Lazy Sunday, Emily Style

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Sunday Morning:

Em: “Mama, can you get up and make me some eggs”
Me: Yep, just let me wake up”
Em: “Ok…Are you awake now?”
Me: “Emily – You have to give me a minute. Your mother doesn’t move so fast”
Em: “Ok Mama. Are you getting up now?”
Me: “Do you see me moving? Do you see me getting up?”
Em: “Yeah. Are you going to make me eggs?”
Me: “Emily, for the love of all that is holy. I am getting up. I am going to make you eggs.”
Em: “Why are you going to the bathroom? I thought you were going to make me eggs”
Me: “I can not cook with a full bladder. Let me go to the bathroom”

She stands outside the door and waits for me to emerge.

Em: “Are you gonna make the eggs now?”
Me: “Yes. What kind of eggs do you want – 2 eggs scrambled?”
Em: “No.”
Me: “What? You got me up to make you eggs. What kind of eggs do you want”
Em: “What kind do I usually have?”
Me: “Scrambled.”
Em: “Ok, Then two eggs scrambled”

I cook eggs well. It is one of my failsafe dishes. I make them light and fluffy and present them to her on a plate with peaches on the side.

Em: “Mama, I’ve been thinking. I don’t want eggs.”
Me: “You got me up and hounded me to make you eggs. Now you say you don’t want the eggs. What on earth could you want?”
Em: “I’d like two glazed doughnuts- cause don’t you want to go to Dunkin Donuts and get yourself some coffee?”
Me: “I’d highly suggest that you eat those eggs, cause there is NO chance that you are getting anything resembling a glazed donut. But might I commend you on the effort to get me to drive out to get you some. Well played, chief.”
Em: “Ok Mama. These eggs look good But if you go out for coffee, can you get me two glazed donuts?”

Part II:

Me: “Emily, we all need to cooperate today and clean up our rooms. Can you please take care of your room?”
Em: “OK – but what are you going to do?”
Me: “The laundry and then cleaning the living room..”
Em: “Ok.” She disappears into her room. She emerges 3 minutes later.
Em: “I’ve been thinking Mama. It makes more sense for me to clean my room AFTER I play – cause I will just get it messy again. Sop I think I should Play FIRST and then clean. That’s a good plan, right Mama? Right? Cause I’ll just get it messy again if I clean it first”
Me: “Go sell that story to your father, Cause I am totally not buying that”

Why am I afraid when a seven year old can out-logic me twice by 9:30 in the morning?

My Wolf Pack, or where I get all "professional" on you

Monday, January 30, 2006

Upon beginning my career in education, I took the banning of all violent imagery from my classroom very seriously. I screened all books for what I perceived to be gratuitous or disturbing imagery. I carefully explained my “no toys from home” policy to incoming families, using my well-reasoned arguments against guns, media, socio-economic leverage and other injustices. If that didn’t work, I would use the veiled threat that I was sure that the toy would get broken and I couldn’t be responsible. During the initial reign of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the Power Rangers in back of them, I stood firm. No war play, no toys from home, no pretend guns.

During my fourth year of teaching, I had a particularly rambunctious group of four year olds – mainly boys. They had no intention of going along complacently with my rationale adult way of thinking. My first inkling that my ideas were being challenged was when I watched one little boy walk awkwardly into the classroom one morning. “Good Morning Sam”, I greeted him and his father as they arrived. I pulled Sam’s father aside and asked him if Sam was all right – that I noticed he was walking funny. Sam’s father was puzzled and called Sam over. Sam slowly revealed through his conversation with his father that he had smuggled several toy tigers out of the house in his underwear and was waiting to bring them out.

While initially I found this to be simply a humorous anecdote, as I reflected I wondered what would drive this very honest child to think up a fairly elaborate ruse to get around a solid classroom “rule”. I began watching the boys more carefully. When I would come upon them building with any number of manipulatives, conversation would stop if I lingered to ask what it was they were building. I watched these boys’ faces struggle. They knew they were building weapons and I knew they were building weapons. They also knew my rule was “no weapons”. Therefore, they had to lie to me to comply. I had unwittingly created a situation that forced them to lie to me in order to sustain their play. This was not the teacher I wanted to be. This was not the classroom I wanted to have.

The children in this classroom weren’t engaging in sustained play, simply because I kept interrupting them to insure they were following my “no war play or weapons” rule. I never stopped to ask them the context or the “rules” of their play, I simply assured myself that they were following my agenda and reminded them I was monitoring them.

