Friday, April 28, 2006

Boys will be boys

The plumbers outlasted the 6-year olds. Barely.
6-year olds: 10:52
Plumbers: 11:30

At least I didn't have to sing the plumbers "Danny Boy" while rubbing their backs.
Next week, tune in to hear PK say:

"You friggin cheapskate builder, what the hell ELSE is wrong with this house?!?!!!!???"

I guess the honeymoon is officially over. Ah well, it's still home.


Or just crazy? You be the judges:

Way to spend your Friday:
1) Have your tooth filled
2) Spend time at the DMV
3) Let your son have a friend for a sleepover
4) Call the gas company to come check out your heater because you're a paranoid freak
5) Feed the boys pizza

I like to live on the edge. Question is, the edge of what?

Edited to add: And HOLY SHIT I have a fucking gas leak. I. Am. PISSED.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

No carrots

By popular demand, the Boy's answers:
I AM: a Lego.
I WANT: every single Lego in the whole entire world.
I WISH: that everybody would do what I say.
I HATE: celery. (which I just put in the soup. Great.)
I MISS: my Uncle Fred.
I FEAR: that my sister's going to pretend to be a monster and scare me one day. (G: "No! I'm the BAD WITCH!")
I HEAR: the movie. (Guess which one. Go ahead. Guess.)
I WONDER: if the world is ever gonna die.
I REGRET: throwing A's backpack. (Something he did at school today. Oy.)
I AM NOT: scary. I am cool.
I DANCE: not.
I SING: Star Wars.
I CRY: for my Mama. (awwwww)
I MAKE WITH MY HANDS: nothing. An "A".
I CONFUSE: A with M. (? A is a boy and M is a girl. So again, I say, "?")
I NEED: to go to sleep.
I SHOULD: be Master of All the World and Every Single Place That Has Life On It.
I START: to invent things.
I FINISH: building my new Bionicle.

The mistress of all evil

Oh help me, someone is obsessed with "Sleeping Beauty"....

"Mama, I'm pokin' this through there, and it's very bad for you, cause you have big fingers. But it isn bad for me or my brudder, cause we have liddle fingers. So, sorry."

New favorite book for the Girl: "The Witch Who Wanted to Be a Princess". You can't really tell from the front material, but take this line: "And since I, through my eyes, see myself as beautiful, that is how I am. Beautiful! The wart stays! And I'm glad. I've grown quite attached to it." You go, Lois G. Grambling!

And shamelessly stolen from Raehan, a look into the Girl's pscyhe:
I AM: a princess. (oh dear lord)
I WANT: a drink.
I WISH: a star.
I HATE: Star Wars. They're not people. And I hate the bad witch. No, I don't hate the bad witch. Because it's just a movie. (At first she said she hated her friend T, and I said, Honey! We don't hate people. And she said, but he goes "Naah nah nah" at me! And I said, Still.)
I MISS: my Papa.
I FEAR: the dark.
I HEAR: a paper.
I WONDER: paper. No. It's really true. (okaaaaay)
I REGRET: saying I hated my friends.
I AM NOT: paper.
I DANCE: paper. (I'm sensing a theme here.)
I SING: songs.
I CRY: about um, the bad witch.
I AM NOT ALWAYS: crabby. (Really? News to me.)
I CONFUSE: a question.
I NEED: a snack.
I SHOULD: have a snack.
I START: a game.
I FINISH: my homework.
I TAG: my brother.

("Is that all the questions? Let's play that game again. But it's really hard. But let's play that game again. Oh! I missed that soccer ball. I missed that silly soccer ball! It's just a little ball...")

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

What I realize, in a completely vague way

I don't mind conflict, as such, and I don't mind disagreements, and I don't have a problem disagreeing with someone or something, especially when it involves money or business or transactions, you know? But I get very upset when people fight or have fallings out. Even when it doesn't involve me. I get upset when people slam each other; this is fairly recent. I get angry with myself when I slam someone, and I feel awful about it later, even when I still think the person behaved poorly or rudely or whatever.

When I was in first grade, I remember these two girls had some sort of argument, you know, a 6-year-old-girl thing. And one girl was telling the other girls that they had to decide whether they were going to be her friend or the other girl's friend. I was in tears, begging everyone to just stop it, that this was crazy, why couldn't they just make up? So it isn't as though this is new or anything.

