Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Well, It Ain't Fancy Yet...

But it's live...

Jenorama: Superhero

KatieK told me I could have this superhero!!! How great is that???
Hosted by Photobucket.com

Here are some of the taglines I've been writing down in my little notebook: What do you think?

There is no blog.

Ceci n'est-ce pas une blog.

This is not the blog you're looking for.

Full of bull from morning til night. (and I am a Taurus, get it?)

Cuter Than a Hedgehog.

Dust In Its Infinite Lightness.

This is not a blog.

It's not just for breakfast anymore.

The blog you don't take home to mother.

Putting the "ma" back in Jenorama.

Putting the "no" back in Jenorama.

Putting the "or" back in Jenorama.

More Jen than you can shake a stick at.

All Jen. All the Time.

More Jen than you can Rama.

Scaring young children since 1993.

Where young boys are surgically removed.

The pussy next door.

Ain't No Time To Blog

Ain't Too Proud to Blog.

Reheat on high 1 minute.

This should make Don Happy

src="http://www.bbspot.com/Images/News_Features/2003/01/os_quiz/redhat.jpg" width="300" height="90"
border="0" alt="You are Red Hat Linux. You're tops among your peers, but still get no respect from them. It's all right with you. You have your sights set higher.">
Which OS are You?

Dumb Little Tuesday

When I was in high school, we had this little old, frail, bent over English teacher who was widely feared. Mrs. Fuller. She was older than God, and I think she has passed away by now.

She was a lovely woman, and introduced me to more great literature than I was exposed to in college and graduate school combined. Not that her lecture skills were great: her idea of lecturing was dictating notes while she made her dinner. Then, she would play them for us. And she made us write. Boy, did she make us write: a 5 page paper every three weeks on a book read outside of class. That was in addition to Lalich's book review and research paper. Five papers, typed on a typewriter, when you are 15 years old, every nine weeks. If that doesn't make or break you, I don't know what will.

I was thinking of Mrs. Fuller today because she always used to call Tuesday Dumb Little Tuesday. She couldn't see that it had any value in the week. Monday you dread. Wednesday is hump day. Thursday is So Happy It's Thursday. Friday is TGIF. Saturday and Sunday are the weekend and Sabbath. You get the idea. But Tuesday? Just Dumb Little Tuesday.

Well. I am having a Dumb Little Tuesday.

I started my day by stepping in cat shit with heels on (on a day when I actually wore a little heel with my slacks). I then cleaned up cat shit, not realizing that I had stepped in it.

Until I got into the car and smelled it. Dropped kids off for school, and headed for work so I could wash my shoes before my early morning meeting. Got pulled over by a cop for doing 30 in a 20 MPH zone. He must have a) recognized me from when Sam was hit by a car and b) realized that a ticket would result in my license being suspended, and I was in a minivan for chrissakes, and a dented and dirty minivan at that, because he let me off with just a warning.

I got my shoe washed, got to my meeting and was greeted by friendly black stray puppy in the parking lot.

He was still there when I got out of my meeting.

So, I called animal control to come and get him. I am inspired by the stories I read of people picking up stray dogs and putting them in their cars, but I was late, I was dressed up, and I knew that animal control would take him the same place I would. We have one shelter in town, and they don't kill their animals.

I am dying to drive out and see him and see whether Rufus's siblings are still there... But considering the fact that the cat shit I stepped in this morning was Rufus's and we are taking him to the vet today to de-worm him, maybe I should just assume that doggy and siblings are fine and NOT GO.

Yesterday, Sam appeared to have laryngitis due to a cold.

Today I am starting to think maybe his voice is changing.

Nocturnal emissions I can handle, but I am so not ready for this.

God, That's Depressing...

From:

A VOCATION OF UNHAPPINESS

"Writing is considered a profession, and I don't think it is a profession. I think that everyone who does not need to be a writer, who thinks he can do something else, ought to do something else. Writing is not a profession but a vocation of unhappiness. I don't think an artist can ever be happy." --Georges Simenon (1903-1985) (Borrowed, with thanks, from Collected Miscellany)

Monday, February 21, 2005

A little help? You know you want to...

Well, as you know, I am taking the big leap into the .com-o-sphere of blogging.

I am now in the queue for my design (and this will be four weeks away, in all likelihood), and starting to think about it. And I am feeling a little blogger-brain dead today after my pitiful heroic installation efforts yesterday.

The first thing I want is a great tag line, and to sort of build my site around that.

I sent an email to my designer Christina (and my techie is Christine) yesterday, giving her the URL of some of my favorite designs from Moxie, and noting themes among them:
  1. color=good
  2. no whitespace
  3. graphic=good
  4. possibly the idea of a jenorama superhero?
  5. plug-ins=good
Now, maybe I should be keeping my design top secret.

I am not that clever, nor that close-lipped.

I am asking for help, please.

Let's start with the tag-line. Do you have any great taglines dancing around that you can part with?

Sunday, February 20, 2005

I Should Have Just Bought an iPod My Panic Attack Is Over

Well.

I went ahead and picked out the license I wanted from Movable Type (MT) I contacted blogomania about the package I wanted for web hosting, and the domain name I want (and now own, but which is not yet resolved, so it will keep, though duh, what could it be?).

And so this morning, I had the information about my hosting, and decided to follow the Installation Instructions for MT.

Now. I have a little bit of experience writing instructions. Helllllooooo. And I do believe that even the inexperienced person could probably figure out how to do this with a simple glossary. Like: what is a cgi directory? And how does one create one? Instead of just a direction such as: Create a cgi Directory for your blah blah blah.

Uh, no.

So, I uploaded for over an hour, every single thing involved with MT, and turns out, probably uploaded all of it to the wrong place--

I have no clue what I am doing.

I am eyeing TypePad now, but I just bought a domain name and hosting, so, dammit, I am going to use them!

I somehow (don't ask) managed to install Word Press somehow into something dealing with my webhost (you can ask-- I just don't think I have the vocabulary to explain it).

But I don't think I can use it until my domain name is "resolved" which, I assume, means that it acknowledges that somebody bought it and will let that somebody use it.

Word Press should let me blog.

I even tried, unsuccessfully just to publish this blog on my FTP server. I cut that shit out right away. Damn errors.

I was all cocky five hours ago, thinking, "This cannot be that hard. I have adjusted my template before! And if I figure this out, I may have a promising future in web design!"

But the simple truth is, I think that the amount of TIME involved with using MT might be too daunting. There might be a reason you can make big bucks in Web Developing, which has everything to do with your patience and willingness to sit and do what I do not have the willingness or the patience to sit and do for more than five hours on a Sunday.

Though I know I'll be back at it shortly. It is like having something caught in my teeth-- my tongue can't stop rubbing it.

I know I need to call Don, but I don't want the lecture about not using free software yet. Damn Damn Damn.

I went and picked up Party Boy at 1:30 (I had to shower first, because I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I looked like Laslo Hollyfeld-- quick, who is that?). He threw up last night, and his voice sounded shaky on the phone. I asked him on the way home, "What time did you go to bed last night?"

And he didn't know.

Last time he went to a slumber party, he came home in the afternoon and slept straight through til morning. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if that happened again today.

If anyone wants to dazzle me with their brilliance about MT or domain names and webhosting and blogs, please HELP!

UPDATE

No, I haven't figured out how to install Movable Type. That is what emails to tech support are for. I got an email back almost immediately from Christine at blogomania telling me where to find tech support. They have paired up with Moxie Designs. And I figure, while I'm at this, I'm gonna go ahead and get my little blog hair done too.

I don't know when my new blog will be up and running, but it's in the works!

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Friday night comas

I do not know why I asked Dereck last night whether he wanted to watch a movie.

Except that I must have forgotten about my Friday night coma.

This past week has been particularly stressful for several reasons, none of which I can blog about. My blood pressure was even up. Which means I have to start exercising again. Which will also make the stress less stressful.

Sigh.

Sam is at his party, and I ended up going to the Huffalump movie with the younger pups. I will pick up Sam, have him pack his stuff and hang out a bit, then take him onward to his next party.

Hopefully this evening, I will be able to stay awake past 8:00 p.m.

And resist the pervasive feeling that I should be doing something else with my weekend.
I deleted this list because I realized Lucy was right.

Friday, February 18, 2005

The Conversations You Have When They're Eleven...

Sam has a friend over. I was picking him up at the Presbytarian Church after school (they love that program, all of them, and now I do too) and I saw a familiar mother.

"I know I know you, and I know I like you, but who are you?" I asked her.

She told me we had met at a wine tasting (well, that explains it-- just kidding, Dad, I only had one glass!). Then we talked about our sons, same age, same class, and how the kids at his school (even smaller and more rural than ours) make fun of him because he wants to be a magician (Robin, he takes classes from Michael!) and he is sensitive and into D and D.

