Get Your Face out of Your Phone

Friday, July 29, 2011

So, I am not going to BlogHer this year ( despite being honored to be a Voice of the Year Finalist) and I am perfectly fine with it.

Despite my teaching a certain Other Blogger how to schmooze bartenders ( without showing your boobs) so they give you free drinks and continue to serve you after the bar is officially closed, I am - at best- a once an every other year kind of gal. Maybe next year when I will persist in  wearing the Velvet PhD Tam the entire time, despite any temperature.

I've been reading and seeing posts here and there about what to wear, what to do etc when going to a Blogher conference...indeed ANY conference.

And here is my Tip:

Get Your Face out of Your God Dammed Phone.

It is true that I am not a Phone Lover.  I don't like to talk ON the phone if I can avoid it...and I do Avoid it. My best friend has actually had her husband once call MY husband to demand that I call her back. I frequently either misplace my phone, or simply fail to charge it. I had a Kin forced on me two weeks ago and I whinged enough that I sent it back since I hated the cluster-fluffed touch screen.

Kris Kringle! If I want to use a phone, I just want to use an as designed by Alexander Graham Bell phone. I don't want to navigate through 15 screens and get asked about shit that I do not care about. ( as an aside, I passionately hated the collage of photos on the Kin at the start up. I am 41 years old. I do not need a random collage of pictures of people I do not know staring up at me for the 12 minute start up.)

Now, here is where this ties into BlogHer....

Bloggers: You are Not that Important. You are not so important that you need to stare at your phone like it is going to deliver the position of the Holy Grail to you. The President isn't emailing you to ask for debt ceiling advice and you had no part in finding Osama Bin Laden. There is simply Not that much to which you must absolutely be privvy that you can not peel your eyes away from the rectangular glowing device.

If someone is talking to you, LOOK AT THEM. MAINTAIN EYE CONTACT WITH THEM.  I teach this to preK kids, fer christ sakes. A Conversation involves Eye Contact so I know you are hearing me. When you are staring down at an illuminated screen you give the impression that you could care less what I am saying. You are also giving the impression that you are too Important or Busy to acknowledge me.

(*cough, cough - I had this happen to me last year - with people I have known since 2006.  If I see you Once a year, give me the consideration of 5 minutes of time to genuinely connect. We don't have to skip down a hall and hold hands and be bestest friends all conference, but sincerity goes a hell of a long way in my book)

And guess what? You aren't that amazing. Despite your branding, your book deal, the palm fronds and Hosanna's when you rode your donkey into the conference hall - You ain't ALL that. In the words of Ben Folds, There is always someone cooler than you...and there will be someone cooler next year, or in two years.  The people you are offending? They are going to remember that - Forever. No matter how big our bloggy world seems? It isn't. It is ridiculously small. We all know each other - especially those of us around forever.

So show a little courtesy.  Show a little human connection. You don't have to tongue kiss each other ( unless you want to) but if someone is talking to you, do NOT look at your phone. If it isn't someone you want to hang out with, say "Thanks so much - It was Great Meeting you! I'm sure I will see you around!"

Just stop staring at your phones. It's annoying. And rude.

Vegetable Wrangler

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I am in some kind of Caged Death Match with the vegetables.

When I signed up for the Community Supported Agriculture, it was March. I could be found dreaming of temperatures warm enough to grow anything, let alone vegetables.  Plus, with my established credentials as "Liberal White Lady", it made me happy to think I was supporting my local organic farmer.

Because, as we have established, Liberal white ladies loves us some Environment AND Organic Produce.

Yet, here it is - Week 5 - and I spend more time than I care to admit  looking up ways to use the vegetables. Since my cooking ability is suspect at best, I can be relied upon to diligently Research what I should be doing with the overflowing bucket of vegetables.

