Look Around.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Day 07- Oh yeah, I'm still doing this thing.

(Woops. I got sidetracked. Life gets in the way. Also, I'm lazy.)

Day 07—Someone who has made your life worth living.

The obvious answer would be my son. He’s only a year old, though… So he’s a little knew on the scene. And while he absolutely is the sun in the middle of my solar system, the center of my universe, and without a doubt my reason for living NOW, he has not always been. While he is my reason for living and will be for the rest of my life, he has not always been the person that's made my life WORTH living. (Although now, obviously, he's on the list.)

The person who’s made my life WORTH LIVING my whole life is my sister. She’s my best friend, she was my first friend. She’s my other half. She’s the kindest, most gentle, loving person in the world. Having said that, she can also be hard as nails. You’ve never seen a person so multifaceted. My sister is a delicate flower, an innocent soul, but when the need arises she is incredibly tough. She's so much stronger than I am, so much braver. People don't realize it sometimes because she's so sweet, but she's a stone cold badass when she has to be.
She’s been my support and my encouragement, my back up, my conscience, my constant guide… She’s been these things my entire life, every day of my life. She knows me better than I know myself and miraculously loves me anyway.

There have been times as an adult living in my own home that I've called my sister from half way across the country to ask her where my keys were. No kidding. I can’t find them, and she might know where I’ve lost them. When we lived together she could always find everything, and I think this is because we are so very much alike while managing to be so different that she can see me in a way I cannot see myself. She can see what I've done or will do when I can't see it at all.

We’re like different sides of the same coin. Our souls are mirror images, our sense of humor exactly the same. But where I am broadly scattered, prone to quick and hot bouts of rage, and have a hard time focusing, she is the finest point on the tip of the sharpest needle, always level headed and kind.

She’s in my head, somewhere in there under all the noise and clutter. She’s in my heart. She knows what I’m about before I do.

When I hear other people talk about their siblings, I know they don’t feel what I do when I talk about my sister. They couldn’t possibly. We come from such a different circumstance. She’s my hero. Your sister is your sister. Maybe you like her a lot, I don’t know, but you couldn’t like her as much as I like my sister. You couldn’t like your sister as much as you’d like my sister, for that matter. She is everyone’s favorite, and if you don’t like her it’s because you don’t know her.

There were times when we were growing up, when all I wanted in the world was to stop existing. I wanted it more than I can express. It was constant pain.
In those days I remember occasionally finding myself alone in the house, pacing back and forth like a mad thing, not knowing what to do with myself, but feeling like I had to do something. I wanted so badly just to be done hurting, and I didn't know how to make that happen.

I didn’t hurt myself because it would have destroyed my mother, but more because I couldn’t imagine being without my sister. I’d be without pain, but also without her. And no matter what else was going on, no matter what turmoil or confusion or ache, my sister was a constant, steady light. I couldn’t imagine being somewhere quiet and free of the constant screaming and accusations and guilt and anger, but also free of that light.

I couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to be anywhere without that light. Without my sister. I couldn’t imagine it. All the rest was tolerable, because I had my sister.

I’ve told people before and I mean it completely,no matter how much everyone always looks at me like I'm a corny mope when I say it, that I think God made a mistake with my sister. I don’t think she was meant for this world. I think somewhere along the line there was a mix-up and she wound up on the wrong train, the one bound for earth. She’s too good, too sweet, too full of love and beauty and happiness and humor and joy to be here, in this place that can be so full of sadness and trouble. I’ve always thought there must be some kind of mistake, that she doesn't belong here with the rest of us.

I’ve always been so incredibly grateful for whatever mistake there was. My sister is my soul. She is where all of the hope and happiness and peace in my life has always originated. She is my safe haven, my rock, the fearless one at my side no matter what the challenge ahead. My sister has made my life worth living, every single minute of every single day of my life.

I love you, Sammo Kay.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The way it flies by.

For the first year of Cade's life, I kept a journal. I would write and draw in it frequently, most often when things were slow at work. (Which, 0300 on any Wednesday morning? They're pretty damn slow.) I have record of the first time he crawled, the first time he walked, his first teeth, first solid foods, first words, everything. I was really careful about writing in that journal, because I didn't want to forget anything.

For the last two months, I haven't really touched it. It's in my purse, so I see it multiple times a day. I just don't open it. I carry a lot of pens in there, too, so that I can write with whichever one fits my current mood. Things have been slow at work, I've had time.

(Hey, apropos of nothing: A commenter on another blog called into question whether or not I'm a member of Law Enforcement today, and that really pissed me off. I don't know why I'm mentioning it, except that I just saw it and it's fresh in my mind. I'm really proud of what we do, and it really got under my skin that some idiot on the Internet is questioning me and what I do. Instead of blasting back at them for being an ignorant troll, I've decided to leave it be. Some people are unbalanced, which is why you should have to take a Breathalyzer or an IQ test to have an Internet connection. That's all.)

I've had a lot to say. Cade's changing so fast, he's growing and moving and everything is going so fast. I've just not had any desire at all to write any of it down. Maybe I'm too busy trying to hold onto his babyhood and soak it in while I can, I don't know. I've been amazed how quickly it goes, and I do notice and feel bad for not writing it down. It feels like somehow that means I don't care, which isn't true. I notice, and I care.

For instance:

*When we pick him up for a hug (especially in the morning when we get him out of his crib, or when he's feeling sleepy) he'll pat our arms, like we pat his back. It's the sweetest thing in the world, and if you actually saw it your head would explode off your shoulders and into orbit.

*He'll go to anyone with a badge and a gun, because he recognizes the uniform and he knows those things mean someone is going to be nice to him. (We don't have jobs like you have jobs. Everyone that works with us really is like family, and I'm glad he's picking up on that.)

*He says, "mum?" instead of "momma" or "mommy"... Always with the upswing at the end, always a question. He waits for me to say, "Yes, baby?" before jabbering about I wish I knew what.

*His daddy is his very best friend in the entire world, and I know he misses him when they're apart.

*He has a sense of humor now, and will laugh at things we do instead of mostly when we tickle him.

*He wants to be just like us. He'll wear our shoes, and he loves to wear my sunglasses. Today I put my belt on him (he had picked it up and was trying to put it around his waist) and he walked around with it dragging behind him for over an hour, pulling it up when it would slide down his legs.

I do notice. I notice everything. Every day I make sure to kiss his soft little cheeks because I know they won't be that pudgy forever. He's getting longer, leaner, looking more like a little boy than a baby every day. He's figuring things out, working through things on his own, and I know it was just yesterday that I could hold him in one hand and he'd sleep curled next to me wherever I was.

