sure I'm going to keep this blogging thing up.  I don't really think people read it much, and I don't see how it will become more interesting.  After all, once the doctoral thing picks back up, I will be exhausted and cranky.  Who wants to read that?  So either I need to morph it, or lose it altogether.

But in the meanwhile- quick update:  I am inactive as a doctoral student until January.  The first week back to work in the new job (where I work at 2 high schools) I realized there was no way I could do all of this and survive.  I e-mailed the university, and they kindly placed me on "inactive" until January.  I have until 2022 to finish all of this, and while I certainly do not wish to take that long, I also need to survive.  So, a leave for half of the school year seemed like the right thing to do.  And, I'm glad I did it. 

Well, the truth is, I love blogs.  I love to read other people's blogs more so than writing my own (hence the massive lag in entries).  When I write my own, I fret over pretentiousness, supermom complex (or the opposite), boringness, bad grammar, the list could go on.  When I read other people's blogs, I just enjoy them. 

Recently, I've read two fabulous entries on meeting husbands... here's one:  She calls it "The Myth of "The One.'"  Then, within a few weeks, someone I went to college with and now keep in touch with over facebook posted this one, called "The Last Five Years."  You can view it here:  It got me thinking about meeting my hubs.

Well, I haven't outright mentioned yet that I'm a Christian.  Not that I was holding it back or anything.  I just wanted to show that people of faith are also normal people.  But then I realized, that's just silly, because no one has EVER accused me of being normal in my life!  Moving on, then....

Eight years ago, I graduated from college.  I was going into teaching, but needed a summer job.  I started working with my friend at a gym.  She worked in cardiac rehab, while I was a lowly temporary receptionist.  Speaking of that friend... she has a beautiful blog too!  Check it out here:  (Who wants to guess that I haven't taken my ritalin in a few days!?!?!).  So, I took that job at the gym.  After graudation, I spent a week in New York at the wedding of two of my dear friends.  Soon after that, another two friends got engaged.  Some people might be sitting in shock right now, as this seems like a very young age for all of these weddings.  However, in the Christian community, we wed young if we can help it!  Some people blame the celibacy thing, but there's more to it than that (but don't get me wrong, we all wish to procreate, yes? Or at least practice...)

I had pretty much resigned myself to singleness.  After all, if I hadn't found someone in my same Jesus boat in college, the idea of doing so in the real world seemed pretty slim.  So, I go to work at the gym, and I'm shocked by all the "men" there, successful in their careers, and, well, they are personal trainers after all... so I need not go on.  One guy caught my eye.  He was kind, a little on the hyper side (like you should be surprised), and a super hard worker.  I was not at all like, "I want you I need you oh baby oh baby..."  I was more intrigued. 

Of course, I could NEVER ask a guy out, so my friend just told him that if perhaps he was interested, he could feel free to ask me out because I would say yes (does this sound like middle school to you?  sorry....).  Anyway, he started bringing me coffee, and then he did ask me out.  And I can only describe our first date with one word: intrigue.  I wasn't in love at all, I wasn't even totally in "like."  I was just intrigued.  I wanted to know more about him, and spend more time with him.  Love at first sight was not the case at all.  I was just interested.

Over time, that interest became love.  I think it was around date 4 or 5 that I had to drop the "I do not believe in premarital sex" bomb on him.  That was interesting, to say the least.  He took it like a champ though.  The timeline looked like this:  We met in May of 2004, had our first date in July of 2004, got engaged in October of 2004, and Married in July of 2005.  Sure, this supports the whole "Christians get married too fast" theory, but the truth is, I'm a teacher, so we had to have a summer wedding.  So it was either get married next summer or wait almost 2 years.  So we just got married!  Our love is a love of comfort.  When we decided to get married, it wasn't "ahhh! I am so in love with him!!!"  I mean, I was, and I am.  I'm crazy about him.  But it was more like, "In 20 years, I want to look up from my dinner, and still see him.  In 20 years, and also for forever." 

