Monday, November 28, 2005

Barf-Fest 2005

Dear van,

I'm sorry. I'm so so sorry. When Ethan was complaining of being car sick around about Cincinnati, I didn't really believe him. I admit it. It's all my fault. But, to be fair, I did move him to the front seat to try to alleviate his queasiness. How could I know he would let fly all over the co-pilot's area? How could I know he would manage to blow chunks not only all over himself, the floor and the seat, but up into the dashboard vents as well? Why would anyone ever imagine that?

And please, I ask you, why would I ever, in my worst nightmares, believe he would spew FIVE MORE TIMES between Cincy and Knoxville? Surely you see my point. That would be preposterous.

Didn't I do my best, at 1 am, and 2 am, and 3 am, to mop up the damage? Didn't I hand him those extra-large gas station big gulp cups to prevent any further soilage? How could I know he would use them all up?

And really, wasn't I preoccupied not only with keeping Ethan from losing his marbles, but also with Charlotte, who woke up every single time we had to pull over to the side of the road to dump Vomit Big Gulps, or to let Ethan ralf into a ditch, and every single time we pulled into a gas station for more paper towels, dramamine, and air freshener?

And wasn't I starting to feel just a leeeetle bit sick myself? And wasn't Andy? And, you know, the aggressive vanilla paper tree hanging from the rearview mirror wasn't doing anything but adding to the Cheddar-Cheese-Pretzel Combo/Capri Sun/French Fry stench so it wasn't really enjoyable for anyone, now, was it?

And, let's be honest, in Spartanburg at 5 am when Simon tossed his very own cookies for the first of SEVEN TIMES, if I could've just abandoned the whole family at a rest stop and run away with you into the night, you know I would have. Just between us, van, I would have.

So, I'm very very sorry I haven't taken you in yet for a complete upholstery renovation. We only just arrived home at 2 am last night! Be reasonable. We're all still recovering from the sleep deprivation, and the dehydration, and the lack of nourishment. Simon's pants don't even fit anymore! Think of the children!

I have to prioritize, van. Human beings first, much-beloved-but-ultimately-made-of-metal vehicles second. It's not like even the Sparkle Clean people can do anything about the bleaching effects of stomach acid anyway.

Soon I'll treat you to a nice carpet shampoo and de-stinkification. Soon. But first, I have to do laundry.

Your devoted friend,
Hurl Girl

Monday, November 21, 2005

Stay Tuned...

I'll be out of town from Tuesday until Sunday, and I'm not sure if Andy's Aunt Bev and Uncle Joe in Longs, South Carolina (Myrtle Beach, essentially) have a computer. So I may be out of commission until next week.

As I've worked my manic way through the past few days, I've missed my online friends, and I've missed blogging. It's, like, totally necessary to my life now.

When I was in second grade, I got a diary for my birthday. After about a month of obsessively writing down every item of food I ate for every meal, and occasionally writing a line or two about my goofy and/or annoying little brothers, I gave up. My life was simply too boring.

But my little 7 year old self felt terribly guilty about deserting my diary. I firmly believed in the interior lives of inanimate objects, you see. And there it sat on my desk, silently accusing me of abandoning it, when all it wanted was to fulfill its purpose, and, of course, to be my friend. How could I be so callous?

So, in February, I took it up again. But to explain my absence of several months, I made up a lie. That's right: I LIED TO MY DIARY. I explained that I had been to visit my sick aunt in Canada, and I had forgotten to bring along my much beloved diary. I hoped very much that this would soothe my diary's wounded feelings.

Don't ask me how I thought I was fooling it, when it had been there on my desk the whole time, and was fully aware that I spent those months at home, as per usual.

Eventually, of course, the monotony of my little life, rounded with a sleep, once again got the better of me, and I abandoned the diary for good. But I still have it. And every once in a while, I take it out, and crack up at that 7 year old self so riddled with guilt that I would make up an utterly preposterous lie. It's good readin'! And, now that I think about it, it gives one a pretty good idea of how I conducted many facets of my life thereafter. Up until now, of course.

Needless to say, after that early, negative, initial experience with diaries, even though my life has been considerably less boring ever since I turned 17, I've been reluctant to try my hand at the genre again.

Well, internets, you've changed all that for me. Blogging has enriched my life. And so, I just have to say, {Golden Girls} thank you for being a friend, {/Golden Girls} for helping me to overcome my self-exposure skittishness and self-defeating grudges, and for giving me some really great stuff to read, and to be inspired by.

