Monday, December 31, 2007
I came home to my husband having bought me a Far Side anthology and a Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. I sat on the bed not knowing which to read first but the Far Side won.
My eldest is driving me crazy. She has various complicated situations and calls me, usually at 11pm or so, frustrated and needing to talk. If I give her advice she doesn't use it. If I don't, she thinks I am not validating her. Very frustrating.
My cold is lingering and my ears are running. I have NEVER had my ears run. They seemed to clear up which was good, but tonight they got stuffy again. The cough is getting better, then it gets worse. My daughter just went to a birthday party and said that several were not there because of this illness. It is going around.
Friday, December 28, 2007
It was amazing. I met his art coordinator who is a dynamic lady who explained to me that they need volunteers to facilitate art. I can also get paid but for now I want to just work along side her.
I was floored to say the least. I may be able to do my writing internship with them later. It is shocking to see how much is needed and how what I have been trying to decide on can all be wrapped up into a job later.
I am not writing this very well-- I am excited.
Later-- I'm mad. I found some paperwork from 16 years ago. I'd applied to Lesley College to get into art therapy. I let my parents and brother talk me out of it-- they laughed at me. I changed my major and everything (I changed majors a lot) and then got pregnant with dd3 between marriages. I remember the whole period. They complained about everything I wanted to do! They told me what a fucked up life I had when I was pregnant with dd3-- yet I kept going.
Anyway, I realize that I am getting back on track. I can't do an art therapy master's degree because I cannot uproot my family for two years. My husband did say that the program that I am looking at for healing arts (you have residencies for ten days each semester) is quite do-able and with his job being like it is, we can do it.
Here I am, close to doing what I loved then. Older, hopefully wiser with nine kids. Who'd have believed how much I could have done before getting back to it?
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
I am contemplative.
There are three things that I can see myself doing as a career.
- Writing grants for a hospital or any organization (I can keep up with my English degree and stop here if I want. I love college and cannot stop. I am an academic.)
- Massage therapy because I love it (I need massage training which is expensive and my husband needs to replace his car as it's been totaled out with 250,000 miles and everything has been breaking. I have some money left over but I need to put it into my husband's car more than me.)
- Art therapy (requires a master's degree and I get to not get out of art. I have a college chosen.)
The massage school would be great but he asked if I can take sporadic classes offered to the public for "fun" like couples massage and sports massage for lay people and just practice on him and let him work on me. That is great. He doesn't think that I would like simply working on people all day, that I'd wind up being like dental assistants who are needy and walk to talk to me and I am wanting to scream, "Shut up and work on my mouth!" (I wind up switching dentists when they do that.) He says my temperament is interactive and sometimes contemplative, but that massage is too introverted for me to do eight hours a day.
He says that I am an artist. He said that when he met me that I was stunning and pretty and "full of creative life force" and that he cannot see me not doing art. He says that art in all it's forms is what I am about. I said it is expensive but he said that it is what I am meant to do. He says that art shines a light for others to see and experience life and that I can help people learn to use it and do some good work myself. Sometimes I tell him about things that I want to create and he says he was often thinking of me doing the same thing. He says that my muses bug him when they don't get my attention and he says something like refers to a song, "Could you draw that?" and I get spooked because I was thinking of it. I do not understand it. He says I have to run with it because I am supposed to.
I was grateful for him talking to me.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
The morning was great. The kids came into our room at 7 and asked if they could get into their stockings. I said yes and threw on my bathrobe to join them. The Pokemon cards had been found and the boys were already trading and laughing, "I can get you with my 130 power! Haha! This is so righteously rare!"
I reminded them that they had PRESENTS to open. My mother-- as much as she frustrates me, can only show her love since she is so damned far away and doesn't really like little kids-- through her presents. She is very affectionate! Everything was exquisite and wrapped with her flare. You don't want to unwrap my mother's gifts as they are so nicely done, and then once you get inside-- you are glad that you did! She gave the kids cool souvenirs from her trips and toys-- and my husband some techno gadgets that impressed him that she knew about. For me it was Godiva chocolates and a pretty Coldwater Creek top with turquoise jewelry. I don't need the compliments to feel good, but they sure don't hurt. When I wear things that she gives me, I stand out in a great way. I can't wait to wear this to see one of my friends who owns a boutique and she will see it through my jacket and help me take it off so she can see the blouse. THAT is how stunning the things are that my mother gives me!
I put a gold box of candy in each stocking and a rubber duckie along with other presents. By the time we sat down to eat, my four year old son had collected them all and was sorting them by color and was making them circle the table.
I must be learning my Russian-- my eldest gave me a pretty tryptich of a Russian saint story and I could read the story that went with it and understand a few words.
My four year old has been putting the duckies at everyone's seats and under pillowcases. What have I created?!! He is very funny. He put a duckie on a remote control car that my mother gave him and was sending it around the house.
I'm thinking of my dad today. You all know how Santa supposedly likes chocolate chip cookies? In our house, Santa liked Banana Creme Pie which was, shock of all shocks, also my dad's favorite pie! When I was four I wanted to put out cookies as my best friend did that and my dad's eyes lit up, "I think we should save the banana creme pie for Santa." I did not like banana creme pie and said fine, but my mother & sisters (who knew Santa's identity and liked banana cream pie) and he got into a friendly argument. I put out cookies and there was a note, "Dear Miss Tea, everyone gives me chocolate chip cookies. Next year please leave a full pie for me. Love, Santa." I put out a banana cream pie for him after that. It's good that he didn't ask for Bavarian Cream as I'd have never parted with it!
My husband got me a book of Kaethe Kollwitz, a German artist from the turn of the last century. I've been reading it all day. Last spring when my art professor told me that I had lines and depth similar to hers, I responded with, "You are so sweet!" My professor shook her head at me and wrote her name down on a piece of paper and said, "Go home and look her up before you open your mouth." I went home and looked her up. I almost didn't go back to my drawing class! Her work is raw and ugly-- it can be raw and ugly, but it also depicts joy. Most of it is painful. Kaiser Wilhelm called her a gutter artist. He ousted her from a few academies. Kaethe didn't draw flowers and hummingbirds and pretty things; she drew from real life. She was a trained artist who was married to a doctor in Berlin. They lived all right but he served his patients and lived amongst them with his family on the wrong side of the tracks. I have quite a few of her books already, but her diary and letters are moving.
I'm having an urge to learn to work with clay. It's too late to sign up for a pottery class, but hopefully next fall I will be able to. Of course I have more in mind than spinning pots-- I have some sculptures in my head that I want to do.
Monday, December 24, 2007
I have the kids running around. The middle ones are baking oatmeal cookies. The older ones are wrapping my last minute presents for each other and they are saying, "I know what Mom is getting you but it's so gauche to talk about what other people are getting each other." I guess they are practicing good manners? Hmmmmm. We'll see how terribly shocked they act when they open them in a few hours! (The more shocked they act tells me what the wrappers said!)
I spent the day in Town. I am wrapped up in a parka with a blanket over me as I type. I'm still freezing. It's not putting a damper on my excitement. The littlest ones are asking questions about Santa.
Last night my middle son asked me about Santa and "the bottom line" and how he can afford to make all the toys. I said that elves are cheap, like slave labor. He said, "Isn't that illegal?" It was quite funny as he mulled over this. He is a young Alex Keaton. He wants to believe in Santa but hsi friends say he's not real. I had him watch Polar Express. We are part of the faith that spawned the real Santa. . . one of my children is named for him. (He's also the patron saint of mariners. Funny story there.) Then he went into logistics, "Like, how can he get to every country? Rich kids get more, you can't say he cares as much for everyone." He exasperates me but I enjoyed it. He is thinking. I like to see him thinking about things.
I got up and heard five of the kids coughing. Runny noses. Sore throats. How did it hit us all at once?!! Today only the Urgent Care places will be open but I doubt that we will go to them-- hopefully this is a short duration illness. The kids are not wounding happy even though I have them sleeping again. I'm up with tea and cookies and my dog is sitting at my feet. I gave the cats their Christmas presents of catnip toys early and while they normally hate each other, they are on their backs next to one another staring up at the Christmas tree lights. Ahh, tis the season of kittenly love!
A few months ago one of the boys put a catnip toy on the dog's collar. The cats smelled it and were stalking him. He's good natured but at first howled at them as they got near him. When he tired of it, he lay down and they were going crazy under his chin, trying to sniff and bite at the little mouse. The dog was enjoying the attention, I think.
