I know everyone says this, but I can't believe how quickly Julia is growing up. Most of the time when I drop her off and pick her up from her caregiver's house she is sleeping, or cuddled into her caregiver's arms. It's easy to imagine that without me or Kristin there she remains that way -- passive, cuddly, sleeping, as if we are the force that animates her. Yet the other day I picked her up from daycare and I walked in and there she was, sitting on the couch playing with a toy. She was so intent on her toy -- examining it, shoving it in her mouth, pulling it out again and banging it on her head and then stopping to look at it from another angle -- that it took her a while to notice I was there. It threw me for a loop to come upon my little cuddly infant, sitting by herself and playing independently. And though I quickly realized that she was not exactly sitting by herself (she was safely secured and supported and her caregiver was sitting next to her, just interacting with another child at the moment) it also struck me that my child, my baby, my helpless darling has a life without me.
Don't mistake me. A sense of independence in children is something that I find very desirable. I want Julia to develop interests and activities and thoughts outside of mine and Kristin's. I want Julia to think and explore and live for herself. It's just I didn't expect it to begin so soon. She's only 3 months old. She can't even roll over yet. But there she was, here she is, beginning to grow in her own direction, manifesting as a unique individual, becoming a discrete entity. That moment I saw her separately from me or Kristin was as beautiful and miraculous and painful as her birth.
And this is just the beginning. This will happen over and over. And I'm sure that each time I will be proud and excited and sad and tiny bit frightened and maybe more than a little challenged.
Now I know how my parents must feel. So, that moment in A's living room was a liberating and an exploratory one for both Julia and me. I realized, in an almost physical way, that the process of letting go of her has already begun, while at the same time I began releasing the last of my own guilt for growing differently than what I felt my parents had planned for me. And as for Julia, well... I can't speak for her. She is learning to speak for herself. She's already begun.
Julia is so interested in communicating through words, she works at it constantly. In my experience, most babies are interested in noises, but Julia is primarily interested in noises that comprise spoken English. Chirp or whistle or buzz your lips at her and she couldn't care less. Talk to her, coo at her, babble at her and you've got her immediate attention and her own eager response. Now, unless there is something immediately physically wrong with her (sharp hunger, a dirty diaper, physical discomfort) rather than crying, she talks to us to get our attention. She hollers from her nursery when she's finished looking at her mobile. She asks us questions and waits for our response. She initiates conversations. Kristin and I usually start conversations with her with the word "hi". So, lately she's also been starting conversations with the word "hi". It is so damn cute to pick her up and have her say hi to greet us. Does she know what it means? My first thought is that she does not. But actually, "hi" doesn't really have much of a meaning besides as a word of greeting. A nonsense syllable that people say when first encountering one another, when initiating a conversation. In that case, she does seem to know what it means. That's certainly what she's using it for. Does this count as her first word? Does this mean she's begun talking in a recognizable manner at 3 months can I expect her to add "Mama" and "Mommy" and "Oliver" and "Oscar" and "Zoe" and "more" and "for God's sake, bring me the dictionary, woman, I need to look something up" in the next few months? Or am I just reading too much into it and the whole thing is coincidence only?
and some languages that aren't so romantic.
Or, as my mom has told me, repeatedly, my name actually means (according to the baby name book she got it out of) woman with a hidden sorrow until she smiles. So apparantly I am fated only to look sad. Sorrow is to be my default facial expression. As a depressive pisces, I can run with that, it means that I don't have to fake a happy demeanor.
The picture of me in the long hair was taken in 1995. I was 20. I was thick in the middle of my "Disappointed Madonna" phase (and if anyone can tell me which movie that's from they get to be this blog's Honored Pop Culture Scholar of the Day) in which I felt that the more melancholy I looked the less ugly I was. And so I refused to smile for the camera thinking that smiling made my eyes too squinty and the flesh of my cheeks swallow up my cheekbones. Plus, I have a tiny mouth. Tiny little rosebud lips.* And I felt at the time (and sometimes still do) that smiling with my wee bitty mouth just makes an itsy smile in the middle of a gigantic sea of face (as well as thinning my lips almost to nothing).
But that's just justification. If you look through a history of pictures of me you will notice, aside from some very embarrasing pictures revealing how little I actually lived in this real world as a child (if I can find my "flower lion picture" -- the one in which I had a new perm and we went camping and I found a meadow full of flowers and I picked them and stuck them all over my hair in order to be one with nature and get closer to my "true" parents who I just knew were really elves that had had a cruel trick played upon them and were even now searching desperately for me; but instead of looking like a fairy princess, I looked like a rather unkempt lion made out of flowers, or just a really strange little girl, well, not so little, I was 11 or 12 at the time -- I will put it in flickr) that in most of the pictures I look very sad. For example, see this picture which was taken in 1991. "Ah, but" you say, "you are still a teenager in this picture and teenagers are just morbid." To which I reply, well then take a look at this picture which was taken in the fall of 1976 (before my brother was born, so this shows how much I was lying when I told him that he's the one who ruined my life). Yes, yes, yes, I am a toddler here, but I can tell you that you are not looking at an ordinary tantrum, but rather a deep sorrow over the state of the world and concern over the accellerating devastation of the environment and the earth's wild places (or, as I like to think of them, my "real" home, the places where my "true" parents reside). Or it could be that people only took pictures of me when I was deeply unhappy about something (maybe the fact that someone was pointing a camera at me?) and have thus created an inaccurate picture of my mental state while growing up. Or it could be true that I look sad all the time unless strongly moved by some other emotion.
Only the shadow knows for sure. There are silly/happy pictures of me out there, and as I gather them together, I'll post them for you all to see.
*This part really is true, when I had braces we had to find an orthodontist with tiny little hands, and even then every time he had to work on my mouth my lips were always torn and bleeding from being overly stretched out afterward. The corners of my mouth had permanent scabs, people thought I had cold sores all the time. I have never had a cold sore in my life.
When I was a child, my one of my favorite games was pass the story. My friends and I would entertain ourselves for hours telling a story and passing it along at the interesting points. I kept this up through junior high, my friend Libby and I winding a tale as we wound our way home, her brother an appreciative audience, occasionally chiming in. But I haven't done this in years. So, I saw this first on Lorem'sLife is Sweet. But she doesn't know me from Adam, so she didn't tag me. She tagged Estelle who then passed it along to me. So, here goes, a moment of revisiting my childhood.
My contribution is in bold.
Rules for the Story Tree:
Everything below the dashed line should be copied and pasted with every accepted tag.
This is a Story Tree and is best nurtured as follows:
1. A blogger can add only 90-100 words (no more or no less) at a time.
2. All previous snippets of 90-100 words need to be copied before the new set of 90-100 words are appended.
3. Each entire snippet should be linked to the respective author (and not just the first sentence or so). Feel free to steal my code (under 'Source') if that would help.
4. Characters, scenes, etc. can be introduced by an author.
5. Bizarre twists, sci-fi, fantasy sequences are best avoided.
6. A tag must be accepted within 7 days else the branch is a dead branch.
7. After appending 90-100 words, the Story Tree can be passed on to at most 3 bloggers.
8. If more than 1 branch leads to a blogger, s/he is free to choose any one of them but cannot mix the snippets of the individual branches.
9. The Story Tree is best left to grow than be concluded.
10. Please attach the image of the Story Tree below with each accepted tag (the link address can be copied and used).
A Blog Tree Story and Rules Above
Sunday, November 13, 2005
He thought it would be an ordinary journey. Standing behind the pillar he watched the train snort arrogantly into the station. With each snort he was reminded of his grandfather's words "You will fail in the city and return penniless"; with every heavenward whistle, he heard his cousin, "Don't worry. Come here and I will get you a job at the construction site." Now he had a 34-hour journey to prove one of them wrong, and he expected the excitement at the end of the journey. He looked at his ticket once again: compartment S9 berth 23.
