Tuesday, March 30, 2010

exposing myself

there are a lot of things that we all do or have done in our lives that no one knows about. silly things, embarrassing things, things that seemed so insignificant we never even remembered we did it, whatever. well lately, i've had a lot of these stupid things rolling around in my brain, begging to be set free. a lot of them are about things in my childhood & i apologize to my mother in advance if i disturb you in any way.  i don't want to make it into a "25 things about me" kind of list, but it could possibly resemble that in a very random, possibly warped kind of way.

so in no particular order, here we go.

~ when i was about 5, i remember lying under our basement steps w/ our sheltie (why we were under the stairs, i have no idea. maybe it was our fort), cuddled up to him whispering into his ear that someday i was going to grow up & marry him. and as i whispered into his ear, i got the sudden urge to bite that ear & i did. until he jerked away from me and growled. and then the engagement was off.

~ when i had been married for a few years, i decided that i wanted to know what it would be like to be a more granola kind of woman. so i grew out my pit hair. it only lasted for a couple months & it was in the winter, so no one ever saw it. turns out, i'm not very crunchy.

~ when i was a teenager, i had a cat named twinkle. she was a big fatty who made the house shake when she ran, so we should have called her thunder. anyway, she used to bring in huge nightcrawler worms during the night & would often deposit them in the hallway between our bedrooms & the bathroom. i think they were strategically placed so that we'd step on them with our bare feet in the dark for optimum scream effect.

~ when i was 20, i was a nanny & i didn't have health insurance. i got an ingrown toenail. i didn't have it treated for several months because i thought i couldn't afford to see a doctor, but it got so bad that i was seriously limping. when i finally caved in & went to see a podiatrist, he told me that he'd interned in inner-city chicago & the homeless people's feet weren't as disgusting as mine. and for the record, he only charged me $50. i should have gone sooner & saved that scrap of my dignity.

~ when i was in early elementary school my mom taught piano lessons after school & she would send my brother & i upstairs to his room to watch tv or play quietly. i would sneak american cheese slices in with me & then hide the wrappers under my brother's pillow so that i wouldn't get in trouble.

~ when brooke was a baby, she & i were making the short trip home from my parents' house at night. she finally gave up & fell asleep after about an hour in the car & that's when i suddenly needed to pee. bad! i tried to wait, thinking i could hold out till we got home. then i got the bright idea to just use a diaper & pee right in my seat while driving. i mean, she was wearing about a sz 3 diaper by then, so i thought maybe it could hold an adult's bladder worth of pee. i crammed that diaper down in between my legs while trying to keep the car between the lines. i tried & tried to pee in that diaper, but for the life of me, i could not release. i don't know if it was the fact that i've never peed while driving down a road before or if i couldn't let loose because i've never been strapped to my seat while peeing before, but in any case, i just could not do it. i finally pulled the car into a rinky dinky gas station & ran full speed, while carrying brooke's seat, into the filthiest bathroom i've ever been in & proceeded to wet myself, right in front of the toilet.

~ when i was growing up, i had dreams of being a fabulous singer. if american idol had existed back then i'd have gone to every audition i could get to. i sang in church every chance i got, even in the youth choir singing tenor w/ the boys. i tried singing publicly a few times as an adult & i realized that i no longer have dreams of being a singer because i kinda suck & because just thinking about it makes my nerves want to puke. i even walked off a karaoke stage once while singing an alanis song. i just sucked so bad that i couldn't even stay up there.

~ my daughter has named many of her body parts & my own. her tongue is named whimley wormtongue. her hands are fizz & fido. my right hand is soda. my feet are mr & mrs. and my breasts are doug & kevin.

~ when i was in elementary school, i went to a private christian school & every so often we'd have a school wide skate night. i always made sure that my nails were painted, just in case a boy asked me to skate. as if a little 8 yr old kid would notice in the dim lighting that my nails were decked out in "shimmering strawberry."