I said, "Does he want to come over to play on Friday night?

Sam: "We can play Halo 2 which is rated M for Maturity because of the violence and obscenities, but if you think that swearing is bad, you should read the book."

Me: "Boy, Sam, you just make me sound like a better mother with every word."

Sam: "Oh, sorry, Mom."

Well, I don't know whether she is very laid back or whether she just couldn't understand him (did I mention that all of my children have inherited from me talkingververyveryfastandunintelligibly?), but she did not seem to mind, and she said he could come. We exchanged information.

The day before we were driving home from school:

Sam: "Have you ever fancied anybody, Mom?"

Me: "Have I? Who didn't I fancy?" Pause. "Do you fancy someone?"

Sam: "Yes."

Me: "Who is it?"

Sam: "Her name is Girl in My Class. And she invited me to a party on Saturday."

Me: "Did she invite the whole class?"

Sam: "Not exactly. A girl kind of sidled up to me at lunch time and gave me the invitation and told me not to read it yet. I read it at recess."

Can you picture it? Sam sneaking off to a corner to read the envelope and seeing the party invitation? It could make Martha Stewart's heart melt.

So, he called her after school to tell her he could come. His first call to a GIRL!

THEN last night, the father of yet another friend called and asked Sam to spend the night (hold your breath!) on Saturday night (exhale with relief).

I told Dereck, "Wow, I hope he doesn't peak at age 11."

Tonight:

Sam: "Mom, you know that video I told you about? I finally got to watch it yesterday."

I am wracking my brain. Aliens? Alien vs. Predator? He was at his father's last night-- it could be anything.

Me: "How was it?"

Sam shrugged: "Okay."

Oh that video.

Me: "A little embarrassing?"

Sam: "Yeah. They gave each of us a little packet, " (holds up pointer and thumb to make a square) "of deodorant, " (Okay, I can breathe now) he continued.

Me: "Did they tell you to wear it every day?"

Sam: "Yes."

Me: "See?"

Dereck: "What was this video?"

Sam: "Puberty is the gateway to human sexuality."

Me: "Purity? Did you say purity?"

Sam: "Puberty."

Me: "Oh."

Pause.

I sent a sidelong glance to Dereck and asked slyly, thinking there was no possible way, but it was okay because Sam wouldn't know what I was talking about anyway: "Did they tell you about nocturnal emissions?"

Sam nodded solemnly and recited with the perfect un-self-consciousness of a young boy who has never had one: "'Also known as wet dreams.'"

Whoa, Doggy, and Other Thoughts

When I saw this article this morning, I felt like I was in touch with the Tao. I haven't actually read all of it yet, because it is long, and because I had just written about the subject (and gotten fabulous responses from y'all). But I did feel smug.

Blogger has been incredibly slowwwwww the past few days, causing me once again to contemplate spreading my baby blogger wings and getting a blog I have to pay for.

All of ye out there with .com addresses, what are the advantages, what are the features, how do I do it, what will it cost me, and will my readers follow me if I become jenorama.com?

Other thoughts rumbling around:

  • Should I get an iPod? Which one? How much longer can I hold out before getting one?
  • My cell phone is still hanging in here, but it is dying in slow, painful increments. What happens if I get an iPod, and then I have to replace my cell phone?
  • Three little boys will need braces. And then college.
  • I should never spend money on myself again.
  • Should I update my spring wardrobe? My red Mary Janes are years old and pretty scuffed... I could buy some polish...
  • Does that chick on the yoplait commercial eat only yogurt to fit into that bikini? Is that balanced? What about the vegetables? And why don't we get to see her in the bikini at the end? And why does she look so constipated every time she wistfully walks by with her yogurt to gaze at that damn bikini?
  • Didn't Jennifer Garner know that you don't let them hire attractive actresses who are more interesting to watch to upstage you on your own TV show? Will she hire attractive nannies when she has children?
  • [Note: I am on record here as adoring Jennifer Garner, but the chick who plays her sister is way cool.]

What is rumbling around in your grey space today?

Thursday, February 17, 2005

The Happy Mothers Are All Lying

Thank you all for your answers, and your stunning honesty. I think you all said it very very well. Anonymous Mom, thank you so much for sharing-- it makes my own response easier to give. And I love what you said about the continuum-- that is so true. Before my response, I will explain that "happy mothers" is a term that my friend and I coined long ago to describe the women we know who are perfectly happy with motherhood, who never complain about how hard it is, or indicate that it is hard. These are the mothers, and I do know some, who say to me, "I cannot imagine how hard it must be for you not to be with your children all the time[because you are divorced]. I could never do that."

I think they are on crack. I tell everybody that they should have an ex-husband to take the kids on the weekend, every other week. It should be a law or something.

So, here is my response.


Well. Since you asked...

I think the happy mothers are all lying.

Why? Because books, the media, entertainment all say that motherhood
is/should be the most satisfying experience and fulfilling experience
that any woman has ever had and could ever had. Why do they say this?
Partly because none of us really wants to think that our mothers
hated mothering as much as we [sometimes] hated it. I think there is
also a certain bias that still exists that makes people think that
women should stay home, and they wouldn't if they knew how fucking
hard it was, so instead, we should propogate propoganda that says it
is fabulous. That way, women will question themselves instead of
motherhood when they find out what it is actually like.

And this propoganda is so wrong and so unnecessary: people are going
to have children. Period. Like we need propoganda to make that
happen.

And would it really be so very terrible if all of the mothers suddenly
decided that while they were okay with giving birth, they didn't
really want to be around the kids all the time? I bought a house and
I like to live in it, but I don't want to clean it or take care of it.
I have other things I want to do. I love and adore my children and I
am glad I had them, but that doesn't mean I particularly loved all of
the years I stayed home or that I was particularly good at it.

I tell people I am grateful I had that opportunity. And I am not sure
why. I think it makes me sound like a better person. But the simple
truth was that my belief that I had to stay home with them in order to
be the best possible mother (here is another question: why is the fact
that someone might question whether we are good mothers so terrifying
and insulting? That dread might actually also be behind why the happy
mothers lie, actually: if we don't love it then somehow we are bad at
it? I soundly dispute that notion) kept me in an abusive marriage for
three years longer than I should have stayed.

And warped ideas about what make a mother a good mother were viciously
used against me in court as part of a campaign to take my children
away from me.

Now that's a Catch-22: mothering is stressful, hard, crazy, etc., but
anybody tries to take my kids away from me? I'll fucking kill them.

Explain THAT to me.

The Way Men and Women Shop

Last night, Dereck came home from the grocery store and I said, "Where are the cookies?"

Which, of course, had not been on his list.

He said, "We have cookies in the cabinet."

I kissed him sweetly and then said, slightly menacingly, "You. Should. Never. Come. Home. Without. Cookies."

Here is Your Question for the Day

Do you think the majority of mothers really do think motherhood is
wonderful and kids are great, etc, and it's just a small minority who
think IT'S SO HARD? Or are the happy mothers all lying, and if so, why?

A friend of mine raised that question with me today. It started when she mentioned that if anyone had told her about the sleep deprivation involved with parenting, she would have rethought it, and did that make her a bad mother/person? I said of course not, and sent her some Dooce and Yvonne.

Then she sent me that question, up there in bold.

Discuss.

I will post my response after y'all have had some time to chew it over, unless there is a ruckus and demands that I post my response first.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

A Mindless Quiz to take my mind off the spots

You scored as Sensible Flats. You are Sensible Flats. Practical and comfort-oriented, you'd rather go through life without the pain of a pulled arch. Still, you might want to walk on the wild side a litte more.

Sensible Flats


70%

Quirky Shoes


63%

Flip-Flops


40%

Classic Pumps


33%

Sexy Heels


17%


What Kind of Shoes Are You?
created with QuizFarm.com


Will Kathy think I am a heel for stealing this?

I am waiting for Dereck to bring me some eye drops. One of our meeting rooms is like a sauna and my eyes just freaked out. It's like I am looking through a moving kaleidoscope. It is starting to calm down now.

  • I don't have a headache.
  • Nothing hurts.
  • No numbness
  • I am typing, so I wouldn't say my vision is obstructed
  • I am not confused (not more so than usual, anyway).
But you better bet I looked up stroke symptoms right away-- after last year, I am so not messing around with this crap.

Note to self: The tap water in the kitchen at work does not do wonders at rehydrating contact lenses.

I just ate a piece of biscotti I'd bought at lunch time and dipped it in my re-heated coffee, and my vision is nearly clear, except for now my left eye is protesting about the contact lens.

I think I am fine. I'll let you know.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The more that's going on, the less i have to say

I am really getting into this whole greeting card thing. It is so awesome writing cards to people again. I used to have quite a few correspondents, and I used to know what it was like to get an actual letter in the actual mail. Just writing them is fun.

