Category Archives: Hmm

Well, This Could Be Fun

In the back of my head, I had a whole post planned about the GOP and the orange man with the small hands for today.  But then today was super irritating and then Kasich dropped out and the orange man is likely going to be an actual Presidential candidate and I’m too scared and angry and plus, I just saw a GIF of Cruz’s face morphing into Grandpa Munster and I’m still too disturbed by the whole thing to write anything productive.  (Seriously, look it up.  It will haunt you.)

I was recently talking to some co-workers about online dating and it got me thinking about how much more difficult dating has to be now than it was back in the days when I was single and there was (thank you baby Jesus) no internet or Facebook or Twitter or Snapchat.  I wouldn’t have been a good internet dater.  For one, I am an anxious person.  If you don’t immediately respond to my text, please know that my brain has decided you have finally remembered some minor transgression from two years ago that in reality, wasn’t a transgression at all but just something I’ve obsessed over for twenty four months like an offhand comment about a dress.  For two, I would have been a stalker.  There’s no sugar-coating it.  Oh, you wanted to stay home and watch your favorite movie, “The Godfather,” did you?  I would have been the asshole combing through your social media, trying to find any reference to said movie, looking for any proof that you had ever referenced said movie.  I would have been “that girl.”  I’m not proud of this, mind you, just telling it like it is.  (Also, the fact that the first movie that came to mind was Godfather should tell you that I’m also old and have only been to a movie theater five times in the past ten years.)

Anyhow, I did some Googling – I love that this has become a verb in our lexicon – and came up with a list of questions that might be on dating sites, a getting to know you type quiz, if you will.  Which brought me back to my favorite MySpace pastime, (I told you I was old) which was answering a bunch of questions about myself.  Let’s have some fun and forget about the fact that a sexist megalomaniac is about to be a formidable nomination for the PRESIDENT, shall we?

Do you have any pets?
Yes.  I have two cats.  Ramon recently scratched a hole out of my face and Potato peed on my shoulder while I was on the phone.  They’re super cute, if you’re a masochist.
Name three things that are physically close to you?
My phone, because it is physically attached to my right hand, a vodka seltzer because I saw a meme that said it has less calories than a banana and I’m nothing if not health conscious, and a solid bronze statue of a monkey holding a bucket that I put a votive candle in.
What’s the weather like right now ?
Well, it’s Chicago and it’s May, so it’s forty degrees and stupid.
Do you drive ? If so, have you crashed?
No.  The last couple of years we had a car, I turned into everyone’s great aunt Sylvia whenever it snowed, there was traffic, it was wet, or it was too sunny.  It’s better for everyone that I’m no longer in charge of anything on wheels other than my bike.  Which, incidentally, I almost got killed on yesterday when an aggressive John Hancock Shuttle Bus driver broke many laws on Wacker Dr.
What time did you wake up this morning ?
Well, I woke up perfectly rested at 7:30.  But because I am bad at being an adult, I forced myself back to sleep until my alarm went off at 8:30 so I could rush around like a crazy person and have to run to the bus.
When was the last time you showered ?
8:42 – 8:44 AM.
What was the last movie that you saw ?
I think we rented the Minions a couple of months ago after many drinks.  It took us WAY too long to be sure that they weren’t actually speaking English.
What does you last text message say?
“A pop if it’s not too late!  My RC is nothing but ice water…”  From Tony, in response to me asking if he needed anything from the store.  He had left a two liter of RC in the freezer overnight because he is also awesome at adulting.
What is your ringtone ?
I have no idea.  My Fitbit vibrates when I get a call and I am incapable of not answering immediately.
Have you ever been to a different country?
I went to Canada once on a choir trip?  My friend Steve fell in Niagara Falls and lost his bandanna.  (Yes, that’s my main memory of Canada.  Other than that they have black squirrels.)
Do you like sushi?
I wouldn’t know.  I hate fish cooked and the idea of it raw makes me want to never stop vomiting.
Where do you buy your groceries?
Well, I finally discovered Aldi and was enthralled, but – as things tend to go in my life – it immediately closed for renovations for eight months.  So I’m back at good old Cermak produce, where I have to frantically count in Spanish while at the deli counter trying to figure out my number because no one speaks English there.  As I can only count to ten and the numbers are usually in the seventies, I spend a lot of time smiling and holding my ticket up.
Have you ever taken any medication to help you fall asleep faster?
Does whiskey count?  If so, then yes.  If I have a cold, whiskey and Theraflu is my jam.
How many siblings do you have ?
One younger sister who did me the massive favor of being awesome and having a gorgeous child so I don’t have to.
Do you have a desktop computer or a laptop?
A tablet.  (See?  This wouldn’t have even BEEN a question in the nineties.)
How old will you be turning on your next birthday?
38.  Apparently my 20 year high school reunion is this year, but that’s impossible because only old people have 20 year high school reunions.
Do you wear contacts or glasses ?
I have both.  But I’m lazy and like to tempt fate, so I wear my contacts 24/7 until I get an eye infection.
Do you colour your hair ?
Oh yes.  I’m pretty sure the phrase, “Dirty/dishwater blond,” was invented to describe my natural color.
Tell me something you are planning to do today:
Well, I’m going to finish this vodka seltzer and eat an entire head of cauliflower for dinner.  Because I like to party.
When was the last time you cried?
A couple of weeks ago when I saw a picture of a German shepard puppy on his first day on the job as a police dog with the caption, “It’s my first day!  I hope I do great!”  Seriously – he looked so excited and proud!  (Side note, I may have been pre-menstrual.) (Side side note, apparently that doesn’t matter because I just teared up again thinking about it.  If this were a dating site, I would for sure be gone by now.)
What is your perfect pizza topping?
Doesn’t really matter.  Pizza is just a vehicle to get bread into my mouth hole.
Which do you prefer, hamburger or cheeseburger ?
Cheeseburger.  Because there’s when there is an option for cheese, you should always take it.
Have you ever had an all-nighter ?
This is where one would assume that I’d have some crazy college story – or not, because I probably come off as pretty fucking boring, but I did have some all-nighters in college, being a professional procrastinator and all – but my most recent all-nighter was at my niece’s second birthday party.  Because that’s what one does at a toddler party.
What is your eye colour ?
Green?  Hazel?  I never really thought about it.  That’s something I should know, right?
Can you taste the difference between Pepsi and Coke?
What kind of terrorist can’t tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi?  That’s madness.

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So yeah, I think we can all safely assume it’s a good thing I stopped dating in 1999, because otherwise it would for sure be just me and these stupid cats until one of them killed me.

