Thursday, July 31, 2008

Our first camping trip

We are about to go camping and husband is planning to take the fishing poles. Money is horribly tight but we wanted to get the kids out for at least one camping trip this summer. It started out with us going to Homer but it has shrunk because there is no way we can buy what we need and spend that cash on gas.

The great thing is, I LIVE IN ALASKA! Wasn't it Walden who said that he wanted to explore every square inch of land within five miles of his home? We are going to go a little farther than that, but we live within a half a mile of a great camp ground. For the psychological effect we want to drive a ways away for the mental separation from the house.

It's either off to Hatcher Pass just a few miles but into new terrain (mountains) and then there is always the camp grounds in Eagle River. It is not that exciting, but we have to start, period. We had talked about it last year and just never did it. We talked to the boys-- we cannot afford brand new school clothes until PFD time (early October) and my 9 year old Basil said, "One must have one's priorities!" He assured me that guys just need jeans and new t-shirts for the first few weeks anyway, then he started belting out some camp fire songs.

As of late I have been stressing (snapping at the kids, gritting my teeth) over little things. I hope I can keep my head up and not snap at the kids or get TMJ or worry about anything while we go. The kids will get dirty, they will get into things, Guy will flaunt his special needs and do some odd things. (Are they odd or is he just a boy? He's the eldest son and what seems off the wall, my so called "normal son" Basil is doing it the following year, Lord have mercy!) They will also play with insects and catch bugs and probably harass their older sisters, and the sisters will avenge them later in amusing ways. I hope that I will see the humour when it happens and not have to wait until I start to blog or upload the pictures and start writing to my friends and be like, "Oh-- that was funny!" I will approach this as if I am living a work of art.

Now I end with a question: Who are all these kids and why are they calling me Mom? :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A sweet kid story

Today Mudd was asking me about letters. He was making shapes with a pipecleaner. He knows how to spell him name but has never thought about the letters representing sounds.

He made and shape and I asked the name of the letter (He said, "N.") and I asked what sound it made. He looked confused and got on the ground and said, "Woof!"

I told him that he was brilliant but explained to him "N" makes the /n/ sound. He wanted to know the rest. I helped him with a few letters and he was very happy with himself as he learned the letters in his name and their sounds.

I am learning my statistics. I wish I were as fast learning formulas as he is with learning sounds! Mudd is 4 and he will be five soon. He is pretty sharp. His smallest big sister Calamity Jane walked in and wanted to know what we were doing. I explained to her that letters have sounds. I wrote Mudd's name out and spelled it, saying each letter. I asked if she could guess what I had spelled. She studied it for a second and said, "Icecream?" (They catch on fast!) I taught her to spell it. It was cute. She will start kindergarten this year.

Political Story

We used to do a lot of political stuff-- on the fun level. Joining our candidates in parades, helping to stuff envelopes and get their message out, serving at fundraisers and greeting people, but I am disgusted with them now. I went to lunch with some today. Our top man, Ted Stevens has been indicted. I have my opinions and I won't share them. I of course have an emotional connection to everyone and I met him and liked him. The man has dedicated 40 years of his life to Alaska. Regardless of what I think of him, people are making crass jokes about him and making very hateful remarks. The luncheon was to be with a friend who is Republican. The Republicans make mean remarks about the Democrats and most of them support Ted and were bashing Parnell another Republican who is running for Congressman Don Young's seat. (I have very personal reasons for not liking Parnell and I cannot vote for him.) Why do they do this? The Democrats are just as bad as being mean, as are the Parnell supporters who were not there or just not saying anything. Since I was being treated by my friend, I said nothing and just listened, but they had a blend of vitriol and hate seasoning everything they ate! They joke about each other, honestly believing that the other is stupid. I did say to one of the women at my table today to one of her remarks, "It makes you wonder how _______ supporters can get up and know which way to put their underwear on." They laughed. I wasn't laughing.

We used to joke about the other side, but they don't joke any more. The jokes are cruel. I don't let my kids joke like that. I can't take them to these events any more.

Our society is getting inefficient and needing to blame everyone. Ted Stevens going down makes me sad. If he is corrupt, it's sad because he well, his soul is at stake. If he's not, it's scary because anyone can be accused of anything and they have an uphill battle proving themselves innocent. Ted has passed some laws that were not effective for Alaskans or average people in general. My understanding is that laws do not get voted on individually but in clusters. Was he voting for something greater when he passed the bad laws? I do not know. I think that he cares about the state, but he is a politician and we cannot trust what they say. He is being turned in by someone who he thought was his friend (Do you see a pattern here?) who I do not trust to be truthful. It is very sad.

I listened to David Cuddy the other day on the radio. I liked him and almost called my husband at work to tell him to listen to him (if he was working on a project and had his headset on.) I stopped. I realized that I was excited, but what did it matter? Would I be saying that David Cuddy had the answers? Certainly he believes in many things that I agree with, but he won't have the power to follow through with anything as he will be a junior senator. What does it matter?

I told my eldest that I do not want to vote now, but she, named for my debate coach who was very much into voting, reminded me of the cake we either bake or buy with a donkey (democrat) and elephant (republican) motif on it, and she said that she will come home that day and go with me and even bake or buy the cake herself and have it after dinner and watch the results come in. She says she will tell me who to vote for if I don't bother, saying, "Please! It's for your children!" I'm so damned corny that I promised her I'd do it for her. I actually believed in this bunk, but it's really pointless. I don't even care right now, but she does. I lean toward the middle; I like Libertarians and Independents, but she is a die-hard Democrat. My ex husband is conservative and she will do to him what I used to do and call him up and brag that she canceled his vote for president. Then she will brag that I took her advice. My second eldest will also vote Democrat. LOL

Monday, July 28, 2008

Alaska's Politics: My First Attempt at Writing about Them

Check out the song to the left. It was written in the 1960's and it's as real today as it was back in it's time. I'm using the lyrics to illustrate what I think. I used to enjoy politics and taking my kids to events. Now people are downright ugly. I felt it when I publicly supported someone and lost out on a job-- and the person I supported decided that I wasn't needed right after my letter was published. (I am furious but what can you do? I sent him cold energy vibes, then started looking at politicians for what they are, not for what they say they stand for. They're all dicks, including the women.) I see supporters of other people being downright rude to others who are not on their side. It greatly saddens me. It's OK to hate and I admire some gifted haters for their beliefs. You don't want to be hateful-- that is ugly.

