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.

This is a better option than homicide.

I’m pissed.

Seriously, so angry.

I know little girls are oversensitive.
Dramatic.
Flighty.

But you know what? I don’t care.

Ava is seven, which I realize is very young. Shallow and fanciful and still clinging to the idea of Cinderella in crystal slippers and a cinched waist ball gown with a willowy neck.

I remember being seven. While I knew I wasn’t stick thin and lanky like so many of the girls I knew, I still saw good when I looked at myself.

I also remember when my uncle mentioned I was getting fat. He told me I was too pretty for that and I needed to be a lady.

Ava came home yesterday like she always does. She was dressed in what happened to be the first Ava outfit of the school year – I’ve mentioned before how she puts together her outfits and damn them all, she looks fantastic.

She was showing me her papers, talking about homework and such. I looked up at her where she was standing beside me, and I reached up like I often do, brushing her hair back and telling her how pretty she was.

Except this time she didn’t smile, give me a kiss and saunter off. She looked at me and burst into tears.

“No, Mom, I’m not. I’m really not. I’m so ugly.”

This is so fucking unacceptable I cannot clearly put it into words.

I don’t know who said what or why my baby girl suddenly has been wrenched into this harsh and pathetic world of flimsy and fake.

But it pisses me off. How dare they? How dare anyone tarnish what was already destined to be a precious few short years where she could be comfortable and confident?

I’ve tried everything I know of to hammer into her head that she’s perfect. Lovely. Absolutely breathtaking. And of course I knew that eventually things would come to this.

But not now. Not yet. She’s just a baby, and look at her, would you? Look at her.

How – why – what the hell? Really? Is it too much to ask that she be allowed a few more years before being submitted to the absolute terror that is the world?

Ava, you are beautiful. Your eyes, your face. The way you smile and make me smile and the way I’m so proud you’re mine.

Everything about you.

I love you so much.

Don’t ever let anyone make you feel like you are anything less than amazing.

If they do, I’ll kick their asses. All of them.

Love,

Mom

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.

10 things my mom doesn’t want to know

Seriously, Mom. If you’re reading, just stop. Life will be easier.

(also, Mom, since you’re cheating and reading anyway, have I ever told you how great of a sport you are? I say all kinds of stuff about you. You really are a gem. I love you so much.)

1. I let my kids curse, and I let them do it a lot. Our agreement is that they can say whatever they want when they’re at home, but when they’re around actual people who have manners, they have to keep it to themselves. They aren’t great at the control yet, but I like to think it keeps them from turning into foul little shits around other people – since, you know, they’re free to be foul shits at home.

2. I have sex toys. A whole naughty drawer, in fact. As a matter of fact, I’ll just be honest – I think I would be excellent at working at a “novelty” (read: sex toy) shop. I’d make people feel better about their sneaky dirty deeds.

3. Along those same lines, I’ve considered (quite seriously) an, ahem, intimate piercing. I didn’t go through with it because I’m chicken, but I was totally set to do it at one point.

4. I had sex before marriage, completely rending in twain all my Baptist upbringing, and *gasp* I don’t regret it. I don’t even think it was a big deal. Try before you buy, you know?

5. As a matter of fact, I think I was more wracked with guilt over masturbation than I was premarital sex. For real, guys…I really was scared I was going to hell for that one.

6. I have (obviously) become much more comfortable with sexuality in my ancient age. Face it, we’re all somewhat preoccupied with getting/keeping/having sex a lot of the time, so why be all coy about it?

7. I kissed a girl, and I liked it.

8. I married a boob guy, and as a result I have seriously considered implants. It’s okay with me.

9. If I could always have my belly covered (because of stretch marks and weird wrinkles), I’d be totally okay with being naked all the time.

10. My vibrator’s name is….well, she doesn’t have one. I was totally prepared to make one up, but screw it. Honesty. I just know she’s a girl because she’s pink.

Well, there you have it.

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?

Maybe I was a little bit dead

Hello.

There are some people who are sick a lot. People with diseases and sickness and they are much better people than me.

I really don’t do well with being sick, maybe it’s because I’ve been really lucky to have a mostly healthy life.

