Forty One

Friday, April 29, 2011

Today I am 41.

I don't color my hair. All my body parts are unaltered.

When the wind blows, like it did today, and my hair is down, like it is today, you can see the grey hair sprinkled through  the brown.

My skin isn't as tight as it once was, and I am more diligent about sunscreen and putting lotion on every day. 
But the freckles that are the result of my years in the sun will never fade.

There are lines around my eyes. I have never minded them. They are from laughing, mostly.  The stretch marks on my breasts and belly? From creating and delivering a child.

I have lost some weight over the past year....but not because of vanity. My blood sugar, you know. I have to think about that now, and I really like my I can't eat many carbs.

This last year has been hard. Terribly hard and I wonder sometimes if you can see it on my face, read it in my body. The body I left a year ago and return to now, its prodigal daughter.

The loss of my dreams. 
I have been abused and neglected. I have been lied to and abandoned. I have been humbled and overwhelmed with  41 years of sadness. I have seen things I believed in with all of my soul shown to be false prophecy.

As I head into my second half of life, I am battered and bruised.  Yet, I still stand.
Sore, Yes. Weary, Yes and even reluctant. But I stand. If not for myself, than always for my daughter.

Maybe this year is the year I learn to love myself.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Last Thursday, things came to a breaking point in regards to the parking situation at Emily's School.

Not only had four parents parked their SUV's in the no parking lane behind where the buses pick up the children, but another van had double parked on the opposite side. Its driver had left and clearly had no intention of coming back.

Despite my blowing my horn non stop for 15 minutes, none of the parked parents felt like they should move.

Frankly, I had HAD it.  I called the school to let them know the situation about to burst open on their doorstep, and told them to call the Public Security man.

Then, I stepped out of my car, and began to write down license plate numbers.

A few other Mom's stopped to encourage me - they were also sick of this bullshit.  They had parked the mere block away in the LEGAL spots and walked the 4 minutes to pick up their children.

As I was talking to these law abiding mothers, one of the Entitled Parkers rolled down her window.

"Are you writing down plate numbers?" she yelled.

"Why, Yes. Yes I am", I reply, as I wrote down her license plate number.

"You're Emily's Mom, right?". I affirmed that Yes. I was Emily's Mom.

What followed was a tirade, mostly on her part about how DARE I write down peoples plate numbers when they were all just here to pick up their kids.

I pointed to the No Parking sign under which her White Mercedes SUV with her Filipina Nanny in the passenger seat was parked.

"Apparently that does not apply to You?", I queried.

The other polite Canadian Moms fled.

She then went on to say:

1. My husband parks there all the time ( He, for the record, does Not)
2. She was planning to speak to my husband about this.
3. I was a bad parent for making my child walk in the rain (??Huh?  As If)

I finally stated - "And you're Cassie's Mom, right."

This seemed to shake her a bit.

I pointed out that as far as I knew her child wasn't the Messiah, and therefore she was not entitled to ignore the POSTED SIGNS stating NO PARKING.

I stated that if my husband DID ignore the No parking signs, than he was an adult and would need to deal with the consequences of bad decision making - but that even the claim that my husband "did it" did not convince me to stop writing down the plate numbers.

I stated that I had called both the school, and would be speaking with Public Security as soon as they arrived.

I did not Say the other things on my mind ...which involved my willingness to get physical, if necessary.

I saw Emily at that point, so I got back into my car and waited - stuck behind the double parked Van - and all the parents unwilling to move their vehicles.

Emily got in the car and giggled.  I think she may have caught the tail end of the exchange.

"Oh Mom", she said, "I think sometimes you aren't white at all. You are more like a Black Mom."

Emily went back to school today. She had a long weekend for the holiday and was home sick on Tuesday.

This afternoon, when she got home she came into the bedroom:

"Cassie asked me why you were trying to sue her mother"

"What on earth? Sue her mother?"

"Yeah, and then she told me that she would beat you up."

"Her mother? Her mother would beat me up?"

"No, HER.  Cassie said she would beat YOU up."

"Did I just receive a threat from a 6th grader?"

"Yeah and then Julia told her that you have a hook and can hook rugs and that you might Hook her."

"Are you suggesting that I go into school and pretend my hand is a rug hooking hook to threaten a 6th grader?"

Emily starts to laugh - really hard.

"I think Cassie's mother needs to not illegally park and that Cassie needs to not threaten to beat up adults. Geesh, you think I'm crazy."

Obsessive Compulsive Mom: Camp Planning Edition

Monday, April 25, 2011

All right, it pains me to confess this but I have already started to plan Emily's Camp Care packages.

An odd recessive gene from my own feral child parenting, this need to surround her with love and attention sometimes consumes me.

As in Yes, I have already begun to buy and stash away the items which I will carefully package and transport to camp - Pre-wrapped with Dates indicated on the wrapping. Handed in a Box to Counselor with instructions that they were to be given to Em on the dates indicated.

Last year, I scored Big Points. The first evening was a Pedicure party for the girls in her cabin, complete with foot scrub, toe separators and exciting polish colors in neon greens and silver ( among others). Also offered over the course of two weeks were a variety of Mad Libs, Silly Bandz, Facial Masks and Scrubs, Glitter Tattoo Pens, Some "would you rather" type quizzes, crazy stickers and Henna tattoos.

This year, the plastic craft lace I called "gimp" is what she is currently obsessed with, and I have ordered a couple of neon colors ( and glow in the dark) for her camp stash. I also have some new editions of the "would you rather" books already tucked away.  In consideration is a Klutz book on safety pin bracelets,  various quiz books intended for teen girls, a Calvin and Hobbes book, a book about how to do Cats Cradle with yarn included, and of course the repeats of the very popular pedicure and facial mask "parties".

Yes, I include enough for ALL girls in her cabin - and frankly Emily is so ridiculously kind that I can't imagine she would think to exclude anyone. While Em isn't naturally popular, she is unfailingly kind.  Often to her detriment and hurt feelings as she just doesn't understand other people and their urge to exclude.

She has Two- Two week stints at sleep away camp this year. The first session is "Midnight Madness" in which they will be exploring after dark.  The second Two weeks is Horseback riding and an Overnight Trail ride with their horses.  In fact, we just finished paying off the camp sessions today.

Hit me with your suggestions as to items I can be putting aside for these care packages - maybe things you got sent in your care packages? Ok Stop laughing.  I know most of us didn't get care packages.

After I get these done, I will resume the lace making for her wedding veil.

