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Friday, September 29, 2006

*Yawn*

You know how the BeDazzler adds lovely sparkle to anything in the world? Well, anything denim in the world? Just a quick ka-pow and a little life has been added to a spankin' fine Wal-Mart shoppin' outfit.

Well, dammit, y'all, someone has shot me with a BeDraggler. I am not sparkly and I add no life to denim. Perhaps I'm BeDraggled because it's Friday and I'm tired. Perhaps I'm BeDraggled because my 3 month old decided that 3 AM is the most wunnerful time in the world to nurse for an entire hour straight. Perhaps I'm BeDraggled because instead of eating breakfast and having some sort of yogurt-y, sweet-ish, smoothie type thing, I'm blogging.

Anyway, do they sell the BeDraggler on HSN? Because I'd like to buy one. Then I would go to the mall, hide my non-stop-talking four-year-old, my no-sleep-needing three-month-old, our piles and piles of crap we need to leave the house, the stroller, and my non-bedazzled denim-clad ass all behind a pillar of some sort. Then I would scope out any person that looks like she has it completely together and instead of asking her how she does it, I would shoot her with the BeDraggler, ka-pow. I would briefly revel in some selfish schadenfreude. Then I would drag my cavalcade of chaos over to her side and commiserate.

See how the BeDraggler could really bring us all together?

Well, no it couldn't.

I'm just kind of bitchy today.

posted by haikumama @ 6:29 AM 4 comments

Thursday, September 28, 2006

All the Small Things

After performing the Nobel-worthy feat of getting both girls down for a nap simultaneously, I sank into the couch and flipped on the ever-comforting flicker of a Law & Order rerun. About fifteen minutes into an episode, I suddenly realized I was in the midst of this "free time" I'd heard so much about. I accepted that nothing constructive could come from any further mourning for Jerry Orbach and that I now faced a decision: shower, or write?

After much complicated calculation, my left and right brain finally settled on somewhere in the range of no less than three, but no more than five days having passed since I last bathed. It wasn't too hot out, I could potentially sneak a quick soak in after dinner, and I was almost positive I'd changed my underwear before bed last night.

But I hadn't written in weeks, and with the computer out in the dining (and running and screaming) room, the peace that had settled over the house with El and Buddha a-snoozin' was ideal for some keyboard time.
I spent forty minutes on the couch, paralyzed with indecision. Why was this such a hard choice to make?

In the last three and half years, I'd managed to choose kids over a career, monogamy over bachelorhood. From the moment I met my children, all the toughest choices in their lives became ridiculously manageable. I would take them to my breast, take them in my bed, take them no matter what issues or quirks or ugly bumps they arrived with or later developed. Allergies, learning disorders, high-priced schools, tantrums, poop on the floor, puke in my hair, tears all around - fuck it all: I was going to listen to them and listen to my instincts and we were all going to be okay. I had the big things down.

But somehow, the little things were dragging me down. Paper or plastic? Sweatpants or skirt? Coffee or tea? Shower or write? Why can I suddenly not embrace my own personal chaos the same way I have embraced the chaos of motherhood?

I picked a shower, and as soon as the glob of conditioner hit my palm, El awoke frantic and screaming to not have me in the room and then stood weeping on the other side of the shower curtain while I hastily rinsed what soap I had managed to get on myself, off of myself. Buddha woke scant moments later to nurse. And I rubbed the beginnings of a migraine on my temple, mildly irritated, yet somehow soothed by their company.

One bowl of macaroni and cheese, two viewings of 'The Lion King' and yet another change of Fisher Price swing batteries later, I deliver this meager essay, stunned that I managed to shower (more or less) AND write (more or less) today. And decide it is not the little things that befuddle my confidence and judgment and personal choices - as much as I love them, it's the little people that do me in.

posted by tumpover @ 1:13 PM 5 comments

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

east vs west

very recently my not-quite-two-year-old son and i were in a serious car accident which demolished our car and our placid well-being but left us only with a few bruises and soreness. i have been slowly processing the planes of feeling about this event; they are many-fold, and i may write about others of them sometime. but today, as i sit listening to descriptions of war, rage, and strife in japan during WWII and the US occupation, fury bubbled up inside: for our car-centric culture, for war, for everyone i ever depended on who let me down.

they will not have him
the tanking tipping behemoths
roman tumblecrust
inertive ruination thrust

he is not theirs
the dresden the pyrenees ( the oahu the ichigo)
the man-ash machine (flying)
the wasted effort (firebomb)

mine, he is! and yours!
as are the stars in his eyes
he is i's and me's and mine's
and i would readily cut off his hand

we together belong to restraint
to EMS and firetank
every trace upon the bank
gone but jellied on my flanks

my arm hurts he says
his elbow dents
are places i fly like juggernaut
both the object and the force

he will not be there i insist
yet i am flummoxed
by our tendency
to live and die

posted by hobbledog @ 5:42 PM 3 comments

Monday, September 25, 2006

The AustinMama.com Newsletter

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
The AustinMama.com Newsletter
http://www.austinmama.com
9.25.06
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

The foolish and the dead alone
never change their opinions.
-James Russell Lowell
poet, editor, and diplomat (1819-1891)

Here's what's new...


^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~
R E C E N T L Y, O N T H E
A U S T I N M A M A B L O G
^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~

Have you checked out the new blog yet? Lots of bloggidy goodness
going on over there. Check it:

"Week 1: The ants work tirelessly digging tunnels in the fresh sand.
They are incredibly driven and task-oriented. I pull myself away from
the Plexiglas farm and grab a notepad. I furiously start making lists: all
temp agencies, update resume, review wardrobe. I am too high up on
the food chain to be shamed by these ants."

"You know that cliche - guests and fish start to smell after three days?
Well, my aunt is visiting. We have one of those on again off again
relationships - in fact, it's been almost a year since we've seen each
other."

"I want it back. I want tank tops and lemonade and lawn chairs and
late evening bike rides and swims in the lake at dusk and the screen
door open and the fans on in every window."

"i just can't live in the blame anymore because what it comes down to
is the fact that i have to tuck my kids in at night and look into their
eyes with the knowledge that my behavior and choices affect them
every day from here on out and that i must go to sleep at night with a
heavy heart knowing that my actions, my perceptions and my own
choosing to feel a particular set of emotions is fueling responses that
have had and will continue to have serious repercussions. i just want
peace. and i want peace from the old things that have always been
thorns in my paws, you know? like, the things that i keep calling up
and recreating for myself, perpetuating."

"I just read a glossy good-news piece that said on-ramp moms
typically receive offers just a few months after initiating a job hunt.
Toward the end there was a brief quote- almost an afterthought- that
the longest part of the job search may be the internal piece."


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M O M A N D P O P C U L T U R E
^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~
Marrit Ingman is back this week with a look at a little boy
who can't stop diggin' in his genes.


^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~
B A D M O M
^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~
Our favorite bad mom stops by with a tale of churning stomachs,
a close call at Target, and love hidden in a pillow.


