Saturday, November 30, 2013

Day 30

My husband is sewing a giant pillow like thing to tuck next to the bottom of the front door to keep the draft out.
He is using some of the left over red felt from Halloween costumes and some of the kids out-grown t-shirts as stuffing.

He and my son sit together on the couch, my son is sewing up the end of the pillow while my husband gives him gentle pointers and encouragement. My husband is much better at sewing than I am. My husband knows actual stitches, their official names as well as their proper execution. Glad he's around to teach the kids this stuff.

I've been scuffing around today in my pj's and my husband's old grey plaid robe all day. I've got grey baggy circles under my eyes that coordinate nicely with the robe.

I'm feeling a bit run down and am so grateful that I can spend the day inside, puttering around, chatting with the family, making soup with the Thanksgiving leftovers, taking it easy.

I'm grateful that my husband ran errands for my mom today, that he went over to her house and took out her garbage, vacuumed her rugs, and made sure she was doing okay.

I had hoped to write a nice blog post today to commemorate 30 days of blogging, but it's just not going to happen. It's 7:30 in the evening and despite the fact that I haven't done much today and I slept in pretty late, I'm tired and all I want to do is snuggle back on the couch with everyone.

I think I might keep on with the daily blog writing for the month of December. Maybe I'll have more to say tomorrow, or the next day, or the next.

You don't really know what will happen until you sit down to write.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Punt! Keeping it Short

Earlier today, my husband and I helped out my mom, We gave the kids a lot of space to do the stuff they like to do without nagging them. Later in the day the four of us played a board game, we ate a big dinner, and my husband made the kids awesome red felt squid hats. I'd explain but I have other stuff to do. Suffice it to say, we're content, the kids are adorable, and my husband is cool for sewing hats.

Right now I'm wedged on the couch with my daughter, a cat, the dog, and my husband. My son sits close by. We're watching Man vs Wild. 

Man is doing crazy shit. He's eating a spider and drinking his own urine.

Oh dear.

But the beyond the content of the program we're watching, the thing is, we're watching the show together. And we're not the kind of family to just watch quietly; we add commentary and say silly things, and it's a fun way to be funny and smart together.

Today's blog post is going to be short so I can go back to being with the family.

Black Friday for us has been about resting and taking care of family. I've got to get back to that, it's too precious to miss.

Man just grabbed a poisonous snake and I don't want to miss out on the fun. 





Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving

It's been a great Thanksgiving.

We managed with the help of a good friend to get my mom into the house. She can't walk well so it was tricky getting her up the stairs, but it worked out.

The house was clean enough, the kids were good enough, the food was plentiful. I made good gravy, the turkey wasn't dry. No arguments or vomiting happened. Some of my favorite people in the world were able to sit at the same table and it was a successful day.

So, I write this tonight from the cozy recliner in the corner, feet up. The dog is sprawled across the couch sleeping, my son is quietly playing a game, my husband sits at the table gluing pictures in his collage book, my daughter is sitting at the table next to him, playing with beads, they're talking about books. A Pogues cd is playing in the background.

The dishes are mostly done, and I'm not thinking about Christmas. I'm just going to sit in this warm moment, be in this safe place, enjoy the quiet.

Very thankful indeed.



Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving

Yesterday my mom set off her Life Alert alarm by accident.

The Life Alert dude was alerted and called my mom to see if she was okay or if it was a false alarm. My mom didn't answer the phone. Life Alert dude called my sister to see if she thought he should call an ambulance. She wasn't sure. My sister called me to see if I thought she should tell Life Alert dude to call an ambulance. I had tried to call Mom a few minutes before all this and thought it was weird she didn't answer the phone so when my sis asked if she should give Life Alert dude a green light on the ambulance calling, I said, Yes, tell the dude to call an ambulance.

I was worried and scared. I was so worried and scared I appeared to be completely calm. I'm never calm. When I appear calm, you know bad shit is happening.

I couldn't leave my house to go to my mom's to see what the hell was happening, I felt completely useless. So I waited and finished cooking dinner and exuded an air of calm which freaked the kids out.

I kept imagining my mom lying on the floor, hurt, unable to reach the phone. I called her number in the hope that she might answer and be just fine But she did not answer, just the automated robot man voice, please leave a message. So I did. I said, "It's going to be okay Mom. Help is on the way. Don't worry. Hang in there. I love you." I imagined that if my mother was lying on the floor expiring, perhaps my words would be the last she heard. If I couldn't be there to hold her hand, at least my disembodied voice floating from the answering machine might be a comfort. And then I thought maybe it would scare her, so I hung up.

A few minutes later I got a call. It was Mom. I can't tell you what a relief it was to hear her voice. She reminded me that the folks in her building were having a community Thanksgiving supper. She'd been happily chowing down on her mashed potatoes with gravy and stuffing and cranberry sauce when a couple of paramedics bustled into the building. Mom wondered who might have taken ill or gotten hurt.

The paramedics headed down the hall to my mom's apartment. One of the other residents saw them at my mom's door. She told the paramedics that my mom was at the dinner in the community room. The paramedics hustled into the community room. My mother asked them, "What the hell do you want with me? I'm perfectly fine, obviously." And then they left. Also, the turkey was dry. She was not going to eat that dry turkey. Roast pork was also on the menu but she can't stand roast pork I mean...REALLY. Roast pork? Bleh! Dry turkey! Bleh! But the stuffing was very nice.

I was never so happy to hear her complain  in my life. How bad was the turkey, Mom? Tell me again!

So, now it's today. Well, it's today for about 45 minutes more, then it'll be tomorrow. But while it's still today, it's the day before Thanksgiving.

I finally had a job to go to today, a good thing. When you work for yourself, it can suck like that.

I was thankful for the work today even though the timing sort of sucked.

The kids were home today. I could have been home with them making happy holiday memories arguing about cleaning and cooking and stuff. But no.

I worked like a normal person, came home did my dishes so I could start cooking and make more dirty dishes, I made some food for kids to eat, and then kids and I made a couple of pies.

We ate dinner. My husband was due to come home around 6:30.

He and the kids were going to make their super special traditional holiday pies and I was going to clean the house, mop the floors, clean the bathrooms, that sort of thing. You really can't mop floors and clean bathrooms for company too far ahead. People walk on floors and they .. you know ... go to the bathroom. Floors and bathrooms get dirty quickly.

You must wait to mop and clean the bathrooms for the exact right time.
So I waited.

Before my husband arrived home, I got a call from my elderly mom.

She hadn't felt well today.

She told me about her sink full of dirty dishes.

She told me about the cat vomit and cat litter on the rug.

She mentioned that the nice lady who cleans for her did not mop her kitchen or bathroom today.

She mentioned that she had mountains of dirty laundry.

I asked if she needed a hand.

She said, "Oh, no no...unless you want to come over."

Of course I do.

I got nothing else going on, Mom.

Happy to do it.

"Great! Since you're going by the grocery store on your way here, could you pick me up a few things?"

No problem, Mom.

So, after my husband came home, I braved the grocery store for an odd assortment of items and I headed to Mom's.

I did her dishes, fixed her mop so I could mop the floors, and then mopped the floors. I swept cat litter up, I helped her open her medication bottles, took out her garbage. I fixed her vacuum and then vacuumed her rugs, made her bed, got her mail, gave her walker a good clean up because really, yikes, and I loaded up a mountain of dirty laundry to bring home with me to do tonight.

I got home around 10:30 or so.

It's cool. Before I left she told me she had been feeling a little lonely today and was glad to see a familiar face. She thanked me again for coming over and doing stuff. I told her I didn't mind at all.

And I didn't mind. Honest. I was happy, truly happy to help my mom.