Movies You Should See Vol 4: Teens Gone Wild!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Teen Protagonist edition:

The first of this editions selection is a Dutch Film:

Ben X (2007) - The story of a teenager with autism and his immersion in his online gaming life where some of the  obstacles to his interpersonal challenges are removed and he meets a girl with whom he develops a connection.

In the other realm of Ben's life, he attends high school where he is excluded and rejected.

To watch the bullying of Ben by the other teenagers in his school is rough. However, it is very realistic - particularly with the advent of social media and the way experiences/bullying can now be shared with hundreds (thousands) of others in minutes.  Small embarrassments become amplified as they get shared above and beyond the immediate social circle.

The lead actor gives a brilliant and nuanced performance - completely believable as a Teen with autism - but more so as a Teen who is growing up and beyond the protective walls of his family and how he must face a world which has no obligation to his caretaking.

WE travel now to Argentina and the film

XXY (2007)

My friend Maija introduced me to this film, as she had seen it in Cannes. She also had the occasion to meet with the actress who played the lead character and reports that she was amazing.

This is the story of an intersexed child - one born with both genitalia. Her parents decide to raise the child without imposing the choice of gender that is often made by parents and doctors not long after birth. They move to the coast of Argentina and raise Alex without gender assignment....Until puberty when Alex begins to sort out who he/she is, both internally and externally AND both in gender and sexual orientation.

Of course, the relationships between the Parent and child, the hopes and dreams of Parents based on gender and sexual orientation of the child, and the Child's own view of their sexuality and place in the world are interwoven into the fabric of the story. The story is set into motion with a visit from old friends and their teen son.

The lead character Alex is 15, and the normal questions/explorations of sexuality are exacerbated by his/her unique physiology.

Most reviews use the words "touching" and "sensitive", and I don't disagree. However, it is the respect with which the issue of the sexuality of teens is handled  that is what stayed with me.  More than that, it reminded me of some of my process - Not with my identity around my gender, but the duality of embarrassment and completely natural and normal curiosity around sexuality.

From Britain, we have Boy A (2007)

So technically not a "foreign" film, it isn't one that I would hazard most of you have even seen advertised nor heard about.  VERY Loosely based on the true murder of James Bulger, this film follows a young man after his release from prison for murdering another child, when he was a child. He has served 14 years in prison and is now being released with a new identity, having gone into prison when he was 10.

This movies tosses so many issues at you that I felt it could be hard to sort them all out - What is justice? How do we treat children in society when they commit crimes at the level of adults? What is rehabilitation? Do criminals have any right to anonymity after they have served the prescribed sentence?

As a teacher/educator, I had added thought about the knowledge that the brain isn't developed in the same way as an adult until @ age 20, so there is no way that a child of the age of ten can truly understand the finality of their actions. As a Mom, I wept for all of them. The victim. The Boys and the adults who ignored them ( both in school and at home) until something terrible happened.

An added bonus was that this was the first major role for Andrew Garfield ( who most viewers will soon know as he is the next Spiderman) and his acting ability shines here. His performance is seminal in the success of this story as a whole.

In all, I was reminded of something I have said to other teachers - No child is born evil. No child is born bad. Their experiences at the hands of the adults in their lives is what shapes their perception of the world.  As such, it shapes their ability to relate to others as well as interpret what is "right" and "acceptable" behavior. When children are hurt, neglected and or abused by the adults meant to care for and protect them, they learn that behavior as Normal.

And that becomes Everyones problem.

The final film is Battle Royale (2000).

It would be too easy to say that if you have read the Hunger Games Trilogy then you know the basis of this movie....Although they do resemble each other. A dystopian society in which the Adults are Afraid of the Teens, and as such keep them in line by enforcing a Battle Royale using one selected Ninth Grade class of students.

They are put on an Island, each given a bag with a randomly assigned weapon and told they have Two days to kill their classmates. If more than one is left standing, they will all be killed so boycotting the game is not an option. At the end of the day, the names of the dead are read by loudspeaker as the adults keep tabs via cameras as to the progress of individual students.

Whereas Hunger Games used Romance between two lead characters, Battle Royale focuses more on friendship - as well as individuals breaking points in regards to the limits of that friendship.

I once read something that said this was a gory film - but I don't really think so...It is more of a cartoon Japanese gore, and no where near the sadistic torture of a movie like Audition ( which is a must see if you want to "know" the J-horror genre, as it was Miike's  first big Score in the movie world...but I couldn't hang on for the whole ending. I fast forwarded through the worst, I admit it.)

So, here they are for this edition - Hope you like them!

Are you Considering purchasing a Rabbit for EASTER? STOP RIGHT THERE!!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

We are a family who has House Rabbits. 

I'll give you a moment to compose yourself as you laugh and wipe away tears. 

Yes. House Rabbits. Free Roam, litter trained, spayed and neutered House Rabbits. Kind of like Cats, with longer ears and the whole vegetarian vibe going for them.

I never planned on being a House Rabbit parent. No sir. I was fine with La Chatte, a neighborhood cat who adopted us upon our moving into HER home. I mean, it wasn't as if we were going anywhere, and she seemed nice enough. I was however, a little shocked. People just move away and LEAVE their pets? Really!?

I later came to find that in Montreal, it is a huge problem - especially on the July 1 - Moving Day. Shelters around the city begin to be flooded with animals of all sorts whose owners decided that , Meh - just not worth the trouble to move the animal. 

Now, there is a pet store in our local Mall, which shall remain nameless. Every time we are in the mall, Emily Begs to go and see the animals. Lizards, Birds, Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, Rats, Ferrets...all the way up through $1200 purebred dogs. And I hate it. I hate the whole thing.  I watch children beg and plead for the cute animals...and sometimes they go home with them. 

But what happens after that?  Let me tell you what happens after that Twelve dollar baby bunny is no longer "cute" or "convenient" or "fun".

Jackson is our male gray chinchilla rabbit, with lovely long silky ears. He was most likely adopted as a baby bunny around Easter last year. He was, no doubt, very sweet and cute and fuzzy. He was also, most likely, well behaved and easy to manage.

When they found Jackson ( and another male rabbit) they figured that the two boys had been in the now empty, locked apartment for 2 weeks. They were both undernourished, but managed to stay alive. Maybe the previous owner had left the rest of the bag of pellets out for them. In fact, that is the only way I can figure they were able to not starve to death. Jackson was taken to the SPCA where he was examined, and when he was healthy enough, put up for adoption. His path and ours intersected as we were looking for a guy to bond with our female rabbit. 

