Twin Cities Women’s March

After a bit of hemming and hawing, I decided that the Women’s March was so important that we needed to attend.

My mental Pro/Con List looked something like this:

Pros:

  1. This is an incredibly important, once-in-a-lifetime event
  2. As an OBGYN, I am all-in for equal rights and women’s rights, especially reproductive freedom
  3. I am a feminist
  4. As parents, both Spouse and I thought this was a tremendous opportunity for the kids to see activism in action
  5. I could go on with about 100 more points like this…

Cons:

  1. I’d already driven the 200+ mile round trip between our current city and the Twin Cities twice this week. With my new job I’ve been staying in a hotel from Monday to Friday, but this week I had an early morning dentist appointment on Friday and drove home Thursday night after work (in terrible fog and icy rain) and then did the whole round trip Friday. Going to the March meant I had to do it again on Saturday, too. In the best case scenario, I hate driving. In this case, I really detested the nail-biting road conditions.
  2. I thought that parking and the crowds might be a hassle
  3. While I believed that things would be peaceful, I had a tiny worry that some nut job might do something crazy and I didn’t want to put my kids in danger
  4. The real reason: I hate being even *slightly* physically uncomfortable in the cold. My temperature comfort zone ranges from approximately 70-73 degrees Fahrenheit, and this March was taking place in January in Minnesota.

Even in my head, I knew the Con List was totally lame and the right thing to do was to go. Sometimes I grumble about things, but in the end I almost always Do The Right Thing, and the March was something we could not miss.

MGM (9) and I set off on Saturday morning. [Trixie (7) had a birthday party to attend and Spouse brought her later in the morning. MGM and I never saw them, but we knew they were there].

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Proof

The temps were in the mid 30s and there were periods of rain on our drive to the March. We had zero issues with travel and parked without a problem in the parking garage of the Minnesota Science Museum, which was about a half mile from the organizing point for the March. We joined the crowds walking to the starting point. The mood was upbeat. People were incredibly friendly. It felt great.

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Shortly after we got to the organizing point, I got a call from my friend and work partner, P., who had arrived with her daughter. We met them and then the March started. The crowd was estimated to be more than 60,000 people.

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There were so many witty signs along the way. This was MGM’s favorite:

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Pizza rolls, not gender rolls.

This one is even harder to see, but I loved it:

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You can’t comb over misogyny.

One speaker I was excited to hear at the rally was Ilhan Omar, the first Somali-American lawmaker in the United States.  She was elected in November to the State Congress. She received huge applause and was very inspiring.

The funniest thing I saw all day was a dog wearing a Donald Trump wig. I wish I would have taken a picture of it because it was so hilarious. This is NOT the dog, but I googled this and found an entire costume from My Best Friend Boutique:

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Remarkably, the rain held off during the rally and with temps in the mid-30s but appropriate winter gear, I was never cold. Not even a bit.

In the end, I couldn’t have imagined Not Going. The spirit, camaraderie and energy were incredible. I was lucky to be a part of this. I think my 60,000 new friends would all agree it Felt Important.

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After we left the rally, we had lunch and I told MGM we could go to the Science Museum if he wanted. He did. This was a bit of quid pro quo on my part, since the March wasn’t his top idea for a Saturday.

They had an interesting exhibit about medical quackery. This is a “brain tester” from the 1920s:

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MGM and I also did an experiment to extract DNA from wheat germ. This took about 20 minutes to complete.

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The last step was a show-stopper: DNA floated through a layer of alcohol to form a swirly cloud in a test tube. We were both impressed.

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We drove home without incident, cooked a meal together as a family and called it a night.

It was a successful Saturday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Chore List

Trixie’s (7) been angling for a while to get a toy she saw on TV, a Shopkins Happy Home.

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At $29.99, it wasn’t outrageously expensive (although overpriced for what it is), but it also wasn’t cheap enough to make it something I’d randomly let her get during our weekly Target run.

