Putting the "MO" in MOFO since 2004

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

 

Pizza. I want pizza.

You may or may not have read about my last stint with a “cleansing diet”. Much like childbirth, the memories of the pain of my last attempt have waned. Plus, it is swimsuit season, and I would like to lose 5 pounds. Okay, maybe a little more than that, but who’s counting?

The gist of it is to cut out sugar, wheat, gluten, meat, dairy, eggs, caffeine, and alcohol. And that, my friends, doesn’t leave too much to choose from.

We started last night, and I am already feeling a little sluggish. Apparently my bod likes the bad stuff. I am finding it hard to concentrate, and I have a slight headache due to the lack of coffee today. Based on past experience, the headache will continue to worsen until the end of the day tomorrow, when I will have to lock myself in a dark room to rock back and forth and hum lullabies to myself.

After about 24 hours of no sugar, eggs, meat, dairy, gluten, etc…a person just stops being hungry. I could say that is because of my blood sugar leveling out, but it’s more likely that after 3 days of raw almonds, apples and rice cakes, raw almonds, apples and rice cakes just don’t sound very good. Last night it was falafel, basmati rice, and tahini. So far today, I have had a handful of almonds, a field green salad with oil and vinegar, lentil soup, a banana, rice crackers, and olive tapenade.

Based on the way my feelings towards garbanzo beans took a violent turn for the worse last time, I am realizing that the key to a successful cleanse is to make sure you plan meals that have variety and flavor.

Another issue with this diet is that you have to cook everything yourself because what take-out restaurant serves gluten free wheat free egg free meat free entrees? And you are too exhausted and confused to cook, due to the shocking of your system with the lack of junk and all. I think last time we did this, I would have a glass of water for dinner. Then I would put Maggie to bed. Then I would sit and stare.

Tonight: Either portabella mushroom caps stuffed with chipotle mashed potatoes (with rice milk) or tacos made with homemade rice flour tortillas, black beans, avocado, tomato and onions. It really depends on how energetic I am feeling. We also managed to find a frozen entrée made by Amy’s that doesn’t break any of the rules. Hooray.

If you care to place bets on how long I will last with all this nonsense, please feel free. Here’s a hint: Last time I planned to go a full week, and I made it 3.5 days.

I do have a wine tasting planned tomorrow night, so that’s not really cheating, because I always planned to cheat that night anyway. So there.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

 

Not-quite pearls of wisdom

What’s more controversial than the mommy wars? The mommy wars combined with religious cultural wars and corporal punishment! If the web page you are viewing happens to melt your computer screen, it’s because the exponential synergy of the combined controversies up and fried your computer with the force of two small, but vocal opposing ideologies. If all goes according to my plan, these same opposing forces with also magically create such compression that your computer will turn into a big-ass diamond, and you can all sell it on e-bay and use the proceeds to take time off to finally write that novel that’s been bouncing around in your head.

I know a lot of great parents from all walks of life. These parents have varying beliefs, belong to varying political parties, and practice various non-Christian and Christian religions. Their disciplinary techniques differ as well. Some use time outs, and some spank their children. I consider them all to be good parents, and I respect their choices in how they raise their children. I do not agree with all of their methods, but I can agree to disagree on a lot of parenting topics, as long as there are no severe threats to a child’s physical and emotional well-being.

I can sympathize with parents who spank as a last resort. I know that certain kids are very difficult to get through to, and a swat on the butt sometimes does the trick. I know people who have threatened a spanking and then ended up walking away because they were WAY to angry. Spanking is a far cry from beating your kid with a two by four.

I mean, I was spanked and I turned out all-right! Just as my therapist! She thinks I am fantastic. Really, she just told me that last week.

All this controversy started, oh about the time the Bible was first written.

The article I read that started all this can be found here.This article details one man’s ideology and subsequent publications of said ideology in a book that subsequently created a large source of income for him. His name is Michael Pearl, and he is basically a guy who is a little nutty and a lot religious. He is also likely very rich, having sold a lot of copies of his book to a lot of impressionable parents.