I was writing out another card tonight to someone who lives in my town, but I don't see her often. And I will preserve her anonymity because this way, the card will be more of a surprise. She does not read my blog. But people she knows do. And so, I don't feel the need to share who she is.

But it occurred to me that I could say things to her in a card that I couldn't say in a casual conversation.

I used to really enjoy going to parties, going out to the bar. And I used to be able to carry on a conversation with just anyone. And for awhile, during my divorce, there was always some new story, some new update to share. And then things settled down, and I thought, "Well, I must have just gotten a boring life."

But tonight I was talking about some things in this card that I realized that are just awkward to discuss in public. Like the vampire romances I read voraciously. How do you explain that? And Christian's diagnosis. That I am not friends anymore with two people I used to be friends with, not that either situation has anything in common except me, because they are twits. Or, because I am a twit. And I can't talk about my job here even*, so I'm not going to talk about it casually at a party or a bar. And people won't understand that I'm worried about Lucy and sad about Keri and Bear or thinking about how Stacey is doing, or laughing about something Kathy wrote-- because they are not part of my little blog world. How do I explain to people who don't know what a blogwalk is? It's like explaining chocolate to a dog.

So, rather than finding out that my life is boring, I simply found out what must be true of many quiet people: when you live in your head a lot, it is hard to come out and start talking about your little world.

It is easier to do this quietly, in writing. It is easier to do it in a friendly card to catch up.

It is easier to do it here.

*because I am a spy, with the secret identity of a banker.

Dooce Deux

I have discovered who Dooce is. Because I went to her blog and read it. Well, not all of it. But enough to get a pretty good idea.

I am so embarrassed. I have jumped on the Dooce bandwagon. On two separate occasions while reading her archives, I have laughed so hard, I nearly threw up. Literally. I had to get out of my chair, coughing, sputtering and gagging with laughter, and walk around and breathe.

I sent Karl there yesterday to read it, and it was lost on him (he is not a parent), so maybe Dooce is not for everyone.

That having said, I feel like a dork for not knowing who the infamous Dooce was before now.

I doubt her blog will become a regular read (once I've dispensed with the funny archives and the initial curiosity) because she is already so famous, there is no chance of a tete a tete with her, but dang, that woman is funny.

I should say, too, that her honesty in the face of depression is simply raw. It is simply painful to read.

I can be a very honest person, but she takes the cake. Absolutely no fear. There are things on her blog that I cringe to read and I want to say, "Stop: don't you know? Don't you know that if things ever go wrong in your marriage, this is fodder for the courts?"

But it is far too late for that. It is rather amazing to witness this kind of honesty-- it's like reading what your innermost brain would write if you would only get out of the way and let it. It's like taking an exhilerating ride at the amusement park once a year: you are breathless and surprised and you scream like hell and you feel really amazing afterwards for awhile because you got all your toxins out.

But I cannot imagine doing it every day. Granted, she does not write piercing things every day. Nobody can sustain that. But when you read the archives in one batch as I have been doing, it can leave you pretty raw.

Post-Valentine

Yesterday was a pleasant enough day, but not unlike many others (which is a good thing). We had a nice dinner out, and the major difference was that we exchanged small gifts, which we do not usually do. But both of us came out of relationships in which Valentine's Day was more like a massacre than anything else, so the mere acknowledgement of it and simple enjoyment of it is a huge difference in my life. I did a wee bit more running around than I usually do: somebody's electric razor broke last week, so they asked if they could have a new one for Valentine's Day. I felt bad about complying. This was not fun or romantic! But he sure did seem to like having it, so maybe I was wrong.

I decided to go to the Hallmark store for my card, not having time to make a card because I procrastinated too much, and while I was there, I decided to buy just a big batch of cards and send them to people because it's been ages since I sent anything through the regular mail. And you know, there is something nice about having something you can hold in your hand while reading. 95% of what I read involves me sitting in a chair and staring at this screen.

After work, we exchanged Valentine's gifts (I wrote out his card later, when I had more quiet time): he got me Keane's album Hopes and Fears after much loud hinting from me over the weekend when the Peeps were here. It's awesome.

Last night over dinner, we discussed, as couples who live together do, life: Last summer, I took advantage of a work furlough program that allowed me to take off one day of work per week for the entire summer. And they prorated my salary. And so I worked through whether or not I wanted to do that again this summer. Last summer, part of my reasoning was that I would use the extra day per week to write. I did not do this. Not even once. It turned into errand day. Every week. And then I reasoned that it was extra time with the children, by keeping them home with me that day a week (they are in summer school half of the summer)-- and that is nice.

But I have enough vacation days stored up that if I want to have extra time with the kids, I can take it while they are with me; however, during the summer, they are with me only half the time. And during the first half of the summer, they are in summer school (and that is a simple, financial reality), and during the second half, they go on a long vacation with their father. And I don't know that I can take the prorated salary this summer. I have a car payment that I didn't have last summer. So, after much discussion, I decided not to do the furlough this summer, but to use some well-placed vacation days instead. And maybe get a bit ahead of the game financially.

What did we talk about on our first Valentine's Day together?

I wonder if I wrote that down in a journal somewhere...

Sunday, February 13, 2005

The Unparalleled Genius of Christian

Well, I wish I had a wonderful and witty Sunday post, but I don't. It's been just a regular weekend with les enfants. I stayed up way too late Friday night because I unexpectedly had a group of chatters in my chat room (hurray!) and I have paid for it all weekend.

Yesterday, an unmemorable morning (meaning that it was probably spent drinking coffee and reading the tabloids), I took the children to see Racing Stripes with some friends. I had no idea what it was about, or whether or not it was animated. I loved it. It is a movie about a Zebra who wants to be a race horse. It is not animated. It had me snuffling at the end.

During the movie, at one point Christian asked me to check him for a fever. Nope. I asked him, little squirmy one, if he had to use the bathroom and he responded by nodding and bouncing up, so I led him out of the dark theater, and out into the hallway where he promptly threw up all of his popcorn and Sprite.

I hurried him to the bathroom, got a re-fill of Sprite and told them about the mess, and then returned to him. He did not throw up any more, and skipped all the way back to the theater and has been fine ever since. Hm.

Then, so Walmart for an hour, and the kids cashed their Christmas checks and went a-shopping. I had to veto several items. In the end, I only let Tommy spend $5.00-- on a whoopie cushion and a gumball machine (making you wonder what on earth I vetoed if I allowed him to buy the whoopie cushion). He just came over to sit by me. "You know that little tooter thingy? I have it in my pants." He is trying to make it work so that he can sit down, but it isn't working very well. Oh, there we go. Seven-year-old boys.

After Walmart, home and I had Sam vacuum and I put away groceries, having sent Dereck on an alcohol run (what did we do without cell phones?) because the Peeps were coming over in ten minutes.

Peeps, for those of you who are new, are my little cadre of medical students. We have not seen them very much this year at all (or actually, since June) because the second year has been very rigorous and we have had our schedule and they theirs. Allison got here first, so it was like a reverse surprise party. But they all came, and then we ordered a buffet of Chinese food, and made merry. It was a very pleasant evening, but one pear cider, Chinese food, and half a gin and tonic later, I was verrrry sleepy, so I headed for bed around 11:30 (the medical students having gone at 10:30 so they could get some studying in), after even the light reading of my tabloids couldn't keep me awake any longer.

This morning, les enfants let us sleep in, but I was still having a sleepy day. Took the dog for a nice long walk in the light rain and let her run in a puddly field for a delightful while.

And then it was time to do something I hate so much that I put it out of my head for the 364 days out of the year that I don't have to do it: Arm-wrestle the children into doing Supervise the children while they are doing their class Valentines. It's not rocket science: we don't make them ourselves. They just have to write two names on each one: theirs, and a classmate's. But for some reason, Tommy felt very put out that he had to give up time on his Sunday to do this. My job (aside from strong-arming bullying witholding Halo 2 keeping them company) was to tape a sucker (that I bought, because I am a nice person) to each Valentine, fold it, and tape it shut.

But I hate this because a) it's always a fight with some child about how tedious it is (and it is!) and because I don't love giving up my day off to fight with the children about Valentines, and sticking lollipops onto them. But we live in America. This is what we do.

I think this is Sam's last year doing them. Middle schoolers don't do them as a class. And tonight he was filling out paperwork for Middle school registration.

When did I get so old? In seven years, which is the sum total of time Tommy has thus been alive, I will sit at Sam's high school graduation.

I will be 42. Four years later, I will sit at Tommy's.

On second thought, here's to starting your family young!

p.s. I had to change the title and add this note: Christian just read his first "real" book of any length. He started, at 7:45 p.m., Werewolves Don't Go to Summer Camp, and finished it at 8:30 p.m. It is 91 pages long.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Hey you...