So does love at first sight exist?  I'm sure it does.  I fell in love with figure skating at first experience.  I still love it to this day.  But the love I know and trust is the one that is comfortable.  People talk about "getting too comfortable."  I know that has a completely different context.  But life is hard, things change, and overall, there is little you can count on.  Maybe loving your spouse comfortably is something that you can actually count on.  And he still intrigues me.  Sometimes it is intrigue such as, "you looked over your shoulder yet STILL whacked our neighbor's car? That intrigues me!" Or, "Interesting that the sign said 30, you drove 50, and you are shocked by the ticket!?!?  Interesting..."  But other times, it is intrigue at the way he can get our children to behave.  He gets into their heads almost, and makes a game out of it, where I would just be like, "You have to behave because you have to behave.  End of story."  And comfort.  He's not going to send me flowers at work (I have girlfriends who do that anyway), but he will make sure that I know he thinks I'm pretty in my ripped jeans and old tee shirt, and he'll make sure that he always asks about my day.  He's cool like that.  He may work an insane amount of hours each week, but when he's here, he's here.  He's ours.  The way our children light up when he gets home is a gift.  We are all better people because of him.  So much of life is spent trying to keep up with an image, or with expectations that are unrealistic (helloooo teaching, helloooo corporate America).  I see nothing wrong with a comfortable, interesting kind of love.  Maybe it keeps me grounded.

So if there is a lesson in all of this, I'd say we should rejoice in comfort, and if you haven't found the right person yet, let go of love at first sight.  Be painfully practical.  It just might work. But hey, what do I know?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Back to it!

I got a job placement (just to follow up on the last post)... It was the one I wanted.  Not only was my need met, but my want was met as well.  Phew!

I was waiting on a reimbursement check to start my next class, but I figured I would outline it anyway, because that is the first step to starting any course at this University.  I have to outline it, choose when to have discussions, and make sure it can all be done in 16 weeks.  In the first course, this was pretty much done for me. 

As I was typing out all of the readings, I realized that my first course was NOT hazing.  It was easy.  The reading was minimal compared to this.  Maybe I just don't understand how to lay it all out, but whoa.  The amount of reading is insane!  Not complaining, just a teensy bit shocked!  After spending over 2 hours outlining the first section of the course (a month's worth of reading), I thought perhaps I was making more work of it than was meant to me.  I stopped there and e-mailed my mentor (the Dean, conveniently) to be sure I was doing it right.  I'll wait to hear back before I keep at that outline. 

This feels like the real jumping off point for me.  If I can get through this class, I will be confident in my ability to endure the journey.  With the new job, I don't know what to expect in any realm.  My hope is that since I will have fewer students, I should have less grading and be able to devote the time I used to devote to grading to this.  However, the learning curve will be steep in the fall.  Perhaps I can push and get most of this class done in the summer... I don't know... But there will be more posts as it all unfolds.

I find this themed blog to be slightly boring.  Sorry... but this is life as a doctoral student.

In other news, my summer vacation is starting off nicely.  I'm LOVING being home with my kids, and swimming in the pool every day.  This summer, my little cherubs seem to genuinely like each other, which is a massive first in our book!  My son will be 4 in 2 weeks, and my daughter is 2 1/2.  They got off to a rocky start (I knew I was up the proverbial creek when my son asked me to put his sister, then a newborn, outside... in the blizzard of 2009... and 2010.  APPARENTLY she cried too much for his liking... he does not remember his own crying...).  When my daughter's first reaction to a possible conflict with her brother is to take whatever she has in her hands and clock him over the head (or between the eyes if she's feeling feisty), my hopes for their friendship diminish.  But these past 2 weeks of summer have proven to me that they do indeed love one another, and are starting to figure out how to play together.  I am so excited.  They are also HUGE fans of me right now, which never hurts!!

At 12:28 a.m., I know I will be getting up with them (and the sun) before I know it. Goodnight!