So I began to ask – Why not? What do I object to in this play? What am I afraid that will happen? What message are the children getting when they play with weapons? Have I asked them why they like this play?

My eventual stance on war play softened. I backed off my exclusionary stance. I began asking more questions about the play – non-judgmental questions – Could they explain how this game is played? What were the rules? Truthfully, it took the children some time to trust my interest as sincere. Slowly, they began explaining the context of their games, and I began to understand the complexity behind war play.

Once I understood the rules of the games, I could assert my needs and negotiate with the players. Sticks could be weapons, but should never be pointed at a real person. Likewise, mainpulatives could be weapons, but again, not pointed at any living people. When playing a game, I would stay close to assist with rule clarification if needed. Someone could not be designated as the “bad guy” or “monster” without that persons implicit consent. They needed to agree to play.

One of my most memorable game experiences was one in which a group of five year olds boys decided to have a snowball fight after a lovely blizzard. We suited up and hiked outside. I gathered the group to clarify the rules of the snowball fight. Each child had the opportunity to add a rule, or clarify the terms of the game. They were pretty standard – no ice balls, if you threw a snowball, you were agreeing to play the game and that meant you could get hit by a snowball…. when Devin came up with a new and unexpected request. “Let’s do whitewashes”, he said. The group considered this. “Does everyone understand what Devin means by this? Devin can you explain a whitewash so we all know?”
Devin explains that whitewash means you can rub someone’s face in the snow, or rub snow in someone’s face. The boys readily agreed.

I clarified “So, I hear that we are agreeing that it is Ok to rub snow in people’s face as part of the game”. Again the boys all eagerly agreed.

The game lasted about 4.5 minutes with everyone in tears at the end. We re-grouped and agreed that whitewash was not a part of the game anymore. The game, now revised, went on until it got too dark to be outside.

Had I warned them or forbidden whitewash would the issue have ended so suddenly and completely? I doubt it. Part of the value of this play is to negotiate socially acceptable limits to the play. Had I forbidden whitewashes, I would have spent all afternoon trying to squelch the urge to whitewash.

We cannot hide human nature from children. They already know more than we imagine. We can, however, provide avenues for safe exploration of feelings of power and powerlessness. I never want a child to have to lie to me to sustain their play. Rather than deciding, as an adult, that a child’s explorations of violence, power and death were too disturbing to me, I chose to look at the value of this type of play for the child. What were they working out? What were they testing?

When that door opened in my mind, I was able to live more comfortably with the gamut of violent characters. The boys in my classrooms did not obsess so intently on specific games or images. Once they had explored a topic, they dropped it. I accepted the games as they came along, and asked to have the rules explained to me. We would negotiate anything that I considered to be out of bounds as the teacher ( hitting, or other overtly aggressive physical contact) and the boys followed my guidance. My little wolf pack calmed down. I accepted them as boys. They, in turn, accepted me as the Alpha Wolf.

Any doctors in hizz-ouse?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

How can you tell when a plea to:

"Touch my balls"

is a legitimate medical complaint, or a sneaky way to get some action?

Someone who shall remain nameless has been asking, claiming that he is having pain. I am suspecting this is some elaborate scheme to allow this person to stand in front of another person with pants down and package displayed.

You don't want no Drama

Saturday, January 28, 2006

My seven year old daughter has learned, by osmosis, all the words to "My Humps"

I believe that the Four Horsemen of the apocalypse are riding down the road.

They, too, are singing "My Humps".

When the Mooooon is in the Seventh House

Friday, January 27, 2006

Last night Terrance and I watched the “40 Year Old Virgin”.

It was funny…

And then came the very last scene. The “Age of Aquarius” scene?

Sweet Sufferin’ Moses. I laughed so hard I choked. CHOKED! I actually fell out of my bed.

Then I re-wound it and watched it again.

I now have an uncanny urge to join a musical company of “Hair”

You Like Me! You Really Like Me!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

SugarMama tagged me for a MeMe. She is my first tag. I was a MeMe virgin. Thank you SugarMama. I feel loved!

