I’m More Dude Than Most Dudes You Know

 

A good friend (yes Dink you are) recently said to me:

Wendy you are more dude than most dudes I know

I can’t stop thinking about it, and let me just say without reservation it is quite possibly the BEST Compliment I have ever gotten. I have been waiting almost a lifetime to hear such praise from my fellow human. I am sorry it took so long, but thankful it was someone I respect so much for being all over awesome that it was indeed a compliment I know was said with merit and not just a pick up line.

I would love to pin point exactly what this cool fellow meant when he said that great line to me, I doubt I could because I do not see me through his eyes. But I think all girls should try to be a little more dude like, you know, for the good of female kind and all that.  So I have compiled a list of things that make me “more dude than most dudes you know” just to help out those ladies in the audience who have forgotten why guys are cool and why we are often so unbelievably lame (trust me, we are).

It is with all due respect to myself I compile this list, let me stress that I am indeed also very female and some might even call me attractive (some, not all; I am nothing if not humble), IMG_1057cmbut I guess when I call you up out of the blue and ask for help trouble shooting my truck’s “death wobble” I get a few props for being just a little well hung (figuratively speaking).

  1. I named my dog Rutger, after the actor (as most men guess) not the university (like most women assume).rutgerbw
  2. I know what a Chiltons Manual is and how to use it. Yes, I was disturbed when my husband said “What’s that?”.
  3. My “purse” is smaller than most men’s wallets. I consider most women’s purses to be carry on luggage. Below is my “big” purse.IMG_1017m
  4. I only own one pair of jeans. I do not have a fancy pair, a fat pair, a skinny pair, a dark pair, or a pair with a strategic hole. I have 1 pair. Period.
  5. I only have 1 piercing (in my ear, don’t be gross). My husband has 4. Enough said.
  6. I own big dogs. None of my dogs would fit in a purse or can be hand carried anywhere. Anything with 4 legs was meant to walk, trust me.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  7. I own a gun and before children I used to keep it under the bed; then I would practice and execute perfect commando rolls to retrieve it.
  8. I smell my clothes to determine their cleanliness.
  9. I might be able to build a pipe bomb. I admit nothing, deny everything.
  10. It takes my husband longer to get ready for a date than me. He’s bald, what is he doing in there?IMG_2460
  11. I love science and engineering and learning how things work.
  12. My “makeup kit” consists of sunscreen, Chapstick, and eyeliner.

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My point in all this, besides being grateful that someone finally sees how supertastic I am, is to remind women that most of what we do as women is a waste of time. No seriously. Our culture, society, media, or whatever you want to call it has us convinced that we need to be a certain way, look a certain way, and have a certain level of maintenance attached to us because we are women. That men will never want us if we don’t look like super models or we don’t carry a bag of all the items necessary to keep us “put together” for the day.

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Women have become a joke; high maintenance creatures that spend countless hours of our lives on fruitless pursuits that mean very little in the grand scheme of the world and even our own lives. We put on our masks (makeup) and decorate ourselves (manicures) in a way that make most men roll their eyes with anything BUT admiration. We have lost the respect of the very partners we hope to win. We have stopped using our brains for anything more than how to apply a great eyeliner or when is the right time to do a pore minimizing mask. We have stopped using our bodies for anything more than bait. We are helpless when it comes to getting things done and we worry about our hair, clothes, and shoes when life presents a real problem for us to solve. Really, everyone should know how to change a tire, more importantly though, women should be able to do it without being worried about how we look while doing it.

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Don’t get me wrong, ladies, I love ya, I really do. I just could never be you. I’d rather my husband look at me adoringly because I fixed his death wobble or trained his dog to shake, than because my hair looks perfect and my ass looks good in those pants. I prefer his look of adoration when I flip the giant tractor tire because he is admiring my ability, my strength, my resolve, more than the amazing legs I’ll attain by flipping it a bunch of times. I love that when something goes wrong with the TV or he needs his Xbox hooked up he calls me over to troubleshoot and seems genuinely proud that I can make his worries go away. Sure his eyes may gloss over when I explain how buffering works and why Netflix works better on my iPhone than our Blu-ray player, but I know deep inside he is grateful that one of us knows why and can solve the problem so we can watch more episodes of Breaking Bad.DSC_0058

