winter

winter

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Yule/Christmas/that winter celebration...

I suppose aside from "Baby stuff" I should probably post something about why I haven't been online for the last few weeks. I was incredibly busy with stuff for Christmas. My darling husband and I have been making gifts to save money this year, just like we did last year. It was an absolute success, with a lot of help from him.

The Gifts

I managed to get my eldest neice's quilt done just barely in time. I figure that it'll be something she will treasure for years to come. Or at least I hope that's how she will feel about it. She's said that she does want the purple bunting on the edges of it, so I'll be sewing that on when I stop over to teach her how to do the needlepoint projects that I gave her along with it. The girl's father and uncle have been doing their damndest to basically turn her into a little boy. I figure she should have some girly things and that's probably one of the most girly things I remember from my childhood. So, perhaps it will prove something she cherishes as well as the quilt.

We got the cookies done in a marathon streatch of baking from the 19th thru the 24th. On the 24th, my dear husband was in the kitchen following orders like a real trooper. The total on the cookies and sweets were as follows:
  • Sugar Cookies: 5 dozen (1 dozen w/ candy/frosting wreaths; 3 dozen w/ sprinkles; 1 doz. pre-made, frosted and covered w/ candy)
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies: 5 dozen
  • Rum Ball Cookies: 4 dozen (1 dozen coated w/ powered sugar; 6 coated w/ sprinkles; 6 coated w/ sprinkles & filled w/ candied ginger; 6 coated w/ coconut; 6 coated w/ cocoa; 6 coated w/ cocoa & filled w/ chopped walnut; 6 coated w/ coconut & filled w/ candied ginger)
  • Brandy Ball Cookies: 1 dozen (coated w/ powered sugar; used brandy extract)
  • Liquorice Ball Cookies: 5 dozen (coated w/ cocoa)
  • Home-made fudge: 2 1/2 pounds (mint chocolate with marshmallows and nuts)
  • Home-made chocolate lollipops: 1 dozen
  • Home-made chocolates: 4 pounds (included: ginger filled continental chocolates; rocky road cups; orange tipped chocolate snowflake candies; painted chocolate snowmen; mint chocolates; chocolate peanut butter cups; chocolate coconut cups; cinnamon filled continental chocolates; cashew filled continental chocolates)
There were other items finished before Christmas and given out to people. These were:
  • Kitty Pillows (1 pink, 1 yellow)
  • Candy shop spa bath kit (homemade liquorice scented bubble bath; homemade orange-citrus scented bath salts; homemade chocolate cake bath salts; homemade vanilla bath beads; chocolates; candle)
  • Chocolate-Orange spa bath kit (homemade orange scented bubble bath; homemade orange scented bath salts; home made vanilla bath beads; homemade lemon scented sugar scrub; chocolates; candle)
  • Bakers spa bath kit (homemade lavender bubble bath; homemade orange-citrus bath salts; homemade vanilla bath beads; homemade chocolate cake bath salts; chocolates; candle)
  • Sweets spa bath kit (homemade apple pie bubble bath; homemade orange scented salt scrub; homemade vanilla scented bath beads; homemade orange scented bath salts; chocolates; candle)
  • Kitchen devils kit (homemade dried chili & cinnamon bundles; homemade tarragon-juniper infused vinegar; homemade pequin chili infused oil; chocolates; can opener)
  • Holiday Home kit (homemade tarragon vinegar; bottle of dry Italian Red wine; homemade tarragon infused oil; homemade dried chili & cinnamon bundles; dried pomegranate; chocolates)
  • Holiday Kitchen kit (homemade dried chili & cinnamon bundles; homemade tarragon-juniper infused vinegar; homemade tarragon juniper infused oil; bottle of dry Italian Red wine; dried pomegranate; chocolates)
We got started on Christmas stuff in the summer. The total cost for Christmas this year: $200.

That includes the funds spent upon a book for my Grandfather, my Mother's chicken knick-knack, my Father's new puzzle, and the tool kit for my brother.

The Parties

Our celebrations were at the usual locations. On the 25th, we went to my Paternal Grandparent's house. It was good to see everyone again. My brother and his wife were there with the little girls. It was a sight that gave me hope that they will work through the current difficulties and repair their wounded marriage. Just about everyone was delighted to hear our good news about the pregnancy, even if my brothers both laughed at us and called us "suckers."

I'd have to say that the most useful gift we recieved came from the uncle who is infamous for the useless gifts. It was odd. I'm convinced that he was coached as to what to give us by my mother. The new knife/utensil set with revolving carousel is an absolute delight and replaces the 15+ yr old knife set that my mother gave me when I moved into my first apartment a few years ago. I'd also say that the most thoughtful and unexpected gift after that was the wonderful clock that we were given by my brothers. It's a beautiful and very stately wall clock that one would have up in their foyer. It's making me look forward to having a house to put it up in. Generally, the gifts from us were well recieved. My father got a laugh out of the huge pretzel jar full of cookies from the two of us.

The thing that stands out from the party at my Paternal Grandparent's house the most is the screaming monkey toys that my father gave the kids. They turned into toys for the grown men, much to the aggrivation of the women-folk and the delight of the children. The other thing that stands out was the toddler's tantrum during dinner and Mom's suggesting that we announce our good news when her tantrum was over. My darling husband and I both didn't think that was the best time, so we waited until just before presents to let everyone know.

Our next party was over at my brother-in-law's house. I didn't realize just how large their house was until I went upstairs to use their bathroom. That house is *huge* and beautiful. I'm really impressed with it. That party was the evening of Christmas and much more sedate. Ofcourse I don't think we had even half the number we did at the party earlier in the day. We had a small supper of ham and potatoes with greenbeans. I was delighted, because I'd been on a green bean kick for a few days at that time. When it was time for gifts, I was thrilled to recieve a book on needlepoint from my mother-in-law. I think it's kind of obvious to her and maeby the rest of the family by now that I'm a needlepoint/handcraft addict. She has agreed to teach me how to knit, so this is going to just get worse as time goes on! :)

We told his parents in a rather classy way that my mother suggested. He gave his mother a little bag labled "To Baby, from Daddy" with a teddy bear and some baby clothes in it. She lit up in one of the most beautiful smiles I've ever seen on her face. I think it rivaled the one she had when we announced our engagement or the one she had on our wedding day. We had a spectacular time visiting with his brother-in-law, wife and children after everyone had left. We all speculated as to why my husband's sister gave us the two exceedinly useless gifts. We still have no idea why she bought them. My dear husband is suggesting that we sell them on E-bay. :p

The day after Christmas we attended the celebration that is held anually at his Grandmother's house. It was a *huge* party and a bit of a momentous one in it's own right, actually. This year is apparently the 50th year that the party had been held in that house. There was probably more people present then years the party had been held there. Everyone was in high spirits and thrilled to see everyone else. We recieved a beautiful wooden bowl from his Grandmother. I immediately put it up on display when we got home. I'm still stunned by just how pretty it is and I don't think I'll use it unless I have no other possible choice.

When he announced the good news to his entire father's side of the family, there was a roar of approval. Again, I was reminded of the announcement of the engagement and our wedding day. It was a wonderful party, though rather exhausting for me. At the end of the evening, I accidentally dozed off on my husband's shoulder. His Grandmother was most amused by it and found it to be rather charming. The point that my dear husband finds the most amusing, and I'll admit I agree, is the fact that the family gossip was the last to find out that we are expecting to have a baby.

That, my dear Reader, is the saga of Christmas this year and the reason why I was incommunicato for the last few weeks. I'll try to post more regularly, now that my time is not going to be taken up with sewing or cooking. With making baby stuff, I've got 9 months to work on it. I'm not going to panic.

I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year and that the holidays have treated you as well as they treated us.

Time for Celebrations!

On the evening of the 19th, we learned that I am pregnant. My darling husband and I are both quite excited, absolutely delighted, and more then a little apprehensive about the practical things (like money and health insurance). We know that things are going to be ok, it's just the journey from here to there is always weird and challenging. We seem to have a magnet for that kind of thing, for some reason.

I'm not entirely sure what else to post here. I ran out and bought copies of What to Expect when You're Expecting, the What to Expect when you're Pregnant companion journal, and the Expectant Father. I've been talking to my parents and his parents, writing down notes about all of the conditions that run in the family. I think I've spoken to my Mother more in the last week then I have over the last two months. Our family and friends are all ecstaticly happy for us. I've girlfriends from college just about ready to hop on the next flight to come up and give the two of us (well, technically the three of us) hugs.

At the same time, I'll admit some nervousness here. I'm concerned that I won't be the best mother that I can be for this little baby (or possibly babies, I'm in line for twins!), while at the same time I know that I'll do my best. I'm struggling against some of my own expectations for what I should be like as a mother and a wife. I realize that I've set some of those expectations far too high and it's not good for me. I'm just struggling to break the habit of expecting perfection from myself 90% of the time. I realize that placing that kind of stress upon myself is not going to be good for me or the baby(ies).