4 Jobs I Have Had

Page at the Rutland Free Library (I shelved Books)
Camp Counselor for 5 summers for a Recreation Department
Bakery Counter Girl at the Grand Union
Infant Caregiver for many years
4 Movies I Could (and Do) Watch Over and Over Again

The Usual Suspects
The Matrix
Farewell My Concubine
All Harry Potter’s

4 Places I Have Lived

Camp Lejuene, North Carolina
Butler, Pennsylvania
New Canaan, Connecticut
Burlington, Vermont

4 TV Shows I Love

The Daily Show
Saturday Night Live (for the first ten minutes, then I usually fall asleep)

4 Favorite Books

East of Eden
The Chronicles of Narnia (all 7)
Harry Potters ( number 5 was my fav)

4 Places I Have Vacationed

Lake Tahoe, NV
Cape Cod, MA
New York City, NY
Montreal, Quebec

4 Websites I Read Every Day
Jenn – Cause she rocks my toes
Jen – Cause she rocks my karma
Roo – Cause I want to snuggle with her, in a purely sisterly way
Nancy – Cause I think she is the nicest person on the earth

4 Favorite Foods

Coffee, and Lots of it.
Spaghetti (which I can't eat anymore cause of the blood sugar issue)
Humble Pie ( Ha-Ha-Ha!)
Good cake with real buttercream frosting - not that whipped cream shit they try to pass off on you either - SUGAR! SHORTENING! REAL VANILLA!!

4 People I Am Tagging

Vlad the Impaler
Osama Bin Laden
Winnie the Pooh
The Dalai Lama

My Brother, Myself

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

You might not know this, but I have siblings.

I know, I know. I never talk about them. But they exist.

I have long puzzled over families that have tight sibling bonds. I mean, I like my siblings, but I don’t hang out with them. Heck, I barely see them. I haven’t seen or talked to my sister in at least three years. I’m not mad at her, or anything – just don’t have much to say. I email my brother, but haven’t seen him in at least two years.

But before we go any further, Internet. I have to confess my brother’s name.

Are you ready?

I am Dawn, and he is Donnie. You now have my permission to grip your sides and guffaw. What’s’ worse? Our parents are Donna and Donald. Was that coffee I just saw shoot out of your nose? Laugh it up. The sheer embarrassment of the fact that my family has matching names has, at times, been beyond my ability to bear the cutesy shame of it all.

Thank god my sister, born of a second marriage, has a name that starts with a “J”.

Donnie and I can make each other laugh like no one else can. If I had a male personality, it would be my brother. We both laugh at wildly inappropriate things. Our senses of humor are identical. Much of this was born of being each other’s protectors for the years of our childhood.

Donnie is four years younger than I. It was my job, in our wildly erratic childhood, to look after him. He slept with me until he was four. He would sneak in after our parents would fall asleep and curl up next to me. Donnie cried a lot as a baby and toddler. Donnie refused to speak until he was three. Donnie was a champion sleepwalker. Donnie used to ride his Big Wheel to kindergarten when he was 5. My mother had moved my brother and I to Vermont in 1979 and was working 11-7. I would get up and walk to school in the morning and Donnie, who was in afternoon kindergarten, would ride his Big Wheel about a mile to make it to school. He would do this alone. I would walk him home after school.

In reading Meghan’s post about her “100 Things”, her description of a game she and her sisters used to play sparked a memory of a game my brother and I used to play.

The game was called “Coma”. Yes, you read that correctly ~ “Coma”. The gist of the game was that I was the giver of “Coma” and Donnie was the receiver of “Coma”.

I would touch his head and announce “Coma!” and he would drop to the floor. He would lay motionless for a few minutes. As if a miracle from the Lord, he would stir and begin to recover from his “coma”. I would promptly reach down , touch his head and announce “coma”. He would fall back down into the “coma”.

We could play this for hours.

I am not sure what this says about my brother and I exactly. A fondness for medical terms? A glimpse into the twisted humor we would later develop? A latent psycho-analytical wish for my brother to be in a coma so I could be the only child?

I don’t know. But hey Donnie, if you’re reading…… Coma.

South meets North or "Downeast" as it is called round here

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Mi Familia went with our friends, Denise and Robert, to a little Taco Joint in Kittery Maine last Saturday.

Dee and her hub have very high standards when it comes to food, so I trust them implicitly to suggest a good place.

And who knew that in a little strip mall in Kittery, Maine one would find authentic corn tortilla tacos of the most delicious caliber? I mean really!! Who Knew?

But this cracked us up. Dee, whose parents are native Guatemalan,( and who will be featured later on this very blog with her photo essay "Scary bugs of Guatemala" when she visits her family in the next few months), is bilingual. I am not, but know enough of the Espanol to not eat anything wrong, or ask for a "pendajo sandwich".