Anyway, my medicine is kicking in and my husband will be up soon. I need to run back to bed. Everything hurts. What a terrible time to have this happen!
Sunday, December 23, 2007
I sent them an email and a letter and a promise of a couple hundred a month. I doubt that they will care. Such is life-- I have to focus on what I can. For now we are having a great Christmas with the kids.
Today I took the kids to church. My four year old was in the back seat, "Are jeans evil?" I thought I didn't hear him correctly and asked him again. "Are they baaaad?"
"Jeans are not evil or bad."
"They are worn by bad guys."
He went off on a silly explanation of bad guys wearing jeans. I pointed to a woman wearing jeans. "Do you think she is evil?
He said, "Do you know her?"
I said I didn't so he asked if she was a stranger. I said she was.
"Are strangers bad?"
"Uh, they can be." I said.
"Do you trust them?" he queried.
I said well, we can't go up and talk to them.
"Do they steal things?"
I said that some do, most don't. "But those ones are bad. They are evil and jeans are worn by bad guys."
Later he'd be playing with the LBC (Little Black Cat) and he would scratch him and he had another long conversation with how the LBC would kill a mouse, scratch him and cause an infection in him with mouse blood. . . and he'd die. I was floored, to say the least. He was extremely casual in his conversation and I think my 12 year old's passing fascination with the Black Plague of Europe caused this.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Is almost 40 old? I hope I never stop making out with my husband! It's the spark of life!
Anyway, later on my husband and I looked at each other, "What did she mean, 'almost 40 and still making out'?" It was quite funny.
Friday, December 21, 2007
The cute thing is, the boys will see those cards in their stockings and nothing else will matter. I will have no regrets. They will declare this the best Christmas ever and play the game all day and into the night. They will not fight to get on the computer. They are quite cute playing. I am happy with this. But I still feel like I am in the pocket of a thief when I go to the Pokemon store. The people there are nice though (shouldn't they be for what I spend?) and the husband said that he went to a tournament with a great deck but was trounced by six year olds. I did laugh at that.
I met my daughter's boyfriend again today. My husband had my keys and I needed to get to my doctor's office to have a rash on my arm looked at while it was there (it comes up ever so often and goes away with Benadryl so he says I'm allergic to something) and we chatted. He wasn't trying to shine up to me but we started talking and we hit it off. He was telling me how excited he is to be back to our state and was telling me about life in his fraternity that he was entering. He got fried on it-- it wasn't good. He left it, rather appalled by the Greeks at the school. They really overstep themselves in hazing and it was also terrible on the girls, but he said they couldn't tell him what was happening, but they'd have bruises. For $1,000 a month, they were getting abused and exhausted while trying to keep up their grades and were sworn to secrecy. Very disappointing. Even more so, he said they were saying, "They are my sisters! They love me!" while explaining away the unspeakable bad things. I'm glad that he left it. He's going into pharmacology later and he seems to have his act together. Does he? He is a 19 year old guy-- but he seems pretty confident and classy.
Forgive me for being a cynic. I know that these relationships don't last this early but I adore him. I will be sad when these two split up. My daughter said that they had been friends for years and already discussed how they will end (on speakable terms.) I hope so and I hope he is not the dork that my next eldest says he is. "There are things Tiger doesn't want me to tell you." she says. Well, I refuse to make a judgment on implied hearsay. At the same time. Peaches said, "You have been warned! Kinda." I asked if it's anything illegal and she said no, "just strange." Strange could be having a fetish for women wearing olives on the tips of their fingers while mud wrestling so I don't know what to think.
I am embroidering some towels for my sister-in-law. I hate being broke and this is all I can do. My husband told me that she will appreciate the time I put in and by the way could I make a few for his mom and dad. That was nice.
The darkest day of the year is almost behind us. Sunset was around 4pm today. I am so happy-- even though daylight comes in spurts of two or three minutes, buy the end of January we will be feeling more sunshine. By March-- winter will seem like a distant memory and I will be planning my garden and not thinking of winter. I will be 14 months away from graduation, God willing that I pass all my classes.
So far, six glass balls have shattered. I am very annoyed. I keep threatening to buy more of the snappable plastic beads that we all had as kids and string those on the tree until TeaCup is about 12 or so. It wasn't TeaCup, Clash or Boom-Boom who did it-- it was my three middle boys. They are great kids, but they wrestle and play rough. How can you get mad? I knew it would happen but my husband said they'd be "fine" and insisted we put them up because they look pretty.
My husband doesn't understand why I get mad when he says "fine" in any context, but what it means is, "Shut up." Questions of how I look that are answered with "Fine" could mean that I will be having strange men put their arms around my waist at the party and offer me drinks until he rescues me, or it would mean that I have a piece of chive on my tooth but that he is playing a game on his cell phone and doesn't notice. "Fine" could also mean that the bottom of the casserole I baked for church was burnt. When he says my breaks are "fine" it means that he didn't really ask the mechanic about them and that if I want to survive, I have to ask myself next time! It also means that all the glass balls will fall and shatter when my almost 10-9-&-8 year old sons play next to it. C'est la vie.
Steve sent me his sweet present for being 10,000 at his site. It is an embroidered handkerchief duo and some tea, which are a sheer delight. The tea smells and tastes wonderful and the handkerchiefs will be used at church when we have baptisms which I cannot keep from getting teary at with joy at the ancient tradition being done.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
My Russian teacher is letting me retake the test. Steve made a profound impact on me the other day. Sometimes you need advice from the right people at the right time. I'd hated reciting dialogs in class-- they made no sense to me and the class wasn't into acting like they mattered. They'd use monotone voices as they recited and I just couldn't get into it. Steve told me how he studied for Peace Corps with dialogs and how the vocabulary came natural to him after that. I went to my text and everything is starting to fall into place. Of course when I take my test again and kick butt, my professor will want to know how the light went on and I will tell her that a fellow blogger told me what she'd been telling me all along. . . to study the dialogs and it would all come naturally. I made a high D in the class and I was relived that it wasn't an F. I worked hard for that D! Sunshine heard me squeal my joy and she asked what happened and I told her and she said, "What will Dad say? Do you think he'll ground you?" I laughed out loud!
I also have to tell you all something: I don't like Russian class. I adored my professor but in truth, I have the basics now and I am thinking of studying on my own because of some specific things that I am interested in, like Pushkin. I met a woman who is a nurse at the hospital and she hardly ever uses her Russian and would panic if called to interpret. If i do Russian, it will probably be in a self interest way.
There are two directions I am choosing between in two years. One is an interdisciplinary master's degree in creative writing and art. The other is a master's degree in medical arts where I can take my artistic and yogic ways into a hospital. Almost like an art therapist, but not. i have been doing yoga and massage for years and this leans in a medical arts direction. This in not being a doctor-- it's medical support where I keep the patients having something to live for while they recover.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Half MD wrote a very funny blog about the people in med school. The one that I am linking to is about the Evangelical Christians. I had to laugh because I used to be like them. Life has taken some funny turns. If my life were like I had wanted it when I was American Evangelical I would be a Ph.D. in Christian counseling and have two kids which according to the plan I made when I was wise, I'd have had at the ages of 36 and 38. I had my baby, number 9 (TeaCup!) six weeks before I turned 36.
His story made me think of a situation with my eldest daughter. Now do not get me wrong. I believe that abstinence till marriage is really the best thing. Women who are selective and men who are selective don't spend $$$ on court battles or have the heartache I had over my eldest two children. (Alas, a good friend did everything right and still wound up with an abusive husband and was s divorced mother five years later.) That being said, me having children, I do not expect my kids to wait to have sex until they get married, preferably after college-- can we reasonably expect them to wait when their sexual peak is between the ages of 16 and 24? That doesn't sit well with me. I have told my teenagers, "If you want to screw around, wait until you can have some privacy which you won't get here. Use two forms of birth control because your mother is a fertility goddess and you probably are, too." My daughters have so far been careful.
When my eldest was in high school, I got called in. She'd been in abstinence training discussions and got irritated with the "peer leaders," the professional virgins who with their mothers ran the discussions. My daughter thought (rightfully so!) that discussion what you weren't doing as an upright Christian was as bad as discussing what you were doing as some of the girls in other groups were wont to do. The other mothers were furious over her saying that, but she explained that a certain percentage of the ones saying it were not virgins, just like a certain percentage of the ones claiming they were Doing It weren't actually doing anything.
