Galaxy T Shirts!

The kids and I got excited about bleach dying after we made tie dye tees a couple years ago, but the project kept getting pushed back, and we kept not doing it. When my friend Jessica posted galaxy tees to Satan’s website Pinterest, our interest was rekindled. It was fun according to the kids, but more importantly, it was super super easy!

You’ll need:

  • A dark colored, prewashed t-shirt
  • Grocery store bags and/or newspaper (I used plastic bags – they’re to protect your surface and the back of your t-shirt from bleach and paint)
  • Plain liquid bleach
  • A spray bottle
  • Either fabric spray paint or acrylic paint and a toothbrush

1. Put bleach in your spray bottle. About an inch in mine was enough to do three t-shirts and clean my kitchen sink.

2. Stretch out your plastic bag until it’s nice and flat, and fit it snugly inside your shirt. For adult size t-shirts, you may need to cut up the sides of the bag, or use a big one. The name of this game is to create a waterproof barrier between the front and back of the shirt so no bleach can bleed through.

3. Gently twist your shirt to create spirals, globules, or whatever shapes you like and get to spraying!

4. When the bleach has reached your desired lightness, rinse it out. Optionally, you can dry the shirt at this point and bleach another round to lighten your design even more.

5. Once your shirt is rinsed and dried, spray or flick it with bright colors of paint to simulate novae and galaxies.

6. Wear it!

Best Halloween Ever.



What with it being October and all, I refuse to take to facebook to post a heart or a rose or a color, or play a game that makes it look like I’m talking about sex when I really mean my purse. Instead I’m going to talk about the thing all those other things are meant to ‘raise awareness for’: Boobs.

Breast cancer is scary. It’s a confrontation with death and lesser evils like radiation and mastectomy, and there’s a lot of bad intel about it floating around.

I had a scare last year that sent me for a few nerve wracking tests, and I would have done anything my doctor said. Fortunately, my doctor is awesome and studies all the time, and sent me for an ultrasound instead of a mammogram. (And I’m fine.)

So don’t play some stupid turn-your-birthdate-into-a-sexy-phrase-for-breast-cancer-awareness game. Get smart. Learn about your boobs and your options.

Here’s some startling knowledge that was dropped on me during my two week freak out:
If you have young boobs, cystic boobs, or implants, refuse the mammogram and get an ultrasound.

Ultrasounds are better at diagnosing younger patients:

Mammograms can rupture cysts in breast tissue, even at appropriate pressure levels:

Saline and silicon implants render mammography blurry:

And even if you don’t fall into any of those categories,
Ultrasound can catch cancers mammograms miss:

Grown-up Firsts

I am 31, so a great number of “first” milestones happened to me a long time ago – they don’t come around too frequently anymore. I passed one just the other day, though, and it was odd, and it’s stuck in my head, so you get to read about it now.

I was packing up our Christmas tree and decorations, putting a decade of my ornaments and a lifetime of cherished hand me downs back in their carefully labeled cardboard boxes for the annual trip back to the attic, when a whole flap came off one of the boxes. It was marked (most recently) “Anne 2002” – the first box I had ever used, back in my dorm room, to pack away Christmas decorations that were all mine. Fortunately, the Amazon box our new food processor came in was the same size and shape, and all of my Christmas baskets and twinkle lights fit in it just fine, but then I was left looking at this elderly (by corrugated standards) cardboard box. It must have started its life with my Uncle Mike – the oldest writing on it is his careful, all caps, ballpoint pen hand, marking CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS. Later, his wife, my Aunt Deb, wrote “Hondel – Christmas Lights” in her unmistakable Sharpie “We’re moving (again)” half print, half script, all military wife handwriting, so much like my own mom’s, so much like mine, but also so different. Even later comes my mom’s handwriting – “Smith. Christmas. 1996” Shortly after our move from Indy to OKC, from Navy to Air Force – we must have inherited some of my Aunt and Uncle’s things that first mixed up year, when the moving company brought the storage stuff to our apartment and sent our apartment stuff to storage, making the move into our house (in early December) even more of a mixed up nightmare than it otherwise would have been.

