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[expletive deleted] May 5, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — girljen @ 8:24 pm

I think it is time to set a goal for myself.  It is a mental challenge that could have some good emotional rewards as well…and it needs to be done.  I am going to stop swearing.

Why?  The obvious reason is that Liz has dropped the s-bomb before.  On a deeper level, having to mentally revise a statement to take out all the swear words will force me to think about everything else I’m saying in that statement.   That is where the emotional rewards come in.  Rethink the situation, take the anger out, add a little more mellow to the day.

Which words will be eliminated, and which ones will stay?  If network TV can say it, so can I!  Crap, sucks, balls, and somewhat-dirty words of that nature are fine.  If the words are normally bleeped out, they’re off-limits.

The only exceptions to this rule are those rare occasions when I get to go out with adults and no Liz.  Those are my breaks.  The rest of the time, I’m Serious Mom and I don’t swear.

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24-hour Laundry April 9, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — girljen @ 7:42 am

Liz has outgrown all of her 12-month clothes. Adding those to the pile of 6-month and 9-month clothes that we’ve been planning to donate made a huge mess of the bedroom, so much so that it created a trip hazard (and quite possibly a fire hazard, but a nice cushiony landing for the freak syncopal episode I had the other day).

I finally had to get my ass in gear and actually wash those clothes. In my home washing machine, that would have meant at least six loads of laundry. So, I had to go to the 24-hour laundromat.

It’s right in the middle of the sketchy part of town…and by “sketchy,” I mean, “really fun but don’t go there alone.” There are two theaters within blocks of the laundromat; both of them had shows going on. There are half a dozen bars in the area; judging by the crowds smoking outside of each bar, they were all crazy. Seeing all that, the most pressing issue on my mind was NOT how to get in on the party, but whether or not I’d find parking in the laundromat parking lot. I am officially a grown-up, and have jumped the shark thusly.

That laundromat is trying really hard to become a landmark. In a tongue-in-cheek way, it kind of is. Everyone recognizes it, everyone knows that it’s the only 24-hour laundromat in town. They’ve been making improvements; they have good video games and (w00t!) a Red Bull vending machine. They have the hugenormous washing machines that can hold 35 lbs. of laundry.

But just under the surface, that place is a soul-sucking pit of despair. I was panhandled three times.  I saw more homeless people than I could count get kicked out for loitering, including one on oxygen and one missing a leg. I saw the one employee on duty (who cleaned and cleaned and cleaned but the place never got any less dingy) get yelled at, once by a panhandler for not giving up any money, and once for not speaking enough English.

The quote of the night came from the guy using the machines next to mine; he was one of the loud guys who liked to yell at panhandlers. He had just finished folding his laundry, and he said to me, “Hey, will you watch my stuff? I don’t trust nobody here.” I wanted to point out to him that since he didn’t trust anyone, he probably shouldn’t let a complete stranger keep an eye on his stuff…but I didn’t want to get yelled at, or even talked to, so I just agreed and kept flipping through my Wired.

One Red Bull, one entire issue of Wired, and many unsettling experiences later, my laundry is done. I am never going to fall that far behind on laundry again…at least not for the next few months, until I forget what an awful place that laundromat is.

 

An atheist’s lecture on religious tolerance March 16, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — girljen @ 10:48 am
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I was raised without religion.

My husband was raised Mormon, but it didn’t stick. He’s an atheist. The contact I have with his family, combined with my experience in EMS (first as an EMT, now dispatching) and the fact that I live in the United States of America, has exposed me to many different views on religion.

I have noticed an alarming pattern, one which I don’t fully understand: the need for some atheists to openly show hate and intolerance toward religion.

I’ll start with a fairly minor example. Dispatcher Ms. W was telling Important Guy Mr. K (I don’t know his real title, all I know is that he’s the guy who prevents mutiny and he’s kind of my boss) about how a touching sermon had helped her make it through the day. She was going through a very hard time in her life. Dispatcher Ms. A piped up, “I don’t go to church, organized religion is some scary shit!”

Sure it is, Ms. A. It’s responsible for quite a few of the world’s problems. But not only was that a totally inappropriate thing to say, you just missed a HUGE point. Religion had just helped poor Ms. W through a situation that would have left her lost and despondent if not for the pastor’s words.

That’s just ignorance. The real hate comes when a person turns on the computer. The most recent flame I saw on a message board, the one that inspired me to start ranting, was this: Christian love — burn in hell. Have you seen Passion of the Christ — all that blood will inspire your hateful little Christian heart. You are the closed minded ones. … … You have ignored all the facts that we have presented, but have given none yourself — because you have NO FACTS to support your hateful, god and hell beliefs. … … There are no miracles, and there is no god, heaven or hell. Get over it, and get a real life sucker.

Yes, those words piss me off. No, I don’t believe in God. I’m not a Christian. I just don’t see why a person would feel entitled to make such vitriolic comments about another’s beliefs. Beliefs are part of one’s being.