I asked what the problem was. They really didn't like what my daughter said and wanted an apology. I said that if you have to demand it, it probably isn't sincere, by the way, "What did you say, Tiger?" Apparently the girls started talking in code with each other in the group, about how they didn't do whatever and my daughter said this wasn't what the rumors were.
Tiger told the girls that everyone knew what they did and that their virginity meant nothing. The girls didn't like it. One of the girls was dating the captain of one of the athletic teams and she said in the office, "You have known what he's said about you. Why don't you break up?"
The whole thing was a cat fight and I told my daughter, "I will disown you if you do apologize." The disciplinarian was there and keeping a straight face but he said there was nothing he could do. I could tell he found the whole thing a waste of time and later told me that he liked how I handled it, and I would tell the other women to not have their daughters around my children or to discuss such matters. End of discussion.
I get really annoyed with the attitudes that people have. I think that with sex education that we need to discuss the consequences of the actions. I was talking to a few of my daughters friends as they studied Hamlet. We discussed what Ophelia keeping her virginity meant-- that noble women in those times did not have sex before marriage partly for religious reasons, but for bigger ones. It wasn't about Heaven or Hell-- a woman who had not had sex was free of diseases. Her eggs were for one man to impregnate. A man-- well, it was a double standard, but men were (and are) geared to impregnate as many females as possible for his DNA to be handed down. A man with a woman who'd been chaste would know that her offspring were only his. The girls came up with a term for women who'd dishonored their eggs, "DEW's"-- Dishonored Egg Women. Of course this is what I am with my children of different marriages and somehow I have made well with my husband. Their term was funny as it makes "Do the DEW" a different meaning!
I think that the lessons on that can be applied to modern life as well and I am happy to see it mattering to what appears to be more kids or at least the ones my daughters know who seem to care about this. They are not self righteous about it though and this is something that I am doubly proud of-- it's not something that they need to wear diamond rings over till they marry, it's a personal, private decision.
My daughter has plenty of friends, especially in college now. She has found more people like her. For the most part, she thinks like a guy. She has a lot more self control. Her boyfriend flew in on Saturday and around six yesterday I asked about him and she said she wanted to call him as he'd come in the day before but she would let him call her. She went to her room for her phone and came out, ashen. She showed me that someone had put her cell phone into a. . . glass of water. She was understandably upset as she was expecting him to call her. She checked her email only to discover he'd been trying to reach her. Oops. She called him from mine and they made arrangements to go out. The great thing was, she wasn't pining for him all day. She said he never left her thoughts but she didn't want her sisters to think that was how you acted with a boyfriend. She showed me a few e-mails from her friends from high school who are now in college-- they weren't talking about college or volunteer work or even work-- they were discussing. . . relationships. I told her that they are biologically programmed to want relationships. she said, "And what did you say makes us different from the apes? It's not our opposable thumbs!" She wiggled her thumbs at me, "It's our ability to rise above our biology! These friends think with their brain stems." Just as it was back in the day when she was upsetting the professional virgins-- relationships were minor. It was the whole picture, the life one was living that mattered. I was so impressed with her then and she is keeping the attitude.
Friday, December 14, 2007
We went to my friend Gary's bakery. I saw him from outside and opened the door. He said, "Tea, we have three chocolate croissants left!" I yelled, "Freedom!" The boys chimed in and we ran up to the counter taking fast, small steps with our boots making noise on the floor. I yelled, "We will liberate the chocolate croissants from their cruel creator and oppressor! It is wrong to have them behind walls of glass!" My boys yelled, "Yeahhhhhh!" Gary said that Mel Gibson has nothing on me-- I said that while Mel only acts, I engage in the real fight!
It was funny.
Then the son who'd been seen by the doctor said, "There are four of us and three croissants. You aren't going to embarrass yourself by making us arm wrestle again, are you?" Gary laughed.
I said, "These are for me-- I don't know what you want." The other people there laughed. They had ham n' cheese and cinnamon rolls and were quite happy. Then I took them to school.
My Russian prof-- argh. It's not over! I'd happily resigned myself to having to figure out how to pay for less classes this semester without government loans. My Russian teacher is not one to give up. I awoke to her email, "Dearest Tea, I know you want to learn Russian and go to second semester. Be in my office at noon on January ___ OK? Study hard over the break. You WILL pass." I screamed at first in frustration, but then in relief knowing that she cared enough to make sure I pass. I had told her why I want to study Russian and work at a hospital. She says that too many Russians and Ukrainians find themselves in need and that I am needed. While there are people who do it at the hospital-- they aren't like me. I am not jaded by medicine. I want to write grants and get money to fund what the doctors do. I hope the patients and the doctors will like me. I hope that the doctors see me a smile and say, "Tea brightens my day and makes me remember why I do this!" Seriously-- they get jaded and with all they see and have to put up with, the world is a parasite on their psyches. They see people die, they get sued-- and there will be me, "You should see what I wrote about what you do for that grant! Don't let it go to your head, but we got it!"
I have more determination than talent but I will be worth all of my professors time and I will help people in many capacities. I hope I never need serious medical care though. I am one very bad patient.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
I realized that with why I want to do it that I cannot drop it and that I will have to push myself to learn it. I can learn it-- I need more time to process it. The people who were good were cursing under their breath. I won't blame the professor although I feel like she threw us for a loop, giving us new material even on Tuesday of this week to process. I still adore her.
I have more determination than sense. The reason I decided to Russian was because when my dad was dying, he'd fall asleep and I'd wander around the medical center. Have you ever sat in a waiting room in a cancer area? Try it when you are not sick. I was in AZ and there were all these Spanish speakers. I observed that most spoke little English then went to the nearest cafeteria and asked some nurses if I could sit with them and told them where I was from. They confirmed what I was thinking-- that there weren't a lot of interpreters and the Spanish speakers were confused and scared. I came up with the intent of learning Russian. If I can, I want to at least volunteer at the hospital as an interpreter. I'd like to write grants at a certain hospital in The City because I love the hospital and be "on call" as in, "What?!! No one in L&D speaks Russian right now? GET SOMEONE!" and I'll be called. I don't know if it works like that but I hope it does! Or that a family could have someone dying and they need someone to help who can translate.
I wore a stunning Kit Cornell dress to class today-- deep violet and maroon flowers with beige leaves. I have never looked so pretty while failing. I had numerous compliments at the post office earlier and while shopping for my mother. (I can't study 100% of the time! It only took an hour!)
When I got home my husband and I did our tag-team parenting thing- -he was taking the kids to church. He came in to speak to me briefly and someone called and he had the nerve to answer it. I said, "This is our time-- all two minutes, leave the cell phone alone." He shouldn't have answered it. I hate the person who called now and will hate him for the rest of our lives. I wish in the insanity of things that my husband would just turn the damned thing off. I would have felt much better if he'd done that, "OK-- if they want they can leave a message and I'll get back to them." There is always the concern that it's my eldest daughter, but if it's her, he is courteous enough to say that it's here. Anyone else he turns his back to me. Aw, honey-- that turns me off.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
I woke up in the middle of the night and I had been crying in my sleep. I feel guilty because I am not spending much time with the kids. I want so much to do things with them like listen to them read which I've not done in weeks. I do-- but it's like, "I have ten minutes, come in here. Let's read." or, "OK, tell me your times tables-- good!"
My husband said that I am fine-- they are seeing the sacrifice for school and college and they also attack their homework voraciously.
The other day my "baby", TeaCup, covered my mouth with her sweet little hand and started pointing to pictures in her books with me. She didn't want me to say anything, but she pointed to the pictures in the order I have done, would smile at me and turn the page. She likes to draw in her books. I have a problem with this but I just take the pens away, "This book is all done! You will have to write and illustrate your own!"
They had a friend's daughter come to the house tonight. She is just a little older than Boom-Boom. The older boys taught her to play Pokemon and as my friend and she are leaving state in a few days for the Christmas break, the kids, seeing my mail art, each want to make her a post card. Like me, they want to choose the stamp they use to mail it before they do their mail art! They watch us all the time, do they not?
My friend is a single mother and her windshield wasn't working. My husband was so sweet-- he looked at it when we got home from class and told her to go with him to the box store to get a windshield. He didn't even want her driving with it like that. He didn't let her pay-- while it's a small expense, for all the times friends and even strangers rescued me-- once for the exact same problem, he was really happy to give something good back to the universe. I'm not bragging about it-- but I was happy, too.