Yes, you. My blog says there are between four and five of you here right now. Let's go to the chatroom!

Z and J and Pie

Go here if you want to play.

Z

1) I started reading Z when I was seriously thinking about converting to Judaism, and then fell off a bit when I wasn't-- I think I was embarrassed. But we have found each other again (well, I don't think she ever lost me), and all is bliss. Z also has a son with special abilities, and she has a lot more courage and zing on her blog than I do. You think I have wonder woman boots? This woman has spurs coming out of hers.

2) Song: The Theme song to the TV show Survivor

3) Tank Girl

4) Nails. As in tough as.

Jay

1) You had one blog. Then, just like Lewis Caroll's snark, it vanished one day: "In the midst of the word he was trying to say/ in the midst of his laughter and glee/ he softly and silently vanished away/for the snark was a boojum, you see." (And yes, I did that from memory, thank you very much). You write for your LIVING, so you are a hero of sorts. And, more importantly, you like Dr. Pepper.

2) Song: Ode to Joy

3) Bruce Willis. I can't help myself-- you used to shave your head.

4) perspicuous.

Pie

1) A blogger I have met! A blogger I have met! I traveled across the country to meet you (er, and to go to a seminar) and when I met you and Rob, I knew that if we lived in the same town, we could totally hang out. Totally. And what you wrote in a meme last week on your blog (or was it this week?) completely broke my heart (not that it was in any way directed at me) on your behalf. If I had a magic wand, you are one of the people I would grant three wishes to, though I think I already know what they are: 1) world domination 2) a new back and 3)... well, you know. I don't think I have to tell you. But I will via email if you're curious.

2) A song: You know, your husband is in a band. So, I know I have to be very careful here. Hmmm...geez, can I cheat and go read your archives before I answer this? I actually want to use the same song for you that I used for Heith, and since this is the song I am feeling the strongest, I'll go for it: I'll Stop the World and Melt With You. By Modern English. I am sure you can appreciate the double meanings in the band's title.

3) Celebrity? That red-haired chick from your old blog template, one of those kick-ass anime creatures you make. They may not be celebrities though... Next would probably have to be the actress who plays Dawn on The Office.

4) Minion.

Who the Dooce is Dooce?

Who is Dooce?

Why should I care?

Did Dooce get a book deal?

Why should I care?

Thank God It is Friday

Today, a friend of mine and I were both having frustrating mornings for different reasons, and she had left her lunch at home, and did not have her car nor her house keys, so I swung down to get her and took her to our favorite coffeeshop for take out salads, brownies, and a bitch fest.

At the end, I was calmer, and had laughed a lot, and we got to the topic of blogging (I won't go into how), and she just started laughing again and said, "This is on the worldwide web, right?"

I nodded.

"So, you are basically inviting complete and total strangers to make nasty comments to you, right?"

I just nodded and laughed. I have been really fortunate to have escaped that so far. I think you are either a blogger or you aren't.

Actually, I just got off the phone with her, and she had sent me a longer email asking me about blogging. She has never seen a blog. So, I gave her some blogs to check out (not mine) : Kathy, Keri, Tom, and Bill and Stacey. She had the impression that blogs are just like paper journals all the time, with all of that personal information entailed. I said, "Well, that tends to be a real buzz kill." (I did not actually say that, but to summarize the entire conversation would take too long).

I have not yet eaten my lunch.

Last night, Dereck and I went out to dinner (at Il Spazio, where else?) and then hung out there and talked to people before heading over to see Sideways. I'm not gonna link to it again-- you know where to find it.

It was a little disappointing in the sense that I had heard how fabulous it was so much that I was like, "Well, it's a good movie. So?" And honestly-- WHAT is up with giving Thomas Haden Church the Oscar nod instead of Paul Giamatti? That is just stupid and highway robbery. It is so much easier to play cabernet than pinot noir, and that is all I will say about it in case my readers have not yet seen it.

So, the weekend is filling up already: Friday nights have turned into pizza, buffalo wings, dog trainer, Futurama, and Halo 2. Boy, do we have some things to work on with Goldie this week: 1) Come when you are called.
2) Stay, even when I am not playing with the tennis ball.
3) Do not eat that new, small, black kitty.

Tomorrow, taking the kids to a movie with a friend while Dereck goes and moves furniture for an hour. It's good to be the king. Then in the evening (can I say this? Do the peeps still have time to read my blog?) a birthday peep is coming over for dinner. And that's all I'm gonna say about that.

Sunday is, so far, wide open, just the way I like it.

Another hour has passed between the time I started this post and finished it. And I still haven't eaten my lunch.

How I See You, Continued...

Kathy Howe

1) We met through blogging, so we haven't actually met, but I do know what you look like (unless you have cut your hair again). And I would say that even while we share one brain about certain things and have a great deal in common, that the singlemost thing I think of when I think of you is how much you make me laugh, and how I have come to read your blog for that. Unless you are making me cry, but you know what I mean. You are a wicked funny woman.

2) Copacabana, by Barry Manilow, and you know why.

3) Celebrity? You are tall and thin... and I bet you could kick some real ass. So, I'm gonna have to go with Uma. You are even single and have children the same gender as Uma.

4) Kazoofus!

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Blogging for Books

I got this from Donna at Socamom. It seems like a cool thing to do. For more information you can stop by The Zero Boss.

For this Blogging for Books, write a blog entry (2,000 words or less, please) about a time when you took a risk in your life on someone or something - a new romance, a new career, a new home, etc. Were you successful beyond your wildest dreams - or did you crash and burn?


It was Friday December 29, 2001. I remember the day not only because it was the day I took the biggest risk of my entire life, but also because it was my youngest child’s third birthday.

In fact, until I found pictures of us celebrating his birthday earlier that week, for years, I didn’t think I had done anything to celebrate my Tommy’s birthday that year, and despite everything I had done on his behalf that day, I felt oddly negligent and depressed about it.

That morning, my husband Mark took our seven-year-old son Sam, my oldest son, and drove to visit family in Ohio. I stood at the glass door and waved to them, trying hard not to panic or burst into tears: I knew that while they were gone, I was going to be moving myself and the other two children out. And I knew that if my husband found out, he might leave my son in Ohio, and I might have a hard time getting him back.

The Friday before, I had driven 90 miles to see a therapist because I was terribly depressed, and terribly angry at my husband for nine years of shitty behavior.

I walked into the therapist’s office and started talking, and talked as fast as I could for twenty minutes, until she stopped me gently.

“You are being emotionally abused,” she told me.

It is one thing to hear it from your best friends. It is another entirely to hear it from a therapist, whom you have hoped for months to hear it from, but at the same time, dreaded hearing it from. She gave me some literature to read, and told me that she wanted me to call Victim Support Services.

I was horrified.

She explained, “We generally don’t encourage marriage counseling. Emotional abuse almost always results eventually in physical abuse. We always recommend that the woman leave.”

I resisted. The wives of college professors did not call Women’s shelters. We certainly did not go and live in them.

She said that she would work with me to gain my independence.

I went home and read the materials and saw my husband and my marriage there. I called my best friend from my basement and said, “I don’t know what is going to happen,” regarding leaving my husband.

She said, “I do. I just don’t know when.”

On Christmas Eve, I wore a knee-length brown, velour skirt for church. Mark did not like it. It was too short. I raised my chin a little and told him that I was going to wear it anyway.

At the grocery store later, I wanted to buy a bottle of wine to have with dinner, and we were told it was too early on a Sunday. Mark made a remark about, “Your liquor,” and I said, “Since when do you not drink alcohol?”

I never talked back to him. Ever. But I was behaving with the recklessness of someone who has nothing left to lose.

That night, I took Sam to Children’s Mass with me, and when I got home and had put the children to bed, I asked Mark if he wanted to come downstairs and watch a video. He was sitting on the couch outlining a textbook in yellow. It was Christmas Eve. It was Christmas break. He said he had reading to do.

The next morning, the children wanted to get out of bed, and he told them they had to wait, so they cried in their beds. He tossed a little wrapped pendant at me saying, “I guess I can’t get away with not getting you a present this year.”

I took five baths that day because I was sweating so much. And in my second bath, as I stared at my toes in the tub, I decided that I was going to leave. And what was more, I was not going to wait for months of therapy to do it: Mark was going out of town, and so when was there going to be a better time to do it? I had tried in August to get him to move out. No good. In November, I told him I was going to take the kids and find an apartment because I needed a separation. He told me maybe we should voluntarily check me into a mental hospital so I could “think things over.” That scared me so badly that I didn’t leave.

I finally insisted on therapy, though, and he found my therapist for me, out of town because, “You can’t tell people what an asshole I am.”