We were interviewed, and gave our Exotics Vet name and number as a reference. We got a call, came back and met Jackson and agreed to foster him for a couple of months, to see if he and Coco bonded as well as free up a space in the shelter for another rabbit in Jackson's situation. His neuter was scheduled for the coming Friday and we planned to pick him up after the procedure. 

Of course, Jackson's experience with humans had not been stellar up to this point. It took him some time to relax and heal. It took longer for him to get used to eating a proper rabbit diet of mostly greens instead of pellets designed for Meat Rabbits. He did, however, fall in love with Coco ( who had been rescued after living in a dark basement in a small cage for 2 years). By October, we had gone back to the SPCA and made the fostering into an official adoption. He had a forever family.

Around the same time, some local friends were looking to adopt a dog. They were considering buying a dog for around $500.00 from a breeder. I pleaded with them to not buy from a breeder. I sent them a link to a local organization -The Underdog Club - who places "The Old, The Ugly and the Unpopular" .  They were interviewed by the organization and visited the dogs both in their foster homes and at a socialization/adoption event. They fell in love and adopted a Great Dane puppy who had been abandoned because he ate more than the family expected. Odds are, he was an impulse buy, or purchased from the puppy mills which Quebec is infamous for housing. 

Loki, our current Feline Family member is also an SPCA abandon. Never Neutered. Never immunized. When we adopted him he was already infected with Feline Rhino, a viral infection which stays with the cat for life if infected. His already damaged nose ( kicked in the face? His front teeth were also broken) is now forever really messed up. He can't smell most things due to the after effects of the virus.

What do all these stories have in common? Abandoned Animals. Discarded when the novelty wore off. Animals who became teenagers after being cute puppies or bunnies or kitties and their humans just couldn't be bothered.  

For we in the House Rabbit family, Easter is a terrifying time. I know that people will buy bunnies from pet stores, only to turn them "loose" by summer when their hormones kick in and they become rebellious, sexually frustrated teen Buns - like a smaller, furry motorcycle gang with the ability to rapidly reproduce.

What happens to those rabbits? Well, what would happen to you if we stripped you naked and set you in the middle of the Amazon?  A majority become dinner for larger prey. A few ( very,very few) make it until the cold, or people or cars kill them. Some go on Craigslist where some people may "adopt " them, not knowing anything about the intensive care and feeding that rabbits require, only to be given away again, or set "free". Some become food for peoples pet snakes.

Which is why the proposed ban on selling animals at pet stores in Richmond B.C. is an idea whose time has come. When you read through all those stories on "puppy mills", or the stories on the SPCA website, or the personal stories of many of the dogs in the Underdog Club, you will notice a common theme. Many were bought from puppy/animal mills, or purchased from pet stores who get their animals ( knowingly or unknowingly) through these mills. Many were impulse purchases. 

And none of these deserved to be treated in the way they have seen humans treat them.

So, do me a favor. Research. Consider. Think. If you choose to bring ANY pet home, are you willing and able to provide care, medical attention, nutrition, and social interaction/exercise that this Pet deserves? 

Just because a pet is small, doesn't mean it doesn't need to be seen by a Vet who is knowledgeable about their species. In the case of Coco and Jackson, they see an Exotics vet for yearly checkups and the occasional in between visit for possible ear infections/teeth/sore hocks issues.  When Coco was so ill with Bloat this winter, it was 500 bucks for a 4 day illness. When Jackson was seen a month ago for Stasis - a condition which can worsen and kill a rabbit - it was 170 dollars for a visit AND all of the medication, special food and fluids. Not to mention I had the supreme honor of having to force feed a rabbit with a syringe.

Yes, they were both spayed and neutered, and it wasn't cheap. Yes, they eat a very small amount of pellets, but the majority of their diet is fresh greens - about 8 cups a day for the two of them. And the Hay I buy in bulk from a local farm. They eat a 4 pound bag a week. Oh - and you can't just "leave them alone" when you go on vacation - Rabbits need to be boarded or otherwise cared for in your absence. More $$.

Rabbits need a minimum of 3 uncaged hours per day - more if they can, and in the case of Coco and Jackson, free roam, 24/7. Less leads to muscle issues , as well as gut immobility. They are grazers and built to be moving. Being confined in a tiny cage does not serve their body well.

Which leads me to rabbit proofing - thick plastic cables to encase the cords, small gates to keep them from the bigger things and hundreds of dollars of replaced cables when we forget.

In the words of my vet, who examined Jackson after we had adopted him and after hearing the story of how he had been found in the locked apartment:

"There is a special place in hell for assholes like that."

I sure hope so.

Don't be one of those people.

Want to research more on the care of House Rabbits?

House Rabbit Society is an excellent place to start.

A personal favorite: Binky Bunny Forum. This is my "rabbit" home and these folks have kindly taught me nearly everything I know. Jackson and Coco stories are on there, including their bonding story. I also  LOVE the store and my rabbits adore the Maze Haven, Tunnel and every other product!

Demonic Store, I Rebuke Thee - Redux

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

In February 2006, I wrote a blog post to a store. A store that my then 7 year old daughter had been eyeing hopefully from across the mall where I purchased expensive and entirely body covering clothing. A store which sold no items with logos that were not appropriate for 7 year old girls.

The other store was exciting with it's pop music blaring out of the doorway. It had fun and glittery things dangling in the windows. It held out the fruit to passerbys, front and center.

"Come in", It whispered. "It's Fun".

As the mother of my daughter, I held firm. No. No Juicy logos. No "Sweet" on sweatpants bottoms, and no cherries on shirts. Nope. Sorry.

There has been a rather popular post on CNN in which a father decries seeing a young girl dressed way above her age in an airport.  I laughed when I saw it.  It didn't vary in tone from my plea in 2006, and there was certainly no new information to my mind.

I have been fighting this fight with my daughter since she developed her own sense of what she liked...round about 2006.  And while Yes, I am the Mom and the bottom line is that it is my cash which pays for the clothing on her backside...It must be more than that.

We must be having conversations with our daughters about WHY the clothing isn't appropriate; About WHY we object to their sexualization and the media images with which they are bombarded.

We are the parents and we can say No...but we must also explain our "No". Not justify it, but explain it.

Clothes Shopping with the one-month-from-being-13 Emily is EXHAUSTING.  You think shopping with a Toddler is exhausting?  Think again, because it is a walk in the freaking park compared to the soul draining experience of trying to find a bathing suit that my daughter likes AND covers all of her.