I am stressed over silly things right now. Sometimes I wonder if I am inventing things to worry about. I don't like drama but it's easier to run around like a chicken with it's head cut off for hours and hours than it is to focus. When I don't instantly get something, I feel stupid. I have been trying though so I think the material really is quite difficult.
A good male friend called me yesterday to see how I was faring. He's a lawyer and close to retirement. He used to be a professor as well. He was trying to help me and said, "You know, beginning Russian is a freshman class. There is not reason you can't get it if you really try." I didn't get mad at him so he could hear it on the phone-- I started laughing and told him of all the books I have gotten on learning a language, it's, "French made Easy!" "Spanish made Easy!" "German made Easy!" Russian made Possible." Just like, "Japanese made Possible." He laughed with me over it and told me that I am smart and that he knows I will get it. (He's never wrong.)
I want to work because we are barely getting by on my husband's salary. We need a retirement and we want to expand the house. On his salary alone we make it, but we have bills. I am also afraid of something happening to him-- when my mom was my age she feared the same thing with my dad as he had a heart attack at 38, and she wanted to support us if she had to. My mother-- as much as I do not like her much of the time, is one savvy business person. She was relentless and made goals and scored them. I'm more of an academic, but she was just brilliant and I could never be as great as she was in business.
Still, when I work it will take time from the kids. I don't know how I will do it and maybe i can write to earn a living, but so many people are trying to do just that! I do know that the kids having two college graduate parents are way more likely to complete college than with me not doing it. I talked to an academic counselor who supported this with statistics.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Since I don't really know about reincarnation and won't know until I die, in the mean time I intend to get as much fun as I can. Nine kids, a husband and life around finals can be daunting, but a twenty minute break is easy to have. Today I made myself a hot pot of tea and started reading my blogs and surfed in to Rick's when I saw his wonderful blog on cocktails. Reading about them made my mouth water and I decided to make my husband a cocktail when he got home. I got dressed in one of my favorite April Cornell dresses (The Muse-- it's not sexy but I love it!) pinned up my hair and heard him pull up and went to the kitchen and mixed a couple of White Russians, (which I discovered have an amazing kick if you don't measure and just drink) and turned up the heat in the bedroom. (The kids were doing homework, playing games, etc. and were occupied.)
When I let him get up twenty minutes later, he said, "To what do I owe THAT?" I said to Rick Rockhill. He brought back a couple more White Russians and proposed a toast to the Palm Springs Savant. Then I got back my normal clothes (jeans and a top) and we went about our normal evening of homework, running to practices, etc. It was otherwise mundane but my husband wouldn't leave the room without kissing me or asking me if I wanted another drink-- if I had taken every offer for a drink I would spontaneously combust, but I did wind up going back to the tea!
I hope this isn't too much information. I love getting inspiration and finding it where I can and enjoying it-- I guess this is the effect of Palm Springs!
The Dude Abides!
Sunday, December 09, 2007
I was helping her study her advanced vocabulary and I had to get back to my own studies. I said, "Can you e-mail your friends in this class and use the words?"
She blinked at me, "I don't have nay friends in this class. This is a class with the preps."
Dammit, I was a prep and I faired just fine. Why can't she be friends with the smart kids? She gathered her books and asked my husband, "Can you explain this to her?"
He told me that her school is a rich kids' school. It's public, but we are in a "rich" area. We don't have a lot of expendable cash because everything is multiplied by 9 most of the time. We don't suffer for what we need, but we don't have many extras. He explained that in her classes, she feels vastly different. She doesn't obsess, but that she has had to suffer a few blows that she's not told me about. Some girl made a stupid comment about her having a young mother, "Like, how old was she when she had you? 19?" No-- I was 20, I had her sister at 19. They don't know that she comes from a large family and some kids were making jokes about women with big families. Of course they have mothers who look like Tony Soprano's sister-- but they have money.
My husband said that we are unique-- I grew up with powerful parents. I fell hard and had a couple of kids early, got up, dusted myself off, resumed school, had more kids and am back in school. I am a scholar (in spite of my Russian class!) I expect my children to get college degrees.
This is not an option. Still, apparently for our "class" this is unusual. This is America-- I believe that possibilities are endless and that we are not tied to any situation, that with time if we don't like where we are, that we can change it. A few weeks ago my husband and I went to dinner and the president of the state senate floor came over to me and hugged me and introduced herself to my husband-- I can't be a Nobody! I don't see myself as a lower class of anything. My husband said that kids feel it, as in a lack of having a car and being 17, or not having certain clothes. Because of my daughter being so down to Earth, my husband said that she has a few friends whose parents are not pushing them in her advanced classes with her. He said that she is encouraging them and that because of her, they are going to go on to college.
It makes me sad that she has had to deal with jabs and feels that she can't be part of a social group because of me not having a lot of material wealth.
In 20 years, I see my husband and I having built on to our house so that it will have lots more rooms for the kids and their families to come back home to for holidays. Maybe we will have lots of money and be able to take the kids on trips but being here will probably be enough. I'm inspired by people who live well-- I made a salad on St. Nick's Eve and toasted my blogging friend Rick-- it was something that would come out of Palm Springs' best restaurants. My best friend's husband came over with his new snazzy car that has a leather interior and drove me to the store to pick out a present for his wife (my friend)-- he was showing off his car because he knew that I appreciated it-- there was no jealousy on my part or mean showing off on his part-- we were having fun.
My daughter said that she has no limitations-- that she'd never want to be friends with people who can be so biting, but I'm still sad that she has had to deal with comments. She will be going to a state university, not one of prestige, but she will do well. I'm really proud of her for encouraging a few of her friends like she has. I know that one girl's father has been pretty transient most of her life and she has been grounded with my daughter as far as finding an academic identity.
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Last night I had to pick up my husband in The City. He suggested that we go to Barnes and Nobel, which is my home away from home there. I went to the fiction section and there was a professor-type watching me brain-absently flipping through some books. He asked if I was inspired. I said, "No! I am taking a distance ed class through Fairbanks on Alaskan literature and I'm not getting it! This literature makes me feel cold! I am hating it." (This guy is an adjunct prof.) He asked what I'd read and what I liked. I told him that I liked McPhee and Women of the Klondike, and that Margaret Murie was OK. More questions about what I liked (I think he was getting a base with me to start relating things) then about what I didn't like. He explained to me that Alaskan literature is all about people getting away from something to do it on their own. Of course that is a prevailing theme, but I missed it because I was paying attention to the details! (The growing amber beard in To Build a Fire makes me gag.)
A few people had gathered around to listen to this guy talk and one of them brought up To Build a Fire and said that it was about man's determination to survive but because of a few stupid mistakes, caused by being new and not understanding the forces of nature, he lost his life. I mentioned "the amber beard" and he said it was just a detail and that I needed to run off copies of the story and cross them out if I don't like them, then see if they fit in.
I have taken so much for granted-- my aunt said that if I lived in their area that I'd have probably bucked the system and left the area. She said that I have that spirit that my dad had. During the lecture at Barnes and Nobel, my husband said that I may be taking a lot for granted. When I was nine years old, I went down to see my extended family and they kept asking if we lived in igloos and I was shocked by the stupidity of the questions, "Why on earth would my father have us live in an ice house when it's so cold already?" I'm blond Irish and one of my sisters is more olive skinned and people would say, "You're from Alaska? You don't look Eskimo!" I'd look at my hands in horror, "I'm changing back! Constance, look at you! You're getting whiter!" (People really thought that I really was "changing back" as if something about the northern latitude made us get darker skinned and that we'd get lighter when we went south!) I showed them pictures of Fairbanks in the summer, of the previous year at the Golden Days Parade and they refused to believe that it was Alaska. Several cousins would come to visit the next year in the summer and everyone was laughing at them because they got off the plane with parkas, mittens, face masks-- "We thought you were joking."
The professor pointed out that I took a lot for granted, the attitudes and assumptions as stupid and ignored them for the class. He must have talked for two hours-- bouncing a lot of his discussion off my ignorance, but I started to see how my own family fit in with the stories of Alaska and how I have ignored so much because I didn't know how to read this. A woman in the group said that in a lot of what I'd read, "You have been focusing on warts, like you found something you didn't like and couldn't read past it. You don't know how appreciate the skeleton of the stories!"