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Yet One More Reason I Would Make a Poor Soldier

I haven’t written a post about working out or being healthy in quite a while, largely because I had a bit of a slip down the rabbit hole during which I remembered how much I like eating potato soup and forgot how much I enjoy being able to button my pants and only having one chin.  While there are other things I’d like to write about as there’s a lot going on right now, I’m still too angry at what I’m calling Bathroomgate, too sad about Prince, and too disgusted by Trump and his merry band of idiots to write about them.  Plus, if the internet has taught me anything in the past few months, it’s that no matter how many opinons I put up, or memes I use as a comment, or facts I present, or how RIGHT I AM  – chances are no one is going to read my diabtribe and decide, “You know what? Everything I believe is wrong.  Thanks, Courtney!”

So I’m trying to focus on the positive.  When I finally decided it was time to get off of my expanding ass and get back to feeling good, it took awhile for my stomach to catch up with my brain.  Sure, I was still going to the gym, but it was halfhearted, and while last year no matter what was happening – rain, snow, sleet, apocalypse – it wasn’t stopping me from getting my workout in, since about November it’s been more, “Well, it’s sort of dark and the Voice is on, so I should probably just go home.”  As for food, I had great intentions nearly every day.  But despite solid, tried and true evidence in the form of losing over fifty pounds, I kept just trying new ways of eating that would allow me to incorporate spaghetti on a daily basis.  (Spoiler alert?  There isn’t one.)  I decided about a month and a half ago to get back to basics, to what I had the most success with originally, which was an accountability group, a new challenge program, and the shakes that always made me feel great.  (Yes, it’s Beachbody.  No, I don’t sell it.  No, I’m not trying to get you to buy it.  Just throwing that out there, because some of the coaches give the company a really bad name.  Mine in particular is great, and the programs have worked for me.  That’s all.)

Because I am a masochist with no sense of my own capabilities, I picked what appeared to be the most difficult program for me, a boot-camp style military workout.  Sure, even at my most fit I couldn’t do own pushup, a pullup bar basically just laughs at me, and I kind of hate to sweat, but the fact that it boasts only 22 minutes a day was a huge seller for me.  Like everything else I’ve ever tried, I was immediately sold and convinced this would be the best thing ever.  (Previous examples include buying a car because it was blue and in my price range, leggings, and researching triathlons  exhaustively despite not having access to a pool and not really being able to swim.)  But hey, 22 minutes a day?  Anyone can do that, right?!

I started yesterday.  Here’s how it went.

Okay!  This is going to be tough, and we’re going to work hard, but I promise, you just need to keep up.  22 Minutes, that’s all I’m asking you.  Let’s go!

Let’s go, indeed, Tony!  I am ready!!!

Wait, remember when you started running, and thirty seconds basically felt like seventeen hours?  22 minutes might not be that easy….

We’re going to start with T-Jacks.  Watch along, and Go!!

(After nearly knocking out a tooth)  Well, this apparently required a new sports bra.  Let’s just close these blinds, shall we?

And, bear crawl!

Well, this is hardly attactive.  It’s kind of like a crab walk on all fours while trying to pee.  Also, where is that handy modifier person?

That’s not a modifier!  He’s just going slower.  If I went any slower I’d be standing (squatting) still.

Burpees!

No. 

What number are we on, Todd?  “Twenty sir!”

Three.  Asshole.  And that’s only because modifier guy showed up.

Round One is over!  Take a break!

Yay!  I love breaks!

Break’s over – Round Two!

The fuck?  I didn’t even get my water bottle open yet!

******Basically, this happens three times over the course of the next fifteen minutes, during which I learned exactly how much stamina I have lost and remember exactly why I never took a bootcamp class in public.  I clamber along, keeping up as best I can, huffing, puffing, and swearing the entire time.***

Day Two!  You’ll need a pullup bar, a resistance band, and a sandbag.

I have none of these things.  I have three pound dumbbells and a couple of cats I wouldn’t mind tossing around the room.

But yay!  I like weights.  I like strength training.  This will be better.

Let’s start the warmup with jumping jacks.

I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to do cardio two days in a row.  Step it out, I will, because I still didn’t get that sports bra and if I lose a tooth I’m quitting for real.

Pushups!  Let’s start with thirty. 

Are you sick?????  If you told me, right now, that you would give me ten million dollars in cash if I did ten true pushups, I would still be broke.  And even more angry with you.

Core Work!  On the floor!  If you can’t sit all the way up, only go halfway, but don’t let your shoulders hit the ground.

I got my shoulders OFF the ground, and I would like my reward now, please, in the form of rock hard abs and some size six jeans. 

***This one I actually am able to keep up better at, save the pushups, and I actually do okay with it.***

And – DONE!

Wahoo!!!!

But there’s three minutes left, so BONUS MOVES!!!

Fuck you, my man.  Mean it.

Running-burpee-pushups!!!  Let’s go! 

I know you’re kidding.

“What number are you on, soldier?”  “Ten sir!”  “And how many are you going to do?!”  “Thirty sir!”

None, sir! 

I decided to hang out in downward dog because I can’t even hold a pushup position at this point, but am trying to “keep up.”

Seriously, why does every new workout I attempt end with my face in my own chest, contemplating breast reduction and the possibility of just living in yoga pants and Cubs t-shirts, happily drinking beer and feeding Burger King to my cats? 

And, done!

You better mean it, SIR. 

Yay, he meant it!  Stretch time is my favorite time!

I don’t need to be told all of the standbys – I know I will get better, it will get easier, etc., I just need to keep at it.  I really do know all of these things and when I finally get that ever-elusive fucking pushup done, believe you me, I will be shouting it out loud and from every form of social media at my disposal. 

I always said I’d be a terrible military person for a variety of reasons; I can’t go more than five hours without talking to my mom, I panic on a very real level if I can’t get a hold of anyone in a reasonable amount of time – which, with texting, is really no more than 90 seconds, if I’m hungry for more than half an hour I get homicidal, I immediately burst into tears if anyone yells at me, and I don’t like to be uncomfortable or hot for any reason. 

I’m just adding, “Cannot do pushups in any capacity,” to this ever growing list.

I salute you, real soldiers.  And anyone else that can do a thirty pullups.

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Um, Ready for Duty??

How to Host Easter Like an Actual Adult. (Sort of.)

In my family, holidays are a big deal.  I’ve written about this before, detailing the extraordinary lengths my grandparents and later my parents, sister, aunt, and cousins go to to set a beautiful table filled with delicious food.  As we have always lived in an apartment, we haven’t really been in a position to host any holidays, and I always kind of wished we could. (I suspect no one in my family has been too heartbroken about this, as I’m not really known for my organizational or homemaking skills, plus, my cats keep sending them to the hospital.)  But while we do still live in an apartment, it’s now a very nice one with space and a pretty kitchen and lots of countertops and places to lock cats and their sharp, angry teeth away and room to sit down.