I am not going to get around to cleaning my house tonight though. Maybe tomorrow, but maybe not. When my company comes over, nobody is going to be checking out my dirty floors. If they do, they're all such good kind people, it won't be in a mean way. They might look at the magnificently dirty kitchen floor and say, "Whoa! Nobody does dirty kitchen floor quite as well as you!"

Plus, with all those folks walking around the house, it makes sense to wait until Friday to mop. Really. It's just going to get dirty again. The bathrooms, I'll get to them, but the floors and the tidying up? Not looking likely. But that's okay.

So as I hastily tap this little story blog post thing out, in the last remaining minutes of Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my beautiful good kids, my loyal and steadfast husband, and my mom, who is still here.
























Tuesday, November 26, 2013

In Which I Clean a Thing, Ruin a Thing, But Every Thing is Okay Anyway

I used the self cleaning feature on the oven the other day. Self cleaning is sort of a funny term for what amounts to cremating the earthly remains of the lasagne and the pies that cooked over and ran all over the bottom of the oven at temps rivaling the fiery pits of Hell.  

You lock the oven door, you set it to "clean" and it gets very fucking hot. A couple of hours later your kitchen is a tropical vacation destination, the house is full of toxic smoke, making it a polluted tropical vacation destination, and you have a very messy looking ashy mess in your oven.

While way better than spray on oven cleaners, the self cleaning method has problems. For instance, the smoke and ash. I also worry about my oven bursting into flame. I worry that a flaming self cleaning oven would turn my entire house into a flaming self cleaning house. Which would be bad.

Anyway.

Thanksgiving is a high impact cooking holiday and it heralds the start of the holiday baking season as well, so I figured I needed to clean the freaking oven. Or rather, I needed the freaking oven to clean its own freaking self.

Because I tend to put non oven-safe crap in the oven when it's off, I made sure to haul everything out of the oven before I set the dial to incinerate. I was careful.

I set the dial to clean. I did other stuff.

I paid no heed to the acrid smoke, though it was thicker than usual. I figured the bad smell was due to the fact I hadn't cleaned the oven since last November.

Later, when the the oven was done cleaning itself and cooling itself down, I opened the door in order to gaze upon its glorious if somewhat apocalyptic ashy-ness. 

In the far back left corner I spied a grey white mass, and what the what? Was that my good serrated knife? The one with the plastic handle?

The one that used to have a plastic handle?

Shit. Fuck. Damn.

I did what any other depressed avoidant person would do; I closed the oven door and pretended I didn't see what had just happened there.

I didn't even tell my husband.

My kids were there when I made my terrible discovery.

They watched me close the door, they heard me say, "Well. I guess I'll take care of that...later."

For a day and a half, I thought about chipping the chunk of melted plastic out of the oven. I dreaded it. I imagined chipping the hunk of plastic out of the oven would take a long time. I thought, if I can't chip the glob out I'll have to try to melt it again. I imagined the evil chemicals that would spew forth again and the smell, and what if I couldn't get it all out and Thanksgiving would be ruined and maybe we'd need to buy a new stove and Christmas is coming and OMG. 

Walk away but worry. That's my motto!   

Tonight, my intrepid little son presented me with my oven re-forged serrated knife. "Good as new!" he said. Where the handle had recently been was now wrapped in several layers of plastic wrap. Good as new, indeed. Or really, even better than new, because, what a sweet good kid to try to fix this for me.

My son's optimism and kindness encouraged me to assess the damage in the oven.

Together, he and I slowly opened the over door. We peered into the dark corner at the cooled and hardened melted plastic puddle. I took my better than new knife and I poked at the mass. It fell at the touch of the blade, in a powdery ashy puff.

It was just a pile of ash.
 
Well, good heavens.
 
How the fuck hot does the freaking oven get when you set it to clean?!

Jesus, it's a wonder the whole freaking house didn't burn down!

Turned the plastic to ash.

I'll be damned. Most likely.

And so, it's all cleaned up.

It was easy.

Kids can sometimes make us braver better people.

Most things really are not as bad as you think they're going to be.

I'm thankful. 




Monday, November 25, 2013

Don't even waste your time reading this shit. Thank you.

I'll be thankful when November is over and I won't need to blog every day. Although I might sign on for December, because despite the fact that blogging is starting to feel masturbatory and not in a good way, at least I'm doing something. But if  blog-sturbating in public is the measure of my productivity, perhaps it's time for me to reassess.


Hey. Look. I made up a new word.

Blog-sturbation, blog-sturbating.

I'm fucking Shakespeare. 

Now I'm laughing at my own jokes. I immediately feel that deep shame that comes with any sinful activity.

Tsk tsk. 






Sunday, November 24, 2013

Short List: Good Things About Being in a Relationship For a Wicked Long Time



1)    You and your partner have a shared history so you can have conversations that make no sense to anyone else: "You remember that time when..." (perform odd hand gesture and make whistling noises) "Of course I do!" You know they know exactly what you're talking about. 

2)    Your partner remembers who you really are. You may not look like your younger self to anyone else, but to each other, you're the same. 

3)    Chances are you are not going to grow old alone.

4)    Your partner knows what your weaknesses are and can jump in and give you a hand when you need it.

5)    They know what your strengths are and they aren't threatened, they think it's cool that you are awesome.

6)    Farting, belching, scratching, morning breath, it's okay.

7)    You will never have to recount all the horror stories of your youth to another romantic partner. I mean, damn, that's tedious. 

8)   You know that arguments and angry feelings don't signal the end of anything.

9)   Your partner has seen you at your worst and they're not afraid. 

10)  


There's more. But I have to stop now. Kids and stuff.  



  





Saturday, November 23, 2013

Pre-Thanksgiving Holiday to-do List (s)

Well, I'm not going to wait until 11:30 tonight to write today's blog post.

Waiting until 11:30 last evening didn't really work out well for me, but yesterday was sort of a bad day, maybe the worst day in a short series of successive suck days in a row, so I'm letting it be okay.

I'm thinking about all the stuff that needs to be done before Thanksgiving.

1) clean oven

Hey wait, do I really need to clean the oven? Perhaps the smoldering black residue in the oven will impart a nice smoky flavor to the turkey. It sounds fucking gourmet. 

Screw oven cleaning then. I'm going to cross that off the list and add smoked fucking gourmet turkey to the menu. 

New #1)  clean out fridge

I really have to do that because the inside of my fridge is a horror show of errant dog hairs, pinkish congealed tacky spills, and other scary shit. People not part of my immediate family may be opening my fridge this Thanksgiving, people I admire, so I must clean the fridge and then act all casual, Hey, my fridge always looks so damn good. Love me. 


2) Organize pots and pans cupboard. See New #1, change the word fridge to cupboard. 


3) Do lots of other stuff

Number three is vague. It's the most difficult item on the list. I will spend my time running around in circles and accomplishing nothing in order to address item #3. I will probably spend the rest of my life on it. 

But before I get going on this list, I think I'll start another list: 

1) Advil. Many. I must take them

2) Coffee. Another please. 

3) Anything else I can think of to keep me from the first list, which ironically is also #3 on the first list. 

4) Conclude it's all a tangle but everything is connected and it just doesn't matter because it all matters...

5) so I might as well just go take a nap and feel okay about it






Friday, November 22, 2013

shame rage spiral of doom

I'm consciously trying to keep depression at arms length.

This is not easy.

I've been trying to put myself back together. This is not easy either, but it's necessary if I want to keep the depression away.

Being raised in a home with a sadistic narcissistic parent has damaged me. As a child, I had to fracture my self to adapt to the crazy crap at home and while this kept me from feeling the bad stuff while it was happening, long term effects, not good.