~ at a house we lived in when i was in jr high & high school, we ripped a hole through the back of my brother's closet. it went into an unused attic space above the garage & we turned it into a kind of clubhouse complete w/ ugly pink chair that i have no recollection of how it got in there. we had to crawl through a very small hole & that somehow made it seem sort of magical. we named that space "ompisenathimbderland."

~ i used to intentionally keep all of my money in an upside down & backwards kind of order. i would make sure that no 2 bills were going the same way. i did this purely to drive my dad nuts.

~ when i was about 8 or 9 a friend & i decided that we needed boobs. we were in the same class at school & we decided to go about getting breasts together. we each stuffed one cotton ball  per side into our tight undershirts & wore it for a few days. then we added another and another progressively to make it seem like a natural development. because it's totally natural for 8 year olds to grow a cotton balls worth of boob tissue approximately every 4 days.

~ i like to refer to myself as "sheera, queen of power" on a regular basis.

~ i remember that after church on sundays we would sometimes get to stop at mcdonalds to eat. it was a rare treat & one we really looked forward to. my dad once said we didn't get to go very often because it was just ridiculous to charge 7 whole dollars to feed lunch to a family of 4.

~ when i was about 20 i was at a friend's house, hanging out with her & some other people, including her super cute uncle who wasn't much older than me. we watched a movie together & then when it was over, the credits rolled & there was a fun song on. i stood up & did a lil dance, having some fun & feeling groovy. that's when my friend jumped up, grabbed my arm & dragged me to the bathroom. she told me that during the movie i'd leaked my period through the back of my pants & when i'd been in there dancing, my bloody butt was on display for everyone to see. i still feel a little bit sick to think of it.

~ a few years ago i found my diary from when i was about 10 in my parents' attic. i opened it & found a page where in all capitals i'd written, "I HATE CHRIS!!!! HE IS SUCH A BITCH!!!! I WANT TO PUNCH THAT BITCH!!!" i didn't know bitch was primarily reserved for girls. (and for the record, chris is my brother's name & my husband's. this one, of course, referred to my obviously annoying brother.)

~ i have moles. i hate my moles. i had one removed by a doctor when i was about 10 & i was mesmerized to look at it floating in that jar of clear liquid with its roots hanging down. gross! when i was a teenager, i attempted a more down home form of mole removal. i tied a piece of string around it & kept it on there for a few days. it shriveled up & died & then i snipped if off w/ nail clippers. nasty, but it worked & it was free!

~ i went to college in a really tiny town way up north. i got sick & seemed to stay that way for a very long time & eventually, the school nurse sent me by van to the doctor at the tiny neighboring town called chestertown. i had a really bad sinus infection, but he made me strip down & get in a gown that opened in the front. he took my pulse in my groin. this happened on more than one occassion & he always spent a bit too much time listening to my heart from the front. i didn't really get it at the time just how inappropriate that was. later, talking to my room mates about it, we dubbed him the "chester molester."

~ i was homeschooled from grades 5-12. somewhere in there i decided i didn't want to do math anymore, so i cheated. my mom trusted me enough to let me do the work & correct it myself & just give her my grades each week. i went several months without even opening my math book and i could hardly take communion at church because i felt so guilty. my brother finally busted me. i still get hives just thinking about math!

~ when i was about 13, a friend & i walked to friendly's for dinner & ice cream. we devised a plan while walking the mile to the restaurant that we would pretend to be professional models while we were there & try to make the waitress believe that we really were. we even had fake names. one of us was cricket & i can't remember the other one. we talked about our trips to paris & milan and all of our abundant wealth. i'm sure that the waitress really believed that 2 little girls who walked there & came in sweaty & disheveled were really international models.