It makes me want to cry AND drive to the homes of these clothes designers to pummel them. All I can say is Thank You LL Bean for having functional bathing suits.

In our shopping, Emily Knows the Rules.  Nothing with Logos that are "Off Color" in tone - and that includes Nubile Fox Characters on the Old Navy T-Shirts. Nothing that has a deep V neck.  Nothing that Doesn't cover her ass, and keep it covered. She can tell you with a glance if something will be ruled "not appropriate" by either parent.

While she is a Young Woman - and I acknowledge that fact while weeping into my gin and tonic - she still deserves to be free to play.  Worrying about a belly shirt, or skirt riding up does not need to be her concern.

We, her Parents, protect her childhood by monitoring her wardrobe. She accepts this because we have done all of the work to explain the rationale behind our decisions.

Does she still ask about buying her clothes that she knows we will say "No" to buying? Of course. As I tell Terrance - Her job is to Ask. Our job is to hold the line.

Five years after I originally wrote this post, I can confidently say that I think we've done an OK job:

Dear “Limited Too”,

I write you this letter as a heartfelt plea. Do not lure my daughter into your store. Stop putting up window displays which catch her eye. Desist in the use of spangles and dangly things.

I had occasion to look upon your storefront this weekend, while shopping for emergency “no heat” clothes. Let me make this clear, Limited Too, my daughter is a Gymboree and Hannah Andersson girl. Occasionally we see something at Children’s Place, GapKids, or Old navy that appeals to our clothing sense of fun and frivolity.

Please keep your dammed dirty ape hands off of my daughter, Limited Too. My daughter is not a small Paris Hilton wannabe, who routinely wears glitter flip-flops to events. No, Limited Too, my daughter wears Gymboree lines named “Winter Princess” and “Petite Fleur”. She does not wear tank tops with “Too Hot for You” emblazoned across her non existent bosom, or “Sweet” across her bottom.

I know, Limited Too, that she is growing tired of my clothing choices as her Mommy. I saw the way she looked at my suggestions in Gymboree on Saturday. I also saw how her eyes lit up as she spied your bounty of temptation, two stores away.

However, I must insist, Limited Too, You are not to see my daughter. She is only seven and is in no way prepared for the type of relationship you are accustomed to having. Oh, I have seen the store, with it’s racks of makeup and ultra mini skirts. I have seen the thong underwear for girls and the “barely there” bikini’s.

Spare her, Limited Too. She is too young. There are many other little girls whose mothers are perfectly content to let them tart it up, but not me. I will not stand for this, Limited Too.

And you know what, Limited Too? I’m not the only mother who feels this way. I am not above getting a mother gang together and opening a can of unholy whoop ass upon you and your ilk. You will not lead my daughter or her friends into the world of “Wild On Tara Reid”.

You’ve been warned, Limited Too. You’ve been warned. I’ve got my eye on you. And my people have excellent credit, and aren't afraid to use it elsewhere.

Movies You Should See Vol 3

Sunday, April 17, 2011

It is no secret (in my house) that I Love Korean Films. I started in China, and then meandered into Japanese films, but when I got to Korean cinema....Oh. I had found my place.

I also have to confess a huge fan crush on one specific actor. So large was this fan crush that when I had finished watching The Host, I immediately starting back tracking ALL of his movies so I could gaze upon him more.

Yes, it is Kang-ho Song. I have now faithfully tracked down every movie in which he has acted and been entranced.  As an actor, he is without equal. From his first supporting roles in movies like The Quiet Family in which is a son in a family who gets caught up in a darkly funny comedy of errors that just keeps getting a bit worse, but is  somehow made better by using Early Stray Cats as the soundtrack to his bust out performance in Memories of Murder, one of the best and most nuanced movies about the search for a serial killer in a rural police outpost, to  The President's Barber, in which he portrays the Barber for the South Korean President and the things he both hears and experiences. He also is amazing in JSA (Joint Security Area) a fictionalized story of soldiers across the DMZ and the unlikely friendship they develop, as well as the consequences of such a friendship or as the Leader of a doomed expedition in Antarctic Expedition.

Possibly one of the best Westerns I have seen in recent memory is a South Korean movie modeled on the classic Westerns of Hollywood - The Good, The Bad, and The Weird. Ok, Yes. It is true that Kang-ho Song plays "The Weird". But the whole movie is just so FUN. The panorama's, the costumes and the fight scenes? Just FUN.  Sure, it may not be super historically accurate, but sometimes you just want a movie where the action is clever and the joy of the actors enjoying their craft floods out over he viewer.

Back to The Host. Disguised as a quasi-monster movie, this film at heart is a commentary on the effects of pollution on the environment and the way a family pulls together in a crisis. And All right, you got me. Kang-ho Song plays the father.

Released in 2009, The Thirst gives a different vampire story. One in which the infected in a Priest.  Who retains his morality while trying to figure out what to do about his condition. Chan-wook Park directed this movie. He also directed Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance,  Lady Vengeance and OldBoy - so this is a man who tells a good story. Critics didn't love this one. It is a slower movie and it doesn't have flashy and spectacular vampires. But I loved it. I loved the colors and the shift in palate. I loved the love triangle. I loved the idea of "spectator" of the mother in law, and the transformation, in character, of the female character. *cough*cough. Yes, Kang-ho Song plays the Priest.

OK. My little love fest with Kang-Ho is done. I promise.

Mother is a film that I didn't expect to like, despite it being the film made by the director of The Host and Memories of Murder. It is a film that beguiles you, from the opening scene of the mother dancing in the field to the final moment when you realize everything this woman has done to protect her son. In essence, a murder of a local girl occurs, and the police decide that this slightly mentally challenged young man MUST be at the heart of the matter. The older actress who portray the Mother in this movie acts her ass Off. Everything she does in this movie reflects a tremendous commitment to both the character and the story, which at heart is a single mother who has sacrificed everything to try to provide for her son, often at her own expense.  Why this didn't get some kind of nod as an Oscar worthy film is beyond me.  And Kudos to the Director for using a talented older actress who doesn't need to look 20.

Here are a couple of other gems from Korea.  This country does Thrillers like no body else. Seriously.

The Chaser was one of those movies that I held my breath through nearly the Entire performance. When I heard that it was optioned to be re-made by Hollywood, I was indignant. This movie was perfect - right down  to the ending. If Hollywood does this movie they are going to Surely screw it up. In sum, a pimp ( who is a disgraced former police officer) realizes several of his "girls" have gone missing. He assumes that they have just ducked out on him and sets out to find them...and his money.  Slowly he realizes that his prostitutes have gone missing after One particular client has called.