For the first time in our marriage, I was allowed to drive 90 miles away by myself.

On the day after Christmas, I went into town on the pretext of getting groceries, went to a friend’s house and burst into tears on her porch. “I have to use your phone. I have to call Victim Support Services.”

The woman on the line asked me, “So, you’ll be wanting a divorce then?” I had not even gone beyond the idea of getting out and physically away. I said, “Yes,” before I even thought it.

I asked her, “Is it illegal for me to move my children out of the house with me?”

No. It was not. But I had to make sure he didn’t know what I was doing so he wouldn’t cancel his trip to stop me. And I had to make sure that he did not find out and hide Sam in Ohio. “Nice, nice nice,” she told me.

I contacted my friend Rachel, who agreed to come down from a state away to help me. Victim Support Services told me not to take any communal property, and to think about the shelter.

Rachel said, “Fuck that. Take everything.”

I couldn’t think about the shelter. Not with three kids. That was just too awful, too foreign, too much.

Rachel offered to come down and help me find a place to live.

I was in my last semester of graduate school. I earned $888 a month. I didn’t know what I was qualified for or how I would live or where or whether I would get one dime from my husband. But I was leaving, I was focused, and I just didn’t allow myself to think about how it would be possible: I was simply going to do it.

That week, I applied on-line for new credit cards, looking behind me at the computer desk, hunched over nervously, my fingers ice cold and little deadweights on the keys. I kissed my husband goodbye, and had sex with him one last time before he left so he wouldn’t suspect anything.

I hurt the entire next day.

I packed Sam’s bags and as he drove up the road with Mark, I prayed, “Please don’t ever let me do anything so stupid ever again.”

I did not know that I would find a place to live later that day. I did not know that the most amazing team of people from my department would come to help me move with mini-vans and trucks.

I did not know that people would volunteer to stay with my younger children, and that two people would volunteer to ride out to the country with me at dusk to get my oldest child back.

I did not know that Rachel and her daughters would come and live with us and share baby sitting and expenses.

I didn’t know that I would be able to live on what I took from my joint savings account and my meager salary until I got my student loan check.

I didn’t know that in three months, I would meet the love of my life.

I did not know that I would not get any child support for more than a year. I did not know that I would be in court fighting for custody of my children for three days.

I did not know that I would be accused of lesbianism, pot-smoking, and child abuse, publicly, to my children's teachers, to my students at the university, to the community at large.

I did not know that I would win custody and child support eventually.

All I knew was that my oldest child was suddenly gone, and that I had four days to turn my entire life upside down and try to put it back together.

And then I closed the front door, went to the computer, and wrote Rachel an e-mail as we had arranged for me to do when he left. I wanted to start packing, and the e-mail I sent her had two words in it.

“I’m ready.”

How I See You

Heith
1) I met you in a creative writing class. You had black fingernails. You like vampires too. You wrote fiction, and our professor was prone to taking you apart at the seams. (Nothing particular to you, except maybe your gender).

2) Modern English: I'll Stop the World and Melt With You. Don't know why-- it just does.

3) Topher Grace. Don't be offended by that-- he's adorable. You are tall and thin and have dark hair like he does. You don't like your face, and I have no idea what is up with that.

4) Poised. n. A state or condition of hovering or being suspended.

Selina
1) You have the distinct honor of being the person I liked best at work. And then you quit. And went to medical school! And I am so proud of you! And every day I think this about you: "Dammit, why doesn't Selina have a cell phone so I can call her and see if she wants to have lunch with me?"
But even more than the fact that you are REAL and that you got me started blogging, you are an amazing earth momma. The way you parent and talk about your chirrens is an inspiration to me.

2) What song? "Natural Woman" by Aretha Franklin. Not because you make me feel like one; because you are one.

3) Celebrity. Hmmm... Well, I am gonna have to go with Jodie Foster because she is one of the few actresses who is intelligent enough to match you.

4) Devoted.

KJ Curiosity

1) This might be the hardest one to do because I am all verschmeldt about your comments earlier, and about your calling me on Monday to find out about Christian. I told you that you are my best friend. I talk to you every day, or nearly so, and I tell you everything. And I feel free of judgment when I do so. I love you unconditionally, and feel your unconditional love. When I think of the word "friend," I think of you.

2) Tom Jones, "Burning Down the House," What else?

3) Eric Stolz

4) Monkey.

More About Christian

I wrote this today in an email to someone who asked what the diagnosis means for Christian and the family.



The diagnosis doesn't really mean anything. We went down to get a diagnosis because the bottom line is that it is an insurance policy for him through college: it guarantees him an Individualized Education Program through then. And an IEP, as they are called, means that he will always be graded and tested based on his abilities, rather than his performance.



For example: he currently has an IEP because his IQ is higher than his language abilities, and if there is an imbalance, they work to try to even it out. However, as his language abilities have improved, he has become closer and closer to losing his IEP without the diagnosis.



And it is very odd that he has language deficits, because he is also gifted in written expression. His reading and writing and verbal IQ scores are all in the 130's. Math at 99 (almost dead average) pulls the composite IQ down to 116 (which is fine), so I did not know before Monday how high his IQ really is in those other areas.



It did not surprise me.



Fortunately, because Christian is very high functioning, nothing will change-- just a few adjustments at school.



Asperger's is along the same spectrum as autism: it is like autism in that there are some ritualistic behaviors, but more speech, and more social skills. For example: Christian can sit and play a board game with someone, but he can't initiate having the board game with another child. He could with an adult or a toddler, but not someone his own age without alienating the kid. This is minor problem. He is pretty isolated at school, but I have only heard him complain about it twice.



And Christian has some interesting "ritualistic" behaviors: He flaps his hands like a bird when excited, and likes to spin in a circle at recess, and likes to dance and hum frequently. He has also recently started beeping. Naturally, these are not serious problems-- they are actually kind of cute and endearing. But they will, in time, cause other kids to make fun of him. He can substitute for other things (Monday, he wasn't dancing or humming, so there was an awful lot of repetitive hand-sniffing going on).



But if you hung out with him, even if you noticed him doing one of these things, you probably would not think anything of it. Most people do not. He is just a little quirky. So, he and we are all very lucky-- he doesn't have a lot of the same troubles with transitions, textures, sounds, etc. that autistic children have.



And of course, I am biased. Christian is the funniest, smartest, wisest, most profound (as oppose to profane) child I have ever met (well, except his brothers-- but he is somehow wiser and more profound than they are). He is just a joy. And I am still just as fiercely protective of him as I ever was. Pity the fool that tries to come between me and that child.



I do think that I could kill someone with my bare hands.



What do you think? Could you?

Heith

1) I met you in a creative writing class. You had black fingernails. You like vampires too. You wrote fiction, and our professor was prone to taking you apart at the seams. (Nothing particular to you, except maybe your gender).



2) Modern English: I'll Stop the World and Melt With You. Don't know why-- it just does.



3) Topher Grace. Don't be offended by that-- he's adorable. You are tall and thin and have dark hair like he does. You don't like your face, and I have no idea what is up with that.



4) Poised. n. A state or condition of hovering or being suspended.

How Do I See You?





I found at Kazoofus:



1. Reply with your name and I will write something about you.



2. I will then tell what song[s] remind me of you.



3. Next, I will tell you who you remind me of, celebrity/animated or otherwise.



4. Last, I will try to name a single word that best describes you.



5. Put this in your journal.

Fairies Live There

That is the title of the new picture in my top, left-hand corner.



Amy, is it okay if I use it? I stand corrected on the title.



Amy is the photographer, and she gave it to me, framed, for Christmas, so I didn't think she'd mind if I used it here.



So, friends in blogland, what kinds of weekend plans do you have?

Amy's Falls


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Amy's Dragon Sit


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Amy's Black and White


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Amy's Mother's Day (She says it really was)


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Amy's Great Blue Heron Project


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Amy's Great Blue Heron Project 2


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Amy's Reflections


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Amy's Reflections 2


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Amy's New England Beauty


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Amy's Magic


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Thursday

This morning, as we speak, there is a cleaning woman at my house giving Dereck an estimate. Last night, we discussed how much we thought we could afford to pay per month. And then we discussed putting an ad in the student newspaper for a new student.



The cleaning service wants us to (sigh) pick up before they come. I suppose we will have to ask them to define that: get things off the floor, or tidy or what? Jen, our college student who had the nerve to graduate in December, used to pick up AND clean.



And Erin, our babysitter whom we LOVE, has supposedly been Jen's replacement, but she was in a car accident and has been suffering from migraines, and I feel badly for her, but my house ain't getting any cleaner. If she cancels again today, we are just going to have to replace her, though I think that is what we are heading for already. But I keep her in babysitting money and pay her outrageous amounts of money because she is availabe at the drop of a hat, has her own wheels, and she is a college graduate now, for crying out loud.