2002 marked my first Christmas without my parents near. They moved to Salt Lake City and Hill AFB just after my birthday that year, leaving me with the box of Christmas ornaments that had always been “mine” on our tree, and sending me on a mission to find a dorm friendly thing to hang them on. I came home with the Charlie Brown-iest fake tree you’ve ever seen, 2 feet tall and complete with a red flannel remnant from the Chickasha Wal-mart as a tree skirt, but it was mine. Since then, I’ve been married, had kids, split up, and watched my Christmas boxes grow, every year, from one to three to now 7 or 8 plus a huge fake tree that won’t set off anyone’s allergies…and this year, the first one ever, the one that started it all, fell apart in my hands. I know it’s a silly little thing, but it’s another proof that I’m really an adult. That my Aunt Deb and Mom aren’t handling things like that for me anymore – that fixing even the silly little things is my job.

Standing in my living room, surrounded by boxes, some that say Smith 2003, others Saunders 2007, and all Christmas, I hit another milestone, too – this is the first box that says “Anne & Isaac, Christmas, 2012.” Our households are one household now, made that way by a few strokes of careful, block letter, indelible Sharpie writing, in a way that no amount of sharing a house could make it for me. Someday, this one will say “Alex, Christmas Lights, 2023” or “Abbi, Mom’s House Xmas, 2021” or maybe bear a name of someone I haven’t dreamed of yet, making a grown up home with one of my babies. I know New Year’s Day has come and gone, but  it’s still the season to celebrate, to look forward, and to reflect a little, too – I can’t wait to see what firsts 2013 will bring. Happy New Year!

Running With The Dog

We have a greyhound. She’s mostly a lovely, lazy puppy who spends her days lying on her cushions, stealing any comforter she can get to, and making sad-puppy-eyes at us any time we get close to the cabinet containing her treats. She LOVES to go for walks, and since I’m home now, I get to take her for lots of them. Here’s the thing. She was built for speed – bursts that rival a horse. I was…not. On days when she’s feeling especially frisky, we spend our half mile trotting, me going a little faster than is strictly comfortable to walk, and she going as slowly as she can while still feeling like she’s running, sort of. It takes me a couple strides to catch up when she decides to go faster, and when an interesting smell catches her attention, I take a couple strides to stop, but she can stop on a dime. I want her to enjoy her walks, so I try to keep up, but the end result is a fairly comical start and stop, with her jerking me into faster action, or me trying desperately to stop before I trip over her/the leash/my own fat feet. There’s no rhythm to it, just our sweet puppy’s whim.

It’s weird, but lately it’s become a pretty decent metaphor for my life – everything needs my attention RIGHT NOW and preferably a few seconds ago, then falls into a lull for a while, before I realize I should have stopped before I crash and trying desperately to keep all the things in the air. I miss a predictable rhythm to life. I guess finding my rhythm is just going to have to go on the “Long Term Goals” list, right after making a living, rearing my kids into decent human beings, maintaining a healthy relationship, and beating our home into shape.  I still feel incredibly lucky that I don’t have to do any of those things on my own, and I know I’m in an enviable position. Time to carve my niche some more. 

The Principal’s Office

So help me, I’m going there.

I wasted a whole post yesterday starting to try to explain what’s going on with my son and his school, but that was before his dad called to tell me that my son’s teacher had called his office and “couldn’t get him to do anything.” By the time I could get to the school, boychild and his dad were sitting in the front entryway, and I took my son while his dad went back to work. We’ve decided that our son isn’t going back to school until after the meeting we had already set up for next Monday afternoon.

Next Monday, after school, the kids will go to daycare, and their dad and I will go to the principal’s office to meet with her and my son’s first grade teacher. I have a really hard time not demonizing the teacher, since she’s gone out of her way on two occasions now to tell me that my son needs to be medicated (which he won’t be) for AD(H)D. I have been extremely polite but firm in my resolve that six years old is too young to expect adamantine control of will or even strong self discipline. I have been equally clear on both occasions that behavioral changes, and not medication, would be our family’s recourse, even were he to receive a diagnosis of AD(H)D (which I am unwilling to pursue for a six year old). I sat down informally with the principal once already to discuss her teacher’s wildly inappropriate suggestion, and she seemed to understand me. Unfortunately, the next time I spoke to her, she asked why I didn’t just go ahead and get the diagnosis so my boychild would have an IEP and no matter who his teacher is, they’d have to follow it.