Pushing his luggage under the seat, he sat close to the window. "Papa, when will you be back?" his four year old daughter Munni asked innocently. He stared into those soft brown eyes of the motherless kid. He held her frail palms in his, through the window. "Munni, Papa will get you a nice gudiya from the city...Say tata," his sister spoke to the kid, to avoid an emotional outburst. In a minute, the train pulled forward, and Munni's little fingers parted from between his. "I need to go..." he thought, "I have to, at least for Munni's sake."
The humid summer breeze and the rattling train coaxed him into an uncomfortable state of drowsy consciousness. He dreamt that Munni ran away, the closer he ran to her, the farther she was, like a mirage. He woke up with a start and squinted at his watch. "What is the time please?" A smallish woman, a meek voice as if she was scared that her existence would annoy someone. Her only noticeable feature was her rather large, expressive eyes. "4.30" Something made him look at the woman again. He had stopped noticing women long back. Ever since Meenakshi passed away.
Four long years. His daughter’s birth. His wife’s death. Joy and sorrow in an instant. A heady cocktail. He had hardly recovered from it. He barely had a chance to. You can’t be a poor farmer in Andhra Pradesh and have time for emotional upheavals. Life betrayed him once with the death of his wife. Life betrayed him again, three years in a row, with the failure of his crops. Every year, the debt increased and it felt like a noose tighten around him. Tightened till he could not breathe. He shivered with the memory of the night, where he took a bottle of poison in his hand.
He threw the bottle away when he heard the small voice behind him, “Papa, what’s beyond the big well? Sanju says that’s where the world ends.” His then-preoccupied answer had satisfied Munnis innocent curiosity, “No, beta…That’s the railroad to the city…There’s a lot of world beyond the big well.” He had repeated the answer to himself, “No, it’s not the end of the world”. Maybe some of that same innocence in this woman’s voice or eyes made him rephrase the answer to her question. “What is the time, please?” In a crystal-clear flash of certainty he realized…“It was time.”
It was time to put the scattered pieces of his life together. Just like the marbles he picked up as a boy. That he won and collected one by one from the ground, his pockets laden and bulging with his precious treasure. He had to play the game of life again. He looked at the large expressive kohl-rimmed eyes once more. Shy and downcast at times, hesitantly observant at others as she gazed out at the rushing landscape beyond the rusted iron rods of the second class carriage window. He suddenly heard himself asking, "Are you going to the city?"
She shook her head, and looked away, out of the window. She looked tense. Almost a little scared. Balbir wanted to ask "what’s wrong," but hesitated. He'd been too friendly. He turned away and looked out of the window.
The train slowed. Radhapur Junction. Dusty. Near-empty. Interchangeable with so many rural stops. Just one man got on board. He wore the bright, colourful pagri of the region above his sunburned face. He had a happy face and no luggage. As he walked the corridor his eyes scanned the berths. He reached their compartment and stopped in front of the woman.
Slowly she turned, could this be possible? Her eyes spoke of the panic she felt race through her body! He had found her, but how? She had taken every precaution to ensure her safety—this time! Trembling, yet she could not look way, she froze as if time itself had been suspended. Flashes of pain seared through her mind with the memory of those days.
He stood poised smiling down at her. So calm his demeanor, his shell. But the core was churning uncontrollably. He wanted to reach out, tear the flesh from the face that he once loved.
“Well, Lohra, we meet again.” His dark eyes shifted from the woman to the opposite seat where Balbir sat. Balbir was trying not to notice the man standing over him but he could not control his own eyes from locking into an uncomfortable stare with the man. After a few frozen seconds, Balbir stood and asked the man to sit down, motioning him to take his seat. Without a word, the man slid into the seat next to the woman. She quickly slid her small frame over, tight against the window. Balbir shrugged and sat back down opposite them.
From the corner of his eye, Balbir watched for any sign of intimidation or impending violence toward the woman. He was surprised at his feelings of protectiveness; he knew nothing about this woman or the man she was so afraid of or even what relationship there was between them.
Balbir recalled with shame the times he mistreated his wife. In their first year he hit her so severely that, afterwards, he needed to only cast a brief angry glance her way to bend her will to his. In spite of this, she loved him deeply. And now she was dead.
The memory of his late wife seized Balbir. This wasn't just a woman sitting across from him; this was his wife, his mother, his daughter, every woman he ever cared for in his life. The wife he'd driven away into death by not getting the midwife quickly enough. His mother, who had thrown herself on his father's funeral pyre, having nothing left to live for. The woman his daughter might grow up to be. Her destiny was not yet written, nor was his. He still might be able to redeem himself. His future, his karma, waited on his next move.
Ignoring the stares of the man, he turned to the woman he now knew to be called Lohra. “Why are you scared Lohra? What are you running from?”
He recognized it in her demeanor; the pain, the defeat, the look of a woman who is broken. She had tried to escape, and he had found her.
Her eyes would not meet his, instead they stayed fixed upon his tattered shoes.
He wanted to save her, to right the wrongs, both of her past and his. The words escaped his mouth before he could stop them.
Kethro chuckled. His smile touched his eyes and died in the frost there. "How quickly she has affected you. You can't have met more than a few moments ago." He held Balbir's eyes for a moment longer before looking away. "You are kind, but you are ignorant. She uses her eyes well." His tone to Lohra was flat. "Give it to me and I'll walk away."
Lohra's face stiffened into a mask of hate before smoothing again. Kethro doubted the fool across from them noticed the fleeting change. Lohra, control regained, turned beseeching eyes toward Balbir. "Yes."
Ok, I tag...
It makes me nervous to tag people, it feels like I'm imposing. Or testing their loyalty. Let me know if you don't want to do it and I'll tag someone else. And Lauri, if you had a blog I would have tagged you for sure. If I don't hear something from at least one of these three, I reserve the right to re-tag people.
First, a quick recap of the weekend...
I have come to the conclusion that I have a phobia when it comes to Thanksgiving turkeys. Or maybe just Thanksgiving. Or maybe just Thursdays. Anyway, Thanksgiving dawned cold and gray, but with our plans for a simple (and small) celebration, Kristin and I got a lazy morning. Well, as lazy as we can get these days. And amazingly, there was not a single, solitary sign of my customary Thanksgiving Anxiety. I stayed peaceful and calm and anticipatory all day. All day, that is, until our friend T showed up with the Turkey. Raw. 45 minutes before we were supposed to eat.
Now, considering that the only people planning on eating with us were T and N & K and that T would understand that not eating on time was TOTALLY HER FAULT and that N & K are two of the most easy going people around (and also run permanently about an hour behind everyone else and that night was no exception), this shouldn't have thrown me. Especially since frying a turkey takes only about 2 hours total (including heating the oil). But as soon as I saw that raw bird, it hit me: Today is Thanksgiving. And the stomach roiling began and the hand aching began, and ANXIETY set in. It just hadn't felt like Thanksgiving before then. I hadn't been frantically cooking. We hadn't been frantically cleaning. We hadn't been in an airport, or rehearsing what we were going to say when my cousin's lurpy husband mentions again how he used to be gay and was saved through the power of prayer (ok, sorry, I'm exaggerating, that's a Christmas thing, I'm getting the holidays mixed up now.) But take one Thursday off work and add one salmonella-laden raw turkey corpse, and suddenly you've got reason to drink. Luckily T had brought a magnum of wine and so after I finished handling the salmonella sponge and getting it into the fryer, I opened it up and began self-medicating. This is not something that I normally do. And I wouldn't say that let myself get too, too medicated. I just let it take the edge off. And, indeed, the edge finally wore off about the time that our friends N&A arrived with pie.