"To Train Up a Child," was written in 1994 by Michael Pearl, who is a Tenessee Pastor. In his book, Mr. Pearl encourages parents to use physical punishment to discipline their children. He uses a lot of biblical references. I question whether hitting a child with a twig is really what Jesus would do. I do not recall any biblical stories involving the son of God, a child, and PVC pipe (or a sapling switch, mind you). But then again, I was typically daydreaming about cookies and M&Ms during biblical discussions in my religious classes as a child (CCD for those of you with a little Catholic wherewithal). I could have missed the part about Jesus beatin’ on children.

Here are a few excerpts from Mr. Pearl’s book, "To Train Up a Child":

Mr. Pearl says his ideas: "are not new, deep insights from the professional world of research, [but] rather, the same principles the Amish use to train their stubborn mules, the same technique God uses to train his children."

Sounds great! Here is my conversion plan: I will shriek “GEE!” and “HAW!” at my child and then whack her with the branch of a birch tree instead of offering a measly firm but gentle “No”. A firm but gentle “No” is for pussies. I will refer to my daughter from now on, not as Maggie, but as “Number 7”. I can do that. Good heavens, this is going to be so easy! And my kid will do everything I say all the time!

“Michael Pearl, 60, writes in his book"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."

Okay, so, if I have this right, if you teach your kids that the biggest bully wins, then when they are older, they will be successful in bullying anyone who is smaller than them, and whose parents read and followed the same book. Cool. As long as your kid is bigger than most, this will work for them. The problem is, there is usually someone bigger. This creates a conundrum for parents who wish to raise a “winner” of small stature. If yer kid can’t put up their dukes, the future does not bode well for them. Okay. There’s a wrinkle. But my husband and I are tall, large-footed people, so Maggie….um…. I mean number 7, will be high up on the food chain. I’ll take it (insert Randy Newman’s song “Short People” here).

In his book, Mr. Pearl also recommends:

"Switch their hand once and simultaneously say, 'No.'"They will again pull back their hand and consider the relationship between the object, their desire, the command and the little reinforcing pain. It may take several times, but if you are consistent, they will learn to consistently obey, even in your absence."

Here’s my two cents: Shout “LIFE IS HARD AND PAINFUL AND YOU WILL COMPLY WITH IT’S DEMANDS!!!” at your child thrice daily. That oughta do it.. Consider it extra-credit towards becoming an ultimate corporal punishment parenting champion. The parenting anti-pussy.

On a more serious note, one of this guys groupies took things Tragically too far:

“While the Pearls are well known in fundamentalist Christian circles, they were largely unknown to the secular world until March, when their discipline methods were tied to the death of a North Carolina boy and the alleged abuse of two of his siblings. The children's adoptive mother, Lynn Paddock, 45, a devotee of the Pearls' teachings, is currently behind bars. She is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 4-year-old Sean, who suffocated when wrapped tightly in blankets”
“ She is also charged with felony child abuse in connection with welts found on two of Sean's other five siblings. Nowhere in the Pearls' book do they advocate restraining with blankets; however, Sean's siblings had apparently been struck with a particular type of "rod" recommended by the Pearls: a length of quarter-inch plumbing supply line. “


All joking aside, this is getting pretty serious. An occasional and rare spanking is a far cry from serious bodily injury and death. It’s that fine line that gets pretty tricky to walk. The danger in publishing a book that suggests that God wants you to beat your children, is that if a parent is abusive and depraved to begin with, you are essentially validating their sickness by writing such a book. You just gave a sicko a green-light, from God no less, to inflict irreparable damage upon a child. Quite simply, it is wrong.

If my husband whipped me with PVC pipe, I would call the police, and they would haul him off in a cruiser with the lights flashing. I would probably flip him the bird as he was being taken away to the can. I would then take out a restraining order and get a good lawyer. A child is totally dependent upon their parents. What options does a child have when their parents whip them with a PVC pipe and tell them it’s because of God? In most cases, their option is to stay put and to get beaten. To suggest that such a thing is not only acceptable, but optimal, is unforgivable and sickening. My question is: Where is the outrage?