Some backstory: Until this year, my son has never had “behavioral issues.” He moved schools in the middle of PreK, and then again when space opened at his sister’s school for him at the beginning of Kindergarten. We got occasional ‘talked out of turn’ or ‘didn’t want to sit on the rug at circle time’ notes, such as are par for the kindergarten course. This year, every single day has had him bringing home an “orange” or “red” behavior note, and his dad and I were getting concerned. About a month ago, the kids’ dad asked the teacher about our boy’s constant bad behavior and struggle, and the teacher told him that Alex isn’t really behaving that badly…leaving us to wonder why we’re signing bad behavior slips every single day. Apparently, according to her at that time, the problem was him not finishing his work. She ‘can’t get him to do anything’ unless she’s standing over him, so she keeps him in from recess every day, and takes away his “Specials” (Art, Music, and PE) with impunity. Apparently, this is how we treat a child we suspect of being hyperactive – chain him to his desk even more and tell his parents that he’s incapable of school without drugs.

My son is bright, and when he has a task at home, he does it. He manages his homework and leftover class assignments in a timely fashion, at his little desk in the dining room. He has gotten fussy about finishing a packet, but only after about 10 worksheets and 2 solid hours of being immobilized at his desk. (His teacher collates his unfinished work, and I require him to finish it.) He loves to build erector sets and work jigsaw puzzles. He WANTS to go to the planetarium at the Omniplex and listen to them tell about tonight’s sky. Sure he’s a little distractable and likes to run around – he’s got the double whammy of “six years old” and “male.”

I don’t understand why it is so difficult for them to understand that I’m also rearing a child whose social progress (until this year) is VERY much like her brother’s, and who had VERY similar behavioral issues until about midway through the first grade. I further do not understand why it is so incomprehensible to them that we want to wait until he’s a little older to even test for an issue that seems only to have become an issue in this teacher’s class, and which, if diagnosed at age six, would follow him for the rest of his academic career. I’m certain that my son doesn’t have ADD or ADHD, but even if he did, medication is off the table until after puberty, because of the limited research available on the effects of stimulant (or non-stimulant, really) treatments on developing brains. His teacher is so concerned about his well being that she’ll stick her nose into his medical care, but not so concerned that she’ll alter any of her her classroom behavior to try to minimize his hyper-ness.

So. We’re headed into the Principal’s office. I can’t afford to stay home and dedicate my life to homeschooling, so he has to stay in the public schools. I’m nervous. Fortunately, the kids’ dad and my partner and I are all on the same page – we believe the boychild does need discipline, but not her brand of snivelly, call out every single minor infraction “discipline”. If someone needs to stand over him, any one of us will be happy to do it, with a belt in one hand if need be.

The Audacity of Hope

For all my liberal friends, congratulations! For everyone else, I’m sorry your election day sucked. You’ll get over it.

The funny thing is, this post isn’t about politics at all. It’s about me, and taking a flying leap into previously unnavigated waters.

Someone who knows me quite well said of me, a few years ago, “Oh, she’s scared of everything.” It stung. It made me mad. I cried over those words. Looking back though, they’re truer than I want them to be. I haven’t done so many of the tiny things I’ve wanted to do – haven’t worn this or said that, haven’t called this person, or gone to that place…and that’s just the tiny things. There are so many big things I’ve feared.  I was afraid to do the things I wanted to do, so I let that fear make me do things I didn’t really want to do. I looked for work I “could get” instead of work I wanted to do. I didn’t move for love and lost love; I didn’t fight for love and love left me.

Then I got extremely lucky. I met someone who changed how I look at myself. I got the kick in the pants from the universe or whatever you want to call a crazy confluence of events that moved me out of my complacency. I realized that my friends love me as much as they always said they did,  and they really do have my back.