~ my brother's gerbil died while being gerbil-sat by a friend when we were on a month long trip. the friend didn't want to bury our rodent in case it was special to us, so she stuck it in a butter tub & froze it. by the time we got home, the ground was too frozen to dig a proper grave. it stayed in the freezer until the next summer when my brother had his high school graduation party. we made a head stone & dug a grave & even had pall bearers. there was mourning & people said nice things about herm. (it was named herm because we never knew if it was a her or a him) doesn't everyone do that at their graduation parties?

okay, that's all i've got & i'm sure it's more than enough. i apologize if i've offended your sensibilities or made you see me in a whole new light. but i'm sure you've got your deep, dark, stupid secrets too. you're probably just smart enough to keep them hidden.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

bible study gas

several years ago we moved to chattanooga because we felt like God was leading us to come here & start a post modern church. it seemed a bit odd since there are already so many churches in this town, but we clearly believe that we were following God's leading by coming here. very shortly after we arrived we found a few other people who shared our vision & they were already meeting at some one's house on a regular basis for a bible study & some worship time.

we were finally able to work out the details for us to be able to attend one of the meetings (we needed child care because brooke was only 1 at the time & it wasn't convenient for her to be there) where we met the group, mostly for the first time. it was pretty exciting for us to be meeting these people since we really felt like this was the beginning of a big new life change for us & these people were likely to be a part of it. we wanted to make a good impression so that they'd want us to be a part of their group.

we arrived at this big, fancy house & found about 10 or so people there already hanging out & eating. there was a big spread of food & they were kind enough to have some veggie dishes since they knew i'm a vegetarian. i was touched that they'd do that since most of the time when i go to a dinner like that i end up eating chips & dip as my meal because it's the only thing without meat. i happily piled 2 spicy black bean burgers onto my plate & proceeded to chow down.

after the meal, the lights were turned down & we all sat in chairs in a circle in their fancy living room & we had some nice music & a short bible study about foot washing. then someone busted out a big bowl & some soap & water & we were instructed that we'd each be washing the feet of the person to the right of us. chris & i were not sitting next to each other. i was between 2 other men, both close to my dad's age & virtual strangers to me. i started to feel really nervous. this was WAY outside my comfort zone! the only feet i'd ever washed besides my own were my sweet little baby's feet & i imagined they were a far cry from the feet of the man beside me!

now, to increase my discomfort, my stomach started churning, a little at first & then more & more until i could audibly hear it rumbling. i swear, i felt like it was echoing off the dimly lit walls & surely everyone could tell it was coming from me. the washing started a couple people away from me & went in the opposite direction, so i had a little bit of free time while everyone sat quietly & respectfully & waited their turn to have clean feet. i whispered to someone next to me for directions to the bathroom & was pointed to a door directly behind us. i went in there & realized that there was no way in the world i could release the massive build up of gas that was smashing around in my guts without everyone in the next room hearing me. i nearly cried! i couldn't figure out how to fart silently (as i'd learned once before when i tried to plug it with my finger & only managed to fart a very loud, high pitched whistle. but that's another story) and i dared not to even drop my pants out of fear of the coming explosion. so i waited a moment, did the obligatory hand washing & walked back to my chair, doing my own personal rendition of "dead woman walking."

slowly, timed dragged past. i think these people must have been enjoying the process because they certainly took their time about it! inside my head i was screaming, "come on folks, this isn't the time for a full on pedicure & massage, let's move it along!" but outwardly i sat silently w/ everyone else & prayed that they couldn't hear my painfully gut wrenching gurgles.

finally, the man next to me kneeled down & started washing my feet. in the best of circumstances i wouldn't have liked this. the symbolism of it went completely over my head and all i could think about was how desperately i didn't want to blow a blast of gas at this strange man as he rubbed between my toes. don't think about the tickle! don't think about the awkwardness! focus solely on butt control!

