Ann Coulter Cracks Me Up

Like everyone else who has access to Google or a Facebook account, I have been regularly updated on the fact that there is a World Cup Event happening, and that the game being played is soccer. I can’t admit to being a true soccer fan myself, because I’m not much of a sports person in general.

But I grew up on the East Coast and in our mid-Atlantic region soccer is pretty popular, especially in schools and universities. As a professional sport, of course, it is nowhere near as popular as football or baseball, but I would say that its fan base is about as strong as those of our local pro hockey and basketball teams. And while it may not have the same cultural significance as football or baseball, it certainly has always been considered a legitimate sport that is played by legitimate Americans.

According to Ann Coulter, however, soccer is not only a fake sport, but it is un-American, too.

I found out about Coulter’s “unique” beliefs about this globally-beloved “non-sport” when I saw a headline quoting her proclamation that “No American whose great-grandfather was born here is watching soccer.” Well, I thought. She is wrong there! My husband has been keeping up with the World Cup games and HIS ancestors have been here since before the civil war. Not only that, but they were so historically significant in the deep south that there is a building named after them in Meridian, Mississippi. That is just about as American as you can get.

But then I realized that what she probably meant to write was “no American whose White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant great-grandfather was born here is watching soccer.” And my husband’s German-Jewish ancestors most certainly do not fall into that category.

But that’s OK. I understand. We can all make mistakes in the clarity of our writing. I am sure she would never want to insinuate that she has a limited definition of what a true American is.

Of course, after reading this headline, I had to check out the article itself. You can find it here in all its glory.

Now I have to admit that normally, I find Ann Coulter so utterly obnoxious that I would rather be tied to a kitchen chair and forced to watch Barney while my kids whined for a snack and my husband grilled me about what, exactly, I spent $67.50 on when I went to Target for bread and jelly than to read anything she has written. But this time I felt compelled to investigate.

Because instead of finding her statement to be bigoted and offensive, I just thought it was so idiotic — and so obviously untrue — that it was laughable. And that is when I realized that Ann Coulter is actually hilarious.

The things she says are so glaringly ludicrous that, if she isn’t writing satire or, more likely, just running her mouth off for attention, then she has to be either genuinely mentally ill, on psychedelic drugs, or just plain unintelligent. I suppose it could also be a combination of several of those things. Or, she could just be a jerk. I don’t know. Whatever the case may be, I have decided that she really doesn’t make me angry anymore. She just makes me laugh.

Consider this statement, which is number 4 in her outline of reasons why soccer is neither a sport nor American: “The prospect of either personal humiliation or major injury is required to count as a sport.” Right. To simplify things, I made a graph that we can all use to determine where on the “legitimate sport spectrum” any given so-called “sport” will lie.

Graph of the "Legitimate Sport Spectrum"

Graph of the “Legitimate Sport Spectrum”

She goes on to say, “Baseball and basketball present a constant threat of personal disgrace. In hockey, there are three or four fights a game — and it’s not a stroll on beach to be on ice with a puck flying around at 100 miles per hour. After a football game, ambulances carry off the wounded. After a soccer game, every player gets a ribbon and a juice box.”

I can see her point. I mean, who wants to waste their time on on any activity that doesn’t result in the crunching of bones or the crushing of a grown man’s soul?

And then there is number 5 on her list: “You can’t use your hands in soccer. (Thus eliminating the danger of having to catch a fly ball.) What sets man apart from the lesser beasts, besides a soul, is that we have opposable thumbs. Our hands can hold things. Here’s a great idea: Let’s create a game where you’re not allowed to use them!”

We have THUMBS and BY GOD we will USE them lest we offend the Lord and our Founding Fathers.

I enjoyed number 8, too: “Soccer is like the metric system, which liberals also adore because it’s European. Naturally, the metric system emerged from the French Revolution, during the brief intervals when they weren’t committing mass murder by guillotine…Liberals get angry and tell us that the metric system is more “rational” than the measurements everyone understands. This is ridiculous. An inch is the width of a man’s thumb, a foot the length of his foot, a yard the length of his belt. That’s easy to visualize.”

Does anyone else get the feeling that Ann Coulter has a thing about thumbs?

I feel you here, Ann. Soccer is ridiculous because the metric system is incomprehensible. And I totally agree with you. The next  time you pick up your meds, and I know you’re on at least a few, make sure the formulas are measured using the cubed width of the pharmacists thumb.  It’s much easier to visualize, and cubic centimeters are communist anyway.