I'll miss you when I'm gone!

I'll be back with my carrot story and other regularly scheduled programming, as well as lots of amusing photos of our journey, I'm sure, on Monday. Uncle Joe fancies himself quite the thespian, and also fancies enormous tatas, so he works at Dolly' Parton's Dixie Stampede, and we've got tickets! BWAH! They also got Andy and me (that sounds wrong, but it isn't!) tickets to the Rockettes' Christmas show, mostly so that they can have the kids all to themselves, but I expect to enjoy it immensely and to arrive back home full to burstin' with many amusing anecdotes. Hell, I'd pay for tickets just to observe the audience members at these events! AH, CULTURE! Gotta love it.

Anyhoo... It's Thanksgiving, one of my most favorite food-related holidays! Let me take this time to say that I am thankful. I am a veritable cornucopia of gratitude. I feel thankful for many things, but especially, for you, internets.!!

Enjoy the eating! Don't throw your food!


Saturday, November 19, 2005

No Freaking Way!

Hi all!

So... Happy Birthday to me!

Still working on the project, but the end is in sight. I want to thank you all for checking in on me and for your support and encouragement. I shall be glad to do the same for you, should the occasion arise.

I just got a rather cool birthday present.

You guys? I'm sooooo glad I didn't give up, like I thought about doing in the middle of the night on Wednesday.

Because today? I got an email from the project manager telling me I'm a great writer, and she thinks I should write a textbook. She said to come up with an idea, and she'll "run it up the editorial flagpole."


Seriously?! WTF?!!!

I'm excited, in that good freaked out sort of way. Is this for real?

Here are my thoughts:

(and this is just sad, that this still matters to me as much as it does) 1. My mom will finally be proud of me.

(practicality and lust for material things) 2. Holy shit, I could make some money!!! Student loan payoff! House downpayment! Lots of new shoes!

(delusions of grandeur) 3. My name could be on the cover of a PUBLISHED BOOK, which could be purchased and read by people ALL ACROSS THE PLANET!!! I could be a STAHHHH!!!

(Pride and self-esteem boost) 4. They like me! They really like me!

(Knee-jerk rebellion) 5. My mom always said, since I was a child, that I should be a writer. But I always poo-poohed her because I never felt like I was original enough. If I do this, SHE WILL BE RIGHT. I can't let that happen.

(Fear) 6. Jeebus. I'll never sleep.

(Righteousness) 7. Secretly, I always knew I was awesome. It's about time somebody else saw it.

(More money lust) 8. Andy and I could finally take a honeymoon. To France.

(Disbelief) 9. There must be some mistake. Maybe she thought she was emailing someone else.

(Disbelief) 10. You mean, I might be paid for a job in which I actually use my English degree?

(Celebration) 11. KICK ASS!!!!!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

3:30 a.m.

I'm almost 1/2 way through.

I just succumbed (I can't even think if that's spelled correctly, yo.) and went to Mr. Singh's Shell station for some cigs. And a large coffee.

It's farking freezing. Yesterday, tornados. Today, snow flurries.

Great spirit, help me. I don't think there will be enough time before the kids wake up.

And I've got to teach tomorrow.


7:00 a.m. I'm finished!

With half of it.

Half. I haven't slept.

This is going to be a fantastic freaking day, for sure.
1:30 p.m.

I cancelled class and worked straight through.

I'm only 1/3 of the way through the second 1/2.

I want to die.
6:50 p.m. I'm done. Kaput. Lying on the floor with my limbs up in the air.

I did lose it and yell at everybody about an hour and a half ago, and I finally let go of my tears.

I'm going to go shower, and have something to eat, and watch something really inane on television as I fall asleep.

Andy took Ethan to choir tonight, and took the little kids with him because the poor things have been in the house all day. It's pretty bad when tottering through the echoing halls of the Butler music school is, like, exciting and fun.

This is one of the things that I hate the very mostest about this kind of work. I hate feeling like I'm neglecting my kids.

Also, the not showering.

Oh, and the rigid chair I've been sitting in since yesterday.


You know the saddest, SADDEST thing?

Saturday is my birthday.

But, I have 2 more freaking units to complete by Monday. And I work at the Beef Sunday night. Which means... tomorrow night, all day Saturday, and, that's right, Saturday night, this is what I'll be doing. More of the same.

What on earth have I done to myself?