So... how on earth do you manage to make yourself chill out when at the same time you want to make sure that the kid(s) have all the possible benefits and advantages that you didn't have as a kid and be the most loving and supportive parent you can possibly be? This is going to be interesting.

I know it's going to be alright. It's just getting from here to there is going to be weird. I'm filled with so much joy and gratitude that I really don't have words for it. I've got the words for the anxiety and the pragmaticism, even for a generic description of what we're doing. I just don't have the words for the joy. I wonder if this is how most mothers feel when they learn that they are expecting a bundle of joy?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Happy holidays... yeah, right.

Ok, I'll admit it straight off. I absolutely hate the "holidays" for a laundry list of reasons. I'll tick that list off for you in a minute. First, I just have to get something off my chest:

I don't care if you love the "holidays" and I don't care if you think I should too. I'm not going to put on the "holiday cheer" for you or any body else, so shove off.

Sorry, I just had to get that out. I know that some where, some one is going to take offense to what I'm writing. I might as well get the offending part done already this way they don't bother with the rest of this post to rant about later in their comments. And a quick aside, on the matter of comments, while I do moderate comments, I will publish non-spam comments. If you're blatantly offensive but fail to be amusing or interesting, I won't publish your comments. If you choose to go after me via personal attacks, and fail to be even moderately interesting, I won't publish your comments.

Aside from that, go ahead and comment on what I say. I'm curious as to how the rest of the world views my ramblings and rantings.

Ok... that done, back to the main theme: how much I hate the holidays and why.

Point one: I hate the holidays to the point that I will go out of my way to avoid the disgustingly cheerful holiday music that has been played for at least as long as my grandparents are alive. (Bing Crosby was a young man the same time my Grandfather was a young man, sorry people.)
I utterly despise the forced atmosphere of false cheerfulness and plesantries. If you're going to despise me or not think me worth the time of day, don't change it just because it's cold and getting on towards the month and a half after Thanksgiving, alright. Just stick with your misanthropy and stop lying to yourself and the world about how you feel about me.

For that matter, I hate the whole damn idea that you have the decorate your home and I will do my best to avoid putting up decorations untill shortly before Yule. The decorations I do put up are fairly sparse and usually do not go along the lines of the yards of garland, faux furred stockings, and enough red and green felt to choke a horse, never mind all of the glitter, beads, and bells tacked on to it. I generally dread family gatherings this time of year because of the two faced game played by damn near everyone. So, I hate this time of year.

Point two: Some reasons I hate this time of year. (This goes beyond what I mentioned earlier, folks.)

  1. The gross consumerisim foisted upon us with the attendant guilt complex for not having the shiniest and most expensive gift for each person on your list.
  2. The repulsive "keeping up with the Jones's" game that is played by all of the people around the neighborhood for the most obnoxious and bright light pollution.... I mean light display.
  3. All of the children (and most of the adults in their own silent way) demanding, crying, screaming and throwing tantrums for what ever object du jour that will feed their greedy lust for more random crap to say they own, contributing to the entitlement/instant gratification generation.
  4. The desecration of the holy days of the season of many religions through the above actions.
  5. The failure to observe the special gift of family and the joys attendant upon having your loved ones still with you this year by the heart felt demonstrative displays of affection.
  6. The continuation of old bullshit arguments from last year/last holiday/last month/last week that serve only to hurt the people who you love and could easily lose within the next five minutes due to some unknown and unforseen calamity.
  7. The insane expectations for people to bottle up their pain and play nice with people who hurt them for the sake of making everything look like it's ok.
  8. The pain of attempting to brave the mall or any other shopping expidition for holiday or non-holiday purposes (with out any gurantee of safety of life, limb, or property, or success in your venture).
  9. The headache of making sure that you have the right gift for the person who claims they want nothing, when they feel too self conscious to admit that they want you to do something special for them.
  10. The heartache of having all of those subtle hints you dropped to some one ignored and getting yet another ugly tie/sweater/mixing bowl/blender/etc.
  11. The migraine inducing insanity of having some one give your children the exact thing you said not to give them (ie: toys with out batteries; finger paints for toddlers; etc.)
  12. Going to office parties, work related holiday functions, or simmilar "social obligations" when you really don't want to be around these half drunk bumbling blowhards any more then you have to, and you've no choice because failure will make you look bad and thus cost you that raise you need to put your kid through college.
Yeah, I hate the holidays. I'm a real Scrooge about it all, I guess.

Look, I loved them when I was a kid. Then, my family stopped celebrating being a family. It turned into the mess I described above and an obligation to attend. I hope that I can get past this misanthropy and general malice that I feel towards the "holidays" by the time I have little ones. Some of my most cherished memories are of sitting by a roaring fire opening gifts at my Great-grandmother's knee and singing Christmas carols, or laughing at some silly family story as my Dad cracked nuts for my brothers and I to eat. I'll treasure those memories for all my life and I hope that when I'm an old woman Alzheimers won't rob me of them. I also hope that I can maeby provide something more lasting for my children, maeby make it where they don't hate the holidays when they're my age.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Why I hate Popular Culture... (attitude rant)

Now, I'll presume that you've read my television rant. One may wonder what I do with my time, as I have a whole third of my life free to do anything I wish with it (when I finish the dishes). I listen to an incredible amount of music. I write. I do needlepoint, sewing, and other things that are traditionally known as the womanly arts. I read many books.

I'm generally socially isolated because I don't follow the cult of the idiot box. I can't have the conversation about the O.C. or who's trying to get into the pants of Dr. McDreamy. I don't particularly enjoy being socially isolated, but it's hard to have a conversation with some one about a subject that may require thought. Most people are frightened of discussing the pros and cons of the philosophies espoused by the educational system or the different implications of new translations of the Old Testament which seem to imply that the early Hebrews were actually polytheists. For some reason, big words scare these people. And I work with individuals with college degrees, most of them have Master's degrees in their respective fields!

The general attitude that I encounter in the popular culture around me is the following:
  • All females must be size two with blond hair and at minimum a C-cup bra.
  • If you violate the above rule, you must strive to meet it and wear the fashion industry proscribed clothing appropriate to your body form (provided that your size is 14 and under).
  • All females must feel that their boobs are not big enough, their skin is not perfect enough, and that they must compulsively wear suggestive clothing and vast hordes of make up to correct this 'flaw'.
  • Males must treat females as objects of both praise and revulsion; most explicitly adhering to this standard in the environments of mixed genders.
  • Males must remind females of their place in the social construct.
  • Children are allowed to be 'cute' until they reach age 5. After this age, they must initiate the development process into a sexualized object. Failure to do so will be viewed as a violation of the mandated growth process.
  • ...
I could go on, but you're starting to get the picture, I think. One thing that rings true in this entire thing is how false it is. The other that should be blatantly obvious is how harmful it is to people. Is it just me, or are we turning into prey animals? Prey animals practice a herd mentality and when confronted with objects of fear, will group together and follow blindly one that shows some spark of initiative or dominance. These behaviors seem to describe humanity at large in the region I'm in, dominated by the popular culture mindset.

Soo... are we screwed? I hate to say it, but I think so. Sorry guys, but popular culture is destroying our species. There's not enough of us who are not of the prey animal mindset to reverse this effect. Perhaps we should hit the big red button and nuke the whole world back to the stone age. Maybe that'll cure it.

Why I hate Popular Culture... (television rant)

I suppose the title of this does sound a little bit too much like the essay question for a high school English class. That said, the title does fit very well and I'll only change it upon an overwhelming influx of individuals who are arguing that it is a terrible title and proposes new ones. Until that time, however, the cheezy title is going to stand. Digression about the title aside, let's get to the meat and potatoes of this post, shall we?

I do hate popular culture. I don't watch television because it gives me headaches. My headaches are not spawned by the cycle of the flicker of the screen or some other related item explained by neurological deduction. It's not like my migraines that are triggered by florescent lights. No, my headaches that come from watching television are directly related to my aggravation over the amount of banality and trite horse-shit that is shoveled into our homes through what my family affectionately calls the 'idiot box'.

Over the last year, I have watched approximately 24 hours of television. That is roughly 2 hours each month. If you wish to include the occasional times that my husband and I watch television at our friends' and families' houses, then I suppose that number would edge close to 30 hours in a year. The national average is 2555 hours per year. I got that number from a little bit of simple math and the data on this website. Just to put that into perspective, that is roughly 106 days of watching television for a full 24 hours. That comprises nearly a third of the year. Sleep takes up approximately 144 days of the year, just to let you know. Work time, based on a standard40 hour work week, is roughly121 days in the year. That leaves you with no other time for anything else, and that you're probably overlapping some of your work time with one of the other two.

One may wonder why I have chosen to be watching less television by a couple of factors of ten. Part of it is so that I have time to get things done and not live in a hovel. I'm sorry, but I'm not one of these people where I can watch television and wash dishes at the same time. I'll wind up ignoring something, and I really don't feel like getting food poisioning because my dishes or food preparation equipment wasn't clean enough. I don't like wasting electricity by ignoring the television as I'm doing other things. So I don't even bother turning it on.