Open up another tab or window and play this song as you read this.

Oh the Games People Play Now
every night and every day now
Never meanin' what they say now
never sayin' what they mean

Since November of 2006 when we read of a prominent Anchorage lobbyist's anxious call to Anchorage Assembly members, politicians of the city level and state level have been providing fodder for the newspapers all over the state. It went so far as our governor firing someone who we think had been her friend, appointing someone whose past would be questioned. For 20 months we've watched honorable men get shaken and taken down. What happened? They weren't perfidious when they started.

Why they while away the hours in their ivory towers
till they're covered up with flowers
in the back of a black limousine

A little can go to the head and the players started playing fast and loose. The voters seemed like mushrooms, happily kept in the dark while they fed them fertilizer and distracted them with new dramas. It is easy to see yourself being regarded highly by the crème de la crème and think you are an emperor with a crown but in reality be one of many princes with an easily knocked off, cheap coronet. Their great splash and power is eliminated and the entire fiasco of their downfall has long since been bird cage liner and turned into compost. It's old hat. What lasts?

Oh we make one another cry, breakin' hearts when we say goodbye
Cross our hearts and we hope to die, that the other was to blame
and neither one will ever give in, so we gaze at an 8 by 10
Thinkin' 'bout the things that might have been, and it's a dirty rotten shame

Virtually every person put in the hotseat in the messes that we've witnessed have blamed the people who helped hook them, be it legislators who had allowed friendships with bottom feeder lobbyists to a police officer brought down by someone he'd said was his friend, and a governor who felt that she'd been deceived. Do politicians actually have friends? They'd be better off trusting random street performers to be true friends than lobbyists, and employers simply cannot trust their employees or do anything that they'd not do for an employee that they didn't like.The fascinating thing is that you realize that with the politicians, they used the lobbyists as much as the lobbyists used them. Would they have been friends with the lobbyists had they not offered them money?

People walkin' up to ya, singin' glory hallelujah
and they try to sock it to ya, in the name of the Lord
They're gonna teach ya how to meditate
Read your horoscope, cheat your fate
And furthermore to hell with hate, come on, get on board

As the trials for the people in the spotlight lessened, they would end up giving it all to Jesus. I applaud this, but really—is this where Jesus needs his followers preaching His name? (Is this where Buddha or Sun Myung Moon would want their faiths preached?) One guy showed up at a well known church and his supporters expressed shock that he was seen by the press there and it really seemed fake, like a display. The church is as showy as he is and the well moneyed idiot who helped sting him. These guys shamelessly used each other. Without a need the friendships did not exist. Another said that he was placing his faith in Jesus after the dust settled. No matter what our faith, we become bad representatives of it when we flaunt it after a major shake down happens.

Look around, tell me what you see, what's happening to you and me?
God grant me the serenity to just remember who I am
'Cos you've givin' up your sanity, for your pride and your vanity
Turned your back on humanity, and you don't give a da da da

How close are any of us to that slippery slope? It's not about money or even about sex. In all of the legislative cases, the lobbyists were alpha males who appeared to have the idolization of the legislators they were seducing. To the seduced, the relationships often seemed like father-son, but once on the stand, the seducers professed to not feel this way and claimed the people that were caught up in the fed's web were warped. In the case of the public safety department, everyone appeared deceived. In the end, had they been doing nothing that needed to be handled discreetly, no one would be fired or in prison.

Politics are sleazy and sleazy people stay with them. They use our faith in God & country and faith in tomorrow are used against us as marketing ploys to get our votes and temporary fascination and then we sit crying because we thought these guys had our best interests at heart when it was never an intent.

Lyrics are by Joe South from his hit, "The Games People Play."

Friday, July 25, 2008

Life is Happening-- Just not at My Pace

I spoke with my internship adviser yesterday and she wants me to write for her. I need an internship that is commercial with editing and web design because it pays, and I do care about it, especially if it is a social organization. They will get more than 10 hours a week from me and I will learn more and maybe end up with a job later!

I am excited to write for my adviser. She liked my polished works on my family and wants to polish them some more and help me do some magazine work. No one will read my work in 100 years, but she says that is not the point. It's about being able to relate to people now. I read some of Erma Bombeck's work and I used to get hysterical over it, but now it seems dated. That is also the beauty of Erma's work; she wrote for her audience at the time and even though she is dated, she still reaches out to people over the generations. Motherhood hasn't changed that much since she was going it in the 50's, 60's and 70's.

Putting together a a resume. It is depressing. I feel like I have done nothing with my life, and then I have to break it down into "relevant experience" and get people who can vouch for me. My writing only speaks for itself. I have pieces on my work with Hospice-type-care, but my clients are dead, their families have since moved and I wasn't with Hospice per se! I am feeling so completely invisible and useless. My clients are all dead. I cannot fathom anything that I have done. My baby brother (who is almost 40) said that he passed his journalism classes because of me, so he can be a reference, then I suppose my mother can be since she is now a writer and has me see everything before she sends it off. They are family. That being said-- I am a student and they expect me to be a student.

