Friday, September 28, 2012

Professions That I Would Not Be Good At...

I am pretty good at a handful of things. I can come up with fun things to do with little kids (apparently, by the time those same children are 7 and 4 I am boring, stupid, and irrelevant). Could someone please have a baby around here so that I can feel adored again? I can crochet the hell out of some hats, scarves, and blankets (oh, and that Martha Stewart poncho that was all the rage when she got out of prison, hers looked better, of course). I can sew Halloween costumes for the kid and can usually come up with some pretty awesome ideas. I can sing Karaoke in dimly lit bars while drunk men tell me that I should be a star (beer goggles, ya'll, beer goggles).

But I acknowledge that there are things that I will never be good at. Some of them I am okay with, others, well, I kind of wish I could be.

1. I could never be a hooker. There is a lot of standing and walking in a)skirts and b) heels. I'm not that kind of girl. Plus, there's the whole moral, ethical, and legal dilemmas that you have to go through. Meh. Also? I talk too much and I am pretty sure that men would prefer their hookers to be silent and quick about things.

2. I could never be a stripper. Putting my obvious weight issues aside, I tend to get a bit giggly when it comes to being seductive. Or dancing.  The more serious I try to be about my seductiveness or my dance skills, the more hilariously funny it becomes to me. Then I snort. I always snort.

3. I could never be a bartender. Unless all I served was beer, in bottles. I always add too much or too little alcohol to mixed drinks. There is far too much pressure there.

4. I could never be a preschool teacher. I know my kid has been kind of a B lately (I would say the full word, but am pretty sure that some people would prefer that I not call my kid a bitch on the internet, although it does seem to be the only word in the whole English language that fits her behavior as of late). I am not sure that I could deal with a classroom filled with 12-15 of the little heathens. (Thank you, God, for teachers that love the children and their jobs, I would never be able to do what they do, day in and day out)

5. I could never work on a trash truck or at the dump. My sniffer is much too sensitive for that. Plus, those trash guys don't seem very talkative or friendly.

6. I could never work at the animal shelter. I would bring home new "babies" every single day. And then I would be alone because the Hubs would take the kid and run out on me. One of my biggest fears is dying alone with just the animals.

Seriously. Someone should just have a kid for me to have. Like yesterday.

7. I could never work at a fabric or crafts store. I would be working for stuff. I don't need stuff. I need more time to make stuff to giveaway so that I can make some room for more stuff.

Or something.

8. I could never be a fashion or interior designer. For obvious reasons.

9. I could never work in or own a bakery.

I like cake. And frosting. And pie.

We would be so fat.

What jobs could you never do? What jobs fascinate you? Do you want another baby?

Thursday, September 27, 2012


I don't know why or when this happened, but this week I have just been so blocked. It's as though the anti-depressants are adding a filter from my brain to my mouth - or in this case, my fingers.

I am feeling a bit fuzzy on things today and woke up (an hour late) in a generally sour mood. I still beat all of my bosses to work, so there is that.

Yesterday was an awesome day so perhaps I should have been prepared for the let down of a Thursday that feels like a Monday because the office was closed for Yom Kippur. Ah, the day of atonement, the day of asking for grace. It was a marvelous day.

The child went to school.

The Hubs went to work.

I was left at home to my own devices for a full 8 hours. All alone (unless you count the cat and the chickens, which I don't because the cat sleeps ALL day and the chickens live outside) to watch whatever I wanted to watch, to do whatever I wanted to do. (Unfortunately, my only plan was to wash clothes and dishes and clean the laundry room. I am really lacking in imagination and ingenuity.)

Do I feel guilty for not wanting my loved ones to be with me on one of the few days off that I get? Nope. In fact, I find myself craving that peace, that tranquility, that aloneness that makes the together that much sweeter.

I suppose I shouldn't say that out loud. It kind of wreaks of bad taste and un-motherli-ness, but, while we are here, lets just call it what it is. Selfish.