Some very surprised Mainer asked for the relabeling, I can only imagine.

The Lake of Infamy

Monday, January 23, 2006

During a RAGING snowstorm, I offer you an old photo of the lake, complete with a big arrow that tells you were I flashed my bodaciois Ta-Ta's.

Pride goeth before my fall

Sunday, January 22, 2006

And now, in the dead of winter, I give you a summer story.

We live on a lake. A lovely, pristine lake. One of the reasons I have stayed here in this small cottage for eleven years has been for the love of this lake.

Long before we had a child, I adored laying about in the lake. I would go out, tether my inner tube to a rock and lay there reading trashy novels. I am soothed by water.

My husband, a child of inner city Detroit, does not hold the same affection for the water. He views the lake as a "workout" opportunity. He swims, when he deigns to come to the water, with purpose. He does not relax in the water.

When pregnant, I swam twice a week. I was wildly proud of my swimming class. Truth be told, we were a bunch of heavily pregnant women floating in 85 degree water and doing very low impact activity. The joy in this activity was in the weightlessness of my belly. Emily would grow very still and quiet when I swam. I suspect she was a bit startled that I was flipping and flopping around at such unusual angles. I swam the day before I gave birth.

I was eager to get Emily into the water after she was born. Having a May birthday, I thought this gave me a lovely opportunity to introduce her to the lake when the warmth of July hit us full force. My plan, however, was not Emily's plan during the first year. She screamed like a banshee every time I touched her foot to the water.

This has changed. She is a water baby and an incredible swimmer. At seven, she is confident and comfortable in the water. I float on my noodles and she flips around me like a playful otter.

This August, I decided to show her a few of Mom's water abilities. In my day, I had some skillz.

I started with the underwater handstand. Hands down, legs up, legs straight and together and down.


Emily and the neighbor boy were duly impressed. "Do it again, Mom" said Emily, with a voice full of impressed awe.

I did. I added variations to the additional accolades of the neighbor boy and Emily.

I was feeling good. I was 35 and still able to pull off some water acrobatics.

There was a split second when I searched my mind for any other impressive water tricks I could pull out for this admiring audience. Ahhh, I thought, I 've got one.

Me: "Wanna see my back flip?"

Fatal words, friends, fatal words.

With the admiring stares of these two children, I prepared myself for my piece de resistance.

I raised my arms, and made a big show of centering myself. Then I pushed off and flung myself backwards.

A split second before my face hit the sand, I realized that this was a critical oversight on my part. I was dealing with a whole different body mass than the last documented time I had performed this particular stunt. I had sizable developments in the breast area with which to contend.

Time slowed as my face grated through the sand and my brain connected with the searing pain coursing through my face.

I emerged from the lake bottom, to the stunned faces of my previously enthusiastic audience.

Sand had parted my hair. I was bleeding from one side of my nose. The other side was completely impacted with sand. I had sand in my mouth, that I was sputtering out as I came up.

But the crowning glory of this scene was my bathing suit top. It had completely FILLED with sand and was hanging down to my belly, exposing about 96% of my sand covered bosom to the crowd.

It took me a few seconds to realize that I was showing the neighbor boy far more than he had bargained on seeing. I then dropped to my neck in the water, began dancing around trying to stuff the "girls" back into their LL Bean top, shake out the accumulated sand from my suit and blow the core of sand that had developed in my left nostril.

The two children were completely silent. My boobs had rendered them speechless, and not in a good way.

A few minutes later, the boy says, "It's a little shallow here to do that, don't you think?"

Yes sir, thanks for the heads up. Now I will retreat to my Meme coverup and go sit on the side of the water like people my age should. Lesson learned. There is a time to retire the backflip.


Friday, January 20, 2006

Wanting validation continues to be something that I struggle with every day. On one hand, I know how smart, witty, hardworking, etc, etc, I am. And I don't really want someone to say it to me everyday, cause I would think they were creepy stalkers and kissing my ass for some unknown reason.

But I do want to hear it sometimes.

For a little while, I tried some "Stuart Smalley"-esque affirmations, but I felt stupid. Then I went through a time where, dammit, I'm an adult woman and anyone else who doesn't appreciate me can kiss my ass.

So I waver through shades of all these stages. Wanting, rejecting, mocking, denying.

