Monday, April 24, 2006

Six thingies I'll never admit to...except in my blog

My brother got this funny idea (yack) to tag a bunch of bloggers like myself to play a "game" where we write six random things about ourselves then tag six people to post six random things about themselves who would then tag six people and so perpetuate this degradation /humiliation /boredom throughout the blogworld.

So, I complied. Bien sur!

Thus, here are the six things about bunnyjo that no one person ever really wanted to know (but are forcing their eyeballs to consume):

1. I just discovered at 34 years of age that I like to be rocked and sung to: "Bye-bye baby bunting, daddy's gone a-hunting..." No wonder I've been miserable all my life. No one rocked me! This has nothing to do with the fact that *I rock* by the way.

2. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes when I was pregnant with Emily, and I used to sneak away to the park to eat jelly donuts. No wonder she can't verbalize a linear thought....

3. I spent my entire life declaring that I would never wait on a man. I won't be his waitress, I declared! I twisted with disgust whenever I saw a woman running to fetch her man a cold drink. Pathetic, I'd think to myself! Now I wait on Chris hand and foot. I've realized that waiting on someone is only demeaning when it is expected by virtue of your sex, but waiting on someone because you love them and want them to be comfortable is incredibly fulfilling. Yay for me! And yay for Chris. We're pretty dang sickening, aren't we?!?!

4. I once was so frustrated to see the long, neat line of construction barrels along a quiet stretch of US 31, I ran my car into the whole line of them, knocking them all like dominoes into the woods about 50 feet. Ha! Take that, construction barrels! Too bad about the workers that had to go fetch 'em the next day, tho....

5. Although I will not fart in front of other people, I would often fart real hard with my cat on my lap to see if I could make her jump. Or run away. She must really like me - she never did either and came back for the torture time and time again!

6. I don't like romantic love songs and will probably have to search long and hard for something to play at my wedding. Right now I'm leaning toward "Live like you were dying" because it reminds me of Chris (I'm in awe of him) and how Chris and I make every moment together count by being tuned into each other, being kind and genuinely enjoying the everyday aspects of our lives lived together.

The six people I am tagging are:
1. Guyana Gyal because she writes meaningful things.
2. DCvR because he hates these things, and I wonder if he likes me well enough to comply :)
3. Radmila because she earned my respect by being a sincere human being and what better way to show appreciation than by tagging her ass? Plus I love her biting wit!
4. Melissa because I don't know if she still hates my guts, and I hope she doesn't, and since I didn't call her this weekend this might be a good way to find out if she's still mad.
5. Bonnie Blithe because she decided blogging was juvenile and hasn't been blogging which makes me want to stick my tongue out at her but instead I thought I'd TAG HER.
6. the dad because his alter-ego Chill Daddy is the one who started this horror and you know what Jesus always said, you reap what you sow. :)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

What we've been up to

Coloring Easter Eggs!
From left, Brandie, Grace and Emily enjoy coloring - and then eating! - the Easter Eggs. So many eggs were eaten, in fact, we didn't have enough for an Easter Egg Hunt or the baskets! Oh, well! We experimented this year with the extra vinegar and got really bright eggs like the one Emily is holding. We also used a "marbelling" swirl kit that worked pretty well. Coloring eggs is a lot more fun now than when I was a kid! Sheesh!
A Fart Parade
Never at a loss of fun things to keep the kiddies entertained, after a competition to see who could make the best fart noises, Chris initiated the First Ever Fart Parade which was enjoyed by all. Leading the pack, of course, is Chris with his Magic Farting Flute, and playing their elbows are Grace, Brandie (who is hiding behind Grace) and Emily bringing up the rear.
Grand Haven Youth Orchestra Spring Concert