My spouse endured much of the same crap I did when he was growing up. The fact that we both are still alive, that we are not bitter mean stunted people, and that we've managed to be good parents to awesome kids despite everything, is evidence that we're fucking awesome.

While I've just about knitted my fractured self together for the first time since I was 3 years old, everything isn't all better. I'm not better. I mean, I'm better than I was, but there is still work I need to do, and every day I run the risk that some little thing will send me into a shame spiral.

And that's what happened today.

I got an email from a family member with a link to a study that suggests obesity is a cause of migraine headaches. I've had many migraines. I currently am a bit on the round side.

It might be easy to say I'm overreacting and that I shouldn't feel hurt. I am a chubby gal, though not medically obese. How would he know I'm not "really" obese? I am fat. Perhaps this person was really just approaching me in the spirit of loving kindness.

Only, I know that's not the case, given past experiences, given the physical and emotional torture this person inflicted on me as a child. Given the fact that I have dealt with anorexia and bulimia. This person
knows to insinuate I'm obese will hurt me a lot. A lot a lot a lot.

When dealing with a narcissist, it's almost impossible to defend yourself. The victim is often scapegoated, undermined, and shamed. Eventually you just admit you're wrong, even if you're right, because it's less painful to simply be wrong than it is to defend yourself against the relentless emotional bashing.

I was tempted to email this person some information about the possible correlation between obesity in women and childhood physical and/or sexual abuse, but I think the safest thing for me to do is just disengage from further contact.

In the meantime, the episode left me sick, sad, physically numb, and full of rage. Before I could see what was happening, I'd transferred the anger I was feeling toward my fat shaming relative to my husband, who was sitting there saying words he thought would be reassuring. I think he said, "That's laughable!  You're not obese. That's a crock of shit." But my fractured mind heard my husband say, "You're ridiculous, of course you're obese. You're a piece of shit. Everyone thinks you are obese and a piece of shit." I could not hear his real words, just the words I'd been taught I deserved to hear.

Some part of my brain was grounded enough in reality to reel me back in. I asked my husband to tell me again what he had said. I reminded myself that my husband is my ally and friend, a person who loves me no matter how fat or thin I get and he's proved this to be true in his actions toward me. I was able to see that the fury and anger and rage and sadness I was feeling was intended for someone else, and the depth of my emotion belies the depth of the manipulation and cruelty that had been inflicted on me in the past.

When I named the true target for my anger and when I gave myself permission to believe that I had a right to be angry, I felt the rage leave my body.

I've recovered enough and reintegrated my self enough to recognize that I really was a victim of abuse as a kid, that I do not now nor have I ever deserved to be abused, and I'm not the morally flawed inferior party in all of this.

I'm the okay one. He's the one with the problem.

In the past I would have gotten stuck in the misdirected rage. This whole incident would have triggered a severe depressive episode. It could have sent me into a deep enough depression that I might have seriously contemplated hurting myself. As it is, I felt like crap for the better part of the afternoon and evening.

I'm still experiencing physical numbness in my arms and legs, my thinking is slower than usual, I'm tired and a little sad, but I'm functional, and that's a success.

I'm not all better, but I'm getting better.










Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hey, Look! I'm being an ungrateful bitching person!

It's getting late. 

I'm fighting the urge to bang my head against hard things. 

I've written and abandoned several little essays. 

Nobody cares. 

Plus, I have messes to clean. 

I would like to write about the amber necklace.

I would like to write about the new shoes.

I would settle for writing about today's visit with my mother.

I would settle for an essay about my daughter's Spanish homework.

I would even be okay with writing about cleaning houses.

But nope. It's not going to happen.

It's all about the scurrying around and never getting anything completely done. 

Piles of dirty laundry to be washed, piles of clean laundry to be folded, piles of dishes, but Jesus Christ, I haven't I been doing laundry and washing dishes all fucking day?! How can there still be laundry and dishes?!

HOW?!

The relentless drudgery is eroding my soul. Okay, that's a bit over the top. 

No. No it's not over the top. It's the complete true story. 

Drudgery is my life and it sucks. 

So, good readers, I'm off to oversee the completion of homework, I'm off to do the goddamned dishes, again, I'm off to wash and fold every fucking towel, t-shirt, and sock. 

Because it's very important. 

Very.

Important. 


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

On Being Needed Always Until You're Not Needed Only to Be Needed Again Very Soon After

Other people need me.

Right now.

I can sit here quietly and stare at the wall all evening and be completely ignored but the moment I make for the laptop to try to write a blog entry, I'm 100% in demand.

The pulse in my ears is almost as loud as the conversation that the kids are having. The dog is licking the floor, don't know why, and the noise is driving me toward insanity. I have had a headache for two days now.

But hey. That's okay.

The scene: The dining room table, again, always. The time: 7 in the evening. It's completely dark outside, the light inside has a yellowish glare, it must be my headache.

My son is to my left, working on his 5th grade math, stem and leaf graphs, and I have no idea what that means.

My daughter is sitting to my right making a paper celestial sphere model which resembles a paper lantern and has become her obsession as she tapes and re-tapes and trims and offers a running commentary on it all.

The boy asks math questions that I can not answer, the daughter attempts to give him helpful information. He misunderstands, she raises her voice. Then he suddenly understands what she's saying though not because she spoke louder but because his brain caught up with the ideas.

The dog has stopped his licking and is sleeping on the floor at my feet. One of the cats begins licking his face.

Daughter continues to attempt to achieve perfection on the paper sphere, she chews a piece of tape like gum. If her brother did that she'd be the first to reprimand him. She points out constellations and makes comments about how stupid they are. The shapes don't look anything like they should. This is silly, she says. This is stupid, she says. Look at Hydra, it's just along chain of unrelated stars, look at Draco, it's just a bunch of unrelated stars. I ask if deconstructing the constellations is part of the assignment because, despite her brilliant mind and charm, I'm finding this one-sided conversation about the dumbness of all things a bit tiresome. And she says, NO. FINE. And she's done with science and is ready to turn her full attention to the very necessary task of sharpening all pencils.

Son motors through the rest of his math. He heads to spelling. He must write a paragraph describing a beautiful park using 4 of his spelling words. Suddenly he is seized with soul deep despair. This task is just too much to ask of a boy. He says, "My mind is too too dark to imagine a beautiful park. It just can't be done." he insists, wretchedly. And then he's off to laugh and talk baby talk to the kitties.

I call the boy back to the table. I ask him to randomly pick four of his words. My son chooses, brawl, turmoil, forbidding, and mouthful. I know this is going to be all kinds of fun. For real. I like this guy. I like my daughter too. I love them and I like them and I need them and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Real Life: The Quicker F***er-Upper

Real life, you are a fucker-upper.

That's okay.

Relinquishing my grip on the fantasy of being able to plan ahead, finding immediate relief of self imposed angst and worry.

