Monday, February 27, 2012

Michael Jackson Is NOT A Mummy

I have been wanting to see the Mummies Of The World exhibit at Discovery Place for a while now, and keep saying "We need to go!"  Unfortunately there's a babysitter shortage in my world, which means that little things like that are firmly on the back burner.

Yesterday we were taking the kids there for an outing when I said it again "Man, I'd like to see that... but it ends in April."  Hub says "Well, lets go!  The kids will be OK."  (They are 5 and 7).

I had my doubts.  I worried that E (who is 5) would be scared, have nightmares, all that jazz.  She surprised me by saying "I know they're not REAL monster mummies.  I want to see!"  So, I agreed (somewhat warily, it must be said).

I shouldn't have worried about E.

No, I should have worried about my 7 year-old, A.
A really got into the exhibit, learning about putrefaction, body preservation, bones, etc.  I thought she was really getting it.

Then we came upon a mummy, blackened with age and dressed in clothes... his name was Michael.  A asked (quite loudly, in a very quiet exhibit) "Momma, is that Michael Jackson?"

*cue titters from fellow exhibit-goers nearby

Me:  "No, baby, that's NOT Michael Jackson.  Michael Jackson is dead, but he's not a mummy."
A:  "But yeah, that one time."
Me:  (blank stare)
A:  "You know, dancing and singing... he was a mummy!"

*head slap*
I knew I shouldn't have shown her the "Thriller" video.

I never thought I'd be explaining the difference between zombies and mummies to a 7 year-old in the middle of a very somber mummy exhibit.

Shouldn't Scooby Doo have already covered this?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Food's Best Friend

Flicker of Inspiration writing prompt: Commitment



The background noise is barely discernible over the hum of dinner conversation and pleas to the kids to “Eat, for the love of God!”  It’s a small sound, but always there.

She sits quietly waiting for her moment, fully believing that someone will take pity on her.  She is a good girl, after all, and isn’t she sitting so nicely?  She radiates the message “Look at me!  I’m good.  I’m cute.  Someone feed me!”  When someone shoots her a look the sound ramps up expectantly, like a little drum. 

Thump, thump, thump, thump. 


False alarm.  No treat.

Day after day, meal after meal, she sits quietly and waits.  She waits through breakfast, lunch, dinner, and she waits through snacks.  Olive never misses a meal.  Though she only gets a treat at dinner, she isn’t deterred; her commitment is unfailing.  Nobody eats a meal without an audience if she can help it.  Not ever.

Olive is no fool. 
She waits quietly because there might be crumbs to be had; crumbs, and the sneaky, sticky hands of children slipping goodies under the table.  It’s the unexpected windfalls that keep her dedication strong, and keep her tail tapping happily against the baseboards.


Thump, thump, thump, thump.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Fool For Love

In and out, ‘round and about… every pass seems wrong.
I jump in, I fade out; hope spins a tale never realized.
What do you call one who hears but doesn’t listen, and who sees but doesn’t understand?
The fool.  The fool inside.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dear Araminta

{For the inspiration link-up at Write (hand-write or type) a letter to someone you've never met as part of the February Letter Writing Campaign. Letter writing is a lost art in this world of social media, texting, and short-hand.}

Dear Araminta,

It’s been a long time… 126 years, to be exact.  It’s been that long since you saw the sky, the trees, and  breathed the still, stifling air of a Georgia summer.  That number shocks me… could it really have been that long ago?  I only found you a few years ago, and you are as real to me now as you ever were then.

You fascinate me, Araminta.  I could call you Grandma, but I won’t… you are so much more than that.  You are an enigma, a woman of mystery, and I don’t want to reduce you to someone’s grandmother, wife, or mother… you saw enough of that during your lifetime.   I know that you lost your parents at a young age; that you were probably seen as a burden to be married off as soon as possible.  I know that you married young, and took on the identity of Mrs. J.H. Dunn, farmer’s wife from Georgia.