^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~
A U S T I N M A M A M A I L - O U T P R O G R A M
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AustinMama.com mail-outs go to over 1900 Austin households!
Do you have hard-copy coupons, promotions, invitations, special
announcements, etc. to mail? Do you want to tap into the most
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APPRECIATES businesses that understand mamas, families and
often-exhausted women. Get involved in our mail-outs!
Contact us at advertise@austinmama.com


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M A M A K U O F T H E W E E K
^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~
Innocent sweet smile
mama wants a snuggle kiss
I smell cat food breath
-Kathy Genet

Got a mamaku for us?
Send it to kim@austinmama.com


^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~
A D V E R T I S I N G W I T H A U S T I N M A M A . C O M
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AustinMama.com offers several creative avenues to advertise with us:
main page ads reach over 2100 readers each week, newsletter
sponsorships reach over 1800 subscribers each week, and our mail-
outs go to over 1900 local households! We've got an option that works
for your business. For more info, contact us at advertise@austinmama.com


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over and out...

www.austinmama.com

============================
Please forward this newsletter or tell a friend
about us! And, as always, thank you for being an
integral part of the AustinMama.com community.

Rock on, you hard working Mamas!


The AustinMama.com Staff
© Copyright 2006 AustinMama.com. All Rights Reserved.
NOTICE: Please include the copyright notices when
forwarding this newsletter.
AustinMama.com
WINNER: BEST WEBSITE in Austin '04
The Austin Chronicle
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=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

posted by Kim @ 9:39 AM 0 comments

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Searching...

I just read a glossy good-news piece that said on-ramp moms typically receive offers just a few months after initiating a job hunt. Toward the end there was a brief quote- almost an afterthought- that the longest part of the job search may be the internal piece.

Ah, the internal piece. It involves answering question like- what type of job can I take on that will give me internal peace? But it is not as simple as figuring out the type of work to pursue,this time around it is more about finding a job that will allow work-life balance. What if my new job is incredibly stressful or mundane? Or what if I love it so much that my family seems stressful and mundane by comparison?

The Big Questions can stop a mom in her tracks, but it is worth searching for answers. Benjamin Hoff sums it up this way in The Tao of Pooh:

How can you get very far,
If you don't know Who You Are?
How can you do what you ought,
If you don't know What You've Got?
And if you don't know Which to Do
Of all the things in front of you,
Then what you'll have when you are through
Is just a mess without a clue
Of all the best that can come true
If you know What and Which and Who.


Grab a notepad and pen and, like me, indulge yourself with an outrageously expensive cup of coffee, glass of wine, decadent dessert or whatever gets your mojo flowing and answer these difficult questions. If you can do this on your own you will save big bucks on a career counselor. On the other hand, if you feel stuck then consider engaging a job coach, career counselor or therapist to help you sort through Who you are, What you skills you have got even after years at home, and Which type of work to pursue; it will be a good investment of time and money.

Report back next week.

posted by Kim Moldofsky @ 7:07 PM 0 comments

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Babaloni Corresponds

today i received a sweet email from one of my sisters of the world. she is a thoughtful, intense scorpio and, like myself, given to taking the occasional stab at herself for the sake of evolution. we had such a powerful interaction today that we agreed to share it here. my hope for anyone reading this is that you enjoy the company of even one such person in your life. i am so blessed to be surrounded by these light-filled beings, unafraid as they are to look into the darkness of themselves and others and still to love so genuinely and each in their own unique ways.

thanks be to the gods of messy messes and the goddesses who come in with their sponges, mops and brooms. without them, i'd be lost and not much worth finding. agape and namaste, indeed.

cheers, y'all.

***********


Hi Babaloni-

Wow, I just read your blog entries from AustinMama. Damn girl, you're makin' me cry. It's awesome. Keep writing! More! I bet if you put all of your blogs together you'd have damn good book in no time. I think that would be the best revenge on Greenman: using this horrible experience to create something that tells him that you're better than he ever was (I can't believe some of the things he said to you, that's awful to say the least) and that you're strong enough to create a life for yourself and the girls.

Is there anything you need? Sounds like things are fairly smooth and easy over at The EarthMother Flagship Rehabilitation Center for Displaced Goddesses and Magickal Children, but if you need anything, just let us know. I hope X-Man doesn't remind you too much of Greenman (5 days apart, but a whole world as far as I'm concerned), since I'm sure he'd be happy to do things like fix your computer, etc.

You did the right thing (I know you know that). I really had no idea Greenman was such a freaking prick: I would have lost my mind too. I knew he had the capacity to be a jerk, but not to that extent. Wow. Feel free to use me as a repository of commiseration should you need to spew any more hurtful insults he passed your way: you don't need that in your head.

When is a good time to call you to see if you have a little time to visit? We're sort of flush again, so if you want me to buy you a cup of coffee or something I'd be happy to. Let me know, let me know, let me know. :D

Love you, hon, and I hope we can chat outside of the context of a social gathering soon.

agape & namaste

~A Mama
***********************************

Dearest A Mama,

thank you. i'm glad you like my writing and i
appreciate the encouragement. i need to write but
time and energy and access to the computer are often
conflicting. or maybe everything is just as it should
be. who knows?

thank you for the support. you know what, though?
i'm coming into a clearing. the emotional landmines
have stopped blowing up in my face and i've had enough
safe harbor to begin processing and owning that which
is mine. greenman HAS acted like a prick for all the
world to see--especially with me at the helm as his spindoctor.
i've got to admit it: my own contributions to the junkpile have
not been unremarkable. i'm working myself into a
place of moderation and seeking to repair some of
the roads that i've blown up recently. it's the only
way. i can only get what i'm willing to give and
compassion is the place to start. greenman has made an
uncomfortable bed that he will have to lie in,
certainly. i just can't live in the blame anymore
because what it comes down to is the fact that i have
to tuck my kids in at night and look into their eyes
with the knowledge that my behavior and choices affect
them every day from here on out and that i must go to
sleep at night with a heavy heart knowing that my
actions, my perceptions and my own choosing to feel a
particular set of emotions is fueling responses that
have had and will continue to have serious
repercussions. i just want peace. and i want peace
from the old things that have always been thorns in my
paws, you know? like, the things that i keep calling up and
recreating for myself, perpetuating.

somehow, i will make this better and i will benefit from the
outcomes and i'll make damn sure my girls do, too. i can't bear the
thought that my compliance with negativity will serve only to
continue a cycle that has little girls hurting for
their daddy when i remember so clearly that feeling as a child.
i'm working on a way to do it right, to do it so that
i am no longer compromising myself in a marriage and
life and role that is so fucking detrimental to me.

greenman came into town last night for a job in san
antonio and we've had our first civil interaction in
many, many weeks. cross your fingers for me. i know
you are.

love you,
babaloni
*****************************

Heya Babaloni-

While for different reasons, I really do know just how you feel. You and I are compadres on the Anger Train and lately I'm really struck with the knowledge that I really have to find a way to short-circuit the Short-Circuit, y'know? Actually, to turn it back into a Long Circuit that hits all the stops and not just the ones you really wouldn't want to debark at. But it's imperative that Z-Baby not grow up with the same uncertainty that I grew up with because of my own mom's temper, detachment, and mood swings. At the same time, I have to find a way around the deep shame I feel at turning into that horrible woman sometimes, because it will only impede my progress. I refuse to pass the Dysfunctional Fire Brigade bucket down the line anymore, because those buckets aren't filled with water: they're filled with flash powder!