ok, i got through my washing, but i still had to manage to wash the dude on the other side of me! so in a rush, i got down on the floor & plunked his feet into the bowl. i wanted to go at turbo speed, but i quickly realized that being in a squatting position, putting pressure onto my stomach & leaning forward required a whole new level of sphincter control. oh my gosh! i felt sure that a noxious cloud of black smoke & foul stench was going to torpedo out of my backside any second if i didn't hurry up & get this job done! it had to have been the least thorough washing to have ever occurred. i didn't care. let them think i wasn't a thorough bather or had a phobia of feet. whatever they wanted to think, so long as they didn't know that more than anything in the world i wanted to fart out the 96 million pounds of pressure that had built up in my guts.

when the washing was finished, i attempted to say my goodbyes as quickly as i possibly could without being totally rude. i still wanted these people to like me. i used the "baby at home w/ a sitter" excuse & ran for the door w/ chris right behind me. i did the clench & waddle out the door at the fastest speed i could manage till i got the car. chris pulled away from the curb & we both started rolling down our windows simultaneously. we looked at each other & started laughing hysterically as we farted ourselves silly in the car, because all the while i was suffering in there, i didn't realize that he was suffering from the same affliction! he'd had the bean burgers too!

ever since then, we've dubbed that feeling "bible study gas" & we both know it's time to clear the room or roll down the windows when one of us catches a case of it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

bob the hobo

my daughter, brooke, told me one day that the reason her hair is always so tangly is because there's a hobo who lives in her pillow. she then proceeded to make the story into a little book on post it notes. here is her book.
it says written by mom, but she dictated & i just wrote down her words when she didn't feel like writing them herself.

"Hey Sweetie, why is your hair so messy in the morning? We brushed it last night before you went to sleep; so why is it so messy the next morning?"

Once there was a little hobo and at night, he would crawl out of his pillow-

and jump into the person's hair! And would do the cha-cha while whistling the chicken dance song.                                                (this is a close up of bob coming out of the pillow & into her hair)

and he danced and he sang...

And then he was kind of hungry, so he ate some spaghetti.

BURP! "Excuse me!"


"Who are you?" said the girl. And the hobo said, "My name's Bob and I'm a hobo."


"I need to take some food into my room"
and her dad said, "stay here and have breakfast with us."

and here ends the the first book in the hobo series. a few months later she decided she needed to make a second one & in the second book she did all the writing herself.
HOBO the 2ND and the New Girl

yummy!      (i love the hamburger in this one. and if i might point out, it's actually a meatless burger cuz we're vegetarians & she apparently didn't want her hobo eating meat either.)

Ahhhhhh!   (i think bob was almost a kitty treat while dad looks on, in case you can't tell what's happening here.)

awww... That's cute!

Oh Yeah! BaBy     BOB<---  --->BiBBY        (i love how they're busting a move  w/ their eyes closed & a disco ball overhead!)

Look at that  ooooo! (they're looking at the glowing lightbulb)


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8                                    (there's about to be a game of hobo hide & seek)

(it was intended to be written - ) Redy your Not her I come

I Fouwnd you!

the and            (did you notice that the hobos are tucked into bed with her now? i wonder if they'll still mess up her hair.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

gross lost food

have you ever found gross food in your house in places it doesn't belong? yeah, yesterday i found remnants of a stripped down fish stick that had been partly eaten by someone (cat? brooke?) on top of the fridge. and once i found an entire apple inside our couch that was completely flat & dehydrated as if my couch were its own giant dehydrating machine. it had clearly been there for months to get as flat & dry as it was. how did i not smell that? did my house smell like rotting vegetation & i just didn't notice? have you ever been to my house & smelled something disgusting but were too polite to tell me?

i mean, i know that my child tends to sometimes drop food on the floor & maybe i don't always pick it up in as timely a fashion as i should, but dang! how'd she lose an entire apple? and thank goodness we're past the point of sippy cups cuz those bad boys would get lost under or inside of things & just get chunky & oh-so-nasty before they were unearthed. once, when brooke was a baby, i'd left her in the church nursery & when i came to pick her up i asked how she'd been. the worker lady told me she'd given her some juice, but brooke didn't want to drink it, no matter how many times she put it in her mouth. um... i had forgotten that cup of juice from a trip i'd made a few days earlier! gross! there were blobs floating in it! who would give that to a baby?! oh wait, i'm the mom who forgets to put anything in the diaper bag other than a filthy cup of week old juice! who am i to point fingers?