It was all quite exciting to listen to that man and I told him that I wished I'd seen him before, but he pointed out, "You'd not have been frustrated and had an obvious dislike of the genre which prompted me to talk to you!"
I was grateful for the enlightenment. I wish that someone from the college had seen that man hold the crowd-- he should teach full time.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Write to Governor Riley of Alabama and ask him to please order it so that we will know and an innocent man will not be sent to death.
The Innocence Project, which has pressed the case with Riley’s senior staff for months, wrote to Riley today asking for DNA testing. The Innocence Project also launched a web-based campaign today, mobilizing thousands of people in Alabama and nationwide to write to Riley and urge him to order DNA testing in the case. To see the online campaign, go to www.innocenceproject.org/testing-for-tommy.
Since August, the Innocence Project has been requesting DNA testing in the case but Riley has refused. In today’s letter, Innocence Project Co-Director Peter Neufeld urged Riley to immediately order testing in the case, while the execution is stayed.
“Now is the time to act. As we have stated repeatedly to your office — including in a letter we sent over a month ago in response to your office’s request for guidance, to which your office has yet to respond — such DNA testing has the power to establish to a scientific certainty whether or not Thomas Arthur killed Troy Wicker,” the letter says. “A failure on the part of your office to order DNA testing is morally unjustifiable.”
At the end of August – 14 weeks ago – the Innocence Project formally asked Governor Riley to order DNA testing in this case. The organization again requested DNA testing in September (12 weeks ago) and in early November (four weeks ago). DNA testing in the case can be completed within four weeks. Had the governor acted on the Innocence Project requests over the summer, or on any of the subsequent requests, DNA testing would be complete today, and the serious questions about Thomas Arthur’s guilt or innocence could be resolved.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
It's Old DeerFIELD embroidery, a New England style that reminds me of a Hungarian style that a good friend used to do. The Hungarian was fancier, probably because it has it's roots in the richer classes where the New Englanders were more practical. I happen to have the woolen threads and and am more familiar with the New England style but don't have a preference. I am concerned with speed as well as a pretty finish. I'm going to just do some small scrolls or flowers on each one. With any luck, if I push myself, I should be able to get some pretty work done in time for Orthodox Christmas for my grandmother and mother and husband and three close friends. The ones other than my husband don't celebrate it, but they won't mind.
What is nice about this is that I can accept really nice (expensive) presents from my mom and do something nice in return that I know she values. When people get something like the embroidery, I know that they keep it and use it. I don't just make something then decide who to give it to-- I usually see something like an iris work and want to copy it for someone, so i come home and in the style of the work I want to do, I recreate it. My artwork on my envelopes often gets framed which makes me happy-- not because they framed it but because it mattered enough to frame it. I like that these gifts really matter.
A few years ago, my mother shelled pecans from her orchard and sent them to me-- I cried when I got that package. She has arthritis but she wanted to do that for me because I'd make the most amazing tarts with them! She also sent me a very nice tea cup that I cherish to this day and use every Christmas. She gave me a pear tea which I often buy and post her a note and tell her that I am thinking of her.
Now. . . back to work.
Driving scares me. I pray before I drive. At night it is so frightening even when the roads are good. Tonight-- you couldn't have asked for better roads.
I was still a mess.
On the way to town, I was in an area that is wide open. I had good visibility and my daughter had just called and needed me to get her as she was VERY sick and could I please get there as soon as possible. I could have driven fast and would have enjoyed it but I had my daughter in the car and really wanted to impress upon her that we need need to obey the speed LIMIT, not treat it as a speed SUGGESTION. There was a car behind me but as I am frazzled on the road I don't notice anything about the vehicles around me unless they are semis. After about ten miles, that car pulled up next to me, flashed his lights for a second and sped off-- it was a police officer in an unmarked car. Was he telling me, "Good job!"? I didn't go over 65 and was probably a tiny bit slower. That was cool.
My daughter was not feeling well. I offered to pick up what she needed at the store but she wanted to go. She went in with her sister and they seemed to have had fun.
Still, driving home was scary again. I didn't want Sunshine to catch on-- the only thing worse than being told she'd be a bad driver is being taught that it's normal to cry behind the wheel! She knows that I hate to drive at night and that is enough. I listened to The Pointer Sisters sing Neutron Dance, Jump, and Dare Me probably 100 times! They make me stay awake. That's something else-- when I drive I get scared but tired at the same time.
I am not an alcoholic; I am a cheap drunk. One glass of anything makes me sleepy, but as I drove I felt my muscles tense up. I wanted a beer, a Margarita-- anything. I got home and decided against it--if alcohol could make me relax after I drive how desperate must I be to drive and think a drink might make me relax? Too many emotions are in this. I am having hot tea and Verona Pepperidge Farm cookies. I also have some prescription relaxers-- but again, if I take those now, what if I get anxiety and think I need to drive with them? No substances are allowed to be associated in my mind for driving. As I type, I stretch and hear bones popping. I am relaxing! Now of course I am wired but tired. I'm proud of myself-- while driving has to seem minor to almost everyone, my lack of driving for years defined me to people. I was accused of having responsibility issues and no one understood how I could honest to God think I couldn't drive! I had to defend myself to strangers, then hear, "If you parents were my parents I would not be like you." I really came across as what I was-- scared and dependent, but I didn't know how to get independent when they kept saying terrible things! (My parents leaving state was the best thing that ever happened to me.)
I have noticed that when I am tired that my eyes take turn with dominance. (I have a hard time shooting after a half hour or so because they start trading involuntarily!) That happened tonight and I had to control it, "OK, eyes-- you are both tired but we are not sleeping until I blog that I am home and talk about tonight." I elected when to switch. I can't see out of them both at the same time-- I have no depth perception. They switch dominance and my field changes. Now if one of my children had this there are things that could be done to help correct it. I'm just lucky that I can use them both. I had several operations when I was little to fix it and while the lack of depth perception is a problem, my eye doctor thinks that because they don't always work at the same time, I have kept them from getting strained. I have the prescription that I had when I was nine years old and it's actually gotten a tiny bit better.
Anyway-- I am home. My husband couldn't do the presents and was laughing when I got in. "I guess St. Nicholai is Russian! He writes in Russian, too and his handwriting is very pretty. But he wasn't here to hand out presents!" That was cute. We'll do it tomorrow night.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
(Pam Tillis, Jess Leary)
If you're coming with me you need nerves of steel
Cause I take corners on two wheels
It's a never-ending circus ride
The faint of heart need not apply
Mi vida loca over and over
Destiny turns on a dime
I go where the wind blows
You can't tame a wild rose
Welcome to my crazy life
Today I needed to study for my Russian. I fucking need to study really, really, badly, capice?
My husband wants to do St. Nikolai's Day. I want to do St. Nikolai's Day. I thought it was tomorrow so I spent the morning shopping. We need other things but I found some bargains-- $3-5 shirts for my sons, some presents that I'd bought before for Western Christmas-- I was happy. We do my mother's presents and my husband's parents presents on Christmas Day. This year's gifts are not religious but hey, we are celebrating and that is the important thing.
I got home with live clams and fresh fish for the night before dinner. One of my daughters was sucking her thumb and said, "Oh, I looked at the calender and the day is Thursday." Thursday is the night we have two recitals, I have class, we are down to one car. . . and I have to get my husband from town LATE because tonight I'd missed most of the Russian class. I cannot miss more Russian.
I was comforting myself-- I am HOME. In MY HOUSE and HAPPY. I'd do some Russian this evening. We decided to have the seafood dinner and do St. Nikolai's Day early. Some friends from church would get some of the kids, one of my friends would take my boys to their recital and life would be OK, not ideal, but the kids understand the importance of me passing.
Then my phone rang.
My eldest is 45 minutes away with no car because my husband was going to help her buy one then his car went out and he can't get her around. She is in class and sick. Class gets out in an hour and a half. She has finals and needs to go to the store. We are having sh---y weather. She can't ask a classmate.
What to do-- I have to get her. I hate driving at night and my husband does not want to go out which is understandable as he will go back in at 5:AM tomorrow. With how things are going I think something bad will happen. A flat tire? A wreck? A police officer stopping me to tell me a light is out and I start to cry? I am not feeling good about going out but when do I feel good about going out? I need to help my daughter. My husband will play St. Nik tonight. I wrote the kids' names in Russian and he doesn't read Russian! They will open the presents and figure it out. I got my eldest at home a black t-shirt that says, "I wish I was Japanese" in bright red Japanese writing. Her teacher will laugh. Lots of Satsuma oranges for all of us.