I spent a few years in my younger days obsessed with looking perfect. I spent money on clothes and makeup and shoes ( I won’t lie I still like shoes I just don’t buy them anymore), and what I learned from that was happiness didn’t come from standing on the sidelines looking good, it came from jumping in the fray and getting dirty, sweating my ass off, snorting when I laugh, and taking risks. 020_20

All things dudes do. I discovered that the time I spent in front of the mirror was better spent under a car or digging a fire pit. DSC_0156I learned how to truly get shit done and have fun while doing it. I will never be the girl pushing her boobs together and bending over in front of a cop to get out of  a ticket. I hope I am always the girl the cop secretly wishes was his wife because I am such a kick ass driver he feels a little guilty for pulling me over.KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

I take pride in my ability to be gentle and kind, feminine and strong. I am thankful that genetics have given me a fair deal and that I cry probably more than I should and that I will always, always think with my heart first. But I take far more pride in being “like a dude” because when someone says that, what they really mean is I am smart, capable, fun, interesting, low maintenance, and easy to get a long with. I can’t imagine a greater compliment than that. Sure you can tell me I’m pretty, but that doesn’t hold a candle to calling me “Dude”.IMG_2809

So women, I implore you, stand up, heed the call. Rise to the occasion of your own potential and life. Stop the hair twirling and pouty expressions. Stop the selfie post with duck lips and instead gloat about your accomplishments in life. Start living. Because as far as I know, you only get the one life. So you can choose to spend it on maintenance and upkeep (things that get harder and more time consuming as we age with little to no actual return on the investment), or you could spend it laughing and scraping dirt out from underneath your broken finger nails making friends who may not remember that you once looked hot at that dinner party, but instead will remember how fun and thrilling you were climbing up that rock face. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATrust me, it is way better. So get out there dudes, put the lipstick down, take those high heels off (they are only giving you a bad back and deformed feet anyway).

Live, learn, experience, risk, create.

Make being a girl something I would consider as high a compliment as being more dude than most dudes you know.

PS. You can still look good doing it :)

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What I am reading: Reached by Ally Condie it is the third book in a trilogy of YA dystopian novels. I am strangely addicted to the dystopian novels at the moment. BTW I need iBooks money, this 3 books a week thing is killing my wallet.

What I am listening to: House of Gold by 21 Pilots

What else I am listening to: Compass Lady Antebellum my heart has never led me astray.

Inspirations from the ether: We take so much for granted here.

Now moment: Nothing beats Christmas Morning with two little kids. Magic is real.

 

banana + triangle ≠ God

On Christmas Eve I went to church. It is the church I went to as a child, the church I have not set foot in in over 20 years. I went looking for something, my sister perhaps. The church had changed as things do over time and in our memories. The people had changed too. I enjoyed the carols, the singing, the stories. I did not find what I was looking for, something to fill the hole where my sister used to live inside me. At some point I will have to accept that she is truly gone and the only things left of her are the impact she had on the people she touched and the words she left behind. I will have to be content with her in my memory and dreams.  I also didn’t find God there in “his ” house. I’m sorry to my believer friends, I worry they will judge me or feel sorry for me. I am mad at myself that I fear my friends judgment. None the less it is there in my heart. The following is how I feel about God, take it or leave it, it is my truth.

I am a scientist. Even before I had the legit college degree to prove it, I was a scientist. As a child I studied the world around me; I didn’t ask why is the sky blue, I asked how can it change color? I didn’t think about gold at the end of the rainbow, I considered what makes a rainbow happen and why don’t I see more of them. From a very young age to this moment in time, I deal in the tangible world that can be studied, observed or dissected to find answers. This does not mean I am devoid of faith or the ability to believe in things that have yet to be proven or cannot be seen with the naked eye.