This week I'm researching yoga and herbal supplements. I have to inject some plateaus of predictable peace into my life, even if it's only half an hour at a time! Then I think it will be easier to see myself for what I really am instead of through the shit-colored pair of glasses I find I've been wearing since I was a teenager. I think it will also be easier for me to put things in better perspective and not let myself get so darn mad after attaching more meaning than is necessary to a situation or person. Don't know if that made any sense at all, but there it is.

Anyway, not meaning to dump on you or anything: I can just relate to your current mama-mindset.

agape & namaste
~A Mama

posted by babaloniyoni @ 1:13 PM 0 comments

A post from Minneapolis, Minnesota, where it's 45 degrees today and raining sideways:

As the leaves turn golden and my hair turns grey, as my children grow taller than me and the days get shorter, as the sunlight feels weak and the air feels cold, as the flowers in my garden turn brown and the squash is ready to pick, and I start to get used to the the way the day rushes toward me with lists longer than I can manage, as the traffic piles up on the interstate just when I need to zip across town, I run across my ticket to the state fair crumpled at the bottom of my purse. WAIT A SECOND!

My youngest daughter suggested that we put our new fire pot out on the deck and sit around a warm campfire after dinner. I knew we would have to wrap in sweaters and blankets. I couldn't muster the energy.

How come I have to start thinking about who needs a new winter jacket? Why is it always the same, the way I never ever get our pictures and maps from our summer trip into an album but just shove them into a drawer under the coffee table? How come I can't just serve potato salad and brats for dinner outside? Why am I supposed to be "snuggling in" and cooing over new soup recipes?

I want it back. I want tank tops and lemonade and lawn chairs and late evening bike rides and swims in the lake at dusk and the screen door open and the fans on in every window.

But I'm supposed to start the little campfire ritual in the fire pot. I'm supposed to log on and let my extended family know just when we can come for each of the big deal holidays looming on the horizon. I'm supposed to cheerfully arrive at school meetings and board meetings and campaign meetings. I'm supposed to have a master calendar on the fridge with up to the minute changes of who goes where when.

All the while I should have an exercise plan that will boost me up and make me a responsible desk worker for seven hours straight. As the dark days stand close to my front door, ready to pounce on me and drag me kicking and screaming into autumn and winter, I pile the summer jackets into a bag and start heaving them toward the attic once again. I feel ripe with intentions to make it a good start to a new season and I feel burdened by the fact that no matter what I do or think my children will continue to outgrow their shoes and the autumn rains will turn to snow and life as I know it is just this: hang on and buck up and enjoy each fleeting moment and thumb through the flip book that is living and growing and harvest and change.

--Nanci Olesen
September 21, 2006

posted by Nanci Olesen @ 11:28 AM 2 comments

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

At least she lightens up after a few days. Usually.

You know that cliche - guests and fish start to smell after three days? Well, my aunt is visiting. We have one of those on again off again relationships - in fact, it's been almost a year since we've seen each other.

I thought that with the baby and all, she'd stay away for a while longer (she's not really into babies), but she snuck into town last night. It's been so long since we've seen each other, I'm afraid this is going to be a particularly long and trying visit.

It's not that I don't love her. I respect her, and frankly, I wouldn't be the woman I am today without her. It's just that she cramps my style when she comes to visit. And it's not like I really have a "style" to begin with, she's just so dominating the whole time we're together, it really makes me crazy.

If only she wouldn't sneak up on me like this, things would be better between us. I could plan for our visits, you know? She's just so spotty when it comes to actually giving me any notice before arriving - or leaving! God only knows how long she'l be here this time.

Anyway, if I can make it through this exhausting visit, I'll hopefully be better prepared for the next go 'round. Man. I really, really wish Aunt Flo wasn't such a bitch. And showing up at only 11 weeks postpartum?

Un-fucking-forgiveable.

posted by haikumama @ 8:12 PM 1 comments

Lessons from Uncle Milton

A small colony of ants taught me a thing or two about job-hunting. Indeed, I jump-started my search thanks to Uncle Milton and his ants.

The ant farm was a birthday gift for one of my boys back in 2005. It took me a year to warm to the idea of inviting ants into my house because usually we pay people to spread poison around in an effort to keep them out. The type of ants Uncle Milt supplies for the farms were in short supply this year and we had to wait a few extra weeks for the ants to arrive. First lesson learned: stop procrastinating!

I was out working a temp job when the tiny vial of ants arrived. My husband unceremoniously dumped the contents into the sand-filled habitat whereas I would have made it an event--think Steve Martin in The Jerk: The new phone books are here! The new phone books are here! As a stay-at-home mom, I am all about messy and disgusting science projects with my boys.

It turns out that ant farms and neither messy nor disgusting. They are oddly captivating. Mesmerizing. Inspiring.

Week 1: The ants work tirelessly digging tunnels in the fresh sand. They are incredibly driven and task-oriented. I pull myself away from the Plexiglas farm and grab a notepad. I furiously start making lists: call temp agencies, update resume, review wardrobe. I am too high up on the food chain to be shamed by these ants.

Week 2: The main tunnels are complete, yet they continue moving grains of sand and tiny seeds that are many times their own weight. Not to be outdone, I decide to get more serious about my exercise routine.

Week 3: They maintain their frenetic pace expanding their maze of trails. They even establish a small burial ground behind the plastic barn. They cross one another on the paths sending secret messages of encouragement with their antennae. Or maybe they are just tickling each other, who knows? I am busy checking items off my to-do list and exercising; I cannot be sidetracked by picayune matters like the fundamentals of ant communication.

Week 4: The entire colony is dead. The ants, so inspiring in life, are now but specks in my compost heap. I grab a candy bar and go surf YouTube. I have not yet found a job, but I have learned an important lesson about work-life balance.

posted by Kim Moldofsky @ 7:06 AM 4 comments

Friday, September 15, 2006

Babyloni Yoni - Livin' Lifetime

trying to wrap my head around the fact that my husband
has left the state has given me a headache and chronic
digestive distress. i am somewhat dissociated from
the laundry list of details which must be tended to.
where ever does one begin when confronting a life hand
dipped in several layers of denial?

when i sleep, i dream of him. i dream of him feeding
me shit, ice cream style from a beautiful dish. also,
i dream of finding enormous shiny turds in a shiny
white porcelain bowl, then looking up and seeing him
in the mirror behind me, grinning lasciviously,
unashamed about the mess he's left behind. a week or
so ago, i dreamed i was actually eating a large shit
in a banana peel, walking alongside him at a carnival
where he put me and the kids on a horrifying ride that
ended with me slamming, face-first, into a cardboard
box of love letters covered with (you guessed it)
shit. i wonder what mister freud would say about all
this. dude, nevermind. forget i asked.