So I thought this year, Hey, you know what?  You should offer to host Easter!  You have room!  People don’t hate coming over anymore, especially if the cats aren’t allowed in the room.  Even you can’t fuck up a ham!  (I started drinking wine in the past few months.  Thus far, all of my brilliant ideas have come after a couple glasses of Walgreen’s finest Pinot Grigio.) So when my mom brought it up, I tentatively said, “Well, I thought maybe I could do it?  Since we have space?”  I suspect she was surprised, but gamely said, “Sure!  If you want to do it, that’s fine!”

Yay!  I’m hosting!  Look at me, all grown up style!  Wahoo!  I shall make baby girl Violet a beautiful Easter basket and we’ll have an Easter egg hunt and she will love it and everyone will talk for years about how fun Easter was that year and she’ll always remember how Auntie Coco hid eggs with candy in them for her.I told Tony and Tony, and was met with just a bit of resistance in the form of, “WHAT?  Where the hell are we going to put everyone?”  Whatever.  They’re pessimists.  I got this.  I told my sister, who responded with a “Heh.  Okay!  Have fun!” Again, whatever. I’ll be FINE.  I emailed my friend Autumn the next day at work to tell her, and she responded with, “OMG!  Can I please come and bring popcorn to see how this goes?!” 

I faltered a bit here.  Autumn is my champion. She’s my cheerleader.  If she was questioning my abilities, I may just have bitten off more than I can chew.  Oh well, too late now – I have lists to make and hams to buy!  Except, hmm, I have no idea what kind of ham to buy or, now that I think about it, whether my Puerto Rican grocery store even carries ham.  Moving on.

T Minus Two Weeks:
Phone calls with my mother.  “Okay, you need to plan a menu, and we’ll bring a table and chairs, and you need a tablecloth, and do you have enough plates and cups and silverware?”  “Um.well, I thought ham?  And yeah, I for sure have enough plates and stuff.”  (SHIT!  Mental note, go buy all new plates, silverware, and glassware.)  Mom, “Okay, I have little dessert plates and pastel napkins.  I’ll bring you a roasting pan, table, chairs, plates, napkins, and I’ll bring a vegetable and appetizer.  And I’ll send you a recipe for a glaze.”  Me, “Sounds good!  Did I tell you I’m going to do Easter eggs for baby girl?!”  Do you see a theme here?  I am awesome at ideas, poor at execution.

T Minus One Week:
Tables, chairs, roasting pan, Easter baskets, dessert plates, and napkins have been delivered. Me, Oh, well, this is great!  Realistically, all I need to do is buy the ham – SHIT find out if Cermak has ham – and get the Easter eggs for the fun hunt!
Tony, “Hey, my parents are coming too!”  Okay!  More the merrier!  What a fun party we will host!
Phone call with mother, “Okay, well, you’re going to need more food.  I’ll get some fried chicken too.  Did you get a tablecloth?  Did you get a ham?  Did you tell your sister what to bring?   You’re going to lock the cats up, right?  What about dessert?  Do you have brown sugar and whiskey for the glaze?”  Me.  No, no, yes, I don’t know, no, and I’m drinking the whiskey.  “I got rolls?”  “Okay.  You realize Easter is over a week away, right?  Bread won’t keep that long.”  Me.  “Duh.  I put them in the freezer.  I’m not stupid.”  (This is where I suspect my mother began drinking.)

T Minus Six Days:
My mother in law, Sharon, sends my brother in law with a new kitchen table and chairs that seats five.  (Because ours only sat two.  Hey, when you move four times in four years, shit breaks.)  My sister in law also sent him with sturdy plastic plates, silverware, and servingware.  Score! Sharon also comes with two Easter tablecloths, a myriad of Easter napkins and an Easter bunny placemat for Violet.  So really, all I need are the Easter eggs for the hunt.  Dammit!  And the ham.

T Minus Five Days:
“Hey, mom?  So I’m at the store and I know you said get the biggest ham, but I just realized I have no point of reference here.  What’s a big ham?  Three pounds?  Twenty two pounds?  Should the bone be in?” 
Hmm.  I wonder if my grandma ever had to carry a ten pound ham home in her purse? 

T Minus Four Days:
“Okay, Court, so I’m bringing the chicken, a vegetable, a cheese platter, stuff for mimosas – do you have champagne glasses? – and another appetizer.  What else do you need?”  Me, “Oh, I’m all good!  I think we’re ready!  Didn’t you see, I posted the picture of the ham on Facebook??”  Still have no glaze, glasses, Easter eggs, candy, or ingredients for potatoes.  But that’s nothing!

T Minus Three Days:
Tony, “Can we have corn?  So I can eat something?”  Sure!  Let me just put that on my list that I haven’t written out because it’s all up in my head.  “Okay, well you have to work tomorrow, so me and Tony Marzilli will clean and go grocery shopping and we’ll be all ready by the time you get home, and then all we’ll have to do is make the potatoes and set up the tables on Sunday.  We’re good!”

T Minus Two Days:
I should probably get on this shopping list.  I still need to get Easter eggs for the big hunt!  Oh, and glasses.  I know!  I’ll head to the busiest Target on Earth at State St. at four pm on Good Friday.  It’ll probably be empty.  Spend the next two hours growling at tourists, aggressively pushing my cart through the Easter aisle, buying two bottles of wine, an Easter bunny because seriously I am not spending fifteen dollars on a basket, twelve fillable Easter eggs, candy, and rationalize that small plastic glasses are totally acceptable for Easter dinner.  Go home and drink one of the bottles of wine, because really?  There’s nothing left to do.

T Minus One Day:
OMG GET UP GET UP WE HAVE SO MUCH TO DO AND WE NEED TO GO SHOPPING AND FILL THE EGGS AND WASH THE CARPET AND SET OUT THE NAPKINS AND CLEAN EVERYTHING IN THIS HOUSE AND I NEED NEW CANDLES AND WE NEED BEER AND ICE AND THE BACK PORCH IS A MESS AND I FORGOT TO GET MY SISTER’S BIKE FIXED AND I NEVER ASKED JOSE ABOUT PARKING PASSES AND I DON’T THINK WE HAVE ENOUGH GLASSES AND WE NEED A HUNDRED ROLLS OF PAPER TOWELS AND TOILET PAPER BECAUSE CARLY AND BOB WOULD NEVER RUN OUT AND ASK THEIR GUESTS TO USE THEIR NAPKINS, NO MATTER HOW FESTIVE AND HOLIDAY APPROPRIATE THEY ARE.

Two hours, a hundred dollars, and a very grumpy Tony Marzilli later, we’re ready to begin cleaning.  Approximately thirty minutes later, Tony Drobick walks in the door after a full eight hour day, quite dismayed to find me scrubbing the vents with a toothbrush on the floor and Tony Marzilli covered in bleach, yelling, “I swear to God, if I see an Easter bunny I’m punching it square in the mouth.”  I throw paper towels and windex at him, saying, “Here.  You don’t have to do anything.  Just dust the entertainment center, wipe off all of the books and everything in it, sweep the floor, and take out the garbage.”  He complies – seriously, once I hit this level of crazy there’s no reasoning – muttering, “Have Easter, they said.  It will be fun, they said,” whilst rolling his eyes.  Finish all the cleaning, and my beaming, “Hey, look, we’re all ready!” exclamation is met with hostile stares. 