Christmas is an interesting time of year for me because I do not believe in God. I do not celebrate the birth of a man called Christ, though I do think it is fun to say “Happy Birthday Jesus”. I do celebrate the spirit of giving and loving that Christmas holiday has evolved into. I am neither angered by nor interested in “Jesus is the reason for the Season” and I do not begrudge my family and friends who choose to believe in a higher power; it is their right to believe or have faith in whatever strikes their fancy. I believe this is part of the human condition, and who am I to judge this? I don’t say this with a niggling of doubt that there might actually be a Supreme Being and I want to hedge my bets, I say this because I really believe that life is hard and if believing in or worshiping something that can neither be seen or proven makes you feel better or helps you make sense of the world around you than I am glad you can find such peace. It is not my view, and I don’t understand it, but please don’t let me stop you from investing in your decision.  And I ask the same respect from you, please stop disrespecting my decision or lack of religion; and for all that is good and “holy” in your world, PLEASE stop praying for me. I’m all set, thanks.

I love the certainty of science and math. I love critical thinking and logical arguments. I enjoy cohesive thoughts that move from A to B with clear and brilliant strokes of genius and dependable theories or facts that encourage in depth thought and wonders to ponder. I love that 1+1=2 and that if I am presented with 1+X=2 I have a proven way to solve for X. I do not have to take it on faith that X is 1, nor do I need to make giant leaps in logic to believe that X=1; all I need is cohesive algebraic math to get me from point A to point B. It is sort of like Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Now, before you get your hackles raised listen to my thought process. Before you make a decision on how you feel about what you think I am going say, please just actually listen to my words. Darwin’s theory has not been entirely proven within a shadow of a doubt, this is why it is still called a theory instead of a law or fact. This is as opposed to Newton’s “LAW” of gravity, it is a provable fact. Anyhoo, the Theory of Evolution makes a coherent cohesive argument for evolution as the process by which man, and other species of animals and plants, came into being. It gives specific examples and demonstrations throughout not only time but through a species lifecycle that support the theory (some would say prove the theory), almost to the point of it being accepted as fact. Science may be missing the proverbial missing link that prevents true “proof”, but they have done a damn fine job of filling in enough gaps that it is hard to refute the theory (of course you can choose not to see the proof but that is a different blog altogether).

So, given the wealth of information and examples available to support Darwin’s idea, I can easily accept the rest that we have not yet proven on blind faith because it passes the logic test. In a world full of infinite possibilities for the creation or development of man, this theory has more than lived up to the need for supporting evidence. If you disagree then go back to school, disagreeing because it conflicts with your “faith” is not the same thing as being able to explain why it is all a bunch of bunk. For me, science prevents the belief in an Omnipotent Creator because 1+1=2, it never equals 4 and it certainly never equals banana. I think at the very least we can all agree on that. If you want to argue that 1+1 does equal banana then please just stop reading now and move on to more sensible blogs that talk about fairies and leprechauns.

Now back to this God fellow. Religion is based on faith and “history” books written by men who had a goal or objective that included convincing other men to believe in a God. Sorry that is not disputable, the goal for writing the Bible, and other religious texts, was and will always be to convince man there is a higher power to worship and guide his actions.  I get this. I really do. I understand laws to govern actions and faith to believe if we follow them good things will happen. I even get faith to believe in things we cannot see and cannot prove, after all I have already admitted that I have faith in evolution and that it has not been technically proven, so you can see I am nothing if not flexible. But to ask me to believe in God is asking me to disengage from my logical side. The side that wants equations to work out, to have a logical answer or a cohesive argument why they don’t work out. Don’t get me wrong, I know a person can be a person of science and be religious, I have two dear friends that are doctors and are also very dedicated Christians. But when I ask them, or any other believer, to make a logical argument for God that includes at least some verifiable facts they all sort of stare out into space and bring up faith or feelings. Well, faith is all good and well, I have faith, a lot of it actually, but faith does not make banana+triangle=God no matter how you try to spin it.