I'll watch the news from time to time. It's gotten almost painful to watch even that. Look, I don't have a problem with the fact that you're reporting the latest scandal in DC or how Brittney Spears must be reported to the fashion police. But I would really prefer to hear something of more substance. I'd be thrilled if you just did your jobs, actually. Just report on the issue, don't pander to the ratings by adding your opinions on it or how you feel about the images that are shown to go with your bit piece. Please, for the love of John Campbell, just do your job! Let me make up my own mind on the topics presented. All of the miserable business of having the reporter in the sportcoat telling me how they feel or view the topic (there by attempting to influence my feelings on it) is insulting to my intelligence. I have enough gray matter upstairs in proper working order to decide if I should be scandalized, amused, or bored with Britteny's presence or lack of undergarments in public. I really don't need some mouthpeice to bet telling me how I should feel or trying to influence it.

I don't bother with soap operas, reality television or sitcoms. They're pretty much all the same. People are stabbing each other in the backs, attempting to generate a succession of high drama moments, and pandering to the prevailing trends of fashion and the contemporary sterotypes. Maeby it's just me, but I find the paper thin plots and over blown 'drama' of it all to be disgusting. If I wanted to witness that much angst, I'd be continually subscribed to all the blogs of teenagers and their related webcams. The whole business is a glorified angst-fest that puts the hallowed halls of the high school hell to shame. There's so many prima donnas in one room that I think it violates some law of physics, thus some of them must be virtual images or filmed separately and parsed together to prevent the entire group from hitting the Chandrasekhar limit and collapsing into a black hole of irony. After all gravitational mass requires substance and these are generally vapid characters we're discussing on celluloid. Maybe it's all the mass of the photons, but I doubt it.

On occasion, I will watch educational television. A large amount of the selection on the History Channel and the Discovery Channel can prove interesting, if it was written just a little bit more towards a higher educational level. This, however, is not something I expect, because I think the national average for reading level is about 5th grade. Reading level has a direct relationship to word comprehension, which is vital for one to understand terms stated to them in a discussion. In short, they dumb down their shows so that the audience can keep up with them. I'm glad that these options exist, but they're rather buried under the 5 million other channels of fluff that's out there. I know, ESPN and the other sports specific channels aren't 'fluff' per se, but they get rather repetitive rather quickly. Especially if you're not interested in sports.

Now, popular culture, as I have been subjected to it, seems to insist that the fluff channel discussion how to paint your nails properly or the latest gossip from Hollywood (which I hope that someday those poor viewers will realize is manufactured gossip) is the thing to watch. The bread and circuses of our era can be found in how pop culture upholds fast food and television where you get to see people:
  • act as greedy, self serving bastards
  • prove themselves to be wonders of the world, for they have enough intelligence to breathe and walk upright, even as they have not enough to understand that placing a bottle-rocket up your rectum is not a good idea
  • as objects of mental (and physical if you so choose) masturbation via sadistic voyeuristic fantasies lived out in reality television; specifically if you have a fetish for humiliation of others
  • express a distinct lack of regard for the consequences of their actions upon others, thus engaging in behavior that proves denigrating to the society as a whole
I don't know. Maybe it's just that I'm too much of an ignorant heathen and I am suffering for my lack of initiation into the cult of the television. The idiot box makes my brain hurt because there hasn't been anything of substance on it in many years, all that there is I have described above. I am not going to waste my time watching on television what I see in the street everyday in the first two points I listed. I am not a voyeur. As well, as I find the implied support of the final point via giving it my attention to be repugnant and would mark me as a hypocrite.

Here's the really good part, I still get to hear about all of the tripe that's thrown up on the television for us all to debate if we can choke back the vomit rising in our throats or force it down by shoving a twinkie in to absorb the acid and physically force the regurgitation process to reverse. I have the wonderful joy of being told all about it by the people around me. I get to hear about Britteny's latest stunt, the current moron who's grandstanding for glory on this week's 'hottest' reality show, and be told how frumpy I look because I'm not dressed in the latest fashions. I can't escape it, no matter how hard I try, unless I completely isolate myself from all other people. Even then, I will still be subjected to the supporting materials in the form of advertisements and other miscellany that litters the world around me.

I hate having this stuff shoved down my throat. I don't want any damn part of it and it's getting forced on me.

What the hell.....?

Before you read this post, please read this news story from the BBC.

I'll wait a few seconds...

Ok, I'll assume that you have read this particular article. Now, on one hand, you could say, "Wow, that's horrible! Who would do something like have their kid arrested for filching their Christmas gifts early?" and on the other hand, "What the hell is so wrong with a child that they need the 'lesson' of being arrested for filching their Christmas present early?"

I think the important part of this story is not the Christmas present, like it is designed to read. The important part is:

The boy, who has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is already facing an expulsion hearing at his school for attempting to hit a police officer assigned to the school last month. The boy's case will be presented to York County's Department of Juvenile Justice, which will decide what action to take. Ms Ervin told the Associated Press she hoped the authorities could scare her son into behaving himself. "It's not even about the Christmas present," she said. "I'd rather call (the police) myself than someone else call for him doing something worse."

Now, maybe it's just me, but doesn't it strike you as somewhat desperate to have to take these measures? Please, don't read that as a slight against the mother. But, the act of reporting your child for petit larceny after they have gotten into the Christmas gift is rather extreme compared to something such as grounding or taking away said gift. Perhaps this is a sign of a larger problem, one that perhaps extends beyond the child's ADHD and into how it is handled by the people around him. Is it perhaps a sign that our society's efforts to avoid teaching discipline via the application of discipline when children misbehave is not working?

Oh, I know, I sound like a curmudgeon. It doesn't change the distinct possiblity that I might be right, here. It may seem a little crazy, but perhaps the reason why this child gets into so much trouble is because his behavior is tolerated. One could argue that a policy of continual capitulation to "problem children" on the part of the schools is a dramatic part of the problem of excessive permissiveness. Oh, I know, I know, one of the wits reading this is going to say that I am taking to hard of a stance and that there's nothing that can be done to resolve this problem.

I challenge that assumption. You would have no concept of self-discipline if you were not educated by having been subjected to some form of discipline when you were younger. Children learn by things such as what happens in their environment. If a child is raised in a place where there are high standards for behavior and appropriate consequences for failing to meet those standards, eventually it will become habitual to operate close to the standards to avoid the punishment. One habit has set in, it becomes very hard to break. In the case of self-discipline, it is a continuation of the habit of avoiding the problems associated with poor behavior.

I'm not saying that I have all the answers, but perhaps we need to rethink our strategy on disciplining children. Being their "friend" rather then their parent or the authority figure in a relationship is clearly not working. This whole concept of having a parent concerned if their children "likes" them or thinks they're "cool" parents... the more and more it stinks of an avoidance behavior and an effort not to take responsiblity for being a parent.

I understand that raising children is hard work. It's probably the hardest job on the planet next to that Alaskan deep sea fishing job.. (Is that still listed as the official 'hardest job in the world'?) It may sound ignorant as hell for a woman who has no children to be saying these things too. I'm planning on having kids, though, so I need to think about them. From the models of child rearing that I have seen thus far, I am inclined to argue that very few of the 'popular' ones are working and the country is just going to get progressively worse the more people attempt to avoid doing the hard and painful work of disciplining their children.

I've worked with toddlers. It does tug at your heart strings when they are crying over the fact that they don't get that dessert after dinner because they decided to beat the snot out of another child. It makes you feel bad to see a child crying over anything. That doesn't mean that you try to make it all better by giving them a cookie "just this one time" or a new toy. You can't bribe children to behave. It does not work. They will view it as a reward to their efforts and thus you have reinforced the behavior you don't want to see.

The disgusting thing is, people at large forget that this practice holds true at no matter what age a person is. The toddler given a cookie after being told no dessert for beating up other children and crying until you feel your ears are going to bleed is no different from the teenager out after curfew. You can't say to yourself "Oh, well, if I ground him, he's going to hate me. Some one may say I'm a bad parent if he complains." and then not punish them with the stated consequence (grounding for staying out after curfew). It tells them that your rules are optional.

It undermines your authority and takes away your ability to maintain it as well. It may be less work to say "Ok, you're only 15 min late getting in. I'll let it slide this time." for a full week of the child getting in late, but it will lead to the child pushing the envelope and that time stretching out to something like 30min, an hour, or the whole night over time. You need to hold the line on your rules and commit to following thru on them.

Here's the other half of this... you need to also be good on your word for the good things too. If you tell Junior that you're going to go to the baseball game with him, then make time and do it in the near future. Schedule the time into your day planner and write it on the calendar at home where Junior can see it too. Failing to be the person who is also going to be supporting and encouraging via positive reinforcement and keeping their word will erode your crediblity as a parent just as fast as being a lax diciplinarian.

