Friday, February 10, 2017

Up Helly Aa - An Epic Viking Festival

The Shetland Islands, archipelago of Scotland, were invaded and colonized by Norse viking settlers in the 8th century.  Today they celebrate a tradition called Up Helly Aa which is a viking festival where they dress up in traditional viking gear.

The groups of vikings are known as Jarl Squads and are leed by an elected Guizer Jar.

And it's KID FRIENDLY people!  You keep looking at photos while I go start work on Bug and Bunny's Viking uniforms!  Anyone know where I can buy one of those helmets??

They spend the whole day marching through Lerwick, the capital of Shetland province singing and chanting then head to the waterfront.

And these guys aren't messing around!

When they get there,  they burn a viking ship with 1 thousand torches.

Let me say that again. ONE THOUSAND TORCHES!

The whole thing ends with a huge blow out party at the town hall with much drinking and revelry.. and drinking!

Absolutely EPIC!  Who's coming with me next year?

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Here's the original article: Epic Photos From Viking Festival In Scotland

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Raising Men

You know those forms they send home at school picture time? The ones where you fill out what pose you'd like the kid to be in and if there are any special instructions you want the photographer to know?  The note that photographer typically ignores because frankly, they're not paid enough to deal with Timmy not smiling when there are literally hundreds of kids that have to get their picture take that day too?  Yeah, that one.

I found that form in our "Wednesday folder" (the folder that gets sent home once a week - on Wednesdays - to share information and flyers from the school to the parents).  The same one, I had filled out, and put in the folder last week and told Bug to make sure he gives to the photographer, because I had a note.  A simple note. "Please make sure his tie is straight". And yet, here it was in his Wednesday Folder a week later and it clearly didn't make it to the photographer.

So, I called Bug on this.
     Me: Why is this still in here?
     Bug: I don't know.
     Me: I told you to make sure you gave it to the photographer.
     Bug: I thought Mrs. A would do it.
     Me: Did you at least make sure your tie was straight?
     And then fell the heavy silence, a huff, and a stream of angry excuses.

The morning of picture day, Bug did NOT want to wear the dress shirt and tie I picked out for him.  We argued even about it.  I get to pick out his clothes TWICE a year - once for Fall pictures and once for Spring pictures.  Twice a year, I expect him to just put on what I'm asking him to wear, so he can get a nice picture taken in an outfit of my choosing.  I even reminded him that I had compromised with him on the Fall photos for an outfit that wasn't dressy because I knew he loved his 'new outfit' so much.  So it was pretty clear to him on photo day, what my expectations were.  I even had him bring a shirt to change into so he wouldn't be stuck wearing dress clothes all day.  I'm not heartless, I just want a nice photo of my kid in a dress shirt and tie.

During Bug's tirade he said the following things:

  • I took off the tie because it was annoying me.
  • I forgot to put it back on.
  • I forgot to tell you, geez.
  • It wasn't my fault! 
  • It's no big deal mom, it's just a tie.
  • The world isn't going to end just because I didn't have a tie on.
  • I still looked presentable, why are you getting so mad?
  • What do you even DO with those pictures anyway?

It was like a punch in the gut.  I could just see my sweet boy, deflecting, minimizing his responsibility and minimizing the feelings of another person (a girlfriend? a wife?) 20 years from now and I was NOT. HAVING. IT.

I responded (not as calmly as I would have liked) with the following:

  • You are only 9, but 9 is old enough to be responsible for your own actions.
  • Trying to blame others is not okay.
  • Not owning up to what you did and sincerely apologizing is not okay.
  • Yelling at ME when you've done something wrong, is not okay.
  • You don't get to decide what's a big deal for me.  And I made it pretty clear that it was a big deal to me.
  • You don't get to minimize my feelings by telling me it's not a big deal.
  • You don't get to minimize my feelings by challenging what I do with those photos.  Even if I never shared them with another human being, they are MY photos, and that's enough of a reason.
  • It is not too much to ask for you to wear a tie twice a year on picture day.
  • Lies by omission are still lies - hiding it from me was not okay.
I know that it was "just a tie".  I know that it was "just picture day".  I also know that he was absolutely presentable in just his dress shirt and probably his adorable GQ self.  And I also know that I will love the pictures, tie or not.  But I can just as easily see how these behaviors can evolve when he's in relationships down the road.  And I can't just sit back and let it slide.  People have feelings, and you don't get to decide when you've hurt them.  And if you hurt them, even if it wasn't on purpose - maybe ESPECIALLY if it wasn't on purpose - you need to take responsibility for your actions and sincerely apologize.  I know he's only 9, but his age can't be used an excuse for bad behavior, because when does it stop? It's okay at 9, but not okay at 19 when he's had 10 years of ingraining this behavior into who he is? 

