Friday, May 9, 2014

Little Motorcycle Racer

It all started when my husband got a "screaming deal" on three used dirtbikes. They were clearly too big for our kids, but the thought was that they would eventually grow into them...and we could ride them in the meantime. Barrett, my six year old, would not settle for this. He begged to ride the smallest of the three, the Honda 100. He couldn't even touch the ground when he sat on it. My husband gave in, strapped on all of Barrett's safety gear, kickstarted the bike for him, and let him ride. The thought was that he would have a hard time with it, and wouldn't ask to ride again. Instead, something else happened. My skinny six year old controlled the bike like a skilled adult. He leaned into turns, picked up speed on straight aways, and maneuvered around our cluttered property like he had been doing it since birth. It was the first time that he had ever rode something with a clutch, and a twist throttle. I knew my boy was athletic, and an above average driver of anything he had ever been given: bikes, power wheels, four-wheelers, and a little two-seater ORV called a RZR. However, I had no idea that he had gifts of this magnitude.

Five minutes after he jumped off the dirtbike we were at the KTM dealership buying him a new racing bike (okay,it was probably more like a week later). Then Gunther, my five year old, got a four-wheeler to ride (he couldn't cut it on a dirtbike). Then my husband bought a racing dirtbike for himself, so that he could keep up with our children. Somewhere in that time span my two year old ended up with a little Honda dirtbike with training wheels (Ridiculous. I know).  A camping trailer/toy hauler (used) was our next expense, because we had to be able to haul all of our motorized stuff. We joined a cross country racing association. My husband decided to race so that he could be a "better coach", but I suspect he also enjoys riding. Within our family we have three different racing classes, and once Axel is big enough, I'm sure we will have four. Now every other weekend we are camping at some different track, often in some remote part of Oklahoma. I should remind you that we are not rich. Once you throw in the riding clothes, the safety gear, the upkeep of the bikes, and the quad, the gas to get to's enough for mama to have a tummy tuck, a designer wardrobe, and a Vespa scooter. I don't have any of that shit. The cost somehow doesn't seem important when my whole family is having a blast on a regular basis, though.

So far, Barrett has medaled in every race he has entered. No surprise. I've seen him give up first place to another rider, though. He has the skill, but he lacks aggression. I consider his politeness, and sweetness a positive attribute of his personality. I wouldn't trade his sweet demeanor for a stack of first place medals.  We are working on teaching him that it's okay to pass somebody. At the motorcross track by our house, there are several adult riders, some who are pro, or semi-pro, who have taken an interest in him. "This is his first year riding? He's only six? Wow." It is his sweetness, and humility that endears people to him. He doesn't even take credit for his talent. Barrett says: "God gave me a happy gift" when somebody refers to his riding skill. He's the type that everyone wants to cheer on.

My five year old, and my husband have also done fairly well in their own racing classes. Gunther even got first place once. We were surprised at his victory, as he never seems to be in that much of a hurry when he's racing...or doing anything. You know what they say about slow and steady, though. It turns out that they do, sometimes, win the race.  My husband has actually done really great for a guy that randomly started racing dirtbikes at age thirty four. He races against a lot of ex-motorcross racers, and people with MUCH more experience. Jason usually beats at least half of his competitors. Darn good for an aging Daddy.

I'm most proud of the reputation my boys have earned within our racing association.They are known for having heart. Both Barrett, and Gunther have had an incident or two during a race, or practice. Once Gunther ran into a tree. Barrett's bike overheated, and he crashed onto a creek bank during the same race. They have never had any serious injuries. The safety gear has done its job thus far. Anytime something  has happened, they have both just gotten back on their ride, and trucked on. Other parents, who have witnessed this say that their kid would have declared themselves done in the same situation. I'm astounded that my boys, who have been known to dramatize an injury from time to time, are capable of sucking it up and moving on. I nevet hear complaints about this or that hurting until we are home.