But it was still a good time. The best Thanksgiving I've ever had. And Julia had a great time, was totally adored by everyone, and has decided that she really loves Turkey livers and stuffing. Yum yum. And she was so exhausted by the whole thing that she slept for nearly 24 hours straight. Only waking up to eat and grin and coo sleepily at us before falling back to sleep. I'm sure it was the triptophan in all that turkey we shoved down her. Who knew a 3 month old couldn't handle eating an entire drumstick all by herself?
The other notable event to occur this weekend was the very first snowstorm in the valley this winter. It started out as a hard rain, then chilled to sleet, and finally made it all the way to snow. I am pretty sure this is the latest first snow in the valley ever. I could be wrong about that, but I'm not. We normally have snow in October. Now, don't get me wrong, I hate snow. I hate cold. But this is just strange. I just hope the drought doesn't return. One drought free year is not enough to save our trees. And despite the fact that our trees are slobs, I still love 'em.
Now, for the thing you've all been waiting for. Lauri asked me for a picture of myself with long hair and for a picture of me with blue hair and for one of me in the Bridesmaid's Dress from Hell. Well, I found a picture that shows me in long hair.
You can't see the full length because I curled it for the picture and the picture doesn't go down far enough, and most of the hair is down the back, but you get the point.
As for the picture of me with blue hair, that is a little harder to find. I have my mother searching through the photo archives as you read this looking for one, but since I tend to be a bit camera shy, and my parents didn't particularly want to record that precious moment, there may not be any aside from the ones my cousin from Denmark took. We'll see, in the meantime, since you are all so familia with my amazing artistic skills, I have created an artist's rendering of me in sea weed hair for use in aiding your imagination.
(note the life-like portrayal of highlights and lowlights in the tresses)
I'll keep working on the dress picture.
PS, What is love? Love is stealing one of the new cherry Hershey's kisses from a co-worker's desk and not eating it before bringing it home to your beloved so she can try one without having to buy a whole bag and thus ruining her diet. That is love. And damn, was it hard to do. It kept singing my name from the depths of my purse, promising chocolate cherry goodness, if only I would submit. But. I. Did. Not. Submit.
For the first time in years I am actually looking forward to Thanksgiving. I love my extended family, but they're huge and loud and all want my attention at the same time. IT makes me a little crazy. The last few years we've spent with Kristin's family, but that usually required travelling (and flying standby on Thanksgiving, fun but can be a bit stressful) AND I'm usually in school, so the holiday is fraught with the stress of impending Very Large and Important Papers.
This year, no school, we're not attempting to travel with Julia and we're not going to my family's celebration. We're having a small group of good friends over, they're all bringing stuff so I don't have to make everything, the house is pretty-much clean so no huge flurries of frantic cleaning the morning of...
It should be great.
I'll keep you all posted, something longer, later.
The next post will be my 100th. Do I get a present or something?
Estelle tagged me with a story tree a week ago today. If I don't post today supposedly the story tree is dead. Is that a little like killing kittens when you masturbate? I've killed the story tree, I guess I'll go comfort myself by killing kittens now, too.
Anyway, I've actually completed my section of the story tree, it's just that it's Thanksgiving, and the people I'm planning on tagging are all busy with Thanksgiving and probably won't see it until a good part of their week to reply is gone. So, I am changing the rules. I am going to put the story tree in a cryo tank and recuscitate it on Monday. Safely past the holiday weekend. When the triptophan has worn off and brains are working again.
The Story Tree SHALL NOT DIE!
Seriously. Kristin makes great hats (I make the pompoms, though) and she's been told on more than one occasion that she should sell them. AND, she made more hats while she was pregnant than Julia will ever wear. AND she likes making hats and she's creative and fast at it. So, we thought I'd ask you fine folks what you thought.
Would you buy a baby hat that was in the same spirit as this (they're all unique):
She also makes great ones in adult sizes with matching scarves. And she can take special orders (in terms of size and main color and "feel" but not necessarily in specific yarns).
We were thinking for a baby hat the prices would run from $10-$20 depending on the price of the yarn.
(If you say that you would buy a hat like this I won't hold you to it later. I'll just make a little store and post links and pics and pile on the guilt until you CAVE from the pressure and buy a hat and then you'll see how fabulous and popular you become with the help of the marvelous hat)
PS -- in the picture (admittedly not the greatest but what I've got at the moment) Julia's boot is coming off. Her foot is NOT freaky-shaped. I repeat: my daughter does not have a freaky foot.
Here in Salt Lake, trees are a status symbol. A sign that you've made it. When the pioneers first settled here, Brigham Young promised that they would make the desert blossom. This would be a sign of the Zion they were creating, a sign of heaven on earth, a sign of success. And though I am not Mormon, I grew up here, and I believe that in my soul.
Or it could be that I grew up in subdivisons where the trees were never taller than I and in the summer one had to play in the shade of cars.
So, when Kristin and I went to buy a house, we looked for trees. And Lilac bushes. But mostly trees. The house we ended up with has many, many tall, lovely trees. To wit: 2 horse chestnuts, 2 maples, 1 tree that has leaves that look and crunch like cornflakes when they fall, and 1 tree that has big heart-shaped leaves and long seed pods like swords. We also have a giant lilac hedge, an ancient grape vine, a mock-orange, a tree with purple leaves (flowering plum, maybe) a hawthorn (in the neighbor's yard but leans over into ours) and a tree/bush that has yellow flowers and red berries. Along with a blue spruce and hollies and half a dozen unnamed (by me) conifers.
The couple that lived in our house for 50 years before they died and we bought the house almost before their corpses were even respectfully buried designed our yard as a wildlife haven. Too bad we have big, loud, wildlife-chasing dogs and a sneaky, bird-eating cat.
Anyway. We were delighted with our trees. Delighted, that is, until the first fall. That first fall we were literally drowned in leaves. Who knew? Did you know? That when you have lots of trees, and their leaves fall, you need to rake them up or have a disgusting, slimy mess on your hands (full of millions of snails) come spring? We didn't know.
Besides the leaves, we have these spiky depth-charges raining from above. Hard little missils that drop on unsuspecting heads. Pokey land mines that draw blood from unsuspecting stockinged feet (and if you're saying that I shouldn't be running around outside in this kind of weather without shoes on, well, all I can say is you're right, you're right, but I was making a run to the beer fridge in the garage, and besides, the little bastards cling to the animals' fur and make their way into the house to prey upon the innocent), and little poison nuggets (the chestnuts themselves) that the dogs can't resist chewing up and then puking out all over our floors.
But raking is hard work even when we didn't have a child, and now that Julia is here we were having a dickens of a time getting around to raking the yard. There's just always something more fun to do.
Making it worse is the fact that EVERY SINGLE HOUSE not just on our street BUT IN OUR ENTIRE NEIGHBORHOOD is immaculate. We don't know our neighbors very well, so we told ourselves that they must all be like the ones we watch on the corner who sit every afternoon with their rakes and bags and leaf-blowers to sweep away every evidence of the changing season before said evidence even hits the ground (seriously, these people are always working on their yard, and yet their yard never looks any different). We comforted ourselves that really we were much too busy to rake everything up, that only superhuman machines lived around us, and besides, all the leaves hadn't fallen yet, so why bother?
Then we went for a walk. We saw an old lady out filling bags with leaves. "Wow, that 110 year old is out raking her leaves." "Wow. Huh." "You think we should try to rake?" "Nah, she's probably just really spry. Just bored" Then... a man in a cast and crutches. Seriously, a man in a cast and crutches out raking and bagging leaves.