I refuse to feel guilt or shame or selfishness for wanting a minute (or several hours) that are just mine. I don't feel guilty for buying foods that I know the child or the Hubs will not eat, in fact, I buy those things SPECIFICALLY because I know that they will not touch them. These are my few and small victories, these are the small things that I get because everything else I have gets colored, stepped on, dropped in the toilet, or otherwise broken.

I can no longer own makeup, nail polish, razors, or any other accoutrements that allow me to feel like a woman. I can no longer be in my kitchen cooking dinner for my family without the willful intervention of a too-loud-after-a-long-day-of-work-almost-5-year-old and the Hubs who decides that while I am cooking dinner is the only time of the entire day that he can possibly wash any dishes at all. I only ever get to use the bathroom by myself at work.

Why should I feel guilty or selfish or shame because I need to spend some meaningful time with ME (while washing their dirty clothes and dishes?)

I don't. Not at all.

It's a new place for me, this guilt free world.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Born in the Wrong Era

When I was a little girl watching reruns of Leave it to Beaver, Happy Days, and Father Knows Best, I just knew that I had been born in the wrong time. I should have been born in the Fifties. I wanted to wear full skirts, penny loafers, and pedal pushers. I wanted to wear high-waisted bathing suits and wear red lipstick while sunbathing.

I still do. 

All of this might explain the fascination that my not-quite-5 year old has with the Eighties. She wants to wear neon colors and side ponies. Srunchies and slouchy socks. Most of all, more than anything, she wants to listen to Michael Jackson and Madonna. She begs to watch videos throughout the evenings. I hear her singing snippets of the songs to herself in the backseat. 

I wonder how this reflects on my parenting. 

I reason that these are not the worst lyrics that she could know, that there is far worse being played on the radio. But is that a good way to judge it? It could be worse?

I don't know. She loves listening and dancing to it, she has no idea what Papa would be preaching about, or why Billie Jean's son is not his. 

For the time being, I guess I will just let it be fun.

And pray that she does not grow up wishing for mom-jeans and crazy shoulder pads. 

Do you ever think that you were born in the wrong era? What era should you have been a part of?

Friday, September 21, 2012


Me? I'm fine.

Eventually, I will be, anyway.

Decided that perhaps I don't remember the last time that I was happy or sad or felt anything.

I don't know why I hadn't noticed it sooner, this feeling of blah, of just existing.

Caved at the doctor's office, felt like I was pleading for something, anything.

And they all told me how strong I was, how smart I was to know this feeling, to ask for help.

They don't know how weak and vulnerable I feel.

Especially now, when I thought I had beat it so long ago, when I thought this was over.

Depression? Sucks.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Forging A New Path

I was nervous about going to the visitation for my friend last week. Nervous about what I would see, about falling apart, nervous about not knowing the right words and actions. I have been to friend's parents' funerals, I have been to funerals of people that were connected to others. In my almost 36 years of life I have never been to a funeral for someone that was connected to me.

Which makes me fortunate, oh, so fortunate, I know. Which is why last week left me so very emotionally drained and broken and why I waited until just before the service before I committed myself to going.

That's not to say that I have not encountered death before.

In my family, we burn'em up, throw'em in a cardboard box, and stick'em in the closet. It's become kind of a tradition now. There are no public displays of grief, there are no "death soundtracks" playing softly in the background while you stand around shaking the hands of people that you don't know. There are no death lilies or cards of sympathy (because, really? Who would keep that?).

It also means that there is nowhere to visit, no special place marked for your person for prosperity. No place that you can go and see their name engraved into stone and know that they are yours.

On Monday, I decided that 4 and half years is long enough to hold on. I took my daddy's ashes out of the closet and, with the Scare Bear and the Hubs, drove down to the beach to let my father find his final resting place(s).

It was finally time to just let go and find a new path instead of trying so desperately to hang on to the old one.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Little Miss Can't-Be-Wrong

Since starting school a few weeks ago, Supergirl has decided that she is the expert of everything. Every possible thing.

