Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Friday, March 25, 2005

Waiting for Birdy

You know when you're coloring Easter eggs and a (permanent) rainbow of toxic chemicals is slowly soaking through the layer of newspaper that you've piled onto the kitchen counters, and your 2-year old keeps darting past your watchful gaze to dunk her (sensitive, allergic) mitts in various containers of dye and your 5-year old is fixated on painting the already-colored eggs with the glow-in-the dark paint that came with the kit, even though the eggs are still wet, and then drags you, every 2 minutes, with Tie-Dye Girl clinging to you like an aggressive fern, into the bathroom where you must all stand in the dark to view the Glory that is glow-in-the-dark eggs--LIGHT! DARK! LIGHT! DARK!--and the the Girl steps in the cat's water bowl (DARK!) and you realize that most of the glow-in-the-dark paint is actually on the Boy's head (LIGHT!) and just when you start to think your brain is going to actually and truly melt and ooze out of your ear (DARK!), something amazing happens, the universe and reality shift, and you realize--

My God. Look at these children, these beautiful, glowing children.

I am the luckiest bitch on this earth.

That--that moment--is the book "Waiting for Birdy". A thousand times over, and placed on paper by someone who has the ability to put it all--this whole insane beautiful neurotic hopeful glorious gross incredible life--into words better than I ever could. The thing is, I'm pretty sure I would love this book even if my kids weren't about the same age as Ben and Birdy, or even if I didn't have kids at all. And this collection of essays written during (and primarily about) the author's second pregnancy are about so much more than that. Like all the other "mommy blogs" that I love, the essays (most of which are re-edited versions from the Ben & Birdy column in my blogroll) are by a mother and so strongly involve that identity but also go beyond it, out into the stratosphere of being a woman and a writer and a partner and God love you, Catherine, a hypochondriac who might just be able to give me a run for my money. But who also gets that she's the luckiest bitch on this earth. Truly.

Catherine Newman, I am so buying you a drink one of these days. A PINK drink! The rest of you--buy this book. Seriously. I mean it. Or I'm not sharing the glow-in-the-dark paint with you. And oh, you don't want to miss out on that.


Thursday, March 24, 2005

It's always a good time for George Bailey

...especially when _It's a Wonderful Life_ in 30 seconds with bunnies. Da-duuh!
Edited to note that I am copying Trisha, and who wouldn't? Cause she rocks. She posted something else from this site, which is how I found it, but I am a slackard and forgot to say that. And she gently mentioned that she had also posted the bunnies back in October, to which I reply--how the hell did I miss that? Duh. Anyhow, Dr. B already plans to kick my ass over the Peeps thing, so really, I'd better not push my luck.

Peep Wars

If wasting time in favor of reading random and sugar-coated musings is your thing (and if you're here, God help you, it apparently is), check out the comments on Dr. B's Peeps post. I always say that we should avoid judging those whose views oppose our own (yes I do so! shut the eff up!), and so even though the good Bitch has made an unholy alliance with the travesty of foodstuff that is Peeps, I still heart her. Go read the comments, they're funny. Especially the quotes from the crazy Italian chocolate maker's Web site.

But Peeps? Yeah, they're still nasty as shite.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Random randomness

It's been said before by better people than me, but I'll say it again--the new Blogger comments blow. If you use them and you aren't hearing from me much anymore, it isn't because I'm not there, it's because the damned things never load. So, lucky you, I guess! Way to shut me up.
If one were to find a black spot on one's tongue, and one were to freak out and Google the hell out of that fucker, one would find nothing but references to Labrador retrievers, sarcoma, HIV, and the Black Death. Then one might (just might, mind you), consider that the weird skin thingy on one's calve might actually not be just a weird skin thingy like the dermatologist said, but might instead actually be the first sign of some impending Horrible Wasting Death. Then one might be forced to locate the Chica every, oh, 5 minutes, to ask her whether one looked more pallid than usual. And it's a good thing she's one's best friend, because otherwise her suggestion that it might just be some sort of canker sore could be taken as just a little laissez faire, if you know what one means, just a little too "oh, well, sure you might be dying, but could you possibly be overreacting?" And one can't have that kind of attitude getting around, now can one?
Here's what makes me crazy (number 8452): when I tell someone how much we love those Junie B. Jones books and they say, "Oh, well, we can't read those at our house, they're just a little too rough, you know, a little too wild. I think they might be a bad influence." Because we love them so much because the Boy IS Junie B. Jones. So cut Junie B. some friggin' slack, people.
Did I mention that I have the Black Death? Either that, or I'm turning into a Lab. Woof.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Can of worms

I might be setting myself up for widespread hatred and vilification, but I have to say it anyway.

Peeps? WTF? Could anything be nastier? And I mean that in a bad way.

Except when they're melting, they kinda look like Magical Trevor's hat. That's a saving grace.