Oh, the girls were soooo nervous! Grace was bouncing off the walls and acting too cool for school as these pictures show. Brandie, who is a reserved child anyway, was grave and serious. I caught one quick smile to her mom during the concert, though! The girls both did a wonderful job although Grace tended to play to the floor more than to the audience! Afterward we had a wooonderful dinner at Big Boy to celebrate! It was our *first celebration* together as a family! One funny thing, Grace had picked out a cool bohemian skirt to wear to the concert which had a tendency to unexpectedly slide to her ankles when she least expected it! It was really funny when it would happen while she was walking!
Grace's Birthday Party
Chris had made a delicious cherry cake from his Grandmother LaPena's recipe and we had a wonderful time opening presents and eating that cake! Grace got a lot of cool Bratz things which were quickly put to use in Brandie's Bratz paradise spanning about 150 square feet of basement floor-space, including a Bratz hotel, apartment building, cruise boat, night club, name it! The girls had a blast, needless to say! Afterwards, as Chris and I unwound from the day's activities on the couch, we looked at each other and simultaneously said, "This is probably the best day of my life!" :) Oh, isn't love sickeningly sweet?!!?

Just Fun Stuff

This is Grace and Emily showing their stuff they learned at their new hip-hop dance class. Emily is also doing her Napolean Dynamite dance for the talent show, and Brandie has an upcoming concert for her special choir class she is in AND a young authors' reading event. Wow! We're busy, but busy has never been so fun!

And finally, here's a picture of Emily being her normal crazy self!

those that know me

This should go without saying for those of you that know me, but....apparently not, so here goes. Sometimes I am not a good friend. Sometimes I am not a good family member. Sometimes I am not a good communicator. Sometimes I let little life-y things get in the way of reaching out to people who mean a lot to me. It is selfish, I agree.

Consider it one of my few flaws.

This tendency has always been there, always been a part of my relationships. I've done better over the last couple years, learned to put more focus on my friendships and relationships, but in doing so, if the truth were to be told, I kinda neglected my family.

It really boils down to the way my brain works and the way I interact with the world around me. All my life, I've only managed to focus on a few main things at one time. If I'm eating right and exercising, it seems I get way behind in housework. If I'm going to church and keeping up on the housework, my yard and car get totally wrecked. Or my laundry overflows. The same is true with relationships. I've been so good at emailing and calling my friends, but rarely talk to my family (as they'd be glad to attest) unless I need something.

I'm so bad.

So, as most of you know, about two months ago I began seeing someone new. Chris. He and I both went into it wanting only friendship, but what began as a fun and interesting friendship quickly bloomed into a wildly exciting, consuming love relationship.

We giggle all the time about our "whirlwind storybook romance." After committing our whole hearts and souls to our prior relationship, our prior relationship sought greener pastures elsewhere. Instead of becoming embittered, wounded people, we were lucky enough to find in each other what we thought we had committed to in our prior relationships. Emphasis on the lucky part.

Anyone who has seen us together will have no doubts about how we feel about each other. About how happy we are. About how we genuinely just enjoy, support, encourage and treasure each other.

It's love, folks!

So, as is not uncommon is such situations, our involvement has us completely enthralled. We turn down all but the most important invititations in favor of spending yet more hours cuddling and talking and giggling and canoodling. We treasure every moment folding the whites, raking the yard, shopping for groceries. We cook together and clean up together. We even sneak away for surreptitious trips to the local ice cream shop. He's medium vanilla soft-serve, and I'm a peanut butter cup flurry. Yum.

So, in the midst of all this happiness and togetherness, if I forget - or simply don't have time - to call, please don't think it's because I don't care.

After nine years of being alone, it just feels so good to share my life with someone who I admire and adore with every ounce of my being. And I just can't quite get enough of that.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

My head almost popped off

If anyone had seen me, they would have sworn I was under the influence of some intoxicating agent. After laughing so hard my head felt like it was going to pop off, I got out of the van, still laughing, and was stumbling backwards when my heels hit the low-lying bush, and I began listing back....back....back....which only made me laugh harder. Bien sur!

Chris has this ability to make me laugh harder than I ever have in my entire life. He made me laugh so hard I almost fell over a bush. And that made me laugh so hard my knees buckled, and he had to rescue me before I hit the ground. And he does this every day. Every day!

Laughing is the best medicine I've ever experienced. It doesn't matter what has happened or is going to happen or didn't happen, laughing puts it all in perspective: I'm still alive, still able to feel, still able to enjoy life.