Good news-- she isn't enamored with her degree. It wasn't right for her. She is a fire science major. She isn't a science person. She is a public relations person. I told her this but she had to discover it. "You know how you described sitting through another social work class and that you'd want to shoot yourself if you had to listen to another person talk about their bad childhood? That's how I'm feeling." I'll do anything to help her finish the semester.
Her boyfriend at another college wrote to me and he is coming back up-- that is nice. I like him. He's a little stupid as 19 year olds can be, but he has a good heart I think. I hope he joins us in the church-- his IQ will double ;) He's asking about getting the kids prezzies which I think is a sweet gesture on his part. My daughter sends him funny mail art. I told him in stream of conscious writing that I have a bizarre fear of putting stamps in the right hand corner of the envelope. I hope he knows I am quirky but not dangerous. I do like him.
Every time the mechanic calls my husband's car is costing more to fix. It was held together with bubble gum and a prayer. We pray before we drive. The mechanic said, "There is stuff that is cracked in here, breaking-- but considering that it has 250,000 miles on it, it's amazing that I only replaced the battery once on it. How'd you get it to last?"
I have to stop thinking I will be happy if things go as I want. I feel like I am being blown by the wind sometimes. Nine kids = 9 independent variables. Add cars, a lack of disposable income and a husband and a full time mother college student to the mix and it's amazing how we manage as well as we do. We do manage well. I am not close to breaking. I was sad for a bit (fifteen minutes)-- but we will flex. I'm flexible like bamboo. not a fir tree that snaps in the wind. If my kids rememebr anything I hopes it's that this stuff happens and how often I have laughed, (not my nutty giggle, "Everyone, do not move for the next hour. Just sit on the couch and do nothing but read.")
Think bamboo. Bamboo = pandas. I like pandas. . .
Sunday, December 02, 2007
With 11 hungry people to feed, my house spends a sizable chunk of money on food each month. Even spending $1,000, that is still less than $4 per day per person. What Do I Know has lovingly reminded me of my own delights with food, when I am not just feeding to help people grow but am preparing food for the sheer enjoyment of eating it.
A ritual that I was introduced to years ago by another mother of a large family is eating artichokes. She has eleven kids and 13 in her family. She bought enough for ALL of us to have one and this was no small amount of money. She said that with our meals of hamburger and chili cooked a hundred different ways, our children couldn't claim culinary seclusion if we had artichokes once a year. So we do. It used to be on New Years, but this year Tiger is going to be with a friend. We prepare fish on Christmas Eve (yeah, I'm not a strict fasting person) and this will go well-- a light but decadent feast!
I also cook desert for dinner at least twice in the summer. I love making hors d'oveurs with salami and celery sticks with cheese-- and then just having strawberry shortcake for dinner. It's unconventional and the kids LOVE it.
Being Orthodox Christian, we make a lot of food that is Greek. I love preparing and eating dolmades. I had them at my first wedding and they are now a family ritual. Stuffed grape leaves with a yogurt sauce is the closest I will get to Heaven in this lifetime. I always eat them wondering how hungry people must have been to have tried eating grape leaves then later having a little extra and saying, "Hey-- this would taste great in the grape leaves. Let's try them together."
When my dad was dying there was a humongous prickly pear plant outside his house. I was bored and had to not hover as my brother warned me, so not having a recipe, called the cooperative extension (US Department of Agriculture) and was assured of their non-toxic existence and I picked them with my mother's kitchen tongs (and risked impaling myself as I picked them) and I set to work slicing them open (I wore gloves) and scooping the seeds out into a pan. I added a little water, boiled them and then poured out the mess into a colander and added sugar and pectin and made a great syrup. My dad loved it and my family was like, "Are you sure it's OK to eat these?" My dad would die within 48 hours and he said, "You wanna stick around and see what happens? I just had some!" (I laughed so hard I almost died myself! That's another topic-- embracing the unspeakable by laughing at it!) We still have several jars. I can't bear to eat the last of it.
I picked a few leaves-- I whacked off the spines and sliced them open and made a type of relish for omelets. My mom was asking me, "Why do you have to be so weird?" I said I was taking two weeks off for the first time ever and in a totally new state and I was going to get as much adventure as I could! She is weird about me driving and would prefer that I sit on a cushion-- I was climbing the walls at her place. From the kitchen, I was allowing even my father to have culinary adventures with plants he'd ignored for 12 years!
I've just joined a new club at the college that gets into Japanese culture. They are expanding my food interests even further. We have a social event coming up and I was asked to bring something that I can't pronounce and was given a recipe. I've got no idea what I am doing but I can hardly wait to make it for my new friends and to learn to prepare sushi.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
I named my eldest daughter for my debate coach. My debate coach told us all the time, "We are the team to beat. We will be spoken down about, we will be criticized. Other teams will slam us. I will not tolerate unsportsmanlike conduct. The judge's decisions are final and we will thank them for considering our concerns if there is a dispute and we loose. We will hold our tongues and not poison an opponent's victory. We will not quote each other to other people." She was strict about this and had no problem getting on us if she heard that someone said something negative outside the realm at a party or other event. "I heard that you said _________. I have no jurisdiction over you outside the tournaments, but please remember that I do not like it."
Supposedly this wrestling coach doesn't like his club members talking to their friends in the other club at tournaments and this extends to the parents. His high schoolers go to other schools and boo their rivals. I like two of the other clubs-- they are family oriented and fun. One of the parents from the local club that this coach is at bragged, "He's like boot camp!" I patted her on the back like we were guys and said, "Yeah! Hard core!" She got bulgy eyes when I did that. I asked if parents get to work out, too. The woman is 35 and is a size 20 dress. (I'm 38 and a size 8.) I said it was no good to have a boot camp mentality if parents can't get in on the fun. The coaches' wife is also fat. I already don't like this guy.
I am going to start going to the tournaments for the high schoolers. Any responsible parent needs to investigate such rumors of poor sportsmanship-- I don't want my kids involved in that kind of a team. If they are true. . . I'll burst into tears in the coaches' office and sob, "I am so disappointed in your team! This isn't what it's all about! I thought you were so good and you let them do this?!! This isn't what it's all about!" I will quiver and shake. Then I will write an editorial and have videos on my phone to show as proof and get it out.
Friday, November 30, 2007
One of my long-time high school friends came out of federal prison a while back and we have since renewed our friendship. He is anything but bitter-- he tells me what happened to him and it hurts to hear, but he maintains that those who had power who were jerks were not jerks because of him but jerks because they had to survive, too.
I found a new blog called The Rabbit Hole. Bill Baily has written it. He's been in what I think would be Hell. Prisoners get out of jail or prison. They cannot help each other. They have nothing yet he is philosophical about it. I have nothing deep to write-- but here is my blurb for his work. He may have been down but he's never been out. Go to his blog.
For several years my eldest daughters were telling me to get their brothers into wrestling. I was thinking of guys roughhousing on a mat and said no way. Last night my eldest at home was given extra credit points for bringing a family member to a tournament as one of her teachers is a coach. I dropped them off and went to class. I knew they'd not be out for a while so I went to the school when I got out and paid to go in. My daughter was up in the stands. Now initially I was going to ask them if they could leave early, but the band was playing a catchy tune and I decided to stay.
First, I found myself cheering for the guy on the bottom, just hoping he'd get back on top. (Isn't that humiliating to lose?) Well, one of Peaches friends, The Vivacious Redhead said, "Don't cheer for them! We're winning! That's bad if their guy gets on top!" I guess the guy who was winning was in her first hour class and was a sweetheart so I started yelling for whomever they told me to yell for. I was glad for the other school-- they got two wins. It would have been humiliating to have left with no wins and the score was like 70-6. They canceled the JV tournament which made me sad as I'd have stayed for it. (If you have ever been on a JV team, you know what I am talking about. It is devastating to watch nine tenths of the crowd leave when Varsity gets over. For me, seeing two equally matched teams of athletes face off is great and I don't care WHAT level they are.)
