Untitled because I can

This week is drawing to a close and oh my GOD can you believe it’s December? That is just crazy. Really, insane.
I mean December is for Christmas and holidays and Hanukah and Kwanzaa.

Max asked me one year if we could celebrate Kwanzaa. However I wasn’t really sure what all that entailed so I told him we could have a menorah and that seemed to appease him.

I generally despise Christmas.

I love giving gifts, it’s one of my favorite things in the world. I just don’t like giving gifts on a strained budget. I want to buy everyone the iPads and iPhones and xboxes they want and I want to watch their faces light up because they got a kickass present from someone who loves them. Me.

I just can’t do that yet. Maybe one day.

Oh, and there’s some exciting happenings with school stuff, maybe I’ll be able to fill you in soon. Yeee!

I am out of sorts with the weather. I love the cooler, but it’s moving a little too quickly into bitter ass cold. And that’s not cool.

Now if you’ll excuse me, Lucy has a permanent marker.

Thanks be

(here’s the giveaway I know you’re looking for)

So there have been lots of thankful countdowns and such on Facebook.

Generally I don’t shy away from things like that.

AND WHO AM I KIDDING, NOW IS NO DIFFERENT.

I’m thankful.

I’m thankful for:

My health, however I may sometimes hate the way I look and think.
My heart, and the ability I have to love and care. Really. Some people can’t do that.
My desire to be more of a person.
School.
Wine.
The way Josh loves to cook.
Pumpkin muffins.
Friendship – over the past year I’ve done some regrettable things. I’ve lost people who meant a great deal to me. But I still have some people who love me, flaws and all. And that is a blessing beyond words.

And now for the hardcore love:

I’m thankful for Dan. He is exactly the father Max and Ava need, and we are all lucky to have him.
I’m thankful for my Mom. She is everything I have ever wanted to be.
I’m thankful for my Dad. He is, now and always, the measure of the type of man I need.
I’m thankful for my sister. She has been my partner in crime for my entire life, and one of the best friends I could have. Even if she left me out of her Facebook thankful countdown.
I’m thankful for my grandmothers. For how loving and sweet they both have always been, and the memories they’ve given me.
I’m thankful for Josh’s family. They have loved me and accepted me, they are my family.
I’m thankful for my son. Max has, in the past decade, taught me more about myself than I ever expected. His heart and sweet soul are something we should all strive to match.
I’m thankful for my Ava Thomas. For the fire and joy she carries with her. For the independence I envy, and for the beauty she carries, inside and out.
I’m thankful for Lucy Grace. She has given me new life, laughter, and a joy I didn’t know I had room in my heart for.
I’m thankful for Josh. I could gush and spew about every reason, but I can sum it in this: he has taught me what love truly is. I would have gone through my life an incomplete person if I did not have him.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Today

Today is Election Day.

People all over will go and vote yea or nay or red or blue.

And I live in Mississippi, where the only time we make national news is because we gave birth to Elvis/Oprah/Britney/a million fantastic southern writers or because we’re the fattest state.

Well, now we have a new claim to fame – today we vote on Initiative 26, and if it passes, it’s a big deal. It’s a precedent for the whole country.

Now, I have opinions about this. Of course I do.

For just a minute, though, let’s not talk about what I think. Let’s talk about what this will mean.

Less birth control, in a state with the highest number of counties (17) featuring 40+% infant poverty. Not to mention the infant mortality rate (10.5 infant deaths out of every 1,000 live births), or the scads of children waiting in foster homes or institutions so they can be placed.

Fertility treatments….sure, as long as they don’t involve selective implantation or frozen embryos.

Raped? Pregnant? You carry that asshole’s baby because the law says so.

There are far reaching consequences regarding ectopic and molar pregnancies that I don’t even have the stomach to research (this is not hard hitting reporting, people).

Under this law, the miscarriage I suffered in January of 2008 may well have been the death of me, because only an abortion stopped the bleeding and saved my life.