I'm actually fairly comfortable with the fact that people move in and out of our lives. We have friends, some stay, some go because of time or distance or changing life circumstances or disagreements or hurts. I understand that, and I accept it even when I feel sad about it. But I have a hard time with it when it involves anger or cruelty or spitefulness. Maybe that's one reason I'm still friendly with the Ex, I don't know.

When I do lose it with someone, even someone I don't know, I feel bad afterward. Not because I disagreed with that person or called them on rude behavior, but I do feel bad if I do it in a rude way myself. I'm thinking about this today because I read a blog entry about something that happened to someone whom I don't know personally, someone who is quite different from me in many ways, but someone who goes through some of the same worries and challenges I do. I don't know this person, but I feel that I like her. She wrote about a situation that, although I can't see the exact same thing happening here, I could see similar things happening. I think she felt awful about what happened, but maybe that's me projecting my own reactions on her. I would have felt awful. She seems to have felt awful. Regardless, a lot of people seem to have interpreted the situation differently, and one of them left a comment just before mine. It was the only comment I read before posting mine, and I was snippy. Because shit. There's no need to be hurtful. But see, now I'm mad at myself because I was hurtful in response. And then I read other comments, and damn. There's a lot of hurtfulness that goes on, and it just makes me sad, and I don't even know these people so what is my problem?

I don't know. Maybe this makes me a doormat, or something. Or wishy-washy. And none of it matters anyway, I guess, insomuch as it isn't my concern, and it still makes me sad.

I told the Boy yesterday I was a pacifist. Indeed. I explained what that meant, but I'm not sure he was listening. When I mentioned something else, later last evening, he didn't understand what I meant the first time and after I offered more details, he said, "Ooooohhhhh. Mom, you need to be more pacific next time."

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


The Boy has always loved being read to, but getting him to read on his own was a bit of a journey. I think a lot of it has been simply being patient and letting his brain decide when it's ready to catch on to things... he's one of the youngest kids in class as his birthday falls just before the cutoff date, and so in things like reading, spelling, and handwriting, the key has been for his father and me to chill out and work in Boy time instead of school time. Hell, they expect such a ridiculous level and amount of stuff from elementary kids these days anyway. When did kids start learning subtraction and addition in kindergarten? We just learned to color inside the friggin' lines.

Anyway, over the summer last year, he really got reading. The tests that the school runs show that he's now capable of reading at a 5th-grade level, but up until now, he still hasn't been interested much in reading on his own. Every now and then over the past few months, he'll offer to read a picture book to the Girl, but in general, he gets pretty grumpy when we ask him to read a book of his own, and although he loves chapter books, he always wants us to read them to him.

Right now we're reading the Droon series. We're on something like book 17. Last week was a difficult week for the Boy, and we suspect that a lot of it had to do with decreased sleep related to the increased daylight, Easter holiday, and busy schedule, so we're cracking down on a strict 8:00-8:15 lights out. Last night, then, we had time to read only one chapter. And of course, every chapter ends in a bit of a cliffhanger. "Pleaaaaaase," the Boy pleaded, "just one more chapter!" "Sorry buddy, but it's bedtime." "But MOM, you just don't understand, I am SO excited about this story right now!" And he grabbed the book and started reading it. He got 4 pages in before I convinced him to let me put in a bookmark, that he could read it first thing when he got up in the morning. Which is what he did...and after breakfast, and in the car on the way to school, according to his dad. I cannot fully express how amazingly happy and proud and sentimental and fortunate I feel about this moment.

Monday, April 24, 2006

I almost forgot!

The Boy left the Easter Bunny quite the instructions this year: Please hide the Girl's eggs on the floor and please hide the Boy's eggs off the floor. Plus then we had to draw a line of smiley faces and hearts, with a map key explaining who drew what. And then, on another page, the Boy left the burning question that all children truly want to ask the Bunny one day...

Dear Ester Buny [sic],
What is your real name? And please do not say Ester Buny. If Ester Buny is real name, sign nuthing. Thank you,
Love the Boy

Anyone who wants to know the answer can email me. Shhh! It's a secret, but I might tell. By an amazing coincidence, it turned out to be exactly the name the Boy thought it would be.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Luck of the Irish

My mom still won't admit that she was a little drunk that time at the old neighborhood when we went over to the neighbor's and drank Skippies. "MOther. I have a highly trained, well-utilized Irish liver." "Oh, I know you do, dear," my mom said. "So," I reasoned, "YOU have a virgin liver that never gets to see the light of day. If I was tipsy, YOU were tipsy. Come ON."