It was your name that drew me in at first.  Araminta… so lovely, and like nothing I’d ever heard before.  When I mention you (and I do, often), my husband looks at me with mock horror and says that it’s a good thing our daughters were born before I found you, otherwise there would be a little Araminta running around.  He doesn’t find your name quite as beautiful as I do.

I wonder if it is normal, in the process of researching your family history, to become attached to one particular person?  Maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t, but I am certainly captivated by you, Araminta, and have been since the day I ‘found’ you and realized the inherent mystery in you, and the unexplainable connection I felt to you.

Did you know that those census-takers who visited your home butchered your name every time?  And that when you died there in Van Wert, your name wasn’t spelled properly on your tombstone?  It infuriates me, but I try not to let it get to me… I know that not everyone in rural Georgia was as smart as you.  I know from the census documents that it was you ‘just a farmer’s wife’ who knew how to read and write, and that many in your area (including your own husband) did not.  I try not to be upset with my Grandfather, or the stone-carver responsible for your memorial.  Maybe they did the best they could.

I don’t know where you came from.  I don’t know who your parents are, or what your life was like before you married my Grandfather.  I know that you were orphaned, you married young, and died young.  I also know one more thing:  you are my personal goal.  I will find out one of these days what your life was, who you were, and where you came from.  I will make sure that everyone knows that you were more than just a farmer’s wife.

That is my promise to you, Araminta. 

Your 3rd Great-Granddaughter,

Monday, February 20, 2012

Invisible Woman

The calendar changes and the days tick away... I move like a ghost.  I cry out, I bang doors, just hoping someone will notice me, that someone will see me and acknowledge that I am here.

A cog in the machine... nobody notices it until it stops working, and then only long enough to fix it.  Then, it's back to obscurity until the next time.

It's all the same.  The comparisons are endless, but it's all the same.  I'm invisible.

I hate being invisible, but I don't know how to fix it.  I want to be seen, known, appreciated.  Does that sound selfish?  I guess it probably does.  Some days I feel such a longing for a connection that I can physically feel my soul hurting.

I am invisible.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Don't Allow Your Wounds To Turn You Into A Person You Are Not

I like this.  It's never too late to take good advice to heart, right?

Right.  :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Busted... Again.

If you have kids, you know the three words that every parent dreads and works very hard to avoid hearing.

"Is Santa real?"  No, not that one... not today anyway.
"I hate you!"   Been there, done that.
"Son of Bitch!"  (said in the voice of the dude learning English on Stripes)  Not yet, but if I don't watch my mouth, it's coming.

Nope.  The phrase I had in mind was [drumroll please]:

I got that one this morning.
What did I do?  We ate at Taco Bell, and I thought I'd get away with it.
'We' meaning me and Ella.  Alone.  Without Anna.

I broke the Cardinal rule of parenting (as written by kids):  Never (and I mean NEVER) take one kid out for a good lunch when the other is stuck at school eating cafeteria food.  (I think this is a good time to note that kids obviously have a very warped idea as to what constitutes a 'good' lunch.)

I did it, I'm guilty.  Ella was home sick on Monday, and after a visit to the doctor we got lunch from the Taco Bell drive-thru.  We didn't even eat in the building, so it's no big deal, right?  Wrong.  Deep down I knew this, and braced myself for school pick-up, when I just KNEW E would spill the beans.

Nothing.  Very curious....

By the time Tuesday rolled around, I thought I was in the safe zone... I got away with it!  Still no mention of the Taco Bell ace up her sleeve, and I wasn't complaining!  It was a lovely day, and the kids didn't even complain that they didn't get the EXACT SAME THING for Valentine's Day.

I was feeling relieved, and a little awed that it was a non-event.

Obviously the joke was on me.  E was holding out on me... it truly was the ace up her sleeve, and she was waiting for just the right time to pull it out and throw it on the table.  That time was this morning, on the way to school.

E was talking, and when Anna interrupted her one too many times she casually looked over and said:
"Oh, Anna?  Monday when I didn't go to school, me and mommy ate at Taco Bell."

Nooooo!  Doom.