He may not have "gotten" it today.  He may, in his little 9 year old brain, really still think this was all about a tie.  But these words, these ideas, will sit in the back of his developing personality, and hopefully, have a positive impact later on.  And I'll keep calling him out on it, every time he does it, because I'm trying to raise a man in a world filled with over grown boys.  And that makes raising men hard but even more important.

Seriously.. Thoughts?


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Growing up Basketball

For as long as I can remember my brother (Let's call him Big J), played basketball. And he wasn't just good, he was very very good.

So good that when I finally joined him in high school and all of us small skinny Frosh were getting our fitness evaluation, the basket ball coach said if I could jump as well as my brother could he'd start me on JV no tryout needed.  Not being my brother, I did not start JV. Other than one or two years in middle school, basketball wasn't my sport.

Anyway, because my brother was so good at basketball, it meant when he was in middle school through high school, if it was basketball season we lived on the courts. I spent countless weekends and week nights at the gym hanging out, doing homework, running wild with my BFF, consuming ungodly amounts of hot dogs, popcorn, and candy, learning all the cheers, and occasionally watching the games.

I didn't realize it at the time, but over the course of these seemingly endless years of basketball, the sport was worming its nostalgic way into my heart.  I've always liked college ball but couldn't get passed the egos in the professional games. But post-college, I just kind of forgot about it in favor of other interests (like archery, reading, raising kids, and you know napping).

A few years ago, in the interest of annoying a good friend of mine, in the spirit of a good rivalry, I started paying attention to March Madness and all of those wonderful memories of my childhood revived a love of the sport.  The Hubs even managed to get us a tickets to a few professional games. Once just a few rows back from the floor, and once in BOX seating!!! 

Which as you can see wasn't as thrilling for Bug at the time as it was for me. (To be fair, it was past his beadtime).

And now that soccer season is over, Bug is starting his own basketball journey. His very first practice was a few weeks ago. And yes, I am THAT mom, taking pics and video of everything.

From his first basket.


To his first team meeting.

To learning to be a pick.

To scrimmaging and going for a shot (even though he totally traveled).

It took a few games, but his team is finding their groove...

and so is he.

And so I find myself back in a middle school gym. And despite the oh so familiar smell and the squeak of shoes on the court, I can't say I'm anything but thrilled. In fact, I might go so far as to say I'm home.

Seriously... Thoughts?

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Multi-Level Crock Pot?? YES, PLEASE!

STOP WHAT YOU'RE DOING!!  Go here and buy this:

 Click the Picture!
Click the Picture to Buy NOW!

Perfect for Parties, the Super Bowl, March Madness, The World Series, Graduations, Birthdays, Family Dinners,  and your average Tuesday Night!

And if you don't feel like buying it for you.. go ahead and buy it for me.  

Pretty Please?

Seriously... Thoughts?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Zumba Day 1

What. Was. I. Thinking?!?

Okay, I did 30 minutes of Zumba this morning.


  • My chest feels like it's full of gunk - and subsequently, I can't stop coughing and I wheeze.
  • I used to think I had rhythm but I have been disabused of that notion.
  • Why is the music so fast?  Are those songs always so fast??
  • I swear they're on trampolines, how do they do all those jumps? Am I really that incapable of moving my body off the ground?
  • I found muscles that I didn't know I had.. or rather, I had forgotten I had.

  • Euphoria is running wild right now.  
  • Energy - I can do ANYTHING
  • Great music.
  • The funny looks the dogs kept giving me as I foundered and tripped my way through.
  • Knowing I'm doing something good for myself.
  • That feeling of finally starting.

This is every other day for the foreseeable future.  It feels good to have finally started.

Seriously... Thoughts?

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Zumba Madness - A New Year's Resolution

One of my New Year's Resolutions was to get myself moving more.  I know I know, it's already over half way through the month, but you know what? Better to start half way through the month instead of half way through the year!  And besides, I have to be organized before I start anything new, and these things take time.  Work with me people!