so my question is this - what gross food items have you found in random places in your life? please share so i won't feel so badly about my fish stick & flat apple.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

the raccoon chronicles

i know that people are starting to think i've gone over the edge w/ this raccoon business & my friends & family members are openly mocking me now. this makes no difference to me. i just love me some raccoons!

i did some research about raccoons & how to get rid of them. you pretty much can't. once you've attracted them w/ your trash or bird feeders or cozy attic spaces, you are stuck with them unless you're willing to trap & remove them. this will never happen where i live. we have too much wooded area around us, so i'm convinced we have an unlimited supply of the round-butted buggers. i'm not willing to do the only other thing that's suggested to get rid of them & that's spread around coyote pee. i'm will not be spending the money to buy it or going through the indignity of spritzing it about my yard & foundation.

it was after doing this research that i decided to just embrace them (in a figurative way) and let them come. i've put out smaller portions of bird food each day so it can't be stolen and gobbled so quickly & i've also introduced a food and water bowl to my deck. i know, this is where the mocking comes in. people can kinda get over me watching them or taking pictures of them, but giving them a food bowl? somehow that crosses the line for most people. i do not care! i'm home every night while my husband works & my child sleeps & i just don't have enough to keep me busy, so this is my new form of free entertainment.

i tell ya what, those raccoonies love that water bowl! the first thing they do each night when they arrive is to go straight to the bowl for a sipple & a hand & face wash. the food bowl is next to the water & sometimes they wash their food too, but apparently it's mostly used for washing themselves. once they're done eating the peanut butter & lard patties they almost always go down to clean themselves up again. don't want to be wandering around outside on the ground at night w/ greasy fingers!

i've been trying to think of things i can put in the bowl that they'll like but won't cost me any money. stuff i would normally throw away because it's stale or getting rotten. their food bowl is my compost pile! my contribution to greenness. plus i figure if it's in their bowl & not my garbage can, they're less likely to knock my cans over & pillage in the nastiness.

the thing they've liked best, i think, is a raw chicken egg, slightly out of date. they roll it around while licking up the slime & spreading eggshell bits everywhere. one night when i left an egg in the bowl, they left me a marble in return. i think they left it as a gift. is that my crazy talking?

yesterday i left them a cut up apple that was past its prime & this morning i found a bowl full of seeds & apple peels! i am endlessly amused to see what they'll do with the stuff i give them. they sometimes carry orange bits around the deck & take them up onto the railing where they leave them. they don't like carrots at all, even the nice organic ones. just like kids!

i've also found that they have differing personalities & somehow that surprised me. i mean, i know dogs & cats do, so it would follow that all animals do, but i never thought of it before. some are quiet & sneak up here alone & leave if someone else comes up. the quiet ones usually eat calmly & neatly, while the rowdy ones are loud & messy & come in packs! one night i heard 4 of them come galloping up onto my deck all at once. they were fighting & shaking things & slamming feeders & stuff around. they were all fairly small, so i felt like if they'd been human, it would have been 4 teenage boys, revving their engines at stop lights & throwing trash out their windows. those wild boys sure were amusing though! they came in like a whirlwind & then disappeared after just a couple minutes.

ok, i'll shut up about my new pets  hobby  scientific, wildlife observation project. and now i'll go find some rotten food to put in their food bowl. oh & i think they might need fresh water...