You would think

I am officially my own grandmother. I keep falling asleep in the Boy's bed at 8:00, then waking up at midnight and wandering around aimlessly, going to my own bed and lying there unable to sleep, then finally falling asleep and failing to get up at 5:00 when my alarm goes off. See, now I'm starting to think I should just go to bed with the darned kid at 8:00, set a little watch alarm for 1:00 am, then actually get up and start the day. That seems to be the only way I'm ever going to accomplish anything, ever again, in my life. Oy vey.
So today at the Acupuncturist's, I saw Acupuncturist 2. At some point, I asked about the CD player and whether I could expect more Interludes With Truckers. "Oh boy," she laughed, rolling her eyes. "So did you hear satanic voices too?" "I heard redneck voices," I said, "which is pretty much the same thing." "Ah," said A2, "well. A1 neglected to mention what had happened that day when you were in here. The next day, I was here all alone, and I'd just seen someone who had told me that she'd had to have her house cleared because of some sort of freaky something going on, and all of a sudden, while I'm up front filling out paperwork, I start hearing these weird voices. They kept getting louder and louder, and when A1 came back I totally lost it. I was sure the room was possessed. And she said, 'Ohhhhh yeah...I forgot to tell you...'" I think I laughed so hard I shook a needle loose. I mean, come on, even if you think it's all a crock of shinola--that's pretty funny. Or maybe I just have a warped sense of humor...
Sunday, I went to a gathering of old college friends, including some of my college roommates that I haven't seen in 15 years. I took the Boy, because he wanted to go and other kids were going to be there. As we were leaving, I said, "Oh, B, I'm so excited! You know, these are my friends from when I was Troy's [our neighbors' son] age!" And the Boy said, "Oh, but Mama. I don't really like old people. I mean, I like them, but they freak me out cause they're so wrinkly. I mean, they're nice, they just...have so" Thank you, dear.

His gems during the party: Of course every time someone new would come in, everyone would yell out happily. Passing through at one of these moments, the Boy shook his head and sighed, "I hate it when all the ladies scream." Later, just before we left and when he was starting to crash, the last of my old roommates came in. Standing in the kitchen, the Boy asked, "Who is that man?" and I said, "Oh, honey, he's one of my old, old friends." The Boy got this completely miserable pout and turned away. I leaned down to him. "Hon," I whispered, "what's going on?" He sniffed, then sighed, "I want old, old friends!" "Well, bud," I laughed, "you have to be OLD first!" He was not appeased.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Blessed are the MEEK, you jackasses!

I'm trying to see the divine in everyone, even the people who make the hair on the back of my neck stand up. But come on...

"As the vice-regents of God, we are to bring His truth and His will to bear on every sphere of our world and our society," he wrote in a pamphlet handed out
to attendees. "We are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government ... our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors -- in short, over every aspect and institution of human society."

One conference goer explained the imperative in terms of immigrants living in the United States. "The country is getting further away from Christian values, and we're being stifled," Debbie Mochle-Young of Santa Monica, Calif., told the Christian Science Monitor. "Other nationalities are coming to live here and say, 'We want our beliefs,' but they don't let you have yours."

This is from an article on Salon today. (You can access it after watching a brief ad.) This is the most horrifying thing I've read all week, and these days, that's saying a lot. Um, folks? I even believe in God, and this scares the hell out of me. Vice-regents of God? Godly dominion? Sweet Joseph in a Walnut Shell. This type of attitude has jack to do with God. It has to do with fear and hatred and a desire for power. Not peace, not love, not divinity--power. For God's "vice-regents." And I know this is not news to anyone who has eyes to see, but how the hell did we get here? I am literally nauseated. And I'm pissed! It's like when you have this friend, and they're really cool and kind and loving, and they cut you all types of slack and give you good advice, and then some asshole who's maybe met them once (but knows NOTHING about them because all the asshole can ever talk about or think about or see is themselves) starts telling everyone about this friend and how "she wouldn't like you doing that" or "she would never do this" or "if you want her to be your friend, too, you better do this." And all of a sudden, everyone thinks your friend is a huge bitch, and she isn't! But she's off doing humanitarian work in some distant land, or hiking a mountain, or something else equally befitting her coolness, and she can't defend herself.

I'm just raving now, and I need to shut up and put my head between my knees.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

An embarrassment of riches

Are your monitors going all wacky from the peace and contentment I am radiating out from here? From the way I absolutely cannot believe what a fortunate, fortunate soul I am?

This afternoon the kids and I went over to my acquaintance Sally's house. Now, Sally and I have known each other for several years, but it's been a casual type of knowing. Our kids have gone to the same daycare and school; she helped the Ex find his new home when we separated; we chat when we run into each other at school functions. But we've never really done more than that, I think because we've both had bigger fish to fry these past few years. I don't feel it's my place to give you too much detail into her life (even though Sally is not, of course, her real name), but I think it's safe to say that she and I seem to have pissed off the same card dealer. Like my family, she and her clan have been faced with medical issues and marital troubles, although happily, her marriage made it through the fire and she's now pregnant with her third child. Her oldest son, who is 7, has ADHD.