We had no excuse.
Still, we waited. And our yard got more and more buried. My feet got more and more punctured. We saw snails writing a charter for their new nation in glittery trails on the side of our garage.
Finally, Kristin heard teen-aged boy-voices teasing our dogs and she ran out to catch them. They looked a little worried that she was going to yell at them for making our dogs bark, but instead she offered them jobs. $10 bucks each to rake and bag our leaves.
They had a great time. Goofing off and playing with the dogs. They (sorta) worked all day and filled 32 HUGE bags of leaves. And they didn't even really get to the back yard. So the snails still have a haven. And the neighbors can still feel superior. And the old lady and the man with the broken foot can just go bite themselves.
But at least when I'm running sock-footed for beer I won't have to drink more than I planned in order to drown away the pain of bloody puncture wounds and the smell of dog vomit.
Ok, I've been tagged twice on this now. From Catherine and HD So I figure I must give my public more of what they want.
I am still looking for pictures of me with the long, blue hair and in the pink dress. Stay tuned for an onset of photo hilarity!
Now... on with the show.
2 names you go by:
Star ("Now that's a name I haven't heard in a long time")
2 parts of your heritage:
2 things that scare you:
2 things you are wearing right now:
2 of your favorite bands or musical artists (at the moment)
2 favorite songs (at the moment):
Comfortably Numb (Dar's Cover of the great Pink Floyd Hit)
Sex Bandaid (Antje)
2 things you want in a relationship (other than real love):
Freedom to become the best me possible
Ahem. Lots of something that starts with an "s" and ends with an exhalation
I have anxiety attacks
2 physical things that appeal to you (in someone else):
hair (I know, this is vague, it's not specific hair, just hair that looks great on the person in question.)
2 of your favorite hobbies:
2 things you want really badly:
publish my poetry
be able to work from home
2 places you want to go on vacation:
2 things you want to do before you die:
Ride in a hot air balloon
2 ways that you are stereotypically a dude/chick:
Shoes shoes shoes
I try to nurture everyone, seriously, everyone.
2 things you are thinking about now:
How much longer can I procrastinate at work?
Am I about to get a headache or are these just cramps?
2 stores you shop at:
Harmons (local grocer)
Target (Though I'm rethinking this one right now)
Fun with Leaves!
So, for all the 1 of you that I'm sure was dying to know:
You're a punk rock mommy! DIY is probably your
motto, because you're a punk mama at heart.
Your kids are getting your independent spirit
and guts, and learning to solve problems
themselves. You love it when they show their
independence, even when it's breaking your
What kind of a freaky mother are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
So, that's the blue part of my roots.
The pioneer roots manifest in the fact that this weekend past I managed to get our tomatoes "put up" for the winter. Our lousy garden (damn you mutant squash, damn you!) produced only 4 mason jars of tomatoes and a little less than 2 doz jars of salsa. I still have to put up the squash. If I get time this weekend I'll line all the jars up and take a picture so y'all have something to put on your fridge and think of me by.
You know the feeling when you let a tiny bit of latte sit in a travel mug in the cup holder of your car for, say, a week or three, until you forget that there is a tiny bit of latte left in that mug, and when you have to move the mug to your passenger seat so you can take your cd player's faceplate off and then you just go ahead and leave the empty (or so you thought) mug on your passenger seat until you take a turn too fast and it tips over and a bit of very stinky fluid leaks out and onto your seat and the fluid is kinda clear at this point and you don't have any time or any thing to clean it up and so you figure that you are just going to have to steam clean the whole seat (and it needed it anyway) so you just let it go and then a day or so goes by and you forget about it and throw your coat onto the passenger seat and leave it there overnight and it absorbs the smell but you don't notice until you are wearing that coat and standing in a very crowded train and wondering why the stranger next to you reminds you of your car and the smell that your car sometimes has when you realize that it's not the stranger who smells like rotten-latte car, no, NO it's not the stranger it's... you, YOU SMELL LIKE ROTTEN-LATTE CAR!?
What? You're telling me that you don't know that feeling?
AND I HOPE YOU NEVER, EVER DO.
Cold. And filled with the sound of Salvation Army bells. Duelling bells. Less than 50 feet apart. At my train station.
The one thing that puts the largest cramp on my Holiday season are those damn bell ringers that sit outside every store to put the guilt in you. You know the guilt. I don't need to tell you about the guilt.
I love Target because they don't let the bell ringers near. And I can be materialistic in peace, and buy my holiday goods without thinking of all those needy people out there that would benefit so greatly by my throwing wads of cash into the red bucket whenever I hear the sound of a bell. Yes, I love Target. I don't have to cringe and cover my ears and cry when I walk by.
Every evening from now until the end of poverty and hunger -- oh, I mean the end of the Holiday season -- I will have to wait for my train while listening to the merry sounds of bell ringers less than 50 feet apart trying to get the most donations. The bells aren't even tuned the same. One is slightly sharp.
And did I mention that it finally got cold here? Did I mention how much I hate the cold?
But other than that... everything is GREAT.
Ok, so the tricky part of this is to think of things that you could not know about me from reading my archives. Since if a thing is in there and you, my reader, has read them and still does not know a given thing, then for me to put it here and make it easy for you would be to encourage a lack of attention, something I definitely do not want to do. So, after thinking long and hard, here is the final installment.
- 51) I came out to myself at the age of 20.
- 52) Before that I had hoped that I was bi.
- 53) I decided to get involved with a guy to see if I could.
- 54) I couldn’t. I am pretty damn fucking gay.
- 55) I told my parents when I was 22.
- 56) Also when I was 22, I dyed my hair a dark blue.
- 57) Despite what my parents think, these two facts are not related.
- 58) I was too impatient to bother to bleach my hair out first, so the color came out an electric teal, and then within a few days turned a dark green. At the time, my hair was past my hips and had an old spiral perm growing out. So for a year (until I cut the last of it out) I looked like I had sea-weed hair.
- 59) I thought this was pretty damn cool.
- 60) When I was 23 I ran away from home.
- 61) I abandoned my college degree with 2 classes left (besides the math that I was resolutely not going to take) and moved to Oregon to be a starving poet.
- 62) The starving got to be pretty real, so I ended up taking a job at the Harry & David Bakery (factory).
- 63) One of my first jobs was to squirt raspberry sauce on the cheesecakes. Lower down on the assembly line there was a person with a little stick who would swirl the sauce into the cheesecake batter. I was supposed to put the sauce down in a spiral, but I got bored with this and started drawing little pictures of reindeers and kittens and Christmas trees and whatever else I could think of. They weren’t very good pictures.
- 64) I guess raspberry sauce and cheese are not my medium.
- 65) My assembly-line mates thought this was very funny, the supervisors did not.
- 66) I was moved to the galette machine. If you think that this sounds like a French torture/execution device, you would not be much wrong. No one told me to pretend to be bad at the machine so I wouldn’t have to stay there long, so I did a good job and got stuck at the thing (filling little shortbread sandwich cookies with jam – making certain that both sides of the shortbread were exactly the same size and shade of brown and that none of the colorful jam got on the sides of the cookies) until I got a feeling that I needed to move home to Utah immediately. ( I STILL love to eat those freaking cookies. They are so good they suck your soul away and you don't care about the back-breaking demoralizing work creating them)
- 67) I packed up and left within a week. My brother flew out to keep me company on the drive. I picked him up at the Portland airport.
- 68) On the drive I got extremely sick with mono and he had to finish driving me home. I hadn’t known that I was getting sick until I fell asleep while driving and nearly drove off the road. I didn’t hit anyone because this was a highway in the middle of rural Idaho. My brother grabbed the steering wheel and didn’t let me drive again.