I have plenty of reasons to be nervous about changing career paths – I don’t have health insurance or a 401(k) right now. What I do have is hope. I have the brain in my head and the feet in my shoes, and hope. It feels like the craziest thing ever, but working here, at my desk with my betta and my music and my endless to-do list, I can’t believe I ever thought it should be any other way.

So, yeah – still scared of heights, really big spiders, and people who don’t use their turn signals, but not scared of me. Not scared of the immediate future. Enthusiastic. Excited. Hopeful.


Hopefully this is a temporary situation, but now that I’m not a member of the 9 to 5 rank and file, I realize that I’m kinda back where I was 5 years ago…being a Stay at Home Mom. I never quit being a Mom, so things like laundry and runny noses and taxi service have been a part of my day to day for most of the intervening time anyway, but it’s already got me fantasizing about the life I could have…picture it with me, won’t you?

A clean house. A yard with something other than sand burrs in it. A craft room that’s not only functional, but organized. A garage that holds my new jewelry workshop. Baking things again. Homemade dinners more than a couple times a week. Homeschooling.


Then I remember all the things I HATED about being a SAHM. . .
1. My kids were tiny then, but being at the beck and call of two very needy, sometimes bossy kids got OLD. FAST.

2. Is it me, or is every other SAHM in Oklahoma a little bit crazy? Rule 1 was “Don’t talk to the other adults at the Omniplex unless they work there.” I do absolutely not want to know that you’re teaching your children to prepare for (and pray for) the apocalypse, or that you’re a family of vegan ultramarathoners,  or that you’re so fabulously wealthy that you’re handling light duties for two charities while the nanny raises your children except when you take them on outings, or that “No, they’re not mine – I’m the nanny.”

3. That I would find myself still inside my house at 2pm, and not have put on grown up clothes. Sometimes, having not put on clothes that are acceptable to wear outdoors, even if I have, in fact, been outdoors. (Yeah, most of my neighbors have seen my pajamas. What of it?)

4. Inevitably, someone will ask, “What do you do?” and I will say, “I’m a stay at home mom,” and they will hear, “I lay in the bath and eat bon-bons all day.” Which, for the record, I have never done. An evening in the bath with a book and an adult beverage, maybe, but never, y’know, a Tuesday.

5. THE HOUSE IS NEVER “DONE.” EVER. Laundry, dishes, floors, bathrooms, yard, in a neverending cycle…it’s enough to make anyone misty for the office, though, granted, these things need taking care of even if you do work outside the home. The difference is that there is no feeling of guilt attached to putting it off for tonight, or asking your partner or kids for help, when everyone knows that everyone was ridiculously busy all week at work and school. When home is my job, even if no one busts my ass about it EVER, not being done feels a little fail-y, and a little like I’m not living up to Donna Reed and June Cleaver. It doesn’t matter that those were Hollywood sets with whole crews of union labor to ACTUALLY do all the chores and set dressing – feelings don’t have to be rational to be real.

And then the rebuttals start. Both children are much more capable and less needy now, and I’d only be a true stay at home every other week, unless I somehow talked their Dad into letting me homeschool, but even then, I’d only be momming it up for the 50ish hours of his weeks when he’s at work; I have well developed social networks that include people from a whole slew of different and evolving walks of life, so I don’t have to talk to the crazy – have iPad, will travel (to anyplace that has wi-fi) and take my awesome friends with me; I’m just old enough to have realized that the neighbors don’t give nearly as much of a rat’s rear-quarters as I do about whether my pajamas have Captain America on them; screw anyone who’s judgmental –  raising little human beings and making sure they’re clothed and fed and educated is a job, like whoa; and finally, I have arguably the best partner and the most solid life I could ever have asked for. If I had designed my life, I couldn’t have made it fit me better. He doesn’t want June Cleaver any more than I want Ward. (Which is to say, in their prime, we could have…you know what? I’m off topic.)
With my current end goal being to go back to a full time office job, even one day in to staying at home, becoming a Work-in-a-fashion-that-Earns-an-Income-from-Home-Mom, becoming “SuperMom,” if you will, is looking so good. So ridiculously good. And maybe even attainable…

This is going to be one hell of a ride.