I don't know if I can fully express how exquisitely wonderful the afternoon was. First, I should tell you that I am already damned lucky in the friends department. There's the Chica, of course, who is the Earth's Finest Woman, end of story. As if having her was not enough to fill up my fair friend quotient for the rest of my life! Her daughter and the Boy know each other as "cousins" and actually get along quite well most times, although they have earned the joint nickname of "Conan and Red Sonja". Another friend who used to be a neighbor has always stood up for the Boy, and he and her daughter get along splendidly (although now that they're getting older, her daughter is getting more interested in hanging out with the other girls). Many of my other friends and relations are supportive and funny and marvelous, and of course there's you, my dear, darling blog friends, you groovy angels of goodwill, scattered all about like hidden treasure. So I feel like one of those people who keep winning lotteries and contests and whatnot until you just want to smack them. Only instead of a bunch of dorky prizes, I have this group of incredible women (and men), each one different and yet each one a matching piece to some grain of who I am.

Over tea, we discussed the Great Mother Paranoia. Now and then, one of the boys would dash in with an emergency, and Sally would kindly and firmly remind them that they could choose whether they wanted to play in the den or the basement, but they may not play in here. Amid all the chaos, we continued our conversation, paused at interruptions, and then continued. Because we both live in the tornado, there were no sidelong glances, no pursed lips, no frustrated sighs. Dear God, people, it was heaven.

After a while, she threw a blanket down on the living room floor, hauled out 4 boxes of crackers and a carton of cheese spread, plunked her beautiful pregnant self down and told me, "It's snack time or I'm going to barf. Do you mind?" The children migrated outside and we talked about medications and meditations and baby clothes. The Girl wandered back in and joined us. Sally got a different carton of spread. "None of these crackers taste good to me. I am just going to keep opening things until something doesn't make me want to yak. I hope you don't think I'm a complete freak." And then she laughed.

You know that feeling, that beatific feeling you get when you click with someone and you realize, "Wow. This person and I are going to be friends."? And it's like an unexpected gift, like someone just handed you a present all wrapped up and glittering, and all you have to do is open it up?

Sorry about your monitors, though.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Graceful, just like his Mama

The roller rink was a success. And by "success", I mean that the Boy enjoyed himself. Although his teacher's greeting to me this afternoon began with the words "If you notice a lot of bruises..."

Yeah, I've heard that one before. A lot.

Later, I got to hear about how his friend, Maddie, was willing to sacrifice herself to save him. "We were skating, and we were headed for the wall, and I couldn't stop, and I hollered 'MADDIE!" and I closed my eyes, and she jumped in front of the wall so I wouldn't hit it!" Granted, they were probably going all of .00001 mile per day, but have I mentioned how big my Boy is? He's 4 feet tall, people. He's a 4' tall, 60-pound 5 year old. I bet I know the first words that Maddie's dad heard this afternoon.

"If you notice a lot of bruises..."

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Miss Smartypants meets the YMCA

A direct quote from the Girl's "My Day" report:

...her pretend cry was cracking us up--She's been doing it when she doesn't get something she wants and stops as soon as you tell her to stop pretending.

Ah, my little SBFH-lette.

[Miss Smartypants has left the building (i.e., there used to be a photo here).]

Please don't misunderstand. Honestly, I don't encourage whining or crying. It's more that I just can't take it seriously enough to be annoyed by it yet. Look at that face (while you can, you know the shelf-life of pictures around here)! Here's a typical conversation, overheard while brushing our teeth:
Me: How 'bout a kiss, you?
Girl: [See above]
Me: Yuck, no licking! A regular kiss!
G: Mama, shtick ow yo tooooongue!
Me: No!
G: [Pouting] Shtick ow yo tongue!
Me: No.
Me: Uh-uh.
G: [Coy] Shtiiiick ow yoooo tuh-uhnge...
Me: Nope.
G: My no like you, Mama.
Me: Well, I like you.
G: [Brightly] My like you too!

Remember that Seinfeld episode in which Kramer kept trying out the line "These pretzels are making me thirsty!"? It's like that. Little Drama Queen. I don't know where she gets that. What?

The Boy, now, he's excited about the big field trip tomorrow to...the roller rink. I'm having flashbacks of my 6th grade self and Gina G. putting on our sparkly scarves and our lip gloss and skating (or in my case, clopping) around the rink to the melodious strains of the Village People. Dear God, what a wretched preteen was I. The first 8-track I ever owned was Donna Summer's "On the Radio," and I think I spent an entire summer right around that time listening to the sound track to "Grease". (Or maybe that was later. In general, I have an excellent memory--I can remember as far back as 20 months of age--but I have a hard time getting certain timelines right from that period of my life.)