Forthwith, I have canned 2 jars of spicy beets for goat cheese salad in the winter when I long for a fresh beet. I have canned One jar of Garlic Scapes in a Korean style brine for who knows what I am going to do with these. I have 2 containers of  Garlic Scape Pesto in the freezer, with the addition (today) of the 2-2cup bags of Grated Zucchini for making fritters and breads/muffins.  Tomorrow, I am blanching the summer squash to freeze for winter soups.  (Psst - I am doing Lacto-fermentation canning - the no boiling kind)

The Garlic is starting to roll in now too - and I may end up pickling a jar. Although the Italian Garlic is up first and we may get through it all before I need to do something. If worse comes to worst, I can tack it up on the doors for evil spirit prevention.

In other news, I am pleased to come out as a lover of  Bob Ross. Yep, the PBS painter guy.  I always have loved him and used to have old VHS tapes of his shows. I would come home from work and pop them in and just listen to him.

I have no painting talent or aspirations, but I can be captivated by a Bob Ross Video. As in "Like a Shot of Heroin in the Brain" captivated.  As soon as I hear his voice, I glaze over into my own "happy little place".  I can feel my muscles relax as the serotonin floods my body. Every day this week, I have been seen to be sitting in front of my computer, mesmerized by Bob Ross.

Here is the Fox rug, as of last night. I have already gotten the vine outlined and am starting to fill in the blueberries and the leaves. I'm not sure of the Colors yet - Maybe a Brown?  Then I have to decide on the next rug theme. I am leaning towards more "totem" animals - Maybe  A Raven?  Which Reminds me, don't forget to visit my newest bambino - whorish ravens  because I know you are all perpetually wondering

"How can I get More Dawn?"

You're welcome.

F*ck You McDonalds

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

(enter reason #1785 why Dawn will never be a Brand Mom Blogger)

I can not sputter enough about Why this - McDonalds Courts Mom Blogger When Changing the Menu  pisses me off.

Is this what Women Bloggers who are mothers have become? Another avenue to be manipulated? Another voice to soothe (valid) fears for a greedy corporation?

This offends me in so many ways - as a Woman. As a Writer, As an Intellectual, as a Blogger. And as a Mother.

Fuck You McDonalds. Just Fuck You.

Addendum: As I cool down, there are so many intertwined issues here that it doesn't shock me that I reacted so strongly, so From the Gut. Indulge me as I start to pull the weave apart on this one:

1. Women as Mindless Marketers OR Consumers

2. Motherhood as Ultimate Consumption

3. Bloggers/Writers as Marketing Tools ( in both senses of the word)

4. Mothers must oversee all aspects of Child

5.When Child is less than perfect (overweight, not pretty, not socially adept, you name it) Mother is to blame

6. Women are responsible for their own victimization ( both socially and economically) or the "we wouldn't hate you if you weren't Fat" argument. Can also be couched as the "You have such a pretty face" line of thinking

7. Be grateful for tiny, inconsequential changes. Apples, over processed, filled with pesticides and high in un-needed sugar are better than Fries, Right? See! We're Responsive!

8. Poor People don't deserve good things - including food.  See last nights Colbert Report where he pointed out the ludicrousness of the Heritage Foundation report that Americans aren't really in poverty because they live in homes with Refrigerators. And Microwaves.

9. Women will believe stupid bullshit because a Corporation pays attention to them.

I'm sure there are a few more levels, but I need to go grate some zucchini.

I'm the one screaming at the radio

Driving back to Montreal on Monday, I was listening to National Public Radio and a discussion of a book on the Old West, when this tidbit was said by a caller:

I don't want to come off as all politically correct or anything, but I find myself being a little bit disturbed at how we treated the Indians in the Old West.

 At which point my head exploded.

Once I was able to collect the pieces and reconstruct my skull, I began to yell at the Radio:

"No, you wouldn't want to be all "politically correct" or anything. How bout a decent fucking human being? A little bit disturbed?  Genocide IS a little bit disturbing, isn't it? Oh my Fucking God, my American Brethren are some of the most willfully stupid and mis-educated mother fuckers on the face of this fucking planet."

And then the host asked the Author a question about the Movie "Cowboys versus Aliens", and my head exploded again.


Monday, July 25, 2011

It should come as no great epiphany that my mind flits and scampers through all sorts of places. A sort of polyglot consciousness that moves with no predictability.