I have been having conversations via email with another Jen, about girly things like shoes, clothes, makeup, and cleaning, and how to juggle it all. She is definitely more put together than I am. But today I made an effort: flat ironed the hair, contacts, makeup, and a pink shirt, brown pants, brown over shirt, pink socks, red Mary Janes.



If the Mary Janes weren't scuffed and if I had taken the time to iron the pants, I'd almost look put together today.



Yesterday, I ironed on a cat hair-free surface: the computer chair in our TV room. Burned two holes into it.



So, today I didn't iron. It's a simple as that.



Pets



I have to say: Kittens make everything just a little bit better. I love my adults cats (well, I tolerate Tofutti and I love her in the sense that if anything bad happened to her I'd be sad) and I love my puppy, but I ADORE Rufus. He is just the perfect kitten. Very inquisitive, capable of getting onto surfaces I've seen older kittens struggle with, and very very affectionate. He is all about the people.



I love my puppy, as I said. And I was pining for a dog. And then I had dog shock in which I found out how much like children they are: they are LOUD. And messy. And demanding. And so overjoyed to see us that it's heartbreaking.



And she has started resisting her training, so last night, I locked Rufus in the bathroom, and took Goldie out of her kennel and put her through her paces. But she definitely obeys only for praise, and only when she has her tennis ball. So, I took the ball away, and was more firm with her and less fervent with my praise. In fact, you might say, I was a little pissed. But it's not her fault. It's just another thing we have learned: when you get nasty viruses and are on your deathbed for a week, your dog backpedals in her training.



I am definitely not alpha yet. Oh, but I will be.



But Rufus has actually made me want to spend more time with all of my pets and to pay more attention to them-- the love just radiates. And they are all getting more cream, more bites of tuna and trout after dinner, and generally more sucking up so they won't be too angry about Rufus.

Wednesday, February 9, 2005

The Unparalleled Genius of Jenorama

  • I found out now why you need an iPod: you can't play your iTunes on your computer without iTunes as your player.

  • I can't download iTunes at work.
  • How long does it take Netflix to send you movies? If I ordered some today, would I have them by Friday night?

  • How is this advantageous to actually going to the video store, where I can see everything displayed?
  • Are iPods worth the money? Really? A mini or a regular size? I think the shuffle one would not do-- I am more of a control freak than I care to admit.

His name is Rufus.

As in Rufus Wainwright, and if you don't know Rufus's music, you should.



Man, last night I had been around the kids for less than an hour before they were on my last nerve. I took them to the grocery store, and had to deal with Tommy having fits because he likes the kitty name Shadow, and then trying to navigate the grocery store with Tommy playing hide and seek, and God love Sam, but that child never. stops. talking. About just everything that comes into his head. (My dad is laughing right now-- my parents got their revenge times three). Then, Tommy was sulking to he wandered over and coaxed a free balloon from the florist. We go out to the car, and it's a freakin' blizzard outside, and Sam is helping me with the groceries, and accidentally bumps Tommy, who lets go of the free balloon-- major meltdown. I order them back into the store for another balloon, start the car, and sneak a few drags of a cigarette, crouched where Christian can't see me.



Things finally calmed down, and we had a nice evening-- Dereck is feeling a little under the weather now, and I fell asleep with the younger two (as per usual), and this time I got up when Sam beckoned me, tucked him in, and then told Dereck, who'd been lying on the couch, that it was time for bed.



We don't go to bed before midnight. Ever. But last night, we stayed home from Karaoke, and we were both tucked in and falling asleep by 10:30 p.m. I am over my cold now, but still sleepy-- but it's really amazing that Dereck went to sleep so early. We took kitty precautions by shutting Rufus out of our room, and he did not disturb us. He has figured out that he has a friend in Mr. Kitty and that Mr. Kitty will play with him. Mr. Kitty played with Boone too, the kitty we lost, whom we got from Don and Linda one year ago today.



Goldie is very excited about the new kitty. I asked Dereck, "Do you think she wants to eat him?"



"I think she wants to run after him very fast, and I don't think the kitty would have much of a chance."



So, while Goldie may not want intentionally to hurt Rufus, we have decided that keeping them away from each other for now is the best plan. I think they will be friends when they are older, but Rufus is barely bigger than my beanie babies (I introduced him to one this morning).



This morning was another cry-fest. Christian started crying because school wasn't cancelled (even though I told him last night that it hadn't snowed enough). Tommy started crying because he just hates school and having to do work all day. I just told him, "That is LIFE. Don't you think I get bossed around all day and have to work all day? Get used to it, get over it, and get dressed."



I realized that I hadn't exactly given him much in life to look forward to, so I added, "That is why we appreciate it so much when we do get to play."



I'm such a weanie-- but I am not caving on the No video games during the week rule. I am sorry his seven-year-old life is so hard. Tough.



THEN, I heard Sam crying in the bathroom! Good grief! "Great, now I have three out of three. What happened?"



"The kitty jumped up on me when I was on the potty, and I told him not to."



Sam had bare legs, and I think the kitty scratched him a little. But, honestly. I have a pretty compassionate, "Crying is okay," philosophy at my house, but these kids need to toughen up a leetle bit. I said, "Well, maybe I should just take him back to the shelter, if you can't deal with a little tiny cat."



Grr.....



Sam dried his tears, everybody dried their tears, got dressed, ate something, and we got to school on time.



But some days. Let me tell you. Some days are like nails down a chalkboard.

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Monkey Meme

Stolen from the Monkey.



1. LIVING ARRANGEMENTS

One house, one mortgage, three bedrooms, one boyfriend, three sons, one dog, five cats, three fish, one car, one mini-van, two computers that work, one that doesn't, one laptop, two cellphones, one stereo, one portable CD player, two televisions, two DVD players (not including the two on computers and one on the laptop), two VCR's, one X-Box, one Game Cube, and one Game Boy.



2. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING?

Undead and Unemployed by Mary Janice Davidson.



3. WHAT’S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?

My mouse



4. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BOARD GAME?

Monopoly or Risk or Scrabble



5. FAVORITE MAGAZINE?

US Weekly, In Touch, Star and People (this meme is starting to feel familiar).



6. BABIES?

Taste of chicken.



7. FAVORITE SOUNDS?

My children's little voices, which I should record more so I can capture them before they change.



Mostly when Tommy snuggles and gets really nasal: "You are so CUTE! You have a squishy butt."



8. WORST FEELING IN THE WORLD?

That feeling of having been punched hard in the gut when no one has touched you. For me, it is generally related to fears of job insecurity.



9. FIRST THING YOU THINK OF IN THE MORNING?

Coffee. Coffee. Run bath. Wake up kids. Coffee. Blog.



10. HOW MANY RINGS BEFORE YOU ANSWER THE PHONE?

Home - many, if at all. Cell – depends on how long it takes me to find it.



11. What happened to eleven?



12. FUTURE CHILD’S NAME?

Whiskers or Fido.



13. WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT IN LIFE?

That my children live LONG, HAPPY, HEALTHY lives.



14. FAVORITE FOODS?

brie, challah, anything with melted cheese, doritoes, salsa, asparagus, trout, shrimp, filet mignon, rare, at Minn's with the wine sauce, creme brulee, tiramisu, Il Spazio's hot, wilted salad...



15. CHOCOLATE OR VANILLA?

Chocolate. God! Do you even have to ask?



16. DO YOU LIKE TO DRIVE FAST?

Two speeding tickets in twelve months. You do the math.



17. DO YOU SLEEP WITH A STUFFED ANIMAL?

I slept with two beanie baby kitties before we got Sirius/Jasper/Shadow. Is Dereck an animal?



18. STORMS - COOL OR SCARY?

Cool and Scary.



19. WHAT TYPE WAS YOUR FIRST CAR?

1989 Grand Am. I still see it at a gas station in town. It still exists. All the way from Ohio, 1991.



21. FAVORITE ALCOHOLIC DRINK?

Chocolate martini, natch.



22. WHAT IS YOUR ZODIAC SIGN?

Taurus-- sign of the bull.



23. DO YOU EAT THE STEMS OF BROCCOLI?

Yes – what an odd question.



24. IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY JOB YOU WANTED WHAT WOULD IT BE?

I used to say writer. Now, indeed, I write all day. Creative writer.



25. IF YOU COULD DYE YOUR HAIR ANY COLOR WHAT WOULD IT BE?

I do dye it any color.



26. EVER BEEN IN LOVE?

Yes. I'm in love now.



27. IS THE GLASS HALF EMPTY OR HALF FULL?

I really really want to steal Karl's answer for this.