A movie in the same vein ( without the Killer) is HandPhone. A Business Man loses his phone with some incriminating video on it of a client he represents. A mysterious Other finds the phone and sees his chance to extort some money.  Yes, it is a TERRIBLE title.  But a fun movie.

Spider Forest is a movie that took me AGES to get a hold of, as it seems to not be in huge distribution, but it is another romping thriller - a man is drawn to a cabin in the woods, and seems to be connected to murders committed here - but can't quite remember how or why. He continues to have deja-vu through the whole film, until the web is complete and he sees the whole picture.

I'm going to end with two "horror" genre. The thing is that Korean Horror, or K-Horror, shares some attributes of it's more famous cousin "J-Horror".  However, I find that Korean horror films are somehow more  delicate than many of the Japanese Horror films.  There is more left to the imagination...more to figure out.

One of the paragons of Korean Horror would be A Tale of Two Sisters. Yes, Hollywood made some god-awful remake which has Nothing to do with this film. Put that monstrosity out of your mind.

This is a story about two sisters who come home from spending time in a mental institution. They have a new step-mother, who doesn't seem quite right. The sisters Love and protect each other - except when they can't.

I was crying by the end of this film. The acting - particularly by the actresses portraying the sisters, is exquisite. The cinematography? Flawless. Everything from the location to the colors used in the film are clearly planned out carefully and completely.  The horror part of this movie isn't in your face, but lingers like a visitor in the hall. You know something is wrong....but never quite what. It is only at the end that you put it all together, which makes it all the more crushing.

Hansel and Gretel is my last choice for this MYSS edition. First, the colors in this film are amazing. And I mean amazing.  Super saturated and eye popping.

It is also a movie that both uses and changes the basis of the original fairy tales. Yes, there is a House. But it is the children who lead the adults there. No, the kids aren't vampires. Or werewolves. Just kids. But they are in charge - kind of like portion of Twilight Zone:The Movie - the portion that Terrified me far more than the other two stories where the kid has trapped the adults in the house.

During the movie, you come to understand how the children came to this house and how they came to be in charge of their "Story" - that of Hansel and Gretel.

I love when stories use fairy tales, but use them in a way that is clever and thoughtful. Children who just want adults to love and protect them and what happens when they don't.

I've got several more in my queue - I saw the Devil which is supposed to be THE movie of the year with the actor who played OldBoy, and I have it ready and waiting to be viewed. The Housemaid and a BUNCH of others ( including the latest Kang-ho Song movie, Secret Reunion).  Also, I admit that there are genre's that I don't really watch too much, and have vowed to try to remedy that - Romantic Comedy, Drama, etc. I don't tend to choose those so in the interest of You, the reader, I am going to make an effort.

Let me know if you have seen any of these and what you think. Terrance doesn't love these films, so he prefers that I choose others if we are watching together, so Usually I end up gushing to myself about the quality of the story.

Sequins ( or pink nail polish) don't make you gay

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

or an Early Childhood Education guide to gender identity development. (which hardly seemed a glamorous and exciting title)

As a teacher of young children, I can not tell you how many times I had to face a father who walked in at the end of a long work day to see his son - festooned in glittery hand-me-down dance outfits, in heels with purse, playing joyously in the dramatic play area.

There was more than one that I had to step in front of before he barreled towards his son to rip the costume off the three, or four, or five year old child's body.

Moms weren't exempt either, and I fielded my share of questions about their sons love of nail polish, or their daughters rejection of dresses and insistence on short hair and Spiderman shirts.

First of all, lets be clear. Adults are Adults. Our minds race to places about sexuality, picking up on the way all our hopes/fears/biases/shame along the way. That is how adults think.

Children do NOT think like this. NOT AT ALL. Their default mode of thinking is "Does that look fun?", "Will I enjoy that?", "Can I join a friend in playing if I decide to be in the dramatic play area?" Questions or concerns about sexual orientation does not immediately (*normally) enter their minds. It is, quite simply, not a concern.

From the moment of birth, children are bombarded with messages about their assigned gender. We dress them in specific clothes. We give them specific toys. Back in the late 80's when I first starting working with Infants and Toddlers, I would laugh because diapers were being sold in Blue and Pink. Ostensibly they were "designed" differently...but they weren't. It was a gimmick. Apparently if you put your child in the correct color diaper, you could assure their proper gender orientation...

Along with trying to control their gender orientation by colored diapers, we surround them by the gender roles and identities of the people who are caring for them. They initially learn what women "do" by watching their mother and other female family and caregivers. Same goes with Men. They learn what men "do" by observing the interactions of their fathers and other male family and caregivers. They hear messages like "Big Boys don't cry" or "Big Girls get to wear Pretty Dresses!" constantly.

Infants and Toddlers are amazing observational instruments. Anyone who has watched a child emulate - pitch perfectly - the tone of voice or facial expression of someone they love will know this without a doubt.
By age 5, most children have a pretty solid idea of what their gender identity is - externally. They can tell you if they are a boy or a girl. They can tell you what things "boys" do or like and what things "girls" do or like.

They don't have reasons for these beliefs, of course, just the vague reinforced notion of certain things being masculine or feminine. They may know that boys seem to be defined by a penis...and that girls don't have one.  Girls may be able to tell you about their labia or vagina or clitoris.

(Here is where I interject an editorial note: I believe 100% in teaching children proper names for ALL their body parts, including genitalia. Part of our shame based societal bullshit around sex starts when we call a penis a "Wang", a "Ding" or another of a billion names. Same with girls who are told that their labia is a "Hoo-Hoo" or "flower" or whatever else people might decide to name it. We don't disguise the name of an elbow, or nose or ear with made up words, why should genitalia be the one exception? Furthermore, when a child has multiple caregivers, as in child care, when a child comes to you and tells you her "butterfly" hurts - You have NO idea what she is telling you. Parents - Get Over Yourselves. )

It is in Play where you see real ideas about gender identity and roles storm out. In those dramatic play situations, when you watch a young boy "feeding" a baby by lifting up his shirt and placing the baby near his nipple. Does this boy think he is a girl? No, of course not. He is repeating what he has seen him Mom do with his baby sister. He is emulating CARING and CARETAKING. These are healthy and wonderful roles he is exploring.