Monday, May 5, 2014

I Have A Secret

I'm still nursing my two year old. Not often. Usually just at bed, or nap time. I have felt ashamed of "extended" nursing in the past. I'm tired of feeling that way. In a world that is filled with violence, and injustice...I don't know why it is even a source of ridicule. I extended nursed my older two boys, and they are well adjusted, bright, and healthy. Just because one nurses a baby beyond twelve months does not mean that the kid will be stuck to a boob until he's nine. That seems to be a popular opinion. I hope to wean him soon, but at our own pace. For now I am trying to enjoy every sweet, snuggly moment of "ninny time", as he calls it. I know that, in the big scheme of things, this time that my child and I are so physically connected is short. So, for the remainder of that time, I am not going
to skirt the truth, or feel bad about how I am parenting. I'm going to continue on, and be content. I will no longer feel uncomfortable because I KNOW that many people think what I do is gross. It's not, and I feel bad for those people. They must really be bored to be bothered by toddlers, and boobs.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

My Thoughts on Being an Herbivore

This will be the first, and last time that I will discuss this. I decided to go "vegan" about a year and a half ago. My reasons were many: I needed to lose weight after my last pregnancy, I had joint pain and didn't want to go on meds (toxins from dairy can accumulate in joints), and I had always wanted to sever myself from any possible animal cruelty. It seemed a logical solution to my problems. After about two weeks of sticking to my "vegan" diet, I had lost six pounds, my mood was more even, and I felt better overall. So, I have stuck with it.

At first I didn't tell anyone unless I had to. If I went to a baby shower, or a birthday party, I would nibble off the veggie platter, and pass on the cake. I'm sure everyone just thought I was on a post-baby diet. My reasons for hiding it stem from being a vegetarian for many years, and having people be mean to me about it. I have never understood it. I am not preachy about it...I see it as a simple personal preference. My kids, and my husband eat meat, dairy, whatever. I frequently prepare food that I don't eat. I certainly don't label anyone as "cruel", or "stupid" because of their food preferences. So, I really don't know why saying "I'm vegetarian", or "I'm vegan" opens me up to having people say things like: "We're meant to eat meat. That's stupid.", or "Well, it says in the bible that we are supposed to have domain over animals." I don't understand how domain equals exploiting, and abusing. Anyway, I just avoid talking about it...except now.

Over the past year, or so, I have lost a considerable amount of weight. I never step on a scale, because IF I DO I either think "shit. This is pointless", or "yay. I can eat". Either way, it is self sabotage. I don't know the numbers. I was in size sixteen jeans when I started, and am now wearing a size nine...and still losing! I also don't generally enjoy talking about my weight loss. I'm always appreciative when someone notices that I've lost weight. However, it is not something that I like to dwell on. I just think that there are a lot of more important things to focus on. Losing weight has not made me smarter, or prettier, or kinder. Also, I don't want to make anyone who is struggling with weight to feel bad. Oh! And, it's also a boring topic. I'd rather discuss how igneous rocks are formed than how I made my fat-ass slightly less fat.

Since my weight loss is now very noticeable: I am often forced to talk about my diet. Everyone wants to know "what are you doing?". I want to say: "Meth. It's the best.", but I don't want anyone calling CPS on me. So, I tell that I'm working out, and.....I went vegan.Part of me would love to have one person look at me, and think "wow. She looks great, and she seems happy. Maybe I should go vegan." Then maybe I would be responsible for ONE LESS consumer of cruelty. However, usually the response I get is "whoa! I could never do that." I'll keep trying, though. I don't know why it seems so impossible to everyone. I think the perception is that vegans eat nothing but tofu every darn day. Not true. I manage to find vegan junk food on the regular...but, one doesn't lose weight by living on potato chips. So, I try to mix some veggies, and beans, and stuff into my potato chip/oreo diet. Yes! Oreos are vegan. Anyway, my eating habits aren't nearly as exotic, or interesting as people suspect.