These are the types of conversations I have with my mom. I am a PITA, she puts up with it. I am all crazy and overly dramatic and she's so...not. She just sort of laughs and shrugs and shakes her head, but I always know that she loves me and respects me even when she doesn't understand or agree with me, and how fortunate am I to have a mother like that? Very, and I know it.

She was out for a visit and the kids were sad to see her leave. "But next time I come out," she told them, "it will be to stay for good." In the car on the way to their dad's, after that conversation, the Girl said sadly, "Where's Gammy goin?" "Back to her house," I said, "but pretty soon she'll be moving up and then we won't have to say goodbye anymore."

"Hey!" the Boy said, "When Grammy moves in, that means you'll get to live with your Mom! For EVER! That is so lucky!"

"Yes, it is," I laughed.

"You'll get to live with your Mom for the rest of your life, until you're DEAD. And Grammy will get to live with you until SHE's dead! Because," he turned to explain benevolently to his sister, "one day, Gigi, everyone on the entire planet will be dead." "Oh, B," sighed the Girl.

"But you know, everyone is part of the same family," he mused. "I think that everyone is one family, but everybody moved away from each other, and now we all are away and think we live with our own families, and we don't know we're really all the same family. But we are."

My God, I thought. If he gets that, he's gonna be okay.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

A pox upon us

The Girl has chicken pox. And an eczema outbreak. Poor kid. And yet--we're so lucky. Whenever the kids get sick, I feel so fortunate that we don't have to deal with health issues on a regular basis, even while I worry about them in the moment.

Monday, April 17, 2006

In which my little Athletic Supporter does good

The local university had its annual kids' jam tonight. They load up the indoor stadium with booths for various sporting teams: basketball, golf, baseball, football, swimming/diving. They put a big bouncy slide in the middle of the stadium floor. The kids get free t-shirts and popcorn. We hadn't been before, but the Boy brought home the flyer from school, and it was free, so what the hey. The Girl, who is mascot-phobic at the moment (as proved by the blood-curdling screams with which she greeted Clifford the Big Red Dog at this year's Scholastic book fair), so she stayed home with Grammy.

The Boy bumped into one of his school friends, so they ran around playing the games at the booths and getting autographs, and then we had to get in line for The Fish. The swim team, those bastards, were giving away goldfish as prizes. We stood in line for EVER. Good news for me: The Boy didn't win a fish. Bad news for me: The Boy was really sad about not winning a fish. So there were some tears and despair, and that was fine for a while, but then I told him that I understood he was disappointed but that 1) he already had fish at his Papa's and 2) there were lots of other fun things to do so 3) he needed to let me know whether he could take a big breath and pull it together so that we could stay, or whether he was going to keep whining about the fish, in which case we were leaving.

We stayed, and I took his picture with the Large Mascot, and then told him he just had time to go get some popcorn before they closed up. They were getting ready to draw the last prizes of the evening, and I got distracted because I ran into an old coworker, and the Boy took the opportunity to wander back into the arena even though I hadn't planned to do so. And dang if he didn't win the big final prize of the evening. He was so thrilled. And I reminded him that he wouldn't have won if we hadn't stayed, and we stayed only because he was able to make the choice to rise above his disappointment. That was the big prize.

But the foam head's pretty fun, too.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Your glow-in-the-dark key to heaven

The best housewarming gift I've received so far comes from Molly, she of the fundraising orgies: a glow-in-the-dark rosary. Man, is it tacky! I adore it.

Molly and I joke that I'm a closet Catholic and she's a closet Methodist. I mentioned to her a while back that I wanted a rosary, for my own nefarious purposes, don't ask. So when she came to brunch Friday, she (good Catholic friend that she is) brought me my brand-spankin' new funky-cool glow beads. Luckily, the thing came with instructions, because who am I to know the Glorious Mysteries? I'm Methodist, I know pig roasts and pancake breakfasts. I can make the sign of the cross, I had to learn that so I could pass at Le Mont St. Michelle.