I also take a great many photos. Some may know this from my involvement in Envisage, but often as I am taking the photos, alternate stories and obscure verbiage are being crafted around them.

Then there are the odd bits and pieces that rattle around. I don't like twitter, and they don't really fit as blog posts.  Ideas, amorphous. Shiny things I pick up, and set down, then search for later when they reappear in my head.

They all need a place, which isn't here.  This place has it's own life. It's own voice, that I love...but the other voice needs a space of it's own too. A nice chaise lounge and good light to read by until I am forced to turn on electricity.

I am changing. I have no idea into what I am changing, except that it is happening. My resistance is less than futile, it is unwise and deleterious.

So, I give to you Whorish Ravens

PS - I am re-starting Desperately Seeking as a Tumblr blog too. I could not bear to kill it, for it makes me laugh so. My picayune and perverted child.

Something is squeezing my Skull

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Me (walking to pool) : It is Hot as the devils ballsack. Maybe even the taint behind the devils ballsack.

Given, of course, that the devil is male. Which one would presume given the monikers assigned to it - the "prince of darkness", for example.  Or "Lord of Flies". I guess that if he were female, more androgynous monikers would be given.  Yeah, I am pretty sure the devil is male. 

Emily (walking next to me): Are you talking to me? 

Me: No. Just thinking.

Emily: You're Weird.

At 2:12 a.m., the people present at the pool that day awoke with the complete understanding that what they had been swimming in was not water.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

The passerbys would never know the truth of the matter. Her masters now lay in the bedroom, meat to feed her for days.

You look delicious.

Five Comics you Should Read

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Yes, it is true that I am more than a little bit of a fan girl when it comes to some things. Comics being one of them. While my first introductions were the original comics of R Crumb and an old favorite called "Beautiful Tales for Ugly Children" ( which, let's be honest, remains the best title of anything, ever), I developed a  taste for the genre.

Aside from the three others of you who may read comics,...and combined with the fact that I am never asked by nearly any other adult to tell them about my favorite comics, I beg your indulgence as I wax poetic and perseverate about one of  my myriad obsessions.

1. The Runaways

Brian Vaughn is one of those writers who tells an incredible Story.  Runaways is the story of a group of kids who find out that their parents are super villains.  So, they run. They also find out that they aren't quite as "normal" as they thought.

This is the first comic series I have given, in earnest, to Emily. She LOVES them. There is great writing, strong female characters and some real grappling with the identity separation of child from parent.  Who are we, as teens? Who are our parents? Is our destiny tied in with our parents decisions and actions? Who gets to decide what is evil?

The beauty (and drawback) of being a teen was the absolute certainty I felt about issues. I read it in my old journals, sometimes, and smile at my own definitive-ness. I knew Everything and no one could tell me any different. Vaughn is able to bring that to these characters, but also add their loyalty and love for their parents - and confusion as to what is the right thing to do.

Vaughn also wrote "Y: The Last Man" - in which an biological agent destroys all the men in the world...except one, as well as "Ex Machina".  I loved Y, and had to go at Ex Machina a couple of times before finding my groove. He's also written "Pride of Baghdad" about a group of Lions who escape the zoo after the bombing of the Iraq, but I haven't read it to date.

2. Walking Dead

If you have been living under a rock and been unaware of the AMC show adaptation, or my continual fits of adulation regarding the graphic novel series on this very blog, then I beg You. Read this. Start with issue one and move on to Issue 85. You will be shocked. You will numb to it, then you will be shocked again.  You will ponder the issues that Kirkman kicks to the forefront which is - it isn't the event, it is what we do afterwards. Who are we? What do we become?  I just read Issue 84 and 85 and had to catch my breath afterwards.  I lent out my issues ( 1-13) to the friend who runs our local coffee shop and he was mesmerized.

3. FreakAngels

I don't adore Warren Ellis' every move like some fans. There have been things he has done which have not sung to me.  FreakAngels is one I liked from the first issue. An entirely web based comic, with a fairly regular schedule it is now starting to wind down at issue 142.  Part Dystopian, Part Steam Punk, Part Kids with Special Powers, it blends several story threads nicely to make a little niche for itself within the genre. I liked it enough to even buy myself a FreakAngels Shirt, which Emily predictably hates. You should see her roll her eyes. Gah. Her mother likes Comics. Comics named FreakAngels. The Horror.

