Embracing the kook within

Historically I have never been what you would call a joiner.

It's all too much, man. Too much work.

It's why I don't have friends. It's why I find my own things and bury myself in them. Hell, it's why this blog has not died a raging fiery inferno death – because I do it whenever I please and big middle finger when I don't.

But my husband, he's a joiner. He gets all up IN all kinds of shit. And he does it because he's good at it. I support that. How could I not? It makes him happy. Happy him, happy me.

So in a grand gesture of solidarity and total outside-my-comfort-zone-ness, I am donning my brand spanking new JustUsGeeks tshirt, hauling around my weight in purple bluish memefont flyers, and going to a comic & toy convention.

Yeah, that's right. You heard it here first.

 

But you know what's crazy? I'm excited. Like, stupid excited.

So by the time you read this, Josh and The Guv and I (Catch that? Did you? Yeah, I said my name and his name but not Lucy's name. More on that later.) will be tooling off toward Kentucky. Or, well, Friday morning. So whenever you read this in relation to Friday morning. Because I think I'm going ahead and publishing this tonight.

 

See it? It's already happening. DARING.

Wish me luck!

What the ?£€¥

Brave Little Blogger Contest

 

See what I did there?

Earlier in the week, I took a stroll through my old blog at Xanga. This is old stuff, folks. The idea of a blig or a blog or whatever it was was completely foreign to me. Facebook wasn’t a thing yet unless you were actually a student, people still used MySpace, and the world, while shrinking, was still pretty big.

I wrote everything I thought in that blog. Insecurities, fears. Reading back over some of the stuff that is still there (not all, though, because I don’t even remember the password, so there’s no doubt all sorts of nuggets hiding in private mode) I was completely embarrassed.

And then I wondered why.

One of my main goals in my writing, whatever format it has been in, has been to be as bald and blatant as possible. To say the things that you might think but never admit. Things like sometimes I have farting competitions with myself and I think I just realized I haven’t worn deodorant in like three days, or that I have coupon codes for sex toy sites in excess. Things that everyone kind of ignores about themselves.

But I realized, in my reading, that I leave a whole lot out now. I don’t post my laments about my relationship…or not as much as I did. I don’t wonder in print about people who talk about Sue Schmo and what they say about me.

I don’t criticize or talk about people I love because I know they’ll probably read it. I don’t say things online that I wouldn’t say to someone’s face….even though I may think them. And while that may be the socially acceptable and responsible thing to do – the smart thing – it makes me feel like a hypocrite.

For instance, I can’t say on Facebook that my best friend’s family hates me or that there are certain people who I keep in my life only because they have to be. I can’t say that there are days I feel like the biggest loser on Earth because I feel like talking to someone and I have only the toddler and the cat. I can’t say the things that annoy me about the people I love most. Not even that I love them maybe too much.

In all honesty, I can’t say which is better. My Xanga posts were lamenty, embarrassing, angst ridden, teenagery blather…but they were straight from the gut. The posts I write today are struggly, observant, sometimes well written, and read by everyone I know.

To be straight, I don’t know where the line is. I don’t find anything appealing about airing marital issues online or sounding like the OMGLOL4RLZ chicks whose posts I ignore on my facebook news feed every day, but I don’t want to feel like I’m being anything less than totally honest.

First world issues, I guess. There are worse problems in the world than my blog. Or so I hear.

The shit and the stylus, a tale of woe

As some of you know, last year Max got an ereader for his birthday.

Which he promptly dropped into the toilet. It never recovered.

Following the swimming ereader incident, Max pretty much didn’t have a great deal of contact with electronics. Then, with his Christmas money, he bought himself a Nintendo 3DS, and in the time he hasn’t been grounded from it (which hasn’t been just a WHOLE ton), he’s done pretty well. He’s kept it from falling, he’s taken pretty good care of it.

So much so, as a matter of fact, that recently I’d begun trying to persuade Josh that maybe he needed a shot at another ereader. The thing is, I have all these books – classics and not so – that he should, could, and probably would read…but I have them in ebook format. I do have actual books, but most of them are in storage. If they haven’t been sold to Storage Wars or something.

Friday, totally randomly, my kids were out of school. Like, school didn’t meet. Apropos of nothing. Max said it was in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday….somehow I doubt.