Perhaps I ought to put the energy into this resume that I am putting in to procratinating and maybe I will get somewhere. I feel so pointless. I feel so sad and in need of avoiding the resume that I want to do a staistics lesson. I need a gallon of Davidson's Spiced Peach Tea and some cookies.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Tempermental Diva is Almost Ready

We found out what is the matter with the Diva-- it's something with the fuel injector. Our mechanic is very nice and making it affordable to us to fix her up. If I had a million dollars, I think that I would give some to a mechanic like him to fix cars for people like my family. I don't know what I would do without him, but what he is doing will also increase the fuel efficiency of my SUV. At first I was like, "It's only going to help with three extra miles to the gallon." He laughed and said, "You have a 30 gallon tank!" Oh-- never mind! That's a hundred extra miles! Do it, do it! I get about 12 MPG as it is-- increasing it by a fourth is a very nice thing!

We want to take the kids out to the bay this year in a community called Homer. Can you believe that I've never taken them to salt water where there are crabs and sea shells and clams? My husband and I went to some sporting outfitters and found some affordable tents and sleeping bags. I so much hope we can do it! If it's too much to take the Diva, we will have my husband go in his little car with Princess Cloud, Guy, Basil and Dmitri. It will be a tough journey with the four of them, but they can manage it and have SO MUCH FUN. I'll probably be pulling my hair out with the three babies by the time they get back, but c'est la vie. The point is for them to see salt water and to sleep in tents and new sleeping bags. My husband wants to get two tents-- one for me and him and one for the kids with my 18 year old overseeing the kids which she is fine with. I told him that he and I had better get the bigger tent because before the night is through, all the kids will be coming in to be with us!

He wants to buy me some cooking utensils. I want an iron Dutch oven. He says I am trying to be too fancy, but I hate tomato soup and sandwiches like he thinks I should make. Canned soups and sandwiches just don't turn me on or even give me a reason to want to live. When I was in labor, my favorite OB, Dr. Lawrence would tease me that there was a delicious lunch or dinner awaiting me if I had the baby by a certain time. He'd find out and tell me what it was and oh dear, he said Beef Bourguignon and I was in so much pain-- I asked what time they were serving and he said around 6 and I had Calamity Jane by 5:30. "Just stitch me up, get the kid to the nursery and don't waste my time here. Where's dinner?" (I hadn't been allowed to eat during labor because I'd had c-sections before.) Had he said that tomato soup and sandwiches were being served, I'd still be in labor with her and she is almost six years old! No-- when you camp or give birth or really, do anything else, you need to have the best food you can afford.

I hope to have the Dutch oven working well and using it before we go. The boys will help me more if I cook outside.

We are getting cheap sleeping bags for the kids-- my ex husband bought my elder two some really nice sleeping bags and they took them out of where I put them for storage and put them ontheir beds and they destroyed them. My husband said that this is what kids this age do-- we will get them bags that they may not use that much, that won't last for forever, but will serve a purpose.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Waist Training-- I'm Down to 25" and Up to 4 Hours Per Day!

I have started waist training. When I was in high school, I had an amazing figure of 36-20-38. The hips were a little large, but they were womanly. Now having conceived 12 and birthed 9 children (I lost three to thankfully early miscarriages and an ectopic) my waist has been around 28 inches. I wanted to make it smaller and when looking for a corset last year, went to Fredrick's of Hollywood. they had one that looked nice but said it wsn't for waist training. I wondered what waist training was and discovered Romantasy. Initially scoffing at the price but writing to tell the owner how pretty the work was, I was sending her a down payment within a couple of months!

My corset arrived a few months ago. Before it arrived, I bought a less costly one off E-Bay. I'd been warned about buying them off E-Bay because they allegedly just fell apart after a month or less of wearing, and mine did fall apart after two weeks. I was glad that I'd bought it. When the Romantasy corset came, it was stiff-- painfully so, but instead of whining and just casting the $350 model aside, I tried it on a few times and kept at it, wearing it at first for a few hours on the weekends, until now, donning it every day and wearing it for two hours at a time and now in it for four hours. I like what it does to my silhouette and the looks that I get when I wear it under my clothes and simply belt a dress and my already nice waist is pronounced. Modern corsets do not dangerously squish organs-- they are set up to push them upwards instead of mashing them under the corset.

When I am not wearing my corset I do a lot of excercises to get my waist down. It's happening however gradually and I would like to see 20" again.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Diva is in the Shop

Henceforth I will refer to my rusty old SUV which I love as "The Diva." I've fallen a long way from my Hillside upbringing. My mother used to look at vehicles like mine and be like, "How can they be seen in that?" The Diva runs and has heat and air conditioning. Whooo-hooo, I'm lucky even if she does only drink gas and get 12 MPG-- she is my chariot. The Diva is at the mechanic's shop. He said, "You really just need a new vehicle." I cannot afford one. I'm up a creek. Does anyone else sprinkle their vehicles with Holy Water? My mechanic is Catholic and loves what he does-- when I told him that I pray before I drive for my safety, him, and the people on the road, he hugged me. I wonder if he prays for his clients-- for cars that run and deep pockets! He's like a good doctor-- he'd rather just do tune-ups a preventative care, but alas he is needed for the problems, too! He says I am like the blue guy on Sesame Street with my car noise imitations.

I would be an excellent philanthropist-- I really wish I wasn't having so many bills to worry over and could fund good things, instead, but don't we all wish that? I like the mechanic very much so. . . I try to not wince too much as I pay him! I'm very blessed to have him.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Idle Hands are the Devil's Toys

Today, with my children being grounded until the end of summer for flipping people off and being with kids who threw rocks at a neighbor's house, I had to be with them 100% of the time. School resumes on 18 August. Last night my husband and I ran off worksheets for them and from 10AM till the time he got here, I had them memorizing times tables, writing for me and memorizing poetry. They actually had fun-- they were chatting nonstop and helping each other out. Guy is a little slow but they were helping him and he told me later that Princess Cloud wanted him to do well and he was excited about it. (They normally can't stand each other.) I had the little kids working on kindergarten and pre-school work. Calamity Jane is ready to read and was putting letters and sounds together and I'm certain that Mud & Starshine will follow her in this.