4.  Sandman

I am not sure how exactly to describe Gaiman's Sandman. Others have done far more adequate jobs than I could dream of doing, so suffice it to say...I loved it. I loved the imagery and world he helped to re-populate. I loved the way he would manipulate a myriad of myth traditions, each popping up and out with ease. His later writing would continue this tradition - American Gods, particularly. I reference some of Gaiman's language and imagery in my own writing, which some of you may have noticed...when I talk about delight becoming delirium for instance.  It was a seminal work and moved comics from a fringe lit position into something more "respected" and serious.

5.  Crossed

First, a Caveat. This comic is NOT for everyone. It is exceptionally violent in every way. There is extreme physical and sexual violence depicted in a particularly explicit manner.  If you can get past that ( and you might not be able to) the story is fascinating. 

Now, I like Garth Ennis. Not everyone does. I liked Preacher, I really liked Chronicles of Wormwood, and Loved The Pro. The Boys has kept my attention for it's entire run, and that doesn't always happen.

I think it is because I had read his other works that I was willing to stick with Crossed and see where it went. Which was a world in which an infection is being passed from person to person through body fluids, any fluid. The part of the brain which inhibits behavior is destroyed nearly immediately, and the red cross appears on the face. The infected then act upon every impulse, with exaggerated violence. It isn't a zombie story, although it has survivalist overtones. What I really like, though, is Ennis' exploration of what happened if we all did the darkest things in our psyches, the stuff we discount, or dismiss, or deny. 

6.  Girls
 Ok, yes, I said FIVE, but here is a 6th.  The Luna Brothers has their big "break" with Ultra.  To the amazement of the person who suggested it to me, I didn't care for Ultra.  Meh.

But Girls? I really liked Girls. And the next series The Sword.   I know it is trite to say that this would be a type of "feminist" comic, but there are some things about the series that have stayed with me post reading.

First off, the sexual and gender politics and power depicted are fascinating. It is a gang of alien women, all cloned from one, who are looking for men to inseminate them. In fact, they will kill the human women they find in order to preserve their potential sperm donors.  

and the art. Such beautiful illustrations.

Some people hated this comic. Ok. Fair enough. I can accept that.

7. Welcome to Hoxford

Dammit, I Know I said 5, but Ben Templesmith is one of my personal favorite illustrators...and this was one he did both the story AND the art. 

You may better know his art from 30 Days of Night, which got made into that shit-tacular movie. As always,  do yourself a favor and  find the graphic novel. The vampires in there should scare the living shit out of you. 

But this was Ben's Story too and I loved it. Just odd and quirky enough ( Werewolves, who we see not nearly enough serious story lines being given over to) and a privatized prison, a crazy prisoner and his trapped psychologist. I've always thought this would make a seriously kick ass horror film, if they just stuck to Templesmiths' ambiance and didn't try to be too ridiculous with gore and special effects.

The other comic he writes is Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse, which I ( not shockingly) love.  I mean LOOK at that. Frakking Gorgeous. And strangely funny. 

He also teamed with Warren Ellis to do a series called Fell which has disappeared over time. I assume they both got busy and the project just dissolved, but the issues are wonderful. Its one of those that I wished would have continued, because there was great storytelling to be done.

Finally, I feel I should plug an artist, Megan of Studio MME, that I have been patronizing for a long time now. A BUNCH of her originals hang in my bedroom (The Cat, The Octopus and The Rooster) , and her prints are scattered around my house.  As in All over the house. I keep buying them and popping them into frames and setting them hither and yon. 
Fears Uncloaking 1, Studio MME

She is an amazing talent and has a real sense of whimsy to her work, so visit her at Etsy store. You don't need to tell her that I sent you, but DO buy original art from artists, even prints. It is good for your soul. 

The Fox: A visual story

Monday, July 18, 2011

truthiest truths

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The truthiest truth? 

I hate more than I love. And I can't see anyway to fix it.