In any case, I think he'll have fun. As we snuggled up in his bed tonight just after lights out, he asked again whether the big day was really tomorrow. "Yes," I whispered, "Just remember what you learned in ice skating class, and don't be afraid of falling down, and you'll have a great time." "Oh," he murmured, "I won't be afraid. But if I'm skating and skating and there are some steps and I'm going so fast and I vroom over them, zoom! then I think that might be a good time to be worried." "Well,yes," I say, "maybe then."

Sunday, March 13, 2005

My goal in life... to make enough money that I can fly my children to Australia and have these people take their portraits. Wow.

That Old Time Religion--Now with Ketchup!

It was "drama day" at Sunday school, and the kids got to put on some sort of puppet show, of which I know only that the Boy got to be Jesus, and apparently it was Jesus as Punch from "Punch and Judy" because Jesus beat the, well, the bejesus out of the other puppet. "But," said the Boy happily, "everyone laughed and when we were finished, they all came and shook my hand! And even the kid with the other puppet thought it was funny. Everyone thought it was so funny!" I'm thinking of apprenticing him out to Mel Gibson as a screenwriter for "The Passion 2: Jesus Kicks Some Ass."

Then they made their own hand puppets out of paper lunch sacks, and the Boy made a donkey. With its tale on fire. Which kind of seemed reminiscent of some sort of prank that a donkey would play if it were in a fraternity.

And for the coupe de grace, we had religious instruction at lunch, which featured chicken cutlets, sweet-potato fries, and ketchup. (Hey, I was uninspired. Sue me.) "You know," said the Boy, "today we can have ketchup, but only today. And, well, only on Sundays. Because Jesus died today, on Sunday, and it was all the fault of ketchup, as you know. So, we can only eat ketchup on the days when Jesus died, which is Sundays. For ketchup. That's a rule."

I'm not sure what to do with this information. Maybe Mel will know.*

*I have not seen "The Passion" and I do not plan to see "The Passion." I would like to continue clinging to the days when Mel was your regular everyday hottie and not all into Jesus gore. I am all for Jesus, but in a decidedly "'Jesus Christ Superstar'/Jesus having a beer with the Buddha and Mohammed**/Jesus not voting for Bush" kinda way. Just in case you were wondering.

**And, uh, yeah. Jesus would probably be the only one drinking. I know that. But I'm pretty solid on the voting issue.

My virgin ears

This afternoon, in the kitchen, during a snack break, the Girl spilled her water. Mostly on purpose. (Oh the joys of the Big Girl Cup!) Ensued the following:

The Boy: Girl! Yuck! Fucking damn water!
Me: Gi--WHAT did you say?
B: Fucking damn water.
Me: ... !! ... ...
B: That's what Papa always says when something spills. You know, fucking damn water, fucking damn syrup, fucking damn, fucking damn.

[Let me just say now, I know that what follows is not the OPR (Optimal Parenting Reaction) for the situation.]

Me: Hmehfh! [Trying to stifle hysterical laughter] Uh, no! NO!
B: [Really running with it, now that I've shown weakness] FUCKING DAMN! FUCKING DAMN!
Me: B, those are very...hawrmph...rude...heesh...words.
B: Papa says 'em.
Me: Well. Yes. Hrrngth. Sometimes grownups do rude things. That doesn't make it okay.
Me: Shnk! Mommy needs a time out! [As I am obviously not being effective, I go and lock myself into the bathroom, where I roll around in hysterics. Through the door, I hear...]

B: [In a very sage tone] Girl, don't say that. I don't like hearing it. It's rude.

Once I managed to stop being 12, I let myself out of the bathroom and calmly explained that those words would get him into trouble with other grownups and he needed not to use them. I should also note that although I might have the linguistics of a naval defense worker here, I generally do not employee said talents in the presence of my children. So although I did feel like something of a hypocrite with the whole Rude Word speech, he really did hear it from his father. Fucking damn!

Friday, March 11, 2005

A tangle of thorns

I've been thinking about balance, and about compassion, and about acceptance. Few people understand why I don't hate the Ex. Some people respect that I don't, I suppose, but most people expect me to and some are obviously discomfited when they realize that I don't. I often feel angry with him, and there have been many times when I sincerely wish I could hate him, when I long to believe in a world that is so clearly defined that I could feel nothing but contempt for another person simply because they deserved it. But I see too much grey.
When I was 8, my mother remarried. I think she was lonely, and tired. I think she wanted something different from what her mother and her siblings expected her to do, which was to stay in her mother's house, raising her daughter--three singular women, continuing on in the midst of a long line of lost men, dead men, disappeared men. So she picked a man who showed interest in her--and whom (more importantly, perhaps) everyone, especially her mother, warned her away from. She was just a few years older than I am now.