"So, how do I use this thing?" I queried, "And would this be considered blasphemy?"

She shrugged. "Let's check the instructions. 'Who can say the rosary...Man...woman...child...professor...barmaid...drug addict...' I think you're covered."

My favorite part of the pamphlet is the line that assures me that I can say the Rosary anywhere, even "behind the wheel of my careening car driving cross country."

Dude. If the car is careening, maybe it's time to put down the rosary and friggin' drive.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Peeps ain't Pretty

Three hundred and sixty-four days of the year, I love me some Bitch. But then along comes Easter, and I can feel the psychic fabric of the moral universe ripping because I know that out there somewhere, she's leading the Evil Minions in pursuit of Satan's Foodstuff:

The Peeps, people, the Peeps.

Are you with us, or are you against us? Stand up for all that is Good and Holy, my friends, for sweet Joseph's sake. I beg of you.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Epiphany Flagg

[Someone's ringing my doorbell but I'm still in my robe (the one day I'm not actually dressed by now!) so I'm hiding out in the back of the house. Go away, mystery person!! I am inappropriately attired to receive you!]

[Which reminds me of the time in college that Jeannie lived upstairs from this really annoying and vapid girl, and once we were hanging out in Jeannie's apartment and we heard the girl come to the door and we hid in Jeannie's closet until she went away. Smooth move, Mature College Girls Who Have No Concept of Acoustics.]

[Are they gone? Okay. On with the epiphany.]

So, after the writing about the whole weight topic, it's still been floating around in my noggin', not least after reading others' insightful thoughts. I've also been edging around the whole "False Advertising" brouhaha (and if you don't know what that's all about, start here). All this stuff was fermenting somewhere in my synapses when the Ex and I had an interesting discussion Monday.

The gist of this convo was this: He thinks a woman he's with should always dress up--makeup, attractive (read: alluring) clothes, etc.--whenever they're together. This was a MAJOR problem area in our relationship, big surprise? Many accusations of "You don't make an effort to please me anymore." (And by the way, don't even bother ranting in the comments, because I am not judging his viewpoint, I'm just pointing out that it was a problem for me.) To which my response was, what am I, an accessory? And blah blah blah big giant rolling snowball of passive aggressive shite on both parts. He pissed me off by implying that my value was only in my appearance; I felt awful and passive-aggressively pissed him off by doing my absolute best to care even less; he felt unappreciated and passive-aggressively neglected me; and you can see where this is going. It was always a real problem for me that he seemed to put so much emphasis on my clothing or makeup or the way I waxed my eyebrows. But, and here's the thing, I never did anything about it.

So back to Monday. He's saying that this was a problem for him in our relationship and in relationships since, and why do women always do that? That women dress up on the first few dates and then stop trying, and when he complains, they say he isn't letting them be "who they are". I said, look, you are not asking for my opinion so I'm not giving it, and he said, no, I want to know what you think. So I said, "Most women don't just dress up like that all the time." He said, "Yeah, but they dress up like that around the man at first because they want to catch him, and then when they have they don't give a shit anymore." And I said, "I disagree, but in our case, I know that I came to resent your expectation that I do that because I felt like you didn't care about me unless I looked a certain way, and who is going to be beautiful on the outside forever? So if I was in a disfiguring accident or when I got old, you weren't going to love me anymore?" And he said, "That bullshit, to say 'I'm not going to try and please you because you care about how I look.' That's the only reason women dress up like that anyway." And I said, "No it isn't. There are other reasons that a woman would dress attractively, and just because she doesn't doesn't mean she isn't trying to be interesting or doesn't appreciate who she's with."

"Bullshit," he said, "What other reasons?"

"Women do it for themselves," I said, "because they enjoy it." "You're full of crap," he said, "That's like when women say they wear lingerie for themselves, that's bullshit. And there is not a man out there who doesn't want his woman to look nice." [Men? I'd love your honest opinions here, just for statistical purposes.]

Then we got called in to our meeting so that was the end of that conversation.

Okay. A couple things. First, I am not judging his opinion. I am sure he is not the only person, male or female, to hold that view. We simply don't hold the same view. I also think his view is colored by his history and his family, and I will say that yesterday he told me that he'd talked about this conversation in his therapy session and realized that his expectations were probably unrealistic and somewhat messed up. So I'm not going off on him or his viewpoint.