Thursday, March 18, 2010


today while i was at work, somehow the topic of tattoos came up. i think it was because my costumer's 4 year old was wearing a fake one & it reminded me of how brooke has never once been willing to let me even come near her with a fake tattoo.

and that reminded me of when i was young & stupid & getting tattoos of the real variety. when i first got one (after trying out the fake ones for years to make sure i really wanted one) i went to my parents' house to visit & i was feeling a little bit anxious about it because it was on my ankle & it was summer & someone was bound to notice it. leave it to my little 9 year old sister sarah. she asked, right in front of our parents, how long i'd had it on there & i told her 2 weeks. she ooo-ed & aahh-ed about how it still looked perfect & hers never lasted that long. that's when i dropped the bomb that it was real. oh that awkward silence! how my stomach rumbled with nerves as i worried about my parents' reactions! eventually i got another tattoo along with getting my belly button & tongue pierced & my head shaved & i stopped fretting over how they felt about my personal decor. i think it was less of a concern to them than many of the other choices i was making during that part of my life.

i remember having a conversation with my parents about how someday i planned to let my children get tattoos & what was the big deal. my dad laughed at me & said that God would probably mess with that plan & give me a kid who would never want a tattoo or piercing or blue hair or a shaved head. i laughed out of pure foolish delusion. how could i ever possibly have a child who wouldn't want to live on the edge? i was way too cool (in my own head) to have a boring or straight-laced child. mm-hmm. that's what i thought.

i certainly can't pretend to have any kind of idea what kind of person brooke will be when she grows up, but she sure doesn't want any part of tattoos now. or nail polish or lip gloss or any of the other things that i thought were a necessary part of a girls childhood.

and while i guess that's a good thing, at the same time, i'm a little disappointed that i won't be able to pass on my tattoo wisdom to my offspring. she doesn't care at all. so let me share it with you. when you're getting a tattoo, as a young woman, DON'T GET IT ON YOUR LOWER STOMACH! even if you're 20 & thin & cute & not planning to have babies, it's a very bad choice for placement! choose another location! i had a cute little mousey, like jerry from the cartoon, holding a sweet little flower (to match the flowers on my ankle) put in the area of my stomach where it wouldn't be seen even when i was wearing a bikini.

7 years later, i was in the hospital delivering a baby. now, no longer is there a cute little mousey down there. this bad boy's a big ass sewer rat! the stretch marks that completely ruined my stomach were merciless in their decimation of my mouse. it is deformed, large, mutilated & grotesque. every once in a while, brooke will catch a glimpse of it & she'll want to get a better look. she'll pull & tug on parts of my stomach to stretch it & make it look like it's moving around, all the while making disturbing sound effects. hmmm... maybe that's why she wants no part of tattoos.

Monday, March 15, 2010

lost childhood

for most of brooke's life, (she's 7 1/2 now & don't you forget that half!) i've kept a file on my computer called, "brookisms" and i would add to it any time she did something funny or cute or bizarre. i've kind of imagined that one day it could be made into a book or something, at least for us, so we'd be able to remember my girl's wonderful, quirky little sayings & behaviors that are so easy to lose from your brain in the course of a life.

last fall our computer got hit by lightening, even though it was turned off & plugged into a power strip. this is the second time it's happened, but this time it fried our motherboard. we took it somewhere to see if it could be fixed & they said, no, but they could save all our stuff onto an external hard drive & for the low, low price of $125, we'd be able to take it home & hopefully get it all moved over onto a new computer. i went back & forth about it since i hated to spend the money, but if i didn't, pictures would be lost, but more importantly, that brookism file would be gone. big, deep breath..... yes, do it. the memories are worth it!

it took a couple months before we got a new computer & then it was only because of my good friend jen who got a new one & gave us her old one, which wasn't even very old. then it was a couple more months before we were able to go pay for the external drive & bring it back home, safe & sound.