Part of my fear in applying for the PhD was the possible rejection. I wouldn't be smart enough, or attractive enough to be in "the club", and then my self image would be blown. The person I am pretty sure that I am would have to redefine herself as a "non suitable PhD candidate".

As angry as I get with myself for wanting to be in "the club", I still have flares of longing. Longings to be thin, longings to be likeable, longings to be easier to get along with, longings to be an Uber-Mom.

So I sent the application a couple of weeks ago, and my transcripts went out and my letter of recommendation went out too, and I have been waiting. I called people, I left messages, I followed up with email's. I heard nothing.

One of the challenges in being accepted into a PhD program is finding a Professor to work with you. Kind of like a mentor/research guide/person who promises to keep an eye on you. You have to establish a quasi agreement with a specific professor who agrees to take you on before you can get any further in the acceptance phase.

Then, out of the blue, I got an email yesterday from the one professor I had contacted asking if we could meet and would she consider being my supervisor. She had read my vitae and proposal and wanted to discuss it further with me. As I was not in Montreal, I emailed and told her that I would love to meet, but was not in the Country, so could I call her instead?

Yes, the reply came back. Call me at three.

I got nervous. Want to puke nervous. I began to pace and wander. I wrote down notes of things I wanted to remember to say, theorists I wanted to quote.

When the appointed hour came, I ran around trying to find a private unused space in my building where I could have an uninterrupted discussion with this woman.It was not as easy as it would seem. Every spare office or conference room was being used. I finally found one and sat down at 3:02 to make the call.

The conversation was to the point. Why did I want to do this? What would I use this for? Describe my methodology? How would this differ from my graduate work? What theorists would I use?

At the end, she said these words:

"I would love to be your supervisor. I'll send a note to the coordinator and tell her I've agreed."

This doesn't mean I'm in. Not at all. But I have jumped the highest hurdle on the field. And I feel good.

"Paging Jenny Tall, Paging Jenny Tall"

Thursday, January 19, 2006

When I arrived home last night, my daughter greeted me at the door. She had a set of complimentary “Weird and Wonderful” animal cards in her hands and was waving them madly in my direction.

Em: “Read these to me Mommy! READ THESE!”

Me:”Can I set my stuff down and go pee? I promise I will read them afterward.”

Em: (following me to the door of the bathroom) “You’re gonna read these to me when you’re done, right Mommy?”

Me: (in bathroom) “Yes! Let me pee in peace!”

Peeing sounds, then flushing and hand washing. I open the door. There she is.

Em: “Now, Mommy – are you gonna read them?”

Me: “yes, Let me take off my work clothes and get into my jammies and THEN I will read them to you.”

She stands and watches me undress, and put on pajamas. Apparently I am a flight risk and must be watched at all times.

I go to the couch, sit and take the complimentary cards in hand. I first read about the T-Rex, the Triceratops, and the Saber tooth tiger. I read Latin names badly.

Me: “This one is “Biggus Toothus”, and here is his friend “Smellus Funkius”

Em: “We’re animals, you know.”

Me: “Yeah, I do. “

Em: “We used to have tails, but now we only have butts!” ( she lifts her nightgown and pats her bum emphatically.)

Me: “Too true, too true my “Loudus Childus””

Em: (Rolls over, opens her legs and pats her underwear front) “What’s this?”

Me: ( sensing a set up) “What do you mean?”

Em: “Well if we used to have a tail and now we have a bum, what did this used to be?”

Me: “Well, Those are your genitals”

Em: “Jenny Talls?”

Me: “No, your Gen-I-tals – you know, where your labia is”

Em: “But what are they USED for?”

Mind racing. Explanations spinning, not ready for this……..

Me: “Well, having babies, and peeing…you know”

Em: “Oh, OK - you can read more.”

I dodge another bullet.

Tainted by Taint

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

I am a strong woman. I have experienced much in my life. I am a master of ignoring adversity and plowing through to my goal.


I have a weakness.

Which my hated co-worker found last week.

She seems bound and determined to irritate me every day.

Even after I have meditated and looked for ways to block this evil from my sight.

Really, people. I have tried to ignore this cyst of a person. This repugnant, putrid stump of a human being. This “Jabba the Hut”, base, mannerless creature. This Gollem in female form. A person who I have heard counsel clients to “Kick ‘em in the balls” on the PHONE, in an OFFICE!! She falls asleep in meetings with snorty snores that bring everyone’s attention to her apparent narcolepsy. ( here I break into weak sobs of futile resignation)

My weakness? My nose. I have a very sensitive nose.