But second. Second. After this conversation, I suddenly got it. Sometimes it takes me a while, like several years in therapy and several decades mulling the thing over, but I finally got it:

I agreed with him.

I mean, I so DO NOT agree with him in the outside of my brain, but in the inside of my brain? Oh my god. This is the whole kernel! He used to get so entirely crazy if I dressed up when we weren't together--of course he did, because if a woman only dresses up for her partner, why would she dress up any other time? And if she only dresses up for that reason or looks good for that reason, and that reason is not there anymore, why would she take care of herself? And isn't the entire definition of what looking good is in the first place then under the control of her partner? And what if that definition is one she is uncomfortable with? And holy shit, could I be any more messed up?

But then it was like when I was a kid and couldn't figure out a homework problem and finally asked my mom for help, and the second she walked up to the table, I suddenly saw the answer. My brain is weird, what can I say. But as soon as this brick hit me on the head, it was all clear to me. I do enjoy looking nice, but there are different levels of nice according to how I feel. Sometimes, I feel like dressing up in heels and the full works. Sometimes I like the retro look. I like a variety of lingerie, from sporty to sexy. Me. ME. I like it. At times, I like dressing like a jock, or a Crunchy Girl. None is better or worse than the others. If I dress in jeans and an old mens' sweater, I am not an unattractive slob whom no one could ever find attractive. If I dress up in heels and a low-cut blouse, I am not a brainless slut who only wants one thing. I get to choose what happens to this outside part of me, how I dress it in flesh and in fabric, to please just myself, and it can change from day to day, and other people are going to interpret it according to their brains anyway, and I don't have to give a shit about that. I don't have to change the way I feel or the things I do or think or believe to accommodate them so that they will think I care about them or so that they will care about me. Because if I care about them and they can't get that? I can't fix that problem. And if they don't care about me or if they can't understand that my outside is not a permanent reflection of my inside? I can't do a damned thing about that either, honey.

The most interesting part? I haven't felt a craving for a fucking chocolate easter egg since.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Lost shmost

Dudes, that island is so totally Purgatory. In my most humble opinion. See especially the section about Dante's Inferno. The lustful bound together in a storm? The gluttons, the hoarders, those separated into two groups?

Everybody LIMBO!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


By popular demand: context.

I let him check out "The Goonies" from the library. I remember this movie as being mostly harmless though annoying. I got the annoying right--how many underage actors can you get to scream and talk at once, sheesh--but the danged thing actually scared the Boy. He had NO PROBLEM with Jurassic Park but The Goonies flipped him right out, go figure.

In one part the stupidass Goonies find a dead body and this was the thing (along with the bad guys) that really upset him. Stupid me, it really does make sense because he's always had this oddly mature sense of understanding reality from fantasy. He loves made-up stuff, but never mistakes it for real stuff. Hence, dinosaurs--cool but so not scary; bad guys and dead people--crying a little at bedtime.

So, knowing the way his brain works, I explained how difficult it actually is to be the actor who plays the dead body. I explained that you can't laugh, or blink, or itch your nose, or anything. "Do you have to try not to let anybody see you breathe?" he asked. "Cause that would be hard! But I can do it. Go on! Pretend I'm the dead guy! Now pretend you're the dead guy! Now me! Go on, try to make me laugh, Mom!"

The little bugger didn't crack up once. He is the best corpse in the family!

In other news, I had a bigass epiphany, so to speak, but I can't tell you about it now because I am addressing my sleep issue and going to bed on time. So there. Smoochie.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Out of context

" I think I'm the best corpse in this family!"

Friday, April 07, 2006

Dream on

Me: The other night I dreamed I was making out with Ben Affleck, but then I woke up and realized it was actually the cat licking my face, and I was all, "AGH! I'm making out with my CAT!" But then I really woke up and realized that part was the dream, too.

Molly: Well, you know how I'm all about fundraising right now? Last night I dreamed that we had an orgy fundraiser.

Me: You were fundraising so you could have an orgy, or you were having an orgy to raise funds?

Molly: Oh no, having the orgy was the fundraiser. And we were giving away prizes, and the prize for "Most Creative" went to the five way in the hallway.

Me: But of course it did.