That more time will let me heal and finish and grow, but it never seems to quite work. There is always more things, more time needed. 

That I want love and passion in my life. Love and Sex and passion in a bigger and grander way than I have had, but that I don't deserve it and anyway I can't have it and it is all in my head and I should just find a way to settle and be happy and content.

But I never,never am. 

And I understand how you can end up an eccentric old writer, drinking too much and embittered and wanting to shoot the people you love because god dammit, why can't they see that you are no good - that THIS is no good. 

And that I understand how people kill themselves, not simply from depression, but from the exhaustion of listening to all the noise in your head - the voices that push you beyond creative output into hysteria. From delight into delirium. 

And that I want to run away from everything, even my daughter who keeps me grounded to this plane of existence, and just pretend everything is still wide open. But I hesitate. My unspoken promise to her keeps me here, keeps me tethered. Whatever I am, I would be less if I failed her. 

Of all my wounds, self inflicted or hard won or battles lost or rarely innocent bystander, that wound would never, never heal.

That I am dominant, but cravenly submissive. Submissive from fear and obligation and staid indifference.  And rage. That is what my headaches are. the contained rage.

Those are my truthiest truths, kate.

An honor to be Nominated

Friday, July 15, 2011

I got word yesterday that one of my posts, Racists in the Crib, was selected as one of the finalists for BlogHer's Voice of the Year in the Niche Category.

Once again, it is an honor to be selected as one of the Finalists. I won't be at Blogher this year, but am sure that it will be a lovely event.

So Two Years in a Row - a Finalist, but not THE finalist. Maybe next year?

This B*tch can't Cook

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I am a woman of many, many talents.  Do you want to have discussions where we discuss post modern {fill in your blank}? Or use the word Hegemony or Ontology or Remediation, for real, as part of our conversation?  Want to jump into discussions about brain development and the infinite fascination of how hormones and electrical impulses form babies brains in tandem with life experience?

Do you want to discuss the feminist underpinnings of women's traditional crafts and how I believe my rug hooking to be a subtle feminist act paying tribute to the women who came before me?  Literature?  Why children love to play games about death?  Foreign Films and why I think they tie into a larger socio-cultural story telling tradition that we should be watching in order to have a better vision of who we are as humans and how we can understand the complexities of other cultures that are not our own? Zombies? Graphic Novels and Comics?

Yes, all of these things are topics into which I can slip with ease, slowly back stroking in the warm waters of ethereal intellect.

The practical matters of Cooking? Sigh. Just not my forte.  I love to eat, of course. I love to eat new and exciting things and will almost never say "No, thanks". At least until I have had enough to know that it is not for me.  I am an appreciative guest, for I will love nearly anything you put in front of me if only for the joy of not having had to cook it. (Tuna Noodle Casserole not included.)

And then I signed us up for a CSA (A share of a local organic farm). I wrote the cheque for the CSA, and so I feel doubly obligated to figure out something to do with the flood of vegetables now living in the lower shelves of our refrigerator.

Now, the rabbits can take care of the lettuce we don't get to - They eat a literal shitload of lettuce. A rabbit shitload of lettuce.  They will happily take the kale and chard and collards and bok choi  if we don't get to them.

No, it was the vegetables that I was uncertain about which worried me most.

The Kohlrabi was my first challenge.  I mean what the hell is this thing? And what the hell am I supposed to do with it.

I solved it by slicing it into sticks, tossing fresh lime juice over it and some red and black pepper, a handful of sea salt and munching through it like there was no tomorrow.  Delicious.

My greatest challenge, to date, has been the garlic scapes. 3 Weeks of Garlic scapes and I have to believe that there is more coming.

 Here is my first weeks attempt to wrangle the scapes. It was a slightly more complicated recipe than I would normally even TRY. I mean there was oil and brown sugar and caramelization and then white wine simmering to deglaze the other caramelized bits. THEN I had to add cheese I had never used before, but the recipe promised it was a cheese that wouldn't melt, and I had to have already chopped the tomatoes to get them into the pan.

Do you see this? THIS is complex. I can chop and throw lime juice on something.