"You're cutting the chicken wrong," she'll criticize. She has never cut raw chicken, so she has no way of knowing if my way is wrong or not.

"What do you know about it?" I ask, pausing to look at her menacing glare.

And with hands on hips, she scowls at me, "I know if I choke, you're gonna get in a lot of trouble."

Okay, she's got me there. There are other things that she is not so smart about.

For instance:

She likes to play this game while we are in the car. I start by asking her where Africans are from. She answers correctly and I give her Americans. As the game goes on, it starts getting funny and then a little dicey.

"Canadians?" Canadia (every time, every single time).

"Spanish people?" China. (Yep. China.)

"English people?" Tallahassee, FL (Ya'll this is the birthplace of a language! Yee haw!)

Additionally, she does not seem to understand how last names work.

"Who is the President?" Barack Obama. "And what is his wife's name?" Missus Barack Obama or Michelle Barack Obama - no matter how many times we explain it, it is always this way.

Finally, no matter what she tells you, the teacher DID NOT tell her it is okay to bite the kid that tries to take her place in line, I DO know how to brush my own hair, and the Hubs CAN run the washing machine.

She doesn't know everything - she just thinks she does.

I wish I could be 4 (AND A HALF!) and know everything all over again.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My Wish

My birthaversary is in a few weeks. The Hubs has been asking me what I would like and there are a number of things that would be nice - tickets to see Chris Tomlin, a real date, a mandolin that slices french fries...

I am a simple girl. I don't have big wants.

When I heard that I could donate my birthaversary to No Kid Hungry, I thought, "This. This is what I should do for a 7 year anniversary and a 36th birthday."

Here is my birthday wish.

I wish that no child in this country, this awesome and wonderful and diverse country should go to bed tonight without food. That no child should know the pain of hunger. That no older brother or sister should have to forego dinner just so that the younger siblings should have more to eat. That no child should come to school so hungry that they cannot learn.

I wish that more people could open their eyes to the realness of poverty in this country, to the fact that making $7.67 (the minimum wage in Florida) is not enough in today's economy for a parent to buy food for their kids. I'm a numbers girl, so let's do the math - $7.67 x 40 hours per week = 306.80 per week (that's if you can find a full-time position) gross, if you take out money for insurance and taxes you are left around $240 per week. Now imagine that you have to pay for daycare, groceries, doctor's visits, rent, bus tickets and you are very truly the working poor.

I can tell you from experience that the state and federal government do not give away food stamps and health insurance, during my brief 4 months on unemployment I made too much (at a whopping $275 a month) to receive any benefits at all.

According to the census numbers that were released today, there are 16.1 million children in this country living in poverty - that's 1 in every 5 kids. Poverty is a cycle. If children are hungry, they are not learning, if they are not learning, they become the next in line of our country's under-educated, minimum-wage workforce that are dependent on the government to meet their basic needs.

I wish that this cycle ends with this generation.

Feeding children should be this country's number 1 priority.

For my birthaversary, I have decided to take action against child hunger in a very real way. I have teamed up with No Kid Hungry to help end the child hunger epidemic. Any donation that you make will help me reach my $1000 dollar goal. For each dollar that they raise, No Kid Hungry can make sure that a child has 10 meals.

That's amazing.

So, even if you didn't think about getting me a birthday or anniversary gift this year - chipping in a buck or two will help me share my birthaversary with children from all over the country.

"This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you." ~ John 15:12

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I'm Still Alive...*

For the last month or so, I have wanted to call her. To talk to her, to let her know that I had not  villainized her like the rest, to let her now that I was still her friend, to let her know that I understood her human tendencies, that I knew that she was broken, she was messy, but that I still loved her.

But excuses, life, and work got in the way.

This morning that I found out that she had died.

Taken her life.

And I struggle to understand.

I have been in the Holes of Despair. I have seen the utter blackness that envelopes you there. I know the pain, I know that hurt.

