29 December 2007

A feeling of dread (dum dum DUM)

Last year was just a lot of fun. This summer til a few weeks ago, I was pretty depressed and didn't find life fun anymore. I started getting a sense of humor and adventure last month, and am doing OK.


New Year is approaching.

Tater enters residential care on January 7th.

I have a birthday on January 12th. I turn 35. I did OK last year but I got to go away for the weekend and had probably the best birthday I've had since I was a kid.

My former wedding anniversary is January 15th. I did OK that day last year but I had something to look forward to, a trip to LA (I'd received the invitation on my birthday).

Tater's birthday is on the 21st. She won't be here.

I had looked forward to this being the year I entered the nursing program but it's not going to happen. I thought this year would be the one that put me on my path towards the rest of my life.

I suppose I will have to sit down and actually write out some positive things to look forward to, but I can't think of any at the moment. I'll make it a point to do that in the next post.

16 December 2007

God bless us, every one! Even that guy over there, though he's kinda smelly!

So life loves to just mess my cynical self up by giving me things to be happy about. It especially likes to do this at Christmas time which has, historically, been my least favorite time of year and also the point at which Western society's redeeming qualities are at their lowest. Really. It's ALL about buying into the Christmas image which is as real as Santa Claus.

Anyway, Christmas this year was going to be a struggle. Last year, even though I had a broken foot, I had had a job, had a little money saved up. This time around I've got nothing. I'm spending now over $100 on gas per week which is KILLING my budget. I also have had to make a bunch of unexpected trips to hospitals, etc., none of which are close by. I've also tapped out my parents, who are well enough off but don't need their daughter and grandkids leeching off of their retirement money. I was kinda faced with "Hey, you guys can have new coats or new blankets. Which one do ya want?"

My son's teacher had no idea what was going on in our family, just that we were a single parent family with issues. She didn't know about The Bear's abuse or Tater's in-and-out-of-the-hospital thing or any of that. She only knows Peanut and that he's been one stressed-out little boy who doesn't always make it to school on time and doesn't always have what he's supposed to (Look, YOU take a kid to the hospital and come back, get your kids, get 'em to bed at 10:30 pm, get 'em up and to school 30 miles away by 7:45 and see if YOU can get them everything). Anyway, Peanut's teacher (We'll call her Mrs. J) requested prayer for Peanut whilst at Bible study or church or something.

Long story short: Really cool guy came up to her after that and asked if he could sponsor our family for Christmas. Decided to ask everyone coming to his Christmas party if they would bring a gift. Really cool guy (RCG) had no idea what was going to happen. He called me the other day to tell me that 20-something people were out shopping for us. WOW.

So last night we picked up Tater and drove a couple of hours to RCG's house. First off, I want to say that I felt more "at home" at RCG's house with those folks than I have since moving to NC. GREAT people. We were instantly welcomed with nary an awkward moment. We weren't on display or anything, just got to sit right down and eat some barbecue and talk and all that. Kids played video games and such. I wish we lived closer to RCG just because the people (including the very-amusing RCG) were so cool that I want to spend more time with them.

Present time arrived. My good gracious, you have never seen so many gifts in your life! And the best part was how incredibly thankful my children were! As they pulled out blankets and coats and clothes and toothbrushes and even underwear, they were so glad to have them. Additionally, Peanut and Punkin got new sheets (Transformers and Disney Princesses, respectively) that they LOVE. There was a fishing rod for Peanut, a pastels set for Tater, a bunch of doll stuff for Punkin and hair-doing stuff for Bean. It was amazing! I do confess here on my blog that my eyes leaked. Poor little suckers just couldn't keep that water in. Might need to be repaired.

We have a seven seat minivan. (Yes, I know. A minivan. I am so, SO uncool.) We occupied five of those seats. The gifts occupied the other two, plus the trunk, plus in between the seats AND on our laps. We also had some leftovers on the dash. The car was so full. Now my little living room is full! Presently Punkin is running around in Santa earmuffs, a shirt, another shirt, a pair of underwear, a Disney princess crown and some jewelry, searching for "a giant lipstick". I am laughing! There's Christmas carnage everywhere - gift bags, boxes, tissue paper!

I needed last night more than you know. About six months ago, I lost hope. I lost any hope of life ever being anything than what it was. About three months ago, I bought into the lies that I am a bad mom. Sure, I've stuck through thick and thin with my kids, far more than I think some people would be able to. But despite our stressful circumstances, I believed that any normal and good mom would always have her children's things perfectly in order. Realistically, I don't know ANYONE who could do what I've had to do and have it all together. But I bought into the lie that I just suck. In my darkest moments, I've actually pondered just giving my children over to Social Services because I must just be the worst mom in the universe.

Last night, my children showed me that I do things right. Just like when we visited Funsize in April and they voluntarily all piled into Funsize's bed and were so thankful for our vacation, last night my children were so incredibly grateful and happy for one another. Each one of them was so excited for the others with each new gift. If I have done nothing but teach my children that THEY are not the center of the universe, then I think I've done them a huge favor the some people never get.

Anyway, these are just some jumbled thoughts. I'll post the pics when they're sent to me and I'm sure my thinking will be clearer then.

Until then, Merry Christmas!

13 December 2007

Sometimes you just gotta let it all hang out

Warning: This blog is not profound in any way. It may also be stomach-turning for the squeamish (and skinny).

You know how some people have a fat pouch? The thing that kinda...hangs...down at their belly?

Yeah. I noticed one back in April. I couldn't figure out where it came from because I'd lost some weight.

I gained weight a couple of months ago and, oddly, the pouch disappeared.

I returned to my April weight (possibly less) and there it is again!

I have realized this sucker is nothing but loose skin. Ewwwww.

My poor lower abdominal muscles have been cut through five times. I'm amazed they even hold ANYTHING together. And thinking back, this weird thingy first reared it's saggy head after my last major surgery.

I really hope this thing will disappear with regular exercise, decent diet and time. Else I'll be going under the knife again.

updates updates updates

So I haven't blogged in a while really. Here are some updates:

Tater is still living in therapeutic foster care but comes home to me every day to be homeschooled. It's an interesting arrangement but really only a bandaid until a long-term placement becomes available. We are hoping to get her somewhere where she can have school, therapy and home all in one spot. Yes, it's THAT severe.

The Bear decided he wanted to be part of the kids' lives after all. He has his first therapy session with the younger three today. I am not trying to be pessimistic but realistic. I am afraid he will soon drop out of their lives again, just when they get used to having him there. I am also afraid he will be a manipulative jerk like he was before. :( Punkin has been very anxious these past few days and really acting younger than she is. I dread the weekend.

Speaking of the weekend, we have our own "Christmas miracle" that I'll blog later. Suffice to say that life insists on giving me --a known scrooge-- happy things at Christmastime. I really hate it. ;)

In other news, I had to drop out of school a couple of weeks ago. Real bummer, that, but it was one of those things I couldn't avoid. My entire existence is now spent jumping through hoops for various agencies and what not. Yay. The Bear lied to Social Services again and said that I was institutionalized, so now I get to go have mental health evaluations and such. I released my medical records to them but hey...why check THOSE out to find out the truth when we can just create more paperwork for everyone by making me go?
Anyway, I guess that's about it. I'll have more news tomorrow from today's therapy session.

12 December 2007

I miss the way things were last year

I miss late night conversations with Funsize.
Finding music in my mailbox, when i never asked for it.
I miss having Tater home.
I miss all the hope stretching out before us.
I miss who I was last year.

29 October 2007

I am a tree (long)

I received something very neat in my email, from a friend who prayed for me and then sketched out the prayer. I kinda didn't ask permission to post it but I figure it was given to me and I'm not naming names. Plus this has really inspired me so I'm putting up the picture. The explanation is as follows (I edited the names):

You are the tree. Tall and strong, but seemingly lifeless. Peanut is in the tire swing that hangs from your branches. One side is starting to break. The grave is The Bear. A life that is dead to you and slowly being scribbled out of the picture. The yellow represents God. God will hold the rope that holds Peanut up together. God is still in your branches, and comforting you during this winter. Spring will come. God, as hard as it may be, is also still with The Bear. He may not be wanting God there, but God is God and He is with The Bear as well.

I was very touched by this and couldn't put my finger on what exactly touched me. But after a while I realized it's the line "Spring will come." I so AM that barren tree right now, seemingly lifeless. I have gone into survival mode, much like a tree during winter. I feel as though I will never again have beauty or fruit in my life. But yes, spring WILL come one day!

But never satisfied with the surface, I decided to look up what happens to trees during their dormant period. Trees in dormancy are protecting themselves from the elements, surviving. But more than that, their root systems are still active! There, under the ground, hidden from sight, their roots are still burrowing away into the ground, drawing life from the soil.

Oh, how I hope to burrow my roots deep into Life in my heavenly Father! and someday Spring will come!