At the risk of offending any followers of Mr. Pearl, I conclude this:

I respect people of all religions. I know and love a lot of people who follow conservative Christian Ideologies. I bet a lot of them would agree with my next statement: Writing a book promoting violence to children in the name of God is pretty well fucked up. I chalk part of it up to laziness. It takes less time to smack a kid than it does to explain that they can’t have a cookie until after dinner, and then explain it again when the screaming and fit-pitching commences. But lazy doesn't begin cover it when a child ends up dead because your writings potentially encouraged a sick adult to inflict severe physcial harm onto an innocent child. Mr. Pearl your terds of wisdom are not so wise.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

 

I'm weeding as fast as I can

This morning I didn’t have my cursed Godforsaken meeting at 7:30 a.m., and for that I was happy. Until I dropped Maggie of at the in-laws and realized that I had forgot to tell them, and they had been up since 7:00 waiting for us, and had already had breakfast, which they usually have with Maggie. I have been late twice this week, and my father-in-law has been late for two coffee meetings because he wanted to wait to see his granddaughter before leaving.

Can you say G-U-I-L-T??

Yeah, I am an asshole.

Well, actually I am not. I am not an asshole at all (Thank you therapy… two years of hard work and I can definitively say I am NOT an asshole). I am doing the best I can. I am simply WAY too optimistic about what I can and can’t accomplish in one day. Or a week. Or a month for that matter. It might be time to get real about my limitations. And the fact that I have limitations does not mean that I am an asshole.

We have three large garden beds in our backyard. One of them is enormous, and in past years I have grown corn in it. That particular garden bed becomes the bane of my existence every year. My battles with this garden bed have been epic. It starts out hard a rock, requires tilling, which requires the rental of a machine, and then proceeds to overgrow itself with weeds to a ridiculous degree. I mean ASININE. I work full time, and try to get out to weed in the evenings while mosquitoes feast on my flesh. One rainy weekend can throw my plans totally out of whack. Every year, I have a weed-pulling episode where I maniacally rip out everything I can see in a manic frenzy until I exhaust myself. Then I realize that I have only pulled approximately 10% of the weeds, and that garden bed chuckles, and then gives me the finger.

Last night I pitched a fit because all the manure and peat moss I bought Saturday morning was still sitting in bags in the garage. Meanwhile, the brief window of opportunity I have to plant was rapidly ticking by. I broke under the pressure. I huffed and puffed and was all “I’lldoitmyselfthankyouverymuch stupidfreakinggarden Idon’thaveasparemomenttomyself Ican’tcarryathoughtinmyhead poor poor me” until Jim finally got out the wheelbarrow and begrudgingly helped me plant some tomatoes.

The large garden bed stared at me as though saying “You wanna piece of me?” and I realized that the answer is no. I do not want a piece of that garden bed. Gardening is supposed to be enjoyable. Not a frantic crazed desperate rush to get things in the ground so they can grow before the cruel winter frost kills them all. I have been racing around like some crazed half assed Martha Stewart freak, who simply MUST grow their own corn. You know what? You can buy corn at the store for about ten cents an ear every August. Money well spent, as far as I’m concerned.

This morning on my way to work, I began to berate myself for forgetting to call my in-laws last night after I got home from work, played with Maggie, planted tomatoes, made dinner, gave the kitchen a half-assed cleanup job, and bathed Maggie, put her to bed and indulged myself with a little American Idol before falling asleep on the couch.

I absolutely regret forgetting to tell my in-laws that I didn’t have a meeting which caused them to wait around for an hour. I will make sure it doesn’t happen again.

I did something different this time. Instead of immediately going to that place in my head where I mercilessly berate myself for being stupid and forgetful and ungrateful and selfish, I realized that I am simply doing too much. When I do to much, I neglect details like remembering to call my in-laws to tell them that I don’t have a meeting.

So the big garden is out. In fact, I think I need to do a little more pruning of my social and professional obligations. I want to enjoy my summer. I want to enjoy my garden. I want to buy my corn at the store. Instead of seeing my forgetfulness as a sign of my own incompetence, I will see it as a warning that I am doing too much, and something has to give. I do not want to be perfect. I want to be happy. I want to be realistic, and most importantly, I want to be kind to myself. I am glad this therapy thing is actually starting to work.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

 

Happy Birthday to my Baby's Daddy.

Top Ten list

In honor of the 37th birthday of my baby’s daddy, I present the top ten list for the handsome Dutch man I married.

10. You are my baby’s daddy, and you are a great daddy, at that. You come up with games like “Helicopter” Which involved throwing a large disc up into a maple tree which causes the helicopters to fall down and look really pretty. Our daughter, Jim junior, loves her daddy. She is like a girl version of you, but with brown eyes instead of blue. She is the best gift I ever got, and ever will get. Thank you.