From last night my today plans went like this:

1)  rise and shine at 5 a.m. because I go to bed at a decent hour
2)  raise children from their slumber with a warm smile and kind words
3)  prepare healthy foods
4)  bid both my children happiness and success and send them off to school
5)  shower
6)  visit Mom at nursing home at 9 am
7)  go to Mom's apartment and clean up in preparation for her going being discharged from nursing home tomorrow
8)  go to grocery store for Mom
9)  return to Mom's apartment with her food
10) go to my therapist at 11
11) go back to nursing home with stuff Mom needs for tomorrow
12) go home and clean up my own crap
13) Welcome my eldest child home at 2:15
14) do the all the other stuff and usual homework dinner routine...etc

Reality:

1)  foolishly stayed up til 1:30 am when spouse returned home from work
2)  attempted conversation with spouse
3)  fell asleep around 2-ish after making incomprehensible garbled noises toward spouse
4)  Awakened by daughter's incomprehensible word like noises, only able to comprehend, "Mom, MOM. MOM. sick, eye, infection, call doctor, back to bed"  at 6:00 a.m.
5)  fell back to sleep while overtired spouse checked on sick kid.
6)  tipped out of bed at 6:30 thinking, Oh SHIT.
7)  drank coffee, ate cookies, achieved what appeared to be "awake"
8)  woke son with words like, "You. Son. Get up. I love you. My GOD, son. It's a good day for a shower."
9)  poured cereal in bowl for son
10)  stared at son
11)  brushed son's hair
12)  waited for 8 a.m. to call doctor's office
13)  wondered how to get all things done now that getting a sick kid to a doctor's appointment was part of the game plan
14)  called sick kid's school
15)  called doctor, left message, waited
16)  sent well kid to school
17)  waited for the call back from doctor, afraid to shower for fear I'd miss the call
18)  contemplated calling my sister to ask for back up but worried I'd miss doctor's call back
19)  got call back
20)  got sick visit scheduled...for 10:20.

It's 9. According to my original plan I'd be awake, showered, dressed, and starting in on the important stuff that needs doing. In reality I'm still in my pajamas contemplating preparing coffee #3.

But what ever.

It's okay.

I'm here, my house is still standing, my kids love me, I love my kids, we have insurance, my sick kid will see the doctor, we'll probably get medicine...but we can afford it and I'm grateful, she will recover, we have enough food, my mom is alive, my son is happy, despite everything and almost 18 years of marriage my spouse is still one of my best friends and he still thinks I'm cool. I'm really lucky.

There is no emergency in my life.

Everything that needs to get done will get done.

There's enough time.

Monday, November 18, 2013

On Regret, Fear, Scarcity, and the Okayness of Being Okay



 Telling regret to fuck off is the hardest thing I've ever done.

Coming in a close second was the time I put a dust ruffle on a king size bed by myself.  No easy task, let me tell you.

But still king size bed solo dust ruffle installation, slightly easier than telling regret to fuck off.

My life was all about the regret.

I felt every choice I made was the wrong choice.

Making choices was painful no matter how inconsequential the subject. Just choosing the "right" word during a conversation was enough to make me want to weep.

So much pressure. Every exchange became painful. Talking to the cashier at the grocery store? Painful. I might say the wrong thing. Chit chat at a public gathering? Oh please, you obviously want me dead.

Everyday decisions were agonizing. What's for dinner? OH MY GOD!? How could you ask such a question?!

We could have spaghetti but so many carbs! We're all going to die!

What kind of soap to buy for the kids? The cheap stuff has bad chemicals! The good stuff is too expensive! OMG! The soap will ruin us financially or kill the children or BOTH!

This sort of thinking plagued every single aspect of my life.

It sucked.

So now I'm in a different place.

Yes, sometimes there are right and wrong answers: should you kick the dog? No. Never. Why? Because it would be mean to hurt a furry critter and only assholes do that kind of shit and being an asshole is morally wrong.

Should you smack a human idiot in the face? No. It may be tempting but hitting is wrong and also hitting a human idiot is illegal and not worth the fines or jail time.

Most of the time in our day to day lives, there are infinite choices and no choice is inherently better than another.

Spaghetti for dinner? Sure, just don't eat too much. Cheap soap or expensive? Get a grip. There are other options. Chill.

And if I say the wrong thing or stutter while chitchatting with folks, so? Laugh it off. It's okay.  

When you let go of right/wrong, black/white, yes/no succeed/fail thinking, you can let go of  a lot of guilt and regret.

Those absolute scenarios are at their root all about scarcity and fear; there isn't enough right to go around and someone is going to have to be wrong.

That's crap.

When you tell regret to fuck off, you free yourself and allow yourself to feel okay and at ease.

Despite what you may have been told, it's okay to feel okay.




Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday evening homework help desk

I am pressed for time this evening. Weekends are pretty full and there isn't much time for me to do the bloggy thing.

When I am finally able to sit still and think about stuff, I find myself sitting in the same old place -- dining room table facing the kitchen, thinking about the same old stuff -- kids, housework, elderly parent. 

Tonight I'm multitasking. My son is working on homework while I sit here trying to keep my promise to blog everyday. Every other word I write is interrupted by a question or a comment from my boy.

Sometimes these interruptions are ordinary and expected. How do you spell ____? How do you spell _____? Or, how do you spell ____? Okay, we're not awesome spellers. Most of the questions are spelling related and that's cool because I can spell most 5th grade words. Also I have access to online dictionaries which makes me seem like a smarter lady than I am in real life. That's cool. 

If the questions are math related, my son is out of luck with me and he knows well enough to seek out his older sister for help.

Some of my son's interruptions are delightfully weird. Like just now he's sticking his pencil eraser in his ear. He's wearing his winter hat which is a fake fur and canvas ear flap affair. The pencil sticks out of his ear and holds the ear flap out like small tent. I suggest that  pencils aren't supposed to go in ears, he could get hurt. He suggests I'm sort of dumb because the eraser isn't sharp and he doesn't push it far into his ear. Duh, Mom. I mention that ear wax on pencil erasers makes the eraser smudgy, and he shows me his cool wiping the eraser on his shirt eraser cleaning technique.  I suggest he rub the eraser on his pants leg, denim is a superior earwax remover, much better than flimsy cotton t-shirt material. He gets hip to the subtext of my comment. He says, Hey. He says, How do you know? 

Ah, kids. They think they invented everything. Right now it's earwax on pencils erasers, one day, well, one day it'll be other stuff. 



Saturday, November 16, 2013

Just a little thinking and freewriting on a Saturday afternoon

What follows is a rather choppy account of my personal philosophy. It informs how I parent and how I do other stuff, too.

Kids need unconditional love. They need  to be cherished. If children are cherished and respected at home when they are small, they won't exploit others trying to create a world that will fulfill their unmet childhood needs when they are grown.

It's okay to teach kids that they are special as long as you also let them know that everyone is special. We each possess unique qualities that make us indispensable to the greater world. You have gifts, talents, and strengths. Everyone does. You are special. Everyone is. No one has to be perfect to be deserving. This is good because perfect is impossible. No one is more special. The specialness of others doesn't diminish what is special about you. It's all good. 

We can admire our own abilities without becoming arrogant snots because we acknowledge that others have admirable traits too. We feel comfortable in the world admitting our shortcomings because our lack is not a disability but an opportunity to make connections with others who can help us fulfill our potential just as our strengths can help others compensate for their difficulties and fulfill their potential. It's a beautiful thing.

Entitlement isn't a bad word. We're all entitled to an education, health care, food, a home, respect and love. The problem lies not in entitlement but in exclusion. I'm entitled but you are excluded. I deserve. You do not.

Another problem arises when we attempt to attribute greater or less value to certain abilities. My abilities are more valuable than yours, that makes me more valuable than you, therefore I deserve more than you.

It's this kind of thinking that leads to bullying and cruelty and inequality.

We worry that there won't be enough to go around.We worry about the scarcity of both tangible resources like food and shelter, and intangible resources like love and respect. We worry if we don't grab as much for ourselves as we can that we will suffer.

We forget that if we allow everyone to come to the table, nobody comes empty handed. When we share our talents and skills, there is an abundance, there is enough to go around. Everyone can have enough.

It's okay to acknowledge your abilities. It's okay to recognize the talents and abilities of others. Everyone is valuable and deserving. We are all equally entitled. There is enough for everyone.

Okay.