Never again.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

My carrot

Today is the ultimate pain day. Crunch day. Barf day. No sleep day.

As one of the many ways I'm coaxing myself through this, I'm going to dangle the following blog carrot out in front of myself. Well, a carrot won't work, will it? Um... OK, imagine it's a box of dark chocolate-covered lime/lemon/orange cremes. With a few maples and vanillas thrown in.

But I'm still the donkey in this scenario.

Anyway, as we approach the holidays, I leave the following point for you and myself to consider:

My Uncle Bert:

Loveably laughable old blowhard; ludicrously pitiable drunken windbag; or treacherous, racist, misogynist, greedy, wicked villain single-mindedly bent on glorifying himself and destroying me?

If I finish 2 units of my freelance project overnight tonight, and the rest by Monday, I will allow myself the pleasure of exorcising this particular MAMMOTH grudge, thereby relieving myself of my Uncle's odious hold over my psyche and growing one step closer to freedom from obsessive revenge fantasies.

Can I do it?

We'll see.

Monday, November 14, 2005


I finally found a link for one of my favorite songs of all time, "Taylor the Latte Boy," written for and sung by Kristin Chenowith. It reminds me of how I used to go to the university coffee shop and flirt my eyelashes off with Andy.

Of course,
he never gave me free coffee.

But still. I miss that.

Well, if I need to dry my tears, at least we've got lots of available kleenex

Guess who's up to her old tricks?
Lula Petula, that's who!

I don't think I'll be able to blog for a week or so. The freelance project looms. So, when I'm not curled around the base of the toilet in the fetal position, or pacing while pulling out huge tufts of hair and flinging them madly to the heavens, I'll have to be working on that.

Then, my birthday is on Saturday. I'm working towards that birthday dinner out. It's my goal to make it to Saturday alive. 37, in case you're wondering. OLD!

To those of you whom I visit regularly, and those who visit me, please excuse my slight absence. Just know that I'll miss you very very much, and don't have too much fun while I'm gone.

I leave you with the following amusing photo series:

Ethan and I strike a pose at his Kiln Creations pottery painting party with his school friends, and his cousin. We look freakishly alike in this picture, I think. Which is weird and also cool because we never used to resemble each other in the slightest.

Only 6 of his 9 gal pals were able to make it, but we had so much fun! Yay art!


Stop, in the name of LOTR! (Part of Ethan's birthday weekend extravaganza was attending the sold-out LOTR traveling exhibit at the Indiana State Museum. It was awesome!

Gollum and Smeagol

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Hi Ho Cherrio!

(Please ignore the clutter. It's a lovely armoire/computer desk under all that crap.)


Don't frighten him.

This is a picture of Andy building his very own blog. I'm so proud!

Rather infamous as a non-communicator, from a legedarily uncommunicative family, Andy seems to be taking a baby step towards full disclosure. And that might have just a teensy weensy something to do with me! Yay!

I won't link to it just yet. It's still so very new. Also? He's way smarter than I in several areas, including: German, Dada, manifestos, history, and irony.

This is readily apparent in his first post, which is based on the Dada Manifesto. To which he never makes reference.

I wouldn't have known that, had he not told me. Would you?

I was thinking about how different his blog will be from mine, as I walked around the house today, and I noticed something. The art all over our house is mostly mine. I'm very VERY attached to it. Whenever I move into a new place, the first thing I do is put the pictures up. THEN, the furniture. He does have, however, one particular print that illustrates just how different our approaches to life and art are. It's quite striking. I took a bunch of pictures of the art, and stuck it over in Flickr if you're interested. (Click on one of my picures over there in the Flickr Badge, and then click on my photo stream.) It's pretty amusing, at least to me.

And you know, despite the vast chasm that separates us stylistically, we're a pretty good team. For instance, this morning, both Charlotte and Simon were crying hysterically while they needed to be getting dressed and eating because it was my morning to drive the carpool and I wasn't going to be late again consarnit!!! I was on the verge of becoming a news item. "Area mother spontaneously combusts! Children still crying!" But Andy took over, as sleepy and sick as he was, and kept me from pulling out my last nerve and flossing my teeth with it.

He's a cheeky monkey, but I love him!

A moment of your time...

Attention Keira Knightley's underbite:

Please get your ass out of _Pride and Prejudice_. I do not appreciate your mesmerizingly jutty hideousness cluttering up one of my favorite love stories from, like, the WHOLE of LITerature.