I am not asking for the Almighty himself to come down from the heavens and speak to me about my eternal soul. I am not asking to witness a miracle (which frankly I think are just a wonderful happenstance and crazy collisions of just the right elements). All I am asking for is a cohesive, logical argument based on facts that show or at least provide a case for a God to exist. Telling me I have to rely on faith is telling me that X in the above equation could equal any number, but respectfully, no it can’t. Telling me that the Bible is a history book that proves the events happen, will only cause me to produce many “history” books man has written over time that have little or nothing to do with actual verifiable history. Fiction is fun and entertaining, it can even seem real and so engaging you wish you could be in that world, but fiction is still fiction, and other than other religious texts, there is no corroborating evidence that any of the religious texts are anything more than stories written to convince men to follow a leader or control their actions (also sometimes known as propaganda).

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to upset anyone, some of my very best friends believe in God, and like I said I am happy for them. I often think my life would be easier if I could “give my problems to God” “be absolved of all my sins” or “know” that I will see my sister in the after life so I can stop mourning her in this one. You have no idea what a huge relief that would be to me, how much I wish that I could let down my logical brain and set my desire for truth to the side so I could just “let go and let God”. Whew! I mean I really get it.

In my sister’s last days, from what I can piece together, she was looking for God to help her, looking for some being to take away her burdens or help her understand her life. She was looking for peace and understanding and forgiveness. What she got was a line about God never giving you more than you can handle and a big old fashioned guilt trip for being unable to handle what the “good” Lord apparently felt she deserved or could manage. In fact, she couldn’t deal with what was happening to her, no one could have dealt with it, believer or not.

The bottom line is wanting to believe and wanting to find peace because of religion or a Supreme Being is fine if that works for you. If you can honestly sit down and say you are good with banana+triangle=God then good for you. I prefer to look inside myself for strength. I prefer to ask myself what is the right thing to do. I prefer to forgive myself instead of hoping someone else will. I prefer to love myself instead of needing to be loved by a “Father”. I prefer to stand tall, and believe in my own strength of character and ability to think logically to help me through life. I believe in love, I believe in respecting and supporting others. I believe in logic and sound reasoning. I believe in 1+1=2.

So in this holiday season, whether you are a believer or an atheist, I am on your side. No need to argue with me. However, I have seen far more tragedy, death, judgment, and pain in the name of religion than I have ever seen from those who don’t believe and instead hold themselves accountable for their actions and their words (as opposed to a religious being or belief).  So you can keep your banana and triangle, and I’ll keep my algebra. I don’t need to hedge my bets on this one. I feel pretty confident that if there were to be such a being, truly out there in the ether, who actually created me in his own image, that he will totally get and forgive my need for logic. But either way, I’m okay.

5 Parenting Choices That Will Make You Cringe

Until You Really Think About Them and Realize Their Brilliance

I often wondered what choices I would make when I became a parent. How would I choose to raise little people? What mistakes would I make? What strokes of brilliance would I have? And when it all came down to it, I realized that the best I could do was be a thoughtful parent that made choices based on logic, reasoning, and my own experience. I had no intention of doing exactly what my mother did or what others told me I should do. I had every intention of raising good people. I remember my mother once told me that as long as I was a better mother than she was I would be doing parenting right. She didn’t mean that she was a terrible parent, she just felt there was always room for improvement and since she had given me the gift of critical thinking I should be able to improve on her methods.

As it stands now I KNOW my husband and I do things all the time that make other parents jaws drop, make them stare at us openly in public, and make them laugh full and complete belly laughs at our audacity. Interestingly enough, when those parents get to know us and our boys better (like those at Gymboree every Saturday) they always say, you guys have the best little boys, they are so sweet, so thoughtful, so brave, so giving. So excuse me if I feel really awesome right now, but I totally am.

Here are the top 5 choices we have made as parents that will make you cringe until you really think about them, and then I bet you try at least one of them for yourself:

Grazing-

Yeah yeah, I know I have heard it a million times from every source imaginable, feed your kids three meals a day. Sit down at a table for dinner so you can really connect and be mindful of the food and family. This is the worst advice I have ever heard. We don’t even own a table, no really ask anyone who has been to my house. My boys are presented with food on a plate three times a day. They eat standard fare like “little trees”, apples, string cheese, and peas. They get pancakes, turkey, squash, tilapia, salmon, and sweet potatoes. Some of it they eat, some of it they don’t. I am far more concerned with what they are presented with than what they actually consume. They rarely sit down to eat but run around like silly hooligans as they play rushing by to eat a bite or two. In between meals they can snack on what they want in the amount they want. We have no sugar or deserts, one of my boys has celiac so we also have no foods with gluten, and absolutely no juice; but other than that they can request yogurt, peaches, bananas, muffins, or protein bars.  So why should you try this?

