{Chaps are not pants}

It's a premier people.  Our first Rants in My Pants guest contributor - my mom.  Some things are just meant to be... read on.

I grew up in Montana and it was not unusual to see people wearing chaps - men, women and children alike. I never owned a pair of chaps, but my dad and brothers may have had chaps. It was quite vogue to wear chaps while herding cattle or competing in rodeo events or even in the 4-H show ring.

I left Montana in 1988 and have not seen a pair of chaps worn in public since that time. Until last week when I had the misfortune of running into a man in chaps. I was at the dry cleaners, just minding my own business when I looked at a male customer in the next line and he was wearing chaps.  Perhaps there was some special event in the neighborhood that caused this man to pick up his dry cleaning in his chaps – as well as a woven leather headband with the tassels trailing down his pasty white back (he was bare from neck to waist) and his best lace up moccasins.  

Things were worse below the belt.  As he turned to feel in his back pocket he discovered (apparently without alarm) that chaps do not have back pockets. What he should have known (since I’m assuming he owns a mirror) is that the only thing he would be touching was his very white, flabby backside.  I am not kidding -- this man had nothing on under his chaps. I don’t claim to have a marvelous bum, but I promise that I have never gone out into public pretending to be covered when in reality I was totally exposed. I was looking around for the hidden camera.  The second glance after he turned back toward the counter was even more alarming.

Of course, my only opportunity to send a picture of a bare bummed, chap-wearing, American Indian pretender and my cell phone was in the car. I am pretty sure that I ruptured some internal organs as I stifled the laughter.

I spent some time after this unfortunate encounter asking myself “who in their right mind would ever go out in public with their backside totally exposed”.  A few answers came to mind:
·         -An escapee from a hospital
·         -An escapee from a nudist colony
·         -One of my grandsons who doesn’t like wearing pants
·         -A cowboy who lost his pants in a game of poker

Not on the list - white guy collecting his dry cleaning. Just a friendly reminder to anyone who is tempted to try this at home – such activity may have an adverse affect on unsuspecting viewers for years to come and always remember CHAPS ARE NOT PANTS.

-Mama D.  (whose pants always cover her bum.)  Thanks for the story mom.

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{If you do that with your pants, they'll stick that way}

There are certain words/phrases that make me wish I did not speak English.  Among them (and the list is long) are the words Hubby, Wifey and Kiddos.  Hate them.  Not the husband and the children (most days) just the obnoxiously altered catch-phrases that are intended to make the speaker appear to possess some kind of above average, sugary attachment to their family.  After reading an article on "Mormon Mommy Bloggers" this week, I have decided that I am sick to my freshly dyed roots of being called a "Mommy" by people who I'm pretty sure did not emerge from my ... womb.  (Attaching the word "Mormon" is a subject for a different rant on a different day... but I'm sure it'll be a good one.)

My problem with the word "Mommy" is that it is only applied by social commentators to women like me. Women who have chosen the glamorous world of caring for our own children, without pay or sick days, one peanut butter sandwich at a time.  Can you imagine Michelle Obama or Sandra Day O'Connor or Gloria Steinem (had she chosen to have children) being called "Mommy" in an op.ed?  It may be subtle, but this is a word whose intent, I believe, is to be cutely condescending so as to cloak the speaker's true feelings in folksy friendliness... like when an older man I don't know calls me "sweetie".  It's basically a verbal pat on the head.  It's a verbal dismissal... which we do to women who have chosen traditional roles all the time to women.  Old Wive's Tale anyone?

And speaking of another term I dislike ... I am not sure when exactly a woman becomes an Old Wife; when what she has to say is no longer considered witty, well informed, well reasoned and practical, but rather the hysterical rantings of a girl who is too bossy for her own good.  I am not sure who decided that the tales she tells are any less reliable than all those scientific certainties that never end up being that certain in the end. (Speaking of "hysteria"...)

I've found that the wisdom of women is treated in one of three ways.  1. We fold it nicely, wrap it up in acid free tissue paper, tuck it away in a cedar lined box toward the back of our closets and hope that another generation will one day find it and be glad that it has been preserved in such unused, vintage condition.  2. We put it on and grudgingly wear it only when we must be seen using it, like the horrible clothes that new moms get at baby showers and only put on their children when taking a snap shot to email to the giver.  3. We laugh and agree with others around us of a similar age that it is an unfortunate fad owned by a generation to whom we are glad we don't belong.  (Much like the white tuxedo with huge lapel, pink ruffled shirt and velvet, navy blue bow tie which my father wore to his wedding),

I am beginning to understand that there is an unspoken truth that lives behind the words and through the words and around the words of women who have sacrificed to care for someone else.  I am beginning to see the pain and happiness of life in the advice that Mommies and Old Wives pass along.  When an Old Wife says "Don't let the cat go where the baby is sleeping, it will suck out his breath", maybe she is hoping that if she can convince the rest of the family that their pet is a baby-breath-sucking-predator, they will agree to get rid of the thing already.  Perhaps she's trying to spare future generations of Mommies the extra chore of vacuuming cat hair on top of everything else they have to do.

When an Old Wife says "It's all fun and games until somebody gets their eye put out", maybe she's trying to spare you the pain associated with those things that look fun at first glance, but inevitably end with you missing parts of yourself that you'd wished you'd held onto.