9. Jim, you are a marketers dream. You share my weakness for the impulse buy, which is why we have 19 polar fleece pullovers, two fancy lawn chairs, and a stuffed grouse, among other things. I find this quality extremely endearing, except for when we run out of closet space.

8. You love to sing and make up your own songs and lyrics out of the blue. Not just regular lyrics, but crazy off-the wall, juvenile humor lyrics. I can’t recall exactly what it was that made me fall over laughing this last weekend, but good grief it was funny.

7. What I lack in attention to detail, you more than compensate for. If it weren’t for you, our lawn would be a jungle, and our carpet would be home to critters and crumbs. You make it look like I might actually have my shit together domestically. HAHAHAHA!. If people only knew you were my secret weapon for organization.

6. You are an absolute dream to cook for. Pretty much anything I make gets an eager and enthusiastic reception.

5. You love independent films. I am always impressed by the movies you like, and you let me pick out all sorts of crazy things on netflix, and not only do you rarely complain about my choices, you actually seem to like most of them.

4. You are a music lover and a loyal fan of your favorite artists. I have always admired that about you. You go from Wilco to Jeff Tweety to Sunvolt to Jay Faraar to that crazy Scottish band I can’t think of the name of right now. You buy tickets to see them at First Ave and tuck the ticket stubs into the cd cases. You are like a kid in a candy store when we peruse the concert schedules. It’s sweet, and your enthusiasm actually makes me want to stay up until 2:00 a.m. on a school night watching Ryan Adams get wasted and sing the same song 3 times and then rip on Paul Westerberg in his hometown like some kind of spoiled idiot.

3. To say we have had our struggles could be a wee bit of an understatement. And we both know what I’m talking about sugar. Thanks for being willing to learn with me. We have some roads ahead. You continue to surprise me with your ability to grow. I hope I am able to reciprocate.

2. You have a really nice chest and shoulders. I really really like them.

You get excited about trinkets. Every time I get a cheesy award for hitting sales numbers, like a miniature pretend silver phone, a gumball machine, or say, and hourglass with my name on it, you excitedly grab it from me and place it in our office where you keep the shrine to Meghan’s Sales Trinkets. It’s funny and quirky and sweet. And so are you.

Happy Birthday Poops. I love you.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

 

Organic Ecstacy

Clean up in aisle nine! Clean up in aisle nine! My head just exploded out of sheer ecstatic, orgasmic joy in the middle of TRADER JOE’S. Yeah, you heard me, TRADER FREAKING JOE’S BEEEEE-YATCH! In MINNESOTA, Yah, You Betcha! TRADERFUCKINGJOES YEAHTHATSWHATISAIDTRADERFUCKINGJOES!

“AAAAAAH!” Do you hear the chorus singing? The Birds chirping? What a beautiful noise! What an orgasmic, exquisite, beautiful place!

Half of the frozen food section had been pillaged and plundered by overeager Scandinavians during the Grand opening. There were rows of empty shelves and bins, and I was still just like a kid in a candy store, I tell you. My limbs trembled as I ran a finger across the nitrite-free organic beef hot dogs. I held back the tears for a while, and then finally let go, and began to sob. And then, I sniffled my way through the sauces! Jars of Yellow Curry Sauce! Marsala Sauces! Marinated meats! I walked out, exhausted, with 5 bags of groceries and several bottles of wine. My strength, it was gone. All used up in the ecstasy and all. But Mama’s going back. Oh yeah. Mama’s going back. If there is breath left in her body, Mama will be back, Trader Joe.

Mama’s got a new Daddy. His name is Trader Joe.

I will say to my husband, “Now, now, baby. It’s okay! Stop your crying. Mama still loves you! There’s enough love for two men in mama’s heart! You love me and our baby! You mow the lawn so good, baby! And then Mama’s got Joe. Don’t feel bad, because Joe makes Mama real happy, and no one’s happy if Mama’s not happy. So you understand baby, don’t you?”

So get ready for me Joe, because I’ll be back. Big Boy. OH YEAH I’LL BE BACK! And you KNOW what I’m talking about. Meow.
 