Monday, February 13, 2012

“One reason we struggle with insecurity: We're comparing our behind-the-scenes to everyone else's highlight reel.” Steven Furtick

Dear mothers-who-never-have-a-bad-day,

Don’t shake your head and say “Not me” until you read what I have to say.  I see so many mothers on the internet on a daily basis who never, ever have a bad day - everything their children do is precious, cute, or incredibly sweet.  These mothers wax poetic about how well their kids get along, how much they LOVE doing art projects or playing Candyland with their offspring.  They talk about how much their little angel LOVES healthy foods, how all their kids were potty-trained at 18 months, and how they relish every. single. second. with The Best Kid On Earth.

Oh, and did I mention that their kids are all geniuses, too?

Yeah.  Still think you’re not one of them?  I challenge you to look back on your last year of Facebook posts to make sure, because I assure you, they are out there.  And I come into contact with them.  A lot.

These parents infuriate me sometimes.  They piss me off because they aren’t real, and keeping it real is the only thing that saves the sanity of weather-beaten mothers.  Ladies, we don’t need a constant showing of the ‘highlight reel’, we need real people, and real allies.

Would it kill you to admit that you were up all night because Junior was teething, you fell asleep in your coffee, and that you’re only going to the Y so you can enjoy an hour of music NOT performed by The Wiggles while your kid hangs out in the gym daycare?  Would it kill you to admit that you’re worried your kid might be dyslexic, or that you flipped out on your offspring for tracking mud over the carpet you JUST steam-cleaned?   Would it kill you to post a picture every once in a while that DOESN’T show a completely pristine house? 

Apparently it will just KILL some people, because all you ever hear about is how smart, beautiful, kind, loving, quiet, and well-behaved their kids are, and how awesome they (the parents) are in every way.

This SUCKS.  If you are doing it, YOU suck.

I’m not suggesting that everyone put their kids down, or develop a Debbie Downer personality… but Christ, give it a rest!  You are doing way more harm than good by showing only a constant stream of sunshine-laced posts, and never admitting when things are less than perfect.  It is incredibly depressing to compare your ‘behind-the-scenes’ with the ‘highlight-reel’ of other parents.  A constant stream of sunshine from others leaves you feeling awful, incompetent, and insecure.  After all, look how easy it is for XYZ!  Why is it so hard for me?  Why can’t I get it together and raise a perfect child?

For the love of God, I beg you:  Keep it real.  You’re not going to get an award for being a fake Super-Mom on the internet, nor is anyone going to read your FB post and offer your little Einstein a full scholarship at 21 months old.  Besides, when we wake up and think about it, we realize you’re fake anyway.

In other words?  “Liar, liar, pants on fire!” 
You’re being a jerk, and you aren’t making any friends by pretending your life is perfect.

Love, Me

Friday, February 10, 2012

Thank Goodness For Comic Relief

Sometimes I find myself wishing that this blog was anonymous... that nobody knew the person behind the words, and I could be really, brutally honest.  Sometimes writing here is the only way I stay sane - it takes the place of the journal that I gave up years ago when I got married.  I feel like I must censor myself to a degree, though, and sometimes that sucks.

I am dealing with some pretty heavy anxiety lately.  Enough that, for the first time in my life, I'm experiencing physical symptoms from it.  A nagging sense of fear... like an animal trapped in a corner.  Feeling like I'm crawling out of my own skin, palpitations, a jittery feeling.  Things haven't been easy lately, and emotionally it's been a nightmare.  There's so much on my plate right now that the only way I can think to deal with it is to ferry things off to 'boxes' in my head, and shut it down.  It can't be healthy, but it has to be done.  I can only deal with one thing at a time, so I'm 'taking them out' one at a time... this is why my blog might start to read like the rantings of a crazy person.  Bear with me.

Right now there's a lot of grief.  And then there are confusion, stress, and anger all jockeying for their turn.

Thank goodness my kids can always be counted on to provide me with a good, stress-relieving laugh!  Since there's so much I can't openly share, I'm going to share what I can... it just so happens that it's the best stuff anyway, so you're in luck!  :)

My kids crack me up.  They are always saying things that just tickle me.