Tomorrow I'll try to write something funny.




Friday, November 15, 2013

Motherhood is Powerful



As a mother I have dealt with so many fearful disgusting messes, I've developed an immunity to gross. In my younger years touching nasty stuff would send me yipping and hopping and shaking my hands around like some sort of weird yipping hopping hand shaking weird person.

But since I got the Motherhood, overreacting to gross shit is a thing of the past!

When my son was a baby he was a wild little guy. In order to make dinner and keep him alive I had to strap him to my back in a baby backpack. He'd quickly get bored sitting up there with nothing death defying to do, and so in an effort to amuse himself, he'd grab handfuls of my hair in his adorable sticky baby fists and pull back with all his might causing my head to jerk back suddenly; whiplash! Fun!

This was not a fun game for me.

One evening while attempting to make food for dinner with my energetic son on my back, out of desperation and in a misguided attempt at self preservation, I gave him a wooden spoon play with. Whatever he did to me with the spoon would be better than the hair pulling neck breaking game.

After several minutes my son grew tired of  the Channeling Keith Moon and Beating Mom's head Like a Drum game, and he came up with a new game called "how much spoon can I ram down my throat before I puke". He discovered the limits of his overdeveloped gag reflex on the first uvula tickling try and KerSploooshhh...vomit in my hair, vomit on my neck, warm wet vomity vomit running down the inside of my shirt.

I didn't have time for the vomit. The vomit was just going to have to wait for me. I had dinner to make.

I'd tell you some scary poop stories but I don't think you can handle it. Unless you're a parent, and then you already know what kind of stories I'm not telling you.

I'm so tough now, nothing can repulse me.

Other people's boogers? Oh yeah, I can do that, with my bare hands. I can pick moldy viscous rotten produce from the depths of the vegetable crisper, with my bare hands. I can reach into the toilet bowl to retrieve toilet spelunking hairbrushes, with my bare hands. I can pull mysterious foul smelling crud off the dog's tail, with my bare hands. I can remove the dog's giant gummy eye slugs with my bare hands. Vomit spewing forth from a sick child's mouth? I can catch it before it hits the rug, with my bare hands. I can even pluck up rogue cat shit balls, with. my. bare. hands.

I'm WonderMotherFuckingWoman, and I can touch icky crap.







Thursday, November 14, 2013

Just a quick post today

Well, it's day 14 of the blog every day daily blogging challenge.

Whew!

I've been feeling anxious for a few days. That's okay because I have an all natural anxiety treatment: I call it the "eat everything in the house with special emphasis on foods high in fat, sugar, and salt, while writing snarky things on the internet" anxiety treatment plan.

You can't get this kind of relief from a pill. Surcease of symptoms is short lived so one must administer the treatment hourly to achieve optimal results.

Side effects may include headache, bloating, and loss of friends but it's totally worth it.

It used to be I'd sit down at my typewriter with a pack of smokes and a pot of coffee and write like a crazed crazy person for hours. I was smoking like a toxic fume spewing chimney while plumbing the depths of my anguish and it was cathartic.

But that was years ago. I'm much more careful with my health now.

These days I'm hunkering down with my lap top, my GMO corn chips and greasy cheese, a 2 liter bottle of diet Pepsi and the comment section of the local daily paper on-line.

I've made great strides.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Full disclosure: I sometimes shop at ***-Mart, but never on Black Friday



So, I've been thinking about that unabashed orgy of American Corporate Greed and the Pavlovian Consumerist Response. You know, Black Friday.

Let's just skip ahead in time, shall we? (Cue magic wand waving sounds now)

Happy Thanksgiving! We're all high on tryptophan, feeling content and gassy, picking our teeth with the wishbone. We're thinking about the generous Pilgrims and their BFFs the helpful happy Indians. We push ourselves away from the table and the remains of our obscenely huge meal. We finish lecturing our kids about how they should count their blessings, that it's better to give than to receive, and that we should all remember the reason for the upcoming Christmas season. What was that reason again? No time for that silly shit now, it's almost 6 pm and FU-Mart will be opening soon! Grab your hat and bolt for the door.

Stand back, Black Friday, make way for Black Thursday!

Actually, if you want to get a good spot in line before the doors open you probably want to get there earlier. Maybe you should camp out in front of the store very early Thursday morning. Nobody really likes Thanksgiving anyway. Fuck that "family time" crap. Bring some turkey sandwiches and potato chips and thank your lucky stars you have a good reason not to hang around with Grandma or your kids today. You can watch the Parade on your iMeMeMePhone while you wait. Take some selfies. Bring your guns. Guns get sad and lonely locked up in the closet all empty and unloaded. Guns love to get loaded and mingle. There's nothing more American than waiting in a crowd of bargain hunters for hours in the cold on a national holiday with a loaded weapon at your side. If some grubby grabby asshole tries to wrestle the last LegoPonyNerfDollGunBot out of your hands, you'll be ready. Stand your ground buddy.

Remember, it's REALLY GODDAMNED IMPORTANT that you get that FUCKING PIECE of PLASTIC for your kid. Because kids these days DON'T ALREADY HAVE ENOUGH SHIT and the Future of 'Merica depends on how much money you spend today.

Use your Visa and the MasterCard. Cash is for pussies. Credit card companies need your money more than you do, and with an interest rate of 29%, you're happy to do your part and lend a hand. Did you know that in America, over 16 million credit card companies go to bed hungry every night? Oh wait, no. That's not quite right. Uh...who cares. What's essential to remember is that your children won't love you anymore if you don't buy them shit tons of shit. Do you hear me? The economy will tank and your kids will hate you.

Do your duty. You love to shop. You do. You love it. You're happy. Buying makes you happy for a minute. So keep buying! Don't stop. Buy shit! Prove you're not a worthless child-hating unpatriotic piece of waste. Wait in long lines, push and grab and swear and kick and scratch. Buy your kids those happy Christmas memories you didn't have when you were a kid. Such a deal! Low low prices! You'll be glad you did. 

You'll suck as an American and as a human being if you don't.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Blogher prompt: 5 things in my fridge at this VERY moment...because you want to know.


Just for fun I checked out the Blogher daily blog writing prompt for today and I thought, hey. Okay. But why would anyone want to read about 5 things in my fridge and what I think of them? I don't really know. 

Here we go then:

Five things in my fridge and what I think of them:

1. Hot sauce. Sriracha, to be more precise. Two bottles, because I'd cry real tears if I ran out. I've loved Sriracha for a long time because it's delicious, not because I'm trendy. The very thought that I would obsess and adore a condiment and slather it liberally on everything I eat so people will think I'm hip and cool is STOO-PID. How the fuck many people watch me eat my meals? Not counting the dog, most days it's a grand total of two people, both under the age of 16, who will always think I'm uncool by default because they're my kids. If you count the dog among those who see me eat on a daily basis, it's still only two people, because he's a dog. 

2. Sitting in a small green bowl congealing in it's own juices is, leftover beef stew. The beef stew is all about betrayal and regret. Both kids say, we love beef stew! They come to the table, gaze upon the all the stewy goodness and they change their minds. I personally like the gravy, potatoes, and carrots, not the chunks of beef though. I like to smash the potatoes and carrots into a paste in my bowl with the salty brown gravy. I like to eat this mash with a huge squirt of Sriracha, of course, it goes without saying. 

3. There is one leftover pancake from Saturday breakfast. Every Saturday morning my husband makes the best pancakes. One side of the pancake is always full of little air holes like the inside of an English muffin. The butter melts and seeps into the pancake and then the syrup drips into the holes and it is good. As an aside, I have tried Sriracha on pancakes. While I will sing the praises of burritos with Sriracha, pizza with Sriracha, omelets with Sriracha, egg salad sandwiches and tuna salad sandwiches and even just regular old salad plain with no sandwiches with Sriracha, and also rice, soup, and stew, I do not recommend Sriracha on pancakes.  