Teachers, Students, and Lessons

I have been buried under an vague but massive, lung-crushing sense of oppression and frustration for some time. Some of it these feelings are based in current events and politics, some in my professional life, and some in my personal life. I can’t think of a time in my life when I have felt and tasted total frustration, disappointment, and deeply buried rage so tangibly. These are feelings I have traditionally forced inward and then numbed with red wine, passive aggression, and paralyzing insidious self-doubt. Or, I have tried to compensate for them by being the perfect cook, host, gardener, friend… Whatever it took to hide my inadequacies in the closet, and compensate for my failings in other areas. I have become very good at compensating.

I was born with the scourge of sensitivity on my soul. I can be painfully vulnerable to gratuitous confrontation and finely tuned jabs. I am the perfect victim for the passive aggressive. I am also admittedly a card carrying member of the P.A. club. I am aware of this, and for the love of God, I try to play along and to take things lightly. I try not to be weak and easily hurt. I don’t want to be Debbie Downer, or the person everyone has to tread softly around. I try to be assertive and direct. It does not come naturally, and it is a constant uphill battle. Then again, I see nothing wrong with admitting that at this point in my life, I overwhelmingly prefer to be around people who are kind and fair and loving. People for whom I don’t need to prepare for by dressing in soul-armor.

I had a conversation with a good friend of mine this weekend. We were talking about some challenges I have faced in some personal and professional relationships. She told me that there are some people in life that are meant to be teachers. These people are sought out because subconsciously, we know we have something to learn, and somehow we know these particular people are going to be a part of that learning process. If you have some wherewithal, you will eventually learn a valuable lesson or two. Oftentimes these people are inadvertently leaping about and flailing their arms, metaphorically flagging you down, and saying “knock knock! Anyone home? Are you even SEEING THIS? How can you not be seeing this?”

The best teachers tend to be the ones who make you the craziest. Crazy, as in: I am frightened by the amount of anger I am harboring towards them, I never thought I could have such rageful thoughts about them, and it’s eating me up inside angry. I like to think of myself as a nice person. A lot of the time my feelings about some of my teachers make me feel profoundly NOT nice. My feelings about some of my teachers make me feel like a wounded animal, ready to bare teeth and go for the jugular.

Relationships with these teachers can be complicated and filled with resentments, hurt feelings, misunderstandings and real pain. PAINFUL pain. To complicate things further, a lot of time, you also have incredibly positive feelings for these teachers, like love and respect and admiration. I have noticed in myself, a desperate desire to find some middle ground on which to connect, without fear or anger. I yearn to win the struggle to forgive, and to make peace. I want to replace uncomfortable and excruciating feelings of pain with feelings grace, kindness, patience, and total acceptance.

As someone who tends to have an elephant’s memory for the various ways in which I have been wronged in my life, and the people who have wronged me, forgiveness and kindness at times, seem like far-away places I visit only in my dreams.

I don’t want to give up the fight. I don’t want to walk away. There are still things to learn. But I am feeling really tired and vulnerable right now. I think I might need a time out. And I think I can be okay with that.

And then there is that ever-looming concept of personal responsibility. As other people are teachers, so am I. I teach people how to treat me. I teach people what I celebrate, and what I will tolerate and ignore and deny. I am realizing that I have been teaching from a really flawed lesson plan. I have been teaching things like funny math, and “the earth is flat” kind of lessons.

Changing the lesson plan is really fucking hard. Students and teachers alike will become confused when the game is changed partway through. And I have to deal with it, because this is the house I built with my own two hands. I created the game, like it or not. I am the one who sealed myself into a room with no windows. I am the one who painted myself into a corner. I did those things because for some reason, it felt like home. But now I see the flaws in my past ideology. And now I am trying to change the lesson book. I have to change the lesson book because I have to save myself.

I keep saying it over and over again. “We teach people how to treat us”.

I am at a difficult point right now, because changing the lesson plan can make a person feel really isolated and lonely. No one knows the new, strange tune I am trying to whistle. Christ, it even feels foreign to me. As a person who has always loved and craved feelings of connectedness to humanity and to people, those feelings of separateness are really, really difficult and lonely.

When I think about my tenuous relationships I have with some of the teachers in my life, I try to think to myself “Would I want anyone treating my daughter the way I am being treated?”. Taking things a step further, I wonder if I would ever allow anyone to speak to Maggie in the cruel and degrading way I often speak to myself. The answer is no.

I treat my daughter with so much more kindness than I treat myself. I notice how I love her so completely and unconditionally, and with such acceptance and warmth. It feels good to love like that.