Time is spinning, darting, leaping, lunging away, and there's nothing we can do but notice and appreciate what we have right this second, because in the blink of an eye it's changed and gone.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

People On My TV I Can't Goddamn Stand (In No Particular Order):

1. Giada Whatsherfaci, on the Food Network. Have you ever noticed how she's in a permanent fake smile grimace? All the time? But it's like she's baring her teeth at the camera, not like she's happy. It comes off as a threat, is what I'm saying. PUT YOUR GIANT HORSE TEETH AWAY, GIADA. Also, stop over-Italianizing your speech. I know people who are Italian, and they don't say 'Spey-gey-ti' when they're talking about something to be served with meatballs. Ass.

2. SPENCER PRATT. If you don't know who this guy is, don't google him. His flesh-colored chin fuzz will ruin your day. And he's a giant prick.

3. Geraldo. Are you still alive, Geraldo? Stop it.

4. Kanye West. Every single thing this guy does is steeped in douchiness. He shouldn't have access to cameras or phones, or doors that lead to the outside of his house.

5. Elizabeth Hasslesomething on The View. I don't watch The View because I don't need to watch psuedofamous people gossip about news and pop culture. More than that, I don't watch The View because I don't like being reminded that Elizabeth hasn't fallen off the face of the Earth yet. STOP WHINING, ELIZABETH. Also: You're wrong about everything ever. All of the things that exist in the universe, you're wrong about.

6. Nancy Grace. Because she's Nancy Grace, every time she opens her mouth an angel gets kicked in the face by an ostrich.

7. Kate Gosslin. Look, I get what she's trying to do. It started out as a way to support her eleventy billion kids, and then she started to like the attention and sort of forgot that there are legitimate ways to support your family that maybe DON'T screw up their precious little psyches. Now she doesn't really know what else to do, so she does... whatever the hell it is she's doing. But let me clue you in to something: When two of your SIX YEAR-OLD children are EXPELLED for violence and anger issues, you need to take a long, hard look at your life and assess the situation for problems. (Hint: Cameras in their faces all the time breeding an over exaggerated sense of their own importance. And your douchey ex husband doesn't help things, nor does your long, drawn out divorce being televised. The divorce that never included therapy or assistance for your children, who are now turning into tiny little ax murderers.) Shut off the cameras, for the love of God.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day 06.

Day 06—Something you hope you never have to do.

The first thing that pops into my head is "move out of my house," but I'm pretty sure that's because I'm super lazy and when we moved into this house I was five months pregnant so I have Nam flashbacks when anyone mentions doing something you hate, because holy crap, did I hate that. Charlie doesn't have anything on moving while you're gestating and it's 113 degrees outside. Eff that. (Even though I didn't really do much, because I was under orders not to lift heavy things or push things around, so I did a lot of pointing while complaining about the heat flouncing about prettily.)

That seems too superficial to count as an answer, though, so I take it back. Although, for real, it was like the seventh level of hell up in this piece. I kept getting all paranoid that I was leaking amniotic fluid out of every pore in my body because surely, no one could produce that much sweat. No one except a pregnant lady when it's hot as balls outside and you're making her move boxes and boxes full of sweaters GOD WHO HAS THAT MANY SWEATERS!?

I certainly COULD do it again, though. I mean, I wouldn't volunteer, but it's not something I really don't ever want to do.

A serious answer? To borrow the thought from a blogger I read:

I never want to bury anyone else that I love.

That's probably very near the top of my list of rational fears. In the last five-ish years I've buried both parents, the uncle that helped raise me, my grandma and two of my mom's lovely brothers... It breaks my heart to think about it, and to think about doing it again. So I hope I never have to.

That's probably unrealistic given the fact that most people are pretty mortal, though, so... Very, very specifically, I hope I never have to bury a child. Any child in my family, extended or immediate.

I can't even imagine the horror. My grandpa has buried three of his sons. They were all grown- middle aged, even, and I still can't imagine how he made it through. How his heart didn't just quit beating from the utter, bone crushing sadness.

Can't imagine. Don't want to do it, not ever. I'd rather move a million times, from one house to another, while pregnant with octuplets and standing on the surface of the sun. No thank you, sir. Good day to you.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day 05

Day 05 – Something you hope to do in your life.

I’d like to write a book.

I know, everyone wants to write a book. Everyone thinks they need to be heard.

I don't even know what I'd write about... It’s what I want, though. What I’m too afraid to try to do. I hope to get it done someday.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day 04

Day 04 – Something you have to forgive someone for.

As much as it might seem otherwise, I’m not really a grudge holder. When I feel like I’ve been wronged somehow, my anger burns white hot and incredibly fast, like a magnesium flare. It’s blinding and painful, but over in an instant.

When the anger is over, I don’t have the energy to care anymore about whatever it was that got me all revved up. I don’t care what you did or what I did, I just want everyone to shut up and be happy. Sometimes I’m like a dog with a bone trying to get to the bottom of the situation, but I don’t hold a grudge once it’s figured out. I just want it to be over – REALLY OVER – no awkwardness, no lip service, no lingering issues. Just let it go. You don’t have to cling to things, using them as an excuse to make people miserable or manipulate them. So don’t.

For me, holding onto things anymore requires a serious degree of concentration. I have to keep my anger stoked so high that I can’t possibly forget why I’m upset. I certainly can’t maintain such a hysterical level of rage for any serious length of time; I don’t know where I’d get the energy or the motivation. Most importantly, I don’t think it’s my place to judge other people or their motives. Even if I’m angry or hurt, someone else has their reasons for doing whatever they’ve done. They have their own feelings and ideas about it, and I’m not their mother or the cricket on their shoulder in charge of shaping their choices. So where do I get off maintaining some kind of grudge over it?

It isn’t my place. I try not to do the whole forgiveness thing. What makes me so special that someone should seek my forgiveness? Even as I type this, I can’t think of anything I have to forgive anyone for.

 What was, was. What will be, will be. Move on or don’t, but stay away from me with the drama.

So I guess I don’t have anything to forgive someone for. I know this seems like bullshit, but I can’t think of anything.

I’m super proud of being able to say that, you guys. It makes me kind of grinny. I used to be quite the clinger in my early years. Turns out, when you lose so many people that you love in a very short period of time, it sort of manages to age you right past all of the immaturity, I guess. Not the way I’d recommend going about maturing, but certainly effective.

Now For Something COMPLETELY Different:

Let's get rich and give everybody nice sweaters.

That other post was on the top of my page for MORE THAN long enough. I want more than anything to be honest in and to really get the most out of this 30 Days thing, but I'm not okay with lingering melancholy, so... Let's be happy, okay?