I'm tired and perfectly worn out. Without being asked, Dmetrios and Basil offered to help me make bread and I taught Basil to make gravy while Dmetrios buttered slices of bread for me and wrapped them in foil.

My SUV wouldn't start today. It's a diva! It rained so it probably got too cold.

Very Odd Things. . .

Occasionally I mention a good friend of mine from the past. He's a little odd-- but who isn't?

While I am struggling to write, he is maintaining that he is getting ready to sign his second book contract, this one on the undead princess who died 11 years ago. (Undead because the world has held on to her and I will not say her name, may she rest in peace!) Supposedly this friend's late wife had a gen from his jewelry business that she hung between her t--s that was in excess of 200 carats. Wouldn't a gem of that size need to be hung between the breasts of two women because it couldn't possibly be between the breasts of a regular woman?

His first book was one on works that he did while at a federal prison in Oregon. Whenever I mention it, he blows over it now. Last time we talked, it was a done deal.

He liked me in school (mutual) and claimed that my father offered him $10,000 to leave me alone and that my mother called him white trash. It's all extremely odd-- as much as my parents had issues, I cannot fathom them speaking badly of him and me ending up with my ex husband who is a real dork. My dad spoke well of my odd friend-- he said that he was a networker and a perfectionist who'd do well for himself and my mom reserved her venom for people close to her. While he speaks of the business he had before he went to the federal pen, it sounds glamorous but unreal. He has always been savvy and able to pull things off so I know it is possible, but I find that things change as he speaks.

Last night he was telling me about three sons who I swear he spoke of coming up last Christmas along with a 4th being here-- in fact, I'd called him up when my elder daughters were out and asked if he wanted to meet us at a late night spot, but he said he had a cold and that he'd just seen them all off. Last night he said that the three didn't make it up and that his ex, a high powered woman who he calls the Baracuda _itch, decided that they need to see him since it's been a year.

I like him anyway-- he's a link to my past. We went to a private school together. We dated a bit and he was a great friend. He just got out of the fed pen less than a year ago and I think that a lot of his stories are exaggerations of truths (I hope for his sake that they are true) and that after the whole experience he is trying to convince himself that good things will happen again.

I'm posting this because I'm uncomfortable with it. I don't want to drop the friendship because I am fairly certain that he is harmless and when we just talk and he's normal, he's fine. My husband has the feeling that he is pounding his chest in a Toby Keith, "How do you like me now?" display. I hear from him every couple of months and when he quits being normal, it's all about how he has been married to two powerful, fabulous women, one who was a saint (and died in a trajic accident) and the other the Devil herself (who is probably too mean to die!) and how much money he has made and how great things were.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Out but not Down

I went to the audition on Sunday. Last night I got a phone call from the director personally thanking me for showing up and asking if I wanted a critique. I did. He asked me what I thought went wrong and I told him that I felt wooden.

He said that my fatal weakness was my vocal quality-- he said that my poise was great considering that I was doing dramatic scenes. "Loose"would have not worked. He said that my body played to the audience, but that I had this weak voice. He considered calling me back but told me that while vocal diction can be brushed up on, if an actor doesn't have it, it may or may not be learned and he couldn't risk that. He didn't know me well enough or my history to know this.

He could tell that I was a singer which shocked me. (I'm not a singer.) I want to get private voice lessons because I cannot afford to drive to town for more classes at the college, but I would not say that I am a singer. I love to sing but I'm not quite there.

Anyway, he asked me if there were any plays that I am really interested in and I told him that there are and which one it is that I really want. He advised me on what to do and what I need to overcome.

I am so glad that I got through that audition and I am really happy that I met the director. I wish him the very best and will probably go to any play he directs just because I have decided that he is a super person.


One of my sons today decided (out of the blue) to flip cars off. He's 10 and knows better. Well, he said, the kid across the street was doing it. He said that the kid across the street told him to. I just about burst out laughing. "Too bad he can't help you with your homework."

My son said, "It's summer and I don't have homework."

I said, "Oh yes, you have homework. And before you go back out to play, you need to have your times tables memorized."

He complained. He's in a special ed. class! He doesn't have it easy! Can't he have a second chance? I said no-- I graduated from UoMM on the and made straight A's. ("What's the U-oh-M-M?" "University of Mean Mommies.") He's working on his multiplication tables. He has a second chance to learn his multiplication tables. Lucky him!

I never, ever thought that I would be one of those mothers who couldn't wait until summer got over-- but I think it is too long. I am not homeschooling the older kids. They have to be occupied every-single-second or they get into mischief! It's not just mine-- it's the kids on the street, too. We live in a decent area. When I got bored in South Central Alaska, I hiked or mucked stalls. I don't have the money to put them in summer schools and I wish that I did.

I feel like Private Benjamin when she was in Boot Camp saying, "Where are the condo's?" I did not expect this in parenting. My husband is talking to the kid across the street's parents and to the house where he and one of my other kids were allegedly throwing rocks. He is nipping the problem in the bud. (I hope.) Two of the kids were playing with some kids who were throwing rocks. My kids are in trouble for not immediately coming home. We don't know the involvement level-- you know how it is with kids, everyone is blaming each other. My husband dragged our kids over to apologize for their involvement. This same house where rocks had been thrown at has a couple of dogs, one of who bit one of my sons and just nipped him, but didn't break the skin. My husband went and talked to them-- he said that when our kids do something wrong, they have to be able to admit it.

I am starting to get headaches. I know a lot of women who are around my age with kids the same ages. They start getting headaches and I think that I know why. Is it teeth grinding? Stress? Summer is half over. . . I can make it. So will they. Their teachers will all be telling me at the parent teacher meetings what great kids I have, just like they always do. My kids will glow with pride. I will not tell them that they can be naughty or how awful they can be-- they are not naughty or awful most of the time. They are not awful-- just mischievous at times.