My boys eat in moderation, they eat when they are hungry, they stop when they are full, and we never fight over finishing their food. My boys have never been afraid to try new foods or to say no thank you. They never suffer from crashing blood sugar or spikes in blood sugar that lead to behavior problems and tantrums. They don’t worry about food or stress about “meal times”. They don’t crave or ask for sweets because they are always sated. They fall asleep at naps because they aren’t hungry or stuffed. They have learned moderation because nothing is scarce. Food is energy, end of story.

If your concern is the lack of family time, I say that is a myth our culture created. We connect on a much deeper level playing games or doing crafts. My boys share more about their day walking around the block than they do staring at a plate of food they don’t want. We talk and bond at bath time or while reading books. I can’t imagine trying to get any child under the age of 8 to enjoy sitting still at a table, politely eating, “bonding” with family (what is the bond there anyway?). The thought gives me the willies. No wonder most families fight at the dinner table.

Bikes in the house-

I think I actually saw some of you physically recoil from your computer screens. :) I let both of my sons ride their “bikes” in the house, even after they have ridden them outside! I know I’m not supposed to let them do this because they should have respect for the house and they are “outside” toys. I understand the concern of riding into furniture and walls and each other. I get the worry that they will somehow grow up to be adults who ride bikes in houses… oh wait, that isn’t a concern?? Exactly. So why should you do this?

My oldest son is not yet four and he can ride a bike. That is right, you heard me. He has been practicing and honing his craft for two years in the comfort and safety of his own home with carpet to cushion his crashes. He even sets up ramps and obstacles to ride over, under, and thru. The experience and bravado he learned inside has translated to his riding outside and the fearless way he takes falling in stride. Riding inside has given him extra time to practice at his own pace, in an environment that felt safe. When presented with a bike that had training wheels he actually couldn’t understand what on earth those were for. And this is not my brave child. This is my think everything thru a hundred times and decide it is too dangerous child. In addition it prevented that pent up little boy craziness that comes from not getting enough physical activity.

If you are worried about your home, carpets, walls, furniture and such then I suggest you rethink your priorities. Living things trump material things EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK. In other words, walls can be patched, furniture can be replaced, and bruises will heal. Any damage he has done to the interior of our home was minor and his fun and new skills riding a bike far out weigh any collateral damage he left behind. If anything, it taught him more respect overall because now he understands just how easily things can get broken or dented. He can navigate without hitting anything now, except his brother, which I highly suspect is intentional. They are boys after all.

Foul Language-

I cuss. I mean like all the time. I would have named my blog mommy has a potty mouth but some bitch stole the name first.  I’ve never had a clean mouth but working with Marines and having mostly male friends hasn’t helped me any. I’d like to tell you that I don’t cuss around my children. I understand that people think this makes kids disrespectful or it causes them to cuss. I won’t lie my two year old has said the word “shit” and as he did so I held back laughter as I told him that was a grown up word and he could use it when he was older. We listen to music with foul language too. Not the disrespect women and authority music with foul language just normal music where people occasionally say Fuck. I thought my mother was going to have another heart attack when she realized my children were saying “This is fucking awesome” a lyric to Macklemore’s Thrift Shopping. See below. So why should you do this?

The main reason should be obvious to anyone who ever was a kid. Making certain words taboo or forbidden only makes kids want to say them more. Seriously, they are just like dogs; any behavior that gets attention will be repeated and often. If you lose your shit every time your child utters a word you find distasteful, you can bet your ass they will do it more often. What I have found is my kids actually do not repeat these words in conversation, ever. They sing them, they repeat them immediately after I say them, but because they don’t know when to use them or what they really mean, it isn’t part of their regular everyday vocabulary. We’ve discussed that when they get older they can say them too, when the time is right and the situation calls for it- just like every other word. I mean seriously, who hasn’t cussed after stubbing a toe or hitting their funny bone? There is only so many times I can scream “Mother…. of pearl inlay” instead of “mother fucker”.

