A lot can happen in two years. I’ll just confess right now I was not even remotely thinking of blogging about any of it. Sanity seemed a bit more precious.

So let’s pretend this is a very quick catch-up to bring us ’round to the present, mmm-kay?

Since my last blog post exactly two years ago, we lived with my mother-in-law. We got a cat and named him Scooter Bill (brainchild by me and my son). My husband stopped doing his side mechanic business to get more hours at the bicycle shop. I became disillusioned with my office administration job because the promise of future marketing duties vanished like a puff of smoke, right before the boss who had assured me of their possibilities vanished to her new job. My son took jiu jitsu at a place populated by bitchy moms. My daughter took dance classes and had a recital. We sold our rental house and bought an amazing house, just nine blocks south of our old house. (Enter the shit-eating grins once we had moved out from my MIL’s home.) I switched jobs to get a marketing title, even though it came with a huge commute and psychotically dysfunctional management. I decided to finish my bachelor’s degree with CSU Global. I switched jobs again, six months later, for a shorter commute and one of the most amazing work cultures I’ve ever experienced. And now, in about four days, I’ll finish the last assignment of my last online course to earn my degree.

We good? Now that I have more time and a little more motivation, I think I’ll be around here a bit more often. I also publish on LinkedIn, but that’ll be more of a professional tone. This? This is me. It’s really Rachel.

It’s dissection and diagnosis time in the old Moore noggin.

I’m frankly at a loss over the last few months as to what is going on and, more to the point, why. Words like best, laid, plans, serendipity, divine, karma and bitch have traipsed across my skull as I ponder the state of affairs. I’m just really trying to figure out what the h-e-la-la is happening.

Me = social butterfly. Me also = full-time mom = parent of two = wife =  pare down my spare time into a group of minutes each month. It takes a LOT for me to try to make some social time (as in, no kids, no husband, just me and whomever else is there) happen. I have to be motivated, I have to feel confident the kids and/or husband will be seen to and be fine without me there, I have to have at least a minimum amount of funds, and if all of that comes together, I’m game to hang out and decompress and actually have fun.

Well, damn it ALL, wouldn’t it be great if after all that effort to make it work on my end, it would actually – y’know – WORK? I have tried to get out with various people several times over the past six months, and it seems like almost every single time something goes slightly awry, but it’s enough to prevent me from participating at all. You see, in all of that orchestrating details to be able to be out and social, I typically have a finite window of time to get ready, get there, get social, then get home. If a vital detail like time or location gets mussed, I can (and do) pretty much turn the vehicle around and head straight home since trying to attend is now pointless.

Now here’s where the “why” comes in – none of the detail muss is anyone’s fault. Not kidding. It usually boils down to a simple and quite innocent miscommunication or lack of communication, or not being on the same page, or myself or the organizer not connecting about a vital time or place change, etc. It’s NO ONE’S FAULT. Which is even more frustrating, because really – WHY then does it seem to keep happening? I can’t tell you how many times I really and truly find myself driving home because I’ve just realized I can’t be where I wanted to be. It’s so incredibly frustrating, and it leaves me asking if this is simply a coincidence repeating itself over and over and over and over again… or is something larger at work?

Enter the karma. I start blaming myself and my past choices for the social difficulties I experience now. “Well, Rach, you did take a path which resulted in a bit of a taboo pregnancy and marriage, and kind of chucked your closest friends to pursue those things, thus… well… so there.” Is this payback for those choices of not so terribly long ago? Is this what I get for being weak and selfish then? Don’t get me wrong – I do have a GREAT life – an awesome and loving husband, two gorgeous kiddos who amaze me with their smarts, drama and fun, a fantastic job, great family within a bike ride, etc. I even do have an adequate social circle of friends and colleagues. It could be far, far worse.

I guess I’m just feeling thwarted at every social turn and it bothers me a LOT. I feel powerless against whatever force seems to be preventing me from making and building those connections which could be integral to blossoming friendships and camaraderie I sorely miss. I often wonder if God is using this time to break some things down in order to rebuild better – which would make sense, since those times are often so far out of my understanding but so much the better for me in the long run. I’ve taken the longest strides forward after the lowest times in my life. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t truly suck though.