And now, I leave you with the short poem "Trees" by Joyce Kilmer.

I think that I shall never see
A poem as lovely as a tree

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast

A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair

Upon whose bosom snow has lain
Who intimately lives with rain

Poems are made by fools like me
But only God can make a tree

22 October 2007

OK. So. THAT's not going to happen.

I got the boot from my CNA class so that little plan about becoming a CNA? Not gonna happen anytime soon. Thank God.

I missed a bunch of other classes from dealing with RL and being sick, and I was seriously pondering dropping out. Thankfully I have gone the mature route, contacted all of my instructors and am currently busting my butt to make up the work. I should still be able to pass all the classes - some of them even with good grades!

That said, I have a test in Anatomy & Physiology tomorrow on some things I haven't the foggiest about. I am so doooooomed!

12 October 2007

don't want to be a grownup!

Life is awful right now. Really bad. Probably the worst it's been since before leaving The Bear.

Tater is gone.

She was hospitalized for the seventh time last week and is now in therapeutic foster care.

I can't see her for 30 days. My heart breaks.

Additionally, Bean is having all sorts of issues that are very serious and I fear for my little girl. I pray that with Tater gone, we can have more time to deal with them.

Peanut has been extremely ill. I'm not sure what's wrong with him but we've made a few trips to the doc. He missed a week of school.

Punkin, thankfully, seems to be holding her own for now.

I'm failing school because I've had to miss so much -including midterms- to deal with all of this. I am now looking at dropping out and just being a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant/Aide). That isn't a bad plan, really. It's not where my heart is, but it's doable. At least it's better than being a waitress.

Anyway, I just feel like I'm falling apart with all the social services, school, mental health, medical, etc. obligations. And to top it off, I have pinkeye! in my one good eye! And no health insurance. :(

I wish there were someone to take care of me when I'm so tired from taking care of everyone else. But there just isn't.

Morrissey song of the week: That's How People Grow Up

I was driving my car
I crashed and broke my spine
So yes, there are things worse in life than
Never being someone's sweetie
As for me I'm ok

For now anyway

22 September 2007

good vs evil

Today's kind of a good vs evil day.

Event-wise, it's the 9th anniversary of my girls' adoption. September 22, 1998, I walked into a courtroom and promised to be their mother forever. That's the good.

Sadly, September 22, 1998 and every September 22 from 1972 until now has been The Bear's birthday. I sit here stressing out with the ever-present busy life of a mother of four and I wonder what in the heck HE's doing tonight. That's the evil.

Then there's the usual battle of flesh vs spirit. The "I do the things I don't want to do but don't do the things I want to do" that Paul so well documented in Romans. Always good (God's spirit in me) versus evil (my sinful nature).

And then there's some funny stuff I've been thinking of. How some people just drag us down into their own dramas and misery and bad habits and whatnot, and then how some people lift us up closer to our Father. Lately I have felt so good, spending time (on the skype anyway) with people who lift us up.

We may venture out to church in the morning. We need to find a church. We will see.

20 September 2007

Skype rocks my socks

If you aren't familiar with Skype, you really need to be. It's VoIP like Vonage but it's messenger like AIM. It is great!

I haven't stopped smiling for two days now. Two nights ago, I managed to talk to my favorite person in the UK and my favorite person in Australia (see those links over there? <-----------------) at the same time. We did add in another guy from NC for part of the conversation but he was kinda quiet.

My UK friend and I could NOT STOP LAUGHING. For about five hours.

Yesterday we skyped again, Rosuav and his brother and I (and the NC guy again). Do you know how wonderful it is to just be? To laugh and sing and joke and just exist with no pressure?

Last night I marveled at technology as he skyped while traveling on the train in Melbourne. but it was bonus time! Two other Threshers were with him, people I've always wanted to hear. :) Sadly they could barely speak to me (except enough to say, "Wow, she sounds American") due to time constraints. I look forward to talking to them soon.

This morning was more Skype, more folks. I might be a Skype addict.

Except what it really is...is that I FINALLY get to talk to the family I've been a part of for eight years. :)

I have other things that make me smile. Funsize and I hung out last night watching tv (via phone, of course) for a coupla hours. It makes me happy. Also...

Morrissey is coming to Greenville, SC! wooooohooo!

17 September 2007

good news, everyone!

(title said in the style of Futurama's Professor Farnsworth)

It looks like I'm going to get my antidepressants back.

This is very good news indeed. As anyone who's interacted with me lately can attest.

Yay antidepressants/anti-anxiety meds.

and you give yourself away...

I've been wallowing about in depression lately. Life isn't fair, you know? Why does The Bear get to go out and have no obligations other than financial (And even that isn't much compared with the rest of his salary) when I have so much on my plate? It's pretty darn depressing and I don't think it's fair and I should be able to just lay around in my bed and never get up!

I've had a pretty good revelation just now. It's more a spiritual thing so I'll blog it on the other blog http://devouthypocrite.blogspot.com . But I'm off to school now so it'll have to happen later!

07 September 2007

Wish I was in Australia

Ever read the children's book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day?

that has SO been my day today.

It just keeps getting worse.

I'm holding onto the hope that something pleasant will happen but I know it's just not gonna.


28 August 2007

Most people keep their brains between their legs

(an amusing quote from "Such a Little Thing Makes Such a Big Difference" by Morrissey)

Dear 21 year old, very cute male lab partner,

You have made me feel like a dirty old woman. I can't help but notice you're good-looking. And funny. I couldn't help feeling a little smug that you chose to sit near me instead of any number of cute little things in the class (in your FACE, cute little things!). I understand why: We are both serious about getting good grades and having fun in the process.

But goodness gracious, when I was talking about wearing jammies to school, whyyyyyy did you have to say, "My jammies are nothing, so I can't come to school in them"?

I managed to recover by truthfully stating, "Thanks. That put a mental image in my head that'll take forever to get out." And using a tone that conveyed sarcasm and disgust. My tone MAY have been a little off from the truth. Just a tad.

Thanks for the cheap thrills,

PS. It would never work between us...but we'll always have *dramatic pause* playdough!

27 August 2007

So far, so funny

I'm not even IN nursing school yet, just in the prereq's, but so far I've had a few funny moments and I imagine it's only going to get better. The best stories involve genitalia because let's face it: People are goofy about sex and/or genitals.

Story 1: Instructor is telling her students in Nurses Aide class that we should practice various skills on as many people as we can: blood pressure, pulse, respirations, etc. She says we should find a man who'll let us shave him. A classmate bursts out in disgust, "What? down THERE?"

Story 2: We are working on dummies. We realize our female dummy is anatomically correct so of course someone decides to check out the male. Except he has nothing but a patch of velcro. Turns out his genitals are velcro-removable and locked in a cabinet because people kept doing evil things to him. I have named said dummy "Bobbitt."

Story 3: Right after that, we were practicing measuring things to the CC. We had a urinal, because we didn't have enough pitchers. A classmate picked it up and said, "This is a funny looking pitcher. " We explained that it wasn't a pitcher but a bedpan. "Huh?" was the response. Another woman gently explained that it was a men's bedpan but was met with another "huh?" Finally it was bluntly said, "You put his winky in here and he pees" at which point the confused one DROPPED the pitcher and said, "I'm not doing that! I'm not touching a man there!"
uh...yeah, you're getting into Nursing. You're gonna have to.

Story 4: I had a lab partner for our first day in Anatomy and Physiology. Our assignment was to make people out playdough and practice various cuts and views (transverse, saggital, etc.). Of course we couldn't help but make anatomically correct playdough people! I'm particularly proud of my pregnant playdough person, in whom I drew a baby once I cut her open and exposed her yellow clay insides. Not so impressive was our she-male.

Story 5: Same lab partner, same day. We are labeling the regions of the body. The instructor is going over what each region is called. Arrow 8 points to our little male sketch's penis. She repeats several times that the area is the pubis. It does not fail, however, that the person sitting next to my partner is obviously a dingbat and not paying attention. She raises her hand in complete and utter cluelessness and asks, "What is #8? What should we write for #8?" I hear my partner mutter, "Just write pee-pee."

21 August 2007

If I seem a little strange, that's because I am!

So I am trying SO hard to be all conformist and fit in around here. I attended the kids' open houses wearing my best "preppy mom" clothes. I went to the first day and dutifully introduced myself to people. I suffered through an American Idol wannabe's version of The Star Spangled Banner. I've even pondered helping in the PTO. But you know what? It came time for "a moment of silent prayer" and I cringed.

I actually cringed. And I'll tell you why.

These same people who wanted to have a moment of silent prayer are the movers and shakers, the businessmen in the good ole boy's network. They're the ones with the money and money ain't always honest. Right before said moment of silence, they were name-dropping about who was having lunch with whom, and what senator was there.