Boys seem to bear the brunt of gender socialization in many ways, particularly in early childhood. Girls have a bit of a looser, paradigm to work within - for lots of reasons, not the least of which is that their conformity is bought in more subtle one on one vignettes. We can overlook a girl who doesn't want her fingernails painted, but a boy who constantly walks in with nail polish? People might Notice!

Young children emulate the people they love. The people they spend a majority of their days with, caring for them, feeding them, washing them, taking them for walks... They become the people they Love. The truth of it is that a crushing majority of those people are Women.

Now, let me be clear, I am in no way discounting the role that Dads play. There are some families in which Males ARE the caregivers or Dads are the stay at home parents. Dads may be BOTH parents for some children. Dads may be the bath givers and story readers at night time. But for the vast, vast, vast majority of children? Women fill those roles.

So when a young boy sees his Mom, or other beloved female, with painted nails, why wouldn't he want the same? When he sees Mom, or other beloved female, wear lipstick, nail polish or sparkley skirts or high heels...why wouldn't he? He Loves her. She is more than beautiful to him. Being THAT which he finds most beautiful feels good.

Plus, the "trappings" of femininity are more Fun, are they not? Color. Texture. Sparkle. Softness. Who isn't drawn to those things? Cripes I am 40 years old and I still get excited over these things!

What adults can do is to challenge children and themselves on what they think makes a "girl" or a "boy". I can't tell you how many times I would wear my Chuck Taylors and be told, with great authority, by the 5 year old boys that I was wearing BOY SHOES. Well, Why? Why are these boy shoes? We can agree that I am a girl and I am wearing these shoes, so it is certainly Possible for a girl to wear these shoes....

Push Back when you hear your child assert that some things are done by Moms and others done by Dads. Ask Why. Ask Why Not. Stretch those questions out into conversations about the width and breadth of what makes a male or a female.

Look at the books and shows your child is consuming. Do they assert strong (often stereotyped) gender roles? Ask your child what draws them to that character/show, and perhaps find or offer alternate images or storylines which assert a different version of events or ways to be strong.

book I have loved is this one:

I love that the Mom and Dad are kind of difficult to figure out Who is Who from the pictures. It was a really conscious decision on the part of the author and illustrator to play with a different View of feminine and masculine. ( And Yes, I really do think of all of these things when I pick up children's books. Its like some kind of ingrained radar....)

Allow children time and space to PLAY with gender roles. It is in Play that children work out the ideas by they are bombarded daily. In Play, they figure it out. Play WITH them. Listen to what they are saying and ask questions - without being afraid.

Understand that Gender is not Sexuality. Sexuality certainly becomes gendered...but children aren't there yet, at least not in the way adults understand it.

And that is perfectly Fine.

(* It is possible if a child has heard repeated conversations About adult sexuality, ie adult being verbally homophobic, that the child will associate specific ideas with sexuality. They might not entirely know what being a "fag" or "gay" means...but they know it isn't good and is something to be avoided at all costs)

Resources For Adults I Love:

Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves by Louise Derman-Sparks and Julie Olsen Edwards

Supporting Boys Learning: Strategies for Teacher Practice by Barbara Sprung, Merle Froschl and Nancy Gropper

Real Boys: Rescuing our Sons from the myths of boyhood by William Pollack ( the first book that made me cry when I realized that I had said some of the very same things to the young boys in my care)

The Wonder of Girls and The Wonder of Boys by Michael Gurian ( I like him because he presents the science of HOW the brain functions differently in each gender - we are Built differently, and that's OK - It just means that boys and girls learn differently and need differently things to help them learn)

Early Childhood Education: An International Encyclopedia Edited By Rebecca New and Moncrieff Cochran

In particular Sprung's chapter on Gender and Gender stereotyping and Gidney's chapter on Bullying.
(This comes in 4 volumes...You may have to seek out a library, or online article access)

Twice Bitten

It has been nearly two years since I last saw my therapist.

The why of this is difficult to explain. At our last meeting, I got angry. I got offended. I got defensive.

So, I walked out and decided to not go back.

What she had said to me was not true, I decided. Therefore I did not need to return.

Two years Later, I am returning to her office. Defeated. A little Ashamed. Changed and Unsure.

I hope I will be able to tell her that any hint of "I told You so" will be roundly smacked back.  I can not bear that. I can not bear being wrong when I have committed to something so fully. When I have set aside my perpetual cynicism and opened myself and believed, only to have it all fall down around me covering me in fine grey ash, I can not hear how I should have known better, should have listened, should have heeded.

All of these things I know.

I emerged into the world knowing these things. The machine of my lesson learning is well oiled and fine tuned.
I live in a place where the rock is ready to be rolled back up the hill and my refreshment is always just a little bit further....

Reality is not my downfall. Real things, real work, real sacrifice and struggle and discomfort remain my burlap lined silk. These things I know.

What I need are reminders of why I should bother with anything else.

Two nights ago I had a puzzling dream that left me sweaty and tangled in my sheets.

I was in a dorm room with two females I didn't know.  I still occasionally walk the halls in my dream universities, a strange mixture of places I have known and mixed up corridors.

There was some kind of interview being filmed with one of the other people in the room. I walked behind her and my hair caught in some cobwebs.  As I reached up to brush the cobweb away I received the first bite.

Knocking off what had bitten me, I saw it was a black widow spider. I felt the zing of outright terror - that body reaction to knowing that something you utterly fear is on your body. Has touched you. Has intimate knowledge of your skin.

The cameraman alerted me that there was a second spider just as the second bite came. It too was a black widow spider and I yelled at the camera man to kill it! Get It OFF of me! Just KILL it!

The adrenaline pumped through me. I was genuinely terrified. I had felt two bites. Spiders had been on my skin and tasted me.  I knew Black widow spiders could kill you, and I had two bites. I knew that antidote is not carried in every hospital.

That is when my mother appeared in my dreamscape. She told me I didn't have to go to the hospital, despite the swelling of my face. She told me that black widow spiders weren't really that dangerous and that I shouldn't worry.

Even then, even in the height of my panic knowing I had been bitten and that these were indeed poisonous spiders, I entertained her option. I wavered. I wanted to believe that they weren't poisonous, despite what rational ( and obviously watching far too many documentaries)  dream-thought told me. I wanted to believe that everything was all right, despite the poison swelling my face. I considered pretending everything was perfectly fine, despite the clear knowledge that these bites were going to kill me

That is when I woke up.

That afternoon, I called my therapist.