Related to the link: When Cole's and my (Cole's and mine? Mine and Cole's?) son was in my belly, he would kick to this song. He loves him some Ingrid to this day, but any music at all gets him shaking his head and doing the Can I Get A Witness jazz hands.

Remembering the crazy butterflies, the over-the-hill-on-a-roller coaster feeling of him tumbling and kickboxing in my belly for the first time when he heard this song makes me happy all the way down to the bottoms of my toes.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Day 03

Day 03- Something you have to forgive yourself for…

Wow, so.. This is harder than I thought it would be. I’ve got a feeling I’m going to be using some language, so… if it bothers you, feel free to skip this one. This is going to be hard enough without censoring myself. Also, I’m at work, writing this to stay awake, and I will be interrupted often so the narrative will probably be kind of hard to follow. Once it’s written, I’m not going back to change anything because, like I said: suck. I'll post it later, when it fits into the 30 Days meme.

This is ...bad. I kind of just thought this whole thing would be an exercise in writing, something to get the ol’ blog going. Something to force me to write. But, man. You know how there are certain things you build a wall around in your mind to keep from climbing a clock tower? Yeah. There is some demented shit behind that wall, y’all.

But Jesus hates a coward, right? So fuck it. In for a penny, in for a pound. Get it out and get on with it, isn't that part of the point of this whole rodeo for me? Get it out of my head, and maybe it'll all get better. Alright. So in I go.

Like.. um. Six years ago, almost… Five and a half I guess? I was with a guy. We’d been together for 7 years by then. Long, stupid, terrible story. Everyone’s heard it. Everyone has one of their own, even, so everyone knows the way it goes. Ours was a little more dysfunctional than some, so I think it serves the rambling narrative to mention that we were pretty much shit out of luck from the beginning. I was emotionally all messed up from a kind of (read: completely, totally) fucked up relationship with my mother (at the time - it got better when we learned how to love each other better) and her husband, and having some resulting complexes about being inferior or whatever, and he… Well. He was a sociopath. Still is, where ever he is now, because that’s not something that just goes away. I say that because it’s true, not to paint him as a villain. He had then and still has now no ability to care for other people. The people around him convince themselves otherwise because it goes against human nature to believe that absolute disregard for human life is possible. This is how sociopaths exist without being tarred and feathered - they rely on the goodness of those around them. They prey on it. And he did. And I let him. So, on we go.

He came back from 3 years in the Navy (we were together for like two years before he left, I think, it’s all a blur now) where he was stationed overseas. Three years, I might add, during which I was a teenager, holding up a totally miserable relationship from the middle of fucking nowhere, when he was off in Japan partying like a rock star. I romanticized it and he slept his way across Asia, which he freely admitted and I let happen because I was stupid. It was a pretty great example of the BS in our little situation. If you asked him today, he’d still tell you he was sure I was cheating on him the whole time with my best friend (I was not. I’ve never cheated on anyone. This is all about truth, after all, and I have no reason to lie a decade after the fact of his deployment) but it was just one of the many ways he justified his own promiscuity to himself and everyone that would listen. I knew what he was doing and I stayed with him, so I was as much to blame for the situation as he was. If you allow something to happen, you become responsible for it, right?

Uh, so. I moved back to our home town right before he was discharged (I didn’t think about it then, but it was a time of war. Why were they discharging someone when they needed bodies like mad? This is what we like to call foreshadowing.) and stayed with my mom. He got back and we moved in with his sister for a while. The whole time, I was looking for a job and he was not. I found one, as one is wont to do when they are looking for something. For a year, he refused to even so much as look. We squatted at his sister’s for a while (with her husband and two children,) and then moved in with his parents, which… Yeah. Awkward. He continued refusing to get a job, while I continued working.

During this time, my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.

It was bad, man. All of it was bad. It was just fucking terrible. Even writing this, I can’t really go back there in my head… I can’t really look at it. I keep seeing flashbacks in my mind and slapping them away like a gypsy baby. I don’t want to go back there. It was… I don’t even have the words. The only things I remember were at night, because night was the worst… The fights were worse, the feelings were worse. The voices from back then, our voices, literally echo when I remember them. There was no light. I see no light in my mind when I look through this wall. It’s cold and dark and I fucking hate it behind this wall I’ve built, back there in those months…

Somewhere in there, between all of the natural stress of the situation –of which there was plenty, let me tell you—and the added psychological bullshit that our relationship just naturally carried with it, I became aware that very bad things were happening. Our relationship was getting worse, more dangerous for both of us. It seemed… I don’t know. I observed it, but didn’t do anything to get out of it. I had nowhere to go.

I just needed so badly for someone to care for me… He didn’t, obviously, ever, but I needed to believe someone did. I needed to be held, even if I had to beg for it, because my world was falling down around me. My mother was dying very quickly, and I felt like if I left my relationship, I would have nothing left after she was gone. I needed to stick it out.

I found out I was pregnant a month after my mom was diagnosed. Which I was oddly surprised by I even thought, hey, maybe this is something good, something to look forward to. Losing my mom, gaining a baby, give and take, balance in the universe… Whatever. I don’t know. I was so deluded.

Relationship got worse. Things became more volatile. My mother died. My sisters and I very literally watched her die four months after she had been diagnosed, and I… I can’t remember that, either. Not now. Jesus, it’s like bumping around in a dark house of mirrors in my head right now, you know? Keep running smack into things I can’t get through, bouncing off and hitting something else, almost seeing my own haunted face staring wide-eyed and horrified back at me from the murk.

So. Maybe two weeks after my mom died, but I think closer to a week and a half, I was crying… I was talking to the boyfriend, trying to get him to listen to me, and he wouldn’t stop playing his video game. Wouldn’t even look at me, or pause it, or pretend to give a shit, as I’m trying to tell him I need some kind of help because I can’t deal with what’s going on. I was literally begging him to PRETEND to care, sobbing, just… It was humiliating. I’m ashamed, when I think back, it makes me… God, it was just…

Um. So he got mad, he got up to leave the house (still his mother’s house. His parents were pretending to be asleep downstairs as we fought) because he didn’t want to listen to me. He told me my mom was dead, I needed to just stop thinking about it because people die and the world doesn’t end, or something very close to that. Said I was weak for crying and being so broken over it. Called me names. I didn’t let him leave, I stood in his way, begged him to just hold me, so he shoved me. I should have known better than to stand there, but I didn’t. I wasn’t thinking clearly… I don’t know that I’d ever thought clearly the entire time we were together…

So he shoved me into the corner of the wall, which hit me right along the spine. I have scoliosis, so there was a pretty fair amount of pain. It knocked the wind out of me, knocked me to the ground. He walked past me, went outside to smoke.