this morning i was feeling a blog post rolling around in my brain & it was going to be some kind of highlights reel of brooke's best moments to date. i was hoping to access that file & cherry pick the best ones & put them in it. i started a hand written list of ones i knew i wanted to include & then asked chris if he wanted to add in any of his own. that's when he decided to tell me that the file i was planning to dig into later - gone. when we got the hard drive back from the computer shop, chris got onto it to move things over that he knew i'd want & that's when he found that everything is encrypted. it's gobbledy goop & after spending a large chunk of time (that i knew nothing about) trying to figure out how to retrieve it correctly, he gave up. he's usually really good at doing anything that needs to be done on our computers. he's not great w/ hardware, but anything software is his cup of tea (or maybe i should say coffee).

i sat here & pulled my face into my shirt like a little kid & cried. just thinking about all those fabulous memories being lost forever into my clogged up brain is just too sad for me to even express. i felt like i was going to throw up. i thought i'd done well to put them into a file on my computer since i generally lose anything on paper & i didn't want to be like so many moms who don't write anything down. i wanted to always be able to look back & remember brooke's childhood. she's the only kid i have & probably the only one i'll ever get, so i have to treasure every little moment!

i don't know if there will ever be a way to retrieve or decode my most precious possession, but in the meantime, here are a few of those tiny little moments in time that have amused me & i want to save forever.

1. when brooke was 2, she got a piece of doll furniture where she could put a baby in the little high chair or give it a bath or change it's diaper. it was just the right size for a 2 yr old to play with & she spent a lot of time putting her dolls and stuffed animals onto it. one morning she got up shortly before we did & when i got up, she took me over to the doll thing & showed me that the tub was full of water & she had bathed her cloth bodied baby. i thought that was pretty cute & then asked her how she had gotten the water into the tub. she said, "i pee pee." thinking surely i was misunderstanding something, i asked her to tell me again. she said it again, "i pee pee." i smelled the doll & sure enough, that baby'd been swimming in pee! i asked her how she got a tub full of pee & she showed me that she took it over to a living room chair w/ an arm on it & then dangled her bare butt over the side of the arm & peed straight into the tub below. there was quite a bit of pee in there & i can't imagine that my 2 yr old had a bladder big enough to hold about 2-3 cups of liquid, but there it was. i still to this day wish i could have seen that happen, but i guess if i'd seen it, it never would have happened because i'd have put a stop to it way before it got to the full bathtub, dolly getting nasty stage.

2. brooke had spent a week with my parents without chris & i for the first time when she was about 2 1/2. it was the first time i'd really been away from her, so i was really feeling the love when i got there to pick her up. i grabbed her up in my arms & squeezed her with my heart & my soul feeling all full & overflowing. i whispered into her ear, "i love you so much! i missed you!" she leaned over to my ear & whispered back, "happy waxy day."

3. i love to kiss & nibble brooke's ears, especially right after bath time. i sometimes tell her that they taste like something sweet or good & one day she decided to return the favor. she chewed on my ear for a minute & then said, "mom, your ear tastes just like men's feet!"

4. one morning we once again let brooke get up before us & normally she would just watch some pbs cartoons & munch on dry cereal. this day when i woke up i noticed a horrible smell. it smelled like puke & something else. great. what a way to start the day. when i went into the living room, i found brooke dancing bare foot in a pile of parmesan cheese that she'd dumped into the carpet. she was so happy & smiling & told me, "i like sparkle cheese on my toes." that horrible, sick locker room smell stayed with us for much longer than i'd care to admit.

5. once i was bathing brooke when she was about 3 & i told her that i loved her. as usual, she didn't reply. she never would say that she loved me, she would only say it to daddy. so this time i said, "don't you love me too?" and she looked sweetly at me & said, "you are the best kangaroo ever!"

6. once brooke walked into my room, having just woken up from her nap & gone to the bathroom. i was napping too because i never wanted to pass up an opportunity to get some sleep. she leaned into my face & said, "hi mommy." it was then that i noticed the smell. it was fantastic! so fresh, like a hawaiian breeze! and it was coming from my child's mouth! then she smiled & held up the plastic shell of a glade plug in. she had taken it out of the thing in the wall, gnawed through the filmy cover & eaten all of the jelly, smelly stuff inside. this was the first time i called poison control.

