Friday, March 3, 2017

Forensic Files and You - A Guide

Like what I can only assume is a whole lot of people, I am fascinated by True Crime.  I've read some Anne Rule (plus many other True Crime writers), watched lots of documentaries about historical crimes, and in the last few years I have watched many, many episodes of "Forensic Files".  Thank you, Netflix, for your "Forensic Files Collection". 

If you have not watched Forensic Files to the extent that I have, but are considering investing time in such an endeavor, let me prepare for some of the fall-out.

First of all, you will never want to be in a Wal-Mart parking lot after dark again in your life.  This may already be a given without even having watched Forensic Files, but it will become even more important to you after.

Next, you may find the voice of narrator Peter Thomas running through your head as you think about your day.  Sometimes I will be thinking of doing something and hear Peter's voice in my head saying something like, "It started out as an ordinary day for 43 year old Wendy Brock, taking the kids to school, running errands.  Little did she know that this day was going to be anything but ordinary...and also be her last."  Sinister I know, but I'm trying to be honest with you here.  This is what watching a lot of Forensic Files does to my internal monologue.

Finally, you may find yourself wondering what kind of crimes are happening everyday that you just don't hear about and no one is ever held accountable for.  It is really startling to hear some of these stories that are crazy and horrible and TRUE and you have never heard about them before.  It didn't make the news.  What is happening in the world?!?  These things happen to people with enough frequency to have a show with hundreds of different episodes, and this is the first we're hearing of almost all of them.  That seems really crazy to me, and also very worrying. 

And yet, I still watch.  That is the most perplexing part of it all. 

Mammalian Socks

Today I threw away a pair of C.T.'s socks because I cut his hair on Saturday.

In my "family of origin" certain physical attributes are kind of legendary.  One of which is my mother's hair, which she refers to as "horse hair".  It is incredibly thick hair - both in the sense that there is a lot of it and also that each strand individually is thick.  C.T. has inherited this type of hair.  When he was a little kid Tyler cut his hair, but as time has gone one and Tyler is less and less available when it comes to the routines of child care, I have become the one to cut boys' hair.

I didn't have C.T. remove his socks, and by the end of the hair cut they looked like they were a part of an old gorilla costume.  The thought of throwing them in the wash and getting that dark hair all over the washing machine and whatever else I put in there with them suddenly seemed too overwhelming, so I threw them away.  And I haven't had one regret - except maybe wishing that they were an older pair of socks.

Sometimes I Just Don't

Honestly, I don't love being a mom all the time.  Can you believe it?  It seems like all we ever hear about motherhood is how "it's the best job in the world"  and "the most rewarding job you'll ever have".  I'm not sure what types of jobs these women had before, but there are lots of times when I certainly cannot agree that it is the best job in the world.  Please don't misinterpret me here:  I know that my kids need a mom, and I know it's vitally important to be their mom.  I would never want to turn that responsibility over to someone else when I am fully capable of doing it myself.  I do believe that what I do as mom is essential and has a great purpose.  But if you look at it as a job, at times it leaves a lot to be desired.  That is why I can never really look at mothering as a job.  It's too depressing.  Sometimes I feel like saying "Okay.  This has been great.  I'm ready to move on now".  But there is no moving on, is there?  Once you commit to being a mother, that's it.  You are a mother forever.

I think my children are dear little souls who need the guidance and love that I am uniquely equipped to give them as their mother.  When I think of what would happen if I wasn't their mother - if I died or something - it scares the bejeebees out of me, because let's face it, no one is going to love these kids as much as I do.  No one is going to be as invested in understanding their motivations, in ferreting out the root of their manifested emotions, in searching for and encouraging development of their strengths, in recognizing and giving insights into their weaknesses.  I know that is my purpose in their lives.  The thing is sometimes I wonder what my purpose is in my life.  It's certainly not a new or original dilemma for a woman.  But it's still a tricky one. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Mid-Life Crisis

I'm 41 years old, and I'm pretty sure I'm in the early stages of a mid-life crisis.  Obviously I've known about the concept of a mid-life crisis since I was a child, but the whole idea of it seems very cliche, and frankly, like something only the dads in movies went through.  Imagine my surprise when I found myself having thoughts and emotions that could well be classified as the beginnings of a mid-life crisis.  Here's what it means to me:  suddenly I realize that all of the "someday I might"s that I had in life just aren't going to happen.  At all.  I spent my life feeling like I could do anything, eventually.  I could travel.  I could live in different places.  I could try new jobs.  I could have different adventures.  Life was full of possibility.  There was always time, there were always options.  And now I'm figuring out that at this point in my life, the time for a lot of that stuff is just plain past.  I can no longer go through my life thinking maybe someday I will...I won't.  And accepting that is hard.  And makes me feel a bit panicked.  And sheds so much light on the cliches of buying an expensive car or adopting a whole new look. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Not Just Another Bean Counter

This image is a photo I took of an actual business card that Tyler received from a fellow accountant.
I blotted out identifying information just because it seems like what people do. 

The thing that struck me about this particular business card is all of those letters.  What in the world?  CPA I'm pretty sure most people know.  CMA I know just because I'm married to an accountant but I bet a lot of people have no idea what that stands for.  As for the rest of that?  Complete jibberish and frankly, looks like she's just showing off, doesn't it?  I find it quite off-putting myself.  Very excessive.