28. FAVORITE MOVIE(s)?

English Patient. Sense and Sensibility. Chariots of Fire. Before Sunset. Good Will Hunting. Big Night. Queen Margot. Amelie. Jean de Florette. Richard II. I could go on and on-- who could choose just one?



29. DO YOU TYPE WITH YOUR FINGERS ON THE RIGHT KEYS?

Yes, Karl.



30. WHAT’S UNDER YOUR BED?

Cat hair, unmatched socks, old purses, bathroom scale, barrettes that fall off the nightstand, change, dust bunnies, and sometimes, now a wee black kitty.



31. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE NUMBER?

I am going to stop answering this question, because I DON'T HAVE ONE. Why would anybody have a favorite number? Don't say the lottery.



32. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SPORT TO WATCH?

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Next.



33. SAY AT LEAST ONE NICE THING ABOUT THE PERSON YOU COPIED THIS LIST FROM?

God, can he write. He gives great hugs. Great hair. Best friend.



34. PERSON MOST LIKELY TO PUT THIS IN THEIR OWN BLOG?

Keri? No. Heith.



35. HOW OLD DO YOU FEEL?

35.



36. BEACH, MOUNTAINS OR CITY?

Mountains!!! or city. Chicago.



37. TECHNOLOGY OR ART?

I should say art, right? But take a look at "Living Arrangements" and you tell me.



39. COMEDY OR HORROR

COMEDY.



40. FAVORITE TIME OF DAY?

Lying down with the kids and talking, and then right after they are asleep-- then, for however many precious minutes or hours before I go to sleep, the day is mine.

Sirius Black

I am doing fine today, (thanks, Luce), and I realized when I came home

to eat with kitty today that there were pictures of he and hi

slittermates on the kitty shelter website (Oh, yes, I knew about him in

advance, though I went yesterday originally for an adult calico, who

was adopted an hour and half before I got there), so for your viewing

pleasure...






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Monday, February 7, 2005

A Long Day

I got up at 5:50 a.m. today and got Christian up and ready, and then drove sleepily 90 miles for our doctor's appointment. As I was navigating buildings and parking lots, I thought to myself, "Signs, People. It cannot be that hard." Christian actually had ridden down with the Ex who came to pick him up, and so I found them in a waiting room, Christian watching Green Acres on Ex's laptop.



It was 8:55 a.m., and they had just gotten there as well (we shared pleasantries about how ill-labeled everything was).



We were there until noon, and saw, intermittently: a speech therapist, a nurse practitioner (Christian's and my favorite-- he was very nice and funny-- everyone was nice); social workers; and finally, the doctor. In the meantime, we filled out inventories and answered questions, "Does he refuse to eat foods of certain textures? Some children will eat only yellow foods." "Uh, no."



And at the end of our time, we did finally get a diagnosis, thanks in large part to the dedication of Christian's teacher putting together such good records for us, so we didn't have to repeat a bunch of testing. I found out some surprising information about how high Christian's IQ is-- I had looked at the composite, not separate components before today. I hope that he got that from me.



Fortunately, this has been a slow and long day coming. I knew going

down that the diagnosis would be either Asperger's or Autism, and so

it wasn't a surprise. Christian has Asperger's. And the doctor actually said a lot of the same

things you did: why do we need a diagnosis? How will this benefit the

child? And I was the one who said, "Pardon my ignorance, but isn't

this diagnosis relatively recent? I don't seem to remember hearing

this term when I was a child." Truly, they have been using this

diagnosis only for about 15-20 years, and are still trying to

understand it.



Basically, they look at speech development, developmental delays, talk to the child, look at IQ tests, and they say: Okay, does this child exhibit behaviors, some ritualistic behaviors, that make him/her stand out from other children? And to what degree? Christian flaps his

hands, hums, tips his head to the side and spins (during his entire

recess, which bothers his teacher more than it bothers him), and

dances and hums. And right now he is beeping a little bit. But he is

easily brought out of it-- it has just been mentioned the past couple

of years at parent/teacher conferences, so we decided to nail down a

diagnosis for his IEP (he has one, for speech, but he almost doesn't

qualify anymore, and we want safeguards through high school and

college because it does take him longer to complete his work than

other children). He does also tend to say inappropriate things at inappropriate times (which Selina once told me that I do, when I asked her if she thought I had Asperger's and she said, "Yes, a little bit.")



So, as the EX told the doctor today, "I don't want you to think we are

using you, but basically, what you have given us (her diagnosis) is

exactly what we came down for today." And it was-- I fully expected

to walk home with the diagnosis in my purse, and indeed I have.



But I was really a wreck BEFORE the appointment-- I was told to

possibly expect MRI's, further referrals, blood draws, talks with a

dietician (possibly about a gluten-free diet), and weekly appointments

after this, etc. etc. etc. I really thought that this had the

potential to open a huge can of worms-- and time will tell. He is

eight. But he is so high-functioning (outside of the behaviors I

described, and social isolation, he really doesn't have any transition

problems, doesn't prefer only foods with certain textures, makes

transitions easily, has some social skills and makes some eye contact,

has empathy, is affectionate) that we said, "What is our next step?"

And she said, "Well, talk to the school and get the IEP revised."



That's pretty much it. Find an OT in this little place to do the

sensory integration therapy.



But I will cop to feeling significantly sorry for myself that I

overrode my partner's explicit No Kitty wishes to get a kitten today. Christian and I went out to lunch at the mall, picked up some Calvin and Hobbes and Vampire smut at the bookstore, and then I drove straight to our kitty shelter, did not pass go, did not collect $200, and adopted a 9-week old black kitten, whose name is either Shadow or Sirius Black (we'll see who wins: children, or Mommy).-- I have been having New Kitty Urges for a couple of months (since we lost a kitty)-- and today I indulged. Which is, I think, symptomatic of some need to self-indulge. Saturday evening, walked into that party (I think I

mentioned this on the blog), and literally walked back home to call

Mommy. And then yesterday during a super bowl party at my friend

Bob's house? They hadn't even kicked off yet when I went upstairs to

use the guest bathroom, saw the cozy guestbed and just kicked off my

shoes and lay down. Got up in time for my second favorite Beatle, a

beer, and then left. Hmm... Sleeping during other people's parties

when I'm sober-- does that suggest a little bit of shutting down and

avoidance?



But it's over now, and I fell asleep tonight with the little boys, and woke up to find their arms stretched out beneath my head on the pillow, which has never happened before and brings me almost to tears as I am writing, and also makes me think wryly, "Aren't their arms going to hurt?"



This should be an indication of how relieved I currently feel: I have meetings tomorrow at work and then other stuff that usually makes me so p.o.'ed with frustration that I am tempted to step outside for a smoke. And I don't even mind.



Sirius Black is trying to help me type, so I am going to take him to bed with a book and call it a night.

Sunday, February 6, 2005

Sunday Morning

Well, after a week, I have to say that I am not completely well (after you have had pneumonia, if you have any twinges, you fear), but I think I am doing okay. Physically, anyway.



I stayed home Friday and slept. Karl came to town, but I did not go out Friday night, because in the land where Jen lives, if you are too sick to go to work, you are also too sick to go out. So, I stayed home with salad, popcorn, a huge puppy, and two bad movies. But I like bad movies, so it was fine.



Dereck had a good time going out. He had not such a good time yesterday. I did some house cleaning yesterday and as the day wore on, I got progressively more nervous and tense about the doctor appointment I have for Christian tomorrow morning, 90 miles away, involving two hours and a team of experts. Yee haw. I am feeling slightly less tense today after calling my parents last night.



Yesterday afternoon, I walked over to Bob's where Karl and Mary H. and Bob had lit the chimenea in the backyard, and were constructing a Burroughs-esque tome for Arnie and Alanna's annual Groundhog Day party. I got cold after about an hour, and went home (calling Dereck to come and pick me up, halfway home), and after I got home, we downloaded iTunes and started listening to music recommendations from Chris at Rude Cactus. I put myself on a budget, but cautiously downloaded some tunes... only to find that we geniuses don't have a CD burner on this computer... But I can email the songs, so all is not lost.



Last night, we went over to our babysitter's to check out the cat, who is actually a blue tortoiseshell, not a calico, and not really that friendly. We declined to take the cat with us, and then headed over to the party. I walked through the party once, and suddenly felt like I was going to crawl out of my skin. I just couldn't sit and make small talk, couldn't drink because I've been sick, and I just told Dereck, I'm going home. I came home, called my folks, listened to my new music (actually, that is when I downloaded the songs), and read a book, and felt better by the time Dereck walked in after midnight.



We have plans to go see Sideways this afternoon, though to tell you the truth, I am just enjoying staying home. Dereck saw it last weekend. The kids are coming home tonight at 8:00 and I will feel better, I think, once I have Christian here and can just touch him and hold him. Mark is driving Christian down tomorrow, and I will follow, and then I'll drive Christian back home. I just want it to be over with. I know that it is not really going to change anything-- I can't explain why I'm so tense. But I am. So there.