4. Margarine I mean, not butter. I referred to butter a moment ago but I lied. We use margarine. The kind with no trans fat, the kind that is supposed to raise your good cholesterol. I don't know if it works but it alleviates my lipid guilt. I'm secretly ashamed that we don't eat real butter but real butter scares me. I think real butter wants me dead. I have many friends who say real butter won't kill me but the margarine is the bad guy, but science tells me that butter is lard made from milk and it's gunning for my arteries. Milk lard. Mmmm. I actually love butter on crackers with Sriracha. You should try it, if you're okay with real butter. Probably good with margarine too.

5. Since I'm feeling all guilty anyway I'm going to bring up the fact that my vegetable crisper is full of wizened carrots. I have a juicer. I thought, carrot juice! What a way to start my day! I'm too motivationally challenged to French press a cup of coffee in the morning, do I really think I'd be able to assemble the juicer, wash and trim the icky ends off  20 carrots, cut them up into small enough bits to fit in the stupidly small opening of the juicer, and patiently feed the carrot bits into the juicer, while the machine sputters and growls like an outboard motor at 5:30 in the morning? I won't even go into the horror of taking it apart and cleaning it.



And while I'm on the topic of cleaning things, why is it so difficult to keep the fridge clean? Food is clean. The fridge holds the clean food, so why does it get so disgusting in there? I blame the Sriracha. No. Not really. But I bet my rating on the hip and cool scale has gone way way up today. 

Thanks Sriracha. I'd be a pathetic non-person without you.






Monday, November 11, 2013

In which I become the center of the universe and whine like a piteous whiny whiner

It was painful to leave yesterday's post up for the shear suckage of it, but a promise to blog every day is a promise and by 8:30 last night I didn't have much left.

I adore my kids, they are my life, every moment with them is a blessing if not a joy. It's not like they are purposely sucking my will to live from my soul.

There are very few things as critical as a teen aged daughter, unless of course it's an elderly mother. I have both. I am lucky to have these two women in my life. But really, sometimes it's enough to make me want to dye my hair, change my name, and skip town.

It's okay, though it's usually more okay when I can remain mindful that their criticism of me intensifies with their own anxieties and self doubt. Yesterday must have been fraught for both of them, either that or I had a Kick Me sign on my forehead.

My other kid is a lovely individual and not critical and is more demonstrably affectionate and loving. This other child has a kind warm heart and is prone to spontaneous declarations of his eternal love for me. He is also a stubborn little cuss who will ask for something and never take no as an answer. He will unrelentingly badger, cajole, demand, beg, weep, rend, and gnash to get whatever it is that he wants. It's like his superpower.

Sometimes he appears to surrender to my No, but within a few minutes he's back to wear away my resolve. Perhaps the object of his desire is a before bed snack. Though he ate 2 helpings of dinner, he tells me he's weak with hunger. I say no snack, he says maybe just a little peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I say he can have fruit. He says maybe a bowl of cereal, I say fruit, he says maybe another bowl of stew, I say fruit, how 'bout some chips? Fruit. Cheez-Its? Fruit. Ice-cream? Fruit. Just a little ice-cream? FRUIT. A very very very very very very small bowl of ice-cream? FRROOOTTTT. Okay, what about an apple and peanut butter sandwich? Will you make it yourself? Yes! Fine. And I honestly have lost my will to go on and for all I know he's made himself a peanut-butter-jelly-chip-cheez it-ice- cream-cereal-stew sandwich and I don't even care anymore.


His mechanations, no matter how maddening, are still easier to deal with than the icy "you are a f***ing moron, Mom" looks that have been delivered to me with increasing regularity from the teen. And the "you are a f***ing moron" looks from beloved daughter are easier to deal with than the revisionist family history as told by my own mother with a knowing glint in her unblinking eye, as if to say, "We all know I'm making this shit up, but I dare you to say so". Bless her anyway.

Have I mentioned that my mother's cats are living with me? Only until my mother is discharged from the rehab facility. She's been recovering from pneumonia for a few weeks now though it feels like an eternity. It's not enough that I deal with these smelly cat litter strewing vomiting little stink balls, but she needs me to tell her it's a my pleasure to do so. The cats must remain contained in my bedroom because they just must. They track amazing amounts of cat litter around, they deposit much of it in my bed. When I say much of it, I mean metric tons.

Before getting into bed at night I shake the blankets, I strip the bed and shake the sheets. It sounds just like frozen rain falling on the hard crusty snow as the bed litter settles to the floor. There is cat litter under the bottom sheet, too. How the fuck do they do that? I brush the naked mattress free of litter, I remake the bed. I fall to sleep while the dulcet tune, The Cat Ass Lick Lullaby plays only two inches from my left ear. Every morning I am awakened by the same sweet sound.  Every morning there is a sprinkling of cat litter by my pillow, an offering from the Cat Fairy. It sort of makes me sick.

I vacuum my floor daily and still by the end of the day I'm walking on a beach of cat litter. I love my mother, I tolerate her cats. I'm convinced her cats are not regular cats, but are Satan's own cats. I'm not saying my mom is Satan, she's not. The cats are on loan to her from Hell; it's some sort of punishment meant just for me. Hell is other people's cats wetly licking their asses in your ear as you try to sleep on a bed of hard scratchy clay bits of filth in a room that smells of Fishy Morsels and Cow Entrails in Gravy.

I'm really just complaining. Forgive me. My heart had been filled with love and beauty for several days and I guess it was just time for me to come down from my  high. It was nice while it lasted.




Sunday, November 10, 2013

Just this

The story is here, it starts now. Everything is the story.

Home at the table, with the dark and the light. This is the story. It's night though not as late as it feels. The children, one laughing, one singing, are the story; the shaggy black dog sleeping on the couch his long face partially obscured by the puffy white tale of the cat who sleeps curled against him are the story too.

There are dishes in the sink as always, dinner dishes, white bowls filmed with brown gravy and small blue green plates.

Unfinished projects left scattered on the dining room table; paint and glue, saw dust, a drill, a flat wooden heart riddled with small and bigger holes, an unfinished glass of milk, an unfinished cup of tea, a bottle of honey, salt and pepper shakers, an unfinished cup of coffee and a glass of soda with an orange straw.

A pile of freshly washed and folded blankets drape over the back of the arm chair, a pile of neatly folded jeans and a pile of neatly folded black shirts wait in the arm chair. Another white cat sleeps wedged between the piles of folded laundry in the arm chair.

The singing child has gone to the kitchen in search of food. He's stopped singing. I hear him open the jar of peanut butter, I hear him slice an apple. The laughing child comes to the table to finish her tea and finish her project. She starts to sing.



Saturday, November 9, 2013

Making

I'm sitting contentedly across the table from my husband and son. They're shuffling through boxes of wooden doodads and thingamagigs with art on their minds.

It's Saturday night, it feels late but it's not. Outside, November has finally realized it's late autumn and is acting appropriately cold and dark. The lights inside seem bright and seem to cast a golden spell, making me feel like I'm looking at this moment as a memory and I'm really somewhere else and much older remembering a perfect guilded moment.

It's nice to sit here and look at their faces. They have nice faces.

My boy attempts to put some pieces together and my husband watches. My son has plans, my husband follows his lead. They are making a little person. The little person needs a sword. The boy works a small length of wooden dowel into the body of the little person. My husband digs through the assortment of wooden parts and finds a suitable sword. Son is using a thin fine bit from a drill to bore an arm hole. My husband encourages him. The boy thanks him for making the sword. The boy gets an excited tone, he says, I've found the cutest little hat for my man! And he has. He sets the hat on the round wooden head at a jaunty angle.