Things in My Bed: A Photo Essay

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A post from my 2006 ClubMom archives.

While the content of the things she leaves behind has changed somewhat, the premise is still sound. My daughter and I are bed people. As she gathered her things tonight to prepare for bed, I had to remind her to come back and get all of her stuff out of my room. These things included her computer, her earphones, two bags of snacks she had started and left unfinished, an empty cup, her socks AND school uniform shirt she had left on my floor as she changed out of her school clothes and into MY House Jammies, a book, her math homework and her pencil case. All of these things had been brought in since 3:30 p.m..

While I no longer sleep on Playmobil parts - and goodness knows I may have some permanent dents from where "potion bottles" embedded themselves into my ample thighs - I am still glad that my child still wants to be with me. Doing her homework in my bed in the afternoon as we lay together, talking and laughing about her day. I know that as she rapidly approaches her 13th birthday in May that we are in a twilight time of her childhood.

For us, my bed remains a place of talking and comfort. And I am so glad that we have that together.


My bed is my favorite place. Emily knows this and spends her weekend mornings cuddled around me while I snooze and she plays or watches cartoons.

When I say "Plays" - I mean it. My bed becomes massive Playmobil wonderlands - or art supplies are brought out and projects are created. I have never objected to these mass emigrations of toys into my bed simply because it allows me more time to lie IN bed , quietly, on the weekend. Let's be honest,  as soon as my body becomes truly vertical in the house - IT IS ON! I try to post pone that moment for as long as humanly possible.

The repercussion of this policy are that bits and pieces are always left behind in my bed. Oft times I find them by accident, as I roll on them.

This Sunday was no different. She plays, I snooze - and when I get vertical - IT IS ON! Sheets must be changed, dishes must be washed, Floors must be damp mopped and tubs scrubbed. I remind Em to get everything off my bed. She assures me that she has.

Upon my disassembling of my bed, this is what I found:


An orange scrunchie
a pastel bead bracelet
Several small Playmobil pieces (vine, ironing board, Hair, trowel, hotdogs, flowers)
A tinkerbell charm
A silver glitter pencil

But wait - There's more!


A Teal bingo marker
A red bead
A pink baby unicorn (Playmobil)
A jar of Bitty Baby Peas
A small Cell phone belonging to Marisol - The American girl of 2005
A pink glitter crayon
And the light up when you write, feather encrusted Spongebob pen. Last, but not certainly not least.

I suppose there will be a day when there are no toys in my bed, no sand in my sheets.  I suppose there will be a day when I do not beg for extra morning time and trade cartoons for quiet play.

But for now, I do what every parent does. I strip the bed. I change the sheets. I bring all the pieces and parts back into her room and put them away.

Movies You Should See Vol 2

Sunday, April 10, 2011

One of the things I love about films from other countries is the mythology and fairy tales on which other societies are built.

We tell the same stories over and over, you see. The cultures in which we are raised imprint deeply with the images and whispers of the fairy tales that echo throughout our memories. This reflects in the movies that each culture produces. If we, raised with Grimm Fairy Tale tradition, see a girl in a red hood, we bring to bear a whole plethora of  things we KNOW.  We know the story, we know the implied danger and warnings. The filmmaker/ storyteller does not need to do extraneous explanation because the audience is "in the know" about the story he/she is attempting to convey.

When entering the story tradition of other cultures, I know I am already at a disadvantage. Having not been steeped in the mythology of other cultures, I have to work harder to understand why the story is being told the way it is being told.  And I Like that. I like the cognitive work I have to do to understand.

Ergo, I present Night Watch (2004) - a superb Russian film wrapped up in a mythology of Light and Dark Others.

Yes, there are vampires. Yes there are other "supernaturals"  and that theme is So Done right now, but this remains as one of my favorite movies that I watched without understanding what the hell was going on, and then I went back to watch it again. It is one of the few movies that I burned to CD so I COULD watch it again.

In theory, it was supposed to be one of three movies. In reality, only the first two got made. There is a second, Day Watch which is easier to watch, if only because you have the first movie under your belt.

One of the things people often cite is that this movie, extremely expensive for Russian films, has "western style special effects" and that is kind of true.  There are some kick ass special effects. But that isn't why I love this movie.

I love the characters. The schlubby, grubby main actor who is clueless and grimy, while still being cast as both the hero and love interest. The landscape of Russian cities that combine both Soviet era block housing and post soviet commercialism. I love the characters who do their assigned jobs, despite being members of the "Others" - Vampires who are butchers, as worn down and bedraggled as everyone else, policed by rules, and the Watch, designed to keep them in line.  And the Gloom. Well, you just have the watch that to understand.

I should add that these movies are based on books by Sergei Lukyanenko...which I have, but haven't yet read.

Next, I turn to a Spanish movie - The UnCertain Guest (2004).

This is a slow movie. Actually, my experiences with much Spanish cinema is that the story telling style is a great deal more nuanced. Not tons of talking. Not a ton of music in the scenes. It actually reminds you of how Loud we are in North America. We want music and talking and movement, constantly.

Give it time. Let it unfold.  The story is first told through the eyes of the main character....and then through the eyes of the others in the story. Those views are definitely not the same.

In the imdb description, the plot is described as "You let a man into your house to make a call and wait in the kitchen and he disappears..., but does he?". The main character, Felix, is a rather fussy obsessive architect going through a break up with his girlfriend. He becomes convinced that he has a squatter living inside the house after he lets the man use his phone, and turns his obsession to figuring out where the man is hiding.

There is a deeper message in this film, however. What we know about our neighbors, what we show to the external world versus what is going on behind our eyes. Who watches us? Why?

I think I read somewhere that this is being remade by Hollywood. Ugh. I seriously HATE remakes.  When a film is dome well, there is no need to re-do it. I think the classic example of this would be Let the Right One In -, a film of such perfection that no remake was needed. But Hollywood did anyway, and changed really important things about the story. Which I won't tell you because it is important for you to see the film, or at the very least read the book.  The book TERRIFIED me.  Fucking Terrified me.  I passed it on to my friend Maija, and it terrified her. She passed it to her partner Chris, a rather jaded film director, and she wrote to me that she walked by the bedroom to see Chris, eyes wide, transfixed by the book...Also Terrified.

I didn't intend to review Lat der ratte komma in , but I will say this. Aside from the vampire thing, this is at heart, a story about childhood. About exploitation of children. About invisibility of children, about the brutality of childhood as well as the beauty. And being trapped in all of it. Against endless winter.