When an Old Wife says "Don't do that with your face, or it will stick that way", maybe she wants to guard you from becoming like the grouchy auntie from her childhood who smiled at life so rarely and frowned at it so much that the lines and the wrinkles and the skin adopted a permanently gloomy look.  Maybe she knows that the outside will eventually reflect the inside.  Maybe she know that if there's a canker in the soul it will eventually show on the face in a way that no amount of lip stick and eye cream will fix.

Here is my decision- some will always be shocked at the competence of women.  They are surprised at the force that we bring to life and at the things that we know.  But not me.  I believe in the words of the Mommies and of the Old Wives.  Tell me all your tales and I will believe them.  I will wrap myself up in them and I will wrap my children up in them, and when the time comes I will wrap my children's children up in them too... and  eventually they will be glad I did.

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{Plastic Pants}

People have been asking me why I haven't been writing regularly for awhile.  Between my 4 kids and the pages of essays that I write every week, I've basically used up all of my words.... and my time... and my words.  However... here is a short op.ed. that I did for one of my required writing classes.  We had to pick a topic that we think is relevant and of political importance and write a letter (no more than 250 words) to the local newspaper about it.  (That's shorter than 2 tweets people.)  I thought about it for like two weeks, and then it came to me. Plastic grocery bags.  That's right people... our state legislature is trying to outlaw plastic grocery bags.

So here is my letter, that I'm sure will never be published except by myself...

Dear Oregon Legislature,
I am a 36-year-old, suburban mother of four.  I carry my baby in one of those “I’m a hip Portland hippy mom” baby wraps.  I recycle my aluminum cans (wait, no more aluminum cans –“organic, local, in season”).  I even did some urban chicken farming (until we were forced to move during “The Crash” and couldn’t find a house whose rent was ten dozen pretty blue eggs payable the first of each month).  I breastfeed, I compost, I deny my California upbringing.
I love that Oregon likes to stick it to The Man as much as the next girl, but you vote to take away my plastic grocery bags, and I will go third party on you.   Collapsible, reusable, little shopping bags are good in theory.  They feel responsible. People living in the Pearl District love them, but they aren’t what you’d call “family friendly”.
Some shoppers are fans of paper bags.  I am not.  I can’t hang 15 paper bags off each arm to minimize stair climbing. I can’t use paper bags to seal off dirty diapers and nasty soccer shoes.  I can’t make them into homemade parachutes for those little green army men my sons love.
There’s a recession on (still).  Oregon isn’t exactly known for its job security, and you haven’t even picked on a single public employee union yet.  Oregon’s families have lost enough.  For the love of all that is green, leave our plastic bags alone.

It's my only little counter-revolution.  I'm thinking about a grocery store sit in... in the cookie aisle.  Who wants to bring the milk?

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Stay Calm and Keep Your Pants On

Here's a little history-ish lesson: during World War II, Winston Churchill commissioned a poster which, though relatively famous now, was not widely used or well known in his time.  Winston wanted to get the word out that in the face of some very undesirable things, all you've got to do is "keep calm and carry on".  Well thanks a lot Mr.Churchill for those words of advice... we couldn't agree more.

As many of you know, my nieces Arden (age 9) and her sister Naya (age 8 months) have cystic fibrosis- a disease that effects their lungs and pancreases (which is the plural of pancreas... I Googled it).

As of today the life expectancy for a person with CF is 37 years.  I am 36.  I am not ready to die, and I'm guessing that when they are my age, they won't be either.   Luckily the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is supporting all kinds of amazing research that is bringing treatments to market to help my nieces outlive their mother.  But they need money... and that means we need you.

So,... because I believe that the best way to say "thank you" is with something special, we are offering these super-rad necklaces to everyone who gives to the cause.  If you'd like one of these little cuties, all you have to do is click here to go to Arden and Naya's family Great Strides page and donate $10 (or more - whatever) to their fundraising effort.  Seriously people, it's not that hard...the donation is tax deductible... and your neck will thank you.

Keep calm, breathe on, and help us cure CF.

And now...the low down on the pretty-

  • Each charm is handmade and comes with a little silver chain (as pictured) or one of those silver ring things that allows you to turn it into a key chain  (C'mon boys... real men love themselves a pink keychain.
  • Please leave an email address in the comment section of the donation page (or email me via my blog) so that I can contact you for shipping info.  Also, please specify which color combo you'd like... otherwise you get what you get and you don't throw a fit...( and I can tell you right now you will either get the really dark brown one, or the really light pink one because those are my favorites.) 
  • The back of each charm is randomly finished in polka dots or little flowers.
  • Each charm is handmade to order.  This means that there may be slight variation from piece to piece.
  • Please remember - these charms are made from glass tiles and resin so they are water resistant, but are not something you should wear in the shower unless you want a plain 1" glass tile on a string.

All charms are in combinations of brown and pink.
 When you donate please leave an email address where you can be reached and specify
the dark, medium, or light variation of your preferred background color in the donation message area.

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Those pants are way full.

I just finished my first week of full time school...

On the up side-  I am in school.  I am not totally stupid.  There are lots of chapters on genetics (thank you strangely shallow gene pool.  Who says X-linked and other strange recessive traits can't help you out?)

On the down side- I am in school with 4 kids, volunteer work and a job in the church youth group.  I am sort of stupid.  Mac-n-Cheese or Fruit Loops for dinner?  Where are the clean underwear?  Why has the vacuum been sitting by the Christmas tree for 7 days?  Wait, why do we still have a Christmas tree?

I can do anything for 10 weeks.
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