But best of all is number 7, in which Ann’s true grievance with soccer comes shining through: “It’s foreign.” And the fact that our poor, unwilling American psyches are being bombarded with images and information about this blatantly anti-American, moral-destroying non-sport can all be brought home to… Liberals and Immigrants! Or more specifically, to Teddy Kennedy and his 1965 immigration policy, which has resulted in hoards of post-1965 un-American American citizens who enjoy soccer. Because, as Ann says, ” I promise you: No American whose great-grandfather was born here is watching soccer. One can only hope that, in addition to learning English, these new Americans will drop their soccer fetish with time.”

I’m going to have to disagree with Ann on this one. I hope that America’s soccer fandom grows to epic proportions. Not because I love soccer, but because, even though I’m an anti-gun, bleeding heart, “perpetually nervous mommy” with pacifist leanings, I kind of want to see Ann Coulter implode with rage over the fact that people in America like a sport that people in other countries like too.

A Recipe

I learned a new recipe today. It is one I will never try again, and I urge you all never to attempt it yourselves. It is a recipe for a supremely cranky toddler.

First, you start with a 2-almost-3-year old who is at the height of that age’s notorious crotchety phase. Then you add a trip to Target followed by an hour of swim lessons and pool time. After this, you throw in a very disappointing lunch that does not include nuggets and which happens at home instead of at Chick-Fil-A. Then you commit the outrage of trying to get the toddler to take a nap, which she will categorically refuse to do.

Up to this point, you could still salvage your sloppy creation of a day by making wise choices. You will have to look at someone else’s blog to figure out how to do that, because wise choices are not a part of my repertoire.

Your next step is to take the tired, non-napping toddler who has had a lunch of air and pool water on more errands (because you have THINGS TO DO and if you aren’t going to get FIVE MINUTES to yourself, you might as well get SOMETHING useful done.)

So you go  to Staples and Trader Joe’s and you are amazed by how well the toddler has held herself together and you start to think that maybe your day isn’t totally screwed after all.

You get home, with five minutes to unload the car before you have to pick up your other child from school and you discover that… your toddler is asleep. You unload the car, drive to the elementary school, unload the sleeping toddler into a stroller, haul her over a muddy field, get her sister, haul her back over the muddy field,  reload her into the car and drive both your children to the dentist.

You unload your still-sleeping toddler, a child who has never in her life, not even as a newborn, slept through so many transitions, and carry her into the dentist’s office. Where she wakes up right as the hygienist is preparing to clean her teeth.

Need I say more? I mean, falling asleep and waking up at the dentist’s is pretty much a nightmare experience for anyone, even more so for a two-year-old who is at any given moment on the verge of an emotional collapse. And boy-oh-boy is she collapsing. I am actually writing with her on my lap crying because she doesn’t have the accordion her sister made out of a toilet paper roll in her hands.

I guess the best I can hope for now is an early bedtime.

20140514-175347.jpg

20140514-175403.jpg

20140514-175412.jpg

Midlife Contentment

Last week I turned 35. I wanted to write about it then, but I have been too busy doing things that 35 year old moms do, like chaperoning trips to the zoo, going to PTA meetings, and selling flowers for teacher appreciation week. It’s a gangsta life, people.

I went all kinds of hardcore  on the flower people when I realized they have me 575 flowers instead of 600!

I went all sorts of hardcore when the flower people gave me 575 carnations instead of 600.

But that doesn’t mean I didn’t take some time to celebrate. The night before my birthday, when my two-year-old was refusing to sleep (because otherwise, I’d have been in bed by 8 pm), I spent some time surfing the net on my iDevice, trolling some of my favorite sites. Like Michaels, and Kohls. I even splurged on something I’ve been wanting for a long time… a twee little castle for our fairy garden.

photo (14)

On sale for $9.99 at Joann’s, with $1.50 flat shipping. Who could resist?

And my celebrations weren’t limited to online shopping. The day after my birthday, I dragged my husband and daughter to the mall. I had a coupon for $10 off any $10+ purchase at JC Penney, and another one for $10 off any $25 purchase. That’s like money in your pocket!

So while my husband was taking the kid to ride the carousel, I was stalking the aisles of Penney’s, looking for the best way to maximize my coupon savings.

I saw this hot little number early in my scouting adventure, and I thought about buying it, just to be ironic. But then I realized that it was a junior sized cut, and that its snug contouring of the remnants of my mummy tummy would only look pathetic.

rebel

A Rebel Youth — who shops at Penney’s.