A friend of mine (For the sake of this blog we'll call her The Mighty Miss M. She's amazing and wonderful and smart and funny and gosh darn-it, I like her - I think she might even be my people even though we still have YET to hang out more than just at kid events.. If you're reading this Might Miss M - wanna go for coffee and talk about whatever for a few hours? Okay.. enough adoration.. back to the original sentence) teaches a Zumba class.  She's been asking me to come dance my bootie off with her for a couple of years now but her classes are at like 9AM.. you know, when I'm working.  Or Friday nights, when I'm usually at some sort of practice for one of The Tweedle's sports.  Needless to say, I haven't attended even once. But the idea of dancing for my exercise seems like something I could actually do and even enjoy

Now, I could do a super extroverted grown-up thing, and find a place that does Zumba at times that I could actually attend, but I have a few excuses for not doing that.
  1. The Mighty Miss M is my FRIEND!  How dare you suggest I go do Zumba with anyone other than her! What kind of callous monster are you? 
  2. INFJ - INTROVERTED.  If I don't actually have to leave my house to get something done, all the better.  Now I know this goes against my desires to make more friends - I'm a mushy bowl of contradiction, what can I say? 
  3. I'm about 35 lbs overweight right now - the most I have ever weighed without growing a child inside of this body.  I know. I know.  I don't know how that happened either (yes I do). I found out yesterday afternoon at 2pm that Bug's first basketball practice was yesterday at 6pm prompting me to go out after school to buy a pair of jeans that actually fit - because all of mine are too small.  Nothing like 4 hours notice that you'll have to be in public with a bunch of parents who don't know you when you're fat and have nothing to wear.  Needless to say, I'm a bit self conscious right now.  And until I get myself down a size or two, I don't feel like putting on ANYTHING even remotely clingy - all exercise clothes ever - or worse too bulky making me seem even LARGER than I already am - or going out for extended periods of time around women who are probably more skinny, beautiful and coordinated than I am.  
  4. I don't have to and you can't make me! (sticks my tongue out at you).

My TV like most new models, can connect directly to YouTube, so I went searching on for Zumba videos I could follow until I feel a bit more confident in myself.  Now, I only picked songs I knew and could sing along with and tried to find videos that were clear without TOO many people because I'm blonde and easily distracted and didn't want to get confused about who I was supposed to be watching.  I found this group of 3 ladies who did a series of videos that seemed to meet all of my requirements and who seemed fun and high energy.  I tried to find videos with them as often as I could.  And I  made three playlists of different music. Tah-Dah!  You're proud of me aren't you? Feel free to applaud.

One is POP with music from the 90s and 00s (is this how you write this?) and has song like:

  • What Makes You Feel Beautiful - One Direction
  • I'm Into You - J-Lo
  • Uptown Funk - Bruno Mars
  • Roar - Katy Perry
  • Can't Stop the Feeling - Justin Timberlake
  • Shake It Off - Taylor Swift
  • Baby - Justin Beiber
  • Ice Ice Baby - Vanilla Ice
  • Thriller - Michael Jackson

I'm eclectic, what can I say?  If you wanna maybe try some of these with me you can check out my complete Seriously.. Thoughts? Zumba Pop list.

The second one I made is a Country mix of songs like:

  • We Are Never Getting Back Together - Taylor Swift
  • Pontoon - Little Big Town
  • Somethin' Bad - Miranda Lambert
  • Country Girl - Luke Bryan
  • Save a Horse Ride a Cowboy - Big N Rich
  • River Bank - Brad Paisley
  • Little Toy Guns - Carrie Underwood

It was harder to find country songs so this list is much smaller than the POP one and I couldn't find as many with the three girls I like, but should be good for about an hours worth of dancing.  If you wanna maybe try some of these with me, you can find my complete Seriously.. Thoughts? Zumba Country list.

I even found a CHRISTMAS MUSIC LIST!!! (This is like GOLD people!)

  • One More Sleep -  Leona Lewis
  • Run Run Rudolph - Kelly Clarkson
  • It's Christmas Time - KJ-52
  • Santa Baby - Glee Cast
  • Drummer Boy - Justin Beiber & Busta

Obviously, this list is MUCH smaller but soooooo worth it! These are on my Seriously.. Thoughts? Zumba Christmas list.

I'm starting on Monday after I get rid of The Hubs and The Tweedles so no one can watch me shake my uncoordinated bootie while loudly singing along.  Wish me luck!

** EDITED **
Monday is a holiday... so.. Tuesday it is!

Seriously... Thoughts?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

INFJ - Personal Introspection

For the past year or so, I've been doing a lot of personal introspection.  Trying to work out why I do the things I do, make the choices I make, why I feel the way I feel about things and people.  Maybe that's not quite right.  It might be more direct (if a bit more dramatic and cliche) to say I'm really just trying to understand myself. Find myself?  No matter how you describe it, I'm finding more and more that figuring out who I am is becoming almost an obsession.  How can I teach Bunny and Bug how to be true to themselves, if I have no idea what that means?  How can I model it for them if I have no idea who I am?

A few years back (for reasons that now escape me) I took a Myers-Briggs personality test.  I immediately forgot the results right after taking the test and never looked back.  I didn't even think about it again.  I happened to be surfing the web a few weeks ago, and with all this introspection, I thought I'd take the test again and see what the results were.  Now, I'm not one to go in for things like this.  As Sheldon would say, it's all just a bunch of superstitious hokum.  But I have to say that I've found the results surprisingly accurate.