in contrast with my one track dreaming is my
unflaggingly circular waking thought process. "ok, he
left. gotta make it on my own. check. first i need
to find a job, pay my bills, secure a home safe enough
for me and the girls, locate child care for thing 2,
stay involved with schooling of thing 1, keep sanity,
prepare nutritious food, get laid, dear merciful
heavens!, search the internet for scholarships for
destitute mothers whose past life left her in default
for a whopper of a student loan, oh, and make time to
play authentically with the kids." wait, which comes
first? and when do i slip in "track down slimy
bastard and kick the shit out of him"? i guess that's
just after taking the advice of the voice speaking
when i awakened from a night of restless, shit filled
sleep..."acceptance is key". what-EVER!!!! and by
the way, how the hell does one go about getting a
divorce and child support payments? anybody?

there is one shining star in this bitch i have thrust
upon you. i have landed in the soft nest of a woman
that i admire and enjoy immensely. she is graceful
and kind and perpetually energetic. (so much so that
i find myself staring in awe and wonder and yes,
occasional envy) i aspire to move as quickly, surely
as my benevolent sister/friend. her encouragement and
gentle pokes are far better than the noise in my head
and i am glad we are here being loved by her and her
own children. it is temporary but safe, comfortable
and mostly easy. i have gratitude coming out my pores
right now, truly, and i only say it so pointedly to
make sure it's plain because i'm feeling such a
strange sense of numbness and tunnelvision that it's
likely that i am not emoting in a normal way. except
when i speak of the cowardly bastard who ditched his
kids for a new life in the beautiful mountains of
colorado. then i emote just fucking fine, thank you.

looking at my reality full on, i'd just as soon stick
wasabi covered bamboo chopsticks in my eyes. i know,
i know, goddamnit--we create our own reality. can
it--i mean, just keep it to yourself. if you're a
well meaning somebody who thinks you'll point out to
me that i'm playing the victim card (yes, it has been
done) and whining, do us both a favor and sip on this
nice cup of shut the fuck up. when you find yourself
out on your ass, having sold most of your possesions
for money to live on, paying for your groceries with a
lonestar card while your kids sit in the cart joking
on the cellphone with the jerkoff that ran the hell
off AND LEFT THEM BEHIND, oblivious to the
implications of daddy being far away....THEN you can
call me what ever the hell you want to. as of now,
the inquiries and well meaning but poorly delivered
canned lines of "how ARE you" and "you'll do just
fine" make my guts queasy and i might just puke on
your shoes if you deign to tell me that i'll be better
off without him anyway. what about my kids? will
they be better off? why the fuck to I have to be the
one to evolve and suck it up and never get a moment
alone while deputy dipshit got to shoot our finances
to shit, demoralize and demean me, wreck everything
nice about what we once were, try to kiss one of my
good friends, spend the last night he had to see his
kids drinking with said "friend" and then skip off to
his sister's in colorado where the job he thought he
had when he moved there on a lark turned sour within a
week and now he's looking at working a minimum wage
shit job to survive??????

why?

why?

WHY???

i am so fucking irately pissed and simultaneously
confused and derranged. here. let me treat you to a
slice of my head talk:

self: "he left us? like, for good?"

self2: "yeah, he said we were too fat to fuck
and that we were killing him and that he couldn't live
in the same town or even the same state as us."
self: "oh. so, you mean he left? like, for
good? and now i have to take care of the
kids....alone? and um, he's just...gone? so, does
that mean i'll be alone? does that mean that if we
need him he'll just be...gone? oh."
self2: "well, he did say he'd make the drive
once a month to see the kids and that he would also
send checks large enough sustain us and that he would
remain very involved with the kids lives (no, he
didn't mention how). oh, and he talks to them every
night in his dreams and he made sure to make it
crystal clear that he is finished with us, horrible
person that we are."
self:
"bwwaaaahahahahhhhhaaaaaaahaaahhhhaaaa...." (maniacal
laughter drowns out all other sensory input)


holy shit in a banana peel. i'm that woman who got
left. my kids have a deadbeat dad. this isn't
supposed to happen except on movies made for the
lifetime network. can somebody just tell me...WTF????

posted by Kim @ 10:23 AM 1 comments

Emmitt Till's Eye

When asked, as I was many times, what the most significant change I've noticed since becoming a mother was, I'd usually lie. "Oh, heh-heh," I'd chuckle, "bigger boobs!" or "can't wear as much black anymore -- spit-up stains, har-dee-har-har!" But the truth? The biggest change is -- I shudder more. I shudder a lot more.

When El was around three months old and we were in a rare transitory period when all she did was nurse, nap and coo, I blissfully rested with her on the couch, the ever-present Boppy and bottled water at hand, and watched a little television. A documentary about Emmitt Till came on. Revolutionary civil rights upstart that I am (oh, wait, that's not me, that's Rosa Parks, but I digress ...) I hunkered down to watch.

Emmitt Till was a young black man who was lynched in 1955 for the heinous crime of flirting with a white shopkeeper's wife. During the course of the program, the documentary featured interviews with Till's mother. She described the condition of her son's body following his murder. Despite the morticians' best efforts, he was still mutilated beyond recognition. Mamie Till said the only thing she saw that told her that this truly was her son was his one remaining eye.

His eye. Her son's eye. Her baby boy's eye.

My own babe in arms, I started weeping.

Her eye. My daughter's eye. My baby girl's eye.

From that moment on, I morbidly began obsessing over every parent who'd ever had to identify their dead child. Knowing how I pored over every inch of my new little love, how I knew every inch of her precious body, how I might know it was her body in a morgue when I saw it. Or how I might not know.

Even though she was urged to have the coffin closed for his service, Till's mother refused. She wanted the world to see what hatred had done to her boy. I considered this as well. Could I do the same? Could I put aside my revulsion and grief for the greater good? Would I have the fortitude and certainty that she had?

No.

I would selfishly cling to the perfection of the moment, my new child resting her head on my chest, snoring slightly, sleeping safely.

And now? Nearly three years and another baby later? My babies' gorgeous, moist, blinking and living eyes.

And the shuddering.

posted by tumpover @ 9:40 AM 1 comments

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The process of analyzing another human, to the end of proscription, is near impossible. If I thought I could retain half of what I intake while hanging out with someone, I would still be at a loss to grok the "whale roads" he or she might have traveled. But, in an attempt to try everything a couple times (don't let me lie to you; I'm totally bossy), I'll have a go at advice, learned arrogantly/humbly, over the past thirty years.

I am pretty convinced that the average 18-year-old produced in this culture cannot appreciate the value of the university experience. I therefore recommend, highly, waiting until the late twenties and early thirties to pursue higher education. Of course, I must dissect my own suggestion by examining my class, race, sex, and history. I suppose my family developed from the offspring of impoverished Irish and Ukrainian immigrants to become the urban gentry of the post-WWII era. The state of boredom is built into my worldview. Never mind that my high school chemistry teacher was a mumbling, ancient man who would jump onto the lab table screaming consistently unintelligible epithets about the structure of carbon molecules (two-four-six-eight; who do we appreciate? OCTET! OCTET!). Secondary education does not provide the sort of rapturous enlightenment that one reads about in the days of Aristotle. In fact, we are, most of us, more like Meno, the slave who so surprised Socrates' contemporaries by having a head for shapes. In other words, we are untapped, unappreciated, unappreciative dullards with a strong case of what Clive Hamilton calls "affluenza."