We passed the day pretty low key, playing dance-in-a-circle with Lucy, watching Family Guy reruns, and waiting for storms. Max and Ava whipped out their gaming gadgets and played various games against each other. I hadn’t really been paying attention to the gaming unfoldery, and Max had gone to the back of the house – I figured to go to his room.

I was wrong. He was in the bathroom. I thought nothing of it.

Soon, though, Ava stood up and streaked back to the back of the house. I heard the two of them whispering (like seriously, they whisper louder than they talk), and I went back to investigate.

It was like I had caught them canoodling each other, except…not at all, because Ava was standing in the bathroom door with her hands on her hips while Max was digging in the rank and disgusting toilet with some sort of grabber….thing.

It looked like this:

Kind of. You get the idea.

Max, my son, who by the way is in the gifted program and has had people ooh and aah about his brains since he was born….was prospecting in a cloudy pile of shit for what turned out to be the stylus to his 3DS. Now, in case you don’t know, the stylus for the 3DS is somewhat unique in that it is collapsible and metal. It’s not the plastic things like I used to use to write on those grey cellophane things that stuck to a cardboard plaque of wax.

Anyway.

Without getting (further) into disgusting detail, the stylus was retrieved, the grabber thing was tossed, and Max spent almost 45 minutes out in the yard with rubbing alcohol and scrubbing implements. And I made him swear not to allow anyone else to touch that stylus.

I probably should have just bought a new one.

Also, Dan bought him a Kindle. Stay tuned for its eventual fate.

Muckbrain

I’d like to say that I’ve been relatively quiet lately because I’ve been bustling busy, being scholarly and cleaning house and such. 

 

Alas.

 

I think the fairest way to say it is that I just ran out of words. Like I’ve said before, I have this calendar of post ideas and the idea is to jog creativity and such. And everything I’ve ever read about serious writing says that to be a writer, you write. You write on days when you’re sick and days when you’re tired and days when you have nothing to say. 

 

And normally I do. But for the past week or so, it just hasn’t been there. Nothing at all. I’m not depressed or anything, I think I just needed a bit of a break. So I took one. I didn’t Facebook like I usually do. I didn’t respond to emails. I didn’t really tweet. 

 

This past weekend was pretty lovely, and Josh and I spent most of it geocaching, which is perhaps the greatest thing ever. If you’ve never heard of it, concisely it’s like a worldwide scavenger hunt, and you participate using GPSs. You drive around wherever it takes you (there’s a handy iPhone app), and you usually end up going some pretty cool places. 

 

Josh and I started geocaching last year, took a break over the summer because damn it’s hot, and then we remembered a few weeks ago…”oh yeah, that’s super fun, let’s do it again.”

 

So we did. This weekend we went all over North Mississippi/Tennessee/Alabama, following blinking GPS dots, digging in the brush, climbing hills, and – in one instance – trying not to get sucked into the muck of a sulphur spring.

 

I don’t really know why I like it so much. I have a habit of scanning out the window while we drive, to see if I see any dead bodies in the woods. 

 

I never said I wasn’t, you know, weird. 

Because I’m not a Christmas Card sender

I’ve tried before, a couple of years I even got the cards out in time.

I felt very accomplished those years. But it’s been a long time.

So in light of the fact that I’m not organized or competent enough to send out individual paper cards, here:

Also, in the tradition of those lovely people who do a family update letter every year at Christmas, I will do this.

2011.

The year started out like they all tend to do.

Resolutions were pretty much abandoned by week 2.

I turned 31.

The institution of marriage was defined by people in all different ways.

Ava lost her first tooth. Max lost several of his.

Lucy turned one.

Josh and I decided to go back to school, and we had our 5 year anniversary.

Josh was in many plays. I was in none.

Max and Ava and Dan were also in plays.

I started going to a for real shrink.

My sister got married.

Osama Bin Laden was killed.

Occupy Wall Street began.

Josh said goodbye to his grandfather.

I registered my domain name and began to blog with fervor.

Josh and I finished our first semester of school online.

And oddly enough, that seems to be all of note I can really remember.

I am giving myself this week of mostly leisure, so you may not hear from me for a while.

I love you.

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.

