My accomplishments, also: Spam

My therapist,  in an effort to get me to refocus, told me I should write about my accomplishments.  Something about giving me a better perspective on life or some such.  I told her just getting myself to therapy was an accomplishment. She did not accept that answer.  So here I am. 
I suppose what pushed me to write this tonight (after I’ve taken my ambien, so I apologize if this gets weird.  No wait.  I don’t apologize. If it gets weird just go with it,  okay?)  is the fact that I just tried Spam.  No that’s not really an accomplishment in and of itself.  However the realization of the fact that spam is just a flat square hotdog is pretty life changing.  Now,  I can’t prove that is the same as a hotdog because spam,  at least the spam I bought, did not have an ingredients list.  As disgusting as hotdogs can be (they are made out of mechanically separated leftovers!) they still put the ingredients on the packages.  Since spam cannot be bothered to tell me what, in fact,  it is made of so I have no other choice but to conclude that spam is made of spam. 
Now,  if we’re being completely correct here and spam is the smallest component in spam wouldn’t that make it an element on the Periodic Table?  Are there spam molecules? By this logic the answer is yes. Could I draw organic chemistry reactions with it? How many valance electrons does it have? Is it radioactive? If so what is the half-life of spam? (Okay,  probably not radioactive because FDA, but given its reputation you can’t blame me for asking.)


The answer is always resonance.

ALL of these questions flew through my mind in the few minutes it took me to eat most of one slice. (Emmex was bugging me so I gave him a few very small pieces but he was not impressed.)
It wasn’t bad,  but I don’t think I’d ever crave it. 
But this leads me into chemistry and that degree was an accomplishment. It took 6 years while juggling two toddlers,  a part-time job and teaching Sunday School to small people. I remember getting about 3/4 of the way through every semester then having a mental breakdown.  15 credits sucks when you have to come home and potty train, or make dinner,  or clean up the five pounds of flour one kid threw all over his brother. <- That one I can laugh about now. 
I finally graduated in '08 with my B.S. in Chemistry.  I was certainly not the highest achiever but I made it.  And I can hold that in my hands. 
Another accomplishment I have had,  which is technically still in progress,  is making decent human beings.  Seriously.  You push this tiny thing out of your vagina and the second air hits his or her face you worry about how good of a parent you will be.  You try not to screw them up too badly.  There have been so many times I wanted to just throw my hands up and yell,  "That's it Larissa!  You've ruined the children!"
There was the time just this last year I realized I had shown my kiddos more Dracula and Frankenstein and Zombie movies than Disney.  My youngest,  Devon,  actually pointed it out to me.  He had never seen The Lion King.  A few months later we finally sat down and watched it.  I thought I was being this awesome parent,  finally showing my 14 year old a movie all his friends had hyped up.  At the end he looked at me and said,  "I don't know why everyone said this was the best movie ever." I sighed, lamenting for half a second the fact that my kids have never been the stereotypical Disney kids. They grew up on Hellboy and Star Wars and Sherlock Holmes and Jurassic Park.  Truth be told,  while I enjoy Disney movies,  I'd really rather watch the other.  Our tradition four years running is to watch Zombieland while putting up the Christmas tree.
So far they're pretty awesome little men. They're caring and don't do drugs and get their chores done…eventually.  I'm very proud of the type of people they have become.  So yeah,  that's another accomplishment.
The rest aren't really so much accomplishments as little things I've done that aren't necessarily bad.  Like when I was going through an uber rough time this last fall I decided to do something to try and counteract all the shitty feelings by contacting a volunteer/charity group in Nepal (a country I absolutely love) and sent money to fund schooling etc for children in remote villages.  I received back a short letter and a picture of this sweet little nine year old girl. Really,  nothing will help distract you from your awful feelings better than knowing you helped someone.
I've installed a dishwasher, a thermostat,  refinished crappy thrift store furniture into decent looking pieces with sandpaper and paint,  installed a new light in the dining room,  made jewelry,  taken some seriously kickass photos, crocheted stuff that's useful like hats and sweaters….and at the end of the day I'm not satisfied with what I've done.  I should be doing more,  or doing better or just doing something. 
So okay,  I made a list of accomplishments.  This was actually pretty hard.  I know you've probably read this in just a few minutes but in full disclosure this has actually taken me four days of writing and rewriting and deleting and agonizing over whether or not to include other things.  (Also asking Emmex for advice when I was particularly stuck.  He was not very forthcoming. He did, however,  provide moral support in the form of purrs and snuggling.) So now I'm giving this list to the internet ether.  I may come back to look at it when I need a boost of morale or to remind myself that I still do not know what spam is made of. 