My son who went with his big sister found some friends and was playing Pokemon cards and hanging out. Peaches thought he didn't like it since he wanted to play, but I asked if he wanted to wrestle and he looked at his sister and hugged her-- he'd asked her to work on me so he could wrestle. It was important that he saw it and then saw his friends who wrestle and they just did their thing.
In the car, I drove home then had to run to the store. I got the three middle boys in the car and looked in my rear view mirror to see LEGS in the air. I pulled over, "WTF are you idiots doing?" In the brief time I ran inside to go to the bathroom and brush my teeth, my one son had taught his other brothers some moves and they were practicing. (They kept trying to wrestle in the supermarket aisles. What have I created?) New rule in the Crumpetmobile: both butt cheeks have to be on the car seat while Mom is driving!
I'm excited. I always thought my boys would either cripple of kill each other, but with wrestling, they can do it in a controlled, gentlemanly manner. . . I am really excited to get them doing this and I regret that I waited so long. They won't really kill each other-- although that's only because I put an end to their roughhousing before it gets out of hand.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
I temporarily lost my two eldest in a custody battle a few years ago. It's hard to disprove things that never happened. The judges never investigated anything my ex said which would have helped me and my daughters and proven my ex a liar. Instead, the battle solidified our relationship and they came home as soon as they could on their own which I took as having a bigger blow to my ex and a higher honor to me, but I'd have rather not fought the battle. The ex hired a mock counselor who blabbed to him and his wife everything my daughters said and they had school teachers thinking they were saviors. (Their bio father criticized them for learning foreign languages and tried to convince them that they had his learning disabilities! His wife had eating issues and she accused my daughters of getting fat at her house and making themselves throw up when it was her doing that! They did gain weight-- and she made a huge issue of being smaller than them. She has ISSUES.) The ex's wife had all sorts of issues that are finally coming to a fore. My ex husband was violent and broke my bed, he shoved me and destroyed things and I got out-- no paper trail, no cop calling,I just got the hell out when the kids were little.
Did this young lady's mother tell the courts that the father of this sweet baby was violent and did they not believe her? Of course I am putting my own issues on her. Maybe she had no clue that he'd be mean. It doesn't matter.
Anyway, my heart is broken-- the baby is safe in Heaven-- but she should be here, getting ready to celebrate her first Christmas. How does one's mother survive such grief? (How will her biological father come to terms with this? Was this uncharacteristic of him to be violent? Was he having a crappy day and a crying baby just hit the wrong chord with him? Did he think less of her because of her mother seeing someone else or not being in love with him? We will never know and it doesn't matter.) I still cry for my miscarriages. How do you get over such a loss and not being able to help your child?
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
I called the doctor this morning and told his nurse I'd schedule the pre-operation stuff. She'd told me that it was just a bunch of paperwork and would last fifteen minutes. She knew that I had a class the night before my surgery and said to come in right before since I was doing stuff that day.
I was like, "Cool-- I can come in today and take it home, sign it and take it back in a week."
Oh-- this had to be done 48 hours before. Then she told me the rest of the story-- I needed an EKG, a blood count, etc. I flipped out! What's all this other crap that she wanted?
I started asking more questions. She knows that I attend school two days a week in the next city and intend to continue in the spring. "How long will I be recovering?" Oh-- all of Christmas break and then right before I can see the doctor and he may approve me to return to classes, but I need to not be upright too much. WTF! I have a 90 minute drive each way those days!!! "Can't you lay down and put the seat back?" She thought my husband would just. . . drive me to and from school! ARGH!
I was freaked out by the EKG anyway.
When I asked her what would have happened when I went in to get my paperwork before class where i have a monster final, She casually said that she didn't know-- she hoped that I'd respect the doctor not being able to get another patient in and go through with it and tell my prof that I needed to take it later! She is a nursing school graduate. She knows that you don't skip out on finals unless you are dying!
Anyway, I had a test in toay. For the past few days I have been frazzled about this operation and didn't think I was learning anything. I think I did well on it. The operation is a HUGE deal. I'm glad I decided to not do it, but the doctor's nurse tried to talk me into getting it done. For whatever reason, I am simply not ready. Next time this comes up I will know what is happening and not be so thrown off.
For now. . . I am forgetting about this and worrying about school. Fiddle-dee-dee.
Recovery is six weeks long. There may not be this much time as I will have again for a long time. One of my friends, a local politician, is coming with me to the hospital. I don't want my husband there-- I'd rather have him with the kids at the house. Or to take time out to be with me later on. They don't want you moving around because they do so many internal stitches. For the first three weeks I will be out for the count on bed rest, then school resumes and he said that as long as I heal properly, I will be able to walk around school with luggage on wheels that many people do already. Of course we worry about how this will be with me putting it in and out of the car, but I should fare all right.
In yoga this is the location of the third chakra. What if he removes my uterus and i have thought that this was the location of that chakra? He laughed, "Well, you will still be able to have sex and enjoy it. You will just make a new location and focus on it!" He doesn't do yoga chakras. He thinks that is silly.
The ovaries will stay in. One of my great grandmothers died of ovarian cancer. I was scared when my mom went off about how young she was. Turns out "young" was 58-- my mom is almost 70 so 58 is young to her. My Gyn said that no, 58 is not young. He is 48 and said as much as he wishes that 58 was young, it is not! By then I will have hit menopause and they will get them out as they will have stopped working anyway and they are aware of the history now and will look for it.
I don't like surgery. I wonder how my body will change. I hope I don't get a big stomach like many women get. I don't want to be looking like a middle aged mother. I still feel 19! But-- acceptance of one's attributes that one cannot change is more important than hiding behind baggy clothes.
Tonight I helped my son with special needs read and do his spelling. We started singing his spelling words. Two of his words, her and were, sound similar but have different endings. He asked why and I told him about the history of the words. It made sense to him. Later I was grilling him on his words and he shut his eyes and sang them for me. I also drew < > greater and lesser signs but as musical symbols. He was learning them in math and they made more sense to him than the stupid explanation that my teacher and his teacher gave, "It's a tiny alligator (small end) wanting to take a big bite of the big alligator!" Guy understands the loudness aspect. He slipped me a note after dinner, "I want < spegety! It's <, < good!" (I want more spaghetti. It's very, very good.) That was cute. He likes the symbols so I will be looking for more for him. If things start to click in his mind, I will be very happy.
Monday, November 26, 2007
After looking at his comics, I have to say he is not famous and should be. This guy is a comic genius! Click on "more silliness" and play the Really Gross Game!
What you are all typing away on your computers, take a moment to write to Alaska's guv, Sarah Palin, and tell her that you love him and that Alaska needs a Cartoon Laureate. A cartoon Laureate is kinda like a poet Laureate, but he's funny and easy to understand. Everyone can understand him or her. CHAD IS THE MAN!
Thursday, November 22, 2007
It rained today. This is terrible! Yuck! Our backyard had been full of snow and the kids loved to play in it. They were looking forward to sledding but now it's black with mud. They were indoors. We have ripped up the carpet. We got to hear them yell and play. I know I should feel blessed but too much of anything is wearing on the nerves.
Every time I asked the kids to do anything, they'd take their time at it. This was lead by my eldest, home for the weekend and her first weekend off from working. She's a hard worker and has worked every day for the past month. Just as I was contemplating my Friday and holing up and doing school work, she told me that she has to work at noon and needed to go shopping. . . and to stop by a couple of places. (She's buying a car right now and doesn't have one.)
OK. So I started to work on my Russian and she asked if I could take her some place. Her timing is amazing. I wanted to break down and cry. I so much need this weekend to STUDY. She is so clueless sometimes. She gets on her computer all weekend and eats up bandwidth. She could have stayed in The City but oddly, she says she misses the chaos.
Such is life. I'm glad the day is over. I made a big dinner. I don't make 20 dishes-- I know what everyone likes and they come in and see me making what they don't like and remark and I don't like that so, I make a few things that we ALL love. Very frustrating as my three sons came in, "Why don't we have as much as other families?" Well, I suppose other families aren't as open about what they dislike!
There were a few things that we make every year-- I always make a high bush cranberry sauce for turkey. It's so good, very Alaskan! TeaCup was eating lots of that. I was going to make potatoes and had just bought some but they were mostly gone. So I made potato rolls which I've never made. They were REALLY good. I do not make "green bean bake"-- it looks like baked vomit. I make green beans however and they seem to be liked. The Jell-o mold that seems to be a mainstay on tables was not here. I looked and someone had used it all. Fruit salad with CoolWhip, a tossed green salad-- it was pretty darned good. Not too much and not too little.