I was four months pregnant. The cramping started then, low… dark. I was so stupid. I think there was even part of me that thought he would care now, he had to care now, because look what he’d done. I was so stupid.

When he came back inside, I was sobbing on the floor, unable to get up. He didn’t even look at me, walked past to go sit on the couch and continue playing his game. I asked him if this was how it was going to be now, if he was just going to drop the act and be this way all the time now. He said in the coldest, most matter of fact voice, that yes, it was. If I stood in his way and refused to give him what he wanted, he would force me to move and he would take it. That wasn’t anything new, but hearing it… Something inside me broke. I cried so hard, I couldn’t breathe. The cramping got worse. After a long time there, on the floor, not really able to get up first because of the pain in my back, then because of the pain in my belly, I told him my stomach hurt.

He said he didn’t care. I said, no, you don’t understand. MY STOMACH HURTS. I think something’s wrong with the baby. He said to go to bed, I said I couldn’t. He became more alarmed then, I think realizing that after what he’d just done I wasn’t stupid enough to ask him for help if I didn’t need it. He got up, tried to help me up, and when I couldn’t stand he carried me to the bedroom.

Not to the car. Not to the hospital. To the bedroom.

The cramps were terrible. I sat there on our bed, terrified and weeping and broken, and he sat behind me trying to get me to calm down, to breathe… Do it for the baby, Amanda, think of the baby. You need to calm down for the baby. I couldn’t. It took so long to stop sobbing… Everything was broken. I was terrified. Absolutely, soul-searingly terrified.

I didn’t ask to go to the hospital. I was so ashamed. I was so alone. My mother was dead, just barely in the ground, and I had no one. His parents, who I’d always thought of as family, had been downstairs and heard everything. They didn’t come up to help me. I was alone, with him. He was all I had, I thought. I didn’t know. I was so stupid. I just wanted it all to stop, to get better. I thought if I could calm down, everything would be okay. I could still fix it. I could still fix everything if I could just calm down.

I was only 20, weeks away from being 21. I didn’t know any better. I was so fucked in the head, and I didn’t know any better. I thought if I calmed down, it would be okay, that the baby would be okay. I don’t know how I convinced myself of that – I’m an educated person, a smart girl, how did I think it would be okay? I just wanted so badly for something, anything, to be okay. I was sick, then- my mind wasn’t right. I was sick with grief and I didn’t know...

We went to my regular appointment a week later. There was no heartbeat… The baby had stopped growing that night, the measurements said. She’d died that night. I had to have a D&C (which, as it turns out, is the wrong procedure when you’re 15.5 weeks along. Who knew? Not me. I was just a kid…) and he went to the hospital with me for it. The procedure didn’t take long, but I was in recovery for 7 or 8 hours… They couldn’t get my BP up, I was bleeding too much. The entire time – every single minute – that we were in the tiny, cold recovery room, he was angry. He wanted to go home, he didn’t know why I couldn’t just suck it up and go home. (I tried to walk twice. Both times, I blacked out completely before I could take a step. I’ve never fainted apart from that in my LIFE.) I told him to leave, but he stayed. I continued to shiver and bleed and cry. He continued to stay, watch the tiny TV, sulk.

The better to badger you with, my dear.

I didn’t leave him then, even though I knew I should. I was so alone… I just… I was stupid, is what it comes down to. We stayed together for a long time after that, I guess six months or so, but that seems too short. It was probably longer. I don’t know. Like I said, it’s all a blur.

Interestingly, if you were to ask him now, I don’t know that he would appear to care at all about what happened in those months or the years leading up to them. He’s convinced himself it was all a dream, maybe; I don’t know. Maybe if he was being honest with himself, if you caught him in a lucid moment, he’d tell you. It has to exist inside him somewhere. At least that’s what I tell myself. He has to be human somewhere in there, he has to know. I think if I’m being realistic, I know that he can’t possibly care. His psyche is built on avoidance of emotion and responsibility – he’ll never understand or concern himself with what he did. He'll never be honest with anyone about it, and that's what I hate the most. He's leaving me to be the only one to carry the memory of that time. To carry the memory of our daughter.

This is all a lot of back story to tell you what I need to forgive myself for. I need to forgive myself for not leaving, for staying with him when I should have left. I should have left a thousand times in those 7 years, but if I had been smarter and stronger, I would have left him when he was discharged from the military. I would have left. I should have left, but I didn’t. I remember literally crying myself to sleep next to him more nights than not, I remember the things he said, the things he did… And I didn’t leave.

Because I didn’t leave, my baby died. He killed her. And I let him.

I need to forgive myself for that. It’s been more than five years. I’ll never, ever manage it. Ever. I need to forgive myself, because not being able to let it go ties me to it, and the sickness from then snakes its way up and along that cord, and into my heart. I’ll never heal, and I know that. There will always be a dark, poisoned part of myself that lingers from then. A ghost of the baby that died and the girl who let it all happen and the man that made it all possible.

My grief lingers. My shame, my humiliation, my horror at what took place during those months. I sharpen it all, use it as a dagger to impale myself on, aiming for that rotten bit on the dark side of my heart. I don’t know if I’m trying to excise it or reopen the old wound. I don’t know if there’s a difference anymore.

I need to forgive myself. But I won’t.

This just happened.

*ring ring*

Cole: Hello?

Me: Don't be mad.

Cole: I'm already mad at someone else, I can't be mad at you, too.

Me: Good, because you shouldn't be mad at me, and you shouldn't yell because it makes me sad.

Cole: I'm not going to yell, why would I-


Cole: I'm not yelling at you?

Me: Okay. Well, don't be angry.

Cole: ...What did you do?

Me: Why do you have to be so mad all the time?

Cole: I'm not, I'm happy. Whee! We're happy! Now... What happened?

Me: Promise you won't get mad.

Cole: I promise.

Me: And you won't yell?

Cole: Amanda, I-


Cole: I-


Cole: I'm not, you-

Me: Don't get mad, either.

Cole: I won't get-

Me: I forgive you. Let's never fight again.

Cole: Do you want to tell me what you did or not?

Me: No...?

Cole: Tell me.

Me: Okay, well, you know that kitty that lives in our neighborhood?

Cole: ...

Me: You know the one? He's white and black and orange and he's so skinny?

Cole: ...Yeah...


Cole: I-


Cole: I'mnotyellingwillyoupleasejust-

Me: I fed him.

Cole: What?

Me: I fed him food. He was so hungry.

Cole: You fed the stray cat?

Me: Uh huh.

Cole: But he's never going to leave now! We already have one cat and we agreed, no more cats! (That last part was implied. We do have one cat, and he's 17 pounds of piss-on-what-I-want, but-specifically-all-of-the-carpet fury. We have agreed: no more.)