She heard a lot of rumors about this man. That he'd beaten one of his previous wives (he'd been married twice before), that he wasn't trustworthy, that he was a liar. But he told her his ex-wives had spread lies, that they had run off with other men, that he'd had a low past but had found Jesus and been born again. Personally, I don't hold any of this against Jesus. I don't think he'd want to be mixed up in this story.

So they ended up getting married, and this man convinced my mother that God was calling him to move far away, to a place that needed good Christians to combat the evil forces of Satan that were running rampant in that part of the country. My mother is not a stupid woman, but she can be stubborn, even when it's to her own detriment. She bought this line--or pretended to--and off we went, 2000 miles from the entirety of the universe as I knew it, the grandmother who had cared for me while my mother worked, from the cousins, the aunts, the uncles, the friends, everyone and anyone who might have provided some balance or retreat or image of normalcy in the wake of her figuring out what type of man she'd really married. To a tiny town, and not even the town itself, but the countryside 5 miles outside of town, where the neighbors all farmed and mostly minded their own business, and left you to mind yours, unless there was a fire or some other act of God. Sad, twisted, abusive men who isolate their wives while they slowly drain the life out of them don't count as an act of God.

The first thing he did was sell her car the following summer, while we were visiting my grandmother. The next thing he did was stop working, or stop working more than enough to scrape by but not enough for her to get the money to leave. I don't really remember when he started calling her stupid, or fat, or useless, but I don't imagine it took very long. He decided that we should switch to his denomination of choice--hellfire and brimstone, of course, for that extra touch of mysogenistic indoctrination. To this day, although I hate to admit it because I realize it's unfair, I am horribly prejudiced against evangelical Christian churches. I have several friends who would probably consider themselves to be evangelical Christians, but I have an elaborate system of excuses I make on their behalf, to exempt them from my revulsion.

I don't like this about myself. It's a knee-jerk reaction to the hypocrisy of the man who would drag us to service three times a week, who would make sure we had family prayer time every morning, who would blame the slightest accident or inconvenience on Satan, and who would then spend a goodly amount of the remaining time verbally abusing his wife and trying to cop feels off his stepdaughter. Certainly, even without this, my political and moral ideals are far removed from the conservative branch of my faith; still, I don't have such a negative reaction to any other form of worship, regardless of how far-removed it might be from my own beliefs. I'm working on it. Namaste.

So. This man was the only father I'd ever known. And he was a warped person. When I graduated from high school I left that town, and when I graduated from college I left this country, and yes, I certainly do attribute that at least in part to my desire to get as far away as I possibly could from everything that lay behind me. While I was living in England, my mother divorced him. He wrote me one letter, which contained an apology of sorts, though I don't think there was much sincerity to it, any more than there was in my reply.

If I was going to despise someone, this would be a good place to start. But this man taught me to reject the racism that the rest of my Southern-bred family clings to. This man taught me to take risks and not to give up so easily. He would take us on drives up into the mountains; he pointed out geodes and pyrite and old mines, deer tracks and elk tracks, pinon pines. He used to take me on long walks through the countryside, and we'd sit and watch the prairie dog colonies, try to skip rocks in the streams, climb haystacks. Once, in the fall, we went down the hill, through the cornfields, and he told me about gleaning and what it meant, and about the animals that lived in and off the cornfield, and about the harvest moon, and when we went too far and it started getting cold and dark and I got too tired to walk back, he carried me.

I don't delude myself into thinking he was a good man. He wasn't. I think he's damned; certainly, he's damned himself to a life of lies and sickness. When I turned 30, I reported him to social services. It was all I could do, really, that far after the fact, the fact not being nearly as bad as it could have been, thankfully. Believe me when I say I am a vigilant mother, and I have no tolerance for people who abuse children--or other adults--in any way. But sometimes, I look at my son, and I feel so sad. Not for the man that hurt my mother, or me, but for the man who carried his daughter home through a cornfield, and taught her about arrowheads and rock formations.

The world is grey. When we're lucky, it's even technicolor. But it's never black and white.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Baghdad Burning

I've been meaning for a while to put this link up.

All our petty, petty little shit, people.

Sharpening the knives...

You thought I was kidding with the "Centennial" reference, eh?

Last night was windy. Last night, my friggin' basement window FELL OUT. Completely. Laying on the floor. Earmuffs, everyone.

The fact that it was an alarmed window does not comfort me so much regarding my happy safe cocoon. On the plus side, the raccoon didn't come in. I don't think. Dear God.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

(Be vewy, vewy quiet...)

(Don't say anything, but these past few days? The Boy? He's been ... happy. Just...happy.)

Protest this!