What a gift.

Monday, April 17, 2006

She's got my sympathy

Poor Brittany Spears. I know she's kinda white trash and kinda stupid and a lot of fun to make fun of, but can you imagine having a minor household incident become front-page news? MSN ran this story about her son falling out of his highchair. In addition, lil Brit has been vilified on the front page of Star magazine which blasted her with a headline "Brit's Baby Fractures Skull!" In reality, the incident was quite minor, but Brit and hubby K-Fed did seek medical treatment, covering their bases. No doubt they didn't want to serve any more foul-fodder for tabloids to lobby their way. So, they twist the story to indicate that Baby Sean had a brain clot. The tabloid has a brain clot if you ask me.

This story makes me angry for a number of reasons. It's not easy being a first time mom. You make a lot of mistakes. You eat a lot of crow for formerly-expressed opinions on child-rearing. You realize that you've got a LOT to learn. So give the girl a break! An accident occurred and she did the responsible thing. She sought treatment for her kid, and he was fine. Heck, one time I dropped Emily on her head onto cement from a standing position, and I never had her evaluated. She just seemed fine. Now I look back and wonder, what the hell was I thinking? Yet I consider myself a pretty good mom. As nasty as she is, Brit did the best she could under the circumstances. She deserves our sympathy and understanding, not our scorn.

But the REAL reason this story makes me boil is because it is downright irresponsible journalism to report such exaggerated accounts of a minor accident that happens in homes everyday across America. It is irresponsible, and it is dirty. It besmirches the journalistic integrity that so many journalists are struggling to maintain. And the editor that allowed that story to run should be fired. Making a journalistic decision to run a false report just to boost sales is unconscionable.

And anyone who exults in the exploitation of a young mom and an unfortunate household accident deserves a wedgie. I mean, it's not like she was dangling her son over a balcony by its leg. Sha!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Love songh

Baby, instant soup doesn't really grab me/Today I need something more sub-sub-sub-substantial/A can of beans or blackeyed peas/ some Nescafe and ice/a candy bar, a falling star/ or a reading of Doctor Seuss-Seuss!

Don't even try to wake-her-up!
Don't even try to wake-her-up!
I can always sleep standing up!
Don't even try to wake-her-up!

We've got to moogie, moogie, move on this one.

-REM, "Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight"

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

They are mucking up the works!

I received this article in my email today regarding yet more crazy Christians going off half-cocked and fecklessly ruining it for everyone.

Ruining what, you ask? Ah....good question, grasshopper.

This naive and narrow-minded child from Georgia Tech is tired of having to look at posters for the campus gay club. She thinks that insulting people because they live differently or believe differently is the Christian thing to do. It's her duty, people. Because if she isn't allowed to insult these people for what she considers a barrage of homosexuality on her campus, it violates her free speech rights.

Even worse, Christians are claiming that they are being marginalized by getting lumped in with racists because they protest tolerance movements attempting to make homosexuality more acceptable and understood by the community at large. Um, who the F cares if you are marginalized when you are spewing hate? And what about the free speech rights of people who want to educate bigots like this girl that they are human beings, too?

Look, I'm a Christian. I love God but a lot of times I think His people are just a bunch of flaming idiots. They don't think, they react. Here's the problem with what they are doing: if they succeed in getting tolerance laws overturned based on their religious belief, it crosses the line of separation of church and state, it opens the door for intolerance to be legally protected under the guise of religiosity (anyone remember slavery - hellow!?!?) and worst of all, it violates The Law all Christians are expected - nay, required - to obey: the Law of Love.

My ex-husband was fond of saying, "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." Christians - supposedly - are supposed to be out there doing like Jesus did, loving on everyone, being nice and helping people change their lives. But who is going to listen to you about how they need to change their life when you are a biggoted, intolerant, name-calling bitch? When you are parading in the streets with signs like "Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve" or "Baby killers go to hell."

And what really kills me is that these short-sighted and reality-deprived people heading this crusade genuinely believe they are being attacked, that they are being discriminated against! So...ergo, they are fighting for the right to be rude and intolerant to a bunch of twinkle-toed fairies and bull-dykes. Makes sense.