Side note* In addition, they also know their penis is a penis but it isn’t like I hear them yelling it on the playground. I was proud however when my 3 year old son yelled “Mommy hold my penis please!!” As he covered his ears in the bathroom at an Avalanche game because the auto flush toilet was too loud for him and well, someone had to hold the penis to prevent urine from going everywhere. I think the other people enjoyed it to, if laughter is any indicator.

No sharing-

We’ve all heard it, its important to share. Children must learn to share so they grow up to be nice adults who are respectful of others and their feels. Right? Wrong. Seriously what does that have to do with anything? Nothing. That’s what. Have you ever felt warm feeling for someone who has something that used to be your but was snatched out of your hands and given to them for no good reason except that you should want to give it to him? I doubt it. Sure it’s nice when little boys share toys and food or swings on the playground, and who doesn’t like seeing children waiting their turn to share a toy or use a piece of equipment. I think children should learn to share and I think they should learn to be respectful, but I don’t think sharing is necessary, or smart, all the time. My children have toys they share and toys that are “theirs”. So they share match box cars, but their bike is their bike. The other guy can ride it if he asks and if the owner isn’t riding it; but if the owner wants it (even just to be spiteful), too bad for the other guy, the owner gets it. No sharing. So why should you do this?

Because teaching your children that sharing always happens is a lie and sets them up for a huge disappointment later in life. When was the last time you shared your car? Now when was the last time you shared your car against your wishes? Um, never? Seriously, adults share almost nothing. And they certainly are not forced to share or feel obligated to share. We share because we want to. See the difference. We share because we want to not because we should. So why should children have to? It seems silly when you think about it. Yes, respecting others and wanting to share with people you love or people in need is awesome and wonderful. Being forced to give up your possessions in the name of sharing is absurd and not a realistic view of the world or how they will interact with it once they get older. Doing both shows a balance and helps them understand why you are asking them to share in the first place.

Saying I’m sorry-

I know most parents never apologize for their behavior or mistakes. They think saying sorry and discussing their failures might make them less of an authority figure or confuse their child into thinking they are… wait for it… equals. Most parents gloss over their poor decisions or blame the outcome of their behavior on others or worse the children themselves. This is terrible. I almost can’t think of a worse precedent to set that making your child think you are always right, and they are often wrong. I make my children say sorry about a hundred times a day, and sometimes they even say it with sincerity. But I apologize every single time I make a mistake, lose my cool, or forget something important to them. I apologize a lot. So why should you do this?

The best way to teach your children how to live is not by forcing them to do something like apologizing, the best way is by being a good example. I say I’m sorry because I want my children to know it is okay to fallible, that their parents are not perfect and we don’t expect them to be either. This teaches them it is good to apologize because it feels good to be apologized to. If you are going to teach a child why they should apologize, then they need to feel how it good it is to be apologized to. It teaches them that while mommy and daddy are here to teach and guide and love them, that we are not here to abuse, or force, or belittle them.

I am always reminded of the movie Matilda when her dad goes on a rant of he is big, she is little, he is the dad, she is the child, he is right, she is wrong. It didn’t matter that she wasn’t wrong or that he was cruel, he was right simply because he was older and her dad. Those things don’t make you right, they just make you someone who should know better. I love that when I tell my boys I’m sorry, when I tell them I made a mistake, that I forgot something or I didn’t eat and I was feeling bad, I love that as soon as I say I’m sorry  I can see on their faces that they take it to heart, that they forgive me, that they want me to feel okay about it. That is when I know that they understand the words “I’m sorry” and they are figuring out why they are being asked to say it. What is more important than saying sorry? it is meaning it. Children learn what it means to say sorry when they are apologized to.

We aren’t perfect parents, and our style isn’t for everyone. I have no doubt my boys will have a complaint or two or ten when they are older. But what I want them to take away from our parenting attempts is that we always considered them first. We always did the best we could. We never did something because it was done to us and we never did something without thinking about why first. So which one will you try? Come on, you know you want to.:)

 

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