Happy Hours. Girls Night Out. Fill-In-The-Blank Party at So-and-So’s House. All things which may just have to wait until whatever is happening is done happening. Cheers.

What consumer-related agency wouldn’t want to be the topic of conversation at virtually every dinner table throughout America this Thursday?  Quite possibly the TSA would prefer to opt out of such an honor this year, and yet they have set themselves up for being the talk of the town – each and every one of them.

The Transportation Security Administration implemented what they have termed “enhanced security measures” starting in November 2010.  What the rhyme or reason was behind the timing is unknown, but by putting them in place just days before what is known as one of the heaviest commercial flight volume periods during the calendar year the TSA has effectively ensured they will be talked about – the good, the bad, and the ugly – right down to the texture of their latex gloves.

With so many Americans taking to the skies to be with family members, who will likely have varying opinions regarding politics, societal concerns and the like, it is a given this hot topic could lead to some tense moments over the stuffing and sweet potatoes.  Aunts and uncles will have first-hand accounts of their screening procedures – why they opted for the pat-down rather than the full body scan – and will most likely present their opinion of why they think it was or wasn’t necessary.  Cue the cousin who feels the new scanning procedures are an absolute necessity for the safety of the nation, personal rights and privacy being a commodity in times like these.  Then the various sister or brother pipes up vehemently with their understanding of the 4th Amendment and how each and every flying American is now being treated as a guilty terrorist from the moment they purchase a ticket.  We come full circle to the grandmother or grandfather who uses the almight trump card: “Remember 9/11. And eat your damn green beans.”

With variations to the above based on each family’s dynamic, the conversation will ensue and the public opinion will go through its own metamorphosis behind closed doors and in family dining rooms.  Feathers may get ruffled, relationships may become strained, Black Friday shopping plans may be altered so family members aren’t stuck in line or in their car with the voice(s) dissenting with their opinion of the matter.  But at the end of the holiday, the travelers will head back to the airport to subject themselves to the same hands-on scrutiny with which they arrived.  The only question will be if their perspective is changed from the discussions at the table between passing the gravy and mashed potatoes.

Happy Thanksgiving, and remember to keep it respectful while expressing your thoughts about the TSA.  And make sure to ask if anyone has a latex allergy before you begin.

Moore Kids 2010 Halloween

Posted: October 31, 2010 in Random Observations



IMG_0711

Originally uploaded by moorerm

Nights like tonight are what make me completely relish and cherish the fact that I am lucky enough to be a parent. Watching my tots tentatively, and then with growing confidence, wander up a stranger’s walk to their door to politely ask for candy was ridiculously fun and entertaining. I’m sure it’s only the fact that my uterus carried each of them for approximately 39 weeks that I take such a keen interest and joy in this exercise, but I’ll take it!

I’ve been thinking a lot about mortality lately.

Four years ago, my maternal grandparents passed away within a several weeks of each other.  They were the first funerals of family members I had been to since before I can remember (actually, I don’t know if I was physically present when my paternal grandfather Bob died – I think I was 3 or 4?).  While I hadn’t seen them for a few years, it still was difficult to realize I would definitely not see them again in this lifetime and that I would have to rely upon memories, memorabilia and pictures.

Last spring my fraternal grandmother Virginia died.  That one I took a bit harder… while I had visited all of my grandparents quite frequently growing up, I remember flying out on my own to see her every summer.  Having suffered from polio as a young woman (she gave birth to my dad while in an iron lung), she had to rely on crutches and wheelchairs for mobility… but that didn’t detract from her independence and strength of will one iota.  She would take me grocery shopping with her, go to the pool at her condo complex with me every day, take me to the local library, have me help her sweep out her patio, and all kinds of things which were a combo of fun and chore.  I remember she even taught me how to hold my dining utensils like an adult.  So suffice it to say when she passed, it was a huge recognition that someone who helped form me to who I am today had moved on and out of this immediate life.