Monday, April 10, 2006

And third place goes to....

...."Money swap from Perkins to Pell hurts students" by Laura J. Wilson of The Bay Window!!!!!!

Go Laura! Go Laura!
It's your birthday~

Ok, it wasn't my birthday, but with the incredibly tough competition we faced this year watching the big schools hogging almost all the awards, winning third place sure felt like a gift.

But wow...even I with my big old vocabulary can barely find the words to express how much I enjoyed this year's Michigan Press Association Press Day competition. It really wasn't about winning for me, it was about sitting there with Chris's arm around me, reassuring me and his giant "whooo-hoo!" when I won that really meant the most to me. He said his heart was just full of love and pride for me when they called my name. Awwwww!

I didn't win any honorable mentions this year like I did last year. However, my faculty advisor, Sue Martens, has implented awards to be given by the Board of Whatever that oversees the paper, and I won for Best Column of the Year for "Rx for the Star Wars Blues" and "Voting Christians danger to mental health everywhere" about how otherwise intelligent Christians turn off their brains when it comes to voting. I guess I tied with myself. I am also winning for an art exhibit picture I took in the Feature Photo category. Yay for me!

Now, here's the meat of what I need to say. I am deeply gratified that Sue is implementing awards and recognition to be given on behalf of our college to the best of each journalistic category because we really got shafted at the MPA's awards this year. After winning eleven awards last year, we felt challenged to improve our paper significantly because we were very close to placing in the top five. That's a big deal, folks! So, after working our collective arses off this year we won a whopping three awards and a few honorable mentions.

I can tell you, I really felt for my fellow staffers as we sat as category after category went to the big four-year schools with 35,000 plus students and budgets bigger than most prof's salaries. But it wasn't just our paper that got shafted. All the small papers did. Out of the hundred or so awards given, only a handful went to small schools. A little, bitty pathetic handful. I could palpably feel the discouragement settle over my fellow journalists.

Here's the thing that is making me wonder. I can see why the big schools with their 24-page newspapers, four-color printing, fully-staffed graphics department and state of the art technology and equipment win for Overall Excellence. I can see where they probably have the edge on layout and ad design. But when it comes to the head-to-head article writing and photos, there is no reason other than possible bias why the big schools dominated.
Sure, our front-page attendance pieces may appear fluffy beside the big Lansing story about a murder on campus, but the question isn't how juicy the story is. The question here is the quality of the journalism. Does it stand to reason that they have better writers, or that articles with great layout and color photos and graphics just appear to be better? Unfortunately I haven't had a chance to take a look at the winning entries yet, but when I do you can bet I will be scanning them with a highly-critical eye. Dammit.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Seven chances to win....

Alright everyone, wish me luck. Tomorrow is the awards ceremony for my second Michigan Press Association journalism competition. I will be competing against college students all over Michigan with our published articles written over the past year in the following categories: news article, in-depth news article (three-part series on a college funding), feature article, opinion column (political - Christians who vote like idiots), opinion column (personal experience - Star Wars hooplah), photo essay and stand alone photo. That's seven submissions chosen by my editor and faculty advisor. Seven chances to win, folks, the max number of submissions allowed. They like me. :)

Now, whether or not I win is somewhat of a crap shoot, which is why you all need to wish me luck. Part of it depends on the submissions they chose (one of which I don't think was my strongest piece), the level of journalism exhibited by the other entries, and whatever the particular judge is looking for. Last year I won first place for in-depth journalism and an honorable mention for editorial (a category for which I didn't submit this year). I was quite fond of my editorial as it was on race relations, but my in-depth feature was frankly a snooze. My favorite submission last year was a funny piece about people eating like pigs in restaurants and blowing their nose while I'm eating (which I also posted to this blog). However, it didn't win because the judge thought it too broad a subject matter to address articulately in a 600-word article. Whatever.

So, the awards ceremony begins tomorrow at 2:30 and by 3:30 I shall know the worth of my journalistic output for 2005-2006. Sort of. Be assured however, whatever the outcome, I shall post the results here! Keep your eyeballs peeled.