More importantly, I know the fatigue. The overwhelming, aching need to rest, to not fight anymore, to just let the darkness take you over, cover you like a warm blanket. I understand the need to let go.

I was younger then, no family to care for, no child to call me Momma.

I fought back and discovered that it was all a mirage, there was no pit, there was no darkness, only the twisted remnants of my own mind creating a torture just for me.

She was different, older, a mother of 3 young boys. She had seen miracles, the youngest, a blatant, physical miracle of God.

How could she have forgotten that? How?

Yesterday was World Suicide Prevention Day. It was also the day that I admitted to myself that I have been playing on a very slippery slope lately and that, perhaps, it was time for me to get back on my meds. Yesterday, I made the appointment to talk to the doctor about it.

Suicide is preventable.

My kid keeps me alive. The Hubs, Scare Bear, and JoDene keep me alive.

Sometimes spite keeps me alive. (Ha, ha still livin' bitches! You can't do anything to me!)

What keeps you alive? What makes you climb out of the Holes of Despair to fight again?

*By the way, I have a habit of putting songs with things and attempting to title the post with these songs. Unfortunately, all I have got today is I'm Still Alive by Pearl Jam which is not even remotely related to the post at all. I am sorry and will try to do better in the future. Now can someone please get this blanking song out of my head? Between the tears and Eddie Vedder, I am getting pretty close to a migraine of disastrous proportions. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Brown and Pink - It's Not Just Black and White Anymore

I remember the conversation as though it were only yesterday instead of nearly 3 years ago. I had just picked up my insanely cute 2 year old from daycare, I was contemplating dinner, it was kind of drizzly and gross out.

I hear the tiny voice and turn down the radio.


"Yeah, babe," I answer, as I adjust the rearview mirror to look at her.

"You pink." I smile, since she has started learning the names for colors, she has been trying to give everything a color. I guess pink is for girls.



"I pink."

I am thinking of little girls and all things pink and cute. And then, out of nowhere, "Daddy brown."



Since then, she has differentiated between the Grandmas - Pink and Brown. There have been two types of people in this world, the pink and the brown, up until this year. Even this year, the only people that she added were Chinese and I am not even sure where she came up with her uninformed decisions of Asian people.

She had decided to be pink, like me, for the last few years until this summer at camp when she came home and informed me that she was brown like the Hubs now, and although I missed the innocence of my little baby, I accepted it and knew that she was figuring this out on her own. Besides, being in a camp all summer that kept her outside 90% of the time, I had to agree, the girl was very, very brown.

On Wednesday of last week, she called the Hubs and I to order. "I have decided that I am Indian."


"I am not really brown, I am not really pink. I am Indian." And she said it with so much certainty, so much confidence, so much self-awareness for a 4 year old that I was almost willing to believe her. Almost.

This weekend, while snuggling on the couch (which has become less and less frequent and more and more uncomfortable as she continues to grow) we were looking at each others hands. She noticed that she has my fingers, and that her nails were getting longer.

And then, she broke my heart.

"Momma," she said. "You are not pink, you are white and I am black. I am a little black girl." It was so matter of fact, so hard, so cold.

It was then that I realized that the world - the cruel, cruel world that I have tried to protect her from, that I have tried to shield her from - had finally burst the bubble where all people are just brown and pink, had stolen away the ability of a 4 year old to name her own race, had instead boxed her into what they wanted her to be instead of allowing her to define it.

It hurt.

I held her tight, I kissed her forehead. I let her know that no matter who she decides that she is - God, her daddy, and I, would still love her - even if she just so happened to want to be an Eskimo or a swamp person. She shook her head at me, looked me in the eye, "Tonight, I really just want to be a Walrus."

And I smiled.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Last Time I Thought This Much About Kool-Aid, I Was 10

The internet might just be killing me, ya'll.

All this talk about Kool-aid is driving the Hubs crazy, our household Kool-Aid consumption may be at a near-record high, and I am getting closer and closer to my wits end every time the Supergirl asks me why so many people don't like Kool-Aid.