D DAY:
Okay!  All we have to do is set up the tables and stuff the Easter eggs, and then it’s time to cook! 

Hmm.  This tablecloth is really big for this table.  Let me just tape it up with the flourescent green duct tape.  That’ll work, right?

WHO THE FUCK SEALS PLASTIC, FILLABLE EASTER EGGS WITH TAPE?!  Terrorists, that’s who.  The next forty minutes are spent stabbing at them with scissors, swearing at each other and sneaking far too many M & M’s. 

Okay, let’s hide these eggs!  (Brief yet extraordinarily heated argument questioning the timing of cleaning out the fish tank.)

Another, increasingly hostile argument regarding my festive idea of putting colorful napkins on the bathroom sink for guests to wipe their hands on.  Physical struggle ensues as Tony Marzilli wants to fold up actual hand towels instead.  Culminates in me yelling, “I DON’T LIKE THE TOWELS THEY DON’T LOOK PRETTY PUT THE FUCKING NAPKINS IN THE GODDAMN EASTER BASKET!!”

I should probably have a glass of wine.

No, Courtney, no one wants to stick their hands in salt cellars, I don’t care if they were your grandma’s.  I passive-aggressively leave them on the duct taped covered table anyhow.

OMG START PEELING THE POTATOES THEY’RE GOING TO BE HERE IN AN HOUR.

My family shows up, complete with carrots, crackers and cheese, an antipasto platter, a seven layer salad, champagne glasses, two bottles of champagne and a bottle of wine because they know I get my wine from the drugstore, orange juice, an Easter basket for the baby full of chalk,  a gift for my new nephew, and a bag full of toys. 

My glaze is not thickening as the Pioneer Woman had promised.

Violet is pointedly disinterested in her Easter egg hunt and is much more interested in the fish.

My oven grates are upside down, apparently.

An hour later, my in laws show up with Tony straight from work, also carrying another chair, a leaf for the table, two pies, and a gift for Violet.

You know what? We had a great time.  I didn’t drop the ham, the cats didn’t escape and attack anyone, the baby had way too much candy and enjoyed bossing the boys around, and everyone liked my potatoes.  My mom took a picture of my napkins in the bathroom to send to my aunt Sheila, who is basically Martha Stewart, so it was pretty much the highest of praise.  My cousin showed up around dessert, and we finished the night watching old home movies – during which I was mercilessly mocked, I might add – happy for a great end to a fun day.  Everyone ate, we laughed, we drank, we enjoyed our company and I looked around and felt very grateful for this family of mine.

Everyone praised me for doing a great job hosting my first holiday.  This is my thank you to all of the people that basically did it for me.

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Martha's got nothing on me and my Easter basket napkins

No One Wants to Hear About Your Workout

Many of you know that I’ve been working on getting healthier; exercising, losing some weight, eating a less-mashed-potato-centric diet.  That’s part of the reason that I haven’t been around very much – the more I get into working out and eating right, the more it is the only thing I can really talk about.  And really, is there anything less interesting than listening to someone go on and on and on about their workout regime or awesome new protein shake?  Other than, perhaps, listening to someone detail last night’s dream in excruciating detail or take you step-by-step through their work drama.  (“And then Lisa, I told you about Lisa, right?  The one with the boots?  Argh.  Stab me in the eye with a fork.)

My point is, I didn’t want to flood those of you kind enough to follow this blog with a whole bunch of stuff you’re not interested in.  So I created a new site, completely separate from this one, where I can blab on and on about trying to do a side plank and nearly breaking my face without boring everyone to tears.  I’d love for you to take a look at it and follow along with me  – but if it’s not your thing, feel free to pass it right up!

This is the site link: http://undieter.wordpress.com/

This blog will be back to its regularly scheduled asshole cat and partyboy neighbor stories shortly.

Workout

So very true. I get it. I just can’t stop myself.

 

How to Run Your First 5K

If you follow this blog or are friends with me on Facebook, you may have noticed that I ran my first 5K this past weekend.  If you didn’t notice, you should probably get your observation skills tested by a professional because I’ve been basically shouting it from every form of social media I have at my disposal.  I’m not going to lie – I am proud of myself.  Proud of myself for signing up, for following through, for finishing, for signing up for more.  It may not seem like the biggest deal; I was among thousands on that day alone, let alone all of the other people that run miles more than that every day. But was a big deal to me.

That being said, I think I may have been overoptimistic and conveniently forgot that the 5K was not just a big party and that before all of the good feels that would come with finishing, I would actually have to run three miles.  While I knew I could do it, I was much more involved in the atmosphere and fun than the actual running portion.