Thank you. Very much.


Oh, and one more thing. Take that basset-faced, pitiful excuse for a leading man with you. He can't hold a candle to Colin Firth.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Young Jedi Knight Turns 11.

Yucaree's new baby, and Ethan's 11th birthday today got me thinking.

How is it possible that I have been a mom for eleven. freaking. years?

How is it possible that I, with all my attendant issues, have managed to raise such a decent, loving, and enlightened child?

Eleven years ago, Ethan showed up 6 weeks early. I was chronologically 26, but I was just a baby myself, really. And a total rube as far as children went.

Frankly, I got pregnant on purpose to keep his dad from breaking up with me.

Oh yes I did. I was that girl. And I am that fertile.

And the story played out as expected. He married me (pregnant! white! wedding!) and managed to stick around until Ethan was 7 months old before cheating on me and leaving.

At the time, that felt like THE narrative. What a mess.

Yet it turns out it was only a subplot.

The real story involves Ethan and me. And the ways we've affected each other.

It started out rocky, with a beautiful little peach-fuzzy baby on a terrifying monitor 24 hours a day that would sound an alarm if he stopped breathing. I had to learn infant CPR just in case. He was on a caffeine syrup that was supposed to keep his respiratory system stimulated and help to prevent SIDS, but what it really did was make him cry and keep him from sleeping. Until that horrible Christmas Eve when he cried for TWELVE HOURS STRAIGHT and I just sat in my poufy green Lazy Boy rocking recliner the entire time, rocking, rocking, rocking, and glancing up at the clock, and nearly lost my marbles. So I took him off the syrup and he slept through the night and every night after that. He was so grateful for the gift of sleep.

I was grateful to have learned to trust my instinct.

This is only one of the many gifts my sweet boy has given me through the years.

And we're still pretty near the beginning of the story! He's changed so much. He was an early baby and a reluctant walker. But once he got going he never fell. He sang songs before he spoke sentences. To my great chagrin, I could NOT teach him to read. But once we paid someone else to do it, he was suddenly ahead of the curve. It's taken him 4 years at school, but he's finally now speaking pretty fluently in French. It took him forEVER to put his face in the water, but once he did, he started sailing through the swim levels at the Y. This was the first year he would really ride a roller coaster. He always takes his sweet time about things, but once he gets around to doing them, he never falters.

One thing that's never changed about him, though, is his gentleness. Nothing I could do, no mistake I could make, would ever alter his fundamental kindness. He's empathetic in a way that leaves me speechless sometimes. At first, when he was little, I worried for him, forseeing a future where his sensitive spirit would be laughed at and shredded and beaten down by the ugliness that inevitably enters the world of children as they grow. As I've watched him, though, I've been surprised by his inner strength, and the courage of his convictions. He's quite aware of the immaturity and cruelty of which others are capable. He just doesn't allow it to affect him. He is who he is, and he is aware of this. It's breath-taking to witness this in someone so young.

None of this is meant to imply that he's perfect. Sometimes he talks so fast that even I can't understand him. He peppers his conversations with waaaaay too many valley-girl-esque "likes," which is an uncomfortable magnification of my own speech pattern. He's so forgetful that he left the big side door of the van open ALL NIGHT last night, and there was a thunderstorm, and you can guess the rest. He throws his only-worn-once pajamas in the dirty laundry basket no matter HOW MANY TIMES I tell him that unless he rolled around in mud while he was sleeping, he can wear them more than once and thus save me from haveing to do so darn MANY loads of laundry, thank you very much. He won't eat breakfast foods. He runs like a girl.

Minor complaints.

All fade away when I watch him cuddle with Charlotte, or hear from his teacher how he stood up for a nerdy classmate when the others were teasing her.

He's pretty darn pleased with his new Star Wars Clone Wars graphic novels, but I've gotten the WAY better end of the deal.

I think often about the fact of his conception... my deliberate decision to make this baby. It's embarrassing to admit that about myself, certainly. But I don't regret it, in spite of all the ludicrous drama it catalyzed. It feels like my future self, knowing what Ethan would bring to my life, whispered in my 26-year-old messed-up-self's psychic ear, and convinced me to bring him into being.

And I believe the world is a better place for his existence.

Just Shoot Me If...

I ever rush right out to see "Menopause, the Musical!"