- 69) I could have died from the mono. If I hadn’t been home when the disease got bad, I would have died – they had to lance my tonsils and give me steroids so I could breathe. And I had no health insurance in Oregon, and my roommate there wouldn’t have cared enough to take my delirious, extremely sick person to the clinic.
- 70) Let me backtrack here, I should let you know that I am extremely germ phobic.
- 71) I will have sex with someone before I will let them take a taste of my drink.
- 72) After I’ve had sex with someone I still don’t want to let them share a drink with me, but I have a difficult time justifying my refusal (considering all the dirty places on them my mouth has probably already been) but sometimes I manage to deny them anyway.
- 73) I tried to get over my germ phobia by agreeing to share a piece of cake with a co-worker/friend at lunch one day.
- 74) That’s how I got the mono.
- 75) Yes, that’s really how I got mono – not by doing anything more interesting.
- 76) My family thinks this is more disgusting than if I had gotten it by making out with someone. When my siblings and I were kids, we used to be able to claim food by licking it in front of them – kinda like dogs marking our territory. Too full to eat that piece of pizza now? Want to make sure your brothers don’t eat it in front of them? Lick it in front of them and they will leave it alone. After a while you didn’t even have to lick it, just say that you had and it was yours forever.
- 77) I was a really mean older sister.
- 78) This one time I noticed that my younger brother was snitching ice-cream from the carton. He was using a fork. I always used a spoon and very carefully just deepened the scoop marks that were already there so as not to be caught. After my parents caught my brother using a fork, I always used a fork, cause that way they wouldn’t even ask, they would just know that my brother had done it and he would get in trouble for it.
- 79) Even if they hadn’t thought it was him, I probably could have coerced him into confessing to the crime – I was good at that.
- 80) One time my brothers were chasing me around the house with a cupful of water to throw on me (one of our most favorite ways of torturing each other) and I locked myself in the bathroom (that my parents had just finished remodeling) and they were pushing and kicking on the door and yelling at me and I flung open the door really quick just as they were throwing themselves on it (they didn’t actually hit the door) and the doorknob punched a big hole in the wall and I went “aaaaaaaaaaahbabababa” (you know, in that annoying way that kids have) “you guys just put a hole in mom and dad’s wall. You are going to be in so much trouble.” And they started crying and I told them that they better confess right away so that mom and dad would be lenient on them, and that’s what they did (they never threw the water on me either) and they got in a lot of trouble.
- 81) They still haven’t forgiven me for being such a shit.
- 82) It's not like I've apologized, though.
- 83) When I was 5 I decided to be an archaeologist.
- 84) Not because of Indiana Jones. In fact, I despised his sloppy methodology and lack of respect for human remains.
- 85) No, at the age of 5 I wanted to touch the past, make people come back to life, see how they lived and why.
- 86) Also at the age of 5, my kindergarten teacher put me in the “special” group of kids.
- 87) After a few weeks of this, my mother found out. She stormed in there and demanded to know why my teacher thought I was developmentally challenged. The teacher said that the assignments for the “normal” students were too difficult for me to comprehend, that I doodled all over them instead of completing them. She said that in addition to the assignment difficulty I always had a vacant look on my face while sucking my thumb and staring at the other kids. My mother looked at the stack of doodled-on assignments. Most of these involved drawing lines from words to the pictures they represent. They were indeed covered in swirly doodles. My mother took a pen and followed every squiggley line from where it started at a word and ended at the correct picture. She said to the teacher, “ My daughter’s not slow, she just thinks you’re boring.”
- 88) They moved me to the gifted and talented program the next day.
- 89) That’s why I have extreme concerns about the way children are categorized and shuffled into different educational “tracks”.
- 90) I was reading and comprehending on a college level in the 3rd grade.
- 91) I’ve gotten dumber since then.
- 92) I worked single-mindedly on becoming the “Musical Archaeologist” all the way through my public education.
- 93) When I got to the university, I took all the upper division Archaeology/Anthropology classes first.
- 94) I thought they would let me challenge and test out of Anthropology 101 (a requirement for the degree)
- 95) The undergraduate advisor was a shit and wouldn’t let me—so that’s when I dropped out of school and left for Oregon.
- 96) I was starting to have ethical concerns over excavation anyway.
- 97) I had decided to become an Archaeological In Situ conservator, but then found out that that required a degree in Chemistry and that was simply too much math to face (plus the Getty Institute is in the LA quagmire and I don’t think I could live there).
- 98) After I recovered from Mono, I decided to go ahead and swallow my pride and finish my last semester.
- 99) Though I registered for it, I still couldn’t bring myself actually to attend Anth 101
- 100) I nearly failed because the final exam was based on specific student presentations that had been made in class. And though I did know about the cultured discussed, I wasn’t there to see which cultural artifacts had been brought in, so I couldn’t discuss their impact. I got a C – the lowest possible grade I could get and count towards graduation. Stupid class.
And the missing 20 that certain people have asked for:
- 1) To round out that final semester, I took a poetry workshop from Jacqueline Osherow. She convinced me that I should get an MFA and PhD in Poetry.
- 2) Since I had never taken any English courses in college (tested out of them) I decided to delay graduation by one more semester in order to take the hardest undergraduate English Seminars I could find.
- 3) I ended up taking Queer Theory taught by Kathryn Bond Stockton. She got me hooked on queer theory. And helped me get into the MFA program.
- 4) I have a permanent horizontal crease in my right buttock from falling on our tile shower steps while rushing to get ready for a job interview. The bruise I received was the worst I ever had – and that includes the ones I got from the car accident I was in.
- 5) I interviewed for my current position nearly out of my head from pain and shock and loratabs. It had been less than an hour since I had fallen.
- 6) I once waited 6 months for my brother to finish restoring a jeep for me.
- 7) For those 6 months I talked incessantly about how great my life would be once I got that jeep, all the great places I’d be able to go, all the muddy dogs I could haul around, all the thrift-shop finds I’d be able to buy.
- 8) He finished with the jeep on Monday. I spent the day getting it registered.
- 9) That night none of my friends were around to see the magnificence.
- 10) The next day I picked up my little sister so we could spend a night primping for our roles as bridesmaids in my other brother’s wedding on Wednesday. On the way home from the store a woman in a minivan ran a stop sign right in front of me and I couldn’t stop in time. She had appeared from underneath an overpass so I couldn’t see that she wasn’t going to stop. I hit her head on. My jeep was totaled. And Kristin had to call my parents and inform them that their two daughters were being rushed to the hospital the night before my brother’s wedding. My brother (the mechanic) rushed to the hospital to find out how the accident had happened. He thought he must have overlooked some major mechanical problem. He hadn’t. My sister and I were fine – covered in bruises and bumps and I had severe whiplash, but mostly whole.
- 11) I wore purple fluffy slippers under my long, pale pink, chiffon bridesmaid dress.
- 12) I am deathly afraid of spiders.
- 13) A spider once followed me around the house – it was too big for me to kill by myself.
- 14) Once, when I was a kid, I found a wolf spider in my closet. I left it there and decided that it would probably stay there and not come hurt me if I appeased it and brought it presents.
- 15) Every day I would bring it a dead fly.
- 16) I didn’t understand that they wanted their prey live.
- 17) After a week I decided to see how my plan was working. It wasn’t there.
- 18) I didn’t sleep in my room for a week.
- 19) I do think that cat-faced house spiders are cute.
- 20) But only if they stay outside. If they come inside I will kill them and leave their carcasses where they fall as a deterrent to other trespassers. This is surprisingly effective.
And one bonus one because I am competitive:
- 1) Despite my hatred of math, I DO regret not taking the AP Calculus class that my Analytic Trig teacher tried so hard to convince me to take.