Me: I know. I'm not sorry. He ate Gray's food so fast! I've never seen a starving cat eat that fast.

Cole: You gave him Gray's food?

Me: Yes. I was in the den and I looked up and his wee little kitty face was in the window and so I went and I got Gray's bowl, and he came in and was all 'meow, meow, feed me, meow,' and I was like "GET OUT OF HERE YOU FATASS! YOU CAN SHARE! THERE ARE STARVING KITTENS IN CHINA!" and then I took his bowl outside.

Cole: You-

Me: So his food is outside. Which isn't specifically China, although China is also outside. Just farther away. But I don't think he knows the difference.

Cole: I'm not mad.

Me: Good, because remember that one time you said you wouldn't be?

Cole: I'm not.

Me: Okay. I named him Harold.

Cole: Who?

Me: The KITTY. His name is Harold.

Cole: O... kay?

Me: I think he's a lady. I'll probably feed him again tomorrow.

Cole: Perfect.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Day 02

Day 02- Something you love about yourself.

I’m a good mom. No, scratch that. I’m a GREAT mom. This is the only good thing I can say about myself and honestly believe it.

 My son comes first over everything else in the world, and he always will. I do everything in my power to see that he’s the healthiest, happiest, most successful little person that he has the ability to be.

I’m patient with him. I am happy for him and about him. I am constantly and endlessly proud and pleased by him. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t hear myself say out loud to his dad, “We have the best baby in the world. We’re so lucky.” I hear a note of awe in my own voice, and recognize the validity of it. It's true: He is the best. And we ARE so lucky. Awe is appropriate.

Y'all, I know it's some kind of second degree vanity, but I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that my son is THE VERY BEST BABY in the WHOLE WORLD, and I would give anything in my power to be able to spend every single moment of every day with him. He’s smart and funny and sweet. He’s incredible. He’s a great baby, and he makes me a great mom.

I find myself alternately able to watch him crawl up the stairs with immense pride and little fear of injury, and incredibly protective over him when it comes to people that would hurt him. I will never let anyone hurt him, and if someone ever tried… I can’t even imagine what I would do. I suppose I would hurt them until there was no more pain in the world left to feel. I’m not sure I would be able to stop myself. This isn’t only because he’s mine and I love him and have an instinct to protect him, but also because he is so sweet and happy, and has never known intentional, cruel pain. He is so confident right now in the goodness of the people around him and if someone took that security away from him, I would pull the fury of Hell down on their head.

He gives me the strength to stand up for him. He makes me brave in the face of authority and adversity. Where I cannot always find my voice to help myself, I can easily scream in automatic, instant, fearless defense of him.

He makes me a good mom. I love that I'm a good mom, and that I trust my instincts with him. I love him, and by extention I love myself a little, too.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Day 01.

Day 01- Something you hate about yourself.

That’s heavy. These meme people don't screw around, huh?

I don’t like the word ‘hate.’ It requires so much passion and intent and thought, and it implies that there’s been some dwelling. It implies that there's no going back. It seems so damn permanent. I guess there are things I hate in life, and I’m sure there are things I hate about myself, but it squeebs me out to think about what that says about me.

You don’t want to think there's something about yourself that you spend time loathing and dwelling on, but not correcting. You know? I’d rather see myself as a person that's more logical than that. Or at least more level headed. It seems so… self important?

There certainly are things, despite my lofty ideas about being above such insecurities and self absorption, that I hate about myself. My biggest problem, I think, is my inability to feel safe. Not from burglars or disease or madmen or guns or rabid dogs or monsters or tornadoes (Although I am afraid of falling into a volcano. And sharks. And FLOUR.) I can't feel safe from the emotional ruin I think is lurking around every corner. Fear of that ruin makes me do all kinds of ridiculous things. It causes rifts and fissures to open up inside my head, and doubt to sink in and poison things.

For instance: I have a great relationship. I have no idea at all where it’s going in the future, and that --I think maybe understandably?-- scares the hell out of me. But I can't just leave it at being vaguely uncomfortable, I have to take it farther than that. Not knowing the status of things to come makes me feel like I have no stability, no safety, and it makes me edgy. I get moody and snappy and take out the resulting frustration on my boyfriend, which makes him feel bad and actually MAKES our relationship unstable. I’m causing it, from that aspect, you know? All because I can’t feel safe. I can’t just feel safe in this relationship, whatever it is or becomes, and be happy with it as it is and whatever it will be.

I mean, I’m happy. I am. I just… You wouldn’t know it sometimes. Sometimes I let the neurosis get the better of me, and I panic, and it just turns everything to shit. I know why this is, but knowing doesn’t help me change it.

I'm pretty sure this particular CRAZY goes back to the fact that I never saw my parents in the same room together. Ever. Not once, that I can remember, were they ever inside a house, in the same room, together. I'm sure this can't be true - I'm sure they must have at least wandered into the same room once by accident, but I honestly can't remember having seen it.

My mom and dad were divorced practically before I was born, so I never knew them as a couple. I only knew that they hated each other with a passion that I couldn’t understand and was afraid of. My mother remarried a man that hated children (Thanks, mom. Good choice when you have three kids, two of whom still live at home. NICE ONE.) and didn’t like her very much, either, or people in general as far as I could usually tell. They fought every. Single. Day. Of my life. Every day, I heard different degrees of, “Pack your shit and get out,” and, “I don’t need you or your BS,”… Every day, to the point that it never even occurred to me to think that some people might not live like that, that some people might not be afraid all the time about where they would end up when things went to hell, as they were absolutely going to do any minute.

I never felt safe. Nothing was ever secure. The other shoe was always just about to drop.

Now things are good. Things ARE secure. (I think. (SEE!?)) Our life is rock solid most of the time, but I can’t let myself believe that. I can’t lean in and put any weight on anything because somewhere inside myself, I just know that as soon as I do, everything will fall down around me. That's how it works. I've got a lifetime of examples, why don't we pop some corn and crack open a few beers, and I'll regale you with the memories from my childhood that I wish I could scratch out of my brain with a fork?

This stuff causes all kinds of trouble. All manner of disquiet and unrest, and... Man, I’d really like to be happy. The kind of happy where you aren’t afraid all the time of what could happen. The kind of happy where you can relax and trust and breathe easily.

Because, yaknow, I’m happy… I’m just not WHEE, HAPPY! And I hate it.

30 Days- Agenda

Alright, here's the agenda. I'm not saying I'll be able to do this consecutively, but I'm going to do my best to keep up. Regardless, I'm going to write about every topic given, and try not to wish too much harm on whomever came up with this thing. Here are the days:

Day 01 → Something you hate about yourself.