I ever seriously don a "
Meowy Christmas" Kliban cat t-shirt .(or any item of kitty apparel, for that matter)

I start going on and on about the revolutionary and captivating and heretofore unsuspected truths in
The DaVinci Code! (Seriously, I was SO disappointed by this book. I guessed EVERY thing that was supposed to be a mystery. Easily. And I'm just a regular old English major. I knew about Sophie the first time I saw her last name, thanks to the most rudimentary grasp of French. And what the hell, Sophie, is such a big deal about your grandpa having sex? Woo woo. Quelle insufferable prude! And now that I mention it, what is so all-fired revolutionary about sacred sex in general?! Geez! But the worst, the absolute WORST thing about this execrable and poorly-written book is that the whole concept of the "secret" of the sacred feminine, and its need to be protected, is just so LAME! Because how is it liberating at ALL for a woman to be considered a MAN'S path to the divine? And that if he has sex with her, he's connecting with holiness? How is THAT a dangerously empowering step outside the patriarchy, exactly? To be a vessel?! Is that what subversively liberating destiny for women these secret-society dudes are protecting? Because thank you, but no. If I were a religious person I'd be asking just exactly how *I* am supposed to get in contact with the divine. But as a heathen unbeliever, I can only scoff at the idiocy.)

Oh dear, I've gone on, haven't I? Ahem. Back to your regularly scheduled programming...

Just shoot me if...

I ever willingly attend a Nascar event.

I ever dress my family in
matching outfits.

I ever spend my time with my girlfriends discussing my new, retardedly named osteoporosis medication.

I ever give up on coffee because of the heartburn.


if I ever take my online friends for granted. Thank you all so much for your caring and careful words, your support, and your sympathy. I do feel better. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Mea Culpa

When I sat down to blog this morning, for the first time I wasn't brimming over with stuff I couldn't wait to write down. I couldn't come up with something to say.

So I read my favorite blogs, hoping for a little inspiration as well as the pleasure I get from dipping my toe into other women's lives.

I enjoyed some nice reads, but as far as an idea of my own?

Nope. Nada.

I know why this is. I shall confess.

In confessing, I will also be revealing something to Andy, something about which I am so profoundly ashamed I cannot even speak it to him. But he reads this blog, and I guess I need to get this out there so that I can think and write about something--anything--else. It's time for me to suck it up and be brave.

I have a freelance project I'm supposed to be working on. I'm writing an online speech course for Pearson Education, the textbook people. It's supposed to be completed by November 17th. I spent one whole weekend a few weeks ago completing Unit 1, of 5, and was so racked out by the time it was done, both mentally and physically, that I haven't been able to look at the stuff since.

I told my instructional designer and the project manager I'd have Units 2 & 3 done this weekend.

I didn't work on it on Saturday. I got my hair done and then worked a shift at the dinner theatre. Home at 11:30 p.m.

Andy took the kids to his mom's on Sunday so I could have the whole day to work. I slept until 10:45 a.m. (thanks honey) and then puttered around until they left at 1:30 p.m. I got in the shower. I circled warily around the computer in widening circles, like the wake after a stone.

I did laundry. I avoided the computer. I did the dishes. I wouldn't look at the computer. I put away the enormous stack of books on the armchair in the boys' room. I stayed out of the room wherein dwells the computer.

Feeling panicky, I called Andy at his mom's, ready to confess that I was freaking out and to ask for his help?/encouragement?/something. But then when he picked up the phone I chickened out and just pretended like I called to tell him his grandmother had called from Florida, and to check on how they were all doing. I totally lost my nerve.

I hung up the phone, and continued straightening up the house, and finally approached the computer. Only to open up a couple of Word files to make it look like I'd been working, so that when Andy got home he wouldn't get angry with me for slacking off all day.

I feel like suck.

Sometimes I think I have performance related anxiety disorder. I spent yesterday feeling exactly like I did the night I almost lost my mind in the associate faculty office at school, twitching around and avoiding working on my thesis. I physically couldn't do it. I felt nauseated. I contemplated faking sick. I hold my breath whenever I think about it. It makes me dizzy.

This is awful. I am so ashamed. If I do this, I'll be paid $2000. $2000! I NEED that money for Ethan's school. I have been on the verge of tears and vomit ever since yesterday and I wish I could get past this naughty-teenager behavior I always resort to where my biggest fear is getting in trouble. From my husband. Jesus, what is wrong with me?!

Now I'm avoiding checking my email, because I know the Pearson people will be all, where's the stuff?