Add to this dire state the condition of femalehood, and the earth is salted for intellectualism. I can easily remember the tongue-lashings I received for being too forthcoming with my dissenting ideas, even in elementary school. For offering them, I was known as a student who "talked out of turn." Ummm, does that make anyone spew frogs at the mouth? Or, perhaps, ring any bells? I can see now how utterly I was oppressed (a dramatic term, but an accurate one) educationally. Believe me, on the rare occasion that the boys said anything other than "you know, it's like, the cream rises to the top" or some sports cliche, they were certainly not harassed in the same way that both myself and my best friend were.

As an "advanced age" student I am straddling the liberal arts fence by double majoring in History and English, two very essential and inextricable disciplines, in my view. The former is heavily male-dominated, and the latter female-dominated. Remember, your history teacher was most likely a coach, if you went to public school. Ironic, as I could have danced the intellectual mambo (a nod to heidi and benji) around those men, even at age 16. But now I find myself running with the big guys, certain that I can crack a new way of seeing out of every oft-assessed event, and failing. I mean, I make As, and my professors like me personally, but I want them to drool over every word of every paper. I want them calling me at home saying that I have to come in and meet this famous historian to whom they have showed my stunning work. I want offers of letters of recommendation. I don't get any of this stuff, mind you, but I keep anticipating it. It's become a kind of addictive game for me . . . cerebrorexis. I just bought my first Oxford English Dictionary!

"Moe: Ohhh a garage! La ti da!
Homer: Why? What do you call it?
Moe: A carhole!"

My point, the reason why I feel compelled to conjure up my foibles and their roots, is that going to school is such a wonderful way to keep the personself in mama. Every day I don't know what I'd do without it. And guess what—they give you lots more money when you have a kid! You better believe I'm goin' to grad school.

My friend, who is a social psych teacher at Concordia and goes to church with us, says that there is an "indigo generation" being conceived, born, and getting into their childhood right now; that a new crop of probably more evolved, though she hasn't expanded on why they might be special, humans are being born and that they will do great things in the world. Maybe someone else has heard of this indigo generation. I take care of my friends' children. Thanks largely to that business and to the AustinMama listserv, I get to hang out with twenty kids a week sometimes. I can tell you that each of the twenty could do great things in this world. And so could have I. And could still. All people at all times have such amazing potential. I say that it is the indigo parents who are the real changers, though, the real strong ones who have seen through so many of the lies that are told to us nowadays. I know the parents of those children, too. And we are all have all will all do great things, I can tell you.

posted by hobbledog @ 7:49 PM 2 comments

Welcome to Navigating the On-ramp

Welcome to Navigating the On-ramp, my blog about transitioning from stay-at-home mom to at-work mom. I will write about the roadblocks and successes along the way. I invite you to share stories, tips and questions about ramping up your career, too. But just in case you keep quiet and I am starting to even bore myself, I have the sharp women of my sounding board, Momsters, Inc., to help out. These witty, talented and unfailingly honest moms are at different places and moving at various paces on the road to professional success. And boy do they like to talk!

I hope this blog will be a virtual conversation. In real life, I seem to have weekly conversations with my peers about returning to work. When to go back? What to do? How to cope? Or as Laura, of the Momsters puts it: How will I handle a full-time job plus everything already on my plate and not turn into an overstressed bitch?

If I had a hard and fast answer for Laura, I would be charging buckets of money to dispense advice. For now, I am just asking questions, sharing some thoughts (and occasional tips and resources) and reassuring other on-ramp moms that they are not traveling this bumpy road alone.

(Send a note to mom@moldofsky.com if you would like to be a part of Momsters, Inc.)

posted by Kim Moldofsky @ 7:35 AM 6 comments

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Nocturnal Whack-a-Mole and Anna Nicole

Every day at 3:30 am without fail, Buddha wakes to be nursed. Recently, she has decided that the time period that follows is playtime. No amount of swaddling, rocking or grotesquely mangled renditions of old Suzanne Vega songs will quell the thrill she gets from my zombie-like company. El has also usually been up for the majority of the night with anything ranging from night terrors to breastmilk withdrawal. All night long is like a trip to Chuck E. Cheese, with one kid up, then the other, then back to where we started all over again, playing a nocturnal game of whack-a-mole. At 4:45 am, I know my mother will be awake on the east coast and so I have taken to calling her, much to her delight. Her typical greeting is "oh, honey, I'm so sorry. It's so hard when they're little." She knows; they were little five times for her. Her own mother died when she was 16 and it occurred to me during one of last week's calls that she never had someone to call at 4 in the morning when her kids would not sleep.
She informed me also that my father did not seem to be responding as well lately to his Parkinson's medication. This news, combined with general reflections on my parents' impending mortality, sent me into a tailspin. Hobbledog & Co. were due for a visit that evening and by the time they arrived I was a blubbering exhausted drunken loony train wreck. With her usual aplomb, Hobbledog took me in hand and managed to get me back to a reasonably acceptable level of chilledoutness, reminding me how little I sleep, not that I needed reminding, and some other words of comfort reminiscent of my mother's trademark "it's so hard when they're little".
During our most recent early morning chat, I told my mom the odd news that Anna Nicole Smith's son had died. I expected her to say something to the effect of "how strange!" but instead she gave the quite distressed-sounding reply of "that's TERRIBLE!" I expected my mom to feel worse for the son than for Anna Nicole, given the fact that she is a blubbering drunken loony train wreck . . . er . . . oh wait, that's me. But she said simply "of course it's terrible! She's a mother!"
And as I reluctantly allowed myself to feel sympathy for this blubbering drun . . . er . . . fairly distasteful woman, it occurred to me: it's not so hard when they're little--it's just so hard. Hard when they are little, big, medium, or your very own parents.
Surely the fact that my current deeply personal revelations about parenting are directly linked to a reality television star are obvious evidence of my level of sleep deprivation. Or maybe it really is just so hard when they are little.