Phew... Done. Digest.
Ok, I have seen this on other blogs, and then Estelle brought it up on her blog and I thought, why not? Of course, also like Estelle, I don’t have time to do this all at once, so I thought I’d split it into two. This is what I got done yesterday and this morning.
- 1) I am a Pisces.
- 2) With a Leo rising and a Capricorn moon.
- 3) If you know the importance of #2 I will love you unconditionally.
- 4) I don’t have a favorite color. All colors are equally beautiful just some look better in some circumstances and surroundings than others.
- 5) I DO happen to think that sky blue is a neutral, though.
- 6) I managed to get a Bachelor of Science without taking 1 SINGLE, SOLITARY math class.
- 7) It took me 6 months of going into the graduation office every couple of weeks and pointing out to them the loophole I had found that made it possible for me to graduate with a degree that required math without actually taking any math before they managed to override the computer and release my diploma.
- 8) I still found this to be less effort than actually taking the class.
- 9) They closed the loophole immediately after I took advantage of it. They hadn’t really realized that it was there.
- 10) When I was a senior in high school I had a major conflict of personalities with my AP English teacher. Each quarter we had to choose an author off of his canon-list and read 1000 pages by them in order to prepare for the exam. I thought his list was deficient in that it was mostly dead white men, and I refused to read anyone on it. I chose, instead, to read Alex Haley, Ayn Rand (whom I hated, but am glad that I read so I can tell people who think she is great exactly why they are wong), Marge Piercy, Margaret Atwood, Maxine Hong Kingston, Louise Erdrich, Anne Sexton. (you may know that not all of these people even have 1000 pages of material published, well, I thought the whole 1000 pages by a single author thing was ridiculous as well limiting and I told him so). Everyone else did exactly what he said and they all read the same 4 authors so they study together. I thought that was ridiculous, as well, and told them all that they should be reading DIFFERENT authors so they could benefit from additional knowledge and fill in each other’s gaps. Needless to say I wasn’t invited to their study groups. Anyway, 2 weeks before the test my teacher told me that I would be wasting my parent’s money on the test since I had not prepared adequately and would be sure to fail. I took the test anyway (and not a little bit of that resolve was that I wanted to spite him) and I was the only one who passed. And I passed with a 4 out of 5. Everyone else got 2s and 1s. SO WHO WAS RIGHT, HUH? WHO WAS THE UNPREPARED ONE, HUH? BIG OLD LOSER TEACHER, THAT’S WHO. AND AS FOR THE REST OF ALL MY LOSER CLASSMATES, I DIDN’T WANT TO BE IN YOUR STUDYGROUPS ANYWAY, SO THERE!
- 11) I’m not a bitter person.
- 30) I think there is so much info about me and my character in #10 & 11 that they should count for 20 items at least.
- 31) Readers should not think that the way I think about and speak of that particular High School English teacher is indicative of the way I view teachers (even High School English teachers) in general. Normally I am very lovey on teachers.
- 32) I am the oldest child in my family.
- 33) I sucked my thumb until I was in my teens.
- 34) I don’t suck my thumb anymore, but many times I will curl up in bed and put my hand by my mouth as if I were sucking my thumb.
- 35) When I was 12 I got in trouble for passing out pornography to my Mormon (girl) friends. They were 12, too.
- 36) I’m not going to tell you where I stole the porn from, but I will say that when I was discovered, that person was made to throw their whole porn collection away and that made that person very mad at me.
- 37) One of the sweetest pick-up lines that was ever used on me was the Halloween that I dressed as a Salamander (as in the fire elemental and not the amphibian) and when everyone asked what I was and I told them I was a salamander and they said “you don’t look anything like an amphibian, what’s with the burnt toga and the sticks in your hair and the flames painted on your face?” I just got tired of explaining and started telling everyone that I was a fire elemental, and then at the dance that night, this woman was checking me out and she finally came up to talk to me and she asked me what I was dressed as and I told her that I was a fire elemental and she said, “Oh, you mean like a salamander?” and I was hers for the taking.
- 38) Up until quite recently I used to play dungeons and dragons at least once a month, and I would still play it if I, and the group I used to play with, had the time.
- 39) My favorite characters are: Quiverinne, a 15th level half-elf Ranger with a penchant for throwing daggers,; and Gefjon, an 8th level berserker Magic-User (I found an obscure rule somewhere that let me do that) trapped in Ravenloft, with a trigger magic-missile finger, a penchant for stealing other magic-user’s spell books, and a real talent for throwing fireballs and lightning bolts. Gefjon is on her way to being corrupted by Ravenloft and may even end up as a Dark Lord one day.
- 40) If #39 made any sense to you at all I will love you unconditionally.
- 41) At one point I could play 10 different wind instruments.
- 42) I went to University of Utah on a music scholarship.
- 43) I was there as a bassoonist.
- 44) I had to stop playing the Bassoon because it turns out that my median nerve runs right through a muscle in my forearm. With all the rehearsals and performances associated with being in 3 different musical groups (Wind Symphony, University Symphony, and Chamber Winds), the muscles in my forearm got very pumped up, resulting in the compression of the median nerve and severe carpal-tunnel symptoms. My hands would go numb during performances and I there were times I nearly dropped my instrument. The only way to fix the condition was surgery that had a high chance of resulting in the loss of the fine motor skill that would be necessary to continue to play the instrument. I had no health insurance at the time. And with the poor prognosis, and the fact that I could not afford to pay for the surgery and the extensive physical therapy necessary afterward, I elected not to have the surgery.
- 45) They let me keep the scholarship.
- 46) A few years ago Kristin bought me a beautiful French open-hole solid sterling silver flute with a gold lip-plate.
- 47) I have been trying to teach myself the flute ever since.
- 48) My flute-lessons are going very slowly.
- 49) I call myself The Procrastinatrix.
- 50) I like the fact that the title makes me sound like a Roman Super-Hero.
More tomorrow, or the day after.
I am going to get my flu shot this afternoon. Lord help me, but I hate needles. I must really love Julia or something to put myself through this (I REALLY HATE needles)...
Utah, a state that is known for being an ice-box of civil rights agitation, is currently facing yet another history-making moment. A moment where the powers that be are faced with the chance to prove themselves wise and benevolent and forward-facing or retreat still further into the primordial ooze in which they find it so comfy to snooze away the progress of time. What do you think will happen?
Wait, let me tell you what I'm talking about. Some of you may be aware that Utah's Supreme Court is deliberating on a very important lesbian custody case. Two women met, fell in love, and decided to create a child. The to-be-birthmother (Barlow) was an outspoken gay-rights activist here in Utah. In addition to creating as much paperwork as possible to protect their relationship and Jones' (non-bio mom) relationship with their child, the couple flew to Vermont and were joined in a Civil Union there. This was done not because such a thing is legal in Utah, but because such a thing would be a statement of their intent to create a family. When the child was 2 years old, and after a year of infertility (trying to get the non-bio mom pregnant with their second child) the couple split up. Barlow tried to keep Jones from seeing their daughter. Jones took her to court to uphold their contracts and maintain her relationship. And Jones won. Amazing. A non-bio mom in Utah actually got a lower court to uphold her in loco parentis relationship. Barlow was ordered to let Jones visit the girl.
Barlow has enlised the aid of the Alliance Defense Fund in her legal battle. They are being supported by the Sutherland Institute. In order to try to change the jursdiction of the case, Barlow moved herself and her daughter to Texas where in loco parentis is harder to prove. Though ordered to allow Jones visitation, Barlow has not complied. Jones has had to struggle for every moment of time with her daughter. She doesn't know where Barlow and their daughter live. She has no way of getting hold of them except through Barlow's lawyers. Barlow has appealed and appealed the lower court's rulings until the whole thing has ended up at the Utah Supreme Court.