But.. what do I know? I don't have any kids and I am out of touch with popular culture.

stupid quizzes

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Seventh Level of Hell!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
LevelScore
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Very Low
Level 2 (Lustful)Very High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Very High
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very High
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Very High
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Moderate
Level 7 (Violent)Extreme
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Very High
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Very High

Take the Dante's Inferno Hell Test

And now for the personality disorder quiz from the same website...

Disorder | Rating
Paranoid: High
Schizoid: Moderate
Schizotypal: Very High
Antisocial: Moderate
Borderline: Very High
Histrionic: Very High
Narcissistic: High
Avoidant: Very High
Dependent: High
Obsessive-Compulsive: High

amusing... been a while since I took it. i guess my borderline numbers came down and the antisocial numbers went up

LOL

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

no inspired title today... sorry.

Quick update, I'm working like a mad woman. Perhaps soon, I'll have enough time to finish the updates on everything else I'm working on. :p

At least I'm semi-regular in updating this.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

I blame my husband's blog for this one too

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I AM A NINJA & YOU'RE NOT! :P

sorry, couldn't help that. :)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Love letters... 2

I've been thinking about you all day. I haven't been able to stop thinking about you, actually. After that first moment of grogginess and mental cursing of the alarm clock this morning, I was thinking about how plesantly you surprised me last night. It's been going through my mind when I am not actively focused on things like the lesson I'm explaining to students or trying not to trip over the random crap left thrown in the halls.

I suppose I am doing a decent job of hiding how distracted I've been today. I wasn't so distracted that it was dangerous for me to drive home after work. I'm not so distracted that I am unable to sit here and type this little note to you. But, I wasn't really listening to the other women I eat lunch with gossip about the television shows. I didn't really pay too much attention to how the social buzz in the hallway changes as the day progresses in the school. I kept thinking about you.

The one thing that continued to run through my mind was the feeling of your lips on my skin and the sound of your voice as you whispered to me. It still makes me shiver and my heart pound. I'm not sure what more to say with out proving embaressing.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A point of contemplation - restraint...

Working in a spirit of restraint, I find ecstacy. I live in the moments of freedom where I am bound, body straining, lungs heaving and mental focus is a torture. The task of self discipline, self mastery becomes spiritual in that place of lust. Even as the ecstasy of letting go comes to me, my barriers are torn away and I'm left more pure, more genuine me. My masks, behind which I hide, are shattered, molded to fit a different form then mine.

I find freedom in having the self discipline broken, that sweet release of pure energy. For the art of the spiritual lies in it's paradox.

Oh, submission, that is another joy I find such delight in it. To give myself fully to another. To honor myself with the gift of one who is worthy of me. For in giving myself to them and their acceptance, I find I am recieving them. There is something sacred in the gift of each other that two people make in the bedroom. It is not mearly lust that spurs this gift on but some sacred duty. This duty is to love and be loved in return.

Sex is but a natural progression of this love. Yest, I know there are other ways to describe and aspire to show this burgeoning love. For love is an emotion and the human mind can convey emotion in an infanite array of ways, not all using the human body. But love, why is it so sacred? what makes it so holy? why is it a gift, a thing most precious. Just as we all need food and shelter to live and be healthy, so too do we need human contact and love to do so.

It is a rare soul that can live as an aescetic and alone. These hardy souls are voyagers into the place of spirit that few venture to. For their chosen companion is themselves. That is not my place. i love the warm circle of my husband's arms far too much to give it up and be alone. I strive, however, to succeed alone. I struggle to adapt myself to the silence of an empty room and the presence of only myself, not one stick of furniture or bare flickering of a candle. But it is hard. Such places of silence do exist, but rare is the mood that brings me there.

The white silence of fury brings me there. I have come to fear that place because warm compassion does not seem to exist, only cold logic and lightning's power. Some day, I shall yet master it. Fear is no man's friend, not when it is your master. Yet, when you strive to conqure it and take it into you as a part o yourself, your soul, fear becomes a wise counselor, warning you of dangers and ill consequences.

Love letters... 1

I wrote this yesterday as I was waiting for you. I suspect that you will probably read it at work. And I suspect that it will be the least potentially offensive item seen on a computer screen around those parts. :) That said, I hope it doesn't make you blush too much.

********* Love Letter no. 1 *********
All I can think about is how much I want you. My body aches for your touch. The wamrth of your voice as you see my tears of fustration slides more seductively over my senses then the finest of silks. I crave you like an addiction. every inch of my flesh cries out for your touch just as every fiber of my soul screams to surrender to you.

Again and again, we go through this tortured, treasured ritual of devotion. By submitting to you, I come home to myself. In accepting my surrender, I can see peace returning to your soul.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Just a note...

[deleted]

We discussed this last night.

You're right, I do need to stop torturing myself.

Gods, I hope I figure out how.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Productive... maybe, let's not get too hasty in labling this.

My progress today on gifts for Christmas/Yule:

1. My paternal Grandfather's book on Aviation
2. Youngest neices's toy kitties
3. Husband's aunt's flavored vinegars & oils
4. Husband's other aunt's dried chilies & cinnamon & flavored vinegar
5. Sister-in-law's bath spa set
6. Mother-in-law's bath spa set
7. Mom's roosters
8. Husband's Grandmother's framed photo of us
9. My maternal Grandmother's framed photo of us
10. My paternal Grandmother's windchimes

all complete

To be completed:

1. Brother's roll up tool kit
2. Neice's heart pillow
3. Copies of photo CDs, with lables for 23 ppl (approx.)
4. Framed photos for 7 people
5. Mini-photo album for my father
6. Brother's painting of daughters
7. Altar cloth for Stargazer
8. Mini-sampler for friend
9. Calligraphy for friend
10. Sister-in-law's scrapbooking supply case
11. Neice's lap quilt
12. Cookies & candies for 15 ppl (approx.)
13. Book of poems for Mom
14. Fabric doll for neice

It may be that I'm half way through the making of things and purchasing of things at this time, but it doesn't feel that way. :p Good thing I've got an organized list of how hubby can help with this. If we're lucky, we can swing this with out having to actually go out shopping. A little later, I'll be taking on the challenge of sending out roughly 60 holiday cards...

I need to purchase some printable lables for addressing. I think I'll be typing up a holiday letter to stick into each card rather then writing a note in each. Make it less of a problem with writer's cramp.

Tomorrow, however, in the morning, I need to make that pumpkin pie. Here's hoping that goes well.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Some days, I know too much....

This was in response to another person's comment about murder.


Now, I'm of two minds on how to respond to this. On one hand, I find myself thinking that murderers are among the lowest forms of life upon this earth, especially those of this particular nature. I'm, however, biased in this stance, due to the fact that my Uncle was murdered by a student of his. As a result of my bias, I hold murderers in a high degree of contempt and revile them as a lower class of being then rapists or violent pedophiliacs.

The other thought that I have is how a person who operates like that would engage in such things is because they viewed it as the fastest route to accomplish some goal. Perhaps it was wealth, perhaps it was the elimination of a person whom you believed was a rival on the verge of destroying your efforts. I could think up many different possible motives for such an act. To commit murder, especially an act of murder that is not blatently obvious as a crime comitted in high passion, one must beable to separate themselves from their victims. There needs to be a sufficent breach between the concepts of "person" and "thing" that your former friend is now worth less to you then a dog.

Such individuals are frequently described in the media as sociopaths or psychopaths, but it's not an accurate description of the psychological "problem" at play here. It's actually a form of anti-social disorder. Anti-social disorder doesn't mearly mean that you have a strong vein of misanthropy but that you can not identify at all with the social group, in this case. Usually, the killers who have such a form of anti-social disorder also have some form of meglomania. I think it is a way that the ego/mind/brain (what ever damn term you want) compensates for the radical and unhealthy split that is present there.

These people have two different general groups that they come in. One is a very suave and seemingly socially sophisitacated, where as the other is the sterotypical serial killer who lives off in the boonies with their rusty axe, waiting to snap and kill all people in a 30 mile radius. The schisim that is observed in most muderers who have anti-social disorder is a result of an early childhood psychological trauma. It's frequently traced to some form of problems with: gender indentification, sexual orientation identification, or pathological abuse by another. They may or may not have a history of violence that is to an extent that it is recorded in public record by way of police reports.

More often then not, however, it is usually such that the violence is expressed in means that are easily hidden or explained away in childhood. "Boys will be boys." or "Oh, they all go through that phase." As these people grow into maturity, they realize that the tendancies that they have are not such that would allow them to function well in society. This serves to further alienate them and widen the breach between "people" and "things" in their minds. From what I've been able to determine in my research, it's about the age of late teens early 20s that this thought pattern (which initally was a defense mechanisim for coping with the childhood trauma) is finally completed and entrenched in the mind.

Then, you have the development of the two groups of killers. One group will say "fuck it, these mongrels can't handle it, then too damn bad." They continue to satisfy the violent urges, which usually are either compulsive efforts to ease some form of psychological angst or reinactment of the childhood trauma. These ones become the sterotypical axe murderer in the woods.