This moment of prayer is nothing more than a political statement. If my kids and I really want to pray, why do we need an officially sanctioned moment? I mean, don't get me wrong: I'm glad my children have the RIGHT to pray in school. But do they really need to join Jeb Moneybags in doing it when HE says they should?

I've realized I'm never going to fit in around here...or probably anywhere.

That's why I decided to wear my salwar kameez to school today. It was like wearing jammies. I need four more pair so I can wear them to school everyday! And yes, people stared. I'm sure they thought, "Why is that white woman wearing those hindu clothes?"

Or maybe they just thought, "Why is that white woman in shiny jammies?"

19 August 2007

unhappy birthday

Friend: He showed up and gave me my birthday present. I made him stand at the door.
Me: It wasn't a dick in a box, was it?

That one hasn't gotten old yet. Hehehehe.

Oh, and my post title? Comes from a genius song by The Smiths. (and this youtube video link is perfectly evil in a Dolores Umbridge kinda way. I love it.)

17 August 2007

enough is too much

Gah, I'm sleep-deprived and stressed-out. I feel like I can barely handle life right now. I'm sure I wouldn't feel this way if I could sleep, but I can't. So the problem is heavily compounded. I'm not going to list the bad things that are bugging me but just talk about the good. Maybe it'll help. :(

On the plus side, we went to my girls' 6th grade open house last night. The school is incredible! It's definitely limited on high-tech, modern stuff but the staff cares. You can just FEEL the desire for the kids to succeed. After spending last year in a school where my girls were discouraged from success (my daughter was given "silent lunch" for checking out a book that was "too hard" for her), our family is thrilled to be at this one. My girls sat in their homeroom, got their schedules. They were happy to find that they have the same homeroom and the same schedule. Odd, that.

I've signed up to be the homeroom mom. I figure...best way to make sure my kids are getting a good education is to BE there as much as possible. The old school discouraged me and the teachers never responded to my notes or phone calls. So viva new school! Open house for my younger two's school is tomorrow. I reallllly hope it's just as good!

Also, I went and got MY textbooks yesterday. College textbooks are a racket. $600 in textbooks for four classes. Good gracious. I'm a little nervous about this semester. I get to take my RN exam (to get into the program) for the first time next month. We'll see how that goes.

School supplies managed to be $120 total for all four kids and that included socks and shoes. Clothes were another matter but thankfully grandparents were helpful with that. I still need to get myself a binder or what have you, but I'm waiting til my first classes.

Oh, and...

High School Musical 2 is on tonight. My kids have been talking about this for a MONTH! I will be so glad to have it over, except I know Disney will air it 10000 times and I'll suffer through it at least 10% of those times.

16 August 2007

Two, two, two posts in one! (night)

I have a myspace account. I don't blog there but I do the general myspace stuff, which means I read the same five bulletins that circulate, look at people's pics and sometimes get a lolcat. As happens on myspace, a friend from middle school found me and messaged me. She moved up to a city about 2-3 hours away and she was lonely so we got to talking. She asked for my phone number. I gave it, but explained it's very hard for me to talk unless it's late. She called a couple of times but didn't want me calling back late, and life got busy and hectic and I never called back. That was back in the winter.

Last week I got a message from her asking why I never called her back. I responded apologetically saying my life was very crazy but if she'd give me HER number, I would call and explain. She didn't respond. So I was reading her myspace blog and saw that she was very lonely (she blogged about adjusting to life in the new city. Being a FL transplant too, I really understand) and I knew she'd been on. I sent her the following message:

Well, I responded to your message and asked for your phone number and I know you've been on myspace since then so...oh well!

I've had a daughter in and out of the hospital, roughly 1 1/2 hours away. She had a good few months but this was her sixth hospitalization in a year (most of them last roughly 10 days-2 weeks).

Factor in doctors/therapists appts. for four children, plus their school (including summer school) plus my school (going to nursing school), PLUS DSS things PLUS freakin grocery shopping, cleaning, activities and attempts to make money. Oh yes, and the endless drama with my abusive ex-husband who periodically decides to get stalker-ish. I've not had time to BREATHE, let alone make a phone call.

If you're all pissy because I don't return calls, I'm sorry. I asked for your phone # to try to talk but you didn't reply. I'm willing to try to be your friend but if it's going to take huge amounts of effort, I'm not going to waste energy I just flat-out don't have. You have to be patient with me - I'm barely surviving.

If, however, you didn't message me back because YOU didn't have the time, that's fine. :)

Apparently that was just too bitchy of a message because she immediately removed me from her friends list, turned her profile to private and went "away" as soon as I IM'ed her. Most of me laughs at that (how shallow!) but part of me is SUCH a fix-it that I want to MAKE her like me!

I'm messed up.

I've heard them said a hundred times (maybe less, maybe more)

I've realized there are some things I say all the time.

Dude: as in, "Dude, I can't believe you just said that."

Well: as in, "Well, I was thinking about..." (I start almost every sentence with this in Threshold. And RL.)

Like: as in "That's, like, an awful lot of 'well'."

There are some things that I say that I wish I DIDn't say.

Reckon: as in, "You reckon they're going to do that?"

Fixin: as in, "I'm fixin to go to school now."

14 August 2007

A little happy moment

I know I've posted before about grabbing onto those little one-second moments in life and enjoying them. This video makes me happy. :)

11 August 2007

little piddly problems

So I'm supposed to start school soon, as are the kids.
We have one HUGE problem.
There is one day of the week where I can't pick them up!
I'll be in class from 2:15-9:15 at night!

No idea what I'm going to do.

09 August 2007

What do you say?

What do you say when someone you know has been struck by the worst of tragedies?
What words are ever appropriate when no human should know the suffering of that person?

God knows, yes.

But no person should have to know.

You know in the book of Job, Job's friends came and sat with him for seven days and seven nights and never said anything.

I don't even think seven years would be long enough.

Pray for this family I (and some of you) know. They've lost a child in a horrible accident. And it WAS an accident.

06 August 2007

I hate being right

So I have a "friend with complications." This is like "friends with benefits" except without the fun and with all the heartbreak. Yay. He started dating a girl last month. The first words out of his mouth when I asked about her were "oh, I don't think it's gonna work out with her." I knew flat-out this was a lie, even if he didn't. So here's last night's conversation:

me: I can always tell if you've had a few drinks.
him: I haven't had any in a lonnng time! I had food, too!
me: oh, you were on a date?
him: It wasn't a date! It was an eating establishment!
me: was there a girl?
him: (pause)...yes.
me: same girl from last month?
him: (pause)...yes
me: Dude, you were on a date with you girlfriend.
him: She's not my girlfriend! We've had that conversation. She's not my girlfriend until *insert random time here*
me: She's already your girlfriend in the back of her head. That's why you HAD that conversation.

Hey Funsize, if you're reading...I bet you'll be living with her when you have to move. Because you ARE predictable. :)

And yeah, you may have broken my heart but I still have a sense of humor. This post was for fun.

04 August 2007

Funny, it's inside-out

It used to be that I was incredibly confident online, and very quiet and meek IRL.

Now I am incredibly confident in the real world (just ask anyone who's worked with or attended classes with me) but very very shy online and/or when I'm around people I know from online.

02 August 2007

something must have gone RIGHT

I just received a phone call I've been waiting for...

My children have been accepted into a GREAT school with a wait-list a mile long!

I am THRILLED and may have even shouted a "woohoo!"


01 August 2007

Sister blog

Starting a sister blog to this one over at (wait for it...) devouthypocrite.blogspot.com. Yes, it's almost the exact same URL as this...just without the hyphen. Go me. Anyway, check it out if you're interested in matters of faith. Or if you just want to watch me fall flat on my face into hypocrisy some more. ;)

31 July 2007

Please, please stand up and defend me

WARNING: There be bad words ahead! Arrrr!

So I was talking about how the social workers want me to do more and more, jump through more hoops. This ensued, and it makes me laugh.

. me: I have gone above and beyond what anyone would do in my situation, and they're picking on ME, when there are real kids in need of help right now
. friend: yeah
. friend: you're a wonderful mom
. friend: I wish I could write you a note
. friend: Dear Assholes
. friend: She's a wonderful mom
. friend: Fuck off
. friend: Sincerely,
. friend: (name of friend)
. friend: would that help?
. friend: we could get it up as a petition
. friend: I like it
. friend: short
. friend: succinct
. friend: hardly any words in there they don't know

28 July 2007

you can find anything on youtube

So I had that Steve Taylor Hero song in my head, did a little search on youtube and blamo! there it is, with some sort of montage of footage from the show Heroes. Can't say the montage is stunning but at least now you can all hum Hero with me.


27 July 2007

no words for the title

The Bear was told by Social Services that he needed to get into counseling with the kids' counselors so he could learn what was/was not appropriate during contact. He has been told this for a year but has done nothing. Social Services gave him an ultimatum and he decided he will have no further contact with our children.