My husband heads to the barn to search for more treasures. My daughter is finally lured away from her laptop and joins us at the table. She has plans to make a little scarecrow. This makes me happy. I'm content to sit here with my kids and write my thoughts while they wait for their dad to come back from the barn with more supplies. They build their little wooden figures with what they have in the meantime.

Lately when I find myself getting too tender and start waxing nostalgic for things far too early, something happens that abruptly brings me back to the real world. Tonight's call back to reality comes in the form of my son's quavering voice. "Uh, Mom? I glued my little man to my finger with Super Glue." 

I can't help but laugh because really, this is a perfect thing. I was waiting for this moment. I leave my memories of the past that hasn't yet passed and take my place in the present where I belong, with nail polish remover and Q-Tips and gently and patiently wear away the bond and work the little wooden man from my son's little finger.

I tell my son that one day we'll think back on this and laugh. Remember the time when? That's how we'll start the story.

Friday, November 8, 2013

So it's friday and that means...

I have a HUGE zit and also today is my husband's day off. The first bit, the zit part, that has nothing to do with Friday, it's just a HUGE zit prominently displayed prominently in the middle of my face. It could be Tuesday for all this HUGE zit knows.

Anyhow, I'd hoped that perhaps my guy and I could spend a nice day together, maybe go out for lunch, but Brad works nights and he hasn't been getting enough sleep lately and I knew when he dragged himself in after driving the kids to school at 8:30 this morning that he needed to sleep or he was going to die.

Okay, that's hyperbole. But really, the sight of him swaying in the doorway with his eyes closed, looking paler than his usual shade of pale, mouth agape, startled me. "Sohhh honey," he slurred, "wha da ya wanna do today?" And then I swear to God, the man started to snore.

"I want you to live and not die from some sleep deficit induced death syndrome," and I sent the guy to bed.

My day was again with the laundry and dishes, and I wrote for a very long time uninterrupted which was cool. I took care of some phone calls that I'd been avoiding and then got to feel a little proud of myself. Good job, Me! Way to make the calls!

When my guy finally came downstairs, he told me I looked pretty today, even though I'm wearing  yesterday's clothes and I have a freaking HUGE ginormously HUGE pulsating screaming-red zit in the middle of my face. I read him the stuff I had been working on, we enjoyed leftover reheated dinner lunch with lots of hot sauce, ate some of the half price Halloween candy I scored and hid from the kids and we watched Amanda Palmer videos on Youtube. This was genuinely nice. I like that he appears to suffer from zit-blindness and I like it that we like the same things; hot sauce, cheap candy, Amanda Palmer.

One day I'm sure we'll both be awake at noon and we'll go out for lunch, but really, who cares. It was enough that we were in the same place at the same time, never mind that we weren't in the same room and one of us was unconscious. It was good. I'm grateful for this day. 


Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Divine Navel of Amazing Awesomeness, Puke and other Technical Difficulties

So our lives are filled with the profound and the mundane all mixed together. It's odd trying to fully experience the sysmic shifts and life altering moments and still get the dishes washed and dinner cooked. Perhaps it's good though, that we have these concrete tasks to keep us grounded. Otherwise we'd be transfixed and drooling staring into the depths of God's Navel and we'd never get dinner on the table.

My partner in life is at work, he works nights and that means I'm solo parent with the kids in the evenings. I'm dinner cook, dish washer, laundry doer, homework helper, homework cheerleader, homework harpy, homework proofreader, child therapist, resident comedian, medic and so on.

Tonight much of my energy has been spent t helping a child process his feelings after finishing Where the Red Fern Grows. Oh why oh why does the dog ALWAYS have to DIE in children's literature? Why?

I've been listening intently to my teen daughter, waiting for the exact moment when  I am supposed to deliver my lines, "And then what happened", "How does that make you feel?" and "NO Way! He so didn't, did he?!"

I've made a nice dinner, swept, done some dishes, thought about doing more dishes, and I've refereed a petty squabble.

My son threw up on his homework. No warning. Hork-splat. I didn't flinch. Worse than the vomit was having to tirelessly cheer him on to restart the assignment from the beginning. But I did, and he did, and it's all good.

My daughter needed help with some computer related tech issue.  This is not my area. Dealing with the anger and anxiety surrounding the tech problem however is my thing, and though the problem is still unresolved, daughter's anxiety is bearable, her anger is self righteous and not directed toward herself, me or her brother. This is beautiful.

Periodically throughout the evening I sat at my little red laptop and tried to write a post for the Unicycle. I have been, needless to say, slightly distracted. Big stuff has been happening in my life. I'm tempted to try to write about it, but I don't have the time, but that's okay.

It's 8 p.m. The sink is full of dishes again but it's not bothering me they can sit there, the kids are mostly content, the dog has been out and come in and is wet and smelly and sleeping on the couch, kitties also sleeping though less stinky.

All Hell could break loose at any moment but that's okay. I'm here, I'm ready. I have a moment or two right now to contemplate the Divine Bellybutton but I can trust that life will find something more important for me to do before I get sucked into the void.



Wednesday, November 6, 2013

In which I attempt a brief story while my dinner burns on the stove

Life is good, life is great.

Yesterday's blog post is dated Nov. 4, but to be clear, that's an error and I'm still on track with the blog everyday thing. Just wanted to say that.

So, yeah, today's been a day and work happened, appointments happened, cooking housework laundry happened. And here it is dinner time and the kids are needing me which is nice, but blogging is going to have to take a back seat to living.

But a quick story before I go, (spaghetti is burning on the stove, this is an exercise in brevity)

Today my boy had french toast with jelly for breakfast, yeah, I made that, I rock, I know, and I let the boy do his own jelly thing, and that's good too.

After seeing sweet boy out the door I got myself ready for my jobityjob and headed out the door myself. In the car I noticed a daub of raspberry jelly on my arm, and thought about my cute boy who loves his raspberry jelly.

I got to my job, pulled the jobityjob site key out of my purse and noticed jelly on the key ring, I though, awww...how cute, my boy-jelly, aww...

I left work for an appointment, arrived, opened my purse and noticed a huge jelly shmere on the inside of my purse, I though WTF?! How the hell?! and then I thought, aww....my boy God damned jelly.

Sat down at my meeting, looked down at my leg, yes, jelly, raspberry sticky sweet, boy love love...and I laughed, because really, how lovely how lucky, I have a sweet boy and I was reminded of his sweetness more than I might have been otherwise.

Our children will delight us infinitely if we let them.



Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Real Girl

This thing happens, maybe when you're too young to know all the necessary words and the people who should be help you, build you up and adore you, are so busy protecting themselves they don't notice or don't care when bad things happen to you.

You have a will that is as much a part of you as your face. Some people don't like this about you. They find ways to humiliate and hurt it out of you. Just because they are supposed to love doesn't mean they do.

You forget who you are. You're young enough that you don't remember a time before forgetting. When you look into the mirror you don't see your own face.

Everyone thinks you have a nice normal family. Aren't you lucky?

The words directed toward you are sharp. You are expected to memorize, internalize, and reflect the following:  you are ugly, bad, stupid, fat, lazy, wrong, annoying, weird, inferior, clumsy, disorganized, broken. You can't do anything right, can you? If something is wrong, it's your fault.You are a hole. Your purpose is to contain all the guilt and blame. This is why you exist.