The others work to hide their tendancies in a fustrated effort to work with society at large. They will either express their tendancies via fantasies and through vicarious living in violent media/graphic materials/literature or through the subtle continuation of their earlier methods. Unfortunately, in either group, they become resistant to the earlier method of assuaging the growing fixation upon sadisim and need to become more elaborate to satisfy the psychological "need".

In many respect, the act of killing is just another way to get a fix for their need. This person may have been some one who kicked the dog, beat his wife, and eventually graduated to murder because of the growing compulsion. Unfortunately, this "need" is a fustrated attempt to address something that can be resolved via psychotherapy and can be overcome or rechanneled into more .... constructive outlets.


Now, tell me... am I delving too deeply for character development?

Eulogy for a Stranger

This is a eulogy for a man whom I have barely met. This is a man whom the sanctimonious prayer-mongers will forget. A face seen in a crowd, a chance association, one who will not be mourned when he is gone for they never realized his vibrancy. I met him recently in the midst of doing the most heroic thing most un-heroically, living.

His head was bowed with some hidden grief and I simply could not pass by. I looked at him and saw a companion soul torn by misery's twin sister, despair. I strived to act upon the natural compassion in my heart. Listening to my intuition, I gave him the rough equivalent of child's friendship gift with the words that it would help. Some time passed and I did not see him. I still thought of this somber, suffering man and voiced a silent prayer for him each time.

Now, I have seen my stoic friend again. I have learned that he is dying. My heart was wrenched with grief beyond words. This vibrant, witty man whom shone with a light of fascination even in the depths of horror and heartbreak ... this valiant soul would soon no longer be walking the earth with us. It was with a smile to ease the horror and grief that most obviously shone in my face that he said that he was not afraid.

It was something he had to say three times until I understood it. He wasn't afraid. Indeed, in his face, I saw only peace. He was accepting it, living with it as we would the rain. That is what gave me courage. Even now, he walks among us but not, a figure of anonymity, and sheer courage unparalleled by any I have met. In our friendship, how ever brief it shall be, I have this one regret, that I don't know your name.

All I can add is this:

Thank you, my friend, and when it is time to rest, be at peace. All the world's sorrows will no longer plague you and you shall abide at the place of love, if no where else, then in my own heart. Blessed be, my brother, let us all live with your courage.

Friday, November 10, 2006

sore and sleepy

Well, my back is still kinda stiff from the exercizing I did yesterday.

It's a good thing I exercized. It's a bad thing I'm so damn out of shape. I suppose the fact that I did laundry and hefted the clothes down stairs and up did me some good. I just don't feel like it.

It's the feeling like you've been beaten with a broomstick wrapped in towels or something simmilar. The muscles ache down deep inside but only when you move them a certian way or exercize them for a little too long. My back is kinda weak due to my poor posture, so my exercizes and efforts to maintain correct posture have given me a sore back today.

I still miss my honey, but he'll be home soon. His flight is within the next few hours and then tomorrow morning he's home. I'm still rather tired, but I only got 3.5 hours of sleep last night. Perhaps I will wake up to him walking into the bedroom. That'd be wonderful.

All of that said, I think I'll slack on putting the laundry away and washing dishes until the morning and go to bed.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

no inspired title today

I feel a mixture of diappointment, sorrow, and hope. The disappointment is due to the fact that in many respect my birthday was a bust. I was looking forward to a romantic dinner, flowers, and some personal time with my husband. Life happened and I sort of got one out of three.

The responsible adult in me says that I can't really be too upset. Part of this is what I got for saying "Sure, he can have dinner with us." and part of it is just that life threw us all a curve ball. Getting ready at the last minute for a trip across the country that you found out about that afternoon can make any guy's day crazy. When it happens on a particularly busy day that is also your wife's birthday, it just makes you feel like a complete heel. But, that was what happened, and I felt pity for his boss being told he had to fend for himself for dinner last night.

End result of this is: Hubby didn't have time to get me flowers, though he really wanted to. Dinner was excellent, the restaraunt was plesant, but the guys talked shop in an attempt to ease their nervousness about this trip. Walmart didn't help us much for two reasons. 1. It had to be designed by some one that has no concept of how people shop. Everything was impossible to find easily, thus I wasted 2 hours of my life in high heels wandering around that store searching for what seemed like 4 hours. 2. The customer service desk's concept of customer service is "we're too lazy, do it your damn self." I'm pretty sure that my dear husband will be ranting about that in the near future.

As my husband was forced to repeat the 2 hour search for required items, after a 20 min game of listening to hold music as the customer service desk mocks you, I packed his suitcase and got everything ready for this morning. I fell asleep at 1:20 in the morning. He got home close to 3 am, only to have to wake up roughly 3.5 hours later. I'm amazed he actually woke up. Though I wonder if he actually slept, because he seemed rather nervous about this meeting.

I feel sorrow because of the fact that he had to go out to the otherside of the nation in a flying tincan held up in the air by a reinforced plank with a gas tank and motors attached. I don't worry about airplanes much, but because of my ever present anxiety that the people I love will be taken out of my life by a sadistic or amoral/insane diety, I worry. It doesn't help that I have a fairly good understanding of what happens when there is a catastrophic failure of equipment on an aircraft. Any person knows the answer to that, you don't even need complicated mathematics or much understanding of physics to do it. What goes up, will come down. The question is how controlled the descent is and how fast is it.

I'm sad because he's far away fom me and will be until some time late afternoon/early evening Friday. I'm anxious because he's far away from me and I can't reassure myself at the end of the day that he's ok. It's a huge anxiety problem that I usually don't have to think about because I see him everyday and there's not a lot of threats to our relationship. It may be that we'll drive each other crazy and lead to mutually assured destruction, but aside from that, I think we're ok.

The hope is from the children I work with. On my birthday, they threw me a surprise birthday party complete with cake and card. Both of which they had made themselves. These kids range from profoundly mentally retarded to severely learning disabled but functionally normal. The child who has been skipping school actually came into school to wish me a happy birthday that day as well. It was a delightful surprise, even more so when he showed up at school today. Who knows, maeby he will actually come to school on a regular basis. We'll see.

And then there was today, where one of the high functioning mentally retarded children tried out for cheerleading. I know, it sounds like a disaster in the making, but it actually went really well. She completely botched 90% of the routine that they did for the tryouts, but that was due to her disorder. And she was the loudest of the cheers and completely spot on for that. The physical therapist thinks we can help her with the simple routines and I think that'd be great for her. But this isn't what gives me hope for mankind. It was the fact that *all* of the girls trying out for the squad were offering her words of encouragement and doing everything they could to help her out. Not just at the tryouts but all of the last week and a half that they were getting ready for them.

It warms my heart when I see instances like that.

I think I'll end this on a happy note and make a much needed phone call. Stargazer, I hope this brightens your day a little bit, because I know the earlier portion probably didn't.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Some whining about my birthday.

Yeah, I've been doing alot of it of late. It's oddly helping me to whine on here, so I'm not going to apologize.

My birthday is coming up. Just like my darling husband wants to have people make a big deal over his birthday but refuses to admit it, I suppose I feel the same way. I'm just embaressed by it. I mean, I'm a grown woman and almost 30. I shouldn't be wanting something foolish like a surprise party or an ice cream cake or something. Most of the time, that's something that little kids are looking forward to and they eventually grow out of that phase.

Not that those are what I'm precicely hoping for down in the heart of hearts. It's just the first thing that popped to mind because it was something that I wanted at one point when I was younger. This does revolve around my childhood because of one simple fact. Each and every birthday party I had after the age of 3 sucked, with the exception of probably two or three.

When my 16th birthday rolled around, I was hoping for possibly getting flowers in school like the other girls did. That didn't happen. I was hoping for a big dinner with my favorite food and maeby a party with quite a few friends and a cake. That didn't happen either. It was a dinner out at the local cafeteria style buffet restaraunt and a party that had my immediate family and my boyfriend there. Not the sweet sixteen party that I was hoping for.

The let down of my 16th birthday is really a pretty good description for most of my birthday parties. It doesn't help that I felt obligated to go because most of my family was expecting me to and they didn't really want to be there themselves. I was over joyed that my 18th birthday happened at college. That way I didn't have to deal with yet another sad, drawn out ordeal of familial obligation. My 21st birthday was another birthday that I was glad to have at college.

My family are generally prudes when it comes to alcohol and would have sneered at my drinking anything, even if they were too polite to do so openly. The only downsides of my birthday that year was:

1. Being made to watch Debbie Does Dallas. I can't stand porn, but it was a bit of a gag among the girls.

2. Being too broke to go out and actually do something with the group.

3. Having to study for an exam the next morning.

When I finally got home from college, I dreaded when November came along. I did not want to suffer through another birthday party where people felt like they were being dragged there. I delt with that from the age of 8 until I was 17. Roughly ten years of feeling obligated and disappointed didn't do me much good to look forward to my birthday.