Molly: It isn't a bad idea, when you think about it. The only overhead would be lube.

Me: And condoms.

Molly: On the down side, pocket change would be hard to come by.

Me: So to speak.

No more Ms. Nice Bitch

Nice: pleasant or pleasing or agreeable in nature or appearance; socially or conventionally correct

You know what makes me nuts? When people tell me how "nice" I am. Usually, this word gets bandied about in reference to my family situation. So my husband kinda treated me like ass and then cheated on me and left me with two kids but guess what? I still like the guy. He drives me crazy half the time, and I know he has a lot of issues to work through, but despite that, I think he's a decent person and a good father, and getting along is more important to me than making him pay for hurting me. But please, please--don't tell me how nice I am for feeling that way. I might have to slap you.

I used to be nice. I was brought up to be nice. Very nice. Southern girl, ladylike nice. If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. Play nice. Don't do x,y, or z; it isn't nice.


I hope that I am a kind person. I try to be. I hope that I am fair. I hope that I am decent. I hope that I am considerate, and patient would be good. But sweet Joseph, nice? Nice people don't get angry, and they don't say things people don't want to hear. Nice people don't refuse others. Nice people finish last, don't they? It isn't that they aren't faster than everyone else, but winning might make the others feel badly. That wouldn't be nice.

I do not maintain a warm relationship with the Ex because I'm nice. I do it because I believe that we're all the same. We're all part of the same spirit, is what I think, and hurting him because he hurt me would be hurting myself. I don't want to make my heart black with bitterness. I spent enough years carrying around that shit to know better. I don't want my children to learn from me to close themselves up, seal themselves off, or lie down in the middle of the road. I want my heart and my soul to be free, and you can't have that when you chain yourself to a grudge. To make the assumption that I do any of the things I do because I want to be nice is a bit of an insult. I don't feel obligated, and I don't feel put upon. I am not willing to include his current love interest in family events because of some need to be nice. I do it because he and I are part of the same family, and always will be, and as long as whomever he's with treats our children well, then so is that person. Believe me, if he ever gets involved with someone who doesn't meet that criteria, there will be words said and most likely asses kicked.

Nice reeks of passive agression. Nice feels weak, and watered down. Nice is a word for objects, not for people. It is not a compliment, at least not in my book.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

You have done well, Cricket

Tonight was the Boy's 1st grade musical program. He was a Cricket. Oh, I wish I could post a picture. He was gorgeous. And the enunciation! Magnificent. Afterward, the Girl said, "Sing yo song 'gin, B. You was so good in you pogam!"

Reason #87 why I love my job

Me: I have a question...
Boss: Yes?
Me: My Ex wants to send the kids to France for a month this summer, and asked whether (if he covers all costs) I could be the one to take them. With the understanding that I would need high-speed Internet access.
Boss: Doesn't matter to me where you work from. Have fun!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

How far we've fallen

Oh, hell. I am officially hooked on that stupid "Lost".

One Bad Thing

(with apologies to Flea for the riff)

I think the no-Lexapro thing is going fairly well, but the sleep issues might be coming back. Of course, the real issue is that I need to just put up with the bedtime whining and/or fit throwing and not. lie. down. with. the children! Cause then it's all over. I am not good at getting in a comfy position and then remaining awake. In college, I once lived with 4 roommates, and one of them was the same way (hey L!). Whenever we all rented a movie, the two of us would each take dibs on opposite ends of the couch, and within 1/2 hour we were both konked out. We used to joke that it was the "Last name-last name School of TV Watching". There is NOTHING better than falling asleep when you're nice and comfy.

However, there are many things better than waking up at midnight with your face stuck to your kid's pillow and your arm half-asleep, and then stumbling around the house trying to finish all those things you put off "until after the kids go to bed" and resisting the urge to have an Ambien moment (mmm, buttered cigarettes!) and then, finally, realizing it's nearly 2 a.m. and you aren't so tired anymore. Blah.

Monday, April 03, 2006


Thank you, to everybody who wrote or commented. Y'all are so kind, and just amazing. And can I tell you how sad I am how many people completely get what I'm talking about? Why? Why do women do this to themselves? And do men do it? Is it sexist of me to think that with women, it's our bodies, and with men, it's their wallets? Their jobs, their income, their status. Would that be easier? Or worse?