An Open Letter to Ford Price, President, Price Edwards & Company


Via Hand Delivery And The Internet

31 October 2012

Dear Mr. Price,

When we spoke on Friday, 26 October, 2012, a number of things began to crystallize for me in ways that they had not previously.


You spoke generally of loyalty. In the larger framework, a great deal of our corporate marketing is about how much Price Edwards and Company is like a family, and how we strive to build and improve employee loyalty at every turn. You insinuated that I had been disloyal habitually and publicly, on the basis of one private post to a social networking website. This post had come to your attention, apparently through one of my coworkers, who must have, at some point, befriended me on that social network. How that is evidence of loyalty, I am unsure. It smacks of personal betrayal to me, leaving me to understand that company loyalty trumps personal loyalty, and also that whatever story accompanies that betrayal must be the truth. Whereas I have never disclosed my employer online, or named anyone specifically in a complaint, someone I believed was my friend betrayed me in a very pointed and specific manner, and I don’t even know who that person was. It could have been any one of the many people in the office who either were my friends or were friends of my friends, on Facebook. This has resulted in, for me, an incredibly Hostile Work Environment. While there is not discrimination against a class of people in this case, the fact that I have been singled out of all the Corporate Office employees to lose all social media privileges (as well as other privileges about which I had never previously received any complaints or warnings) constitutes particularly vicious and specific discrimination. I am, as a result, filing an HR complaint.

To make my position abundantly clear, in the past two months, I have been offered two jobs without applying for either. I have turned them both down. I am both hurt and incensed by the insinuation that I would act in anything other than an aboveboard fashion when it comes to my tenure at, or departure from, this company. I did apply for one other job, as I told you during our chat, because the money, benefits, and pension are significantly higher, and those are considerations that I would be foolish to the point of stupidity to overlook.


Next, you called me a liar. Your words were, as I recall, “If I were you, I might sit there and lie to my face, too.” I would like you to consider the evidence of my entire tenure with this company. At no point have I ever been, even in a small thing, in any way dishonest or misleading to anyone. This assertion, coming from a person I had respected and believed to be a good judge of character, and a thoughtful and deliberate man, is especially repugnant.


Finally, you made reference to what you believe to be a generational difference between your generation and mine. You are correct when you say that we are more electronically linked and more likely to communicate even emotionally charged matters via our social networks than, indeed, any generation before us. Just as your generation turned to Walter Cronkite and Johnny Carson for news and entertainment rather than to your parents’ Jack Parr or a radio “Fireside Chat”, the march of technology is ever forward. Even in your tech eschewing state, I’d be willing to venture a guess that the number of personal text messages and emails you’ve sent in the last year outnumbers the personal letters or even informal notes you’ve sent, and probably by a wide margin.


The problem with writing off socially connectedness as a mode of life is threefold. First, multiple studies have proven that employees are more productive when they have access to social media without constraint throughout the workday. There is a growing body of evidence that having a social media policy of any kind is detrimental to morale and productivity. Second, and more importantly, if you intend to grow your business and continue to hire qualified, enthusiastic, and talented young people to help your company grow into the future, you will only do so with great difficulty as long as your unwritten and draconian social media policy remains unwritten and draconian. I have attached several articles and studies to this letter, that you may peruse them and see that the times are, indeed, changing. This second point leads in to the third and final point, which is that your current, and as far as I am aware, unpublished, social media policy vis-à-vis me, is illegal under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, for which I am also filing a complaint with the Tulsa office of the National Labor Relations Board. You see, action by an employer to stifle employee communication regarding hours, compensation, or working conditions, by an employer, in a union or nonunion shop, is illegal. Because one of my coworkers saw, agreed with, and “Liked” that post, it is now a class of protected speech known as “concerted activity.”