Our friend David, who is dying of stomach and liver cancer, was at the party last night, which threw me off not because of his altered appearance (which I had heard about), but because I've been sick and didn't want him to get sick because of me. But it was great that he came out.



There is always, it seems, something to remind me that my problems are really not that big.

Friday, February 4, 2005

This Virus

This virus is pretty much making the rounds of this little town.



Selina described it perfectly:



"We've both had colds this week- mine began first; this virus knocks you on your rear and renders you senseless in a cyclic every-two-days-you-will-not-get-out-of-bed fashion (in addition to giving you nightmares about suffocating and intruders trying to break into your house through your window but you can't scream and you should get up this is just a dream but is it real go get Scott I can't move oh god oh god I can't move---wake up sobbing, rinse, repeat)."

Friday Bullets

  • I am at home resting today, after having completed my deadlines and obligations the past two days.

  • I cannot remember the last time a cold knocked me out this much.
  • You will all be happy to know that Christian's Orange is still alive and well, and has now joined his friend Colorful Paper Bag, and they are sitting on the kitchen table together reading Calvin and Hobbes.
  • Last week, our Dog Whisperer tried to convince us to adopt a new kitty: Smokie, male, neutered, de-clawed, belonging to someone with allergies. We declined after many discussions.
  • Last night, our baby sitter called and said there is just the friendliest little calico hanging around her house. I made Dereck call her back [he is the one who primarily is not ready for more pets, so he can deliver the news this time]. He told her to call us this morning if it was still hanging around. He reasoned that it might be someone's pet, as our own very friendly Boone Kitty was prone to hanging out with other people. I said, "And it it's not somebody else's pet, she would call us back why????" He shrugged cryptically.

  • No calls yet...

Thursday, February 3, 2005

More Answahs

For Lucy, whom I miss when she goes off the radar for a day or two...



Q1. Why Mary Janes?

I love Mary Janes! They are just a cute, feminine, girlish kind of shoe, and I only have one pair, but I don't think I could ever have too many.



Q2. What is your first childhood memory favorite breakfast?

Funny you should ask. I actually own a fabulous cookbook called The Breakfast Book, but my favorite breakfast comes from Anne Lamott's book Operating Instructions. Mind you, I haven't had this in years. But here it is: You take some nice soft buns, kaiser rolls. You dip them in egg mixture (with a wee bit of Bailey's in it) and then roll them in ground up graham crackers mixed with cinnamon. Then you slab them with cream cheese and press blueberries into the cream cheese. Make a sandwich out of it. Then fry it up in butter, til the cream cheese has melted all over the blueberries, pour on real maple syrup and eat. There is nothing like it.



Q3. Do you remember your first poem? No, I don't think I do. I have been writing poetry since I was so young, and so many of them... I do remember one from sixth grade I wrote about thunderstorms. I don't remember it that I could write it out, but I remember the storm, and I remember writing it and feeling like I was a poet.





Brought to you by the girl who does the book meme and Heith.



1. What is your opinion of poetry? Do you love it, hate it, can't live without it, or wish all poets would be stranded on a desert isle?


I adore it. I majored in creative writing as an undergrad writing poetry, and did a creative thesis (booklength collection of poems) for my master's thesis. I have often said it's my true religion, and the reason I exist. Though for shame! I haven't written it much lately.





2. What is your favorite poem? Copy and paste it here in your answer (and yes, if your favorite poem happens to be a dirty limerick, so be it- share away).



My favorite? I don't know if I have one. I will have to go home and look. I'll edit later.





3. Do you have a favorite poet or a favorite collection of poetry? Along the same vein, is there a particular poet that you don't really care for? Why?



Wow. I have a ton of collections at home. From memory: Wayne Dodd, Stanley Plumly, Jane Miller, Donald Ravel, James Wright, James Dickey, Naomi Shihab Nye, Agha Shahid Ali, Galway Kinnell, Lucille Wright, Donald Hall, Jane Kenyon, Tess Gallagher, Gertrude Stein, of course-- I am missing so many.



I would say that I don't care for some stiff 19th century poets. Not a big fan of Tennyson.

4. Do you consider songs to be a form of poetry? Why or why not?



Some songs. Natalie Merchant is a poet. You know, I consider some photographs to be poetry. I wouldn't say that my definitions match everyone else's.

5. Do you write poetry? If so: 1) would you consider posting one of your poems with your answer so we may all read it; and 2) what inspires you to write your poetry?

Natch. This is the title poem from my Master's thesis. Truthfully, it's probably also my favorite.



Dust In Its Infinite Lightness



Dust, in its infinite lightness,

can double the weight of a mattress in ten years.



You stand at the foot of the bed. The sheet, a blue canopy,

hovers and rests for a moment on dust or air, inertia,

the energy of its own rise before it falls.



Physics tells you a feather will fall at the same speed as a brick,

but the sheet wafts down unevenly, rests and settles,

wrinkled on the bed for you to straighten.



You can think of these things, physics and weight,

ten years of accumulated dust,

the cleaning and the straightening and the crawling into bed,



or remember how the breeze lifts the curtain,

and the sun catches dust in a stream of light,

while you stand, arms raised, attached to the sheet



that billows out before you on the air.


They call me Jen...

I have a thought for you to ponder. For the first time in about 17 years (since I first began going by the name), it struck me as completely weird that my name is now "jen" instead of "jennifer" and that people actually refer to me by this name in the workplace. Does that ever seem weird to you? When I was growing up, there were no "Jens." Only Jennys and Jennifers. I was a Jenny once. But in college: I became Jen. Because there were five Jennifers on my floor.



My mother likes to call me Jenny Penny. What is interesting is that my family spells my name Jenn. We have never talked about it. I sign it back to them Jenn. But to everyone else, it's just three little letters: J-e-n. Jen. I don't know why, probably because I am still sick, but it just strikes me as a little bizarre today.

Do you have a nickname? How and when did you get it? What do you prefer to be called, and by whom?

This is Karl

This is my little fulcrum monkey

friend, and his stunning little niece.  He is going through a bit

of a rough patch, and as seems to be the case with rough patches and

friends, this means he thinks he wants to stop blogging.  Which

will send Jenorama into a spiralling depression and might per chance

interfere with HER blogging.  So, will you please go to his blog

and beg him not to stop?  For me?  Please???  I'm not

trying to TELL him what to do.  I'm just begging is all.
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Answahs

Given the fact that I am still woozy and ill today, I asked Karl, who knows me better than I know myself, for a little help with these. I agreed with his answers.



KathyHowe:

1. I like best about myself the fact that I found the strength to assert my independence, and I'll never go back.



2. The more I think about reincarnation (I didn't have to ask Karl about this), the more I think that it is really the only possible solution. My children actually just naturally came to this life with a firm belief in reincarnation, which I have reinforced at every possible turn. The other day, I wrote in my journal this quote from Tommy: "God blows up the universe and then goes back to the Star Trek again."



And I think what he meant by this is that we are just going to do this and then start over again and again and again-- what else is there to do? Christian in particular likes to design what his future lives will be like (i.e. what creatures he will be), and because he wants me to be his mother in every future life, naturally, I agree to be, in turns: a T-Rex, a snow leopard, a dragon, an ant, and other things I cannot remember.



3. My pet peeve is people who try to control me, limit me, or tell me what to do.



Jay:



1. Favorite boardgame? Monopoly, followed closely by Scrabble and Risk.

2. Favorite City? Seattle, followed by Savannah and New Orleans.

3. Sweet or bitter?



Heith:



Q: What's the most dangerous thing you've ever done (it doesn't have to be physical danger.. but it can be)? Let my son leave with my husband to go to Cleveland when I was planning to move out while he was gone.



Q: Who would you say has had the biggest positive impact on your life? My ex-husband, because being married to him and then leaving him have been the defining events of my life. I have learned everything about who I am and who I still want to be from that marriage, hence that man. Sad, isn't it?



Q: What figure from history (any time period) do you most admire and why? You know, this even surprises me, but I think I'm going to have to go with Gertrude Stein. I am always thinking about the Paris of her time, and longing to go to Paris and pretend like Hemingway is just around the corner. But I think her life was successful: she was partnered successfully, she was brilliant and she knew it, she didn't apologize for any parts of her life: her appearance (mannish and round); her bluntness; her arrogance. She was a famous writer, who is not well-loved, but once you understand what she was attempting, she becomes brilliant. And she hung out with Picasso, for crying out loud, and saw him and saw herself for the geniuses they were. They were in the moment and they knew it. That seems so rare to me.



But I did not really realize that until you asked.