Despite the burns on my arm from the oil/sugar and garlic scape beginning, it all ended up being pretty dang good.

I learned that I can chop the scapes, denuding them of the tips past the flowers which are vaguely stringy.  I learned that they kind of have a similar texture to asparagus - so that I needed to cook them, but not overcook them.  Too much and they are mush. Too little and you are chewing on very crisp garlic stalks.

My next adventure was undertaken on Sunday. I knew I was going to use the first Zucchini to make stuffed Zucchini. There is nothing about that dish that Emily can find lip-curlingly heinous, so a safe bet.  But I had another set of Scapes and needed to do SOMETHING.

Pesto was what I made.  Yeah, Yeah, a VERY rough pesto since I don't have a food processor and the blender laughed at me as I tried to use it's feeble blade to masticate the scapes. Simple enough, though - right? Scapes, slivered almonds ( quickly pan roasted), parmesean cheese and olive oil.

My first inkling that this was a winner was Emily taking a small bowl and some crackers and wandering off to snack.

Snack? On Vegetable based Dip? Was there some kind of hallucinogen in the garlic scapes?

Then Terrance wandered in and took some.

What the hell? Both members of my family who NEVER take anything I cook unless it is practically forced down their gullets, maintaining faces that indicate imminent death have both just voluntarily eaten something I have made?

The following day, they both ate more. MORE?!?!?

Terrance never eats leftovers. NEVER. Not in 20 years have I seen him re-heat something. It drives me crazier than I currently can attest to being.  But there he was, munching away happily.  On garlic scape pesto I  had made the day before.  After looking over my shoulder to check for all four Horsemen  who surely must be on the back porch, I quietly crept away.

I am thinking this pesto could possibly avert the Apocalypse, if it came down to it. Well, at the very least Famine would eat it. He is, after all, Famished.

Ba- dum-dum - Cymbal.

(two small things to note here. 1. I am thinking of the scene from The Young Ones, where Neil finds the 4 horsemen in the fridge and 2. The Undertones- Teenage Kicks is playing on my itunes completing my 1985 or so fugue state.)


Monday, July 11, 2011

Sometimes you have to run away to the beach. Even if you can't afford it and you shouldn't. You just do.

Then you should get sunburnt, and ignore it because really, what did you expect?  It is the beach and there is sun. You can slather a billion spf on your body and the sun ignores it and burns you anyway. 

But the pleasure of falling to sleep, exhausted, at night with the sound of the ocean ceaselessly outside your window outweighs the pain of the burn and the knowledge that there will be hell to pay when you return.

When you look at your pictures, you notice you don't smile. Just look back at the lens. Not sad and not depressed, but somehow weary. Used up.  You tell your therapist that you wonder if you got all used up in the years leading up to now. That this is all that is left. The watching. The observing. 

You feel like an intruder into the spaces that were yours before. Or maybe they weren't yours but you moved with a different ease and certainty. Now, you feel jumbled and awkward. Not dreamy, not ethereal, but a solid, earth bound presence who can't seem to move with any grace or fluidity.

It doesn't help that you have fallen into the world of China Mieville, where you understand with dreadful clarity the terrible beauty of his made up space.  You can't remember the last time an author poked and prodded at your brain with such precise and delicious vocabulary.  You fall in love a little bit with the words.  The beautiful, beautiful words.  

And the sea whispers.


Tuesday, July 05, 2011

This is a hard post to write.

It still shocks me, these topics that still feel so raw to me that I hesitate to even write them down, let alone voice them out Loud, here.

I have rarely been comfortable with my body. My Mother was naturally, effortlessly thin. When the genetic gifts were divvied out, the effortlessly thin gene was not part of my package.

Breasts, hips, booty and sturdy thighs made up my body type, a curvy throwback to the 1840's when women were expected to be soft and lush. Cross this with a tendency to want to lounge and read and you don't have the puzzle pieces for a woman with no body fat and a six pack abdomen.

But this story isn't really about me.

It is about my daughter.

Emily, as I have noted copious times, was Small as a baby and toddler. As in 12 pounds at her 1st birthday small. The doctors were concerned.