I HATE sleep deprivation, and time away from my kids so much. It's like torture to force myself to do this kind of late-night, lonely work.

And then, I can't admit it to my husband, with whom I should be able to share anything. He freaking forces himself to go EVERY DAMN DAY to a job where he is shamefully and insultingly undervalued, for ridiculously little pay, and to do work that would bore anyone to tears, because he takes care of his responsibilities.


I am a horrible person right now.

I'm so sorry honey.

I think I need some help. Is there someone who specializes in this kind of psychology? Like a sports psychologist, but for failing-to-live-up-to-their-potential, thesis-avoiding, freelance-writing-because-they-want-to-be-stay-at-home-mom, English majors?

I am a smart person. I can write well. The client likes what they've seen so far. WHY CAN'T I DO THIS?!

I'm scared.

Friday, November 04, 2005

What's so funny 'bout peace, love, and understanding?

I was driving Ethan somewhere yesterday (I'm in the car driving so darn much that honestly I can't remember. Yikes!) and the NPR people were talking about Alito, and I was muttering disgruntledly to myself, and Ethan asked me why.

So I explained to him about the whole president-gets-to-pick-whoever-he-wants-for-Supreme-Court-judges-who-might-be-there-for-20-years-after-he-isn't-president-anymore scenario, and since he knows I DESPISE/LOATHE/ABOMINATE George W. Bush with the fire of a fafillion suns, he put the pieces together about my mutterings pretty quickly. Good lad, that.

When I told him this judge, and this court in particular, could substantially affect the world he grows up in, he asked me for specifics. I didn't have enough time to get into the whole abortion discussion (Pro-Choice, in case you're wondering, although I'm pretty sure you could've guessed), so I told him about how pretty soon gay marriage issues will be coming before the court, and about how when one gay person gets really ill, or is in a terrible car wreck or something, Bush and his peeps think it's just fine and dandy that the gay person's partner of no-matter-how-many years, who loves him or her just as much as married male/female couples love each other, wouldn't be able to visit the injured/sick gay person in intensive care or make end-of-life decisions for their loved one.

Ethan thought this was horrible. Because he's a HUMAN BEING, G-DUB.

I also told him about how gay people often adopt children, in states where that's allowed, especially children other couples don't want, but that Bush & Co. don't want gay people to be able to adopt children, or even be parents through any other means.

Again, Ethan, the reasonable and loving human being, was aghast.

I bring this up because I've been thinking about this conversation ever since.

Now, my parents are not the most progressive people on the planet, by any stretch. Sometimes I am embarrassed by their old-fashioned-ness. My mom and dad came from families that, though quite different, were racist as a matter of course. Mom came from old Louisville aristocracy, and her people hired "colored folks" as maids and housekeepers, and to this day I get the willies when I walk in the Pendennis Club and notice afresh that ALL the service staff is black, and ALL the members are white. Dad came from farm folk in the tiny, poor, white town of Bargersville, Indiana. Grandpa died before I was born, but Grandma was afraid of black people, and certainly didn't trust them to take care of her in her later years. And gay people? What are those?

So it's rather remarkable that my parents, coming from that background, and religious in only the most unobtrusive, laid-back Methodist sort of way, managed to raise me as someone who doesn't have a racist or anti-gay bone in my body. I think that my mom, as an educator, came into contact with many different types of children, and was just too kind to parcel them out into limiting categories in her own mind. (She still calls gay men "fairies," which I think is hilarious, but she loves the entertainment industry far too much to harbor any ill-will towards them.)

Ever since I had this conversation with Ethan, I've been trying to imagine what those uber-religious, right-wing nutbars say to their children. How do you phrase hate and fear and package it for the consumption of small children, who are, for the most part, predisposed to care for their fellow humans?

"Gay people are SINNERS, Keight-lynne. They will BURN IN HELL and you must shun them. Especially you, Jebediah!"

"Listen here, Heaven-Lee, you git away from them two wimmen. Them's nasty, and don'tchew EVER let me citch yew talkin' to that there daughter they got thar, or I'll wear outchor butt with mah belt! They'll gitchew, and then yull be sorry. "

"When girls wear pants, God gets a tummy ache!" (Actually said to my husband's sister when she was little. Sometimes Indiana is just embarrassing, yo.)

I'm so proud I have a compassionate, empathetic child. I take quite seriously the responsibility of enlarging his scope of understanding, and pointing his moral compass in the right direction. I cannot even IMAGINE teaching him to hate or fear someone because of their ethnicity, culture, sex, sexual identity, or anything else.*

There's enough ignorance and lunacy in this world.