The thing that bothers me about this is not that people disagree with my sentiment that this is one of the most offensive pieces of legislation I’ve ever heard. People disagree with me all the time.

No, what bothers me is that there are fifty bintillion churches who – over and over and over – have pounded into the hearts and minds of their faithful followers that this initiative is penned directly from the heavens. That by voting yes, they are personally winging their way into each Mississippi womb and cuddling thousands of fertilized eggs that may or may not become people.

It bothers me that if my preteen niece gets assaulted and molested, there won’t be a morning-after pill just in case. Her life could change and it wouldn’t have been her choice at all.

I respect the right of everyone to believe what they want. I do not respect anyone telling me how I have to believe and behave. Especially when they do it simply because a pulpit told them that was the right thing.

So go vote. If you live in Mississippi, please know what you’re voting for.

On a lighter note, tomorrow we’ll have a guest post from Lindsey at Campfire Song. This will be totally fun, you’ll see. She even mentions maxipads.

The link is a land mine

Yesterday was pretty much the worst day I’ve had in a while. No particular reason, just nothing and everything all piled in at once.

You know how you can go on for a long time, being content and ignoring things that might bother you until suddenly you just can’t ignore it anymore and it all comes out?

Yeah, that was pretty much my day.

I’m not really one to be needy – until I am.

I suppose everyone is allowed a shit day once in a while.

There were good things about yesterday, though.

I was introduced to Camel Joe (please baby Jesus and Mary just don’t click that link. Don’t do it.) and the wonder of a baby in goggles.

I suppose that could make anyone feel better.

me, introvertery, and Fools

image1114071822.jpgI think I’m going to have to start making the no-post-on-Fridays a regular thing. Or maybe not. But henceforth do not be surprised if I am silent on Fridays.

I went to see Josh’s show last night. Fools, by Neil Simon.

Since I am not a critic of the theatre or acting or the like, I can’t really say much besides my husband is freaking hilarious. He should get paid to act a fool and sling people around as though they have no bones.

I will say that I realized while sitting around (waiting for the show to start, intermission, waiting afterwards) that I am a complete introvert.

Surprise, right? The fact that I hate people and social interaction comes as a complete shock I’m sure, especially since I reference it at least six times a day.

Seriously though, it’s an issue, but strangely so. I can talk to anyone – I can make conversation and ease tension and self deprecate and all that. But someone else has to initiate any contact at all.

Well wait, not really. If I’m sitting next to someone or I’m thrust into a situation, I can go with that.

But put me into a room where everyone else has someone to talk to or something to do, and I just…sit.

I sit and I do things like take pictures of my skirt and shoes, to find out if Facebook thinks I look like a couch.

Family bed weirdness

I’ve never slept with accessories.

Teddy bears, blankies, dolls. Nope.

I always used to wonder, growing up, what it would be like to sleep naked. I never did, because I was chicken. I heard stories about people who turned up at the dorms in college and had roommates who pranced around au natural and slept totally in the buff.

Yeah, I didn’t have that. I did have one roommate, Amanda, who left some ravioli in a dish by the sink until it grew like three inches of mold. I like to think it was an experiment. My friend Katie came over to visit my room one night and was so horrified by the ravioli project that she set about sanitizing the bathroom area.

Katie ended up being my next roommate, and she decorated for every holiday. Every. Not just a knickknack here and there or a cling on the window, no…she had legit decor for every holiday. Valentines. Easter. St. Patrick’s Day. Halloween. Thanksgiving. Christmas, for months and months. It was festive and nice and totally a good memory, although Katie pretty much thinks I’m the devil or something. My point is that my roommates definitely kept their clothes on. And I don’t think either of them slept with any accessories, either. Amanda liked the radio and Katie always made her bed. End of odd.

MY POINT IS NOT EVEN ABOUT COLLEGE ROOMMATES.

So while I’ve never slept with accessories other than my iPhone since it came into existence and, you know, my husband, I do now.

Her name is Lucy and she pokes me in the eyes, pees on me routinely, and sometimes smacks me in her sleep.