Per the Meyrs-Briggs website:
The purpose of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) personality inventory is to make the theory of psychological types described by C. G. Jung understandable and useful in people's lives. The essence of the theory is that much seemingly random variation in the behavior is actually quite orderly and consistent, being due to basic differences in the ways individuals prefer to use their perception and judgment.
The mother-daughter team broke behaviors down into 8 basic personality traits that are mixed and matched to create a complete personality profile represented by a 4 letter code.
Favorite world: Do you prefer to focus on the outer world or on your own inner world? This is called Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I).
Information: Do you prefer to focus on the basic information you take in or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning? This is called Sensing (S) or Intuition (N).
Decisions: When making decisions, do you prefer to first look at logic and consistency or first look at the people and special circumstances? This is called Thinking (T) or Feeling (F).
Structure: In dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options? This is called Judging (J) or Perceiving (P).

While the results aren't ever likely to be 100% accurate, in my case, they're pretty damn close.  There are a ton of different sites online to take the test.  The test on the Meyrs-Briggs site isn't free, so I took this test.  Just to remove the hokum factor, I took a few different tests from other sites I found online, all with the same results.

My results: INFJ

I prefer to focus on my own inner world: Introversion (I).  I prefer to interpret and add meaning to information: Intuition (N). When making decisions, I tend to look at people and special circumstances over hard logic: Feeling (F). And when dealing with the outside world, I prefer to get things decided instead of staying open to new information and options.

According to the Myers-Briggs website INFJs are characterized as: Vision and meaning oriented. Quietly intense. Insightful. Creative. Sensitive.  Seeks harmony, growth. Serious. Loves language, symbols. Persevering. Inspiring.

And that's a lot of words that conceivably could describe a lot of different kinds of people. So I looked at the description from the website I used to take the test.:
The INFJ personality type is very rare, making up less than one percent of the population, but they nonetheless leave their mark on the world. As Diplomats, they have an inborn sense of idealism and morality, but what sets them apart is the accompanying Judging (J) trait – INFJs are not idle dreamers, but people capable of taking concrete steps to realize their goals and make a lasting positive impact. INFJs tend to see helping others as their purpose in life, but while people with this personality type can be found engaging rescue efforts and doing charity work, their real passion is to get to the heart of the issue so that people need not be rescued at all.
(You can read more about my personality type here iffin' you wanna.)

But it wasn't until I started looking on Pinterest (You know, the ultimate authority on everything!) that some things started to make sense. OH SO MUCH SENSE!

YES! Have you met me??

So Me.

Umm can we say this whole introspection thing trying to figure MYSELF out??

Every interaction I've had with another human - Ever.  And sometimes animals.

And you guys wonder why I have such a hard time forcing myself to go out and spend time with people!

Without a DOUBT.  I have felt this on SO many occasions, like I'm some sort of personality chameleon, which sounds cool but is mostly just confusing.

The list of meme's that really capture me to my deepest core are unlimited.  There are a few points that don't quite match up but everything else is so spot on, I can't deny the accuracy.  I challenged a few of my friends/family to take the test and see if the results matched up to who they think they are.  And pretty much everyone agreed with the overall results with some minor differences, but nothing that would put them in any of the other categories.  It really was interesting seeing what my friends and family results were in comparison to who I know them as.  I had only one friend take a guess about me, and she was DEAD ON. She's a teacher and her husband is a psychologist (psychiatrist?) so I'm really not surprised she was able to figure me out.  Now if only she could help ME figure  me out.. that would really be something!

I'd be very curious to see if anyone takes the test and has results that are absolutely not how they see themselves.  And someone I know suggested the idea that just because you're this specific personality type NOW, doesn't mean you might not be something different as you grow and change over the years.  That kinda surprised me too.  I even suggested to one of my friends who's known me since high school that I would LOVE to see what he thought my results might be just to compare how he saw me then, to who I am now.  But alas (what a great word alas!), he didn't take a guess, so now we'll never know.

I think the one the struck me the most was this one:

Honestly, if I never have small talk again, how happy would I be? I just want to know people, to find the connection between us.  I have plenty of 'acquaintances' from the kids' schools, activities and my job, and being the emotional chameleon that I am, I'm certainly capable of functioning perfectly in these surface social interactions.  But it isn't what I crave.  It's not what makes me happy.  And I would gladly take a handful of really good friends who I've found a close connection with through REAL conversations over being 'popular'.  I'm just not sure how to get it.  Must be an INFJ thing.  

Seriously... Thoughts?

PS. Anyone want to get a coffee and talk about whatever for a few hours?