There's a quote from Dickens that I have had framed, and that I have looked at every day since I had Ethan.

"It is not a slight thing when they, who are so fresh from God, love us."

My brother asked me about it recently, because he knows I don't believe in that "God." I explained that, to me, what it's really saying is that children start out so pure and so full of unadulterated love, that when they love us, they love us for our truest selves, and that is SO incredibly redeeming and powerful to me. Ethan, in a way, saved me. By loving me for my SELF, he taught me that I was worth something.

We should extend that, I think. Children love. They don't know, and don't need to know, any of the other crap that attaches itself and constitutues conditions and caveats to that love as we grow older. They just love, and that love is beautiful.

Why would anyone EVER corrupt that? Adults could really learn from children, if we'd open our damn eyes and our hearts. Imagine if we all loved each other in that redeeming way.

Just imagine.

*except G-Dub. But he's an exceptional case, truly. His idiocy is his own fault. And it's ok to hate willful moronitude. It IS! This does not detract from my message of peace and love in any way.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Grudge Papa

Check out the geezer!

Yep. That's my dad. Heh.

He's is now retired from his engineering career, so he's able to freely indulge in what has always been his passion: flying. He's a private flight instructor, on little planes like Cessnas. He also got sea-plane rated in Alaska a few years ago. Ever since he retired he's been trying to get in with this geezer pilot club, called the "Quiet Birdmen," and they finally decided to vote him in. I was sort of worried about it for him, because he's rather... introverted. And a little weird.

But he's in!

Look how excited he is! Isn't he cute?!

He doesn't go around like Snoopy-a-la-Red-Baron all the time, just when he's playing with his new friends.

And, just so you know, my brother's old color-block shirt from the late 80s isn't part of the official club costume. When they swear my dad in, in December, he has to be wearing HEAD-TO-TOE RED LONG UNDERWEAR with his antique pilot cap, goggles, and white scarf. Oh yes. I would pay good money to see that. Especially if they, like, added flippers and/or boxing gloves to the mix. Hee!

Really, though, my dad has never been the type to... socialize, let's say. He doesn't really... have friends. So it's quite heartening to see that in his swinging soon-to-be-sixties, he's suddenly a frat boy.

Party on, Floyd!

Not that he reads this blog, or is even allowed to know of its existence, because at some point I might want to mention the... strained... relationship between me and my dad when I was in high school, that culminated in my running away from home for 2 weeks. To St. Paul, Minnesota. Where I holed up at Macalester College with a friend from Naperville. Just a hair shy of after-school special.

But things are better now. He's a way better grandfather than he was a dad. He used to be really old school. You know, uninvolved and emotionally removed and newspaper-reading. But he's loosened up. And he's always had this little cool streak to him. So we're good.

Dad/daughter relationships are so complicated. So FRAUGHT. I'm happy we survived it intact.

So I say to the ionosphere, "Yay Floyd!" Fly up up into the sky, loony old geezer. Have some fun for a change.

Fall Day

Yesterday was so lovely. We played outside for a long time, and of course I took pictures. The rest of the set is over there on my Flickr badge.

I have nothing pithy or wise to add. I have no amusing anecdote. I merely had a quiet, nothing sort of afternoon with my two littlest children in the fall sunshine. The sort of nothing afternoon that's really everything, in this life we share as a family.

I am a lucky girl.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Iron Chef Grudge Girl!

You know what's exhausting? Cooking 4 different dinners.

Chez nous, Andy, Simon and Charlotte are vegetarian. Ethan and I are not.

Back when Andy and I were first married, and up until Simon passed the baby food stage, I used to cook only 2 dinners. One vegetarian, for Andy, and one non-veg, for Ethan. I would usually choose one or the other, or sometimes a little of both. Sometimes there was overlap, like on pasta nights, but not always. Ethan likes his chicken.

Back in those days, I was really coming into my own as a chef, and I would cook these AWESOME, complex, interesting dishes for Andy, while simultaneously making something simple, meatwise, in the crock pot for Ethan, thus saving myself extra work at the dinner hour.

But once Simon started eating regular table food, he wasn't about to touch Couscous a la Greque, or Fasolakia Iadera, or even Chickpea and Potato Curry, no ma'am.

Because children eat differently than adults.