I knew this was coming. It still sucks.

How can he give up on his own children?

Peanut is crushed, absolutely crushed. I want to just hold him and cry for days. My heart breaks for this little boy whose Daddy has chosen not to be Daddy anymore.

Oh, I hope he finds his heavenly daddy, and that he will be provided some earthly men to step in and fill the empty shoes. For some reason, I have Steve Taylor's Hero in my head. God, let my little boy find a real hero.

Jesus made me so Jesus save me from pity, sympathy and people discussing me

So I know my own moniker points at the faith aspect of my life, and I know I've posted plenty in the past about Jesus. I also know I haven't blogged a whole lot about it in the past few months. I guess I feel I should offer an explanation.

I don't know where I stand with God.

I still fully and completely believe in Him, and pray every day, thanking Him for everything I've been given. I pray for my children, they pray for me. I sing scripture over them almost every night.

But I don't go to church. I stopped about six weeks ago.

Church has become a place of isolation and misery. Everywhere I look, it is family after family. Husbands, wives, children. We do NOT fit that mold. No, we are the broken family. We are the ones who "failed". Nevermind that it was The Bear who failed. It is the children and I who pay for it, if we wish to remain in the community of believers. The church loves to tell us about fathers who love their children (as a model of the Heavenly Father), which hurts my children because they are fatherless.

That Guy and I were discussing it the other day, how unwelcome we feel in the Christian community. How both of us have been told by numerous pastors that we must forever wait, bound by our marriage oaths, for our spouses to return. They never address the question I know we've both posed: What are we supposed to do if our spouses have remarried?

And in my case, I am bearing burdens I can't bear much longer by myself. Are they telling me then that because The Bear broke his promise to us, I and my children must suffer alone? That to find someone else would be sinful? Yes, I know that God will never give us more than we can bear. I have heard this time and time again. I also keep coming back (yep, you knew it was coming) to a Morrissey song:

Why did you give me so much desire
When there is nowhere I can go to offload this desire?
And why did you give me so much love in a loveless world
When there is no one I can turn to
To unlock all this love?
And why did you stick me in self deprecating bones and skin?
Jesus, do you hate me?

25 July 2007

Besides minions...

I need a rheostat for my children.

Thanks to Clare for the suggestion.

Also, I have learned that if you are already an anxious person, going through chapters on infectious diseases in your nursing book will make you never, EVER want to go anywhere, touch anyone, or eat anything ever ever again.

I need a rheostat for my anxiety as well!

it's the nights that get ya

I am usually too busy to be lonely.

Nighttime is hard. When all the kids are asleep and it's just me and I can't sleep, it is lonely.

My Thresh character is isolated and lonely, so Threshing doesn't help. I sign on and off again, because I can't bear it.

My best friend is...isolated...from me due to my own girly stupidity. I see him on AIM and I can't even IM him because I am afraid I will be a nuisance to him.

My other friends are keeping hours opposite ofmine.

I message people on myspace, send emails. I check my inboxes and they are empty.

My 11 year old daughter, Bean, asked me today, "Mommy, are you lonely?"

I wasn't at the time but I am now. I am most nights.

19 July 2007

i'm so going to have a t-shirt

I'm exhausted. My friend Clare was also exhausted the other day. We decided we needed a full staff to help us. Suddenly Clare popped out with, "I need minions. Where are my minions, dammit?"

I have decided that second part needs to go on a t-shirt (perhaps with a subtitute for "dammit").

At this point in time I'd settle for minion, singular.

Favorite Morrissey song at the moment says:

With the world's fate resting on your shoulder
You're gonna need someone on your side
You can't do it by yourself any longer
You're gonna need someone on your side

Someone kindly told me that you'd wasted
Eight of nine lives
Oh, give yourself a break before you break down
You're gonna need someone on your side

And here I am!
And here I am!
Well, you don't need to look so pleased

Day or night, there is no difference
You're gonna need someone on your side
Day or night, there is no difference
You're gonna need someone soon

And here I am!
And here I am!
Well, you don't need to look so pleased!

All I can say is that person better show up soon because I am barely hanging on. Oh, and here's an anecdote: My exhusband decided to tell me how he's praying for me, because he feels so bad for me. I told him, "OK, if you're praying, pray God would bring a man to be a REAL father and husband to this family."

Cold? perhaps. True? definitely.

14 July 2007

Games, games, fatal games

...they can play hideous tricks on the brain.

Dear Threshers,

My character is not me.
I am not my character.

There are similarities but we are not identical.

Sometimes she does stuff -I- know is stupid...like attacking a character that easily has six levels on her...with no weapons or armor. Did I know she was going to die? Yep! Did it matter? Nope.

So yeah...if my character ticks you off, deal with HER. Not me.

Thank you,

Life moves pretty fast

(say the rest of it with me, people)

...If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Stuff's happening in my life that is OVERWHELMINGLY stressful.

I'm going to sound oddly upbeat and optimistic but...

well, you gotta find those one or two second moments when everything is JUST right. Drink 'em in. Let those moments get you through all the crappy ones.

Really, I just keep holding onto one from a few weeks ago when we were outside and it was hot...but for about two or three seconds, the trees seemed so vivid green and a cool breeze was blowing across my face.

I'm hoping for another one of those soon!

08 July 2007

Traffic jam fun

So I was sitting in traffic on my way home from Atlanta yesterday. I moved a total of 2 miles in 2 hours...and I started pondering life in my usual way. The traffic made me think of REM's Everybody Hurts video. Then, to not have that song stuck in my head, I turned on some bluegrass.

I like bluegrass music a lot. I find there's a tremendous amount of musical talent there, plus I adore the idea that you can't ever have too many people in a bluegrass band. So, like, there's no need to have a lead guitarist. You can have 50 banjo players in a bluegrass band and no one cares - it's that much better. I also find a lot of the lyrics clever, though sometimes they are trite.

I'm sitting there listening to the radio and I run across a gem of a song called Jesus and Bartenders (which has, apparently, since been recorded by many people). It had me giggling at its lyrics, which tell about how Jesus and bartenders hear everything about a man's despair and secrets. I actually laughed out loud at this one:

One man offers comfort from the cross
The other only Comfort on the rocks.


And in other news, I've managed to stop being an absolute broken-hearted idiot. For those of you mad at my friend, you didn't really need to be. I was processing a lot of emotions - not just his rejection but also that of my husband, and the divorce and ALL of that. I've even managed to talk to my friend twice on the phone and NOT cry (and actually have some laughs) so I suppose I'm going to be fine.

I will, however, miss him if he gets all serious with a girl. She will not want him calling his female friend to shoot the breeze.

I will also miss his smooches. :( *shakes a fist*

30 June 2007

text messaging - so efficient!

Texting is a fun way to carry on a conversation when one or both parties are out and about.
When the messenging works correctly, anyway. This is what happened last night:

1:04 am: text from me to friend

1:45 am: friend and I have 1+ hour long conversation on phone.

5:06 am: reply text from friend

So here's the three scenarios:

a) friend got message 1ish and replied 1ish but Ididn't get the reply til 5ish. VERY LIKELY.

b) friend got message 1ish but was weird and didn't reply til 5ish because friend is weird. NOTSOLIKELY.

c) friend got message 5ish, thought "wtf is wrong with her?" and then replied.
*Based upon the very boring and non-pissy reply, I'm saying this one is NOTLIKELY.

It's a good thing thing I wasn't some little emo girl. That would play out this way:

"If you don't text me back in the next 5 minutes, I know you hate me and I'm going to go slit my wrists."


28 June 2007

I have a love/hate relationship with the world

I hate alarm clocks.
I hate having things I -have- to do.
I hate that my neighbor is a pain in my butt (post forthcoming).
I hate that I have no $$, and my child support doesn't cover my bills.

I like my dog.
I like having sacred, sweet free time...even if I'm supposed to be doing something else.
I like that my house is pretty and has a cute yard.
I like that churches around here run VBS (Vacation Bible School) and feed my kids and give them fun things to do.

I hate that all VBS's are at night.
And all are run by Baptist churches.
Who seemingly hate divorced people.

But they like my kids and they have giant inflatable things for the kids to jump on.
And they are not 'preachy' during VBS.

I like altar calls. I hope they have an altar call tonight.
I like altar calls because they are so cheesy and Baptist that they make me laugh.

I like my kids because my kids hate cheesiness.
I especially like Bean because she got into trouble for laughing in church at VBS the other night.
She was laughing when the teacher overdramatically said "and how does Go-hawd..." something.
I like my son's red mohawk.
I hate that some kids were calling him a chicken.

26 June 2007

Geeks R Us

I have a new school folder.

It's pink and says I <3 nerds.

My son is a nerd. The other day we were walking through a parking lot and passed a blueish silvery car. Peanut turned to Punkin and said...

"Look! A Mithril car!'