posted by tumpover @ 12:06 PM 5 comments

My old circus life

On a spring afternoon in 1981 at Gustavus Adolphus College, five men in white face unicycled into a wooden ring on the lawn, shouting in verse that we should stop what we were doing and watch them: The Royal Liechtenstein Quarter Ring Sidewalk Circus. Nick, the ringmaster, rattled off jokes about the Reagan administration as he coaxed the Himalayan Black Bear across a painted platform. Three men burst through the backdrop, juggling to the music of a calliope. A monkey in a tutu came next, dancing with a tiny poodle.
My theater professors loved to emphasize 'the cultural importance of the jester in our society' and wholeheartedly endorsed this little circus. I walked up to Nick to ask if he ever hired women. The next day, I bought a bus ticket to Lafayette, Indiana so I could "audition" as they played Purdue.
It was really an endurance test. Could I manage a 15 hour bus ride to show up in the rain to two small trucks in a parking lot and make small talk with the performers over their evening meal? I followed two guys out to feed the bear a head of lettuce, clean out the monkey cage, string the extension cord from the truck to the Student Union, and mark out the spot where the ring would be set up.
I heard later that 'I could carry a lot of heavy stuff even though I was a girl'. I watched the show and then participated in what would become my daily routine: packing up, eating a quick lunch and driving across the state to the next college campus.
My year with The Royal Liechtenstein was hard work. We put a thousand miles a week on those trucks. I saw something like 250 college campuses in 50 states. I fought and laughed with the men I worked with as we haggled through our days, carrying each others' clothes to the laundromat. I juggled, played the flute, ran the calliope, and trained the bear. We lived on the passing of the hat.
I work full time as a radio producer now and I own a house and walk the dog and cook dinner. I watch in amazement as my three children perform on a trapeze at a studio downtown. My youngest daughter has been practicing lying down in the middle of a wooden beam that she and her friend pretend is a tightrope. They told me they want to be circus performers AND mothers, and they need to be able to lie down in case they have to give birth.
You know, you couldn't drive a truck loaded with exotic animals and high risk circus equipment onto the mall of a college campus these days to save your soul. But I hope that the "real world" my kids grow up in will still include little shows with foolhardy performers--little shows that interrupt and delight the people who are passing by.
--Nanci Olesen is the host and producer of MOMbo, a radio resource for moms. See it on the web at http://www.mombo.org

posted by Nanci Olesen @ 11:49 AM 7 comments

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Look at me! I'm getting old!

today's my birthday
no more twenties for me now
at least I'm still hott

For many years I have planned to freak out about this day - the big 30. Now that it's here, though, I feel pretty darn good. I'm glad to be done with my twenties. I feel wiser and calmer... and yet still myself. Was I afraid I wouldn't be myself when I turned thirty? That the transformation into cranky, wrinkled, big-butted hag would have already begun its no-turning-back cycle? I don't know. And even though I DO feel like a cranky, wrinkled, big-butted hag on some days, on most other days I just feel like me. The same me I was at 5, at 10, at 15, at 20.... It's nice.

So yay 30! Yay husband! Yay two kids! Yay two books! And yay donuts and my steadily growing ass! It's an ass I've worked hard hard for. I'm glad to have it.

I'm glad to be 30.

posted by haikumama @ 7:41 AM 1 comments

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Girl's Got Balls

"She's big and she's proud . . . and she knows what the world is about." -- from "Ladylike," Storm and the Balls


"TV shows. Presidential elections," I say angrily, kicking my feet out of bed after we switch off the set. "Why do I get involved?"

"They're all rigged," my husband says.

He may be right, but this doesn't help. It's been a brutal television week for me: first Andre Agassi's third-round loss in his final appearance at the U.S. Open and now Storm Large's elimination from CBS's Rock Star: Supernova. I'm not much of a joiner, have never been one for team sports, except for a random blip of devotion to the Portland Trail Blazers back in the era of Clyde "the Glide" Drexler and coach Rick Adelman, before reports of players' misdeeds (Ruben Patterson, domestic assault and attempted rape; Damon Stoudamire, multiple drug infractions; Rod Strickland, drunk driving; etc.), earned them the nickname "Jail Blazers." But when I care about someone, I'm damn loyal, and since I discovered Storm Large (her real name, as far as I've been able to determine) several weeks ago, I've become a frickin' golden retriever.

Being a sporadic TV-watcher at best, I missed the first weeks of the show. But after reading an interview with Storm in The Oregonian (she's a fellow Stumptowner), I tuned in late in the season, in time to catch her performances of a handful of covers -- including smoking versions of "Suffragette City" by David Bowie and The Beatles' "Helter Skelter." But it was her original song last week, "What the What Is Ladylike?" that, literally, rocked this mama's world.

Loud, in-your-face, and dripping with sexuality, "What the What" is an anthem for freethinking, ballsy women everywhere. "What the what is ladylike? If ladies like to do what the what they like. Just like you, yeah, just like you. Look out, babe, here comes another one . . .She's great and she knows how to wear the pants -- and the rest of your clothes." (This is my best guess at the "clean" lyrics performed on-air, not yet available online; it doesn't take a lot of imagination to figure out how the "explicit" version goes.)

A six-foot bombshell with breast implants and a body that would disappear if she turned sideways (barring, of course, the boobs), Storm Large is, on paper, the kind of woman many women would be prepared to, while maybe not hate, at least circle warily. But when told on-air by Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee that he wanted to "see more of [her]" (and he wasn't proposing that they date), she was quick and smart with her comeback: "Tommy? Six letters: G-O-O-G-L-E." Following a local journalist's premature announcement of her upcoming engagement (which dismayed Storm and her sweetheart, as well as their families), she has publicly admitted her desire to marry her boyfriend, Davey Nipples (formerly of Everclear and Sweaty Nipples). In an online forum, one fan recently commented on her appeal to both men and women: "Storm Large: Making straight girls feel kind of gay since 1969." At the risk of giving my mother-in-law a stroke, I have to say, I completely get it: not since Alanis Morissette has a female artist left so many heterosexual women feeling empowered, sexually and otherwise -- simultaneously thinking: a) I want to be this girl's BESTEST FRIEND, b) if I were a man, that's EXACTLY who I'd want, not just sexually but in every way, and c) she makes wearing her sexuality like a second skin look so easy, maybe I can do the same. I ask you: What the what's not to like?

So feminists, everywhere, UNITE! One day, Lee and new Supernova bandmates Jason Newsted and Gilby Clarke may realize their grave error in letting this package of talent and power walk away. Until then, you can support Storm and the Balls (her band at home in Portland) through your purchase of "Ladylike" (hear it first at her MySpace site).

It isn't possible reverse the last two presidential elections -- or to change the outcome of this week's Rock Star: Supernova. But we can throw a little love Girlfriend's way, help change the world one song at a time. You do what the what you like, but for this Storm watcher, it's definitely the ladylike thing to do.


Shari MacDonald Strong is the Creative Nonfiction editor and "Zen and the Art of Child Maintenance" columnist for Literary Mama. Her essay, "On Wanting a Girl," appears in the anthology It's a Girl: Women Writers on Raising Daughters. She writes a column for Mamazine and has also written for a number of publications, including a recent stint as guest blogger at Leslie Morgan Steiner's "On Balance" WashingtonPost.com blog. Shari writes a blog from her home in Portland (Stormtown), Oregon, where she lives with her husband, Craig Strong, and three small children.

posted by ShariMacD @ 6:34 PM 2 comments

I miss you

I have to be really careful how I say this. I miss you. I miss you all. It's summer, and we are all out at the lakes, on the sidewalk, on the bike paths, at a bookstore, and I miss you. We used to talk. Remember how if I was pushing a stroller with a baby in it and you were pushing a stroller with a baby in it and we passed, you might say hi or ask me how old my kid was? Remember how if I was holding a book and you would walk up behind me you used to say "Have you read her other one? Is this as good as that one?" and we might chat? Remember how if you were straddling your bike at a kiosk and I was filling my water bottle at the drinking fountain you would say "Nice day. Hey, does this path go all the way to Hopkins?"


But we don't talk anymore. Well, you talk. You talk to your mom, to your sister, to your wife, to your business partner. You let loose the most intimate details of your life right there in the bookstore at conversational volume. But you're not talking to me, or to anyone right there. You're on the phone.