I hope this won't be like this all the time. I do feel that my husband's actions will stop them from ever doing it again.

One of my friends told me that in China, they would take kids between the ages of 11 & 13 and put them on farms just to give them manual work. I see the need for it. I don't believe in the Mao's mandates, but they had a point in occupying kids of this age.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

1st Audition in 22 Years

I auditioned this evening for a play. I bombed-- other women go to these things in pairs. I have no idea what I was thinking by going. I was wooden and stiff, like Pinocchio before he became a real person.

I got home and Darrin asked how I did. I started to rip myself apart and he held up his hand and said, "The kids are in the room."

I gushed about how proud of myself I was for just getting up there are trying my best. The kids wanted to hear how well I did. THAT was my great act of the night with me saying that I did well but that others were better and that I probably won't get the one female part. My husband said that I deserved dessert date and he took me to one of our nicer restaurants for burnt cream and coffee.

Why do I do this to myself? I have no friends who do this, I just woke up and said, "I think I'll try out for a play today!" I was insecure and wore a pretty dress and pearls and acted like I just got out of church. Everyone else was in jeans. I should have worn jeans. The others-- they showed up with friends. I didn't do poorly because I didn't have support-- I am capable of bombing on my own, thank you very much!

I know I won't get the part, yet I know that I will keep peeking at the web site to see who got the parts and will be sad (for 12 seconds) when I don't get it. The kids want to see it no matter what, and we will have to budget for it. My husband says that most of the time in life we do not get everything we want and that knowing how to lose is as important as knowing how to win. He's not prepping them for failure, but he is prepping them for life. He admires my tenacity in trying and genuinely means it when he says he is proud of me and this is why my kids are into as much as they can be even if they are not stars. He always tells them that the only failure is a failure to try-- and I demonstrate it terribly well.

I still wish that I was wildly successful and raising spoiled brats anyway.

Edited later: the director just posted pics of us at the auditions. I am taking every dress that I have and getting a picture of myself in it and looking at it. The outfit that I wore was terrible-- my eyes! My eyes! Of course Darrin wouldn't tell me how wrong it looked on me. ~sigh~

Friday, July 11, 2008

Biggest Pet Peeve: Parents who Disparge their Well Behaved Children

Today I took the kids out to run some errands-- I had the seven youngest with me. While out, I always notice families with lots of kids because they are like me, but I also notice kids in general because they are kids. I was at a clothing store and there was a delightful young four year old shopping with her mother and I told her mom what a pretty daughter she had and how well behaved she was. The little princess of all that is good gave me the biggest smile I'd ever seen and then her mother turned off the light in her daughter's eyes by saying, "O gawd. You should see her at home." The princess turned red in her face as if she'd been slapped and started to tear up.

I felt terrible for having said anything and said to her mother, "Hey! Isn't that how it's supposed to be? If they were terrors in the store, we'd never take them out!"

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Greatest Poem EVAR Written

I'm playing with the spelling of EVAR here-- it's ever, but a fan of a certain rock band wrote it this way and I thought it was great.

This is another poem that I fell in love with while reading Pinsky's book on America's Favorite Poems-- it's called The Windhover by Gerard Manly Hopkins. I read this many times and the more I read it, the better it sounded. At first it was just long to me, but I loved the words. The person who submitted this said that Hopkins was "drunk on words" and described himself as a New York Jew who somehow related to this Jesuit priest who was writing for Christ. I thought that was pretty cool-- you can relate to the grandness of it all, no matter what your faith, I think.

He's talking about a kestrel in flight and the colours in it's plumage.

I enjoy falconry, but I doubt I will ever be committed to be able to be sure I am able to care for a hawk or a falcon-- they become your master just as you become theirs. Still, I appreciate them-- as did Mr. Hopkins!

The Windhover
To Christ our Lord

I caught this morning morning's minion, king-
dom of daylight's dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate's heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird,--the achieve of, the mastery of the thing!

Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!

No wonder of it: sheer plod makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.


Minion means "subject" as in the king's subject.
Sillion means breaking of the soil.


I enjoy reading poetry like this to the kids. It puts the toddlers to sleep and the
older ones under the age of 18 don't like it but I read to them anyway. Sometimes
I volunteer at an animal rescue place that takes care of bigger animals and I sit at the
edge of the pasture and read to them just to get them used to people.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Let us then be up and doing with a heart for any fate. . .

NOTE: STRESS REDUCER-- I cannot post at your site! The security code doesn't seem to want to let me through! I have typed it in and it just doesn't work!

One of my favourite poems is by Longfellow and it is called A Psalm of Life. I first read this when I picked up a discounted America's Favorite Poems by Robert Pinsky. I never really understood poetry and this book with people's stories made me love poems because I was able to make them a part of me as I remembered the stories.

What moved me first about this poem was that a minister, the Rev. Michael Haynes liked it. He was/is an older minister whose family hailes from Barbados. It was mentioned in the book how this poem reached out to him and was part of the essence of Christianity. I quickly memorized this because while I doubt my faith all the time, the need to reach out and improve myself for the sake of others keeps me going. I recited this at my dad's funeral and at any other event that I could. Tonight I was surfing for something else and ended up at the poem project and got to hear this minister recite it. It was amazing. I got very teary eyed and I don't know why-- maybe that a Black East Coast minister who I will never meet had such an impact on me, and on my dad because I had read his story. I read this many times to my dad while he was dying-- he loved it and asked me to read it to him or I'd have not read it. He liked the whole thing but especially loved this verse:

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate ;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

He told me that he accomplished the most when he was busy and thinking that he was doing nothing, "Learn to labor and to wait."