This year is proving to be a tough one for my husband’s side of the family:  his fraternal grandparents are both struggling with their health; his uncle is in the hospital and his prognosis isn’t positive; his step-mother is also now dealing with some major health issues; his maternal grandmother seems to be shutting down physically also.  We are preparing ourselves for goodbyes coming down the pipe.

I often sit on the front steps of our house with my 3 year old son at dusk… it’s just something we enjoy doing together.  Today as we sat together watching the sprinklers spray our lawn and keeping an eye out for bats, I thought about how much longer he may have with his grandparents (my own parents and my husband’s parents).  Naturally I began to wonder how I’ll even handle it when my parents eventually pass on… they obviously not Peter-Pan-style happy thoughts.  It definitely brings on the somber dwellings and realizations that our life is so temporary and how fleeting moments can be.  All of us have that tunnel, dead ahead, coming closer to us with each passing minute.  It’s like when you’re driving on the curvy mountain roads… you can see the peaks ever teasing you just ahead, and keep thinking it’ll be around the next bend only to find it’s just another ridge on the way.  But eventually the valley will open and we’ll all see our tunnel.  I just hope I have a solid number of dusky evenings on the front porch before I see mine.

Post.  Tweet.  Share.  Like.  Publish.  Buzz.  Comment.  Quote.  Direct Message.  Send.

All of these things I do all the day long.  Why?  If I don’t, will I fade into a state of virtual insignificance and utter anonymity? 

Check it out, folks:  technology has reduced (or uplifted) our lives into moments encapsulated by one of the words above.  Isn’t it amazing to see where conversation has been taken thanks to the world of all that is online:  social media, virtual networking, links upon links upon links, and the immediacy of it all?

Sometimes, just to amuse myself, I like to imagine how quickly some of history’s most vast ranges of time and happenings could have unfolded had they simply been able to utilize what lies free and at the fingertips of anyone in range of wifi.  How quickly could our founding documents have been formulated?  Would the Revolutionary War have happened sooner had this land’s immigrants been able to coordinate their dissent more effectively?  Could they have simply sent a high-priority email to King George III saying, essentially, “F— you and your taxes?”  (I would have wanted a read-receipt on that one, by the way.)  Would England have been able to mobilize against us far faster by rallying their troops and naval armadas by a simple Twitter status:  “The colonies are dissenting.  Get your kiesters over there pronto and stifle it.”  If someone would ever imagine up a theoretical history of the war, implementing the idea of the many social/networking uses of the WWW in it, and author a book… I’d happily hop right onto Amazon.com and order a copy (economy shipping, if you please – I can exercise some patience and restraint).

Social media and networking has evolved into such a staple of both my professional and personal lives; I can’t imagine either without them.  The logical question following that declaration is:  where is the button so I can “like” or “dislike” the above sentiment?  Maybe I’ll just comment… in 140 characters or less.  Share.

Yes, let’s go there.

I love my kids.  No, scratch that – I adore them.  I would easily and quite literally give my life for them if necessary.  I go without sleep for them, I go without food for them (or at least delay it if they need to eat first), I go without other luxuries and sometimes necessities so they don’t.  I live, breathe, and die for my children, and I am 99.9% sure they know it deep down.  Every single day I make decisions and sacrifices on their behalf, even if they aren’t convenient or easy fo rme.

I love my children.  I love who they have been – as little beings growing inside me and gaining their sustenance for life from my body, I love who they are now – ever blossoming with their minds growing daily through different experiences and senses, and I love who they will ultimately become – a functioning, well-adjusted, intelligent and happy adult who brings as much to others (or more) as they do to themselves.

I spank my children.  (GASP – but wait, I thought you just talked about how much you love them?  How can you possibly spank your adored offspring and claim you love them?)  I told you we’d go there, and indeed, there are moms/dads/”experts” out there who will look at me – and any other parent who can express something similar to the above two paragraphs – as if I have a third eye and am ready to sign up for the Fourth Reich. 