So... if you're one of my local friends, here's what I'm hoping for (not that I'm expecting it because I self-sabotaged by not saying anything before now).

1. A surprise party.
2. Great food (pasta is always a win with me) and a bottle of red wine.
3. Music and everyone having fun.
4. People actually happy to be there and to see me.

I recognize that my birthday is on next tuesday and it's no time to do anything fun. Never mind the headache of election day, it's tuesday. Work days to either side of it, and we all need to be up in the morning. Fun is right out. So.. thanks for listening to my whining and maeby we could do something for next year.

To my friends that are out of town, thanks for listening to me whine.

And to everyone, thanks for giving a damn. It means alot to me. I don't worry about getting older, just about people no longer caring about me. I'd be crushed if all of you suddenly stopped caring or it was revealed that your affection for me was a sham. It matters more to me that you care then making up for my rather sad childhood birthday parties.

Friday, November 03, 2006

look, i'm an author.

http://www.nanowrimo.org/

Ok, Stargazer, I'm going to give this a shot.

Who knows, maeby it will revive my flagging spirits for the fantasy novel I'm working on.

We'll see.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

ack

Now that I've forced myself to remain conscious and deal with several things, I am debating if I should go crawl back into bed.

I hate being sick. It makes me not only feel miserable because I"m ill but also like a wretched person.

An Apology to some of you.

In my recent ramblings, I stated that I have no one I can speak to.

That is not entirely true.

I feel very guilty for speaking with some individuals who have been extremely supportive of me because I feel that I am placing far too much of a burden upon them and that I have no right to do so. Stargazer worries over me far more then I think she will ever be wiling to admit. And Kat, I know you do the same. I try to avoid making Kate worry, though I fail regularly at it because I think she' worries as much as I do.

And then... then there is my husband.


Darling, I know you speak to me often about my anxieties and problems. I'm not going to say that you don't. I think you probably have to deal with my problems the most.

Guilt is a rather shallow word for how I feel about dropping all of these things into your lap. I know how many things you have to worry about and deal with everyday, or at least I have something of a concept of it all. To add to it... well... it makes me feel like a horrible person.

I owe all of you who have been supportive of me an apology. I discredited all of your loving support and efforts to help me. That was wrong of me.

I recognize that I am a fool for feeling the way I do. It's very difficult for me to admit that it is ok for me to get help with my problems. It's even more difficult for me to let the people I love help me because I feel that it is wrong for me to make your lives harder. I don't feel I have the right to make your lives miserible. I feel that going to you in the midst of my huge problems, that aren't really so earth shattering, is wrong because I make you worry for me, I often tax your patience, and can get rather aggrivating with my whining about the same damn problems over again.

I'm not entirely sure what to do about this. I know all of you have been trying for years to convince me that I'm not bad for doing this. I know that you all love me. I know that you all support me and are doing your best to help me when I tell you that there is something wrong.

I just don't know how to get past my anxiety to do so.

I know that I have hurt you all at times in my madness. I know that I have sorrowed you all at times in my grief and that I have even angered you when I get like this. I know that I'll probably do it again, entirely with out meaning to.

And I apologize for it.

I haven't anything else to say, not excuse or anything more. I know it is wrong of me to do so and I am deeply sorry for the pain and distress it may have caused, has caused, and will probably be causing in the future.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Pouring my heart out to who? II

I'm sitting here feeling rather cold right now because of this cool weather we've been having of late. I've forced myself to smile and laugh at work. I've forced myself to be cheerful and put on a "happy" face so the mentally challenged children I work with don't get too upset or afraid. I've forced myself to push forward through so many things just to get to this point today. And now, I sit here typing at the computer, cold and miserable.

I hate the cold, it makes my hands hurt. It burns me. As stupid as it may sound, it burns on my skin like hot water and can drive me to tears fairly quickly. And yet I'm over weight by close to 40 pounds (gaining more despite my best efforts), wearing sweaters, and the temperature is just a shade below room temperature in the living room where this computer is right now. It seems to be a metaphore for these horrible feelings that lurk beneath the surface everyday inside me.

At one point, I had a friend of mine theorize that I have seasonal affective disorder because I seemed to get depressed in the winter and the most in February. Ofcourse, that was while I was at college. In the winter and in February, I was dealing with my family. They didn't see me during the summer. In the summer, I was usually fairly miserable as well. Having people who treat you like you're worth about as much as dog-shit, usually does that do you.

Like I said, my family are crazy and not generally that good for me. I think that you've gotten some of that impression from my efforts to recount my childhood memories that are published here. I don't really think that my family knows this blog exists. I don't think that they're ever going to read it. If they do, I don't know what I'll say or do. I'm fairly certian that there will be some version of World War III happening at that time in the social order in that little group.

After all, I'm publishing the dirty laundry out where the whole world can see it. That's a bad thing in the eyes of my family. You keep family stuff in the family and don't talk about it. You talk about it and people will look down on your family and look down on you. Talking about it makes your entire family look bad and can hurt people in your family, even if you don't mean to. So, don't talk about the family.

Sounds kinda like the way some people would describe how the Mob operates, I suppose. But that's what I grew up with and what I'm bucking in some indirect/direct way here. I can't say if it's direct with any sense of confidence because I am not saying the family name or identifying any of the parties I'm referring to. If I were in a counselor's office, I may be naming names, but that information is kept under lock and key. I don't have to worry about my gossiping grandmother getting hold of it and shaming me before the immediate, extended, and all other familial relations that she writes to in her Christmas letter. Not to mention the non-family members that get the letter because they're "friends of the family." Translate that to her friends, and you get the real picture. After all, I've never seen these people except at DAR meetings and then they try to treat me like I'm about 12 or something. With the exception of one, who treats me like a young woman of some substance.

Ronna, I really appreciate that. I know you'll never read this, but I can't fully express how much I appreciate the fact that you treat me as an adult woman that is valueable because of who I am, not who I'm descendant from or related to.

I really hate how I'm always judged against some other person. It's usually:

1. My mother- A woman that is a self-avowed bitch and misanthrope, generally means well and manages to make life extremely uncomfortable for me about 90% of the time when I deal with her because everything comes down to some strange kind of challenge to a pissing contest. I'm still not sure if she loves me. She's been more affectionate since I've virtually cut all contact off with her and my father in an effort to force the relationship to be something she maintains. Ofcourse, I've questioned if she loved and wanted me since I was about 8, too.

2. My aunt- A crazy woman that abuses drugs, manipulates people, and carries herself as though she is entitled to all the luxuries that are available by virtue of her existance. Never mind the fact that she actively enabled the abuse of myself by her wife/lover and attempted to pressure me into silence via shame. I suppose she loves me, in her own fucked up way. I really don't care anymore now that I realize what she did/didn't do when I was younger and it's impacts on my life now.

3. My grandmother- Who is slowly going insane due to Alzheimer's and her own brand of psychological problems, and can't fully grasp the fact that I'm a grown woman leading her own life. I'm not the little girl that needs doted upon or will be slavishly devoted to her. She's torn between feeling hurt and angry with me between recent events with the death of my aunt's lover (which my grandmother blames me for) and the events surrounding the wedding two years ago. The relationship is strained at best. My grandmother is a gossip and a busy body. She feels that she can fix people and makes it her effort to do so, if you want it or not.

4. My great-grandmother Hazel- She died when I was in 3rd or 2nd grade. I can't remember clearly anymore. She was a constant source of comfort and generally acted to keep me away from the insanity of my family when she was well enough to do so. Her decline due to Alzheimer's crushed me and has long since given me a terror beyond words for the concept of losing my mind. Her death broke my heart but I have felt her presence with me over the years. I'm convinced that she's my "gaurdian angel" and has been there to guide me through the years. Hazel was an author, a bit of a poineer, and a feminist before feminisim became all about shattering the glass ceiling and the gonads of men.

I recognize that I am idolizing her a little too much, but I only have a child's memories of her. As I learned about her life, in later years, I have found that much of my idolization was too much romaticism of her life. Hazel lived a hard life that bore her a mixed batch of fruit in the forms of success, joy, and sorrow. She became a pillar of her community and a figure worthy of my admiration thru the triumphs she made in the face of adversity.

While I can be pleased or even flattered to be compared to my great-grandmother's pioneering spirit, my grandmother's compassionate nature, or my mother's strength...

I am generally angered by it. It denies me my rights of passage, my trials and sufferings and the marks they've left on my soul. It robs me of my personhood, regulating me to being a shadow of some one else and not my own person. And so many people in my family do that. I find myself expecting others who may have remotely heard of my family to do the same, and either look at me and see my misanthropic mother or my sycophantic aunt. Either way, I don't expect the image to be pretty or flattering.

With the others who never had encountered my family, I expect the social hell that I went through at school from day one until I graduated high school, and experienced to a lesser degree at college. I positively *hate* the "popular" people for one very simple reason. The "popular" people are bigoted bastards in my experience not even worthy of being spat on. Sure, they may benefit the earth by breathing, contributing fertilizer via fecal matter, and possibly their actions and efforts may be of value, but their value as a person is nil because they're generally malevolent and vicious creatures.