She saved her allowance ($5/week) and Tooth Fairy money until she reached $22. 

Close but no cigar.

We agreed that she could get the toy this week and earn the rest by doing chores around the house.

She made a list:

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Translation:

  • Make every bed in house
  • Do laundry (maybe)
  • Clean living room and keep clean

I’ll remain optimistic about the list, but I’m also not holding my breath for ironed linens and hospital corners on my bed.

Wax Museum

Last Tuesday night, amidst the usual evening chaos (scrounging for dinner/homework/backpack emptying/form signing/lunch packing/laundry folding/washing/brushing/grooming kids before bedtime arguments start), MGM (9) informed me that he needed a costume for a school project. 

Before Thursday.

His class would be presenting a Wax Museum project, which apparently is a Thing nowadays. (When I mentioned this to my co-workers, all unanimously chimed in about their kids’ Wax Museum experiences).

Here’s the idea: each kid would choose an explorer and dress as him/her. They would pretend  to be wax figures in a museum and museum goers would press a “button” to bring the character to life. The wax figure would then recite a narrative about his/her adventures.

Back to Tuesday night: I asked MGM about what other kids were going to be. The near-unanimous answer seemed to be astronauts.

Except for MGM, who decided to be Hugh Glass, who is the character Leonardo DiCaprio plays in “The Revenant.”

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This guy.

(Why, oh, why, did he choose this? He hasn’t even seen the movie).

Luckily, we had an old Robin Hood Halloween costume that my sister made for her own kids many years ago stashed away in our laundry room closet. I was able to re-purpose the costume’s shirt and pants, plus fashion a “bear claw” necklace from a fake tooth thingy and a piece of cord. The final touch was a fur collar that MGM wore as a headband.

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It turned out better than expected, especially on short notice.

The best part, though, was that I decided I would be a patron of the Wax Museum. It was in the middle of Thursday afternoon and if I tried hard enough, I could re-configure my schedule to attend.

But the unflattering secret is that there have been many similar events over the past four years where I haven’t re-configured my schedule to attend. Either from real or perceived busyness, I didn’t make them a priority. And I am sad about that.

With my recent changes and priority shifting, however, it was clear that I would show up.

When I arrived at the school, MGM was in the middle of a recitation of Hugh’s story, which included jerking to life and roaring like a bear when his imaginary button was pressed. (This was extremely popular among the younger kids).

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When he saw me, he stopped mid-sentence: “Mom! You came to the Wax Museum! This is the first time you’ve ever come to anything! I’m so happy!

Cue simultaneous happiness and sadness on my part. My eyes felt leaky.

I listened to every single figure in that museum. Even with a glut of astronauts, it was really fun. I was proud of MGM and in the end, I loved the originality of his choice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Movie Problem

As I mentioned earlier in the week, MGM and the babysitter watched the opening credits of a movie last weekend that was deemed “too scary.”

Even though the TV quickly was shut off, the damage was done. 

MGM was crying about the movie’s beginning and said that he couldn’t remember exactly what was scary about it, but he knew it was scary – so scary that he couldn’t even try to remember it in order to explain WHY it was terrifying.

For reference, this movie was “Cowboys & Aliens,” a 2011 movie starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford and Olivia Wilde. I haven’t seen it, but the plot according to Wikipedia looks pretty stupid. 

As a pure outsider, I would deem it “scary” in the sense that relatively high-profile stars were somehow coerced (blackmailed?) into appearing in this theatrical dud, but not “scary” in sense of Things That Go Bump In the Night.

But I’m also not nine years old.

Spouse and I felt bad for MGM to the point that we acquiesced to his request to not sleep alone.

I let him sleep with me in our king bed (with Spouse relegated to the guest room or sofa) for two nights, and then I began to get suspicious over his pleas that the “Movie Problem” was still in full force.

Exhibit A:

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This card shows some Minecraft toy sets that are available for purchase.

Close up of the accompanying note:

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I think I’ve been had.