Just last week he told me that he could handle helping me with something because "I have 18 strength."

Um, I heard those same EXACT words from someone when we were in Pasadena, under completely different circumstances. That person is also a nerd.

I really need to start a "you might be a geek..." type comedy routine ala Jeff Foxworthy. Except with TPS report jokes instead of TP jokes.

Pertinent yet Hurtful

Two things were said at school yesterday that I identified with.

The first one was a punch in the gut, when an instructor was discussing values.

::cue black preacher voice:: (he has one)

When a man abuses his wife and children, he doesn't value them. They hold no value to him.

The second one was a joke, kinda funny, but I think it sort of rings true for me.

What do fat chicks and mopeds have in common?

They're both fun to ride, but you don't want your friends to see you with them.

19 June 2007

now that's class!

Ok, so one of the joys of going to the local community college is meeting the local community types. I regularly speak with another 30 something single mom, a 25 year old guy, another sorta quiet guy in his 20s (I kept pestering him til he talked and now he's coming out of his shell with others)
, a recovering alcoholic/social worker-wannabe guy who ain't from around here, a 19 year old Baptist girl who SO reminds me of young me -- all attitude, but wanting so much to be "good." I also daily speak with a 50 year old woman who JUST graduated from high school the day before college started (she dropped out in 8th grade to work in the mills).

So this woman. You've got to imagine her. 50, smoker for probably 35 of those years, been married three times, has raised her kids and kids who weren't hers. Has one son in the mental health hospital, another in prison. Got a good mental image?

*By the way, I adore this woman. I have nothing but profound admiration for her, for doing this so late in life, for wanting MORE than most people in her situation have resigned themselves to.

A few days ago, I was eating lunch with her when she began to tell me about her daughter in law. "Oh, she's high-class," she reported. "Her parents are both schoolteachers." I had to chuckle at the idea that schoolteachers are high-class! But it was the next comment that nearly made me spit iced tea out of my nose.

"All I'm tryin to say is that she's a higher class than you or me is"

How do you reply to this? On the one hand, I was greatly amused because I am decidedly NOT in this woman's class if you were to care about such things. On the other, I am flattered because it means I have become someone to whom different types of people can relate.


So can people choose to UNlove someone?

Closely related to the question of "falling out of love", I suppose. But I think "being in love" and loving someone are two very different things. I think love is a choice...but it's a heavily influenced choice.

14 June 2007

It's all on me

So you know, I'm pretty drained. Punkin's been sick since Saturday night, which means I basically have slept 16 hours (including todays 2 1/2 hour nap) since then. I flunked a chemistry quiz this morning even though I knew the information because I was too tired to concentrate.

But that's not today's topic! I am going to rant! There will even be one or two bad words!

For all you "Christians" (and I use quotes there because, yeah, some of you are the real deal but I'm not talking to you) who told me I shouldn't divorce my husband...or those who said let the divorce proceed but I need to sit around FOREVER and never date or remarry because my husband might come to his senses, get help and get better and then come back....

I think the fucker's remarried.

He told his family he was marrying this other chick the day after he divorced me. I, of course, thought it was bunk. But, um, my dad overheard him talking to his attorney while we were waiting to be divorced.

He canceled his visit with the kids last Sunday which now seems suddenly so crystal clear. Perhaps he was honeymooning?

Yes, I'm angry. Yes, I'm hurt. No, I don't want him back. I don't want a THING to do with him.

But sheesh, could he have let the corpse of the marriage cool a little?

11 June 2007

quick update

divorce happened last week.

was NOT as hard as I thought it was going to be.

Peanut's first words upon hearing about the divorce: Yay! Can I have a stepdad?

:( I had to explain I wasn't just going to run right out and find one.

My position is that I am going to finish nursing school and concentrate on raising my kids. If anything happens, it happens. I'm not going out in search of it.

Any man who would get involved with us is insane. And masochistic.

More later.

05 June 2007

twas the night before d-day

Tomorrow is the funeral for what died a year ago.
I didn't just lose my husband (the part I'm GLAD I lost). I lost my dreams, my home, my things, my way of life, my friends.
Tomorrow's the day I finally say goodbye forever.

I'm raw today, through and through.

I wish people would put themselves in my shoes and really understand.

And I'm sick of being strong for everyone else, and I want to be able to fall apart. I think I've earned the right.

31 May 2007

the long dark weekend of the soul

Saturday is June 2nd, exactly one year since we left our lives.

Tuesday is June 5th, the date of my divorce.

The emotional roller coaster has begun.

It's gonna be a long week.

16 May 2007


Part 3 of "It's all in your head" is posted before this one. I just felt like blogging twice today.

I've been -trying- to lose weight for the past year. I've been down a couple of sizes only to spring back up again. And I finally figured out that I am deliberately sabotaging myself. But why?

I am afraid to be trim and fit.

I know what I was like before. But imagine this exuberant personality I've discovered hiding within me all these years. Combined with good-shape me. Really kind of a scary proposition.

If I stay fat, then I can always say to myself that if someone doesn't like me, it's because I'm fat and they're shallow. But if I lose weight, then I have to accept that someone doesn't like ME. Period. It's not their issue, it's mine.

If I stay fat, I can retreat back inside this schlubby, dumpy shell and pretend like nothing ever changed. But if I lose weight, it's acknowledgment that things ARE changing.

If I stay fat, I face a future where I remain reactive instead of proactive. I choose a lifestyle where I will eventually be putting my health into someone else's hands - doctors, nurses, other medical professionals. I will be told how to live, given the equipment and schedule to do it. But if I lose weight, I must take responsibility for my own life and body.

If I stay fat, I will be miserable but at least I know it. If I lose weight, who knows what will happen?

I need to start living.

It's all in your head part III

When we left our intrepid heroine (not heroin!), she had just instructed Bean to step out of the office....

me: How DARE you! You, as an authority figure, have just assured my daughter will NEVER come to an authority figure for help again!

Hop (with hand to chest): I'm not an authority figure! I'm her friend.

me: Her friend!? You've been in charge of her for the week, one of two adults.

Hop: Oh no. I'm a friend

Enter Grandma and Grandpa.

me: You are a pitiful excuse for a therapist. When is it acceptable for a therapist to force their own conclusions on the child? It doesn't matter what YOU think. She was groped and she was violated and you made her feelings irrelevant the second you said you thought the other child was teasing!

Hop (defensively): Our realities are formed by our feelings. I am trying to help Bean to have a more positive reality.

Grandma: No, the reality is that she was touched inappropriately and you're saying HER reality be damned.

Grandpa: What you did was the equivalent of a rape victim coming to you for help and you saying "Oh, he didn't MEAN to hurt you. He was just kidding."

me (angrily): Hop, because I would like this conversation to NOT be colored by my frustrations, I am going to step out of here and calm down.

Exit me, enter me into office where Hop's assistant is grilling my other child (Tater) about what she and her sister thought of the program, and why her sister wasn't there. She stops.

Things calmed down after that but so far this is what has happened:

We have asked, in writing, three times for the credentials of Hop and other people dealing with the kids in the program. We have also asked for an agreement between the school system and this organization and/or Hop. We have no responses, though this has been going on since February.

We have been to the school board and were yelled at by the superintendent that he has given this information to us. Yet again, we submitted a written request. Nothing. We have been to the school system office. Nothing.

The personnel director posed as the assistant superintendent at one point in time, and also created a phony web site for the organization's outreach program. He was stupid enough to put it on the school's main website. Even though he claims that the school system has NOTHING to do with the program.

We have found out Hop is a former principal, and has a Master's Degree (her own words). Yet she won't provide credentials. If she is acting in a therapeutic role, should she not have a degree in therapy? How much you wanna bet she has a Master's in Education?

We have found out this program is funded by a grant. After a LOT of looking, we found the grant. When in doubt about why our school board/system refuses to investigate, follow the money.

Hop herself said her plan was to put the kids through the program and then TRACK them through middle and high school. Sound like an outreach or a study? Conducting such studies is illegal without informed consent.

We asked both the principal AND the superintendent if other parents and/or faculty had complained or raised questions. Both said no. We have absolute assurance this is not so, from the very people who have complained.

Though my children have been removed from the program, it is still in existence. Indeed, followup "group sessions" are already happening with my children's peers.

We have had to put this on the back burner due to ANOTHER fight I'm fighting right now. But we will not let this go. There is too much hiding and scurrying around this issue for it to be legitimate. The children of our county need to be protected.

13 May 2007

I was wrong

OK, I'll post the continuation of "It's all in your head" soon but I have to say...

To all of the people over the years who have loved Rush and I told you how lame you are and how awful they are...


I was wrong. I suck. Rush is really good.

The end.

08 May 2007

It's all in your head part II

We left off at the alarming revelation that all children involved in the outreach program were told not to tell their parents anything that happened at the center. This was confirmed with two other families besides mine, for a total of five children all saying the same thing. They also confirmed the horse stuff, too.