I never slept with my kids. Max slept really well in his own bed by the time he was a week or two old, and Ava only slept in my bed in the mornings when she’d sometimes snuggle for a while.

When Lucy came along (because you might not know since I’ve never really mentioned it more than ten or twenty times but I live in a house with every person I’ve ever known), she pretty much refused to sleep anywhere except right next to me. And I know, I know, we should have let her cry for a while and made her get used to sleeping on her own, but her crying stresses Josh out a lot since he wants her world to be perfect and without misery. And she wakes up the whole house. And there’s really not room for a crib in our room anyway.

And maybe I like it that she’s snuggly. If you tickle me, do I not laugh?

Except she’s sixteen months old and she still doesn’t sleep through the night, and she’s kind of an obnoxious bed hog.

Things won’t change as far as our sleeping arrangements for a while, at least until we move, which will be…you know, time.

So I’m not asking for diatribes about how I am doing her a disservice by keeping her in my bed.

I just wanted to bitch for a minute.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m overdue for some hair pulling and milk breath.

For every sprinkle I find I shall kill you

Perhaps going off my meds next month isn’t the greatest plan.

My first day of schooling went approximately as I expected.

There was so much.
So much.

I kept telling Josh we had to be calm, scheduled, and patient. Not to try and do everything at once, and then I ate my words because I was frazzled and scattered.

I swear I’m not going to talk about school and stress and being frustrated every day until forever.

But I kind of think I’ve grown some dumb in the last ten years.

I finished, though. I did all the assignments for the subjects I’d appointed for the day. I read and I quizzed and I GREW VIRTUAL CORN WITH VIRTUAL PESTS.

….and then I curled up on the couch, hummed a haunting tune, and rocked myself into a stupor while I knit a shawl.

A shawl.

In August. In Mississippi.

I think it’s safe to say this may be a long semester.

Terrified

In 1998, I graduated from high school. I went on to the local community college, because that’s just what most of my friends did.

In 2000, when I should have been finished with community college, I had changed my major six point five jillion times and I was considerably behind. Then I got married.

That ended that.

In 2002, I went back to that same school and tried to pick up where I’d left off. I had an infant at home and we had next to no money, so when the semester was over and I got a job opportunity, I took it. Thus ended my education.

A couple of months ago, after talking about it for years, Josh and I decided to try school again. It has been a mess of red tape and confusion, but we got everything in order. Scheduled. Ready and waiting.

Well, today is the day.

All our classes come live online today, and me, who has never taken a single online class, I have 16 hours of classes. While I realize that I’m not expected to suddenly have everything finished and done and I’m going to have to learn to schedule myself, it doesn’t change the fact that having a list of things to do and turn in and know is going to overwhelm me more than a little bit.

I really didn’t think I was going to be so scared. But I am.

I’ve had those dreams where I forgot about a class and never did any of the work.

Where I showed up for an exam and it was a class I was never supposed to have taken.

The good news is that if I make it through this semester I’ll (finally) have my Associate’s Degree, and it will only have taken me thirteen years.

I feel a little (or a lot) silly that this is so important to me. After all, what is an Associate’s anyway? Not much.

Except it’s more than I have.

And it’s that much closer to the PhD I ultimately want.

Yeah, I said it. That’s what I’m going for. Farfetched, right? I’ll be like eighty by the time I’m finished.

But that’s okay with me. I’ll be eighty when I’m eighty whether I have a PhD or not.

So if I die today, it’s because the online classes done kilt me.

White lies are better than moldy skidmarked truth

I don’t think I know much about my kids.

Wait, that’s not accurate. I know everything about Lucy.

But that won’t last long. The clock is ticking on that one.

My other two are complete mysteries, and I kind of hate it.

My hate has nothing to do with them – I suppose it’s actually all me.

Growing up, I never told my mom all that much about my life. I was always really afraid she’d flip out and tell me I was going to hell or make me go to some special church class or something. I actually did get punished that way once – my mom found out that I’d skipped school, and I had to spend every afternoon for like a month sitting in my room writing bible verses. I was a senior in high school.