And I realize that I have a teacher I never, ever expected. In an amazing turn of events, my twenty month old daughter just handed me the lesson book. And the answers are all right there, and she is flailing her arms, metaphorically flagging me down, and saying “knock knock! Anyone home? Are you even SEEING THIS? How can you not be seeing this?”

It’s my turn to be the student. I think I will shut up and pay attention for a change.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

 

Paraphrasing

Older sister with well-adjusted teenage daughters who don’t kick their mother as hard as they can in the stomach thrice daily:

“Kids are like puppies. You have to totally ignore behavior you don’t want to encourage”

Me (whining):

“But! It’s hard to ignore your freakishly strong toddler kicking you freakishly HARD in the gut repeatedly with her freakishly large feet, and then cackling fiendishly at her own mean-ness while I wince in pain. Is crying silently still ignoring? If I don’t make any noise? Do silent tears of pain still count as ignoring?”

Older sister with teenagers who don’t appear to kick her in the stomach repeatedly:
“(Sympathetic sigh)”

Monday, May 15, 2006

 

Ode to sweet silence

There once was a toy called a Ferbie
That hopped right on everyone’s nervies
And rode them and grated
Til ferbies were hated
And on every last one was wished Scurvy


I browsed through the tables and Chairs
With nary a worry or care
My sister’s yard sale
And instead of a pail
I came home with a blob, eyes and hair


At first sight the toy, is was sweet
All fuzzy faced, with cute little feet
I placed batteries inside
And the toy came alive
and he chattered as we walked down the street


Back to our house we trodded
As the hours went by, mommy plotted
To take that damn toy
And to kill it with joy
Before mommy’s brain fully rotted


The Ferbie, it seems has one flaw
An “off switch” can’t be found on it’s jaw
Or it's back for that matter
On and on, it will chatter
Until violent visions I saw


I have never heard such a toy
That whines without feeling or joy
“I’m Hungry” “I’m sick”
Know what little prick?
You’ve uttered your very last “oy”


And with that in my mind I resolved
And for mommy, the problem was solved
Without feeling or care
I hurled Ferbie down the stairs
And I knew I was truly absolved


For what kind of parent can take,
A toy that will whine cry and shake
When right there before them
Their toddler adores them
Yet requires all the life force we make?



And now we can all go to bed
Knowing our little pal ferbie is dead
At the base of the stairs
Bits of eye, feet and hairs
That goddamned toy made me see red

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

 

A how-to guide for ruining a perfectly good day off

I treated myself to 3 whole days off of work. Work was making me stupid. And crazy. I stopped for a moment today, after I had one of those meandering thoughts that one has only when they are not being distracted by, say, annoying e-mails popping up every 5 seconds, the phone ringing incessantly, and a venerable cornucopia of incredibly urgent, mindless request forms and spreadsheets. My thought was: "work makes me stupid". My job might bring in the bacon, but I feel IQ points dropping the second I walk in the door. A difficult but monumental realization.

What a relaxing day off I have had. The jackhammers in front of my house are pounding, blocking out the birds that are probably singing, except that I can't hear them but for the jackhammers. Tomorrow morning, the same men currently jackhammering will knock on my door at 8:30 a.m. so that they can spend 2 hours making a racket inside my home. They will mess with our gas meter, and then they will tear apart our lawn. My presence is required for all of this. While they do all of this I will be trapped at home trying to entertain my toddler indoors on a rainy day. How, may you ask, do I manage such a positive attitude in the face of all of this? I don't! My attitude stinks, and if you are still with me you have likely come to that conclusion already.

It all started this morning. I was in my pajama's and trying to get the house picked up. The dinner dishes from last night were dirty in the sink, the dishwasher was full, and the baby needed to be fed. It was supposed to be rainy all day, but somehow this morning was sunny. I had phone calls to make and e mails to check. I ran all over frantically, trying to get it all done so that I could take a shower and get out and enjoy the day. Summers in Minnesota are so short, there is an insane amount of pressure to get outside and enjoy every moment of sunshine. There is so much pressure that it starts to feel like an olbigation. Only I coud take a beautiful day and turn it into something BITTER. I wanted to do something fun with Maggie, like take her to the Zoo. But most of the exhibits at the zoo are indoors, and like I said, I consider it a sacrilige to be indoors when it's nice outside. So I ran around trying to get it all done so we could get outside and enjoy some fucking sunshine goddamit.