In the past few years I’ve developed allergies. Because I’m getting old. I’ve accepted it.

There is also this one spot on my left nostril that gets super sore and red whenever the weather changes, and only today have I figured out what helps it.

Hemorrhoid ointment.

There, I said it. I’m typing this post because I wrote nothing yesterday. I’m snotty and gross and I have ass cream on my face.

I didn’t write yesterday because I legit thought I might never feel good again.

Josh has been achy, snotty and sick.
Lucy has been stuffy, grumpy and gross.
And me, well…me too.

So that’s what’s up. I feel better today. My dad gave me some Sudafed (you guys, it is straight up stupid that it requires a prescription now. Meth heads ruin everything.) and it’s helping. I went on a date last night and that was fun. I slept for longer than fifteen minutes at a stretch last night. I was gently awoken this morning by my sweet and lovely husband (he sat on my feet and then said ever so musically, “WHY THE CRAP ARE YOU STILL ASLEEP, IT’S NINE O’CLOCK.”) as he headed off to play practice.

Also, Dear Director Caleb – rehearsals on Saturday mornings are stupid. Please rethink it, because it’s misery. I can say that because what are you going to do to me? I am immune to your evil.

Oh, and guess what? Thanks to the kindness and understanding of the Dean of Students at Northeast, Josh and I are both students.

That’s right. We even have IDs. And I’m so freaking excited it’s a little ridiculous.

I suppose that’s all the random I have for today. I don’t even have a picture. Sorry.

Be sure to tune in on Monday, where in honor of National Relaxation Day I have a guest post by an honest-to-god yogi, and maybe she will inspire you to contort your body in unnatural ways.

Maybe the stereotypes aren’t all wrong.

I recently wrote a post about how I feel about local businesses.

In that same vein, I’ve been doing some thinking. It’s a change for me. I don’t really think about my town that much.

For the relative whole of my life, I’ve lived in the same town. I’ve gone the same places, seen the same people. I used to hate it.

I think living here takes a certain type of person, or, well, certain types.

There are the types of people who are easily and naturally involved with everything, those drawly pageant girl belles who belong to auxiliaries and leagues and go to meetings with cucumber sandwiches. Girls who wake up every morning and curl their hair. Who bake in tanning beds and can wear pearls every day without it being ironic.

Then there are people like me. Misfit people who can fit in, but only for a time and only with great effort. People who can live in the same approximate area and never be recognized from one day to the next.

But you know, deep down, maybe we’re not even too different. I bet a lot of the same things hold meaning for us, just because of where we came from.

How Shiloh Road will never be anything other than The Strip.
How those first few muggy weekends of the fall still feel like football weather.
How the honeysuckle perfume in the summer heat can choke you.
How we know a magnolia blossom smells best right before it starts to wilt.
How the papermill smell can overpower the whole town.
How a slugburger from Borrum’s tastes distinctly different than one from the White Trolley.
How impassable the streets are on the day of the Christmas Parade.

At face value I suppose there’s a lot of ways the people of my town are different, just like anywhere else. One only has to see the variety of church denominations to know that, and maybe stand by and listen during a political rally.

But we’re more than our face value because of the common factors we share. No matter how much we resist our sameness, it’ll always be there. Like the railroad, or the red clay. We are a part of our own corner of the globe, and we forget how important our simple surroundings can be. How much they make us individuals in our own right.

But then…a flood. A storm.

We realize then that we all depend on the same things, because at those times it’s forced upon us.

And those times – when people are desperate, shocked and hurting – we are reminded that as different as we are, we are a part of the community.

No, we are the community. And if we don’t take care of each other and the memories that make up our shared identities, then no one will. It will be lost, and then all people will have to go by are Faulkner novels and Eudora Welty.

I don’t want it to be lost. I want my kids to grow up with the privilege of loving and hating their town, for the same reasons I did. I want to look back and be able to share memories with them. Memories of the same trees, roads, hills and buildings. Maybe even some of the same people.

So I’ve thought about all this. And I realize that as corny as it sounds, I think I like my small town.

Photos courtesy of Joshua Steen, who takes great pictures and makes cute babies.