Barlow and her hoard are saying that Jones NEVER was meant to be a parent. That she was simply a boarder in Jones' house. That Barlow has left the "revolving lesbian" lifestyle and does not want to expose her child to such an unhealthy way of life. That should the courts force her to let this "legal stranger" have access to her child, it will mean that any "nanny" or "roommate" will be able to take your child from you. Not only that they will be able to take your child from you, but that you will no longer have the right to protect your child from sin and perversion and Lifestyles To Which You Greatly Disapprove. What more terrifing thing can you tell a parent? I sit in fear that should this prove true some Republican somewhere will insist on taking my child to church and to political conventions and force her to watch FOX News. Egads! The fear that this woman is creating within this religious, intolerant, parental-rights state is enormous. The same brilliantly malicious legislators who brought us our anti-gay marriage amendment during the last election (who, by the way, told the voters that the amendment would NOT prevent employers from offering domestic-partner benefits -- so it really wouldn't hurt anybody and so there was no reason NOT to vote for the amendment, and that we gays were just freaking out over this for no good reason because it would not substantially hurt us -- and now quote the amendment as a reason why employers cannot be allowed to offer those benefits... but I digress) are now talking about creating legislation to "correct" any "activist ruling" handed down by the court. Lovely. As if things weren't hard enough here.
Here is a link to a local story on the situation. This is what Utah's local media considers a fair and balanced story.
If you would like to eat your lunch in peace, or, really, retain any belief in the inherent goodness of people, I do not recommend that you read this document.
What I love is the way everyone keeps focusing on Jones' affair, and not the planning, the 2 years of parenting, the 1 year of infertility, the Vermont civil union (which, though not valid in Utah now, has still not been dissolved, and if anything were to happen to DOMA or gay marriage on the level of the US Supreme Court, these women would find themselves still legally bound, and if Barlow manages to "find a man who can understand [her] past" she will be a bigamist, in the finest Utah tradition -- albeit a little topsy-turvey). But none of that really matters because JONES HAD AN AFFAIR and thus that proves that gay relationships are all about the sex, and are inherently unstable, and that Jones is a bad influence and would be an unfit mother were anyone ever to consider her a mother and that Barlow is truly the tromped-upon victim here who has pulled herself together and seen the light and wants to protect her daughter from the depravity embodied in this "legal stranger" who is making a political tool out of a child (not to mention that it is Barlow and her lawyers who keep pushing the issue and who keep getting in front of the cameras and politicizing the event). If Jones were a man, her affair would not be grounds to keep her from her child. Her affair wouldn't even be considered news. But because she's a lesbian, and on top of that a woman (the order in which people consider these facts here) such a fact is sensational and should make this an open-and-shut case. The fact that it doesn't has stymied the media and so they keep touting it about trying to make it pertinent.
Kristin and I have been following this story since it started. At times we have felt great hope for our family coming from the rulings sparked by the suit. At other times (like now) we feel great fear. We have done almost everything these women did. We haven't done Vermont, but we did do San Francisco. And while we haven't yet finished the process to make me a legal guardian of Julia, the legal guardianship that these women got for Jones seems to be doing little good. This case isn't over guardianship. Jones will never have guardianship over her daughter. At this point the best she can get is visitation. She'll only get to visit her daughter, never truly parent her again.
A little over a month ago, our local independant radio station aired a talk show featuring Jones and her lawyer. Though I love this particular talk show (just as I hate most others) it comes on at noon and I don't listen to it here at work. It seems ill-advised to listen to a radically-liberal talk show in the reception area of a Federal office. But this time I did listen to it. And I cried while I listened. Picture me, at my job, surrounded by lawyers and marble and hardwood and glass, crying. I had read the news stories, but I had not yet heard all the details. I hadn't heard about how hard Jones and Barlow had worked to try to protect against a just such a similar situation. I hadn't heard about Jones' struggle with infertility. And I cried for how generous Jones remains toward Barlow. Barlow has been charged with custodial interference for refusing to let Jones visit with her daughter. Still, Jones talks of the visits she has been allowed to have and speaks well of Barlow (well, much more kindly than I would or am). Such generosity could have been manufactured to gain support, but I doubt it, because bitterness would be understandable.
Since I listened to this story, I've met people who knew them, and heard more details which I won't put down here, but just break my heart further. And of course, my heart is breaking not only for Jones and her daughter, but for the specter of me that hangs in this case, and all the other non-bio moms out there who will be affected by the fallout. Because, in Utah (and a lot of other places), none of our families are safe, and still, all our families might get a lot more un-safe in the coming months. Even if it at first seems like something miraculous has happened.
You can listen to the program here. It's an hour.
Last night after we left you, I kept smelling you. I would catch a whiff of your cologne and wonder, "Why can I still smell Erik? Is he hiding somewhere around here? Is he stalking me? Did he spritz my clothes when I wasn't looking cause he thinks I smell bad?" Then, finally, I bent to nuzzle my face into Julia's head and realized that it was her hair that smelled of Eau de Erik!
She smelled like you all night. Even after her bath!* And, I've got to say, it was a little disturbing. Because even you didn't smell as strongly of you as she did. It was like she was a little scent-sponge. Strange. Of course, I wasn't sticking my nose in your hair. And I promise I never will.
Love, Cousin Trista
*we didn't wash her hair cause we had just washed it that morning and we don't want it to get too dry
I have been waiting. Waiting and waiting and waiting. I have been waiting for the release of Martha Well’s The Gate of Gods, Book Three of The Fall of Ile Rien. I read Book Two THE DAY IT CAME OUT, clear back in June of ’04 just as I read Book One the day it was released waaaaaaay back in 2003. A lifetime ago. And I have been oh so patient ever since. Have you heard me complaining? See, that’s how patient I’ve been.
It was released on November 1st. “But Trista,” you all say. “Today is the 3rd, what does this have to do the price of tea in China?”* Well, you see, I am trying to be a responsible adult. I am trying to manage my money. I am trying not to be so bookishly impulsive. To that end I have been saving a coupon from Borders for 30% off. But it’s only valid from Nov 3-6. (I work 18 floors above a Borders books). So I thought to myself, “You know, you’ve got a lot going on in your life right now. AND you have the new O Magazine to keep you warm at night. You can bear to wait an EXTRA 2 DAYS for your true happiness to arrive.
So I did. And I’ve been sitting here all day waiting for my lunch break so I could go down and pick up my happiness.
And you know what?
THEY DON’T HAVE IT.
They have books 1 and 2, as well as the sorta-Prequel The Death of the Necromancer. But not BOOK 3. How can this be? How can the world be so cruel? They can order it in for me. But that would take 7 days. 7 days. And if I’m ordering anything in, I’m ordering it from my local independent book store. Not from Borders WHO SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER IN THE FIRST PLACE. Why reward them for their bad behavior?
I spit in Borders’ General Direction. They shall know my wrath. As soon as I’m done with the book.
* I'm not certain that you actually would say "what does this have to do with the price of tea in China" but I've always thought someone should say that to me. Now seems like the perfect time, don't you think?
It was a better day today.
Of course it's always a good day when you find out that you are an undiscovered (and unlauded) GENIOUS! I took the following test in between bouts of data entry (and kept having to minimize the screen, let's just say I was a bit distracted, so I'm probably EVEN SMARTER, ha!)
The funniest thing about this was, to me, the change it appears to mark in the way my brain is working lately. The last standardized test I took was the GRE and my results were laughable. I missed 1 question on the language skills, and 3 questions on the logic skills sections which put me pretty high up in the percentiles. But the math, oh the math! I scored SO LOW on the math. It looked I was some person who could recite the dictionary and hold my own in an argument with Plato (something I definitely COULDN'T and CAN'T do) but couldn't figure out how many doors are on a 4-door Sedan. Very much a skewed portrait.