When her stanky designer imposter cologne failed to drive me away, she found a new way to torture me.

At first I couldn’t determine what the odor I was detecting was, nor from whence it was wafting. It was a puzzle, an enigma. I began looking around, under my desk, and then I saw it.

She took off her cracked Payless Pleather shoes that were clearly purchased in 1987, and let her foot funk fly under my desk. She then left them off and walked around on these crusty hooves for the afternoon.

So between the funk and the sight of feet that have been so severely neglected that a pumice stone would flee at the sight of them, she wins. Her and her cracked, old, cheap, worn down heel shoes. The musty funk that she calls cologne. The polyester tents she wears that are shirts.

I have been beaten by Taint.

Bad to the Bone

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

As most of you know, Emily was a challenging Baby. She was small, fussy, pukey and wouldn't sleep. Years later, we know that this is due to her sensory integration issues. However, then, it seemd like it was a battle of the wills.

And she always won. Still does.

This is Emily at her first birthday. She weighed about 13 pounds. She still wore size 0-3 month clothes. You can see that she is pummeling me to get down, since any kind of embrace or snuggling was torture to her.

Emily and Terrance in Prescott Park in Portsmouth. Emily walked at nine months. Can you imagine a person that small being so mobile? She was hell on her "crib size" 2 keds.

Here she is with our cat - Keillor - who divorced us when she was 3. He just couldn't take it anymore. Her love was killing him. Her screaming caused him to have feline irritable bowl syndrome, leading to copious puking. He had to have 35 dollar a bag special prescription cat food and steroids to stop the vomiting. At a year old, she weighed less than he did. He averaged about 15-17 pounds.

Here she is - a year old , walking with her red ball. Badddddd Assss Kid. How I found Teva's that small, I'll never know.

I got my child hooked on "The Chronic" (what?) cles of Narina

Monday, January 16, 2006

One of my reasons for having a kid, aside from the obvious reasons to drink and take anti-depressants, was so I could expose her to my secret obsession with all things Magical. ("Magical" was just totally said - in my head- in a Doug the creepy magician way)

So, after reading her the "Magician's Nephew", for back story and then "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe", we journeyed off yesterday to see the flick. I am, if nothing else, a literay thorough Mother. We will have no child seeing books based on movies without the appropriate back story. How else is she to know why the Professor acts the way he does in Lion, with and the Wardrobe?

However, I have not parented this attention deficit child for the past 7 years to not know that you reveal NOTHING to her until you are walking in the door. Some kids get excited - Mine gets out of CONTROL. One year we kept the fact that we were in Florida and driving into Disney World a secret until we passed through the gates and she Saw the giant Mickey waving at her.

So we were in Michaels and I said:

"Hurry up and choose your stickers, cause the movie starts in 15 mintues"

Her head snapped up and she fixed me with one eye. "Are we going to the Chronicles of Narnia?"

Ah my child, she knows me well.

So, suffice it to say that Emily and I spent a lovely 2.5 hours crying together when Aslan dies, and then crying again when Tumnus gets unfrozen and Lucy catches him and hugs him, or the idea that sacrifice for a greater cause is not a sacrifice.

And the battle scene? Glorious. Rugged, but Glorious. They didn't make it too "nice", but it was no "Lord of the Rings" either.

But the best thing? Emily could quote the book TO the movie. She would fill in parts that the characters weren't saying, but had appeared in the text. I felt that, for all my motherly screw ups, I have given the kid this gift. The gift that magical things exist.

PS. I totally LOVE Tilda Swinton. I loved her in Orlando, but as the White Witch? Perfection.

Topsy Turvey

Friday, January 13, 2006

Being the "work in the office parent" there are certain moments when I realize that my daughter's concept of male and female roles must be all whacked out of hell - or, from a feminist perspective, completely right.

I get up, leave at 7:30 a.m., listen to my music or NPR on the drive in, spend 8 hours at my office, then commute home. I do not get child ready for school ( other than ushering her into the shower and laying out the chosen outfit for the day). I do not see the child come off the bus, or even make the child do her homework. I do not provide snacks, or dinner. I go to work, and I come home.

Truth be told, I get to be the Daddy. I get to appear at the end of the day, relaxed on my drive home, and ready to interact with my daughter. Dinner is prepared, she has done her homework. I change, eat and then chat and read with her until she goes to bed.

Last night, there was an accident and I was running late, so I called to tell Terrnace that I was going to be a little late.