But hold off on the judgement there, pards.  It seems to me there are questions to be asked of any “spanking parent” before assumptions are made (which, let’s face it, is the easier and more self-righteous path to take) relegating me to the bad parents side of the scale.

Remember how I said I love my children?  I mean, I went on and on about it and pretty much outlined the extent of my dedication and feelings for them.  I love that they are part of me and my husband.  I want so much for them:  to be and feel loved, to be and feel secure, to be and feel important.  My husband and I both strive to create an environment for them as close to that as possible. 

Now enter the part about discipline.  It’s a HUGELY integral part of child rearing.  The implementation of consequences to one’s actions… talk about your basic tenet of life.  From the moment a child can begin to sense they can perform an action or engage in a behavior which leads to effects or results, they begin to learn about positive and negative consequences.

Yes, so what about those negative consequences?  Time-outs?  Yes, those are a daily occurrence (mostly) in our home.  Raised voices?  You bet, a raised voice carries a lot farther and more emphatically, often giving the child pause before they continue what they are doing (and sometimes it averts them from danger if the parent can’t quite teleport over to their exact location in time).  Removal of possessions/privileges?  Definitely; it’s an excellent way to convey to our son (and now daughter) that they’ll miss out on something they enjoy because they weren’t heeding repeated warnings and direction to disengage in unwanted or perilous behavior.  Spanking?  ….

Ah, here we go.  Now somehow we allegedly leave the realm of rational parenting and enter a deep, dark world of… abuse?  Power trips?  Violence?  Perhaps… if we were talking about anything more than a swat on the hind end with one’s fingertips.   And yes, as a last resort to every other approach we take to getting our son’s attention when bad or potentially dangerous behavior is involved, we will give a spank on his bottom to let him know the situation is serious enough to warrant it.  We never spank hard enough to where our hand is hurting after giving the swat, and we never spank using anything other than our hand.  We also hug him and talk to him immediately before and after (letting him know the spank is coming, and then reaffirming again why he was just spanked after being warned it was coming). 

Now, I get that not all parents spank in love.  I get that sometimes a parent will spank out of anger, frustration, or even rage.  I get that such spanking is not acceptable, and as angry or frustrated as our son can make us, we always strive to discipline him out of a place of love and concern for his well-being and growth… whether we are giving him a time-out, removing his froggie blankie for a while, or giving him an ultimate swat.

It comes to this (finally, right?):  my job as a parent is to help my child grow into the adult I talked about before — the one who is well-adjusted, confident, intelligent and happy.  I’m doing my very best in this mandate.  I want him to one day be able to walk each day with a healthy portion of reasoning, logic, consideration for himself as well as for others, respect for himself and for others, and always knowing his parents loved him enough to care about how he would function when he is finally on his own.  My job as a parent is not to avoid tears at all costs, to condone destructive or dangerous behavior or choices, or to be a peer my son does not respect or heed as a figure of authority when it comes down to what is most important. 

Parenting, as anyone who is one can vouch for, is one tough gig.  It is most certainly the toughest one I will ever experience, and it is definitely the most rewarding.  At the end of my life, I hope to sit with my son and look back on the love and life we experienced together as parent and child.   I am confident with every fiber of my being we will both see clearly that I never failed him in the department of loving him.  If, at that time, anyone would like to interview him for a case study, I’d love to hear if he is in any way dwelling on “that one time when Mommy spanked me for trying to touch the stove burner for the fifth time.”  Have at it.

Can anyone honestly recall an acquaintance they had – someone who was a total honest-to-goodness chicken shit – that they genuinely liked? To me, it’s incredibly difficult to not let my perception of someone be marred by the character trait of pure cowardice. I can get it if someone has issues with self-esteem or being shy, but to me that’s a whole ‘nother ballgame from behaving or acting a certain way and then being too much of a lily-livered wuss to own up to it or – hell – take pride in it if that’s how they roll.