I wouldn't be such a rarity if I lived in San Diego, or Portland, but I live in rural Oklahoma. Every other Ford truck here has a front plate that reads "BEEF". And everyone drives a Ford truck...unless you are complete white trash...then you drive a Dodge truck with an OU front plate. (I feel bad for people who actually have degrees from the University of Oklahoma because most of the people who sport their burgundy gear consider "Choose Your Own Adventure" books to be fine literature.) So, I am some ungodly hippie-freak. You know, the kind Merle Haggard hates. Mehhh. It's fine, though. I'll continue to be the lone freak out here, hoping to make it look cool, and appealing enough for someone else to try it.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Holiday Ads

I dread nights, and weekends when there isn't any kids programming on PBS. Why? Because if my kids are loitering around, then I feel obligated to turn on Nickelodeon, or Disney, or some such other child-directed advertising machine. My kids don't watch that much tv anyway, but some days it's too cold, or hot to play outside, and I'm busy with other stuff. The tv is not my nanny, but my ummm...distracted teenage babysitter who shows up every once in a while, sits on the couch and fiddles with her iphone.

My punishment for trying to engage my kids in a nice, quiet tv trance is the toy ads. For every five minutes of Spongebob, there is 18 minutes of ads for the new Ninja Turle submarine, the talking Captain America shield, the lego pirate set that costs more than my monthly mortgage. With that kind of pricetag the lego ship should come with tiny living leggo men who build the set for you, then vigilantly guard your property from insects, and rodentswith their tiny swords. They should even offer mom, and dad tiny barrels of rum.

My children are not immune to the LCD lit world of wonder of toy ads. I am called to rewind the DVR every commercial break, so that the kids can point out the the game with the dog who poops out multicolored playdough. "Can't you just feed the dogs playdough, then go wait in the yard. It's fun, and economical!"
The response is stare,stare, blink, blink.
I frequently try to talk them out of stuff, but I know that within a few days the toy that I called "hideous, ridiculous, and overpriced" will be hidden in my closet. I said it, not Santa.

This brings me to a point (maybe). I'm pained for the parents who are excluded from the inescapable gloss, and glow of commercial Christmas. I'm certain that think everyone else can afford this shit for their kids, so why can't I? Just further alienate low income people, toy companies. Make them feel worse. My kids probably think that most kids own every single Chineses manufactured hunk of bright plastic, but they don't. I, however, know the truth. I know that they have a darn good collection of colored plastic garbage. They're actually on the spoiled side... as are most middle class, American kids. I'm fortunate enough to find thirty bucks here, and there that doesn't have to pay for bills, or food. I hurt for those who can't do that.
I don't know what to say to parents who struggle in general, but especially feel like outcasts from American society come Christmas-time. "Turn the tv off" might be a good start for everyone, but I don't give advice that I wouldn't take. I like tv..don't judge. Do what you can for your kids. Volunteer to chaperone field trips, and help at class parties. Have them help you to make cookies. Just give them your time. Be happy. Don't let them feel your adult stress until they are adults. I think, maybe, that they will see in time that those memories, and the time that you give them will make them forget that you couldn't buy the Hulk-smash power wheels.

Friday, July 5, 2013

My Personal Heroes

There is a mythical creature in western Oklahoma. Much like big foot, or the yeti, these creatures have little physical evidence, and a ton of folklore. You hear of them in talk at the post office, and the gas station. They run faster than a pickup truck, jump higher than a barn roof, and vanish in front of one's eyes. These mythic creatures have humble domestic beginnings, however. They are ordinary bulls. They were born, bought, and traded for the typical purpose: beef. These two particular bulls were not satisfied with their life's purpose. At some point they looked at one another and said "No. Fuck this shit." From that point they could no longer be wrangled into a fence, or a truck, or any other man made contraption. They evaded  herding by means of dogs, four wheelers, trucks, pissed off farmers, and hands. They couldn't be caught for days, then weeks, and then months. Eventually the people who had invested in these bulls also said "fuck this shit", and stopped trying to catch them.

Now, these bulls roam the countryside. They move without inhibition. Fences mean nothing. They eat, and drink where, and what they like. They take a nap in the shade, make love to a heffer in their passing, and trek on. They are the ones who have broken the code of domestic complicity with a slaughterhouse as the end.

I have had the pleasure of encountering these wild things on a couple occasions. Both times they jumped the four foot high barb wire fence on the East of my property, sauntered through my yard, and jumped over yet another fence without even picking up speed. They did this like one would step over a stick on the sidewalk. They wandered off, never running, but moving at a fast pace until they were invisible from my viewpoint. I like to believe that in between the time of my two sightings that the navigated the entire globe.