I really wish I could kick people who say stuff like, "If you only give them 12-grain sprouted bread and brown rice and okra, then that's what they'll eat," or, "If their only choice is lentils, and you let them get hungry enough, they'll eat lentils."


No. That's DEAD WRONG.

They will starve. Or, at my house, they will barf.

Sure, at first, Charlotte was happy to munch on tabouli and falafel. But that didn't last long. There is always a sudden end to that behavior, when children's tastes narrow. Developmentally, this is appropriate. So, if you want them to eat AT ALL, beyond, like, Flinstone's vitamins, and anything orange, you have to work with them. And you end up feeding them Wonder Bread, and white rice, and spaghetti, and hot dogs/not! dogs, and chicken/veggie nuggets and green beans and carrot sticks like everybody else.

I really HATE those self-righteous people.

So, anyway, no matter how much time I spend with the coupons and my recipe books, and combing the internet for recipes that vegetarian kids will eat, and planning menus, and shopping thoughtfully, some nights at our house, I end up preparing 4 different freaking things: grown-up vegetarian for Andy, kid vegetarian for Simon and Charlotte, grown-up meat-eater for me, and kid meat-eater for Ethan.

Half the time, I just ditch the grown-up versions, and we all eat kid food.

A couple of days ago Andy was digging through my enormous stack of recipes trying to find the one he wrote down for pizza dough, and he remarked that there were a lot of cool things in there, and lamented that he hadn't seen those in a while.

I was like, "Do you want to try to feed Simon and Charlotte Mediterranean Eggplant Stew? How about Vegetable Ragout with Cumin and Ginger? Vegetarian Cassoulet? Greek Risotto with Spinach and Artichoke Hearts?... Yeah, I didn't think so."

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

My children amuse me


Here are the boys, in character. Hilariously, Ethan affects the gothiest face ever. In my old swingin' 90s velvet clubbing shirt. Which he has now claimed for his own.

Simon's been working out.

Charlotte, over there, raided our OWN candy bowl, and ate her way through the wrappers of 2 Kit Kats while everyone else was running around costuming, and make-uping, and all that stuff. Notice the blissed out, feral-child expression on her face. She actually growled at me when I tried to take that away from her. That's my girl!

Charlotte woke up screaming at about 11 pm, and when we went into her bedroom to see what was the matter, she was having a magNIficent, horror-movie nosebleed, which she had smeared all over her face, and her sleeper, and her green Pottery Barn Kids French Rose comforter, and it was just the GORIEST looking thing ever. In honor of Halloween. Already a drama queen.

Poor baby, she was a little freaked out. Is it bad of me that I wanted to get the camera and take pictures? I didn't, though!

So this morning, I cancelled class and stayed home with both her and Simon, who's been a titch feverish lately. And Simon and I watched a
Magic School Bus on TLC about chickens and eggs.

I'm not kidding.

I wish I were.

Usually, The Friz, the kids' cartoon teacher, takes them on field trips into weather, or seeds, or other stuff like that. This time? The school bus transported the kids **UP A CHICKEN'S VAGINA** in a rainbow whoosh, up into her ovary, where they bounced around on the yolk sacs of eggs-to-be, and rode one down the fallopian tube where it got coated with the albumen, and then they stayed there while the shell formed around them, and then the chicken **SQUEEZED THEM OUT OF HER CHICKENY VAGINA** , in a close-up, albeit animated shot, both inside and outside of the chicken. Oh the indignity! The poor thing then laid them, still inside the egg, mind you, into her nest.


I'm so glad I wasn't tripping.

I got really worried when they started talking about how that particular egg wouldn't turn into a chicken, because the rooster has to "add his part" to the egg for it to turn into a chick. And the kids walked over to a pen where there were hens and roosters together. Jesus, chicken porn coming up, I thought. But they just glossed over that part.

So later, Simon announced that he wanted his "Robot Fairy Godmother" (I have no idea, this is a new one on me) to turn him into a "chicken embryo in an egg."

Like, was there something about all that hot, soft-core chicken action that stimulated some little rudimentary male instinct inside him, that made him think that being an egg squeezed around inside a chicken sounds pretty neat? I can't quite figure it out. Of course, this is the kid who, whenever he gets a random erection, walks around crowing proudly, "Look at my bigBIG weiner!" HA!

I just tried to point out that chicken embryos can't dress up as Blue Power Rangers and go trick-or-treating.

I hope that did the trick.