I suppose some people might find that list comforting in some maybe a white collar criminal who is on trial for embezzlement and needs an account to be an expert witness on his behalf.  Maybe he'd feel reassured by all of those letters.  For the rest of us, an accountant with a business card that just says "I know how to file all types of taxes" is probably more impactful. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Away In Austin

We went on a little family get-away to Austin for Memorial Day weekend.  Believe it or not, it is the first time we have ever done any type of trip  other than one where we meet up with extended family somewhere.

I had an idealized fantasy of how fun it was going to be to spend the weekend all together with just our little family.  I pictured us touring the State Capitol, telling interesting tidbits about some of our state's colorful founders and governors to our enraptured children as they gazed in admiration at the art and architecture of the building.

The reality:  Wesley fell asleep on the drive to the Capitol, so I stayed in the car with him while he slept and Tyler took the 3 big kids inside.  According to him, they passed through security, headed straight for the bathrooms, saw the rotunda with the dome reaching higher and higher, wanted to immediately climb to the very top of the dome, did that, and then were ready to exit the building for good.  No enlightening discussion of the State's history, no admiration for art and architecture.

When Wes woke up we went to meet them on the grounds.  Wes lept from his stroller and starting chasing every bird and squirrel he saw - which was a lot.  CT took the opportunity to use Wesley's stroller for his own purposes.  He sat in it and pushed himself down a nice hill right in front of the Capitol steps, thereby creating the new pastime of Summer Stroller Sledding.  He loved this and did it over and over again.  Many passersby did look a bit askance at this - I'm sure wondering what type of parents let an 8 year old hurl himself down a hill in a baby stroller right toward a lovely statue of a Texas Ranger time and time again.  That would be us.  We are that type of parents.

We are also the type of parents that decide it would be a good idea to just have some of the snacks we brought in the car as a kind of lunch, and then eat a late lunch/early dinner at...Golden Corral!  Tyler suggested as something fun for the kids.  I was surprised, because Tyler despises eating out at places that don't have food he deems worthy of the expense, which is usually pretty much everything that doesn't fall into one of three categories: traditional smoked meat Texas Bar-B-Que, Brazilian churrascarias, and In 'N Out Burger.  Anyway, he thought they would get a real kick out of the buffet, so we went.  It was a complete madhouse.  I was baffled as to why so many people were they at 3:30 in the afternoon.  I was even more baffled after we started getting our food and I remembered just how...not very good most of the food is.   However, there is definitely variety, and our kids liked looking at the choices.  Places like that just love me.  I paid $15 for a green salad, fresh fruit, a baked potato, and two veggie spring rolls.  Tyler tried to make up for my lack of expensive protein choices and ended up quite liking their "Wing Fest".  The kids favorite item was the cotton candy.  The whole experience was topped off with the little girl at the table across from us throwing up right after taking a bite of a chocolate dipped strawberry.  Anyway - the kids did enjoy it.  The downside is that now they keep asking when we can go again.  Luckily we can answer that going to Golden Corral is a special vacation activity and not something we normally do.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Any Way You Call Me, You Can Call Me...

Have you seen the list of top names for babies in 2012?  Here it is, according to the Social Security Administration:

Top baby names for girls in 2012
1. Sophia
2. Emma
3. Isabella
4. Olivia
5. Ava
6. Emily
7. Abigail
8. Mia
9. Madison
10. Elizabeth
Top baby names for boys
1. Jacob
2. Mason
3. Ethan
4. Noah
5. William
6. Liam
7. Jayden

8. Michael
9. Alexander
10. Aiden

They are all pretty normal, even old fashioned names.  Nothing wrong with that.  I quite like it actually.
The thing that alarms me is the list of fastest-rising names, particularly those for boys.

Fastest-rising baby names for girls in 2012
1. Arya
2. Perla
3. Catalina
4. Elisa
5. Raelynn
6. Rosalie
7. Haven
8. Raelyn
9. Briella
10. Marilyn
Fastest-rising names for boys
1. Major
2. Gael
3. Jase
4. Messiah
5. Brantley
6. Iker
7. King
8. Rory
9. Ari
10. Maverick

 Messiah?  Really people?  I remember learning about a very popular practice in early 19th century America of naming boys aspirational names, like Major, Duke, Baron, King, Captain etc.  Messiah kind of takes that to a whole other level, don't you think?

 And I know parents love to make up names hoping for originality.  Is that the origin of Iker, or is that a famous historical or literary figure of which I am unaware? All I can think of is that song... 

My grandma and your grandma
Sitting by the fire
My grandma says to your grandma
I'm gonna set your flag on fire

Talkin' 'bout
Hey now
Hey now
Iko iko an nay
Jockomo feena ah na nay
Jockomo feena nay 

I realize that the word is Iko, not Iker.  Still.  It's what comes to mind.

Trends in names are so fascinating to me.  Perhaps because my name is Wendy, which is a name almost exclusively belonging to women born in the mid- to- late seventies.  Very trendy...for it's time.  So while I'm not quite a Jennifer, I do know what it feels like to have a name that is of a certain moment, and that moment has passed.  By the way, can we agree that Emma is the new Jennifer?  I think we can.  And Sophia is the new Allison.  And Isabella is the new Jessica.  Okay, I'll stop myself.  For now.