Go on wild bulls! Godspeed.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Hound Dog Refuge

Somehow the canine population at Dammit Farms doubled over the weekend. Saturday evening, a little yellow hound dog wandered into our yard. He was hungry, all of his ribs were visible. He wore a collar, but no tag. He immediately seemed submissive to my own dogs, rolling on his back, and revealing his belly to them. We tried to keep the kids distant from him at first, but then we noticed his tail wagging every time one of the boys came near. Finally we let them pet him. He followed the kids around the yard, soaking in any and every bit of affection sent his direction. I had just fed my dogs the last of the dog food, and had planned to get some in the morning. Since this dog was so hungry, I found some leftover spaghetti to feed him. I have no doubt that the plate of the spaghetti was the best meal of that little hound's life. He sucked it up in seconds. We laid a blanket on the porch for him to lay on, and we were about to retreat inside for the evening when another dog was spotted peering through our front gate.

We invited the second dog in. This one, a cur hound, seemed much older, and a bit better nourished. It was clear that he and the yellow hound were familiar with each other. Once again, we cautioned the kids against getting too close to him. Once again, the kids would come near, and the cur's tail would wag. He, too, is a sweetheart who is hungry for affection, and is polite to my dogs. He aboded by all the "dog rules" and presented himself as a guest in my dogs' space. I gave him some of the leftover spaghetti too. We were joking that the other dog told him "hey, come on over! They're cool. They have spaghetti!"

The next morning my husband and I were getting ready for church, while my four and five year old checked on their new doggy friends outside. One of the boys comes running in "There's another dog!". My husband and I accused them of seeing things. My husband and I looked at one another. "There's no way." Sure as shit...there was a third dog standing outside our fence. This time it was a red bone hound. It's clear that he's older from the white hair on his face, he was pretty skinny, and he walks with a limp. He entered our property apprehensively, head lowered, and presented himself to our dogs. By this time I was almost hoping that the dog would turn out to be aggressive, or unfriendly so that we had an excuse not to take him in. Nope, not the case. The redbone, who my five year old cleverly named red, is as sweet as pie. He's old, and tired. I don't know where he came from, or what his life is like, but I can tell that he is craving peace. Barrett and Red have been inseparable for the past few days. Barrett checks on him before he gets on the bus, and finds him the second he gets home from school.

Since our canine refugees have arrived, we have treated them for fleas, bathed them (they were surprisingly receptive to a bath), treated the cur hound for ear mites, and fed them. They are appreciative of it all. I open my door to three wagging tails all happy to see me. My dogs have accepted their presence. We assured them that they are not being replaced. We have asked around to see if anyone is missing their dogs. Nope. We have theorized that someone went hunting, got too drunk, and lost all of their dogs. However, no hunter has been spotted looking for dogs in our area. I really think that someone just dumped these sweet animals in the country. I'm glad that they found us. I don' know what we'll do. We may try to find homes for them, or we may incorporate them into our family. Whatever happens, I have promised all three that their run of bad luck was over the day they walked through my gate.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Our Fartwork

I had been shopping around for some art to hang in my living room. It turns out that anything that I like is completely out of my price range, so I decided to make my own art. I stole an idea from my sister, Mona, and bought a canvas for us to "paint". I painted the background, and let the kids put their hand and footprints on it. Jason and I also added our hand prints. I couldn't NOT include the dogs, so I also stamped their paws. The paw stamp was a bit tricky. It turns out that Kaiser, our mastiff, doesn't like to have his paw restrained. He cried like I was trying to kill him, and then mouthed my hand in an attempt to remove it. Kaiser's paw is the blue smudge in the middle of the canvas. Dan, our obese coonhound, will do anything for a cracker, so he was no problem. Jules barely bothered to wake up. "Huh, what? What's going on? You're dipping my paw in paint. Alright, whatever. zzzzzzz"
I am not a crafty person. I have zero interest in Pinterest. I just don't have the patience to make a map of Oklahoma out of nails, and rubber bands. I have laundry to fold, and television to watch thankyouverymuch. So, this will likely be my one and only craft project for the year...unless you count the kids forcing me to make lopsided turtles out of playdoh. That, my friends, is why this artsy endeavor is notable.