Day 02 → Something you love about yourself.

Day 03 → Something you have to forgive yourself for.

Day 04 → Something you have to forgive someone for.

Day 05 → Something you hope to do in your life.

Day 06 → Something you hope you never have to do.

Day 07 → Someone who has made your life worth living for.

Day 08 → Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.

Day 09 → Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.

Day 10 → Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.

Day 11 → Something people seem to compliment you the most on.

Day 12 → Something you never get compliments on.

Day 13 → A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days. (write a letter.)

Day 14 → A hero that has let you down. (letter)

Day 15 → Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.

Day 16 → Someone or something you definitely could live without.

Day 17 → A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.

Day 18 → Your views on gay marriage.

Day 19 → What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?

Day 20 → Your views on drugs and alcohol.

Day 21 → (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?

Day 22 → Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.

Day 23 → Something you wish you had done in your life.

Day 24 → Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)

Day 25 → The reason you believe you’re still alive today.

Day 26 → Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?

Day 27 → What’s the best thing going for you right now?

Day 28 → What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?

Day 29 → Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.

Day 30 → A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself

Friday, November 5, 2010

That's a lot of truth.

All over the Internet, blogs are lighting up with this... what? A meme of sorts, I guess. It's kind of gone viral in its own way. You can't throw a piss without hitting a blogger that's telling 30 different kind of truth 30 different ways, and most if not all of them are better writers than I am.

I write because I have to, not because I have anything in particular to say. And what I do have to say, I don't usually say well. I'm too scattered, too random. I start out with a point in mind but I get sidetracked because my attention span is a pile of crap and did you know there are twenty-eight plates of armor on an armadillo's back?- but I want to get better. I want to be better. There are a lot of things I need to purge out of myself in order to be better, things I've been holding onto out of fear or selfishness or laziness. This meme, though, it's an exercise. It's a challenge we're making to ourselves to stop being lazy or afraid or selfish.

Write, we're saying. Write about things that might be hard to look at. Write about things you might not otherwise, things that make you uncomfortable and squirmy, because only through challenge can a person grow. Write because it's what you have to do.

I want to grow. I want to be a better writer. So I'm going to jump on the bandwagon, even though it's already left and lapped the station a few times. I've never been what you'd call a 'joiner,' so I suppose it makes sense that when I do join something, I'm a day late and a dollar short.

But hell if I'm not going to do it anyway. I don't mind being late to a party if it's a good party to be at, even if I am just standing around jazz-handing boozily to the 80's classics while I people watch in a corner by myself.

Also, I really need something to kick my ass into writing. I think about writing almost constantly, and then I just don't. Life gets in the way (that's such a cop out) and I just don't write. I need to commit to doing something, to put it out there, so the fear of looking like a lying jackass will keep me on task.

Come along with me.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

I should've been a one-armed architect philosopher.

Nothing lasts forever.

That's obvious. Nothing alive is immortal. Even the redwoods will die eventually, although they live many times as long as a human being.

Nothing finite is concrete. No relationship is a completely stable, knowable thing. When two people have something real together, that relationship takes on a life of its own. It becomes a live thing with needs (attention, upkeep, care.) And when that happens, the clock begins to tick. When it lives, it must die.

Sometimes people will stay together their entire lives. That's an amazing thing. I wish for that; to be with another person your entire adult life, to grow old and wise and weird together. It's something I want very much. I never thought I would want that, but then, who really knows what they want until it changes and they realize they were pretty wrong to begin with.

When I was growing up, I saw a lot of harsh things between my mom and her husband. They were never physically violent, but sometimes I thought it would be better if one would just take a bat to the other. Something to break the tension, because you knew it was always just a second away, would have been a relief. It's a sick way to feel, a wrong thing to believe, but it's true and it's what was. Their relationship was volatile. They never seemed very happy, just content or tired in the lulls between inevitable fights. Nothing one did ever seemed good enough for the other. It was sad, because I believe they loved each other very much, in their own way. Whatever that way was, however, is not something I ever want to repeat in my own life.

It's hard, though. It's hard to avoid repeating something when it's the only thing you know. For instance:

My dad had one arm. True story. Maybe I'll write about that someday, not that it ever seemed like something to write about, but some people find it kind of interesting. Actually, he had one and a half arms, but people never would have believed the half was good for nearly as much as it was used. He never missed his missing half arm. He never needed it. He wasn't handicapped. He could do anything you or I could do, he just did it differently.

So. My dad played softball when he was young and into my early childhood. He would catch with his left hand, put the glove under his right armpit, grab the ball out of the glove with his left hand, and throw it wherever it needed to go. His arm was a cannon. He could throw hard and far and fast. He never fell behind, and was an asset to whatever team he played with.

He liked to throw, liked to play catch, and wanted to teach me and my sister to play. He could only catch and throw one way, and this is how he taught me to do it. So I catch and throw with my right hand, and it never occurred to me to try it differently, because it worked for him and it worked for me, and if it isn't broke I'm not going to fix it.

The same thing applies with the way I learned to treat people around me. My mother loved her family so much, it BURNED in her. She would do absolutely anything for absolutely anyone, and often did so to her own detriment. I learned from her to give everything inside myself to the people close to me, and to never stop, no matter what. My son and Cole come first above everyone else in the world. Then my family, then friends, then strangers, then me. You put yourself last so that other people can have what they need and want, then you take for yourself. It's the way she was, the way her sisters and brothers are. It's the way I am, my sisters are, and the way we will teach our children to be.

It's just the relationships themselves, sometimes, that fall by the wayside. The needs I can meet. The desires, the wants, the demands, the whatevers. I can do what a person needs or wants me to do. It's the feelings that I sometimes forget. I don't mean to. My mom didn't mean to. I think the problem was that she could only pay attention to so many live things a time, and she chose the ones she could see. So the people in her life got attention, but the relationships with those people sometimes did not. If that makes sense.

If a relationship between two people is like a bridge between two cities, and my mother was like the Queen who lived in one of the two places, you could say truthfully that she took care of both cities impeccably well. She tended to them, gave them what they needed to prosper. But the bridge would often crumble, go unkempt and fall to rubble. If you can't get from one city to the other, they will both suffer. And so they did. As much as she loved and gave and tried and did, it would sometimes become difficult to maintain the people because she didn't know how to maintain the relationships. So the relationships would become crippled and waste..

I try to keep my relationships with people alive. I try to maintain contact and make sure I show my loved ones and friends that I really do care about what they feel, not just what they want. It's just hard sometimes, and I often feel like I'm groping around in the dark. It feels like I'm a fisherman, always running my fingers along ropes and lines that connect me to the people around me, trying to make sure they aren't frayed and repairing them where they need it. Sometimes things get bad before you realize it, sometimes they need a massive overhaul because they've been accidentally neglected.