I participate rather regularly (though so much lately due to Lent) on a message board frequented by a number of very diverse yet excellent women, many of whom post regularly and even participate often in get-togethers and other ways we can get to know each other in real life. I still have problems remembering what everyone’s real names are in conjunction with their online handles, but a few of them I have become solid friends with and socialize with them outside of the board. We also have more infrequent posters and even “lurkers” (those who never post but just read what everyone else is yakking about).

A number of months ago, a woman who apparently was privy to RL information on several of the regular posters decided to create a new online handle and use it to create posts of a mean-spirited and bullyish nature, belittling and making fun of several posters for a barrage of reasons (being infertile, alleged treatment of other “mutual” friends, etc). Tons of hurt feelings, as well as righteous ire (the gut reaction I felt most strongly since I wasn’t a target), were created and the individual in question was never revealed.

This seemed to have faded into the background and past of the board until recently when the topic and identity of the secret poster was brought up again… particularly the possibility that some posters think they know who the offending poster is. There are still hurt feelings, mistrust (many of the women have exercised far more reserve in how much info they are willing to share online – which may be a good thing overall and aside from any threat this specific person can pose), and now many are even hesitant in their IRL friendships with other posters because no one really knows if this secret bully is someone we all know and see without being any wiser to their real intentions.

My take… this person is the lowest, basest form of a pathetic bully. I suffered at the hands of bullies when I was in grade school, but thankfully I went through years of working on my self-value and self-esteem and I have never regretted being someone who will take up the cause of an underdog when they are facing cruelty and oppression from someone else. It is amazing to me that an allegedly adult woman is out there who can, without expressed remorse, put forth such a front that is intended to cause pain to others just for the sake of creating drama and, I believe, to make themself feel more important and powerful by bringing said pain heedless of the effects of their actions.

Bottom line? If you’re going to be a total bitch or a bully (or a combo of both), do it with your own identity. Own it. Don’t degrade yourself even lower by assuming an anonymous identity so you can speak your piece and run away like a toddler who is beating a dog’s head on the other side of a fence. It’s cowardly. It’s lame. It’s embarrassing, honestly. Have the base human integrity to be able to own your own ideas and commentary and defend them however you may feel necessary. Give your victims the honest opportunity to face their offender and truly consider the source. Who knows, maybe your own issues with security and self-worth might come to light based on need to blithely attack others without the satisfaction of a fair conflict.

In short, grow a pair. Or go back to the playground where you truly belong.

Yay Bluetooth!

Posted: February 27, 2010 in Useless Information
Tags: ,

For the greater benefit and safety of Denver drivers, I have managed to pair my Bluetooth headset with my iPhone.

OH, and by the way, the default passkey/pin for Bluetooth headsets is 0000 (four zeros).  Thank GOD I found that in an obscure website online, or I may never have gotten this to work (or, God forbid, might have had to wait until Monday to get the manual I left at work).

Help.

Posted: February 25, 2010 in Random Observations

I’m batting zero here.  I’m working my ass off, at both a full-time job and a part-time job, so much so I hardly ever get a day where I’m not working in some capacity.  Even on a day off, I don’t have a day off.  Even when I think the night is almost over and I can relax, things happen so I’m juggling several things and staying strong for those around me.

I’m going to hit a limit at some point, and it’s not going to be pretty.  I enjoy keeping busy, but when you burn the candle at both ends in every sense, eventually you run out of wax.  And while I love my family dearly, a day at home with them is really not a day off… and, as I already said, I wasn’t really away from working anyway.

I need some time.  I need some true recharge.  I need just a few hours where I have no one – absolutely no one – calling me or pulling on my pants to be picked up or asking me to take over some duties for them or requesting some last-minute job they forgot to bring up or just trying to “pick my brain.”

It’s not going to happen though.  There’s no end in sight.  I’m soon going to be reduced to shutting myself in the bathroom for an extra few minutes here and there just to cry about my plight before I have to head right back out and face yet another person who needs something from me.