I want to make it abundantly clear that I have loved the vast majority of my time at Price Edwards. I have worked hard to provide the investment division with the materials they ask for, and whenever possible to anticipate and exceed their expectations. I have spoken, many times, in glowing terms of the generosity of “My Guys” – and I am going to miss them. I have never been anything other than professional and polite to everyone I come in contact with through Price Edwards and Company, be they brokers, vendors, clients, engineers, or otherwise, and I would encourage you to ask My Guys just what it is you’re losing. I have assisted (at least one if not more) people in every division this company when they have faced computer issues they were unable to handle on their own. I have been a true team player. In the past, I have broadcast to my wide social network every job opening that Accord passes along, telling my friends, my family, people I love and care about, that this is a good, solid company to work for, that they can make a career and a life here. When a dear college friend and former housemate who now lives in Wichita was in desperate need of a job, I forwarded her the amazingly auspiciously timed job opening there – and I was thankful that I had that small potential help to offer her. Believe me now when I say that there is no circumstance under which I would ever recommend anyone for whom I care to come to work in this den of vipers.


In the light of that, your later expression of desire that, should I take a job elsewhere, I would remain at PEC long enough to train my successor is laughable. Obviously, there is at least one employee here who believes she knows my job well enough to tell me how to do it, and also to carry tales upwards when she believes I’m not doing it her way. I suggest therefore, that she train my eventual replacement, because there is not an incentive package in the world large enough to convince me that this company has anything remotely like my best interests at heart.


Regarding that coworker, I can say only that if our roles (yours and mine) were reversed, and my name was on the letterhead, my reputation preceding my company everywhere it goes, I’d want to be a great deal more cautious about who I choose to represent me, and in turn, my name. Again, I have been extremely cautious not to speculate or name any names. Hypocrites, attention hounds, and liars cannot help but make themselves known, and being linked to one such as that leaves a stench that tends to linger.


For the foregoing reasons, I am officially resigning my position effective immediately.



Anne Smith-Saunders


Chicken and Craft stores and OPEC, Oh my!

I’ve seen this one a few times, and it makes me really mad. I’m pretty well done thinking about that fried chicken place, but in the light of the recent calls to boycott Hobby Lobby, this particular meme seems to be enjoying relevance again.

It’s a ploy by conservatives to dishearten liberals who already have first world guilt, and make us feel that our efforts are never enough. My feelings about people who manipulate others like that is a whole other post, so we’ll stick to the repugnant e-card. The argument is multiply fallacious. “Boycott OPEC for Logic” stems from four falsehoods.

1) That all OPEC Countries are Muslim.

2) That all Muslims are anti-christian terrorists.

3) All Muslims believe all areas of sharia law must be enforced and/or take part in that enforcement.

4) If one wishes to do good, one must do ALL of the good – “some good” is not enough.

1) Ecuador and Venezuela are part of OPEC, and they are largely VERY Christian. (from geography and research)

2) No more than all Christians are Ruby Ridge/Huttaree hate groups.

3) Once again, we cannot define a whole by the actions of a few, some, or even most of the members of the whole. (both 2 & 3 are examples of a composition/division fallacy.)

4) Just as when going on a diet, it is impossible and/or impractical for most people to throw away their whole lifestyle and start over, so it is with our philosophical work. Incremental and possibly only partial change can be enough to get results. The fact that you didn’t get rid of your cream of wheat doesn’t negate the fact that you stopped eating Captain Crunch and switched to wheat bread. Just because you aren’t taking on EVERY issue that deserves attention does not devalue the ones you are taking on. (Once again, a composition/division fallacy.)

These arguments taken as a whole also represent appeals to emotion (in anti-islamic sentiment), and a “baby with the bathwater” mindset. By applying the argument to other things, we can see how spurious it is. If we aren’t going to boycott OPEC, we should also not boycott companies that we know use slave labor, because we aren’t fixing all the things, so why fix any? Or to take it even further, “I cleaned the kitchen today, but I didn’t clean the bathroom, so my clean kitchen doesn’t count.”

Choosing your battles doesn’t make you weak; it makes you human. (Here’s a post that goes more in depth on that..) Sure, boycotting a restaurant or a craft store is easier than not ever using a petroleum product again, but it also has impact. It also starts discussions, particularly in my sometimes very backwards red state, and that is well worth it.