This alarming news came to me via the Feingold Organization. I see a real difference in the Boy's behavior when he's been exposed to chemicals. The Girl is at an increased risk of asthma. Plus God only knows what types of cancer risks this action would lead to. I'm not an hysteric, and I realize plenty of people might roll their eyes, but honestly. [Edited to add: If you are opposed, please contact the CPSC: email:, fax: 301-504-0127, mail: Office of the Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, DC 20207–0001 Comments should be captioned ‘‘Mattress NPR.’’]

"The CPSC admits they have no exposure data and cannot do a quantitative risk analysis. Instead, they say they are doing a qualitative analysis, by relying on
staff’s professional judgment. In other words, they are guessing. They say study will be ongoing, meaning they will test our entire population, and if they later find human damage, it is the responsibility of other government agencies to ban that specific chemical.

Boric Acid (Roach Killer) exists as loose dust mixed with the cotton batting. There is 1.5 lbs of Boric Acid in the surface of a Queen mattress. Antimony Trioxide is also included in the mixture. This is the least expensive barrier system to flameproof mattresses. The other systems aren't much better, none of them are safe.

Boric Acid (yes, the Roach Killer), Formaldehyde, Melamine, Antimony Trioxide, Vinylidiene Chloride, Zinc Borate, and Decabromodiphenyl Oxide (Brominated flame retardant now being found in women’s breast milk) are the main chemicals being used to flameproof mattresses. Many of these chemicals cause cancer. Some are known to be a
reproductive and developmental toxin: high prenatal mortality, birth defects, reduced fertility, sterility. Liver, kidney, brain, and heart muscle damage are only some effects. Aside from inhalation absorption, some of these chemicals can kill from skin contact alone.

If our government guesses correctly, that it is safe for everyone to sleep in these chemicals, we may save up to 300 people from fire. However, our exposure in mattresses is intimate and chronic. If they are wrong, and they have been wrong in the past, they could harm or kill up to 300 million people. All of us sleep on a mattress. The risk is huge. Hippocrates left us with the admonition: "First do no harm.”

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Boy Reporter

The Boy's report on African animals. Read it and weep. The bold parts are his contributions to this "fill in the blank" homework project:

"My report is about the hippos. This animal lives in Africa. This animal eats grass and hay. This animal can be very mean. What a grouchy animal!"
Finally, finally, I got my hair cut. "Isn't it short and sassy?" I said to the Boy. "Am I not just completely short and sassy now?" "Noooo, Mama," he corrected me. "You are TALL and sassy. If you were SHORT and sassy, you would be me."
At 9:00a.m. today, it was snowing. At 4:00p.m., it was 60 degrees. I love this place. (No, I really do.) But...Spring is coming. Every year I get excited about its approach, because every year I conveniently forget what happens in the Spring. Remember "Centennial"? Remember the lady out in the cabin on the plains, with all the children, and the wind blew and blew and blew and blew and blew and she went totally completely utterly nuts?

Sunday, March 06, 2005

With extra whipped

So I just got back from lounging around Starbucks with my dear friend Jeannie--remember her? She's about the wittiest person I know (and I'm not just saying that as a suckup because I told her where to find this blog). It's been a while since we got together, so we caught each other up on various crap, and I told her about what the Acupuncturist said.

J: You don't need to hear that shit. Karma shmarma.
Me: That sounds like some drink you'd get here.
J: I'll have a venti double-shot Karma Shmarma, please.
Me: With soy.

A little more nothing, please

I realize I have been a pathetic poster this week; I'm not sure whether I have an excuse other than my Perpetual Inertia. I've spent a lot of time this week foundering around, wondering what I'm supposed to be Doing With My Life, ad nauseum. I had a huge burst of energy at the beginning of the week, which was great while it lasted--houses were getting cleaned, furniture was being bought, work was getting done, asses were being exercised (well, okay, just the one ass)--but that energy petered out around...oh, Wednesday. Since then I've mostly moped around, guzzling IZZE and shaking my fist at the heavens, demanding a sign or an intervention or a semi-clad fireman or something, anything to push me in some direction.

On the kid front, the little dickens are doing okay. The Girl has taken up spitting, which as I recall, her brother toyed with around this age. Now, his karma is biting him in the be-hind as his sister follows him around, randomly spitting various substances at/on/toward him.

And what a few weeks he's been through, poor little guy. After long agonizing, we made the decision to try medication. The dietary changes, the removal of chemicals, the occupational therapy, the parenting tactics, the exercise, the talk therapy--all have made small improvements here and there over the past 6 months. He's much less prone to violent outbursts, the overreaction to touch has almost completely disappeared (and only seems to rear its ugly head when Red Dye From Hell sneaks into his diet), and his physical coordination is improving weekly. Yesterday, he was messing around out in the back yard and started trying to hit a little rubber ball with one of those beach-pong paddles--and did it! He was so excited. That kept him occupied for a while, then he found some old golf balls and his old play golf set, and started whacking golf balls--and hitting them! I'm no golfer, but his swing looked pretty good. So that was a very exciting episode. So anyway, all these things are contributing to what I see as progress. The one thing that isn't getting better, though, is his impulsivity, and that's what finally prompted the decision to go pharmaceutical. The impulsivity is the thing that is starting to cause him problems with his friends. It's the thing that causes him to lash out for no reason--to hit his sister, push a friend, or threaten death and destruction to whomever happens to be nearest. It's the thing that scares me. I can handle the hyperactivity, even the inattention, but I see him in real danger of hurting himself or others if the impulsivity keeps on like it's going.