And thus I present to you:  My First 5K – A Narrative

  • It’s RACEDAY, BITCHES!!
  • Sweet Jesus, it’s early.  Is that the moon?
  • I don’t get up this early for work.
  • Whatever.  It’s raceday!
  • NO YOU ABSOLUTELY CANNOT WEAR A SOX JERSEY TO THE RACE TO WRIGLEY, TONY.
  • This is great!  Look at all of these other runners on our bus!  How fun!
  • Yes, yes, I am a runner too, people.  I have the commemorative shirt on, just like you.
  • Which is a bit smaller than I would like, I must mention.
  • I must have been drunk and optimistic when I ordered this size.
  • We’re here!  Look at all the people!  There’s my mom and dad!  Yay!
  • I have to go to the bathroom right this second.
  • Apparently raceday for me starts in a porta-potty.
  • Okay, I see how it works.  The 7 minute milers start here.  (Show offs.)  I’ll head back a bit.
  • Where, exactly, is the 15 minute miler start line?
  • I’ll just stand back here with the people pushing strollers.
  • They’re all stretching.  I should stretch.
  • Except I don’t really know what I’m doing.  I usually warm up with a brisk walk.
  • I’ll just walk in a little circle for a bit.
  • Yeah, now you totally look like you’ve done this before.  Stop it.
  • Starting horn!  We’re underway!
  • Except my group isn’t moving.
  • Here we go!  There’s the start line!
  • This is awesome!  So many people cheering! Woohoo!!!
  • There’s my mom and dad again!  Look at me!  I’m doing it!
  • That picture they took is totally going to be my profile pic.
  • Wait, why does this hurt already?
  • OW.  Should have stretched more.  That’s okay.  First couple of minutes are always a little tough.  You got this.
  • Awe, look at this awesome couple!  He’s pushing his wife in a wheelchair!  How great are they?
  • I’m kind of sad that I just saw that because he passed me up….
  • Huh.  I thought they were going to mark each mile.  Must have read that wrong.  Because surely we’re past the first mile?
  • I’ll just check my watch.
  • Seven minutes?  It’s only been seven fucking minutes?!
  • Where’d all the cheering crowd go?
  • I should have brought my headphones.  Listening to myself huff and puff is not super motivating.
  • Okay, okay.  Beautiful day, first 5K, we’re doing this!  Look, there’s the first mile marker!  You’re almost done!
  • Yay!  They have one of those water tables and I can totally be one of the runners that grabs a cup of water and downs it without stopping, defiantly throwing the cup on the ground as I continue my strenuous run.
  • Except no one is handing me water.
  • Oh, yay, someone did!
  • Yeah, I’m not sure what made you think you could drink a cup of water and run at the same time.
  • Because now you’re choking.
  • Also, you’re an asshole, because no one else threw their cup on the ground.
  • I’ll just double back and throw that in one of the fourteen conveniently placed receptacles.
  • This went a lot different in my head.
  • Where’s the wheelchair guy?
  • Here we go!  The girl in front of me has on a Marine Corps shirt.  And I’m keeping pace!  You, unknown soldier, will be my motivation.  I shall keep up with you.
  • That bitch just picked up a toddler, put him on her shoulders, and sped past me.
  • Well, there’s like 475 reasons you wouldn’t be a good Marine – this is just another one.
  • Wait, no one said there was going to be a hill.
  • Now’s probably a good time for a little walk.
  • Hey, guy?  On your front porch?  Who just yelled, “Good job!  Only four miles to go!”  You’re an asshole.
  • Water station!  That means mile two is done!
  • Let’s try not to fuck up so spectacularly with the water this time, yeah?
  • I don’t want any more water, anyhow.
  • Wheelchair guy!  Yay!
  • Don’t think about the fact that you’re celebrating catching a septuagenarian who is literally pushing the weight of another human.  Concentrate on the positive!
  • Hey, there’s my mom and dad again!  And friends!
  • Hell yes, it IS almost bloody mary time!!
  • It’s entirely possible my parents have covered more ground this morning than myself.
  • Hey, lady?  With the stroller containing three children?  You are hurting my feelings.
  • Yay, more cheerleaders!
  • Almost there!  I see the field!
  • I do not, however, see a finish line.  Which is unfortunate, because I’m kind of getting done with this whole running thing.
  • WTF do you mean, we still have to run around the whole field before we go inside?
  • DO YOU KNOW HOW BIG THIS STUPID FIELD IS?
  • Maybe just another short walk.
  • Heading into the concourse!  I did it!
  • Except this is kind of uphill, too.
  • And I totally have to pee again.  I wonder if the bathrooms are open?
  • It would probably be the shortest line ever for the bathroom at Wrigley.
  • No one will ever let you live it down if you stop to pee in a three mile race.
  • There’s the finish line!
  • And there’s all of my favorite people that came to see me!
  • That picture?  Is totally not going to be cute.
  • FINISHED!!!
  • This?  Right here?  With my best friends and family, who got up at the crack of dawn to watch me chug past the finish line?  This is awesome.  I love everything.

Next time, though, I’m bringing my headphones.  Ke$ha and Avril Lavigne are infinitely more motivating than my inner monologue.

Finally!

Finally!

Am I The Only One??

To walk across the fire for you????  Ha!  Now that I have that song in your head, you’re going to want to read on, right?  I wasn’t even planning on going there but as soon as I typed the title, Melissa Etheridge was all up in my brain so I had to share.  Aren’t you glad?

Anyway, it’s been a long week.  Well, it’s been a long several weeks, as most of you living in Chicago understand.  I’m not going to write about the weather because it makes me want to punch everything in the face and wish that wind would become a solid, physical thing for like forty seconds so I could kickbox it to death instead of it calling the shots and propelling me face-first over ice disguised as sidewalks and sonofabitch if you people would just shovel this wouldn’t happen….Ahem.  Suffice it to say, it’s been a bad winter.  When the best part of your day is NOT getting impaled by an icicle falling off of a building, the winter has already beaten you.  Trust.  So us Chicagoans have been pretty much of one mind the past couple of weeks, which consists mainly dreamily remembering those beautiful days last year that didn’t require fucking boots.

I saw a picture on Facebook yesterday demonstrating how we can save ducks’ lives by cutting the plastic rings from a six-pack so they don’t get caught in them and choke.  A year or so ago, I wrote this post on that same topic, as I was surprised that other people didn’t do this all the time.  It got me thinking about some other things that I do or think that I assume are perfectly normal, but other people consider to be a teensy bit crazy.

Am I The Only One?

  • That Thinks We Need to Leave Bieber Alone?  Yeah, I said it.  Leave. Him. Alone.  Is he a punk kid with little respect for authority?  Absolutely.  Does he deserve the wrath of an entire country actively awful upon him?  No.  One, making jokes about how hilarious it would be for him to get raped in prison?  Doesn’t make us look very smart.  Ditto for starting a petition to get him deported that received so many signatures the government actually had to act on it.  Folks, if we deported or imprisoned every nineteen-year old that made a couple of really stupid, arrogant decisions, it would be the end of the population as we know it.  Do you not remember being 19?  Hell, I was an asshole at 19, and I was a rule-abiding kid from the suburbs with only $45 a week to work with.  If I’d had access to millions of dollars with no supervision, the least of my problems would have been smoking pot and drag racing, I promise you that.  Is he a shit?  Yes.  Did he make some mistakes?  Absolutely.  In one way or another, he’ll pay for them.  I hope it’s in the form of realizing he’s a shit and straightening up.  Hoping for him to fall into the revolving door of drugs and rehab like so many celebrity teenagers before him, hoping for him to fail, is just mean-spirited.

 

  • That is Completely Terrified about The Missing Plane?  Is it just me, or is this some Langoliers shit come to reality?  Two hundred people and thousands of tons of metal just gone into thin air?  How have we just gone on about our business, like, “Oh, well, can’t find it, that’s weird.”  I just picture them all in some abandoned airport in an alternate universe all, “What the fuck?  Why are we not the top story on the news?  What is WRONG with these people?”

 

  • With the Musical Taste of a Preteen in the 90’s?  I’ve been running a lot, and I’ve found there is a direct correlation between how long I can run and how much 90’s angsty pop music is on my playlist.  Ludacris and Eminem have taken some top spots in the rotation to keep me going, but the number one song that pumps me up and propels me to keep going?  Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend.”  Why?  I don’t know.  It’s been over a decade since I’ve had any reason to hate someone’s girlfriend, and if you really listen to it – which I have, often – it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.  Yet here we are, and every time it comes on, I go faster than I did the day before.  If the folks in the park had any idea what was blasting in my headphones, they’d actually be LESS scared of me than they already are, which is a tough spot to find.