T: "GREAT! This is a perfect day for you to be late!"

Me: "What is the matter? It isn't my fault that there is an accident!"

T: "You daughter is driving me crazy. I am trying hard to not throttle the shit out of her!"

Me: I will be there as soon as I can!"

So I drive, a little recklessly, to speed home to prevent a murder/suicide from occuring.

I walk in. There is complete silence. My dinner is sitting on the table. I walk cautiously back into the bedrooms. Emily is staring at me from her room. Terrance is staring at me from his room.

Something has occurred. There is a whiff in the air as strong as a match that has just been lit and then snuffed. Something flared up here and has only recently ended.

Terrance stands up and says "I'm going out and she can't come out of her room for the rest of the night."

Oh My. My eyebrows could not have arched higher on my face. I must have looked like a suprised Joan Crawford.

Apparently there had been words. Words that involved my daughter, screaming at her father that she was a big girl and could decided that she didn't have to eat her vegetables, and frankly, he couldn't make her. He disagreed.

So, I changed and read her the book ju jour ( The Magicians Nephew by C.S. Lewis), and we talked about how maybe she could choose her words differently in the future.

And then Terrance called from the restaurant, cause he left his wallet on the table.

And I had a very deep internal laugh, cause after all, that really is funny.

This is a picture from her 4th birthday when she ran around in her bride dress attacking people with tongs. I call it "Bride goes bad"

And now, for something completely different

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Dear Person who came to my site with this Search Phrase:

"what do I have if I am throwing up blood"

Jesus Holy Living SHIT!! GO TO THE HOSPITAL!! CALL 911!!!

I'm no expert, but it could be ebola or bird flu or something.

I think you are infecting me by even READING my blog!!!

I am squirting anti-bacterial purell all over my keyboard...

A-N-G-E-R, and Anger was it's name-o

Madge’s post about her husband’s injury and recovery set my mind in motion about the transformative power of anger.

I spent a good portion of my life terrified to express any anger. Surrounded by out of control adults, I learned that being angry meant being unsafe. Being angry brought out guns, both figuratively and literally.

Through my teen years, I was acculturated to accept everything with a smile. Oh, You just stuck a fork in my jugular vein? No problem, I’m sure you didn’t mean it. If I disagree with you, you’ll break up with me? No problem, you were right anyway.

When at age 18 my anger burst forth the first target was, naturally, me. I engaged in self-destructive behaviors. Lots of them. So many that I am a little shocked that bad things didn’t happen to me: like abduction, or rape, or death.

However, Karma seemed to give me a little space. Karma seemed to say “Let her get it out of her system.” Karma, it seemed, had been paying attention to the life I had been living and the things I had experienced and felt I deserved a little extra leeway.

At age 19, Karma decided that I had enough and needed to address the “issues” before my ticket on the free ride to doom reached it’s inevitable conclusion. My boyfriend of five years, who had signed up for the same ride to doom as I, dumped me. I then dumped the other guys I was sleeping with since it wasn’t nearly as good to see them when I was available.

I went into therapy. I went into a LOT of therapy. Like the three times a week therapy…. Granted I had a lot of crap to sort through. Drugs, alcohol, depression, mental illness, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, poor body image, eating and weight issues: I must have presented as the most exciting fucked up patient ever to walk into my therapists office. I think she even wrote a paper on me at some point. You’ve got to feel especially messed up when your therapist records your sessions for a paper she is writing.

After I was done being angry with myself for 1. Not handling this, and 2. Letting other people know about it, I got angry with everyone else. On therapy days, I would come back and lock myself in my room. I was a terror. You did not want to see me after those sessions. I would have ripped your eyes out and handed them back to you, then mocked you for crying.

After two years emptying my vitriol into the void that was my childhood, I was able to start to move past it. When I write, “move past it”, I do not mean that I was able to “forgive” or “forget”, or “embrace my past with fond memories”. No, I mean that I made a conscious decision. I was not a victim. I was a survivor (insert Destiny Child tune here), and had choices. I chose to not forgive my father. I did choose to forgive my mother. I have that choice. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I spend every waking moment plotting his downfall, I just chose to not forgive.

That isn’t a bitter place, either. I suspect that we, as humans, have been so socialized to believe that anger is BAD, that there has remained no room for anger to be the emotional release that I believe it was intended.

It is Right to be angry, at times. It is Right to find that some experiences are Unforgivable.