No, I'm not bitter. I'm really not, I'm rather caustic and vitrolic on the matter. I went through hell when I was younger. I listen to the ever so polite rants about how certian behaviors are not tolerated due to their hatred spawned nature and I want to vomit. I had so many ugly rumors circulating about me that I had college students at the state university in town asking me the cost of a blow job when I was twelve. These people shouldn't have even known who I was! I should have been just another ankle-biter of little or no interest, other then a possible source of income in the way of a tutoring or babysitting gig.

I had teachers harassing me, telling me that I was wrong to defend myself when I was assaulted by students because I deserved it. There were so many people saying so many ugly things, it simply had to be true. I was lying when I said that my mother wasn't a prositute or that I didn't do drugs. The other person may have thrown the first punch, but I obviously had to have provoked them or they wouldn't have done it. It wasn't really my lunch money that the person was taking, it was theirs that they were taking back from me because I obviously had stolen it. As my parents were too poor to afford it... and it went on and on.

And all of this harassment that I dealt with, it was supposed to be normal? I was being overly sensitive and thus I had to go to the school shrink? I was the problem?

I'm sorry, but I didn't do a damn thing to provoke having people take meter sticks and lift up my skirt. I didn't provoke having people slam me into lockers, trip me on the bus, push my down stairs, or step on me when I fell to the ground. I didn't do a single damn thing wrong, unless you counted my existing.

So... if you were one of the pretty people and I offended you with this, I'll apologize. You're most likely not one of the bastards that made my life hell when I was younger. You don't deserve to be in the center of my crosshairs on that one. On the bizzare chance that you may be one of those people that I went to school with and you feel that I'm being unfair, that's fine. You can feel that way. At least you got to feel that once in your life, because I felt that way for many years because of you.

...

I'm not sure if this is doing me any good. On one hand, I am expressing this stuff. At the same time... I ... I'm not sure how to look at it. It's keeping the crying jag at bay, but I'm getting indigestion from the anger bubbling up and a headache from the anxiety. God, I wish I had health insurance, then I could go see some one qualified to actually help me with this.

Pouring my heart out to who? I

Well, I suppose I have more motivation to type things up on here.

The person that I've been writing letters to describing the things that trigger my anxiety attacks is basically unable to cope with it. He's got his own stresses. I understand that. He's got alot of really crappy stuff to deal with being stuck in prison and having to face down the possiblity of cancer.

It was probably really friggin unrealistic and bitchy of me to expect him to beable to listen to my fears. So, I think I'll just stop writing about them. Or atleast, writing letters to him about them. He's anxious about his mother's health problems, his own health problems, the little brother off in the Marines during a time of war, and the other things I just mentioned. And I've gone and added my anxieties to the list.

I guess that makes me a bad person or something. I don't know. I'm torn between this feeling of bitterness and anger... and... I don't know, resignation and a sense of being proven right. Hell, not everyone can take on the world, put a smile on their face, and be the confessor/confidant of damn near half of the people they know while on the edge of their own anxiety attacks. I suppose I was expecting too much, maeby I'm the only one with that singular talent. Because I'm managing to make it look like I'm not coming apart at the seams except to the ones that I've told how bad I really am.

And even then I don't really say just how bad it is. I just give snippets of it because it overwhelms them to hear it. I manage to get about half to a quarter of it out before I get told they need to move on to a different topic. So I jam the cork into the bottle, choke back the tears and the hurt/angry wail of "What about me? Why do I have to be 'OK' for you? I'm hurting right now! Can't you fucking tell?"

I'm feeling hurt, depressed, and resentful right now. I don't really know what to do about it. I've got some dishes in the other room that needs washed, laundry to fold, needlepoint to stitch, a sweater to crochet, and various other projects and chores to possibly distract me. But it doesn't work. I just hit this point of auto-pilot and I'm not there anymore. Oh, sure I'm doing the work and I'm attentively doing it. You won't see any flaws in it, or at least no more flaws then when I'm completely focused on it.

But I'm not mentally there beyond counting the stitches, untangling the thread, or making sure the dishes get spotless and not dropping them. I've dissociated and am lost in my own mind and the horrible feelings that are plauging me. I'm getting to a point where I've realized that it's not the dissociation where I'm going to hurt myself, it's more along the lines of I'm distracted some how. I'm relieved by that fact, because I'd be terrified if I was on the verge of hurting myself again.

It doesn't help much that I catch myself thinking about hurting myself. Don't let any one tell you that I'm not a stubborn woman or that I am weak-willed. I've caught myself so full of self loathing and the horrible impression that the whole world, including and especially those I love, would be better off with out me that I'm fantasizing about doing things to harm myself. I break myself out of those reveries when I catch myself doing that. In the moments that those thoughts come to me, I can almost feel it happening to me. I see it all so clearly in my mind that it's like some horrible vision or nightmare.

It's enough to make me feel guilty. What right do I have to contemplate taking my own life? What right do I have to damage myself in some fashion? I'm not some horrible person. I don't rape babies or do other acts of animalistic savagery for fun or some sick sense of personal power tripping. I don't engage in sadistic acts to escape my sense of misery. I don't lie, cheat, or steal. I'm an honest person who deeply loves her fellow man.

I have a roof over my head, food to eat, a husband that adores me, friends who love me, and a family (while crazy and generally not good for me) that care deeply for me too. I have so many good things in my life that I have a hard time counting them all. I shouldn't be so damn depressed. I shouldn't want to hurt myself so badly that I can almost taste it. But, for some sad, sad reason, I do. I feel that I need to punish myself for the fact that I'm only human.

As if there's something wrong with it, and I'm flawed or broken for not being "perfect". The sane part of my brain, the part of me that knows I have these good things, that knows I am blessed to live the life I am right now, knows that I'm not guilty of all the hardship in the lives of the people I love. The sane part of me knows that I'm not a horrible person or that I'm like that wretched woman who died recently.

But the things we know and understand with logic rarely match up with what the heart feels or the wounds of our psyche.

In it all, I find myself crying out for something again and again. Something that doesn't happen as often as I need it and it never really did, to be honest.

I just want some one to hold me on their lap, cradled against them, as I weep with this pain. And as they hold me close, tell me I'm safe, that I'm not crazy, and that it really will all be ok. Remind me that I am a good person and that I am loved. Show me that the logical part of my mind really is right, because I doubt myself far too much.

But I guess that's too much to ask for in this world when you're an adult.

Somedays, I miss being a little girl and having my daddy hold me when I got scared like this. Now, I just get people responding to me like my mother. "Suck it up, it's not really that bad. Stop this crap and get over it. You're being dramatic, knock it off."

I'm afraid. I'm so damn afraid but no one holds me anymore. No one tells me it's going to be ok when I want to cry because I'm convinced that the world is going to end if I stumble. I know those times happen when I'm not at home, most of the time. But... It makes me wonder, maeby I really am broken inside and perhaps Mom was right. Perhaps I need to be in an insitution some where.

Friday, October 13, 2006

What IS the correct response?

The woman who terrorized me for years is now dying as a result of her lifestyle of drug abuse and self-neglect. The psychological damage the woman has caused to myself and so many people in my family would probably cover a third of the DSM IV's list of problems.

When I learned of the fact that she was dying my initial thought was "I knew this was going to happen. Good. It is about time." I'm not sure if that makes me a good person or a wretch. The woman's been quite ill for months if not years now. Now, she's in a vegitative state and her body is being consumed by infection and rotting from the inside out.

This is one half of the couple that I didn't invite to the wedding. The couple that I refused to invite to the wedding and held my ground in the face of all arguments from my family. And, I add with a bitter sense of relief, the woman that I am not related to by blood.

Clear memories of this woman brutalizing me, attempting to drowned me, and generally making my life a confusing hell war with a nagging sense of familial obligation. I'm torn between the feeling of satisfaction that her poisionous life will finally end and guilt for that feeling of satisfaction.

I'm not sure what the proper thing to do here is. I know that Miss Post would probably not approve of my airing the familial dirty laundry here for the whole world to view. Dear Reader, I don't rightly give a damn how Miss Post views the world at the moment, though. Instead, I'm more concerned with how I view the world and the weight of the past years on my mind.

Some days it feels hellish because I'm so emotionally numb and trapped within myself. The memories and the effort to push them aside so I can deal with my day clash with the need to rid myself of the toxic thought patterns and self-image that I've developed as a result of those efforts and the damned memories.

Sometimes, I look forward to Alzheimers, as it would take away this hell. But then I remember, those things were imprinted early and will last long in my psyche. So, I'm damned to remember them until I'm on my death bed. And even then, I am probably going to be torn between the savage joy I feel as the liberation of the demon of dreading her presence in my life and the guilt for rejoicing over another's death.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Imitation of Whitman...