Don't get me wrong-- my mom is catty as ever. Every conversation with her has to be braced for.
I am thinking about all that went on while he was dying, reliving everything that happened and how I was reacting to external things unrelated to him. I feel terrible-- he was like a sore tooth! I know he'd be sad to read this or know I feel this way, but for God's sake, he was painful to me! Those last ten days were a great ten days with him. I was honored to be with him, and the cranes taking off as he died were amazing-- but I don't miss the man who I knew the other 37 years minus those ten days. He told me that he was "hard" on me for so many years to make me stronger. I wanted to thunk him for that-- he was cruel. He'd come in and just start raging on my weight or my boyfriends or my friends-- my friends were on the debate team or in drama, and he liked to pick on the ones with speech impairments or who were fat or whatever. He thought I was fat. Did his picking make me stronger? No! It made me weaker and I'd cry. That's like sticking holes in a boat and seeing f it can still float! What a dick!
I send his cemetery paper cranes to put on his grave and I show my love by telling the kids great stories about their grandfather, the rancher who raised horses worth lots of money. . . that were too good for his children to ride. Grrrrr. I don't tell them that I hardly rode-- they don't need to know that. It still eats at me. It will stop. Scar tissue grows over wounds.
- I'm thankful for the ten days I had with him
- I'm thankful that my family appears to be over the flu now
- I'm thankful that the court mess that my ex husband had me in for four years is over with and has been over for three years
- I'm thankful that my husband had a great birthday party
- I'm thankful that I have nine sweet children
- I'm thankful that in spite of almost having an accident last night that I am OK and no one's car got hurt!
- I'm thankful that my eldest is home and we have at least one more holiday together right now
- I'm thankful that my children and I have an open relationship and that they love me
- I'm thankful that my husband is a pretty nice guy
- I'm thankful that we have good neighbors with decent kids
- I'm thankful for a good mechanic
- I'm thankful for having good medical insurance
- I'm thankful for a great doctor who asks lots of questions about my symptoms
- I'm thankful for being in college
- I'm thankful for having a computer that works.
(None of the thanks are in any order. They ARE my life.)
No problem-- I was to meet my husband in our other little city and I could listen to the Russian CD. He pulled up with a friend who decided to be helpful and rive him home. Damn.
It was his birthday and festivities began. This is my life.
I calmed myself, I'd have all day Friday to study. Not so fast, Tiger wanted to go to work late. (Yay! We have time with her!) Well, not really-- she needs me to drive her to the store to buy food, to get some stuff around Town before work. . . Lord, have mercy. I will crumble if I don't pass my classes. Soon my eldest will have a car.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Thank you, Emperor Ropi
for this idea for a post. You saved me from describing my stomach flu and bitching about classes. (I have a distance ed teacher who will kill Hamlet if he's ever allowed to teach Shakespeare through distance ed.)
- I have a phobia about putting postage stamps in the upper right hand corner of the envelope. I can't do it for fear that Western civilization as we know it will come crashing down around our heads.
- I do mail art. Wild, crazy or pretty things. One year I was running in the Mrs. for my state pageant and sent all of my sponsors letters each month, telling them what I was doing. I did pretty work, all original. I also sent them to my gynecologist (a sponsor) who I think misunderstood the intent of my letters (and that I sent them to EVERYONE.) He acted really weird the next time I saw him. Everyone else said they loved my artwork. Two thank you note envelopes hang in TWO lawmakers offices! :)
- I discovered that I loved art and writing when I did that for the pageant. When I wanted to do it the next year, I was planning my letters and artwork. My husband said, "Instead of you running again and asking for sponsors, what if I give you $200 to spend at _____'s for art supplies?" Forget the pageant. I wanted art supplies and I took a writing class the weekend of the pageant!
- I am terrified of heights and water. Watch Jack Nicholson in As Good as it Gets and you will see how neurotic I am near the ocean and at airports. Last time I flew, I used some old sleeping pills to keep me calm at the airport.
- I am a neat freak but every time I start getting clean, my husband or one of the kids decides to haul out some junk and make a bigger mess. It's easier to shut the door on the mess and be oblivious. I make up for it by doing what I can-- I get my bed made every morning and when that doesn't happen, I get really frustrated and obsess until I come home and fix it.
- I love to cook, but it's not easy because everyone has a preference and feels that they need to voice it and it wears me down. I wish I could tune them out, but it becomes, "Oh, you are making polenta? I hate it when you use mushrooms and tomato sauce with it." or, "I hate spaghetti. It looks like worms." Nothing destroys my passion like comments like that. I think the worst is a cheesy smile, "This is really good, [smile gets bigger] but you wanna know what you can do to make it really good?" Mac n' cheese for you until you shut up, Dummy. You'd think that I could just say, "This is not up for discussion, eat what you are given and LIKE it." I need the praise. The little comments are painful and wear me down.
- I am an artist and a dancer. I feel alive when I dance and do my artwork.
- My favorite color combination is an azure blue, pthalo green and mauve.
- I want more than anything to be able to make a living writing books and illustrating them.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
|You Should Be a Doctor|
You are practical, sharp, and very intuitive.
Optimistic and energetic, you are a problem solver who doesn't get discouraged easily.
You are also quite compassionate and caring. You make people feel hopeful.
You're highly adaptable and capable. You do well with almost any curve ball life throws at you.
You do best when you:
- Are always learning new subjects
- Use your knowledge to solve problems
You would also be a good therapist or detective.
You're A Prayer for Owen Meany!
by John Irving
Despite humble and perhaps literally small beginnings, you inspire
faith in almost everyone you know. You are an agent of higher powers, and you manifest
this fact in mysterious and loud ways. A sense of destiny pervades your every waking
moment, and you prepare with great detail for destiny fulfilled. When you speak, IT
SOUNDS LIKE THIS!
Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
My elder Peaches was sick today and her teachers sent me notes telling me not that she was gone but that they hoped she was OK.
My eight year old son is doing 100's on his spelling and math tests. He says, "I just want to get the highest grades that anyone has ever had. Is that so wrong? I want to be the second smartest person on the planet. God will be smarter."
My son with special needs and I read all week. He dances when he reads and can't stand still. He said that his teacher was talking about rhythm in words and we may be getting somewhere in how he thinks.
Friday, November 16, 2007
I was talking to my mother but hissed that he say something just to make sure. My sweet, charming husband rolled his eyes at me but said, "Fine." (This means, "You are a flipping English and art major and you know nothing. I will ignore you."
Today, probably 18 hours after he blew me off, I was calling him from my driveway as I was trying to get to a test and asked him, "What's wrong with my battery and block heater?"
My husband didn't bother to take so much as a deep breath when he said in a nasally, condescending tone that, "There's nothing wrong with your heater or your battery." (Note a pattern developing.) He added that it would start right up.
I told him that I was calling Triple A. The guy came, "Say, aren't you a frequent flier with us?" I laughed, "Of course! I'm the woman who gets ignored about her vehicle!"
I told him what I thought was wrong and he set things up to jump it. "Yeah, it is probably both. I can't hear the block heater and the battery doesn't seem to want to turn over."
I rang up my husband, "He thinks it's the battery and the block heater."
My husband didn't bother to take so much as a deep breath when he said in a nasally, condescending tone that, "There's nothing wrong with your heater or your battery." He added that it would start right up and that I'd take my test in no time. He was right on one of those points. I took my test in no time!
We towed it.
Guess what! It was my block heater and my flipping battery!
I am seething right now. I don't like being right when he could have just said something and had ti taken care of on the spot. Why didn't he listen to me? If he'd have asked and I'd been wrong, at least he'd have asked! I didn't take my test, my entire day was spent at the mechanic's shop. I am a frazzled mess.
My lawyer friend heard my vehicle a few weeks ago and he saw me have to start it a few times. I am religious about driving and he saw me cross myself. He said he liked that I pray before I drive but hated to think of having to use my faith to start my engine. He said that I really needed to check out that battery and the block heater while I was at it-- "they go out every so often, you know."
I called him after my car got fixed.
I just touched up my hair. It's red. Right now it is flaming. I am so ticked. I have a political fund raiser to go to tomorrow. Fortunately my friend who is taking me who I really go to be with called and said that she can't be there for long. I was glad. I have to hit the books hard.