I'm trying, though. I think all you can do is try. You have to nurture live things, you have to keep their interests and desires at heart, or they will begin to suffer. I don't want that to happen, I don't want to lose the connections I have. They mean so very much to me.

Nothing is permanent, everything must end. But the ending should be timely, and should come after a life fulfilled.

Monday, September 20, 2010


I was talking to C the other night about how I don’t fear death. I don’t want to die, of course not, but I don’t fear what comes after. There was some concern from his side of the bed about what happens, where we go, what happens, if anything does happen. He has trouble with that, he says he needs proof of something after and without proof, he has to believe there is nothing. For that, I am sad for him. I was raised with proof, and I cannot give it to him.

I’m not a religious person. I don’t go to church. In fact, I can count on both hands the number of times I’ve been to church for the purpose churches are intended. Most of my House of God experience was for chorus, for school, years ago. (Churches have incredible acoustics. You won’t find anything like them anywhere else.)

I do love churches, however, specifically very old ones. I love the feeling you get when you’re in them. I love the way they look, the way they feel, the way they smell. I love that they were built by people who had such incredible faith in something. Churches in the middle of the prairie are my favorite, where there are no trees or rocks all the way to the horizon and beyond: the people who built those buildings, often more than 100 years ago, had so much faith in what they were doing that they transported the necessary materials from very far away to do so. I love that no matter the amount of work involved, they were determined. I love that people gather inside their walls to pray and believe and hope. You can feel that faith when you’re there. This all extends to any house of worship for me- anywhere people practice their beliefs.

Faith is usually a tangible thing. I wasn’t raised with a religion, although my mother was a devout Catholic, but I was raised with extraordinary faith. I have faith in God, that there is a plan we create for ourselves, that there are such things as fate and destiny and karma. I believe good begets good. I believe that if you do good things that somewhere in the world, someone benefits from that karmic deposit. I try to do everything I can to lead a good life – I believe you should live simply, so that others may simply live. (Gandhi.) I believe it is our job as human beings to do everything we can for each other. We’re here for each other. There’s no enormous, illusive meaning to life- the point, I think, is to do the best we can to help and support and understand one another. To be happy, to make others happy... There is divinity in that. That kindness, that love without expectation of reciprocation, that is where my god lives.

I believe that if you do the best you can – the ABSOLUTE BEST YOU CAN, no phoning it in, no half-trying, no lip service – that you’ll go where we all go when we’re not *here* anymore. I believe in the Buddhist idea that human beings can attain their own version of perfection, and that we should strive for that. I believe that true enlightenment comes either through extreme, blinding love, or pain and work and suffering. I believe that on the other side of all pain is understanding and growth. I believe that when we die, we go somewhere else. Somewhere we build for ourselves, somewhere we can plan to work on the things we did not fix this go-round, and that we can come back if we want or need to. I believe that we will see our loved ones again there.

My mom always said that she thought her dad was doing something special in heaven, something to help children. That’s what he did here- he worked with Boys Town helping troubled youths to find direction. She said she thought he was probably still writing crossword puzzles, because he loved it so much when he was alive. (He would always work in a clue that referenced one of his children somehow. He loved them so much and it was a small wink to them. He instilled a love for crosswords puzzles and words themselves in my mother, and she in me.) I believe what she said. I believe it because she meant it, and because she would never lie to us. I believe it because somewhere inside, it rings true. She talked to her father every single night from the day he died until the day more than 30 years later that she went to join him. She believed he could hear her. So do I. I believe that wherever my mother is now that she’s not here anymore, however far away, however busy she is, when I talk to her she hears. I believe it because inside myself, the same place truth rings, I feel her turn her head toward my voice.

I have no fear of death, because it is only going home. I do not believe we are our bodies, any more than I am my house. If my house were to blow away, would I cease to exist? Of course not. The notion is silly. My belief in god and the afterlife is very well illustrated by the movie What Dreams May Come. There’s an exchange in the movie between Robin Williams and Cuba Gooding Jr. that struck a chord that still resonates years later. Robin Williams said, “So where’s God in all this?” and Cuba answered, “Up there. Somewhere. Shouting down that he loves us and wondering why we can’t hear him.”

Exactly. Yaknow? Exactly. Except my idea is more that God is everywhere, in everything, and that we can hear. We just need to listen. We need to look.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Any time, hard time, no time, my time.

I don't want this to be one of those bitchy pity blogs where the writer only discusses her problems and expects people to fawn. I don't even expect people to care. So I'm trying really hard not to complain, but damn. Damn this day.

This day sucked.

This day was trying really hard to make itself into a culmination of everything that's been going wrong lately, and I had a really hard time with it. And I want to write, I need to write, but I don't know what to write about. It all circles the drain, it all winds up as me talking around something I'm trying not to talk about instead of talking about something worth the time to talk about.

My mother died a few years ago. I guess I could write about how that influenced my day today. Watching my mom die was horrific. There isn't a strong enough word to describe what it does to a person, the act of watching the one person they've centered their entire life around succumb to pain and sickness and eventually stop breathing. Watching her die left me with an abiding anger about a lot of things, an anger I'm not proud of that knits itself through most parts of me. In particular, it left me with the inability to waste. Specifically, to waste time.

You don't have a lot of time, you know. You think you do, so you waste it, because you don't really understand that someday there won't be any more. We all do. We waste minutes and hours and days, we ignore things we shouldn't. We don't live the lives we would be most proud of when we look back from the place we'll be when there's no more time left.

I understand this because I watched my mother die. I observed, from farther away, my father die. My dad's brother, the man that helped him raise my sister and me, died, too. (So did two of my uncles and my grandma, all within about 4 years of each other. It was a bad four years.)

So I cannot goddamn STAND when my time is wasted. I can't stand it when people waste my time; when my time is wasted by the obligation to do things I do not want or need to be doing; when I waste my own time. I can't stand it because I don't have that much time. I don't have enough time, so I'd rather not be doing anything with it that's not something I want to be doing.

For this reason, I'm having a pretty damn hard go of it these days. My time is being wasted by people, by things, by myself. And examples of all of those things decided to rear their heads at one point or another today. So I wound up pretty angry.

And being angry is a worse waste than any of the others. So I'm going to go do something about it right now.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Things I would say if I wasn't afraid of being shot and didn't live in a state where most people have guns in their pickups. Also, if I was rude.

I should note, for the record, that I don't like strangers. At all. They make me nervous and stabby and I do not like them, Sam I Am. I especially don't like them when they're near me. Or looking at me. Or if I can see them... Or ever.