So yeah, Mom and I never had girl talks. We talk more openly now, I’m older and she’s older and we can both admit I’ve had sex since I have three kids.

But I’ve always wanted to be a friend to my kids. To answer their questions and be honest with them, and be able to have a relationship with them that ensures that, in the future, they’ll come to me for advice. A ride when everyone is drunk. Clarity when their hearts are broken.

And I do try.

But I fail. For lots of reasons.

Max is just so…awkward. I love him dearly, to bits and pieces. Truly. But talking to him is like talking to a miniature Michael Scott. It’s painfully uncomfortable at times, even though I realize his mind is very different than mine. I need to work on understanding him more. I’m sure it’s fascinating to go through life as Max.

Ava is, I think, a lot like I was when I was little.

And that. Terrifies. Me.

I was sneaky. I was dishonest. I had terrible judgement. I had such a hard time.

I want to make it easier for her, but I don’t have any clue how. So I think I subconsciously pull away. Which is the very opposite, I know, of what I should be doing.

Wow. Writing all this stuff and seeing it in the light of reality makes it sound….awful. Which I guess it is.

I ache to be good at being a mom, especially since I legit suspect that I love my kids way more than is normal. I’m just terrible at showing it. I mean really, awful.

Maybe I should take some sort of class. My child psychology class came with a virtual child (yes, it did. So not only to I get to suck at raising three kids with a pulse, I get to have another one to go all A.I. Haley Joel Osment). Think that’ll help?

In defense of black nails

I’m not one to be trendy, or even fashionable.

I realize this doesn’t come as much of a shock. I don’t imagine I exactly convey an it-girl with-it vibe.

It’s not that I don’t want to be snappy and sassy and on top of things, it’s just not something that comes easily to me. I very much feel all Devil Wears Prada heroine, in a way. You know at the beginning where Andi’s all unconcerned and kind of frumpy? That’s totally me, except at the end she gets made over and gets what she wants while she has perfect hair and designer jeans. That’s not me.

And I’m okay with that.

Except sometimes I’m not. Sometimes I really wish I could wear ruffles and curl my hair and lotion and coif.

I can’t. I’d very much like to put on a belt and a dress and not be concerned that I look like a basset hound in a tutu, but something – I guess it’s just left over high school insecurity? – keeps the squirminess at the forefront.

The thing is, I’m thirty one years old. I realize that’s not old, but…I really feel it’s too old to be still seeking out my style. Or to even care about my “style” in the first place.

I few months ago I started painting my nails. It was the first time in my life I’d been able to paint them and not feel like they looked awkward and inappropriate, and as stupid as it sounds, it made me feel good. Typing with lacquer tipped fingers felt a little more…polished, pardon the pun.

But I didn’t really care for the colors. I tried them all, since lucky for me I have a seven year old girl.

Bright orange. Blech.
Purple, which I was sure I’d like and didn’t.
Deep, maroony red. It was called “Rock Star” or something strange.
Green. It looked a little like my fingers were rotting.
Pink. With all my girlish aspirations, it still didn’t surprise me that it looked ridiculous.

Then for some reason I picked up a bottle of black. Lingerie, or something equally lame.

I had no intention of growing gothic talons or anything, but I’d seen dark manicures. Something about it appealed.

As with everything, I did some quick Googling.

I found this, and remarkably I understood every word. I knew those feelings, those lines of thought.

So I did it. I slathered my nails with the glossy tar, and it was…amazing. I didn’t feel like a rock star but I felt – different. A little edgy. Like just by having the testicles to have black nails I became a little bit of a badass.

I realize this sounds ridiculous. I know they’re just fingernails. I know that to even feel like this about what color they are is petty and asinine.

But it’s a happiness I’ve found.

And it doesn’t hurt anyone, though Josh acts pained every time.

So black they are. And I’ll pretend they make me tough and cutting edge, deep and meaningful, even as I struggle with lace and frills, bangs and belted waistlines.