 

  • That Has Notebook Paper Decorating the Fridge with Magnets, Despite Being Childless?  Currently, my refrigerator boasts a notepad, three coupons for Family Dollar, a picture from 1980, a pen-draw picture of an eyeball, my sister’s baby shower invitation held up by a Bert and Ernie magnet, and a note scribbled in Magic Marker that says nothing but, “SOUL TRAIN IS ON.”  The notepad?  Not for grocery lists, or things we’re out of.  (Which is likely we make frequent trips to above-mentioned Family Dollar at 9PM for things like toilet paper and cat food.)  No, it has sports predictions for the upcoming week.  The eyeball was drawn by a friend late one Saturday night and we deemed it a work of art.  The Soul Train note?  My husband was on the phone one Sunday morning and he would not appropriately respond to my frantic gestures to run into the living room for this grand moment in television programming.

Everyone has their little pockets of weird, right?  Right????

Adulthood.

Adulthood.

 

 

 

 

The Running Diaries

Last year, I starting riding a bike to work in an effort to not murder someone on the CTA and hopefully improve my fitness at the same time.  I learned a lot in those first couple of weeks; drivers in Chicago despise bike riders more than Steve Bartman and Lovie Smith combined, speeding joyfully down a hill whilst reminiscing about the freedom you experienced as a child riding a bike lasts only as long as it takes for a car to pull into the intersection at the bottom, and people should really pay more attention before whipping their car door open on a busy street with a bike lane.

I loved riding the bike to work and can’t wait to start it up again. Of course – it has to be mentioned – this is partially because this winter is by far the biggest bitch I have ever encountered and the CTA, as hard as it tries, cannot possibly keep up.  There’s too many people, there’s too much snow, there’s too much slush, there’s problems with Ventra, everything is freezing to itself – it sucks.  My commute, on a good day, should be about 30 minutes, door to door.  This year?  It runs between 45 minutes and an hour and a half, and that’s on a day it’s NOT snowing.  Which isn’t often.  So the thought of walking out my door, not almost killing myself on the stairs, getting on a bike, riding through the wind and sunshine, and arriving at work not swearing and covered in salt and slush is extraordinarily appealing.

I did not take off any weight after starting this regimen.  In fact, I gained some.  That was disappointing – I mean seriously, who gains weight after going from zero activity to riding a bike six miles a day?  The answer is someone who carb loads as if they are training for a marathon instead of mildly exercising for 40 minutes a day.  (Very mildly.  I’m so slow on the bike that everyone passes me.  Old people, young people, overweight tourists on the Divvy bikes – everyone.) Baked macaroni and cheese, loaded mashed potatoes, and my favorite creation entitled spaghetti monster – baked spaghetti with cream cheese and mozzarella in the sauce – this is what I lived on.  Unsurprisingly, by the time Christmas rolled around, I was a giant, puffy version of myself and more closely resembled John Goodman than I ever would have liked to.

Something had to give, and that something was carbs.  I won’t bore you with all of the details of my newfound love affair with cauliflower as a substitute for every single thing I used to make – take a look at my Facebook and you can see plenty of that as I am, unfortunately, that person who now posts pictures of their dinner with alarming frequency.  (But seriously – cauliflower pizza?  Genius.)  So I’d been feeling good, had taken some weight off, had more energy – all the good feels you get with eating better.  And somehow, somewhere in my brain along the way, I got it in my head that I wanted to run one of the 5K’s that Chicago always hosts throughout the year.

Let’s get something straight right here.  My family?  We’re not runners.  Even my little sister, who does run, who has run a half-marathon, who attends those terrifying-looking fitness classes that make me want to vomit just watching them – even she admits we are not runners.  It’s not that we’re lazy or have never been athletic; in fact, some of my favorite memories are bike riding in the forest preserve as a family when we were younger.  My sister and I always played softball or soccer, and she was a cheerleader and – believe it or not – I was in my high school dance troupe for two years.*

*People are always surprised by this.  For some reason, they are never as surprised when I tell them I played the tuba.  Go figure.

At any rate, the most I had run since high school was at a haunted house about 15 years ago when one of the actors chased me out the exit with a chainsaw. I ran about fifty yards out of sheer terror before my body realized what it was doing and I collided into a tree.  So when the thought of running a 5K first crossed my mind, I dismissed it as pure madness.  Like, Okay, Courtney, we’re not drowning in a vat of mac and cheese every night – let’s just go with that win instead of getting all crazy here, okay?

But I couldn’t get it out of my head, and soon I found myself researching 5K’s and how to get started running.  I found a program called Couch to 5K promising to turn me from a couch potato into someone able to run three miles in nine weeks.  I found myself looking up success stories and starting to think that I might be able to do it.  There were other people, both smaller and bigger than myself, with pictures of themselves smiling with medals and thought, well, it’s worth a try.  And I decided I would start the next day.  And I did, which is possibly the first thing I’ve followed through on in three years.

Week One. Longest run time – 1 minute.  I learned that when one is 35, out of shape, and an ex-heavy smoker, running for even such a short amount of time should be approached with more caution than exuberance.  By the third repetition of the “run” portion of the workout, I was running slower than I was walking and being outpaced by toddlers in snowsuits.

Week Two. Longest run time – 1 1/2 minutes.  An increase of a measly thirty seconds.  Pssht.  That’s nothing, right?  I learned that thirty seconds is a really fucking long time when you’re trying to run.

Week Three. Longest run time – 3 minutes.  This time, I knew.  I knew it was going to be harder.  So I downloaded some inspiring music to keep me going.  I was feeling good and enjoying the challenge, so I really wanted to keep it up.  I learned that just because you like a song does not mean that it is good to try and run to. (Eminem’s Lose Yourself?  Good.  Carly Rae Jepson’s Call Me Maybe?  Not as much.)

Week Four. Longest run time – 5 minutes.  This is the week that I got hit in the ear with a piece of rock salt by a passing car so hard I almost went blind and Mother Nature dumped a whole shitload of snow and horribleness on Chicago – again – and I had to repeat it over the course of about three weeks.  I learned that I should pay more attention to cars in my path and that Mother Nature is fucking pissed beyond belief at us for spraying all that Aquanet in the 80’s.

Week Five. Longest run time – 20 minutes.  I know.  Hell of a jump, right?  It was eight minutes the first day, then the last day of the week – WHAM.  Twenty minutes.  Like you weren’t huffing and puffing through 90 seconds just a few weeks ago.  I learned that this stupid app on my phone has been right since January, which is a longer track record than I’ve had in quite awhile.