I finally ended up in the Jewelry department, checking out the 70+% off sterling silver collection, which felt like destiny. I walked out of the store with over $200 worth of silver earrings for a grand total of $18. It was a rhapsodic moment.

Hitting the age of 35 doesn’t carry with it any of the anxious anticipation or exuberance that distinguish the milestone birthdays of our younger years. In fact, I had expected it to be a difficult birthday, much like 30 was for me five years ago.

Oddly enough, it wasn’t. It just sort of happened, and I was content. And the thing is, that at 35, I can appreciate contentment for what it is – one of the rarest and most valuable experiences we can ever hope to have.

A Friday Morning PSA

To all my friends:

Photographed below is the remnant of what used to be a plastic Cinderella figurine.

A dream is a wish your heart makes...

A dream is a wish your heart makes…

Notice how, as a result of her impossibly tiny waist in comparison to the rest of her body, the cumulative effect of activity has resulted in her snapping in half and losing her torso/head.

Let this be a lesson to all women: we really should eat that chocolate.

A Country Western Kind of Day

Today has been a country-western song kind of day, but the stay-at-home mom version. It goes a little somethin’ like this:

“It’s Friday night and I’m home alone with my kids. They’re havin’ a screaming contest in the bathroom. (I’m hidin’ in the closet.)

I stepped on my brand-new glasses and I broke ’em. Super glued my fingers together when I tried to fix ’em. (I lost some skin on that one boys.)

I went to the store for eggs and milk. I forgot the milk. (And now the kids are cryin’)

I let the dog out and he ate some grass. It came back up and now it’s all over my carpet. (I’m savin’ that mess for my ole man! Ain’t that right, ladies?!) ”

That’s it. I know, it’s a work in progress. And I never said it would be a good country-western song. I didn’t even say that it would be a not-horrible country-western song. All I’m saying, is that as I was going through my litany of woes in my head tonight, they  were accompanied by a banjo and they came to me in a Toby Keith kind of voice. And yes, my inner thoughts are frequently voiced by celebrities with musical scores in the background. Aren’t yours?

On that note, let me finish my masterpiece with the following photo series:

I put a coat on my girl, and she pouted.

I put a coat on my girl, and she pouted.

She took it off and laughed in my face!

She took it off and laughed in my face!

 

I strapped her in her car seat and won the battle.

I strapped her in her car seat and won the battle.

And now it’s bedtime! TGIF, Folks!

Hi, I’m Krista. I Break Minds.

One night last week, during our most recent spate of winter storms and school closures, my five-year-old told me that I was “cracking her heart into pieces” so badly that “even her mind was breaking.”

I earned this opprobrium when I responded to her request for paint so she could make “an angel with brown skin, a white dress, and beautiful gold hair” by saying, “No. Seriously. No. Go watch TV.” She was crestfallen —  heartbroken —  her mind had been shattered. If ever there were a pathetic creature, it was my child that night. I was unmoved.

I am heartless, I know. But before you judge me, wait for the context.

First of all, I was eating dinner. There is a beast that lives within me, and when she gets hungry, we feed her. My husband learned this lesson very early in our relationship. My kids seem to face a much steeper learning curve, or maybe they just don’t care about the consequences of interrupting a hungry beast at feeding time. Whatever the case may be, they think it is totally appropriate to do stuff like try to kill each other, or pee on the couch, or ask for art supplies while I am eating.

Secondly, it’s been a long winter of snow days. And most of them haven’t been the fun, “you wanna build a snowman” kind of snow day. Many were so bitterly cold that my thin-blooded girls were crying after 5 minutes of being outside. Then there was the storm that dropped so much snow on us that their short little legs couldn’t navigate through it. And even on the snow days when they could play outside, the outdoor fun never lasted more than 2 hours.

It was deep.

I’m not kidding, it really was deep.

We just don't get snow like this in Maryland!

We just don’t get snow like this in my part of the world!

The rest of the time, we were inside — crafting.

We drew, we glued, we painted, we cut (oh, the paper we cut!), we stamped, we beaded. We marker-ed our markers dry and the Lorax wept for all the paper we used. We mixed media, and we built things, and we littered our kitchen with art supplies.

I cleaned green paint off of brushes, clothing, fingers, faces, and furniture. I negotiated peace after an epic battle over glitter glue. I have peeled countless stickers off of every accessible surface of our home and I am still finding them in random places, like on the side of the toilet bowl and in my shoes. So after a winter of making stuff, when a snowstorm in March kept my girls home from school for two additional days, I felt no guilt over breaking my baby girl’s mind by denying her evening request for paint.