My mind raced, I couldn't decide what to do with this precious and rare day off, on a precious and rare nice spring day. THE PRESSURE. Oh, the pressure! Again, only I could take a beautiful day off in the spring and come up with a reason to be resentful. I finally decided to walk over to our in-laws to see if they were home. They weren't. Instead, I pulled Maggie in her red wagon and we went to the park. As we walked we chattered back and forth, and I stopped to point out a bright red cardinal. The lilacs were blooming and the breeze was cool and sweet. Maggie pointed out the clouds and the birds and the flowers with such enthusiasm that I was touched, and got a little choked up. We went to the park, and we played with rocks for a long time, and we had fun. It occurred to me, that the meaningful moments are often times the most pedestrian. We didn't need no stinking zoo. We just need mommy to fucking relax.

I am not sure why I put pressure on myself that ultimately sucks the fun out of things like, say, days off with my daughter. It does occur to me that when I just resign myself and do whats easy, I end up having more fun. And I KNOW THIS. Except I keep forgetting because of all the noise, and ringing phones, and deadlines, and month-end quota requirements.

In the end, I suppose I didn't really ruin a perfectly good day off. I was on-track to ruin it, But I seem to have pulled it out in the eleventh hour, as I am inclined to do. I hope I remember how not to ruin a perfectly good day off tomorrow when the gas meter guys pillage my house and lawn and I am about to lose my shit. I think I need to pull out a thick pad of post-its and stick the same message all over the house so I don't forget again. The golden rule moving forward: "the key to enjoying life is getting mommy to fucking relax".

Now where are those fucking post-its?

Monday, May 08, 2006

 

Grosser Than Gross, or How I know my Subconscious Doesn't Like Me

Repulsion is subjective. As unique as the varying objects, visions, and smells that send us shrieking, retching and cowering in a corner fighting to keep our cookies down, are the variances from human to human. What is utterly vile and repellant to one person can be totally benign to another.

The range of revolting offenders is fascinating, as are the neuroses that likely lie behind the gag reflexes deeply rooted in the subconscious of the afflicted. There are a few things, that when conjured in my mind, create an overpowering revulsion and nausea so strong, I become desperate to banish the image from my mind for all of eternity. Except that I have one of those brains afflicted with oppositional defiant disorder. Stupid, agonizing, torturous, ODD brain. I desperately try to banish these disturbing visions from my mind, and they pop up repeatedly, rendering me weak and helpless and yearning for aliens to suck out my thoughts and memories and save me from the torture my subconscious berates and mocks me with. I have an evil subconscious.

There are a few things on my list. Terra Cotta. I can not touch terra cotta without cringing. When I touch terra cotta, I can’t help but think about how terra cotta would feel if I CHEWED it. How the crunch of terra cotta would feel on my teeth. I. CAN’T TOUCH TERRA COTTA. Chalk incites a similar response.

Another one is the image I conjured up when friend told me about her uterine fibroids. I have not problem with the thought of fibroids all by themselves. Things started careening out of control when my friend said to me “They’re really not that big of a deal, but someone once told me that they grow hair and teeth”. HAIR AND TEETH IN YOUR UTERUS. I think that’s enough said. Those substances should only be in that place when there is an actual baby in there. I am trembling at the very thought right this very moment.

I once had a dream that bugs crawled out of my pores. That was about ten years ago, and the image still disturbs me.

There is the story about a person biting into a chicken tender, causing a big fat tumor to explode in their mouth. I have yet to move beyond that image.

I discovered another one yesterday while composing some geranium planters in the backyard with my sister Betsy. ROOT NODULES. I was finishing off a planter with asparagus fern, and when I removed the plastic container to place it in the pot, the mass of thick white roots were exposed, along with these pale, hairy pustules. I paused quizzically and took a closer look and I thought I saw one MOVE. Fat, juicy, hairy, pale alien sacks. They looked like some kind of insect pods, and I was certain they were incubating fat, pale wormy, writhing, fast-moving critters that were about to leap from the roots onto my face and start sucking blood. But the pale juicy, likely worm-infested Root nodules weren’t bad enough. It was then that I noticed what had actually made the movement I saw. The dreaded millipede. I shrieked the most terrorized, high pitched shriek, and flung the entire plant, millipede, pustules and all, across the backyard with a startling velocity. I am sure that I scared the bejeezus out of Betsy.