Anger stops being so scary when you make a peace with it.

And when they found the Little Match Girl, frozen, she had a smile on her face

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

My daughter decided to run away last Sunday. However, her plan was thwarted by :

1. Lack of Transportation, and Alternate Housing.
2. No means of finance.
3. No Clothes or shoes that she had purchased with above finance.
4. The Elements. It is Winter in New England.

However, here is a picture we took, after she had run around in the snow, barefoot, a couple of times yelling that she was going to find a family who would "appreciate her".

We are happy to report that instead of running away, she cleaned her room and Peace was restored.

After the Storm

Monday, January 09, 2006

The past two weeks have been rough. Soul battering rough. I haven’t been writing, haven’t been reading, and haven’t been sleeping. While I know that you do not require explanations of me, I now feel ready to talk about where I have been these last few weeks.

I never choose the easy path. Even as a child, my mother has said that I refused to do any thing, any way except my own way. She tells me that even if she were showing me an easier way to get something done, I would flat out refuse – and choose the harder path. She tells me that one of her lessons as a parent was to watch me, without interfering, struggle through what ever I was experiencing. She concurs that while I always reached my goal, it was with more struggle and pain than perhaps necessary.

As an adult, I am not that different. I continue to choose the difficult path. On one hand, this process has inured me to small obstacles. You disagree with me? Pah! Those small difficulties glance off of my external armor with nary a ding.

However, in developing this external shell, I have unwittingly also developed a resistance to doing things that are Good for me too. The same resistance to any change also flares up when I am doing things that, logically, I know are for the best. I begin to self-sabotage. I cry. I mope. I withdraw.

Thankfully, I have married a man that has learned this pattern of mine and keeps gentle pressure on me, while also allowing me lots of space. Even as he is doing this, I continue to fight him. Generally, when I have exhausted the emotional response, I stand up, brush off and finish the task with spectacular results.

This has been the case the past several weeks. As you may recall, I had submitted my application for my doctoral work in the fall. However, I sent the wrong application into the school. Twice.


So, after I had a big cry about that, Terrance and I sat down and started to craft the real doctoral application. His goal was to get it out of me by the end of the year. This meant, of course, that I was going to be wildly interested in ANYTHING but the doctoral application. I am surprised I didn’t take up jogging to get away from him and the cursed application (which ranks up there with the chances of my joining a convent or getting a boob job in the realm of things VERY unlikely I will ever do).

It became a cat and mouse game at my house. I avoided the computer, cause if he saw me sitting there he would pop in and say “Working on your proposal?” to which I would growl and stalk away. Finally, he put the thing on the laptop and followed me around with it.

“Write just one paragraph…Just One, then you can stop”

I would write the crappiest paragraph possible and throw it back at him to proofread and then cry when he told me it wasn’t very good. See that? The self-sabotage? I am a master.

This went on until the Friday before New Year’s, when I had words with my supervisor. She has had an inkling that I am preparing to go on in my education, and rather than this being a joyful move, she tends to get hostile and threatened. This played out in a very passive aggressive exchange with her as I was leaving an unrelated meeting in her office.

My anger with her finally broke the last vestiges of loyalty and fear. I went home that night and wrote the entire proposal. Terrance was stunned. He pronounced it perfect.
It was clear from the last exchange with my supervisor that I have outgrown my space here. Emotionally, and professionally, I am ready for something different.

So, today – For real this time - I am mailing in my application for my doctoral program.

Alas, Child Protection Services will have to be called

Friday, January 06, 2006

Rolling out of my lethargy to post.Happy New Year! I have now spent 6 days in my pajamas (different pairs, all clean ~ GEESH!)

This was the scene in the Playmobil house on New Years Day. I am not exactly sure the context of the party, but clearly these Playmobil parents have got to reassess their paretning style. Or maybe I need to take some pointers from them....

This is the overview of the Modern House. Clearly, a Par-tee has occurred. I love that the parents are both asleep in their bed - with the child behind the gate... on the third floor.

Here we see the poor waif, locked in his or her room. The stairs only lead up to the edge of the room, where the neglectful parents throw various objects in.

This is my favorite. The baby - Face down in the crib, with a candle on the table and liquor bottles strewn about. Note that the baby is on the second floor, so as not to disturb the parents....

And finally, check out what the hell happened on the ground floor....

P.S. Vlad wants you all to know that he will answer all questions. He is, however, currently on his New Years "defile a 1,000 virgins" annual retreat.

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