I just keep wondering what we're so afraid of, and why. I've been chewing on this one a while: Why do we, as women, attack each other so much? I know, that whole Mommy Wars thing has been done to death, but I haven't read any of those books. I just know that a lot of the women who write online, honestly, about their own experiences--their own pasts, the things they've survived, the feelings they have about themselves, as mothers, daughters, wives and partners--end up, at one time or another, being attacked, either by people who know them and take what's written personally, or by complete strangers. Specifically, I'm thinking of Beth at Crazy Us, Heather at Dooce, Melissa at Suburban Bliss, and Alice at Finslippy. (I'm not linking in text tonight because I'm tired and sloppy but all these women are in the blogroll over to the right.)

Yes, I know, those sites get a lot of traffic and thus are more likely to get negative comments. But it isn't just that. Because you know it's just an extension of everyday life. I don't understand why some stranger would attack these women who honestly seem to be genuinely good people, just trying to figure it all out. But then I don't understand why I would, even if just in my own mind, attack the two women who showed up at last year's elementary school Field Day in high heels and Paris Hilton getups. Fine, I considered it tacky and really bizarro. But let's be honest--in my head? I was a bitch. It was not just a passing glance askance--it was full-blown bitchiness. The word "slut" definitely passed around among neurons, followed by theories as to the women's brain capacities and questions of their fidelity and level of honest devotion to whatever spouses might be in the picture. I never spoke to those women. They could've been the smartest, kindest women on that field. I wouldn't know.

It's all fear, though, don't you think? I think fear is at the heart of all hatred, even the small hatreds that I tell myself are harmless. I think people attack each other, and themselves, out of fear. Why the hell do we care what choices other people make (assuming, of course, that those choices are not causing other people pain or suffering)? I also think, and this is especially true when it comes to motherhood, that most women are so terrified that they project pain and suffering onto the results of any decision that contradicts their own. For example, if I decide to let my kids sleep in my bed and you decide to Ferberize them, your way is obviously opposite of my way, so if you're right, I'm wrong. I can't be wrong, so I have to make YOU wrong. And not only do I have to make you wrong, I have to make you a horribly abusive and uncaring parent who is fucking up your children for life.

The thing I can't figure out is why we can't accept that there isn't any "right" way. Are we terrified of having no control over what happens to us, to our children? Do we feel so adrift that we have to be right all the time? And what if we are wrong--what do we think is going to happen? What ax are we expecting to fall, to make being wrong such a horrible possibility? Do we just have too much time on our hands, that we have to find something other than survival to obsess about? Why do we have to be so fucking mean to each other?

Aw, screw it. I'm going to bed.

Sunday, April 02, 2006


This is not one of my favorite topics. Or maybe it is. Or it used to be. I don't know.

I don't talk about my weight much because I used to talk about it all the time. And think about it all the time.

Most of my extended family (at least those on my mother's side, which is all I know) are pretty much all overweight, sometimes quite unhealthfully so. And I had all those damned issues as a kid, all that shit wrapped up in my mother's marriage and my asshole of a stepfather and how he treated her and how she treated herself and how I wanted them both to treat me and what I had to do to make it happen. I don't feel like going into that all right now. Although the asshole was always telling me I was getting too chubby. You have to picture this coming from a guy who was about 50 pounds overweight. That changed into there just being something "wrong" about me, which I know now was just an excuse to make me stand there while he felt me up trying to figure out exactly what was wrong. "Something's not right. Hold still."

I went on my first diet in 6th grade. I still have this weird time-warpish memory associated with Tab cola: lying out on a beach towel spread across the rocky dirt patch that passed as our front yard, covered in QT tanning oil, pouring over the Tab-sponsored diet booklet that I'd found in some copy of Good Housekeeping. My God. Tab cola is my Count Dracula. I hate that I was that girl. I wish I still was that girl. Tab cola sings a siren song to the heart of GenX anorexics everywhere.

So after about 5 or 6 years of dieting, I guess I was 5'8" and what, 115 pounds? But I wanted to be 110, because anything over that was obviously too fat. I used to do something like 300 situps every night, and 250 leg lifts, and oh, what else? I don't know. It doesn't matter. I could never get down to 110, so I started throwing up. My fingernails and lips used to turn blue, at least a couple times a week, did I ever tell you that? The sick thing is how happy that made me, because the thinner I was the more often it happened, so it was a good sign, you know? Did that for about 6 years, and I can't tell you why I finally quit, except maybe that I was blessed with three truly good friends who all sort of kicked my ass in their own way.