I was nauseated for hours. And my uncooperative brain, with a sick and twisted sense of humor, conjured up the image repeatedly throughout the evening. I hate my brain.

I searched and searched for a photograph of these asparagus fern root nodules, and have so far been unable to find a photograph that does the root nodule atrocities justice.

I am cringing right this very moment of the mere thought.

I wonder if a hypno-therapist could clean some of this disgusting junk out of my brain.

Now that I have cursed you all with visions of the most disgusting things imaginable, please take advantage of the comments section to return the favor with a few of your own.

And with that, I will leave you with a picture of the closest thing I could find. Except my plant had throbbing paler, juicier nodules. With hair.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

 

Random smattering of thoughts from a random, smattered mind

I am wearing green suede loafers today. One might ask the question, are green shoes really practical? I mean, how often does one wear green? I currently own 3 green sweaters that I rotate, which means I will wear these green suede loafers at least twice a week. Not sure what that says about me.

My daughter Madge has a Barbie doll that her father bought her at a garage sale. She keeps it over at Grandma’s house. She calls it “Mommy”. Not sure if that is a good thing, or a bad thing.

Things that have occurred to me today:

I habitually underestimate myself. Not sure what that means, but I am sure my therapist could help me with that one. I suppose that’s better than walking around like an over-inflated ninny all the time. I wish I had more self-confidence. I often use the phrase “fake it ‘til you make it” but I typically do more faking than making. However, I sometimes enjoy baking. I am devilishly good at faking, though.


The song lyric that best describes my mood today: “Today my heart is big and sore. It’s trying to push right through my skin” – Patty Griffin


I hate telephones, and I am beginning to hate e-mail.

You win the game of life when you sit back in your home and think to yourself “there is not one thing I truly need that I do not have." This is the only way to beat the system, as far as I’m concerned.

I don’t do the aforementioned nearly often enough.

If awards were given out for passing the buck, I know of about 15 people tied for first place. That’s a whole lot of blue ribbons. People who step up to the plate are a rare and treasured breed.

On a bad day, one of my favorite saying is: "The person who cares the least, wins."

I try very hard not to care sometimes. I am occasionally successful at it. However that success is short-lived, and I usually go back to feeling the pain of every upper-cut and left hook.

People in positions of power who unnecessarily and gratuitously make people jump through hoops like trained poodles just for the sake of it make me very angry.

Did I say I HATE TELEPHONES? I HATE TELEPHONES.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

 

Power to the People

Last night Jim and I had a hankering for Pad Thai, and stopped by our local Big Bowl for takeout.

When I approached the counter, I was told that they were closed in honor of the immigration protests.

I thought to myself "That is freaking awesome", and I meant it in earnest.

I felt like a bit of a heel for forgetting about the boycott and for attempting to spend money on a day that people (whom I agree with) decided to rally together to protest and bring attention to their economic power, not to mention their value to American Culture.

On Saturday I saw a group of people on the news who held a rally in support of restricting immigration. A few of them were wrapped in American flags. They gave speeches to their very small, very sparse audience, describing how immigrants are a threat to our very happiness as Americans. And I couldn't help but think that those people really should find hobbies, or at least try to wrangle together some semblance of a life.

Then I wondered when their stinky putrid ancestors stepped off the overstuffed boats at Ellis Island, and if they had to deal with similar hatred from ignorant, frightened, small-minded people. They looked ridiculous. Stupid loudmouthed people have a way of making themsleves look ridiculous.

At least call it what it is: As my friend put it "The hating haters club".

It made me happy to see the masses of people across the country coming out to protest restrictive, ethnocentric, racist policies. I was moved to see that kind of passion in people again. I sometimes fear that I have lost mine.

Jim was equally impressed with the sucess of the grassroots coordination of the immigration protests (the ones with hundreds of thousands turning out, not the ones with 75 morons).

"How did they (meaning legal and illegal immigrants) pull of such a big protest in such a short time?" he asked me.

"People finally got angry, and led a well-coordinated grass-roots protest. Isn't it inspiring?" I replied,

"Yeah. Why can't the Democrats pull it together like that?"

"I don't know, but clearly we should elect an immigrant to be our next president."

"Uh-huh."