So. Our wonderful pediatric psychiatrist, may a thousand blessings be showered upon him, talked us through all our options and didn't even roll his eyes when I cried in his office. He just radiates calm, the dear man, and his own daughter and grandsons have dealt with this diagnosis and are well and happy. We decided to try Concerta first. Another plus for the ped-psych: He told us about the whole Canadian Adderall thing, and didn't harumph at me when I immediately said that there was, then, no way in hell we were trying Adderall because I trust the FDA about as far as I can throw Dick "The AntiChrist" Cheney. Long story short, he told us the side-effects to watch for, and off we went.

Side effect #1: Mania. Maaaaania--sounds fun, doesn't it? Well, let's just go on record as saying that it isn't. So much for Concerta.

So then we had the nice discussion about whether this meant that bipolar was more likely, blah blah blah--oh, Tourrettes came up, that was fun. Apparently, I displayed symptoms as a preteen, lala, the brain is a wonderful organ, etc., etc. And long story once again (not so) short, we're trying Strattera, which isn't a stimulant but rather an antidepressant. And so far, the only side effect seems to be that after taking it at dinner, he get pretty sleepy around 7:45 and is out by 8:00. THIS I can live with. There are other, less pleasant side effects that we have to watch out for, and we won't really know whether there's any improvement in his impulsivity for several more weeks, but this is where we are at the moment. This, and scheduling more appointments with the psychologist to help him learn how to deal with his father's bipolar-induced mood swings. And, trying to work with that doctor to figure out how to craft a 504 plan that might help keep him in the school he's in now, even if the district changes our neighborhood boundaries again.

And on a final note, which will finalize the coma you're falling into if you've managed to wade through to this point: The Acupuncturist made an odd pronouncement yesterday. She was pleased over my pulses, which seemed pathogen free, though weak. Then, as she was doing the needle worked, she asked, "Where is your husband from? Is he from Paris? Ex-husband, I mean." Little chat followed, after which she paused, then said, "You know, when I called him your two have a really strange karmic connection going on. It's the strongest connection I've seen, just this lifelong bond. I'm not saying that it's good or bad, just...strong. He's almost like a physical presence throughout your body." "Huh," I said. "That explains a lot." Then we laughed, but I have to admit that the whole exchange just ticked me off. Not at The Acupuncturist, mind you, just--I don't know. I didn't need to hear that.

But at least I got to fondle the yellow blankie.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


I am in love. Leave us.

Wild Kingdom

I saw a bald eagle on the way to work today. A few days ago, a fox sat and watched me pass. There are muskrats in the creek behind my house, and coyotes in the field across the street. We had a kingfisher in the tree out back one summer when the Boy was 2 or 3--the Boy named it Peach and we watched it catch fish out of the creek. Once, that same year, a hawk flew over our house with a snake clamped in its talons. There are raccoons in the neighborhood, I know, because the damned things keep crapping along the side of my house (and yes, it is considered toxic waste, and yes, I'm freaking out about it). And every now and then I'll accidentally scare out a rabbit from under a shrub in the backyard.

I will never move to the west side of town, though, because my animal kingdom is a happy animal kingdom (except for the nuclear raccoon crap). On the west side, you start getting rattlesnakes on the bike paths. Also, a friend who lives over there told us at Mom's Nite last month about how the neighborhood kids were jumping on the trampoline at one of the houses next to the school bus stop, and they noticed a big dog sitting up on the hillside, watching them. When they asked their mom if she knew whose dog it was, she realized it was a mountain lion. I loved Marlin Perkins as much as the next kid, but I draw the line at things that think my kids look tasty.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

I knew that

Ok. By semi-popular demand (as popular as it gets around here), a brief context of the 10 things:
1. Been an illegal alien 2. Given birth, sans drugs, in less than 3 hours 3. Attended a "naked party" 4. Married a guy I met in a Lambada bar (well, doesn't that explain a lot?) 5. Had a modeling contract 6. Had premonitions 7. Gotten drunk on Dom Perinion 8. Taken ski lessons in the Alps from a guy named Jacques 9. Dated someone who ended up making porn movies 10. Had dinner at the Reform Club in London

This is not going to be well written 'cause I'm tired and not that interested at the moment and just need to plow through it. Read or run, your choice.