A momma can't afford all that.

I don't even like Kool-Aid. Wanna know why?

When I was a kid, soda was deemed as a "For Grown-Ups Only" beverage, and Kool-Aid was a "For Kids Only" beverage. No matter how many times we were told the rule, or got in trouble for breaking the rule, we only wanted what we were not allowed to have. My father would lord this over our heads and get angry that we were drinking out of the 2-liter bottle that he would purchase every night on his way home from work. He tried getting a dorm fridge that he kept directly under the TV to thwart us (didn't work). He tried drawing lines on the bottle in Sharpie (didn't work). The older we got, the sneakier we got, filling cups with ice and the least amount of soda that the cup could hold so that we could have more for ourselves, purposely overfilling the cup to the brim so we would have to sip off of it to carry it to the next room.

We were terrible children. And I hate drinking Kool-Aid to this day. Plus that super awesome Kool-Aid mustache tends to stick around a lot longer than you need it to.

Going off the rule that building walls and fortresses will only make children want the coveted item more, I allow Supergirl to have the occasional soda, or sweet tea, or juice. I do not tell her that there are drinks that are just for her and drinks that are just for grown-ups. (She may have decided that beer is only for boys, but I had nothing to do with that.)

Her preference (and the Hubs) is Kool-Aid. Which brings us back to the Kool-Aid debacle of 2012.

I do not care if you like red Kool-Aid. Red Kool-Aid can be good when you are in the mood for it. It's a classic, one of the very first flavors of Kool-Aid, and while it can be a bit old-fashioned, there are times that you just need the comfort of having a nice cool glass of Red Kool-Aid. If that's your preference, then you should just drink it.

I do not care if you like blue Kool-Aid. Blue Kool-Aid has a bit more zip than red Kool-Aid and to my dying day I swear that i will think of it as the "New" Kool-Aid since it was introduced during my tween years and was a really exciting discovery for those of us that had been in the red, purple, lemonade vortex for far too long. If you rock that blue Kool-Aid and it's the only Kool-Aid for you, then go for it. Drink it up.

In 2 months, we are facing the Ultimate Red vs. Blue Drink-Off. After it is all over, we will all still be Americans, we will all still be parents doing the best that we can for our kids, we will all still be spending our days working our bottoms off (home or not) , and we will all still be scratching our heads at the popularity of Snooki and the Teen Mom franchise.

So why don't we give the Kool-Aid debate a rest for a bit, assume that there is no more arguing to do, and get back to Facebook like it used to be? I am missing all of the pictures of the interiors of your bathrooms and what you ate for dinner last night and somehow my life, well, it's no longer complete.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Like a Coupon

I see a lot of things in black and white. I don't like the word ambivalence and like the inaction of the word even less. I love it or I hate it, that's just who I am.

There are things that I believe in, things that in my life, in my world are non-negotiable.

When I make a promise, I am gonna keep it. It might not be immediate, it might not even be in this year, but I will move Heaven and Earth to keep my promises.

When I tell you something, you can be certain that it is the truth. Even if I come off looking bad, even if I know it will make you hate me, I will tell you the truth.

I am not going to say something to anyone else that I wouldn't be willing to say to your face. I am not going to talk smack or call you a B, unless it is something I would say to you (and it would take me a lot to do either).

Scare Bear claims that my expectations of people will only lead me to disappointment in life. I like to be right, a lot.

Here are my beliefs (or at least the ones that I can think of right now).

I believe in honesty.

I believe in putting others needs above my own. Because there is always someone out there that needs it more.

I believe in respecting people. Not because they are better than me, not because they are smarter, or richer, or cuter but because they are people and they deserve respect.

I believe in loving people. Not because I agree with them, not because their values are my values, not because they agree with everything I believe. It's what I have been called to do, it what we have all been called to do.