But this isn't about my dad--- this is about some poetry that I love. Actually, it is about poetry that other people love. I had to sit and listen to every one of the poems that are online being read. Stephen Murphy's nephew was dying and the poem called The Emigrant Irish by Eavan Boland moved him. For a small period of time, a few minutes, it made everything all right. He carries the poem around in his wallet, and thinks of his niece with the same affliction that her big brother had.

My former massage teacher read The Road Not Taken (not on this project-- he read it in our class.) It's by Robert Frost. My former massage teacher, convinced that the medical model was killing people and based on the expectation of illness, and he is right, but he left it three weeks into his residency and became a massage teacher. He recited this and I don't think that it's ever been read by anyone as well. Dear Robert Frost couldn't have done it justice like my teacher did, and I was glad to have heard him recite it. Now the poem is part of my life and I will tell the story of what I liked of him. (I don't need the negative to be carried with this!)

I will write more, but I am tired. Because of this book, I got turned on to poetry.

Oh-- one of the finest professors to ever teach English was Dr. Arlene Kuhner. She died many years ago, but I will never forget her reciting anything we asked of her. She was Canadian by birth, as well as very talented. If I can ever do justice to poetry and read one tenth of one percent as well as she did, I will be very blessed and more skilled than most people at reading it!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Still Waters can be Shallow

At What Do I Know, Steve (who knows how little he knows but who knows more than most people and is very wise) mentions that people just don't think deeply. We have a major political scandal going on with our Republican congressman with some scary issues that few reporters are talking about. I won't even attempt to write about the issues-- I read of them and consider them, but there is no one who I can really talk to about them. My friends are mostly Republicans, and they defend their hero and won't hear a word of him that is bad. They slam his opponent who I have met and also like-- the slamming is the degrading snickering as opposed to real discussion. They do not talk about new information-- they rehash what they have read or heard by popular radio talk show hosts who are just as mean as they are and who they imitate, and there is no real exchange of ideas. (I read the blogs about what is going on and filter information for myself. When I go to the polls I do so with a heavy heart, although we always have a party here because it is Election Day and we eat cookies with elephants and donkeys on them. I am a nerd-- I named my eldest for a teacher who told us that voting was a sacred right. No, she was not named Tiger-- but she may as well have been!)

Steve asks, "What does it take to get a significant part of the population to get it? Or is the distraction industry - sports, video games, celebrity gossip, etc. - too powerful for people to attend to protecting the US Constitution?" I thought about it and commented on it, even though I am not worthy to say anything at his blog. Most soccer mommies like myself don't speak deeply-- there will be people who tell me to speak for myself, but when you hear many people talk at soccer games or places where we meet to talk, you realize that they communicate because of their need to interact, not to get to know more information. I never click on anything that has the names of certain celebrities or their spouses, yet many of these people obsess over them. At my massage school, there were people who didn't know that our former president Bill's wife was out of the race. Alaska had legislation going to regulate massage therapists yet none of them knew what it was or that it was tabled because (surprise!) the massage therapist board was to disorganized to work with the politicians. I was seriously out of place for bringing things up-- I politely pushed them due to the importance, but my comments fell flat while those under 30 talked nonstop about the 70's Show.

When I worked at Super~Mart, our newly elected governor came in. I nearly had a heart attack when she saw me and called me by name-- I'd volunteered for her but was delighted that she remembered me. Afterward I went on break and was in the back, "Our governor shops at Super~Mart! She knows who I am!" A cow-orker said, "Who'dat?" Then said the name of a governor from the 1970's. I said no, it was Sarah Palin. Someone asked if she was a senator, the daughter of the man she replaced. The first woman said, "What do I know? I don't vote!" She smacked the table and laughed at herself as did the several women sitting at her table. (Those women were popular there-- reverse of highschool where the smart popular people were the leaders. I was not part of the Super~Mart group.) One of the supervisors was watching me and told me to meet him in the store when I got off break.

He explained to me the mantality of many of the people I worked with, "You will never change them." He said that so many had so much going on, working for just above minimum wage, and not really doing anything more intellectual than arguing about their cable bills. Anything that requires real thinking escaped many of them, which was why they would at someplace like the Super~Mart until they priced themselves out of a job-- they'd not get promoted, they'd get regular raises until the company maxxed them out at a certain amount per hour, then be shown the door as managers looked for a reason to fire them and have cheaper labor, then they'd take a pay cut and work the same job elsewhere.

Since having children, my own mind has gotten shallow, and my world has shrunk. I used to be smart but Russian sank me and I failed Transformational Grammar. What is this about? I'd wanted to be a doctor at one time and now I can't even think a sentence diagram through!

I care very much about political events and the history that is being made as we live right now, but it's hard to get too deep when first, I have few friends who understand what is happening who I can talk to abou this, then I am getting pulled in 15 directions anyway.

Several years ago, there was a woman running for my district's seat on the lagislature. A lot of my friends liked her-- I prefered a gentleman who I'd met through another friend. His parents were teachers and he had been a professor. I could listen to him talk and never tire of him. The most effervescent candiate won and we became friends. ANYWAY-- the woman that I am tlaking about: when asked why she was running, she admitted that she'd been thinking about it then was on vaccation in another state when she saw a sign to elicit votes and the sign had the name of another woman with her name and it was a sign from God! She wasn't running because she had great ideas-- she was running because she had a few cool ideas and then there was this sign from God. . . I asked one of my acquaintences why she was supporting her and her mouth gawped open and then she very seriously said, "She just makes sense." WTF? I asked her the three top things she stood for in her mind that would make her good. She named three things off the conservative party platform that this woman backed, but I didn't even know if the candiate understood why she supported them. I said nothing but thought, "I can't believe your vote is worth the same as mine!" Several other supporters would say the same thing. "She just makes sense."

How many people vote or support people because their friends support them? How many people use one issue to vote on and don't care for the others?