I’m signed up for three 5K’s this year.  The first one is the Race to Wrigley in April.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to run to the whole thing.  My app says I can, so I’m hopeful.  But I do know that I will finish, whether it takes me 35 or 60 minutes.   And if the Cubs’ past few seasons are any indication, it is the happiest Cubs fans will be all year at Wrigley unless they’re going to a concert there.

So there’s that.

To be fair, I only make that face when I'm about to fall.  I don't look nearly that cute the rest of the time.

To be fair, I only make that face when I’m about to fall. I don’t look nearly that cute the rest of the time.

 

So, There’s a Live Animal in Your Wall.

Thursday, 10PM.  “Hmm, why are the cats skulking along the baseboards in the kitchen?”  “Oh, there’s a loose floorboard.”  “Hmm, I hope that rat/mouse I saw in the summer doesn’t try to get in.”

Friday, 7PM. “Aaah.  Excellent.  Long week complete.  Time to sit down and relax with a drink.  Hey, you’re home all alone for the first time in forever.  This is sort of nice.”

Friday, 7:48PM.  “I’ll just go ahead and stir this pot roast.  What a great dinner this is going to be!”

Friday, 7:51PM. “What’s that scratching?  Hmm, I never noticed that hole below the kitchen cabinets.”

Friday, 7:53PM. “OMG SWEET JESUS THAT WAS A FUCKING PAW THERE IS SOMETHING SCRATCHING ITS WAY INTO THE APARTMENT.”

Friday, 7:54PM. “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK STOP IT STOP IT OH MY GOD OH MY GOD HELP!!!”

Friday, 7:56PM. “No, I don’t THINK there’s a rat in my wall.  There IS something in my wall.  I saw it. Send help, like right this second.”

Friday, 7:57PM -Friday, 8:05PM, Pounding on wall frantically whilst yelling out loud. Go away!! Oh my god oh my god!!!

Friday, 8:05PM to 8:35PM. Hysterics.  There’s no other word.

Friday 8:35PM to 8:37PM. Silence.  No one cares.

Friday 8:38PM to 8:42PM. Scratchedy scratchedy scratchedy, motherfucker!  I’m going to get you!!!

Friday, 8:43PM to 8:51PM.  Camped out at kitchen table, making as much noise as possible.  “Come on, Ramon, hiss at the dirty shit filled rodent – yeah, okay, it’s a mammal – trying to attack our lives.  And my pot roast.”

Friday, 8:52PM to 8:56PM. “Why are you throwing up, you stupid cat???  This should be your shining moment!  Your one chance in your eleven years to do something that doesn’t make everyone angry!”

Friday, 8:57PM to 9:01PM. OMG this is totally worse than when that possum got onto the porch.

Friday, 9:02PM to 9:05PM.  And when that stupid skunk had babies in the backyard and they were all digging everything up and trying to act like they were cute but were actually horror-filled stink bombs that ruined entire weekends.

Friday, 9:06PM to 9:10PM. Scratchedy scratchedy scratchedy!!!!  Ima get you!!  You’ll never sleep again!!!

Friday, 9:11PM to 9:15PM. Yes, yes, I do believe it’s time for another vodka drink.

Friday, 9:16PM to 9:21PM. “Die, motherfucker!” yelled while pounding on the wall.  “AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHEEEEEEEE!!”  (that’s me screaming, if you didn’t catch it.)

Friday, 9:22PM to 9:30PM. Maybe it died?  Or fell asleep?  Does that happen?  Do they just give up?

Friday, 9:31PM to 9:45PM. “All is calm, All is bright!”

Friday, 9:46PM to 9:47PM. I am not losing this pot roast.  You don’t scare me, rodent!

Friday, 9:48PM to 9:51PM. Seriously, this has to be the one night in six months that the partyboys upstairs haven’t come home around this time to gear up for the night.  I don’t know that they’d be that much help, but this is one situation I’m not ashamed to admit I really wish there was someone of the opposite sex here to give some advice.

Friday, 9:52PM to 9:57PM. Am going to be found here, alone, eaten by rodents.  I swear, Mom, I was just about to clean up and organize that dresser.  I got sidetracked.  I’m sorry.

Friday, 9:58PM to 10:01PM.  Might as well have one last drink.  The thing has been quiet for a few minutes.  I can only assume this means it is gathering reinforcements.

Friday, 10:02PM to Present. Clutching glass of vodka, head spinning as if on a swivel, just waiting for the noise, spontaneously yelling and/or stomping feet.

Just know I loved you all.

Image

See that little hole right underneath the cabinets? That’s where the scary monster is trying to get in.

Freedom of Speech is a Species?

So Phil Robertson doesn’t agree with homosexuality.  He thinks it’s a sin.  He thinks bestiality and sexual promiscuity morphs from homosexuality.  He’s not alone in his beliefs, if the public outcry is any indication..  And it doesn’t necessarily make him a bad person.  From what we’ve seen on television – which is clearly an excellent, clear perspective on his entire family life and belief system, because if we’ve learned anything, it’s that reality TV is totally like real life – he appears to be a family man in love with his wife.  He has an opinion based on his beliefs and he is certainly allowed to voice said opinion. Just as his employers are allowed to suspend him for doing so.

People.  We can agree or disagree with his opinion; we can agree or disagree with A&E’s decision.  You know why?  Because we have FREEDOM OF SPEECH.   No one is throwing the man in jail.  No one is calling for his arrest.  No one is shutting down GQ for publishing his words.  No one is threatening the journalist.  No one is cancelling “Duck Dynasty,” in fact, I’d wager every single cent I have that the next show they have has the highest ratings of their entire tenure. Phil Robertson got suspended from work for saying something that wasn’t in line with his private employer’s beliefs.  That’s all.

I’m much more concerned that someone who was nearly the Vice President of the United States posted this sentence, “Free speech is an endangered species. Those “intolerants” hatin’ and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us,” on her Facebook page.

  1. Free speech is not a species.  It’s the First Amendment to the Constitution and you should probably take another look at the definition.
  2. “Intolerants” is not a word.  “Intolerance,” however, is a word, as in, “The American public should develop an intolerance to Sarah Palin jumping onto every bandwagon photo-op.”
  3. “Hatin'” is a word better suited to teenagers than an *ahem* respected politician, as in, “Awe, Ma, why you hatin’ on me?” when they get grounded.

In my opinion, there is a plethora of other reasons that this has become such a hot button issue that involve religion, beliefs, politics, censorship, exploiting sexuality on television, etc., and those are always worthy of discussion.  But this is not an issue of freedom of speech.  People have died for their right to freedom of speech, they have been imprisoned fighting for their right to it, they have dedicated their careers to preserving it.

A man who makes whistles for a living being suspended from his job as a reality TV star is not even on the same planet.

freedom of speech

 

 

 

 

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

Have you ever been reading through Facebook and come across a story, eagerly clicking a story only to be disappointed when you realize it’s actually a fake headline from “The Onion?”  This week has been the opposite of that.