And I just miss you. You don't ask me the time, cause you can just flick open the little screen on your phone and see the time. You can tell your friend who you're sitting with at the restaurant about what your phone does: movies, camera, palm pilot, email. Or I can think that you're leaning your head on your hand at that restaurant when you're still waiting for your friend to arrive, and I approach as your waitress to start chatting about the soup , the specials, what you want to drink, whether it's going to rain later, but OOPS! You're checking your voice mail ! SORRY! I'll come back later. When your friend arrives, I swoop in to take your order. You both have your phones on the table, ready for whoever might want to interrupt you at that moment. Is it your kid, wanting to know how to download the latest movie? Is it your wife, in traffic, telling you something you need to do before you come home?


Remember when if you were lost on your way to your book group and were swerving around in some residential neighborhood you used to just lean out the window and ask which way Van Buren was? Remember how if you were gonna be late to book club, you just were late? And when you GOT there you said "I'm late because thus and so happened." But now you call four or five times, for directions, to tell about your lateness, to commiserate about how busy you are... and I want to say that "it's not FAIR!" The rules have all changed but you didn't ask me if I wanted them to. You just expect me to adjust to constant communication about the most mundane matters.


But I miss you. I just want eye contact, spontaneity, less interruptions. If I'm telling you some story about my son, I want you to listen all the way through and not JUMP when the phone on the table rings and smile that eerie smile to me that says "just a second. Hold that thought. I'll be right back with you." What am I supposed to do? And why do I want to sit there and listen to your side of the conversation with someone I don't know? It makes me lonely and frustrated and sad.


And I still go to the store, and when I get there I think, did Steve want me to get vanilla or chocolate? And because I can't remember I just guess and go home. It didn't really matter that much anyway and Steve was out in the garden picking raspberries and he didn't want to be interrupted.


So we just sit on the deck, eating vanilla icecream and raspberries, talking. And you all are walking by, talking. On your phones.


I know it will never go away. I know this is how it is now, but, I miss you.


-- Nanci Olesen is the director of MOMbo.org, a radio resource for moms.

posted by Nanci Olesen @ 9:54 AM 2 comments

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A letter to everyone's favorite red monster

Dear Elmo,

I hope you won't misconstrue this letter. It's meant as a kind of constructive note; a little criticism for the monster who's rarely examined with a critical eye.

Anyway, to be sure, you mean the world to my kiddo (even though he claims, at 4, to have outgrown you). And I do appreciate the fact that your mind control allows me to sneak away at least once a day to enjoy some private time on the toilet. That's something I can't thank you enough for.

But, Elmo, come on. You have to admit you're a bit of a fame whore lately. Depending on red fur and a high-pitched voice can only get you so far. Take the former mouseketeers, for example. Hookers. All of them. From Brit to Xtina to Justin, they're all just primetime hookers, selling their souls for a few dirty dollars.

Do you, Elmo, want your future filled with music videos where you remove more and more of your clothing until you are forced to wear a skin colored body suit covered in strategically placed sequins? Do you want Brad Pitt to refuse to be in a video where you pretend to commit suicide? Do you want to have your publicist arranging for your drunken escapades to be photographed just so you can have five minutes of attention from the "press"?

Of course not.

That's why I'm writing this letter, Elmo. I'm afraid you're sliding down a slippery slope. I mean, that duet with Martina McBride today?

Hideous, Elmo. Just hideous.

Martina looked so uncomfortable that even a Fraggle up her ass couldn't have made her smile. And you? On with the show at whatever cost, eh, little buddy? Arms flailing, voice shattering glass... you didn't even care that Martina was struggling. It was all about you, you, you. You were all about the limelight, Elmo. And that's just a shame.

All I'm saying, my red friend, is that you're in the stage of your career where you need to be careful. I know you're popular, and whatever. Nick Lachey was popular once, too. Now he's the "star" of a cancelled MTV reality show as well as a divorced also-ran. You don't want to be trapped like that, Elmo. Can you just imagine? 20 years from now and you're forced into showing "Elmo's World" on MTV just to make a buck? Well that's what happens to primadonnas, Elmo. Even small furry ones. Just ask Dave Navarro.

Anyway, I know you're a busy monster, so I'll wrap this up. (Thanks for having Gordon or whoever read this to you, by the way). Please heed my advice, little dude. You don't want to end up as Xtina's pimp one day. And that's the road you're heading down right now.

So sit down. Have a heart-to-heart with Dorothy, Mr. Noodle, Shade and whoever else you feel comfortable opening up to. Figure out where you want to be in 5, 10, 20 years. And then go on vacation. Relax. Shut your screaming mouth for a day or two. Enjoy a sunset. Watch the world go by. Learn to read. Getting out of the playhouse can do wonders for you.

Then maybe the next time you're dueting with Martina or Mandy or Brandy or even Michael Stipe you'll have learned to share the spotlight.

Don't be Fame's bitch, Elmo. Ask Pee Wee. It's just not worth it.

Sincerely,

Kari
Concerned Mother

posted by haikumama @ 11:33 AM 3 comments

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

the wedding present

So I got married two days ago.

katies wedding 043

It was a great wedding. Jon, my new husband (!!!), is a wonderful man. My youngest child in particular, Elliot, thinks Jon is the best thing since sliced bread. He lights up whenever Jon is around. But Elliot wasn't too keen on Jon and me going away overnight to a hotel for our wedding night.

Now this is a child who has happily been having sleepovers away from me with friends and cousins since he was three years old. He's eight now. He also spends about one-third of his time living with his father. So he isn't generally uncomfortable with being away from me overnight.

But for some reason, he was extremely Not Okay with the idea of Jon and me taking that one night away and leaving him with his Aunt Betsy. As the wedding approached, he became almost obsessed with it. He kept asking where we were going and when we would be back... over and over and over. This morphed into tearful begging that we not leave him.

Needless to say, I was torn. I did not want my baby (he's the baby of three and you know how that is no matter how old they get) unhappy on my wedding night because this is supposed to be a good thing for all of us. Plus, I knew I couldn't relax and uh, enjoy myself if Elliot were back at the ranch in tears.

I tried reasoning with him. I tried being firm with him. Finally it became clear that there was only one option left to me: bribery.

Actually, this only became clear to me as I snugghled him on my lap as the reception wound down, with his tears dropping all over my wedding dress, and me nearly in tears... torn between wanting a night alone with my husband and not wanting to leave my son.

"What if Jon and I bring you a special surprise from the hotel?" I asked him hopefully as I rubbed his head.

He perked up.

"What sort of surprise?" he asked.

"Something really cool," I offered, imagining stopping at Target on the way home for small set of new Legos or something.

"Anything I want?"

(And take note other mamas; here's where I screwed up...BAD. )

"Sure sweetie, whatever you want," I blurted out, too happy to see I was making progress to notice where this conversation was going. "I want you to be happy. It can be a wedding present just for you. I'll get it as long as they sell it at Target, because I'll bet there's one near the hotel. What would you like?"

"I want a PSP," he answered happily.