But let me admit something that I am a bit ashamed of....I kind of liked it. I liked having a petite, cute baby. I liked thinking that I had given my daughter the genetic equivalent of the weight jackpot - she was thin. She was naturally THIN!

I mean, the kid ate like crazy. We couldn't shovel in the organic home made baby food fast enough. Of course, she was on a dairy and beef and seafood free diet, so I substituted other proteins in for her. The kid ate everything! A whole sweet potato! Gone!

She was still being breastfed on demand, and would drain the one breast she accepted milk from (just call me Loppy the breastfeeding mother- she'd only drink on the right one).

Now, sometimes I think it was my depression that contributed to her "failure to thrive". Don't you LOVE that term? A real ego booster as a Mom, eh? I loved being asked if perhaps my milk was "inadequate" for my baby's nutritional needs!

This went on for years. At age 4, Emily was wearing a 3T. By age 5, maybe a 4/5? It was hard to find shoes for her when she began walking at 9 months, because they didn't make walking shoes that small. The kid wore her winter coat for three winters. She simply did not outgrow things.

Of course, she still ate like there was no tomorrow. Literally. The kid was a never ending pit of stomach. But, she remained small. Petite, little.

And all changed. By the time she started kindergarten? My child had a Gut. A protruding gut. She'd spent 4 weeks with my in-laws and come back 10 plus pounds heavier. Our doctor was appalled. Emily had now moved from on mark, slightly Overweight.

In a month.

Holy Shit. We got strict orders from our pediatrician to knock this shit OFF. No more juice, no more soda and donuts. The child we had struggled to get any weight on, we were now trying to get some weight OFF of her.

I could have cried. I think I might have. I infected her after all. She was going to be fat.

We swung from trying to get anything into her, to restricting her intake of sugar and white flour. This went on for about a year. She didn't lose any weight. She hit 60 pounds as a kindergartner (and people, we are not a tall folk here...)

In the Spring of her Kindergarten year, she started Adderall. And lost weight like crazy.  She moved into the mid 40 pounds by the end of the summer.

And get this? Are you ready? She was now too thin! Yep. Now we had to go in for once a month weight checks cause she was losing too much weight! After being told for the year before that she had gained too much weight.

Sweet Suffering Moses.

In the meantime, I had eliminated most of the sugar and flour from my diet and lost 40 pounds. Of course, the impending threat of the permanent return of the Diabetes was the prime motivator, but I wasn't unhappy about the weight loss.

Of course, when Emily went OFF the med's - she started to regain the weight. By the end of this summer, all of her clothes didn't fit again. She was now 8 and squeezing her into a size 8 was a nigh impossibility - and the 10's were outrageously long.

As she got older, I just kept finding bigger clothes. Two years ago, at age 11, she was wearing regular woman's sizes. A medium at first....then a large....then an XL.....and finally we had to buy XXL shirts to fit around her belly.

I held out last year when Terrance tried to broach her weight with me. I went to the doctor last year this time for confirmation - she was Growing, right? And ramping up for puberty?  This weight, it would melt into her growing body as puberty stormed through and things would even out, right?  Right?

But it wasn't until this year that I had to see what was happening in front of me. When I held out a pair of shorts that were too big for Me and tried to zip her into them. Size 14. And it was not happening.

I may have cried later that night. My 13 year old daughter was Fat. And it was my fault. My fault for not being a better role model. My fault for not encouraging her to exercise,my shitty biochemistry that she inherited.

After a very difficult conversation with Terrance that threatened to veer off into "accusation and blame or the other parent" land, we decided to talk with her.

She cried. She told us she didn't want to talk about it, and cried. I held her later as we tried to explain why we were having the conversation with her. I explained that I was worried that her weight was out pacing her height...that I KNEW she was going to grow this summer, and I know her body is going through such rapid changes with puberty that I was hesitant to bring it to her attention...BUT when I saw her try to get into pants that I can't wear, I got worried.

I know what it is to try to lose weight. I have been wrestling with that all my life. She shot back that I didn't do exercise. (Which is true) I explained that I actually eat very little ( which is also True).  I explained that Portion control was the hardest thing that I had to learn. To STOP eating when I was full, rather than eating for Pleasure past the point of fullness. To make sure that I was drinking water ( and not soda) and wasn't thirsty instead off hungry.