I sing the land triumphant
Grain bursting in the ear
Grapes heavy on the vine
And apples heavy on the bough

I sing the land triumphant
The fallow doe is sleek and fat
The cattle low and amble in peace
And the river soothes the honest man to sleep

-----
That was all I can recall of the spontanious lyric that came to mind as I was driving come from getting groceries and looking at all the trees in their glory.

----

Do not tell me of how hard times are
Look, let the man who is hungry come
The harvest is in
The corn stands ready
The fruit is heavy
Let the man who is hungry come
He who works shall share
The harvest is in

----
Another lyric that came to mind as I watched some one gathering in their corn this afternoon on my drive home.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

So there!

And my mother accuses me of not behaving like a well bred lady.

You Are 92% Lady

No doubt about it, you are a lady with impeccable etiquette
You know how to put others at ease, even if their manners aren't the greatest.

Memory: pt. 5

I don't want to remember how much I hated being alive when I was in my pre-teen years. My mother doesn't know it, and very few others may either, but when I was in that stretch of time between second and fifth grade, I did think about killing myself. That time where I took the extra dosage of children's Tylenol was a rather pathetic suicide attempt that resulted in my being additionally sleepy. I didn't do like my brother and down half the bottle. Mom freaked out when he did that, screamed at me and proceeded to call poison control. For some reason, it was my fault that my 7 year old brother had gotten his hands on the Tylenol. Never mind the fact that she left it sitting on the table.

So, I had my Mom freaking out with poison control on the line. I was getting yelled at when she was put on hold and then ordered not to move when she was back talking with the nurse or who ever it was over there. Then, Mom got the castor oil, made my brother take a swig of it and sent me to fetch the bucket. Right as rain, he threw up and then everything was fine. Except for the fact that I had to clean up the spot on the floor where he missed the bucket and wipe down the rocking chair that he puked on in the process of missing the bucket. So, I got bitched at and punished for a combination of my mother's own dumb mistake and my brother's insistence that the orange flavored Tylenol was actually candy that magically made him feel better.

Thanks a lot, Mom. That did wonders for my self-esteem. I've lost track of how many stupid schemes like that happened. Maeby it wasn't my brothers drinking or eating something stupid, but they'd do something and I'd catch hell for it along with them. Even if I wasn't there, because I obviously had to have put them up to it since I was the eldest. I am amazed that I didn't get yelled at for when my brother got scalded by the hot water from the tea pot. Mom was visiting with my grandmother. My youngest brother, who was all but 3 years upon this earth at that time, walked up and took a hold of the tablecloth as he grabbed onto Mom's leg. Insisting that Mom pick him up, he pulled on the tablecloth and Mom's pants. The table cloth came down and with it came the hot teapot filled nearly to the brim with hot water.

He screamed. It was a wordless, almost inhuman scream of pain and horror. Mom grabbed him up, rushed to the sink and began to pour cold water on his shoulder. Grandma called 911 and Mom ran with my brother in her arms to the car to take him to the hospital. I and my other brother sat in the dining room watching this drama unfold. When Mom and our youngest sibling was away, grandma began to clean the hot liquid up and then clean the house. I remember watching her as she picked up the shards of the broken teapot. It was a dark blue teapot, oddly enough that looked quite a bit like the one I have now.

The way it looked an eggshell blue on the white of the broken porcelain just shines in my mind. It's funny, that color and his scream stand out more clearly in my mind then my first day of school. I hated school and yet loved it at the same time. My first day, I don't remember the entire day. On the whole, it was one of the worst experiences I've had in my entire life. And for me to still say that 20 years later, well.. It had to be rather awful. It was one singular thing that should have warned me that school was going to be hell.

I got on the bus for the first day of school, dressed in my brand new yellow and pink dress. I had my hair tied up into pig-tails and I wore my brand new rain jacket. It was bright red with lady bugs on it. And I had my purple back-back. I walked up onto the bus and was promptly tripped flat onto my face. Not stumbled and fell over, no some malicious little bastard stuck their foot out and tripped me. The entire bus laughed at me, including the bus driver. I was teased and pushed around for a few minutes, unable to find a seat. Finally, the bus driver pulled the hulking beast of a bus over ordered some one to move over and I had a seat for the ride to school.

As sad as I am to report it, but that set the tone for the rest of my schooling years. I was regularly harassed by my classmates and not a few members of the faculty and staff of the places I went to school. I had kindergarten teachers questioning my intelligence because I was small for my age and born prematurely. I had classmates beating me up and insulting me because I didn't live in town with them. I had a teacher in 2nd grade that regularly punished me for not believing in God. She asked me who made me. I answered that my parents did. The teacher blew her stack and I spent a lot of time out in the hallway with my friend Joanna, who was Jewish.

And I wonder now why I have so much difficulty with things like multiplication. Perhaps if I didn't have a teacher that threw me out of the room for any possible reason she could think of, I may have gotten the basics of multiplication down at some point in time. I got the bullies on the bus that were older then me putting their hands places they weren't supposed to go and threatening to hurt my younger brothers if I told any one. It happened up until my brothers started fighting back, and it happened for a little while after that. You see, since people realized they could harass me until I cried or did what they wanted, because there was more of them then there was of me, they started in on my brothers.

One day, my brothers got mad. So they started fighting back. They saw one of the largest boys on the bus grabbing at me. My brothers threw themselves at him. I joined in the fray. Next thing we knew, I had been knocked to the ground with the beginnings of a fat lip. My youngest brother was kicking and trying to break out of the headlock he had been put into by the offender's friend. And the leader of the group had picked up my other brother by the neck and was slamming him against the window of the bus. The sound of my brother's head hitting the wall of the bus carried awfully well and the bus pulled over in a hurry. A few days later, after my parent's had both had a rather loud argument with the principle of the school, we were pulled out of that school and started at another.

And this incident was one of many that happened on a regular basis as we were attending school. Yet, this was the place where I met the man who is the love of my life. He is one of the few good things that came out of that hellish place that I went to elementary school and high school. When I did fight back, he was right at my side with my brothers and my few friends. As I got older, I lost that fire. But he was still right there with me. I can say it honestly, I was a fool for not telling him that I was in love with him right when I got back to that school at the beginning of high school. I had been, ever since 4th grade, if you can actually believe it.

Memory: pt. 4

What disturbed me, and still does, is how you basically needed to get into a pissing contest with her about whose pain was worse. There are only a few times where I didn't get the rant about how her childhood was worse then mine will ever be. One was when I was sick in the hospital with chicken pocks. The other was when my great-grandmother Hazel died. That crushed me, I loved her so much and it was awful to watch as the Alzheimer's disease ate her mind and then her body. Strangely, I do remember the viewing quite clearly. People were telling me how sorry they were for our loss and that they regretted that she died. I kept getting told about how she was at a better place and no longer suffering.

I just nodded sagely, as a child could only attempt to, and didn't say anything. It wasn't that I couldn't believe that she was dead. I knew she was dead. I didn't have great-grandma to tell me stories about how her uncle was mad about the new contraptions called cars scaring the horses or help me steal butter scotch from grandma. But she wasn't gone. From that day forward, I've felt my great-grandmother's presence with me. And, oddly enough, at that time, I couldn't bring myself to tell anyone that great-grandma was still with me. Years later, I said something to my mother, but I was told how it was wishful thinking on my part.

It was all just a wretched joke, in her eyes, because my two wicked aunts were trying to get me to believe in magic. Mom didn't like the idea of my learning about witchcraft or magic. She especially didn't like the idea of my learning it from those two women. I suppose the reason why I went to visit them is because they showered me with affection more frequently then my mother ever did. Of course, with that affection came their efforts to manipulate me into being the tool by which they destroyed my parent's marriage. They hated my father, and probably still do today. As a result, my aunts (one was my aunt and the other is her lover) did things like tell me that I wasn't really my parent's child.

I was told how my mother's real baby had died in the hospital and that I was actually some one else's child. I was told that my mother kept me because she didn't want to make my father angry by getting rid of the kid that she didn't want to begin with. I was encouraged to believe that my mother didn't really want to have a daughter and that she wished I was born male. And then there was the whole concept of how my brothers were loved more then me by one parent or the other.

It's all an accursed mess and I still have a hard time sorting out what I recall and what I don't. The period of time that I'm looking at now is what some people define as middle childhood. Those years between when you start kindergarten and when you go to junior high/middle school. I regularly got jumped by other students at school and beaten up at that age. I fought back a few times but it became clear very quickly that if you defended yourself you were in as much if not more trouble then the bully.

I'm tired but yet I must write. I need to purge this .. boiling hell that's writhing beneath my skin in my blood and brain before I become violently ill or completely useless to the world... or at least useless to myself. It's a hellish muse that lashes at me. I really don't want to commit these atrocities to paper. Who would want to recollect the horrors to have them stare back at them on the clean page? It sullies the paper in ways that no words were ever intended to. And I can't even use this to get some meager measure of restitution. I can't help the terrors that I feel.