The next day, I left the now-distressed (because of groping) Bean at my parents' home so I could go talk to the principal before bringing her to school, and to prevent her from having to see the groper. I went first to Bean's teacher to tell her that she would be attending class instead of going to the program. The teacher pulled me aside. "PLEASE file a complaint with the principal. I and a few other teachers have noticed that the children come back more violent than any students we've ever seen before, and we've spoken to her about it."

I proceeded to the office where I told the principal Bean would be attending school that day, and why. With eyebrows raised, she invited me to speak with the head of the program. We all gathered in a back office and I explained what had occurred. "Did tell you she didn't want to attend the program anymore or was that something YOU decided?" I said Bean did. "Well, children should learn how to handle these things themSELVES. Unless you want to keep them in a bubble or by your side until they're 18, they will have to learn this." That ticked me off - my child is in 5th grade and she handled it exactly the way I would expect. She got into a situation where she knew she wouldn't get any help from the adults there, so she came to ME. Her mother. That's what I am there for - an advocate for my children.

The head of program (here on out, I'll call her Hop) requested a meeting with my daughter at 2:30 that day. Meanwhile, my father contacted the school board and requested the credentials of Hop, and a copy of the agreement between Hop's organization and the schools. I also contacted my daughter's therapist and asked that she attend the 2:30 meeting.

2:30 rolled around and I, both my parents and the therapist showed up. Immediately, the other side (principal and Hop) realized they were outnumbered and said that we'd better not overwhelm Bean with adults. So Hop, Bean and I shuffled ourselves off into the back office to talk.

Bean began her tale and was repeatedly interrupted by Hop. At one point Hop responded, "If he REALLY did this, why did you sit near him?" and Bean replied that he kept following her. "Oh, he most certainly did not!" was the answer. Then Hop asked, "Do you think he was teasing or being cruel when he did that?" I wanted to stand up and shout "WTF does that matter?" but I let Bean answer that she thought he was being cruel.

That's when the conversation took a turn for the even-worse. Hop stared my daughter in the face. This woman, acting as a therapist for my child during the week, stared at Bean and said, "Oh, we all know how he was teasing. -I- think he was teasing."

At which point I shut her up, looked at my daughter and quietly asked her to leave the room.

More about our fight tomorrow.

06 May 2007

To Do

This was inspired after a visit to yet another evangelical church that's just way too full of itself. I left and went out to the car and the only piece of paper I could write on was labeled "to do." Enjoy.

To Do
Find God outside the trappings of human emotions
Beyond the high-tech, high-energy dance of the modern, Western church
Past the manipulative music that plays when we pray
and the tissue-wielding, teary woman who champions causes like she's Miss America
(you don't need a committee and classes to change the world - just do it one bit at a time)

So where IS Jesus in all of this?
Did He even get invited to this big party we have in His name?
Did He attend the show - the huge production - put on in His honor?

Somehow, I think I hear Him in the church when nearly everyione is gone
when the lights are dimmed and the stage is empty
and distant footsteps echo in the halls

When those who are unwelcome and underdressed can sneak in
and speak a simply beauty

To Do
Do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8)

26 April 2007

the strangest direction

I thought I had my future figured out. I was going to dual-enroll in two community colleges here in NC, get my AS in Dietetics mostly through online classes, put my kids in a great private school (dependent upon scholarship) and work part-time there doing something or another. After I got my degree, I would go ahead and move somewhere or another. Life was going to be great but I had NO peace. So then I thought we'd homeschool and travel a bit, and I'd continue my classes online while doing so. Somehow I could scrape up enough cash for a popup camper, eh?

But you know, something strange has happened over the past few weeks. I have been helping my one local friend care for her dying father. I was able to be there during his final week and I can't tell you how much I enjoyed just being there to comfort him in his last days. I also loved speaking with each hospice person and each caregiver who visited him. And I realized death doesn't bother me.

People have been suggesting I go into nursing since I started pondering getting a college degree. I have balked. When it came up #1 for my career choices after three separate tests, I began to think those darned tests were faulty. I had seen my own mother go through nursing school -- and eventually drop out-- during my childhood. Nursing, to me, seemed like the LAST thing I wanted to do.

But you know, sometimes the last thing we want to do is the best thing for us. Yesterday I walked into the college and changed my intended major to nursing. A local organization has agreed to pay for my school costs if I don't manage to get a grant. So far, reaction from most people has been amazingly supportive. My dad has agreed that nursing school will indeed be stressful and he has promised that he and my mother will care for my children when I can't. My former employer encouraged me, explaining that she went through nursing school when she was a single mom of two little ones. She says it can be done. It will be stressful, but it can be done.

I have had a HUGE burden taken from my shoulders. I have such peace about my future now. RN's are in high demand everywhere. If I want to leave this podunk mayberry world, I should be able to find a position anywhere. RN's have many different kinds of shifts. Some work office hours. Some work nights. I will be able to schedule my job around the needs of my family. And best of all, I will eventually be able to support myself and my children - possibly even help them get through college.

I'm not sure how it's all going to work out. The community college is actually about 30 minutes away, 45 minutes from the kids' schools. I'm hoping that maybe I can get them into a charter school closer to where I'll be hitting the books. I applied a couple of months ago but won't know until June. Who knows? Maybe I'll be able to find a house for rent towards there, and my kids can just go to regular schools. Then I won't be paying ginormous gas bills.

Oh, and I just can't wait to get that spiffy nurse's hat. Yay.

22 April 2007

it's all in your head, part 1

Before I post, I'm going to link you to one of my favorite videos. Yes it's Napoleon Dynamite-esque at first but just keep watching.

OK, so it's time to tell y'all about something nutty that's happened to us. Read on and you will probably think I'm making it up.

My older kids, Tater and Bean, were "selected" for an outreach program. The principal of the school came to me herself and said she thought the girls would benefit from the program as it would teach them "coping skills" or something like that. They would also do equine (horse) therapy. Given that said program gave them four days worth of excused absences from school (they do hate school), I signed the permission slip and that was that.

Tater attended the first four-day session. Kids were shipped off by van at the beginning of the school day to another facility off-campus and returned at the end of the school day. Tater had no comments about her stint other than "It was OK."

So Bean went. Bean is my tough kid so I was surprised to find her crying when I picked her up from school on the third day. "Please don't send me back there!" she begged. I finally got out of her that she had been groped by another student. When I asked if she'd told the person in charge, I was told, "The same thing happened to 'Laura' but when she told the teacher, she was told to handle it herself."

To get her mind off of her distress, I asked how the horses were that day. She replied, "Oh, they were fine but we weren't allowed to touch them." Given that equine therapy usually involves touching, I was a bit surprised so I asked, "Really?!" Bean clarified, "Oh we WERE allowed to touch them. But only after we'd asked them in our MINDS."

This has since been confirmed with other children that they were told to stand there and say nothing but hold their fingers to their temples (as in concentrating hard) and say nothing. They were to use their thoughts to ask the horses something like, "Can I enter your space and touch you?" and if the horse turned around, they could pet it. Bean, of course, just faked it.

Then came the alarming revelation (since confirmed with other children): The kids were told to tell NO ONE what happened at the center.

More tomorrow otherwise this'll be too long. Besides, I've got a Mates of State video to watch again. Cause it's allllll in my head.

things that pop into my head

You know that old saying about women with dyed hair? the one "Do the drapes match the carpet?"

If a woman has a Brazilian wax, what would be the answer? She has linoleum?

(if the woman has a crew-cut, I suggest she refer to the hair on her head as mini-blinds)

17 April 2007

Lessons Learned

Things I learned on my big vacation:

Norwich, Connecticut has the largest number of "Slow Children" according to the amount of signs we saw.

Enfield, Connecticut has way too many road signs declaring "Drug free zone!"

Every driveway in Chelmsford, Massachusetts is a "blind drive." (The poor drives! Can't something be done? seeing-eye drives?)

If you must be stuck in traffic in New York, it will be for hours through the Bronx and at least one person in your car will vomit. Twice. At least once, it will be on someone else.

People in New York are very nice. Their subways are efficient but dirty.

People in DC aren't nice at all. Their subways are very clean but expensive and hard to find.

More later.

10 April 2007

goodbyes stink

You know how you see someone and you have this big imagined happy goodbye in your head?

But then when it comes time, you never even get out what you wanted to say in the first place, and the last image they get of you is your ugly about-to-cry face?

Oh, you don't? Forget it, then.

goodbyes suck, especially when nothing is ever resolved before you say them.

...and sometimes things go wrong, but they're good anyway

Things that have gone wrong in the past day, and how they're OK:

1. My cellphone stopped working, which is just awful on a roadtrip when it's my ONLY way to get in touch with people. Add to that Alltel doesn't exist in this part of the country so there's no way to get it fixed. How this is OK: Dinner with Thresher friends would've been canceled if they'd been able to contact me. As it was, we went ahead with plans and had a great time. I'm not sure how the lack of phone will affect things in the future, though. I did go ahead and get some SkypeOut credits so at least I can find wifi and make calls.