Steve really got me to thinking in whatever capacity I am capable of it. Some days, as a parent, I am so worn out that I don't stay on top of my children's behaviour as much as I should. With my kids, I can fortunately go back and correct the problems. But as Steve pointed out, our costitution is being attacked. We cannot be exhausted and say, "I'll get to that later. I'm tired right now." We need to really dig deeper into the facts, question the sources without putting them down for speaking out and try to understand the real issues at hand, but not a significant portion of us are willing to do so.

Massaging my husband

I worked on my husband for two hours tonight. (Sunday.) He's not sure that the fee for the class was worth it,but he said that I am doing better on a technical level. I'd have never bought a massage table had I not taken the class-- it makes a huge difference. He works in public health and quite a few people are interested in massage. What he is telling them is, "If you think you will really pursue it as a career, go for it. If not, buy a table for the largest person you think you will work on and [____] massage books." (He tells them the ones from my class.)

I started to get mad-- I was working on him and the moment when the memory of my teacher yanking my nose hit and it just ticked me off. I was really mad! I put my energy into my husband's leg and he was very content. I put all of my weight into him and it hardly registers for him. I did shiatsu on him which made a huge difference-- he did feel it. My hands are getting strong.

Anyway-- my husband enjoyed his massage and said it's enough for me to do it on him. (I have also worked on a few friends since the class. It's good-- I take no money. I don't know that I will.) I played Pandora and I worked on him to Randy Travis radio.

I tried a new tea today-- it's tangerine tea made by the Republic of Tea. I don't know how to describe teas in snob terms, but it's delicious. I like the idea of a Republic of Tea. . . my own grand little country! :) I drank six cups today; I am a bit wired and stressed out!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Coping with Inflation, Independence Day

Everything is costing lots and lots of money any more. How are we faring? Pretty good. I was born a princess, and while I am taking forever to grasp certain concepts, even with having a huge brood of children, the recent doubling of gas has me going into hyperdrive. I am making it-- this is the funny thing. Making it doesn't mean that I am sailing with no problems-- some ends just don't meet-- but that is OK. We just make do.

Last week we went to a thrift store. I must say, it was my first serious visit where I planned to shop there and I took the kids. In the past, I went to humour a friend who kept telling me that I needed to go. I went in with the kids who were quite happy-- "May I put this shirt in the cart? It's only fifty cents!" "Mom, this is great-- roller blades for $2!" Basil asked me if the store was new and I said it wasn't. He asked why we didn't go there more often, "When you don't shop here first, you are throwing your money away!"

As we went through the store, I found an ironing board. I had Dmitri carry it 10 feet to the counter for me and it kept opening up on it's own, which was extremely funny. Fortunately there was nothing in his path that he could break!

I left having paid $37.41. I had so many new things for the kids and outfitted them well and they were happy.

I saw the dentist that day-- I finally found a decent dental hygienist. She doesn't speak English. She apologized for her English but I told her to chill; I was fine and don't speak Russian.

My rhubarb is growing well and we eat it every day. Several years ago I bought several plants for $10 from a farmer with thriving plants. That would be the summer that Starshine would be born when dh got laid off. Unemployment only let us declare 3 dependents. Tiger was working at a bakery and we got their unsold products, and the rhubarb was growing. The unemployment went to pay for utilities, a little bit of gas and I would buy flour, eggs, sugar and cooking oil. We would come within weeks of losing our home and that was with my in-laws helping with paying our morgage a few times. We'd pray our thanks before we ate with me mentaly pleading with God to keep the food coming and keep us all liking rhubarb! (So far, so good-- yay God! Whenever I make anything with rhubab, my husband and kids are quite excited and it's, "What are you making tonight?" Basil even made rhubarb crisp for us the other day! Not only do we all love it, but the kids are learning to cook with it!)

I know a few women who have recently quite jobs in the commuter town that many people commute to who live where I live. Gas prices got too high and both they and their husbands needed to be able to come home whenver for the kids. When they factored in gas prices, child care, and everything else, it was better for them to be home. EVERYONE is having to accomodate right now. As someone with a big family, they are asking me for how I shop & prepare food because they know I have not had it easy in years. I have a way to go, but I am shocked by what I do know that I wasn't aware that I knew.

This morning I was worried about stretching food over the next week until my husband gets paid. It gets a little boring. Today is Peaches' birthday and Tiger showed up. She was telling me how things are with her college friends. One of her friends is someone who I met and adored-- when I later told her that I'd adopt him as another son if his parents ever disowned him she came home a few days later telling me that he'd said that if his parents ever disowned him that he'd adopt me as his mother! Anyway-- he was raised as a devout Mormon. He moved out and didn't want to do the mission. His parents have practically disowned him and he is starting out from scratch while his parents making things as hard on him as they can. Suddenly-- I was rich! What could I send to him? He knows how to cook with much of what I have given that he also comes from a large family. I had ideas on what he could fix and printed them up for him. Tiger laughed as I sent a few bags over to him with her and she said, "No wonder you struggle in math! You are the only person who I know who divides and comes up with more!"

We splurged on gas and drove out to a glacier fed lake. Around the edges the water is warm-ish. The kids went wading and playing in it while I sat at the edge with Starshine. They had a blast. We didn't hike around the lake as planned-- but that was not important. We had fried chicken for lunch with rhubarb muffins and trail mix. I made the fried chicken on the 3rd-- someone ate half of it (I found the bones and bag in the bathroom-- I was so furious.) and I stayed up late last night frying more. Tiger was happy-- she had asked for a picnic for her 18th birthday and wanted to eat fried chicken and she had a great time.

When we got ot them lake, we realized that there was a fee of $5 per vehicle which none of us had and we put all our cash on hand together and came up with $5. We parked my husband's car at a friend's store and packed into my SUV and drove the two miles. We got out and I saw a tourist glancing at us and kind of smiling. I said, "It feels like a clown car!" He laughed and said I was reading his mind.