The last film for today is Unmistaken Child (2008), a documentary about finding the reincarnation of a master monk.

This film follows a disciple, Tenzin,  in his four year search for his masters reincarnation. This is a story about faith. And devotion. And love. Yes, it is a film about some basic tenets of Buddhism - but if you have ever wondered How the next Dalai Lama, or any Lama may be found, then this is a film you won't want to miss.

I once heard an interview with the Dalai Lama where the interviewer asked him about being a Child who was also being raised as the head of a religious order. For many of us, I think, that must be a strange duality. Here you have a normal boy, you must want to engage in normal boy things...but who is also believed to be the reincarnation of a specific soul.  The Dalai Lama laughed in the interview and said "I was just a normal kid. I played soccer, I got in trouble for playing pranks. I had a very ordinary childhood".

It was not until I had watched this film that I could conceptualize How that statement could be true.


Can a Brother get a Break?

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Terrance is in New York again.

When he got his tickets for his flight from Burlington to NYC, he walked into the bedroom to show me the email from Jet Blue.

He remains on the No Fly list. Therefore, he must provide all of his evidence that he is NOT the man who is the drug lord of Detroit ( and if he Is, then he sucks at it since my bank account does not reflect any ill gotten profits).

"Poor Terrance", I said.


Poor Terrance.

My husband has notoriously bad luck when it comes to crossing borders, or boarding planes. He gets pulled out or over almost every time he travels alone. I am not sure if he gives off a certain shady vibe to the airport security, or border guards, but they eye him like he is certainly up to no good.

A couple of years ago, he was coming back from Detroit. He had dropped Emily off and was driving back through Canada to get home to New Hampshire. He was driving my car.

Now, it is no secret that I am a little lax when it comes to cleaning up. This includes the car. I mean, to carry all that stuff back in at the end of the day just seems like a bit much to me. And that Second cup's empty after all. And those nearly empty water bottles? And that couple pair of shoes? Plus you never know when a sleeping bag and tent in the trunk will come in handy. Not to mention that bag of bird seed back there. What if I am trapped in the woods and being threatened by rabid robins? That stuff could save my life.

Occasionally, I will "clean" up. This generally involves my finding a container that closes and stuffing all the odds and ends into it...and closing the lid. Voila! I did the same with all the spare change I had floating in the car. I had a little cigar box that I kept the change in - For both my own easy access and if someone was going to steal it from my car, I wanted them to have it all in one place and not go scrounging around breaking stuff.

When Terrance was pulled over at the Canadian border, the car was searched. He was personally at a loss as to explain the how and why of most of the contents of my trunk. So imagine his befuddlement when the angry border guards confronted him with a cigar box full of change and unlabeled pills that they pulled out of the trunk.

"What are the 12's? What are the 12's", they kept asking him.

He kept repeating, "This is my wife's car" to the border guards.

"These pills - the 12's. What are they?"

"I don't know. I don't know what she has in the car. I had no idea that the change box was in the trunk...."

He was kept for nearly 5 hours at the border being interrogated about the ominous handful of "12's" pills in the change box.

He was not allowed to call me, as I could have easily told him the origin of the "12's".

They were, of course, Walmart brand Ibuprofen. I 2 is printed on the pill. Ibuprofen, 200 mgs. They had fallen out of a bottle and been scooped up into the change box about a year and a half before hand. They had rolled around with the change all that time, becoming the ominous "12's" that caused the border security to launch a full fledged CSI investigation.

My laughter, once Terrance called me upon his release, may have been heard all the way into Canada from New Hampshire.

He did not find it so funny.

Last Year, he found that he was on the "No Fly" list, as he shares a similar name and birth date with a drug lord in Detroit.

More laughing on my part.

Yesterday, after seeing him off on his trip to New York, I get a phone call from him.

"You can't blog about this", were the FIRST words out of his mouth.

Oh. Come. On. You can't lead with that statement! Why not put a coconut cake in front of me and demand that I not touch it!

"All right", I agreed.

He drove to New York this time, as the time and expense of air travel far out weighed the time and expense of renting a car and driving. He expected the normal questions at the US Border.

"Why do you have a Canadian car?"
"Why do you have two addresses?"
"What do you mean you live in two places?"
"Why is the car in your wife's name?"
"Where is she?"

and he gets waved over to have the car searched. It is , for the record, a tiny Orange Hyundai.

They take out all of his luggage and begin to search.

The youngish border guard reaches in and pulls out....a pair of Emily's underwear. Little Girls underwear.

Terrance reports that the young man looked at him like he had just caught the head of Kiddie Porn Al Queda. 

"What's this?", the border guard asks Terrance.

"They're my daughters - they must have gotten mixed in with my clothes...", Terrance replies nervously.

The border guard is not buying his story.

The border guard pulls out a second pair of Emily's underwear.

Terrance now reports that the man is staring at him with laser beam eyes.

Terrance tries to explain that the laundry is near where we keep the travel bags and often stuff falls into the travel bags. That his daughter is ten...and see, he has a picture of her in his wallet, and look at the travel documents - he is living in Canada with his wife AND daughter...

Another guard joins the search.

Terrance reports that the younger guard was continuing his "Eyes of Death" campaign..

No really - he is a DAD, Terrance explains. A DAD. He isn't a pervert, just a DAD who does laundry and sometimes gets her clothes mixed up in his clothes. Nothing sketchy here. Just a Dad...

The second guard searches Terrance's stuff. Looks at Terrance's documents and pictures of his daughter.

Reluctantly, they let Terrance go. Terrance reports that the younger border guard had clearly already tried, convicted and sentenced Terrance for crimes against children in his mind. He glared at him the whole time, and continued to do so as he drove away.

"It was so embarrassing...", Terrance says to me.

"But sweetie - you didn't do anything wrong - you're just a Dad who had a few of his daughters underwear mixed in with his stuff...."

"I know but GOD! Dawn - you should have seen this guy looking at me!"

"Sweetie - black dude with dreadlocks with a rented Canadian car in his wife's name, traveling alone from Montreal to New York....with two pairs of little girl underwear in his luggage? There are books being written about how you are a security risk RIGHT NOW. You are the reason for Homeland Security. All you needed was a Koran and some plant food in the trunk and I would have never seen you again. You were the most exciting thing to come across the border in weeks. You get to be that guys story about how he almost brought down the Pervie Terrorists."

"You're right."

"so,Can I blog about this? "

"I wish you wouldn't."

"You know I'm going to - this is far too good."
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