Weekend Recap News

Ok so the book chapter didn’t go over as well as I had hoped.

Anyway.

Dan left this weekend for China. Three weeks in China because he’s important and robotly or something like that. I like to think that he got off the plane in Shanghai and all the short people stopped and stared, like “HOLY SHIT, WHO IS THIS RED GIANT?”

I’m sure it happened just like that.

We spoke with him last night via FaceTime, and the lobby of his hotel looked like every Chinese restaurant I’ve ever eaten in.

As for us, we’ve been branching out. Dan left us his truck and dude, we like it. I’m resetting the miles before he gets back so he doesn’t know how much we’ve driven it.

Friday night we waited until Dan left, and we took the sniffly and sad big kids up to Tennessee to eat some gas station pizza. It tasted a lot better than it sounds, and on this trip it came to my attention that my son squats on the toilet to poo.

Seriously. He puts his feet on the seat and squats down like he’s in some far country without indoor plumbing. Who taught him that?

Why?

The next day we went to Alabama to both escape the branching wake of Sarah Palin (she was speaking about 45 minutes away and I could feel the ridickery all the way at home) and to eat at Five Guys.

And because we believe in keeping ourselves healthy, we had frozen yogurt. With candy bar pieces.

It’s the most time I’ve spent out and about with my oldest kids in a long, long time. Which is sad for a lot of reasons. I suppose it took the “nice” parent leaving the country to make me realize that I can have fun with them, too.

Chapter 17

This is a project, people. I’ve talked for 6000 years about writing a book. My problem is that I don’t have a story. Nonfiction, I know – but I like the idea of creating my own world. So I’m going to sprinkle some chapter ideas here and there every week or so.

If we didn’t tell them what we were planning, it wouldn’t cause as much of a problem.

Easier to get forgiveness than permission.

So why was my heart beating all rapid? Why were my palms slick and my deodorant suddenly so fragrant?

Throwing up was not an option, but suddenly I was wistful for the thick gack of muck in the back of my throat. Anything to get rid of this feeling.

My fingers drummed on the upholstery. My eyes focused on the silver of the door he’d come from, so tightly frozen that every blink blistered the image into my retinas.

If we did this, I realized, if we went through with everything we planned, it would never be the same. Our lives would forever be defined by this choice. One shift of the gear into drive and there was no turning back. Well, that’s not true – it was a four hour drive. Then we had to find them, and that was probably not going to be as easy as I hoped.

Also we had to steal the baby.

That could be problematic.

So I guess technically there were plenty of chances for a change of heart.

Can you steal something that belongs to you?
For that matter, can a baby belong to anyone? Isn’t that like slavery or something? People aren’t property. But I made her, she was mine. I wanted her. If I didn’t have her, what was the point?

Of living, of dying, of making another. Eating or breathing. Loving. Skin to skin and eye to eye with another only to be thinking of how much I wished I could trade everything to be someone else. Someone’s mother.

This is what got me so whacked out. Thinking in terms of maybes and could be’s instead of what is and isn’t.

The door opened.

Head down and shoulders hunched, he was coming.

It was happening.

I rocked from the weight shift as he entered the car, smelled the unexplainable smell of him.

This was it. He breathed in and hummed his nerves out onto the dashboard, then turned to me, pulling the sunlight out of my shadow.

It was time.

#150.


Weave a story around this mixed proverb: “Silence is a great healer.”

It hurt.

Like slamming repeatedly against a spiked wall covered in salt, there were stings and aches no matter which way she turned.

And locked in whatever prison she’d created out of these circumstances, she was lost and terribly stuck all at once. So how could that be articulated? Without danger of committal, how could she, stretched out on a therapy couch or locked in a confessional booth, explain how she could be resigned to whatever this was?

Forget it. Forget all that, because whatever she is now is broken. And not fractured, not hairline or cracked – this is crushed. Splintered. Irreparable, but not terminal. So living meant living with it. Being herself without failing or changing too much, because to change meant to answer questions, a why and wherefore of the steps leading here.

And that brings things full circle because it’s obvious explaining was out of the question.

So silence became her friend. A healing blanket she could smother in, hide. And while she couldn’t mend, she could try and forget. Or pretend. Silence isn’t a lie, and when the truth is a knife, it’s the best bet.