I didn't think we'd make a dent in these. We did.

I didn’t think we’d make a dent in these. We did.

People tell me that the girls will remember these days and the time we spent together fondly. I’m sure they will. My daughter seems to have recovered the use of her mind, without any permanent damage to its faculties. Certainly, her gift for hyperbole hasn’t suffered. She will be ok.

Meanwhile, it is March 13 and currently 30 degrees outside, with the “feels like” temperature at 21 degrees. A fierce and bitter wind is blowing. I just read a headline suggesting the possibility for snow on St. Patrick’s Day. And in my cabinet, I have a Ziplock bag, and in that bag are shamrock shapes and stickers, and green glitter glue, and a rainbow paint set, all just waiting for little fingers to craft with them.

Hi, my name is Krista, and my mind is breaking.

The World Belongs to Such as These

Last Sunday, my five-year-old and I had the opportunity to spend the afternoon together, just the two of us, at a local indoor pool. With a younger sibling at home and a full day at school, time spent one-on-one has been rare this year. I’ve missed her.

My girl has a prolific imagination and spends most of her unoccupied time making up or enacting stories. As she has been learning so many new things this year, I have had the gratifying pleasure to observe how she weaves the new facts and ideas percolating in her brain into her stories and play.

So when we packed up go to the pool, I was interested to see her stash three princess figurines, three plastic cupcakes and a baby doll into her toy bag. I never really know where she will go with things.

When we got to the swim center, she headed straight for the baby pool, where she began setting up a scene. First, she brought out the three princesses and lined them up along the side of the pool. She placed a plastic cupcake in front of each. Then she went to her bag and brought out her baby. She carefully cradled it in her arm and carried it into the pool.

And then she baptized that baby, in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen, using water consecrated with chlorine and the contents of a half-dozen swim diapers.

When I asked her about it, she explained to me that she had learned about baptism in her religious education class that morning. She told me that baptism is how we become a part of God’s family. And because she loves her baby doll, she wants her to become a part of our family. Therefore, a baptism was clearly in order.

photo (8)

It was an achingly sweet moment, the kind that reminds parents that bringing their child into the world really was the best thing they have ever done. It made me proud of her. It also made me reflect on and appreciate the best thing children do for us — allowing us grown ups to witness the fertility of their minds and the largess of their imaginations.

Most of us recognize the story from the Gospel of Luke, when Jesus urges his disciples to bring the children to him, because “the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” It is a story that tends to be linked to the idea that what is most valuable in children is their innocence and unworldliness. It seems to imply that children, in their dearth of experience, are better able to absorb the teachings of faith, and indeed of the world around them. I don’t believe that this is a strictly religious way of thinking. There is a common tendency to think of children as blank slates waiting to be written upon.

Children are certainly unworldly. There is necessarily an innocence to the way they approach their world. They have no basis of comparison. They have no prejudice. Their minds are open. They are open, but I don’t think they are waiting, passively, for us to shape them. 

If I have learned anything about children and the way they approach life, it is that they do so through constant questioning and experimenting. They are endlessly pushing the boundaries of their universe. And these attributes apply equally to the way they understand faith and the way they process new facts.

When I think of my daughter, who is at that perfectly ripe age when the concepts of faith and fact are just coming within her intellectual grasp, I see nothing passive about her approach to the world. All I see is activity – a dynamic, unrestrained pursuit for more knowledge, a constant pushing and stretching of the limits of her understanding.

I hear her asking why, and no matter how thorough an answer I give, I hear her asking why again. I see her acting out, and re-enacting, what she is learning so that, through interpretation and experience, it becomes a part of who she is.

When I think of the idea that “the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these,” I don’t see it as a calling to submissiveness or innocence. I see it as a calling for us to approach faith — and reason — like children do – with flexibility, enthusiasm, ceaseless questioning, and a mind with ever-expanding boundaries. Those are the best things that children have to offer the world, and we adults should not forget that.

After my daughter finished her charming baptism by pool water, as I was thinking about the profundity of what her mind, and the minds of all children like her, will bring to our future, she reminded me of something else.

She tossed her baby to the side of the pool and, splashing, shouted, “Mommy, that boy FARTED! He made BUBBLES in the WATER!” While I blushed and suppressed my silent laughter, I reflected on the next best thing children have to offer the world: their uninhibited appreciation for bathroom humor.

Life is best lived with curiosity, questioning, a mind without boundaries, and the ability to laugh at our bodily functions.