When you cry people ignore you and mock you. Sometimes they do one or the other or sometimes both. Sometimes they start with the mocking and then move on to the ignoring. Sometimes they mix it up for variety and do things the other way around. You're not sure which is worse, being ignored or being laughed at.

You are a pain in the ass. Don't forget.  You would do well to remember you don't really want anything, you don't deserve anything, and you have nothing of value to offer anyone but compliance and silence. No matter what you say you feel, You don't really feel that way. No matter what you think, You don't really think that. So you endeavor not to feel or think. This serves you well at home but nowhere else. You are starting to think that perhaps you are retarded. You tamp your feelings into a small cramped space in your soul unaware that you are loading yourself like a gun.

Mostly you're blank and numb. Sometimes there is a cramp in your gut and a sensation of weight in your arms, a pain in the back of your head. These are the first signs that doubt, that troublemaker, is on the scene, but you don't know that yet. Some little ghost of yourself  is asking if perhaps this is a sad life and unjust, but it's a film of a feeling that isn't accompanied by language.

Interactions with people from outside the family lead to the startling discovery that the whole world does not play by your family rules. This idea is unsettling. This means that maybe you have other options. This is the scariest thing in the world.

Who are you to question the fundamental truth of your utter worthlessness and soul deep deficiency?

Sometimes you get angry. It's irrational, you break the toys and rip the books you love the most when the rage tears through your heart. The rage is powerful. After years of being told you're powerless, to feel this surge is exhilarating and terrifying. According to those who matter to you the most, these irrational fits of temper point to a deep moral flaw. You are just bad.

You have two faces: the dull slack dim numb blank stare or rage red raw frightening hideous monstrous. Neither, you are reminded, is very becoming.
 
When you are older people say you have the patience of a saint.

It's because I'm not here, you want to say. It' because I'm only right and good when I'm nothing.

It takes so so much to make you angry and yet in the same breath and without irony, it's the little things that send you into a seething spitting fury.

So much and so little.

Why are you so angry, you wonder, after so many years.

What if your whole life has been built on a fiction told by hateful people and fed to you as truth?
What if you are not the problem?

And then you ask, what now?

And you wonder, where is the real girl?












Monday, November 4, 2013

I just wrote a thing

I just wrote a thing that left my arms numb and triggered heart palpitations. I dragged it out of the unspeakable depths. It was all kinds of cathartic. It felt profound.

I don't need to read it or revise it. The numb arms and fast heart are all the proof I need; what I wrote today is crap. Or tripe. Maybe more like a crap-tripe casserole.

It's my humanity on virtual paper, it's my very f***ing soul translated into language. Served up for the masses this essential essence-y essence of my very humanity undergoes a stunning transubstantiation  and becomes what? You guessed it, a boiled bovine stomach and fecal matter melange. It squeaks when chewed. I don't recommend it.

It's just that bad.

So today's blog post is a bit of a let down for me.

Oh well.

On the other hand I did write for several hours and it was all right.

I have to remember that some days the output is pleasing and sometimes it sucks.

That's normal.

In the meantime, let's take solace where we find it.
It's time to dance around like a goober.  


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2duFNff_ArY








Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sunday Fantasy

It's Sunday morning. Thanks to Day Light Savings Time either starting or ending, I always forget which, we have been granted an extra hour, an extra Sunday morning hour, which is a beautiful thing.

At some point my spouse wanders into the sunny room where I am sitting with my coffee. He sits down next to me reaches out for my small cold hand, holds it firmly in his large warm hand, looks me in the eye and asks me what my plans are for the day.

I haven't made any but I imagine how nice it would be to take a walk with my guy.
It's unseasonably warm, the sky is a crazy autumn blue, there are piles of leaves to kick through.

I get a bit nostalgic for those Sunday mornings when I was younger, before kids, when Sunday mornings could be about cuddling with my man without fear of being besieged by children with big eyes and embarrassing questions.

I start to fantasize about my perfect Sunday. I let my mind wander for a moment. I imagine a scene of unspeakable debauchery and pleasure: a quiet house, a hot cup of coffee, a warm spouse, a warm bed, a stack of interesting reading material, and a day without any outside demands.

I'm too ashamed to admit my deepest desires. I say, "I don't really have plans, what about you?"  His look conveys to me the torment of unspoken longing.  I know the depravity his soul craves: to sleep until noon, to shuffle through the house in his comfy slippers, black sweatshirt, and ripped pajama pants, to wantonly strew art supplies around on the dining room table while listening to Tom Waits without the annoyed and annoying chime of  high pitched children's voices, "EWWWW! I hate this terrible music! And why is the lady in your picture naked!" He longs to cook spicy food, eat it on the couch with his cozy wife and watch all 14 episodes of Firefly in order one after the other. He wants to leave the dishes in the sink until tomorrow.

But he doesn't speak about his fantasy, nor do I speak of mine. He says instead, "I'm going to paint the porch." I say, "I'm going to do up the laundry, finish pulling up the dead plants in the yard and maybe trim the roses back."











Saturday, November 2, 2013

it's okay

The point is just to keep writing the blog every day, put it out there, stay active, and some days content will have to take a backseat. Days like today when I've been running around like a goober, doing stuff for my sick elderly mom, doing stuff for the kids, making phone calls, arranging work, cleaning the house and trying to reconnect with my long suffering spouse.

I'd taken a long vacation from the blog a while ago. People stopped reading, children were in crisis, my marriage was floundering, my mother was ailing, I was heading into depression and there just didn't seem to be a reason to keep the bloggy going.

I  recently made a promise with a pal, and I'll give this a go for the month of  November, but days like today, there isn't the time to delve into anything interesting.

The kids are as cute as always but there's nothing I care to relate, no, "hey look at this adorable kid thing my kid did" sort of moment.

I've got heavy big thoughts percolating and these thoughts might benefit others who are similarly afflicted but I don't know how to approach the subject of family dysfunction, dissociation, transference, emotional abuse, etc. I know I'll write about it one day, but not today.

I've got a house to clean, dishes to wash, cat boxes to clean, children to delight in, laundry to fold. Big thoughts will take a backseat to the mundane reality that keeps us clothed and fed. Big thoughts are necessary for life too, but not today. 

Today it's enough that I just say a thing and put it out there. Some days are like that, and it's okay.

Friday, November 1, 2013

up in the night alone with 10 lbs of candy and unlimited television is the best thing ever

My boy woke up way too early. It might have been 3 a.m. he said. He crept quietly downstairs and watched tv and ate Halloween candy until I woke up at 6. I asked him why he didn't come and get me. I suggested I could have helped him get back to sleep. He said he didn't want to make me mad by waking me in the middle of the night. I gave him the "really?" look. I suggested that perhaps he didn't want to get me because he wanted to watch tv and eat candy without any one else around to tell him no. I mentioned that perhaps the idea of having unlimited tv and candy at 3 a.m. was a dream come true and seemed worth any consequence. He gave me that look that says, "Damn. How does my mom know stuff? It's like she can read my mind!" 

I wanted to spill the beans and tell him I know all about his motivations because I would have done the same thing at his age. Hell, I still do things like that at my age. I'm an adult who knows better but I often stay up until the wee hours of the morning eating unhealthy snacks and watching mind rotting television long after decent moms are tucked into their nice warm beds. I know I'll be a grouchy mess the next day but at that moment the lure of complete solitude, unlimited Netflix and salty snacks is too tempting to deny. 

One day I'll give him the straight talk about how adults are no different than their 10 year old selves. I'll wait until he's older, like maybe in his 30s, when he's feeling frustrated and wondering when he's going to start feeling like an adult. It would be silly to tip my hand while he's still a kid. 

Nah...I probably won't wait that long. No ten year old can keep a secret for that long.