2. Our newest hobby, Letterboxing, started with two duds. Both boxes were planted by the same folks and I have no idea if the boxes disappeared or we don't know how to read a compass or what. BUT, and this is a big but, we had a GREAT time looking! We learned some interesting things, like tree roots will eventually knock down gravestones and break them in half. And that Punkin doesn't need to be afraid of cemeteries. And that sometimes it really is fun to just go for a walk in a field in 40 degree weather. We had a lot of fun as a family, no complaints except that we weren't very good mystery-solvers. Perhaps tomorrow will bring a box to us at last!

3. Our dear host here in Mass. was unable to return to us as planned so that makes a whopping one day we got to spend together (the day we arrived and I slept a good portion of the afternoon). It makes me sad because I don't get to hang around with one of my best friends. But on the plus side, it means I can feel a little less guilty for using every bed in the place.

4. One of the Threshers flaked big time. How this is OK: It enabled the other Thresher and I to have a cheap dinner with almost 3 hours spent together, mainly relaxed and conversing, while the kids played. I really enjoyed my time with her (was a bit nervous we'd have naught to talk about, I admit) and we took some extra-special pics of Salzilla. Sadly, we ran out of film before we could do a LARP pic, reenacting some in-game moments with props from McDonald's. I had a lego hammer (Marah's hammer of tapping, as Sebboe refers to her pathetic spiritual hammer) and she had a coffee-stirrer scalpel. Oh, and we were trying to get some McDonald's promo stuff for her tome. Oh well. Fun was had, and a friendship was cemented. I think.

So there you have it. Sometimes life hands you lemons and you remember how good lemon bars are, and you make them, and you eat them, and then you're happy.

08 April 2007

Sometimes things go right

I'm typing this from a friend's house in Massachusetts, where the kids and I have been spending the day. We arrived yesterday after a busy and stressful time trying to get through Charlotte airport. I was starting to question my decision about taking this vacation, but once we got settled into our seats on the plane, I felt I did the right thing.

Yay to US Air for employing possibly the best, most considerate flight attendants I've ever met. They were a HUGE blessing to me. I wasn't having any major catastrophes or anything but I'd stayed up the entire night before. I was exhausted and they were super nice and proactive with the children.

Yay to understanding friends who, when I conk out asleep in the middle of the afternoon, simply supervise my kids and let me nap. I <3 you for it.

We've had pretty much two whole days in Mass. and have done very little except rest, watch TV, play around on computers. That is EXACTLY what we needed to do, what with our normal life being so hectic lately. We did go out to IHOP and the grocery store yesterday, and the kids & I went to Chili's this evening. It's Easter Sunday and not much is open, so we went with what we could find.

Anyway, we get to go visit a few people tomorrow: my uncle and then dinner with two Threshers. I'm excited!

19 March 2007

we interrupt this semi-amusing blog for a serious moment

I promise I'll blog as my usual sarcastic, sorta witty self in the next entry. But I've got a rant and it ain't about Nickelback.

Last night I was invited to a church to watch Facing the Giants, a film involving football and faith (two cultural phenoma the South would be lost without). I must compliment the filmmakers for the fine job they did. Honestly, I was surprised that the actors in the film are simply church members, not professional actors. Maybe one or two I might've pegged, but the leading characters were well-portrayed. Additionally, the visual and audio quality and directing seemed quite professional.

But I have a problem. (SPOILERS ahead for people who are completely unable to predict plot resolutions from the beginning of a film)

The message of this film, despite the characters' resolution to praise and serve God no matter what the outcome, seems to be that if you just have ENOUGH faith, God will be on your side and help you win. Indeed, the protagonist gets everything he ever dreamed of and more: a new truck, a long-expected child, a state championship...it just goes on and on. These people, they pray and decide to thank God for NOT allowing them to have things and then suddenly! tada! He whips out the present He was hiding behind His back.

This is a fairly common doctrine among the middle class American church, isn't it? Isn't it the lighter, feel-holy version of health and wealth? God will be on your side if you just believe?

What a disservice to our Christian brothers and sisters in China, in India, all around the world -- people who suffer and die for their faith. Didn't they believe enough? Are you saying that they would have not died if they simply stepped out and trusted God?

And speaking of trusting God, my 12 year old daughter pointed out that Jesus Himself would not be a "Christian" by this doctrine. He was a simple carpenter at first. During His ministry, He said that He (the Son of Man) had no place to lay his head. In the end He was tortured and mutilated so much that you could scarce tell He was a man. And she, my sweet daughter, reminded me that Jesus came not as a King but as one who suffered so that we would know He understood. She said, "Jesus went through hard things to show us the way to get through hard things."

No, we are not meant for the easy way. We are meant for the difficult journey and we walk the road knowing that suffering produces fruit. When we stumble, He is there to right us so we may continue on - He is not there to move us to the wide and comfortable path.

In a completely unprofound statement, I say: Life sucks. Life sucks a lot.

But oh, my faith grows through all of this hardship. Some people would point and say "Where is your God now?" How can I explain? How can I find words to express the shaping and molding of my faith and my spirit?

14 March 2007

my strength and my song

I visited my former pastor today. He has gone through terrible circumstances in the past few years, events which finally led to the death of his beautiful wife in November 2006, of cancer. This man has watched his wife suffer -- and he suffered along with her. And now he suffers alone. Truly, this man is someone I can look at and KNOW that he knows sorrow and loneliness like few other American "Christians" do. We encouraged one another and he prayed for me something very specific: That I would have a song.

I was known at that church for singing. I have not been able to sing for a couple of months, not really anything beyond a sort of warbling effort with no heart. He didn't know this. I didn't tell him.

I left that church and managed to sing through most of the day, songs which came flooding back to me. Ah, what a blessed gift music is! And then I spend most of my night listening to other songs with a friend (through the wonders of IM's and a semi-common music library).

I just have to share that some of the most praising, most uplifting hymns were written by people who had gone through unimaginable circumstances. This one, a song of thanksgiving, was written by pastor Martin Rinkart soon after he buried 4000 people in one year, including his wife, after the plague swept through Europe. Fifty funerals a day! And one of my favorites was written by a man after marking the spot in the open sea where his daughters had perished in a shipwreck. The opening lyrics "When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll" take on such personal meaning when you know.

Today's hymn for me is an oldie but a goodie:

Come, thou fount of every blessing,
Teach my heart to sing thy praise.
Streams of mercy never ceasing
flow from thy undending grace.
Teach me some melodious sonnet
sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it -
Mount of thy redeeming love

Oh, to grace how great a debtor
quickly I'm constrained to be!
May thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander- Lord, I feel it-
Prone to leave the one I love.
Take my heart, Lord.
Take and seal it.
Seal it to thy courts above.

18 February 2007

rant: nickelback

Oddly, Nickelback keeps coming up in my conversations, which is somewhat impressive because I avoid them as much as possible. Thankfully, I have found that I am not the only one. A recent conversation while driving around had me chuckling. It went something like this.

me: they're playing blocks of music. If they play Nickelback, I will have to hurt someone.
notme: If they play Nickelback, I will have to hurt Nickelback.

I was talking with another friend last night and he seemed greatly offended that I didn't find Nickelback's If Everyone Cared a profound work, what with them giving to charity and stuff. First off, every musical act pales in comparison to U2's Bono and what he's done in Africa and elsewhere. Secondly, Nickelback's singer sounds like he's constipated. Thirdly, their lyrics sound like something a 12 year old would write. May I present lyrical proof of why their music, even this song, does nothing for me.

If everyone cared and nobody cried
If everyone loved and nobody lied
If everyone shared and swallowed their pride
Then we'd see the day when nobody died

I can picture some middle schoolers working on a social studies project and writing these lyrics. And then there's this:

And in the air the fireflies
Our only light in paradise
We'll show the world they were wrong
And teach them all to sing along

Remind anyone else of a Coke commercial?

Actually, this Morrissey lyric reminds me of Nickelback. It's from The World Is Full of Crashing Bores.

What really lies
Beyond the constraints of my mind?
Could it be the sea
With fate mooning back at me?
No, it's just more lock-jawed pop-stars
Thicker than pig-shit
Nothing to convey
So scared to show intelligence
It might smear their lovely career

Yeah, THAT'S how much I can't stand Nickelback.

11 February 2007

funny stuff

I've just discovered this hilarious artist named Anne Taintor. After looking at her magnets on amazon.com, I decided to go to her website and I've been chuckling all morning. She takes vintage advertisements and injects a little modern humor. The part I found MOST interesting was the Taintorettes, elderly women who had found their photos being used in her artwork. Have a look, have a laugh.