Where I talk about hugging and Max blogs

I don’t hug my kids enough.







I admit it, it’s totally a downfall. Max hugs awkwardly, Ava chooses the absolute hottest, sweatiest times of day to want a hug, and Lucy loves hugs so much she shrieks if I put her down.

Yesterday, though, I hugged my kids. They are freaking awesome little people and I hate that I sometimes take them for granted.

We had a good day.









(also, I asked Max to contribute a blog post of his own. I told him he could write whatever he wanted, but then Dan showed him my Harry Potter post and I think he thought that’s what he was supposed to do. So I admit, I’m a little let down. I expected probably too much, because dude – the kid can talk like nobody’s business. He goes nonstop. I figured he’d slap out gems of information, like I’m Max, I’m nine, and here’s a working recipe for dynamite. It’s a work in progress. But Max is awesome and I’m including his post. Here ’tis.)

Hi. This is Max. This is what I think about Harry Potter.

I’m very sad about the series ending finally ending. It has a place in the hearts of millions, including me. At first, I didn’t like it. When I got about halfway through the first book, I started to get into it. By the time I finished it, I loved it. I read the third one in 3 days.( I’m not trying to brag.) I fell asleep reading Goblet of Fire. And now it’s all over. It’s just another Star Wars, Marvel, or Chronicles of Narnia. But Harry will always live in our hearts.





Gainfully or leechfully

I’ve been looking for a job.

I haven’t said that out loud in wow, a long time, but there it is.

I just really don’t think I have what it takes to be a stay at home mom, wife and whatever else. You guys already know I have a habit of staying in my pajamas all day, but lately I’m realizing that it’s been so long since I’ve actually put on makeup that maybe perhaps I might’ve forgotten how. Like Wednesday – I was going to the school to get the kids and hopefully catch Max’s awards ceremony (which I didn’t, because they started at 8:30 instead of 9:30 like I thought, which meant that instead of calm clapping and proudness I spent almost an hour walking muggy elementary school hallways that always seem sticky, trying to locate my children in end of school hoopla), and in getting out the neglected makeup bag I was totally intimidated. It was like being thirteen. If I’d had time to get into eyeliner and brow pencils and such I probably could have managed to leave the house looking hungover, bruised, and old instead of just tired.

There’s always next time.

So, job. I’ve been looking. I probably don’t have to elaborate for anyone out there with a pulse and a credit score, but just in case you’ve missed how things are…

Guys, it sucks trying find a job.

I mean seriously, even if I had degrees and a love of human fluids and my CDLs, I think I’d still be out of luck. I haven’t worked in over a year, and I haven’t worked locally in…almost two? Is that RIGHT? Ugh.

But y’all I am not even playing – I am a stellar employee. I really am. I even friend my bosses on Facebook. You would think that I’d have no problem finding some place to slip in and make my own – except how do you convey that? Without sounding like everyone else, I mean. Because of course everyone will say that to get a job. People will say anything to get a job.

WANTED: Nancy Drew expert who has never broken a bone, farts glitter and eats sunshine and ponies, for secretarial and surgical duties. Salary DOE.

I’M YOUR GIIIIIIRL!

Except of course it can’t be like that. There are all sorts of hoops to jump through and then what if the job ends up not even being worth paying someone six figures to manhandle my three kids (three kids, my sweet rubbery trouty mouth, three kids!)?

I mean really. I want to work. I enjoy working. I’m good at it and I can learn almost anything very quickly. But it’s like dating – how do they know I’m the one? Do I say, “Hey, if you want to know me, read my blog, I ramble and sometimes I’m foul and if you look at my Twitter feed on the side can you please ignore that one tweet about feeling bad about bleeding on my cute maxi pads?”

I’m thinking maybe no.

But you know what, this is me. It in no way means I’m unfit to work, and if it were going to offend a potential employer I probably wouldn’t really enjoy working with them anyway, so why not head it off at the pass?

I’m not an idiot. I know boundaries. I can veil things and situations that don’t want to be colorfully exploited via the Internet courtesy of yours truly.

It just seems like a lot to ask. And maybe it is.