Anna, for one, does not care to be interrupted, it seems.  Nor does she particularly care to hear your opinion, or for your chosen topics of conversation.  She tends to 'lecture'.  A lot.  She's a little... quirky.

Anna:  "Blah, blah, blah, blah, Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches.  Blah, blah, blah, geodes.  Blah Blah Blah..."
Me (trying to listen patiently):  "Mmmhmmm.  Huh?"  *silence*
*doorbell rings*
Anna (following me to the door, and in an indignant manner):  "I WAS NOT finished with MY conversation."

Chickie just doesn't get that for it to be a 'conversation' two people need to be talking, and interacting reciprocally.  Why, hello Aspergers.  Nice to see you again.

Oh, did I say quirky?  Well sometimes she is less quirky, and more 'secretly training for the special forces'.  Like two days ago when we had the following exchange:

Me:  "Anna, this is the dowel rod for your easel.  Put it back in your room."
Anna (eyes lighting up):  "Oooh.  I can use THIS for a weapon!"

Excuse me?  When did you become a street thug, and/or a second-grade MacGyver?  Note to self:  hide all sharp objects and get a price quote on rubber wall padding.

Ahhh, kids.

Do you remember back in the day, when technology wasn't so ingrained into everyday life?  When you couldn't just press 'skip' to go to the next song (because it was a cassette tape, and you had to fast-forward and hope for the best), when you couldn't remove commercials (via DVR), and 'pause' was a foreign concept?  Yeah.  Me too.  My kids have no concept of this reality, though.

Let me set the scene... it's nearly time to leave for school, and Anna is reading out loud.  Ella is listening intently when I tell them it's time to go.

Me:  "Time to go!  C'mon, let's get in the van!"
Ella:  "Anna, can we pause this?"

LOL!  Basically, can you read the rest to me later.  I found it so funny that my kids are so immersed in technology that they use the terms for absolutely everything.

Oh man.  This just in... the girls are 'playing' together in Anna's room as we speak.  At least, I thought so.  Turns out that now Ella has several new words to add to her "I can spell that!" list.  They are:  doo doo, fart, poop, and crap.  FAN-freaking-TASTIC.

I can't wait until middle school when the 'forbidden words' become much more colorful.  Oy.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Weep Not For The Memories

Sometimes great advice comes from music.  Though, admittedly, usually not rap songs.  Generally speaking, any advice that starts with the words "Pop that coohie" or "Back that ass up" is usually not going to be advice you want to follow.

Well, unless you're a two-dollar crack whore... then, all bets are off.

That being said, it's hard to take advice that comes from music particularly seriously because usually the person delivering it is guilty of:
 a)  not even writing the song.
 b)  having zero grip on 'normal' reality, what with rolling around in their millions and all.
 c)  both a and b.

Sometimes, though, a song is good enough (lyrics-wise) that I don't care if it's original, or even sincere, because it speaks to me in some way.  I have a bad habit of hanging on and/or beating myself up about things I can't change.

Weep not.  Remember, but don't dwell.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

"You Can't Always Get What You Want" - Rolling Stones

When I was little, that song used to infuriate me; mostly because I usually heard it coming from my older sister.  When I threw a fit about something she'd be there to serenade me "You can't always get what you waaaannnt..."

Yeah.  It pissed me off just a wee bit.
It figures that it would become a favorite of mine as an adult.  When you grow up, you realize that truer words were never spoken.  You CAN'T (and definitely don't) always get what you want.

I still want to stomp my feet and pout when I don't get what I want, though, even as an adult.  After all, I know myself best, right?  So what I want is surely what's best for me, no?  Apparently not, because things in life rarely turn out the way I think they should, or the way I want them to.  And yet, even though I know that things almost always turn out positively in the end, it still irritates me.

I am stubborn. I want things to be the way I planned.  There should be no improvising, and the script should not change (unless I say so).

Life laughs at my arrogance.  It tosses me curve ball after curve ball, so I suppose I should just get with the program and learn to knock them out of the park, huh?  After all, you can't improve if you don't have a challenge, can you?

In retrospect it always comes down to this "If you try sometimes you might find you get what you need".