I had no idea what this was, so I agreed, imagining it was some sort of video game that might cost a bit more than I wanted to spend - maybe $40 or $50, but well worth it to appease him and my guilty conscience.

He smiled and gave me a hug and told me he would be fine. I promised to return with this PSP thing several more times before happily leaving the party with my handsome new husband.

On the way to the hotel, Jon calmly informed me I had just agreed to buy Elliot a $250 handheld video game system.

"No freaking way!" I yelped.

Not only had I committed the unspeakable parenting sin of simple, no-excuses bribery, I had just promised my kid the sort of item I would normally buy him only for a major holiday. But I could see no way around it. Given these specific circumstances, there was no way I could come back from the hotel without the PSP.

Jon couldn't have been nicer. He said it was hush money well spent for a night alone together at a hotel (and may I simply say that it really, really was...heh ;-)

And Elliot loves the PSP, but I feel a little sick every time I see him playing with it.

posted by katieallisongranju @ 12:08 PM 9 comments

Sunday, September 03, 2006

I spent the day today cooking eggplant parmigian. One dish was for us, one was for a friend with a new babe, and the final dish, the real impetus for starting up the whole cooking process, was for a friend who just this weekend lost his wife. The depth of his pain was really unfathomable to us and any words we could think of to comfort seemed weak but I had a need to see him. Perhaps to somehow make it real. Maybe this is why the tradition started of bringing food to the survivors - because we want to be with them but words fail us and empty hands feel foolish. So we arrived, all five of us, the kids with drawings and us with food and tears and hugs.

She was young, mid-thirties. So is he. She was only sick for a short time and terminal only for days. The shock was mind numbing and the phone call left me sobbing then and there and off and on throughout the day. "Dead," I kept saying to my husband. That was all I could say as if saying it would help the permanence of it settle in.

All day today, my husband's tender kisses turned tearful as we tried to imagine the pain our friend is feeling. Perhaps the thought of how it must feel will keep us from arguing any pettiness or burdening ourselves with the mundane or fretting over the details of daily life - at least for a while.

This summer I spent a great deal of time with my mom who is 81 years old and who lost her husband of 52 years just a few years ago. She had many lessons to offer as she reflected on life both as an old woman and as a widow. Be nicer. Don't create arguments. Don't burn bridges. Work less. Take more vacations - individually, together, with friends, and as a family. Let things go if next week they won't really matter. And most importantly she stressed that a missed opportunity is just that. When dealing with spouses or families or road trips or snuggles. Forget the minutaea and revel in each other and seize the opportunities we are granted to spend time with those we love. We don't know what tomorrow will bring.

If we could hold these lessons in our hearts and minds and realize that life is truly fleeting, that our stay here is short and that our time as individuals and as a family is entirely what we make it, then life will be much better than it would be if we forget.

Homeschool Dropout

posted by Homeschool Dropout @ 6:47 PM 5 comments

Babyloni Yoni - Things That Break

I walked away from my home today after weeks of shaving down my cumbersome and redundant belongings. I have given away my old life, sold the reminders of happier times, pawned off my little securities and parted with a near-dead minivan I never wanted to begin with, the washer and dryer I laundered my infant's diapers in, and countless beloved stuffed animals, toys, bikes and games.

I scoured my soul right along with the cabinets and with dirty fingernails, I dug out my heart just as sure as I dug out the keepers from the dross. This day began with me picking bits of garbage, remnants of our everyday life, out of blades of dead grass in the yard where my girls played so happily while I spent so many hours crying in bed, wanting to die, cursing their father and ultimately, myself for allowing myself to fall into such a deep black chasm of self loathing and helplessness. This day ends with me lighter of load, scared as hell and giddy at the thought that I get to start over.

Do I get to start over?

Is there still a chance in hell that my heart hasn't scarred over too much to render me loveless? Please tell me there is a chance. Tell me there will be many chances and tell me this often because right now, things are feeling tenuous and I only want to be clean and to have my loose ends knotted and done.

The opportunities I've had to examine my life have been varied and plentiful. I have touched everything I own and repacked the condensed version of it all into a neat and tidy box measuring just under 6 feet by 10 feet. This has been very... um, (I apologize in advance for the cliche) cleansing... to say the least. There were bills, letters and reciepts dating back for 15 years. I still had the letters my previous lover wrote in his hours of darkness during our prolonged breakup, as well as my ticket book from a pre-motherhood waitress job at a cafe, and the paperwork from the abortion I sought when a pregnancy's hormones and my life's bleak reality took me to the brink of my ability to cope. All of it was there. All the heartache was documented, the mundane events captured in dozens of journals never completed and boxes upon boxes of photographs tell the truth about this person I was, tried to be...am. I burned boxes of papers, tossed out years worth of odds and ends and forced myself to stand naked, prying my own eyes open to meet the doppleganger who occupies the space in a parallel dimension commonly thought of as the mirror.

Walking away was hard as hell to do but it was something that Had To Be Done. I took my kids and left today so that I could shift the paradigm of Daddy Is Leaving Us Behind To Move Far Away Tomorrow Maybe To Never Be Seen Again into Mommy Is Taking Us On Another Cool Roadtrip To Visit Our Kickass Granny And To Have Adventures-o-Plenty.

They know what is happening, though, make no mistake. They saw me last night -- a snotty, heaving wreck -- and we wailed, mournful together in the forlorn, empty kitchen where I so recently peeled their apples and toasted the waffles they like to eat with peanut butter and honey. They say you should be mindful of children and it is strongly implied that they should not bear witness to the raw meat and gristle of a marriage in the throes of a gruesome death. I guess I was supposed to hire a sitter and better plan my decision to end up in the front yard in my bra and panties hurling full wine bottles at their father's truck while screaming "I hate you, you fucking cocksucker" at the top of my lungs. I know that we aren't supposed to do these things in front of the children and I don't often expose my kids to violent or psychotic episodes... it's just that I was rendered temporarily insane when it became clear to me that the man whose children I bore, this man whose meals I prepared for 8 years -- the very man who told me I was too fat to be properly fuckable, the same one who I was so devastated about losing but willing to let go so that he might "find" himself... that this man, the beloved father of my beautiful girls, had planned to spend our last night together as a family out partying with one of my best friends.

WTF???

I'm sorry, but I must have missed something here. Who does that? Doesn't it come standard with brains and heart, this basic knowledge that the night before leaving (homeless and broke) your kids and ex (who has been really fucking cool and chill considering the circumstances) that one should put forth some kind of effort to make the situation more... I don't know, bearable/pleasant/meaningful by, say, hanging out together for a meal and some relaxing entertainment in order to taste the essence of these people you (once?) love/d and whose company you will not share again for an undetermined amount of time?

Wow.

If you heard a strange noise last night and felt alarmed for no apparent reason, I am fairly certain that was the sound of the slap across my face and the echo of my enraged rebuttal and of the shattered glass of wine bottles still encased in the pretty satin bottle sleeves we received as anniversary gifts not so long ago.

Que Sera, Sera, Happy Trails Motherfucker and Good Fucking Riddance.

Hell hath no Moxie like me.

posted by Kim @ 3:05 PM 0 comments

 







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