2. The Girl. Pretty self-explanatory.

3. and 9. I was a theatre major. Yes, yes, you don't need to say it. So, anyway, I guess we felt the need to do daring and theatrical crap, like halfway through a party declaring that we should all be naked. What can I say? Well, a lot, but I'll limit it to this, directed at all you academics out there: Don't ask students to housesit for you. Especially if you teach theatre. Need I even say this? Just don't. And several of my friends and acquaintances ended up making porn because as we know, that's such a career starter for the earnest actor/actress!

Everything else happened while I lived in London, which came about thusly: I was about to graduate and I was having an existential crisis.

(Sidetrack. Today at work--me to the Chica: "I'm having an existential crisis!" Chica to me: "When are you not? Is it a crisis if it's continuous?" Me: "Uh, probably not. It would be chronic. A chronic crisis? A chronis?" Chica: "That doesn't sound good." Me: "You're right. Sounds like an intestinal disease.")

So I decided to take a year off and go to London--do the 6 month student work permit thing, etc. I started saving and planning with a friend, Jennifer, to go. Jennifer ended up bailing on me, so I started planning with another friend, Maureen. Maureen bailed on me. Fuck it, I said, I'll go alone. Which doesn't seem like much now, but to 21-year old me, that was kinda a big deal. On the plane to London, I was feeling pretty freaked out--I'd sold everything I owned to make enough for the ticket there, the work permit, and $500, which was the minimum you had to have with you for British immigration to let you in (barely). I wish, I thought, that I knew I was doing the right thing. I heard two other American girls my age in front of me, and sort of listening in, I gathered they were on the same program I was. At some point, one of them fell asleep, and the other one and I started chatting. She introduced herself. Seems her name was Jennifer. I would run into her and her friend, Maureen, several times while in London.

And, blah blah blah, I spent 2 years in London on a 6-month work permit. I ended up working for an American woman who worked with international students. As part of that, we did a lot of social crap, and one of the highlights was dinner at the Reform Club (of "Around the World in 80 Days" fame). Very stuffy and elitist, but looks good on paper.

I also overstayed my visa. Hence the illegal alien part. I did it for love (rolls eyes) for the Ex, whom I met one night at a Lambada bar off Oxford Street--the only time I'd been out with friends from my other job at the time--a wine bar in the City. Where the customers didn't tip but did buy us drinks, including Dom Perinion, on several occassions. Memo to all who aim to (at)tend bar internationally: Australians, Yorkshire lasses, and Welshman can drink. You will not be able to keep up and retain your dignity at the same time.

At one point, the Ex and several friends and I took a ski trip to the Alps. And since I had never been skiing, I needed a lesson. And it was the French Alps. Everyone was named Jacques.

The Ex also managed a bar in a popular locale and got to know several interesting people, one of whom ran a PR firm and asked us to do some modeling for some project of hers. A few of the other people involved were professionals, and this one girl--who ended up on Neighbors, actually--took me to her agency afterward and they offered me a contract. At which point, Iiiiiiiii...FREAKED OUT and ran away from success as fast as I could. Cause hey, that's what I did in my 20s. Go, me. In retrospect, though--whatever.

Which brings us to 6. Hmm. Here's the thing. I dream a lot. A lot. Vividly, lucidly, frequently. And occassionally, things I dream end up happening. Short list:

  • I dream that I am unintentionally pregnant. All I know is that the father is named (Ex's name) and has dark hair (as does Ex). The Boy was, in fact, unplanned as the result of NFP and the effects of jet-lag. However, I had this dream 10 years before his birth. When I dreamt it, I was a virgin and didn't know anyone of Ex's name or description.
  • On the road trip back from Spring Break at a roommate's family's house, I fall asleep and dream that I'm having a heart attack. When we walk in the door back at our house, we find out that my roommate's mother has called. While we were traveling home, her father died of sudden, unexpected heart failure.
  • I dream I am in the local university library and that I am freaking out because a flood is coming. A few days later, a freak flood occurs. Most of the books in the university library (along with a swathe of the town) are destroyed.
  • I am living in London and freaking out because my life is falling apart. I needed support and had none--it was all 4000 miles away and I couldn't get to it. I get a letter from the Chica, who was freaked out because she'd dreamed about me; a dream in which she'd found me sitting in a hallway, staring at her miserably, but no matter how much she begged me to tell her what was wrong, I wouldn't talk.
  • I dreamed pretty much all of the Ex's affair, including several odd and disturbing details that I won't go into.
  • While in London, I spent an entire day doing that "Weird, I thought I just saw so-and-so from high school" thing. Except when I talked to my mom a week later, she told me this person had been found dead the week before.
Those are the most interesting ones, I suppose. I'm not counting semi-freaky shite like the Jennifer/Maureen thing, which happens pretty much constantly, or stuff like picking up the phone to call someone and not having a dial tone and then realizing it's because a call from that same person was already incoming and they're on the line.

Pretty mundane, really, but there you have it.

Go home now!