A common argument is that “Christians try to push their beliefs on others.” By bashing Christianity, by saying that a person’s faith or a person’s church is wrong, the intolerant person is doing the exact same thing.

Whether or not there is a god is a moot point. Faith is a higher power in and of itself. It guides people who would otherwise be lost. It comforts people who desperately need comfort. And when a person is teetering on the line between life and death, prayer can save them. Do these things happen because God makes them happen, or because human will is just that strong? It doesn’t matter. Religion is NOT something to be discounted or belittled.

When someone prays, I respectfully bow my head. When someone talks (or posts) about how his or her faith changed things for the better, I am happy. When someone tells me, “God bless you,” I thank that person and take it as a compliment.

And when someone knocks on my door and asks me to join their church, I say, “No thank you, this is a secular household,” and leave it at that. When I see picketers who tell me that God hates homosexuality/reproductive choice/members of other religions/single mothers/etc., I turn the other cheek. Arguing would do no good; neither of our beliefs will change.

Spreading hate and intolerance will make anyone look like an asshole, be they Christian, Muslim, atheist, pagan, pastafarian, whatever.

 

This post brought to you by amoxicillin March 15, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — girljen @ 6:18 am
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I am currently undergoing my first-ever strep throat ordeal. It sucks!

Tuesday and Wednesday, I thought I had a cold. I had a few sniffles…whatever. Thursday morning at about 0100, I woke up feeling like I had swallowed a porcupine! By the ‘morning’ (when everyone else wakes up), I was so achy and miserable and feverish that all I could do is lay in bed and cry. I’m normally not like that. Mom casually mentioned that Little Bro had strep throat. DAMMIT!

I figured I should call the doctor, to either rule out strep or get antibiotics so I could work on Sunday. We’re short-handed, so I really can’t miss work. Well, I guess I could in an emergency, but I’d feel like the world’s biggest asshole. We’re also short paramedics, and the person most likely to cover my shift is a paramedic who works the front half overnight shift. So, we’d be down another paramedic, and that’s not good.

Anyway, I went to the doctor. She stuck things down my throat. That bitch! Then she told me that I have strep, which sucks, but she gave me a prescription for amoxicillin. I had no idea how awesome that stuff is!

I spent all of yesterday feeling miserable. I spent a good portion of today feeling crappy. The in-laws saved my ass by agreeing to watch Liz today and tomorrow while Stephen’s out of town. Normally, I would have loved to have kept her, but I couldn’t do it yesterday (probably not today, either). Now that it’s 1215 in the morning, and I’ve taken a couple more pills, I feel pretty good! By tomorrow, I’m going to feel like I’m back to my old self!

And that means…….I get to clean house. Hooray.

 

Who am I? March 12, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — girljen @ 7:28 am
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I’m Jen.

I am a 26-year-old married woman living in the suburbs.  I am nerdy and indoorsy.  I like coffee, chocolate, the Discovery Channel, dogs, and football.  I don’t like olives, emotional excess, or shopping for shoes.  I am easily amused.

I am Liz’s mom.

Liz was born on April 24, 2007.   She’s our first and only.  She is a handful.  She’s also ridiculously cute, incredibly silly, and full of surprises.  Being a mom, especially a first-time mom, is hard.  I never knew there were so many ways to second-guess myself!

 I am Stephen’s wife.

We’ve known each other for longer than we haven’t.  He’s the best partner ever.  I try to pull my weight.  Being married takes a lot of work, but it also makes life easier.

I’m an ambulance dispatcher.

I can’t write too much about the specifics, because I don’t want to splash big ol’ HIPAA violations all over the internet (Hi Mr. Clinical Director!).  But coworker drama and lamentations about the sorry state of the world are fair game.

I’m a twin.

I have a twin brother.  We don’t have ESP, we don’t feel each other’s pain, but we do have our own language (written, not spoken).  Yes, we’re very close; he’s that one person who I can tell absolutely everything to.  I don’t know, or care to know, where he is at all times.  He is an EMT. I dispatch him sometimes.  I give him crappy calls and it’s funny.

Why am I here?

There are approximately eleventy billion blogs on the internet.  Many of them have to do with parenting, marriage, lamenting the sorry state of the world, and posting funny pictures and videos.   So what qualifies me to start yet another blog dealing with all of the above?

 I have some life experience.  It’s different from yours.  I have ideas and opinions.  I make mistakes.  They’re usually educational.  Sometimes they’re funny, too.  I give advice, but only if I’m sure I know what I’m talking about.  If that works for you, read on.

You’ve probably seen me around.

I’m similar to most people.  I’m not really “the same” as anyone, not even Twin Bro…but you’ve seen people like me at the playground or the mall or the coffee shop.  And if you’ve ever called for an ambulance, you’ve talked to someone like me.