Now, well, as you can see below, things are changed. Now apparently I'm a mathmatical genious, but can't reason my way out of a paper bag. How does this happen? Isn't math a logical application? Shouldn't skill in one equate to skill in the other? Why are my skills always picking on each other, pushing each other down? If I'm a mathmatical genious, how come it makes my head hurt to balance my checkbook? And how come it takes me 3 days and 2 bottles of Aleve to figure out our household budget? If I was a genious wouldn't I be able to spew those numbers out in my sleep? Logially, this would seem to indicate that I am not a genious. Of course, the test doesn't give me much confidence in my logic skills. So, if that's right, and I'm wrong, then I'm not a genious. But can I be a genious and still be wrong? And if I'm right, and I'm not wrong, then that would mean I'm not a genious, but I'm right about that and that would mean that my logic skills aren't as bad as the test says and that would push my score up making me even more of a genious even as I prove that I'm not one. Ow. My head hurts again.
Anyway, if you take the test below and it show you as less smart than me, well, I hate to say it, but it's probably true. I am a genious, after all, and I can't argue with that (apparently I can't argue with anything). If it says you're smarter than me, well then I knew it was wrong anyway. Those tests are always wrong.
And that just goes to prove my old theory: Germans Love David Hasselhof*
|Your IQ Is 130|
Your Logical Intelligence is Below Average
Your Verbal Intelligence is Genius
Your Mathematical Intelligence is Genius
Your General Knowledge is Exceptional
* If you get the pop-culture reference in this statement, I will make and send you mental brownies and kudos.
Heather Armstrong at Dooce says all this so much better, really, you should all just go read her. I'm just talking to myself here.
As some of you may or may not be able to tell, I'm a tad bit depressive. I live on an emotional and energetic level that is just slightly below what some would call the norm. I'm a little darker, a little quieter, a little sadder, a little more likely to jump to the worst possible conclusion when given a situation or series of facts, a little more likely to take emotional responsibility for bad things happening. Oh, I have my brightnesses too; I can be extremely fun at parties and small gatherings. I tell fabulously funny stories, and I can make a person feel special and cared for and as if they have a special light shining out of them that makes them uniquely beautiful. I am good at looking for that light, and I am good at hiding from most people how dark I am inside.
I've always been this way. My father talks about how worried he was about me when I was a small child because so often I would be content sitting away from everyone else, watching, with my blanket in my hand and my thumb in my mouth. I knew far more about the emotional undercurrents swirling around me in any given social/familial situation than you would expect any preschooler to know. And I was very aware that there was not much I could do to make the situations any better and oh so much I could do to make them worse. I could make messes, for instance. I could breathe too loudly. I could insist too strongly on attention. I became an excellent soother of ruffled emotions, a salver of bruised egos. I became good at disappearing when I wasn't wanted or needed, but close enough to be available the moment I was. My own emotions were among those things that I considered, for the most part, unwanted and unneeded, and when I was in the grip of some strong emotion (whether positive or negative) I tended to isolate in order to ride it out where no one else would be burdened. And, starting in my mid-teens, every couple of years I would turn suicidal and no one would know. I am not one of those people who warn of their immanent self-destruction. I merely withdraw more and more as I spiral further into what some would call a deep depression (deeper than where I normally live) but to which I refer in my self-talk as "a state of high inconvenience to others." A couple of times it was something outside of myself that kept me alive, a couple of time I managed to save myself through a sheer gritting of teeth and a mantra that went something like, "you may be miserable and inconvenient NOW, but any day now SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE is going to have a crisis and need you to help them through it." Did someone say co-dependent as well as depressive?
Shortly before I met Kristin, I decided I wanted to change my life. I wanted to stop living a life based in fear. I wanted to try to give myself the same consideration and compassion I can give so freely to others. Towards this end, I have been slowly separating from all my co-dependent friendships. I have begun trying to identify my own emotions (you know, for a woman who has helped numerous people deal with identifing and honoring their emotions and emotional needs, you'd think I'd be able to tell what I was feeling, wouldn't you?) and figure out what I need to do for them. I don't think I've ever attempted anything harder. This challenge doesn't end, and it doesn't get any easier with time. It mutates. It finds new ways to express itself, new anxieties and fears and sadnesses to try to deal with -- and to give up on and to try to hide from others as well as myself. Sometimes I have good days. Sometimes I have very very bad days. Oh, let's be honest: Sometimes I have very very bad months. And poor Kristin is right there on ground zero. I would isolate even from her, but with her sharing my home and my bed there's not much space to isolate in, and there's only so much crying one can do in the shower before your partner notices that you're taking a lot of very long showers. I do my best, but she is often a casualty.
So, what about medication? I am very resistant to medication. I find it depressing that I would need to take a pill to make me normal. To fix my brain. And I find the high cost (remember, up until I started my current job I had no health insurance) of the pills depressing as well. And I make too much for financial assistance with the meds, but not enough to justify paying $150 a month for something that doesn't seem to help. In the past, medication hasn't seemed to help me feel better, though Kristin says that when I'm on it she can notice a difference. I do, however, realize that I sabotage my medication efforts. Normally, I go on a medication, suffer side-effects, and either not mention them or minimize them. I do this because if taking 1 medication is bad, taking more to mitigate side-effects seems much worse. Also, I don't want the doctor to feel bad, so I'll say that I feel better, that I think they're working, that he's made a good choice. It's ridiculous (and, actually, harmful) to be worried about a doctor's feelings, but that's what I do. So, I say that the meds are great when they're not, and I cancel future appointments and take myself off them. After, I work really hard to maintain the behavior change that Kristin notices when I'm medicated, but since I can't feel it to start with, I can't replicate it. Fights with my beleaguered partner ensue, and a few months later I will go find another doctor and start the process over again.
I have no idea why she stays with me. I have no idea why she wants to parent with me.
And now we have a child. So this summer, before Julia was born, I went out and found a new APRN and started medication. Again. Determined that I would make it work this time. And so far she's got me on 2 pills and I'm actually taking them. She's thinking of putting me on a third, because these 2 alone are not helping me feel better. Lately, I feel worse. In fact, I'm beginning to think that the futzing with the dosages is contributing to my increasingly rapid downward spiral. Or, it could be the extreme sleep-deprivation. It could be my job. It could be the fact that I have had 4 heavy periods in the 10 weeks since Julia was born. It could be (really, it is) all these things and more and still nothing more than myself and my genetics. I am that coin that you drop in the wide funnel to watch it spin its way down. I've been going for a while, and I'm thinking that I am at that point when the circle has gotten tighter and tighter just before the coin drops through the hole. And I know that with a child and a partner I cannot let myself drop through that hole. But everything piles on top of everything and the very fact that my depression is making things worse just makes things worse.
I am not going to drop down that hole. I am going to stop the cycle.
One of my griefs is that I have lost touch with my spirituality. I am wiccan, but I haven't practiced in years. I can't tell you which phase the moon is in. I haven't observed either sabbat or esbat in longer than I care to say. I have felt spiritually numb for quite a while, even in the midst of the miracles that surround me.
Yet, the rythms must still be moving through me, because I started thinking of Halloween and what that means for me and where I am. Yesterday was Samhain, when the veil is thinnest and things cross over from each direction. This is the dark time of the year when things move toward conception, begin reaching towards an opportunity to grow. When things release their grief, their harvest and rest in preparation for a new cycle of growth. This is my reaching, my releasing, my imperceptible movement, my choice.