Stein’s Gate, a broken doorknob and Michigan winters

Michigan winters are cold. Pretty damn cold. Today I think the high was 12 and we’ve had about a foot of snow in 24 hours. Granted, this is definitely not the worst winter ever. The west side of the state gets a lot of lake effect snow and last year sucked giant donkey balls. We thought it would never end.

This year however has been unexpectedly mild. Do you have any idea how spoiled a Michigander can get with no snow until after Christmas?! We had glorious 50 degree days in December! It was like I was back in Missouri and we’d have to make sad little snowmen who were covered in leaves that were sticking out every which way because we didn’t have enough snow to make a proper one. Like seriously people. As a kid I wondered how people made these perfect looking snowmen with no leaves when there was barely any snow.

Fast-forward to 11 year old me,  moved to Michigan, and finally realizing that yes Virginia there is a snowy season. We never had much money growing up so it was always plastic grocery bag lined rubber boots for snow shoes and after 11 years of not having to deal with that sort of thing I never quite got the hang of walking in them. My feet would swish around inside the boots because they were a size too big because then I could wear them the next year. Nevermind my feet wouldn’t grow again until 9th grade. (Dudes and dudettes, I’m a size 6.5 and have been since then.) Anyway, I blame those plastic bags for the fact that I am especially ungraceful even when walking on dry level ground.

So back to today. I have locked myself into my house three times. The last time I said screw it and now I’m sitting on my couch re-watching Stein’s Gate (I have a couple friends who would be very happy to learn I’ve embraced a few animes) and drinking generic ginger ale. Generic because I lost my debit card last week, the new one hasn’t arrived yet, I used up all my checks and I could only find enough change to buy 69 cent pop and a can of cheap cat food. (The cat food was for Emmex…not me. I have never eaten cat food. Okay, I tried it once but that was back when I was 13 and we never bought our kitty wet food and I was watching a neighbor’s cat and I was curious to find out if it tasted as good as it smelled. The answer is no. :/ ) I would have fixed my doorknob but once again, it’s twelve degrees outside and I really enjoy having fingers.

So why the heck am I telling you all this?  Honestly I’m not completely sure, but I think it has something to do with not letting the crappy stuff get to you. Sometimes you just need to duct tape the hole in your door, pour yourself a glass of ginger ale, forget the wailing wind outside and watch a good show. Not everything needs to be fixed right away. Procrastination can be a good thing….for a little bit. Especially if you’re getting overwhelmed with a bunch of little things that keep piling up to make you want to tear your hair

Seriously, kittens, it’s cold out there. 

Shirley and such


“Here is Shirley in her pants….”

This was in a box of stuff my mom had saved from my childhood.  Look at that.  Look.  At.  That.  That,  my friends,  is nightmare fuel. 
Shirley in her pants has got to be one of the scariest things I found in that box.  (The envelope of hair from my first haircut came in a close second.)
I was a strange child.  I remember gluing googly eyes to plastic crayons which used to be hair ties. (Did I mention we were poor?) I was 9 and pretending my plastic crayon people were orphans because I didn’t have larger crayon people to be their parents. My oldest little brother and I also made a game about hotdogs and a chef who was going to cook them to death and a game about made up creatures called Squeakybites (How do I  put a trademark pending symbol in this document?) who lived in “eggs” made of our laundry baskets.  I’m so glad we were too broke to have a video camera.
I guess the point of me telling you all this is that kids are weird.  Kids are so so sooooo weird. But you have to let them have that weirdness.  My parents never tried to stifle my odd tendencies and quirks. They may have actually enjoyed them from time to time.  And I’ve tried to do the same for my boys.
My kids are weird and crazy and make me laugh.  They have awesome imaginations and great talents. 
Sorry for gushing so much but I think they’re the most stellar people I know.  And maybe someday I can give them a box full of nightmare fuel like Shirley in her pants so they know how much I love discovering all their weirdness.