MICHIGAN ‘RAPE INSURANCE’ BILL PASSES INTO LAW

TEEN WHO KILLED FOUR DRIVING DRUNK SPARED JAIL BECAUSE HIS RICH PARENTS SPOILED HIM

SIX-YEAR-OLD WHO KISSED CLASSMATE GETS SEXUAL HARASSMENT SUSPENSION

There is so much wrong with this bill in Michigan I don’t even know where to start, but I’ll try.  The gist of it is that abortion will not be covered by any private health-care plan unless it threatens the life of the mother.  This includes cases of rape.  In black and white and at its worst, this means that if you live in the state of Michigan and become pregnant due to rape, if you do not have the additional rider your state government so generously offered you, your health care will not cover or even subsidize an abortion.  So now, aside from dealing with the trauma of sexual assault, and aside from dealing with the physicality of becoming pregnant, and aside from dealing with the stigma that already comes with being raped, if you are strong enough to still stand up and demand an abortion, you have some more difficult decisions to make.  There’s basically three options for you here: go to a back-alley doctor that you can afford, have the child and give it up for adoption – because you certainly need more mental anguish and pain at this point, or have the child and try to deal with it.  Sounds great, right?  Certainly a decision someone in a fragile mental state who has just been violated in the most personal of ways should have to make.

Of course, supporters are all bent out of shape that it’s being called “rape insurance,” saying that’s not what it is, it’s simply not covering a procedure that not everyone believes in.  Untrue.  Rape insurance is exactly what it is.  That is telling a woman that has become pregnant due to rape that she should have had the foresight to purchase said rider.  That is telling women everywhere that, when deciding on their health-care coverage, they need to think about just how likely it is that they’ll be sexually assaulted and how they would respond should the unthinkable happen.  That is telling mothers and fathers that when deciding on what coverage their young daughter needs, there is a price on their body should it be violated.  This is blaming the victim at its very definition, and you aren’t going to convince me otherwise.  “Oh, not every woman wanting an abortion is a rape victim!”  This is correct.  And not every sixty-year old with a Viagra prescription is banging his secretary, either.  But plenty of them are – should we start questioning their motives for needing it?

Moving on.  Is there a bigger piece of shit than defense attorney Scott Brown, who successfully argued his client out of a 20-year jail sentence for killing four people while drunk, other than possibly the judge or this kid’s father?  I don’t really think so.  If you haven’t seen this yet, the short version of this story is that Ethan Couch, a wealthy teen in Texas, robbed a Wal-Mart, got wasted to more than twice the legal limit, went out driving in his truck looking for more booze, and killed four innocent people, injuring and paralyzing several others.  His attorneys used the defense of “affluenza,” arguing that he was too privileged, overindulged, not taught that there are consequences to actions because his parents did not instill these values in him.

I’m not even lending credence to the fact that this was an allowable argument.  To me, this is a pretty clear case of mommy and daddy have money, paid off the judge and psychologist and hired a brilliant attorney.  (I said he was a piece of shit.  I stand by that.  However, he did his job, and certainly did it well.)  If Ethan had been a poor child with a crackhead for a mother who had been exposed to drugs, violence, and rage his whole life; if he had been left to fend for himself from a young age because his father wasn’t around to teach him right from wrong and went out and shot and killed someone, does that mean he gets a free pass as well?  What’s the difference?  How should he have known better when Ethan Couch couldn’t have?  I bet there are an awful lot of gangbangers down in Cook County that would like to know.  This decision is more than proving the argument that money fixes everything, but that isn’t the biggest issue.  The biggest issue here is that this ruling sets a precedent that allows the defense, “I didn’t know any better.”  It opens up a whole new world of loopholes and defense attorneys arguing that there are logical reasons for breaking the law.  I’m not saying that money bought Ethan Couch a happy life or that he doesn’t have problems.  But he is NOT a child that doesn’t know right from wrong.

Which brings me to my next point.  Little Hunter Yelton in Colorado – him, we expect to understand that there is apparently a fine line between being a child and being a sexual predator.  A six-year-old boy who kissed his “girlfriend,” on the hand during class was not only suspended, but suspended under the reason of sexual harassment.  How heartbreaking, on so many levels.  One, that this child, expressing his affection for a little girl, now has to be taught what sexual harassment is; his mother now has the fun task of explaining sex to a six-year old who probably has only been using the big boy toilet for a couple of years.  Two, that we made this happen.  We did.  Everyone is coming down on the school district – how dare they?  What were they thinking?  It was an innocent little kiss, how could they label him like that?  Folks?  The school district did exactly what they had to do.  We tie their hands in matters like this.  Same as the children who get suspended for pointing a finger like a gun, who innocently bring a knife that their grandfather gave them to show and tell, who get suspended for picking up a drunk friend because it violates school policy.  We have forced our schools to adopt a zero-tolerance policy, and then when a situation arises that showcases the ridiculousness of said policy, we turn around and blame the people that we are insisting enforce it.

I remember my first crush – I was in kindergarten.  His name was Bobby Rossi.  I don’t remember much about him other than he had brownish hair and I think he wore a plaid shirt. Did he ever kiss me on the hand?  I have no idea.  I was five and my memory of that time is pretty much limited to riding my bike and having a Cabbage Patch doll.   But I do remember Danny and Scott and Joey and Jeff when I was in elementary school; I remember giggling like only little girls can and teasing (or, let’s be honest, I’m sure I was the one being teased,) about kissing a boy.  How do we teach our kids about healthy relationships between boys and girls?  We don’t allow for innocence anymore.  If parents today could see some of the “love letters,” that were passed around in my elementary school, we’d probably all be hauled down to the counselor.  Not because they were overly sexual – I’m pretty sure I was at least 13 before I completely understood how sex actually worked, and even then I was a little cloudy about the logistics – but because they were outright professions of affection.  “I love Joey and when I grow up he’s going to be my boyfriend forever and ever like my mommy and daddy.”  What do teachers today do with that note?  Is it a conference?  Do we have to tell Joey’s parents that there’s a little girl bound and determined to trap him into wedlock?  Do we tell the little girl she needs to find another way to be happy and that boys aren’t always the answer?  One thing is pretty clear – we’re not going to leave it to the kids to figure it out.  We’re too suspicious; we’re too focused on the underlying meaning.  We don’t consider that children are children, and at the core, they don’t have ulterior motives.  They say and do what they think and feel.  That’s it.

One thing is clear.  For all of our intelligence, we live in one fucked up country. In one week, we’ve set women’s rights back about thirty years, let a murderer go free because he’s rich, and slapped a first grader with the label of sex offender for simply acting like a child.  One week.  Let’s make the next one better, shall we?

I bet what they have to say makes more sense than the shit we put up this week.

I bet what they have to say makes more sense than the shit we put up this week.