Finally,we told her that she needed to Move her body. No more coming home and sitting down in front of the TV. No more plopping in front of the computer to watch 2 hours of movies.  She had to walk. And Swim, and do all the things Kids should do in the summer. Camp would be a great place to do this too since she had no TV and plenty of swimming, walking, hiking and exploring time.

And again, here is the kind of sad thing -  I felt better as a Mom when my kid was skinny. I felt like I was giving her some intangible gift of womanhood - thinness without trying. A gift I never had received. A gift that my mother and sister seemed to just HAVE. I felt like I had let her down in some way, by cursing her with my metabolism and my body's love ( and inability to process) white flour and sugar.

But I also knew that this was the time to take control of the issue. Waiting will only make it worse, and harder.

As I held her, and she cried, I explained that we really did this because we want her to be healthy - not Skinny. I am Not skinny. Her aunts on her fathers side, Not Skinny. But moving your body and not over eating are habits ( along with more vegetables) that she HAS to adopt.

With that, our summer began, and I am forced to tackle yet another part of womanhood with which I am not wholly comfortable. But this time, it is with my baby girl.

I am Not your Babysitter

Friday, July 01, 2011

Dear Other parents at the Park/Baseball field/Pool/Beach/Walmart etc,

I've been watching you for awhile now, and have come to the conclusion that you are operating under a seriously mistaken assumption.

Which is:

Being in the same Vicinity of YOUR children = Watching and Attending to the behavior of YOUR children.

As evidenced from the behavior of your screaming/crying/cursing/running through other people's BBQ's children, you seem to believe that your right to "relax" supersedes the rest of humanity's right to relax/shop/eat/swim.

I know what it is to raise a child. I know what it is to teach a whole Roomful of them, and believe me when I say that I understand the adult need to tune out. However, doing this while your child(ren) run amok is simply not acceptable.

And don't give me the free range children bullshit. Your child was just pulled out of traffic/out of the deep end of the pool/off of the top tier of the store shelves by ME. You aren't encouraging your child's "independence" by letting them place themselves and others in harms way. What you Are encouraging is a selfish belief that Their desire to play/scream/swim/run/throw themselves in traffic is more important that the needs of a Community.

And while I am on "Community", let me address your other mistaken belief that because I am a Mother that I have an overwhelming desire to watch over Your children. Not just casually as in "everyone looking out for each other" but as in "You are sitting in your lounge chair Drinking a beer/reading/reading/texting/talking on the phone" and have no idea what your child is up to.

Said child may have just had the idea that running through a crowd with a flaming stick is a great idea. Or maybe you gave him/her some fireworks. While I applaud your own Darwinian instincts to see if they are strong enough to survive, I don't appreciate you dragging MY family into your natural selection experiment.

I am also pretty sure that no one else got the memo that if more than 2 other adults are present that your obligations as a parent can be set aside, leaving you free to pursue what ever other more enjoyable activities you may have had planned.

In short, I am Not your babysitter and I resent you treating me as such. In fact we ALL resent it - the other parents, the other kids and even YOUR kid. He/She just wants some attention from you, even if it is to say "Yes I'm watching" for the billionth time as they jump into the pool.

Yeah, I know you'd rather be having a beer and chatting with friends. I truly get it. But when we signed on as parents, that option gets curtailed for a time. Our job to raise children who are independent AND courteous, polite and respectful humans must take precedence. It sucks at times, I know. However, if you take the long view what is more important? That text? That phone call? Or having a kid that others can say is well behaved and considerate?

I know my answer.

Baleful Regards,

PS - Give a thought in advance to if your child is going to scream in terror through the movie/fireworks/museum. Can you take just a moment to consider whether YOUR need for entertainment is overpowering your knowledge that your kid is not going to be able to handle it, and drag everyone within earshot into your grim, Private hell? I didn't see fireworks for years because I knew that Emily would have a violent screaming fit and was that really fair for Anyone? Thanks.
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