On Independence Day we walked in a parade. First we went to the Girl Scouts and Princess Cloud, who was supposed to walk, suddenly "lost" the vest she was wearing. She said, "Mom! We need to go help Representative ______." I was confused but we all ran to catch up with her. She hissed, "That was all Daisies and Brownies! They were Calamity Jane's age up to 9!" Oops. We walked with our local representative who with his wife welcomed us. Calamity Jane and Mud sat in his wagon. Calamity Jane waved non stop but Mud sat by the candy and ate a few pieces, covering his face when anyone looked at him!

So far, it's been a great weekend.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

What the kids are up to. . .

I had to laugh when I got on my email and Ropi asked if my kids are up to anything interesting. Just when I thought we were in a dull lull, Guy (10) changed it when he almost lit himself on fire. My husband was burning some grass and dead leaves and had some gas a safe distance away that he was using to help burn it. As one of the kids struggled to bring another wheel barrow full of freshly mowed grass to the fire, my husband walked over (less than 20 feet away) to help right the little cart and take it over. Well, Guy, fascinated by the effect of the gas on the fire (and fascinated by the fire-- all kids go through a phase of fascination, I think) grabbed the gas can and said he'd help Dad and started to pour it on the fire. Somehow, the little gas can ignited!

My husband calmly told Guy to throw it on to the fire where it continued to burn. He told kids that he was done for the night and sent them all in and they got ready for bed. An hour later he came in and was pretty shaken and told me what happened. He called Guy in and asked if he knew that what had happened out there could had hurt him and everyone who was around him. Of course Guy had no idea-- my husband was calm and never aroused panic. Had the gas can been bigger or even full-- well, he'd have not used it, but it could have had disastrous results.

My husband's lecture was boring and nothing sank in-- Guy just wanted to go to bed. I said, "Guy, do you remember when you burned your finger taking cookies out of the over?" (He did.) I told him to remember the feeling of the little burn but to think of it over an arm or an entire leg, maybe his face. I used to be a CNA (certified nurse's assistant) and told him what it was like caring for burn victims. Then I told him, "You would come home and you'd still need to be taken care of. I would have to help you go to the bathroom! Do you want your mother helping you go to the bathroom? Or while I am taking your brothers to baseball, Princess Cloud would have to help you!" (Princess Cloud was in bed and yelled, "Gross!" His brothers were giggling.)

He turned to Dad and said, "I am really sorry. I won't do that again or even ask to help you with burning." I know that he paid attention!

Peaches is working at her first job. She is throwing herself in with her normal dedication, treating her $8 an hour job like it's a $300,000 salaried position. Last night she alone closed her shop which I really think should be done by assistant managers or managers. Two other employees has been working with her-- one felt sick and wanted to go home, the other is the son of the franchise owner and he had some issue with his car and wanted to leave. The person who closes has a lot to ready for the next day as they arrive early to serve breakfast. Peaches was alone. I was there to pick her up and almost an hour later, I rang her and told her that she'd get into trouble for being so late and to just stop what she was doing and to come out "NOW." She came out in tears-- she'd gotten a call from security and was told that she needed to close within a half hour of the store closing and how she wanted to have everything ready for the morning crew and couldn't get it done.

I am really proud of her for her dedication and showing how much she cares for her work, but I see a lot of clack happening there that she shouldn't have to be dealing with with only one month in to her work. She does not feel like she can tell the son of the franchise owner anything-- managers have tried to get the owner to relieve him of his job-- he has told everyone that he does not want to be there. The other worker is on the same level as my daughter but has a million reasons to leave early or not come in. They seem unable to keep good workers and keep the ones they have who are good-- possibly because they can't fire the dead weight who doesn't want to be there. My daughter likes him as a person, but his I-don't-care-bear attitude can't be construed as building moral.

She finally calmed down when I told her that she is only an employee-- she does not have the power to keep anyone there when they whine about being sick, want to go do something with their car (at 10PM?) or say they are not coming in. They do not pay her as a manager to make certain things get done-- she is, at the end of the day, an hourly employee.

I am helping a good friend run for a house seat-- that is exciting. We have parades on Friday-- I love the 4th of July because we have a lot of fun supporting our candidates. This year several of the kids want to walk with different people, which is great. I don't care if they don't vote like me, just that they vote and be part of the whole process. Guy wants to walk with a sign that says, "Vote McBama!" on one side and "Vote OCain" on the other (in other words, just vote,) but I told him he'd need his own float and we couldn't do it this year. Cute idea, though. . . I ~should~ have him walk with the fire fighters and carry a sign that says, "Don't get near fires without your father's permission."

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Massaging. . .

I ranted about massage school and a terrible misunderstanding with my teacher. He actually knew what he was doing, but I can't really talk about the results. The emotional release worked. I had a delayed result and this is probably good because he'd have not wanted me waking up to some issues. (They do not involve any family members or for the record, s--.)

I worked on a neighbor today just to keep my skills up-- she was grateful as was I. How she managed to relax in my house with my kids coming and going in the other room was a mystery until she said, "They aren't mine."

Her husband and I talked. I worked on his feet. He was really uncomfortable about the possibility of blood running to That Region. I told him that we push blood to that region and that we kind of expect it and that we ignore it and he said, "You can't just ignore it!" I poured him a cranberry juice and told him that when people get massaged, they pass gas, make vocal noises that could sound sexual, and even cry at what seems painless but is tension release as we work out toxins from their muscles and that the results of blood running to that region is really the easiest to ignore by covering with a thick towel over the sheet. He's thinking about having me go over with his wife there and working on him. He asked my husband if it bothered him and my husband laughed-- he works with doctors and knows how this works and as long as I don't mind, he doesn't.

My teacher said to not mention it, but I think that guys are uncomfortable with it and just saying something might be helpful, but I will bow to the voice of experience.

I am one of the worst patients ever-- being on this side of working with people makes me appreciate what doctors do at least from wanting to be modest and not show off their bodies while at the same time letting them be effective.