09 February 2007

My birthday surprise!

Remember when I said someone gave me a really big huge surprise on my birthday?

Well, THIS was it!

That's right, folks. I got invited to go to a Morrissey concert in Pasadena, California. And somehow, by God's grace, some hard work and a bit of sheer luck, I managed to get there. :) My friends R & C loved on my children for a couple of days. They also hosted all of us two nights earlier than expected due to a snowstorm that was expected to close the mountain pass between TN & NC.

My weekend was wonderful. I conquered several fears, the biggest one being my fear of flying. In 2000, I had a panic attack aboard a plane to Florida and I hadn't flown since. I even chose to drive the 9 hour return trip rather than fly back to SC. This time around, I determined that I would face my fear. I also determined I was not facing my fear without medication! Xanax is a wonderful creation. :)

It's been so long since I've been in an actual, big city that seeing the lights of Los Angeles on our descent was amazing to me. As far as I could see, from either side of the plane, were lights! I got to see more of LA the next day when I and a friend drove around in search of the beach. The valley is massive. The mountains are so brown and boxy - completely different than the Blue Ridge Mountains I see all the time.

I can now say I have stood on both shores of the US. I grew up just about 15 minutes from the Atlantic Ocean in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. And now I have stood on Santa Monica Beach and looked out at the Pacific. That in itself was surreal because Santa Monica pier is pretty famous and there I was, just about maybe 1 mile or so from it (you really can't miss the Ferris wheel). Sadly, I did not put foot in the water but that's MAINLY because it was cold. How anyone swims in the Pacific is beyond me.

Morrissey is hands-down the best show I've been to. A lot of people say that his lyrics are very personal to them, and I've never identified with that until Saturday night. I cried five times! Some of that may have been because I was sleepy but I don't know if I'll ever listen to Life Is a Pigsty (link goes to some homemade doctor who youtube video), I've Changed My Plea to Guilty, Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want, or Let Me Kiss You without remembering. Morrissey fans are also a lot of fun, judging by the crowd I interacted with at Friday night's after-party. I still don't know why people just randomly came up and hugged me!

But really, the best part of the weekend wasn't seeing California or even seeing Morrissey. It's the memories of friendship and closeness I cherish. There's something to be said for driving around listening to rock music (and complaining about Nickelback) and getting lost. And for watching SNL skits and laughing at things that probably weren't even that funny but I was so tired. And for eating pancakes, and skipping rocks and generally me acting like an idiot on the beach. I know, when do I -not- act like an idiot? ;) Also, I seek to entertain by singing poorly. One day people may hear me actually sing and figure out that I was once a voice major. Ha!

So in the end, this was the best birthday ever.

30 January 2007

the more things change

Over the past few months, I have had the chance to make things right with my friend, Rae. We hadn't REALLY been friends since 1993 or so, soon after I met my husband. Yet oddly it seems like no time passed. Here's sort of a stream-of-consciousness thing I was writing about my recent birthday visit with her.

Rae and I are at her moms' house, jockeying for space in the bedroom mirror as we get ready to go out. It's about 10 o'clock or so and the really cool stuff isn't happening yet so we're listening to music blasting from the tape player in the bedroom, putting on perfume, trying on different outfits (I'm wearing a hideous pair of shoes), applying our minimalist makeup (cornstarch, purple or black eyeliner applied to lips AND eyes). We're discussing the various guys in our lives and how they suck or how they don't.

Rae and I are at her house, jockeying for space in the bathroom mirror as we get ready to go out. It's about 9:30 or so and the really cool stuff isn't happening yet, so we're listening to CD music blasting out from the bedroom, putting on essential oils and other good scents, adjusting our outfits (I'm wearing a hideous shirt), applying our light makeup. We're discussing the various guys in our lives and how they suck or how they don't.

Rae and I are on the dance floor amidst some zany crowd of people. I see all kinds here, even a few preps shuffling along the walls. Rae gets behind someone and mocks their dancing and I giggle. I do what my friend Lisa has dubbed "the flower dance" because I'm shy and don't know how to do anything else. I smoke a Marlboro Light and make a few snide comments about people I see in the club.

Rae and I are on the dance floor amidst some zany crowd of people. I see all kinds here, even a few preps looking lost amidst the gyrating group. Rae nods towards someone and mocks their dancing and I giggle. I do "the flower dance" because I'm dancing on one broken foot and I can't move around that much. I smoke a clove cigarette (not addictive, trust me) and make a few snide comments about people I see in the bar.

I wash my face and fall onto the mattress on the floor of Rae's room. The fan blows on me as I make a few hyper late-night comments, my voice hoarse from the smoking and the yelling over loud music. I doze off next to my best friend in the wee hours of the morning, no weird feelings about that. She's one of the few people I can sleep next to and not feel strange about!

I wash my face and climb into the high bed in Rae's room. The fan blows on me as I cuddle up in the blanket and make a few hyper late-night comments, my voice hoarse from the smoking and the yelling over loud music. I doze off next to my best friend in the wee hours of the morning, no weird feelings about that still. Even in our 30s, there's nothing strange about falling asleep next to her.

It's midafternoon and we're in my powder blue VW Rabbit (with pictures of rabbits on it and a logo that says, I kid you not, "Rabbit power!"). We stop at this intersection in an older part of town and we're listening to Depeche Mode 101 and laughing because our friend Eric loves to imitate the guy on this recording. "Thank you! All right!" we yell in our faux-British accents. We have to suffer through a lot of lame songs on this cassette just to get to a few good ones. Our favorite is "Master and Servant" because it's edgy and funny.

It's midafternoon and we're in Rae's car (with no pictures or ridiculous logos of any kind). We stop at this intersection in an older part of town and we're listening to Depeche Mode 101 and laughing because our friend Eric loved to imitate the guy on this CD. "Thank you! All right!" we yell in our same faux-British accents, except we've got better technology so now we can forward through the songs we hate. We get to "Master and Servant" and I think we both realize how dumb it really is but we have fun singing it anyway.

We've got 44 oz sodas from Circle K and we're looking at the free paper, trying to figure out what we're going to do tonight. Nothing looks promising.

We've got coffee from Starbucks and we're looking at the free paper, trying to figure out what we're going to do tonight. Nothing looks promising.

It's late August and Rae and I will be leaving for separate universities soon. We're both sad - neither one of us wants to be far from the other. I put on a chipper face as I drive away from her mom's, my second home. I see her in my rearview mirror, closing the front door. I don't want to grow up.

It's mid January and Rae's leaving for Florida soon while I have to head back to North Carolina. We're both sad - neither one of us wants what lays ahead. I put on a chipper face as I drive away from her house, my home for the weekend. I see her through the passenger window, leaning against the post on the front porch. I wish we weren't grownups.

16 January 2007

The better birthday

The day after my previous blog entry, on my REAL birthday, I got to get away and be myself for a while. My parents watched Tater and Peanut and a friend watched Punkin and Bean for the weekend. I went to visit my oldest and dearest friend in scenic Columbia, SC (that's the state capital, if you're trying to remember what you learned in 5th grade). Friday night we went out to eat Mexican, had a few margaritas. I -promise- I didn't realize they were strong. Wow. Tequila's a sneaky little bugger. We also went dancing. I do admit that much of my "dancing" involved me standing around and mocking people.

But the best part of my night came from a certain friend who:

a. remembered it was my birthday, despite a serious case of ADD.
b. called me early in the evening and talked to me through the ride to Mexican food (and later, laughed with me as I described the "dancing")
c. gave me a HUGE birthday surprise that I'll blog some other time.

The next day was precious to me, as I was just...introspective but not in a bad way. Got to hang out with my friend and just be who we are. Reminisced a bit. Went to the used CD store. Ate collard greens and jumbalaya together.

My birthday itself turned out to be great. :) Thanks for all of the bday wishes and just being there, guys. You're great.

07 January 2007

I always hated the beach

Amusingly enough, I've started the South Beach Diet. My mother lost a bunch of weight and was eventually employed by a competing weight-loss program so this is kind of a secret. I'm also in a place in my life where I just want ready-made menu plans that I can sort of work from, so South Beach online was just what I needed.

I looked at the Zone and Atkins and (at the opposite end of the spectrum) the McDougall plan, but none of them seemed nutritionally sound to me. The vegetarian version of South Beach makes a lot of sense. You go off of carbs (except those found in beans) for two weeks and then add them back in.

The first day was crazy and I felt horrible at the end of it. Could barely move and had an awful headache. The second day was slightly better but I confess I wanted sugar more than anything!

Today I woke up feeling great. I'm not sure I've lost any weight but I do feel better than I have in a while.

04 January 2007

a strange fear gripped me

Shyness is a sneaky thing and it even strikes extroverts on occasion.

It struck me last night.

Hopefully it was viewed as endearing instead of annoying.

What makes people shy?