 

 

 

Humbling

Life is so humbling for me.

Spouse and I spent part of the weekend out of town (kids stayed behind at Fancy Pants Ranch with a 20-year-old babysitter), and it included two important meals. 

The first was dinner with another couple we do not know well, and I have to admit I was nervous going into it.

As a person who enjoys public speaking, live TV events and performing surgery, feeling nervous is an unusual state for me.

They are extremely elegant, worldly and sophisticated. Often, I am not.

While I joke that I am best described as someone with toilet paper stuck to her shoe, I discovered during champagne at their beautiful home that I literally had a wet leaf stuck to my foot. I discreetly removed it and put it in my Prada handbag. This may be the first and last time someone ever did that.

Ostensibly, the dinner was phenomenal. The food was great, the conversation flowed well and I left energized and excited for the future.

The next day we had breakfast with our friends P. and T., but there was also an agenda to discuss a huge undertaking we’ve got in the works.

That, too, went well, but the underlying stress of the weekend eventually caught up with me.

When Spouse and I returned home on Sunday afternoon, we were greeted with disarray.

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Not quite this, but you get the idea

MGM (9) and Trixie (7) had taken every last pillow in our home (and I have an insane quantity of regular and decorative pillows) and created a fort in the living room. 

Our 15-year-old toy poodle had peed in our bedroom.

And pooped in the dining room.

A (nice) bottle of wine was empty, although I really can’t blame the babysitter. I might have done the same.

MGM was crying over a scene in a movie they watched that was deemed “too scary,” even though it had been turned off after the opening credits.

Toys were scattered everywhere.

Dishes were piled in the sink.

And then, Trixie was jumping on our ottoman into the pillow fort and landed just right so that she smashed and broke one of the doors on our TV cabinet.

I lost it. 

I yelled at her to look at what she did and she immediately ran off and started crying.

Spouse kept his head together and started in on the sink. The babysitter exited. MGM was still crying about the movie.

I was seeing red but pulled it together enough to make a first stab at apologizing to Spouse and Trixie.

And then realized I needed to go to the gym.

One thing I learned recently: when I’m in stressful situations, I should try to step outside myself and check in, asking myself how I’m feeling and why. This doesn’t come naturally to me. Maybe it’s obvious and intuitive to you.

What I understood in that moment: I’ve got a big, exciting new thing coming to me. And while all signs point to it being awesome, it’s still scary and there are parts that are going to be messy and not in my control. 

So I went to the gym with MGM and Trixie. A therapeutic treadmill hour later, we were headed home. I had (almost) forgotten it all.

At a stoplight, I heard a tentative voice from the backseat.

Trixie: Mom, are you still mad at me?

Gut punch.

My anger had diffused nearly two hours prior, but she was still wondering. I felt awful, as I should.

Me: No, Sweetie. I love you and am sorry for losing my cool. I’m not mad. I do want you to be more careful in the future, but I always, always love you.

She accepted the apology. 

Ever the comedian, MGM stepped in:

Just think, Mom, there could be seven of us! Then you’d really come home to chaos.

Again, life is so humbling.

 

 

 

 

 

Here We Go Again

School starts today…

Which meant that yesterday involved a frantic scramble to organize the massive pile of school supplies that the kids and I threw into an overflowing cart at Target last weekend.

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What $330 looks like

Our kids’ school pools supplies, so all of the crayons, markers, etc. go into a communal stash. This takes some of the pressure off of deciding which cartoon character notebook gets purchased, but still. Last weekend in the school supply section of Target, the struggle was real. At least three moms made a dive for the lone yellow plastic folder at the end of the aisle. It wasn’t pretty.

At the end of last year, I also basically gave up on preparing the kids’ lunches.

Forget this:

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I could barely muster up this:

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This year I’m determined to do better and I’m referencing this list of school lunch ideas from Food.com.

At least for the first week of classes…

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First day from three years ago. They were so tiny! Sniff.