I believe in dignity. I am the daughter of a drug addict and  I live in a trailer in the woods. I make more money in 6 months of the year than my father made in any year of his WHOLE LIFE (bragger!). If I can have the dignity of getting a college education and working in professional level positions (not Burger King, not McDonald's), then there should be others that have the same right.

I believe in common courtesy. I like to be heard, I LOVE to hear my own voice, a lot, but I will let you voice your opinion and I will listen to you while you do it, I expect the same for myself.

I believe in fair play. I like to win, I'm not gonna lie, in fact if I could just be the winner from here on out on everything, I would. I am high competitive and, sometimes, a bad winner. But sometimes (like when you are playing a really cute 4 year old) it's not fair for me to win (even when she is holding the friggin' cards that she needs, or she just counted the wrong number of spaces), I try to recognize those times and adjust myself accordingly.

I believe that most people are good. Sometimes the world can hurt us, disappoint us, break us to the point that we think we may not be good anymore and I get that, but I think under all of that hurt, all of those scars, that there are still genuinely good people in this world. I try to use kindness to get through to them.

I believe that women are pretty awesome. Our bodies, our minds, our abilities, our talents, and our money are every bit as important as any man's. We should be afforded the same rights as any man. What you do with those rights is between you and God.

I believe in decency.

I am raising the Supergirl with these beliefs, I pray that there are other mothers in the world raising their children in a similar fashion.  

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Balancing Act

I have been told by educated professionals that I have a bit of autism or that I fall into the spectrum, and had the spectrum been used more prominently in my formative years I would have been diagnosed with some form of autism during childhood.

Personally, I often wonder how much of who I am and my slightly crazy tendencies and quirks are not just holdovers from an emotionally and physically abusive childhood, rather than problems with my brain chemistry. And, if my brain chemistry is off, could it not have been from the secondhand pot smoke emanating from the ever burning of a joint or joints in the living room?

Anyway, I am being highly critical of childhood that I cannot change and getting myself extremely off track.

I am a rules follower, which is one of the reasons that I like numbers. Numbers have rules, they have definitive outlines that they must follow. There is only so much that can be subtracted from or added to a number and only so many ways to contort a number to do what needs to be done. I take comfort in the rules and laws of numbers. It's how I imagine the comfort of God feels to those people that are better Christians than I am.

I get panicky when the numbers do not make sense, I get nervous and sweaty and lose focus on things because I cannot get the numbers to work.

Over the last few months, I have been unable to make the numbers make any sense at all, we were "robbing Peter to pay Paul"...(and John and Judas and Simon and Matthew and every other person that wanted something out of us). I couldn't grocery shop, I couldn't make a budget, I felt as though I couldn't do anything because I never knew which thing would be cut-off next, which thing would be cancelled, which thing would be next to make the world crumble under my feet.

And that was after 3 months of working a second job, never being able to spend real, quality time with the Hubs or Supergirl, only making it to church twice a month, and sacrificing my weekly date with the Scare Bear more and more frequently. I was lost and beginning to think that the world had finally beat me.

Until last week, that is.

Last week was the first time in 6 months that I was able to make a budget. This is huge for me, this means that somehow the dawn is breaking again, that there is finally some light at the end of this very long tunnel, that I can finally get some semblance of peace from the race that I have been running for the past few months.

We're not out of the woods yet, not by a long shot, but it's coming, if we can stay on track.

So, tires? Stay with me for a few more weeks, okay? And kid, hold off on that next growth spurt for just a little while longer, alright?

Momma is starting to feel sane again and I can't tell you how long I have needed a small dose of sanity.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Starting the Fall - In Pictures

It's the beginning of September, which means we are about to get to my favorite (and busiest time of the year). I decided to put together a post of pictures all taken the last week of August over the last 4 years.

First day at daycare - September 3, 2008

First day out of the baby room - August 31, 2009

First day in 3 year old class - August 30, 2010

First haircut - September 3, 2011

First Day of Preschool
Why is she growing up SO fast?
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