Because of this, you could say I'm socially awkward. I've been known to say mean things to strangers (If you're a stranger I've been curt to, you're probably that salesgirl from the mall that wanted me to buy facial scrub made from salt and mud from the Dead Sea, and while I admit I shouldn't have yelled, "NO!" while speed-walking by you and avoiding eye contact, I also think you shouldn't hang out in a mall trying to convince people to buy crap. The mall is a place one might visit in order to buy things, yes, but not to be aggressively SOLD things. Don't chase me down the midway trying to sprinkle your briny water on me. It resembles an exorcism, and I don't need that kind of reputation. Also, people have been shot for less. I'm just saying,) because they make me feel like a caged animal that's being poked with sticks that are also lit on fire and maybe covered with acid.

So this has obviously been something of a problem my entire life, but it has intensified since I had my son. I've often said that the quickest way to get attention is to buy a puppy or have a baby, as people are equally space-invading with both of them, and no one minds telling you exactly what they think about either. This isn't specific to strangers, and it is always rude. And so there have been things I'd like to say to people, but can't because I was raised better than that. (Is that a line from the Wizard of Oz?) Here's a small, incomplete list of those things:

1. Don't touch my baby's face. I wouldn't walk up to you at the pharmacy (GERMS! GERMS!) and pet your face, please show my son the same courtesy before I have to cut you.

2. No, I don't think he needs to wear shoes. He can't walk, it's 113 degrees outside, and we're at Wal-Mart. Why should I put shoes on his feet? They're already sweaty enough. Go ahead, smell them.

3. Do not get that damn candy/chip/cookie anywhere near my child. No, it probably wouldn't hurt him, but it isn't up to you what he eats, so back away.

4. Seriously, stranger. STOP TOUCHING HIS FACE. (It is shocking how often this happens. Who does that?! Who touches a stranger's FACE?)

5. Don't talk to him when you're really talking to me. He can't tell you why we don't visit you more often, or if he had a good lunch, or if he's cranky because he's teething or just a brat. If you have a question for me, ask me. It's passive aggressive otherwise. and I respond very, very poorly to that.

5. A) My baby isn't a brat. He's not a jerk, or a beast, or a pain in the ass. I don't know why people think it's OK or even cute to call babies names, but I don't call you a crazy asshole because you'd get your nose all out of joint about it, so lets pretend he understands what you're saying and just not say it. It's always rude to call people names, no matter who that person is. ("Aren't you just a little beast?" ... Really? REALLY, large, wheezing woman at the grocery store? Did you hear yourself saying that in your head before it came out of your mouth and think, yes, this will go over beautifully, it's completely acceptable to call a random baby - who's behaving well, by the way- a name?)

6. No, he's not walking yet. I know it's hard to believe, but we do actually put him down. Obviously, being held too much is the only reason a 9.5 month-old might not be walking. It couldn't have anything to do with him being totally normal for his age. He's clearly delayed. Thank you for suggesting such a thing to someone you don't usually speak to.

6. A) We don't hold our son too much, because we don't believe that's possible. We also don't talk to him too much, play with him too much, feed him too much, or give in to him too much.

7. I know it hurts your feelings when he doesn't want you to hold him, but he doesn't KNOW you. He knows me, his father, and his daycare family. There are other people he's familiar with, but if he doesn't see you pretty damn regularly, you're going to make him nervous. He's at the age where he's learning who he knows and who he doesn't, and developing separation and stranger anxiety. Which is BEAUTIFULLY NORMAL. Don't call him spoiled because he's scared of people he doesn't know.

7. A) OF COURSE I'm going to take my child away from you when he clearly shows that he does not want to be near you. You're freaking him out, and I'm not going to teach him to ignore his instincts. The solution to this problem is not for me to leave my baby with you so that he can be scared, and cry, and you can call him names. The solution is that you either come around more, or stop being offended by a BABY.

That's not the end of the list, but it is the end of my time. This is probably something I'm going to revisit because, as Whoopi Goldberg said, "I don't have pet peeves. I have entire kennels of irritation."

Word, Whoopi. Word.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


I try to remember to be consciously grateful every day. It's hard, sometimes, because I tend to be a negative person if I don't watch it.

It's like if you're walking a little, yappy-type dog, and you get complacent because the dog's so tiny and harmless and wee, what could it possibly do? So you're staring at the flowers or the sky, or watching a butterfly flit by, and next thing you know the yappy-type dog is chewing on someone's ankle and you're getting your pants sued off by the walking puppy biscuit because your poodle ruined his favorite argyle socks. Except my negativity is more like a Rottweiler than a poodle. With distemper. And maybe it used to be a fighting dog.

Or, okay, look. This analogy went off the rails. What I'm saying is, my negativity is something I have to keep an eye on. It seems harmless enough most of the time, but it isn't. It snowballs, and it poisons, and it's not something I'm proud of, but there it is.

So I try to be grateful. I try to really look at the things and be thankful and absorb them. So. Five things I'm grateful for today:

1. Coming home after a long day to my boys dancing in the living room to Peter Griffin from Family Guy's rendition of The Bird Is The Word.

2. Having an enormous selection of fresh veggies from our CSA share to make dinner with.

3. Shitty reality TV. Jersey Shore, season 2, you're KILLING MY BRAIN. But I just can't quit you.

4. My sweet, wonderful, amazing boyfriend, and his willingness to help with dinner and everything else.

5. Our son's big, open-mouth baby kisses.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Shark Week.

My sister and I agree that winning the lottery pretty much means you're destined to be eaten by sharks. Here's why:

-People who win the lottery buy yachts. If you buy a yacht, you have to hire people to sail it for you. When you hire people, they'll observe that you have a Big Ass Yacht, and they'll use quick math and probably their pirate psychic powers to deduce that you have a lot of money. And as soon as you get far enough from land they'll whack you over the head with a pipe and toss you overboard. Then you'll get eaten by sharks.

-If you don't buy a yacht, you'll probably buy a plane. You'll (again) have to hire people to pilot the plane for you, which as we observed above, can only end in tears. Obviously, the people piloting the plane will see you're rolling in DOLLA DOLLA BILLS, Y'ALL, whack you over the head with a pipe, and toss you out the door,* probably over the ocean so that your body will never be found. Because you'll be eaten by sharks.

I'm not a doctor or anything, but I'm pretty sure the above two examples of shark eatery are why no one ever sees the winners again after they make off with their giant cardboard checks.

And that's why I don't play the lottery.

(*The airline industry wants you to believe that it's impossible to open an airplane door while at cruising altitude. That's obviously so you won't see them sneaking up behind you with the pipe they're going to use to club you over the head before they feed you to Jaws and steal your money.)