Of course, after that, my metabolism was shot to hell. I shot up to about 150. I think that was the year I only wore skirts. God bless Banana Republic circa 1988. Then I eventually started exercising like a normal person, and I dropped down to about 140, which was probably fine but which I was barely comfortable with. See, the whole thing about going 10 or 12 years during which you think about your weight every single day is that once you stop, you're sort of afraid that if you think about it again at all, you won't be able to stop thinking about it again.

But then I moved to London, and being broke and in a town that depends on public transport is an amazing weight-loss regimen. I had to find a job, so I walked, no exaggeration, a minimum of 8 or 10 miles each day, plus stairs at those damned tube stops. I'd walk around all day long, hitting the temp agencies and going on interviews, for about the first month, until I found a couple of full-time gigs. And I had to ration my money, so--15 years ago and I still remember this--I could afford to buy a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter, a jar of jam, a bag of rice, and a few cans of beans each week. So I'd eat two pieces of pb&j toast for breakfast, skip lunch, and have rice and beans for dinner. By the time I had a full-time job, I weighed 125. And then there's all the shit revolving around my relationship with my Ex and the way he treated me regarding my appearance and the whole modeling fiasco and blah blah blah whatever.

Over the next 5 years or so, I pretty much stayed between 125 and 135, because I kept on walking for transportation and being too broke to eat much. After I moved back to the States, got married, and got a car, I bumped back up to 140-145. I gained about 50 pounds when I got pregnant with the Boy, but got back down to 145 without any trouble within 6 months. Then I got pregnant with the Girl, and holy shit, I gained 70 pounds. I am not kidding.

After that, I had a hard time getting back under 165--finding time to go to the gym was more difficult with two kids, and I wasn't getting the coverage from the husband that I'd gotten after the Boy. Then, he'd watched the baby while I went to the gym after the baby fell asleep, 8:00 or 8:30 pm. Now, he was always out with his friends or riding his motorcycle. Well no, he wasn't, but that's what he said he was doing. And I was so bloody tired by then, anyway.

When the Girl was 7 months old, he finally told me he was having an affair. I couldn't eat. I took the kids to the gym daycare every day after work for 2 hours, even though I hated doing that, because I felt like I was going to die and the only thing that helped was doing something physical. I felt like one of those captive animals that's going crazy and can't stop pacing, you know? Within a month I weighed 145 again, but of course I also had developed hives, overran cysts, and continuous anxiety. So.

That was nearly 3 years ago. Since then, I've gone through the bout of depression, I quit the gym to save money, and there have been several periods during which I drank more than usual (Bailey's, anyone?). So here I am, and I'm back at about 165. And I hate it. And I'm afraid of it. And I know I did it to myself on purpose, or some part of me did. When I weigh 125 or 135 or even 145 pounds? Men look at me. Men don't look at me when I weigh 165 pounds. I want a man to look at me. I don't want a man to look at me. I want to be with someone. I am scared to death of being with someone. I want everyone to fuck off and leave me alone. But I don't. Shit.

This really isn't just the non-Lexapro talking. I think I've sort of put this issue on hold over the past year, and now I have to deal with it. The thing is, I'm not healthy at this weight. My family has a history of high cholesterol, heart trouble, and adult onset diabetes. I don't want to have to deal with that, regardless of the other issues wrapped up in the whole stupid thing. My knees hurt. I'm 38, and my knees hurt? Screw that.

So I need to lose weight. I have promised myself that I will lose these 20-30 pounds that are weighing me down, and that I'll do it by my birthday. That gives me 7 months. So please bear with me. This blog--at the bottom of things, it's my way of writing stuff down, because I need to do that and I wasn't doing it. And you guys, you're so wonderful, and I guess I didn't expect you. So then it sort of changed into me trying to entertain you, or impress you, or ... I don't know. And then I sort of dropped off a bit, because I didn't feel very able to entertain or impress. And I guess now I need this to be my place to eat my brain again, you know what I mean? More brain, fewer cookies.