7. at lunch one day, i was sitting next to my adorable little girl who was about 3 at the time, watching her eat & thinking about how lucky i was to have this wonderful miracle child. i was smiling at her & she kept looking at me strangely like she wished i'd stop staring at her. so i said, "when i look at you like this, my eyes are telling you that i love you." she replied, "when i look at you like this, my belly is telling you that it thinks you're very powerful."

Thursday, March 11, 2010


so brooke really likes to talk in funny voices a lot & there's one she does particularly well. it's the voice of a very old man & we've named him edgar. usually when edgar's around, he's yelling at kids in his neighborhood & telling them to stay off of his mule. he frequently has hip issues & uses a stiff, giant straw to assist himself while walking. today we played a whole game of candyland while talking only in the voices of edgar & frank (my own version of old manliness). edgar kept yelling at frank, "what'dya say again, sonny?" frank thought edgar should turn up his hearing aid, but edgar yelled back, "i'm just an old gingerbread cookie. i have no money & how the heck can i have a hearing aid?" i laughed myself nearly silly during the dumbest game ever, all the while our landlord was upstairs fixing something & probably seriously considering evicting us cuz we're clearly unstable.

at the moment, edgar is sitting in the kitchen sink having a half bath & washing his pet pig, named "no name." he's talking about his gas issues & generally just speaking to himself. he's singing, "there's a party in my tummy - so yummy, so yummy." he's talking about how sometimes he can't make it to the bathroom in time & has to wear a pull-up, especially at night.

it's days like today that take that little spark of life left in me & fan it back to a big roaring fire of happiness & goodwill.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

curl up & cry

i don't get my hair cut very often. i've fallen into this cycle of only getting it cut about once a year, usually in august or september when i can't stand just wearing it in a ponytail every day anymore. but the past few days i've been thinking i might splurge & get a whopping 2 hair cuts this year & off i headed this morning to the hair academy.

i know, i know, going to the hair school for your styling needs doesn't qualify as a splurge in most people's worlds, but i've always been a bit on the hair-adventurous side. and it's so cheap that i feel kinda good about myself & my contribution to our finances when i go for my $6 cut. i figure i'm helping the future hair stylists of america & doing my civic duty by potentially sacrificing my own hair for their learning needs.

so this morning i leave brooke & her friend at our house w/ chris so i can have the added luxury of getting a hair cut without brooke crawling around under the stylist's table or spinning around in nearby chairs to the consternation of the students and supervisors around us. i know it takes them like and hr & a half for a simple wash & cut, but she still could behave better. so this time i went out alone!

well, i got to the school & alas, the parking lot was empty. they are no longer open on saturdays. dang it. so i decided to head over to the little hole in the wall shop where chris gets his hair cut most of the time & decided to try out one of his ladies. i figured that at least these ladies have their degrees (i assume, i didn't ask to see proof) and years of experience, so surely they'd be fine on me. why did i have a bad feeling about this? i mean, i've cut it myself. i've had my friends cut it. i've shaved it bald. i've let students w/ practically no experience on anything other than a styrofoam head cut it. should be a breeze & probably faster too!

i should have known when i walked in & saw only men & geriatric women w/ seriously balding, permed hair doos. i should have looked at the woman who said she'd cut me & saw the way her hair was teased within an inch of it's life & sprayed till it was rock solid (bless her heart) that this was not where i needed to be. i should have listened to that little voice inside my head that was telling me to make an excuse about needing to get something out of my car & then burned rubber out of the parking lot. but no. i was a fool. i stayed.

so in a few minutes it was my turn. i got my hair washed in a tiny little sink that was sticking out of the wall & then the washing chair converted into the styling chair. my hair was dryed w/ a towel that was full of holes. there's dust & junk all over. i was on the lookout for bugs, but didn't thankfully didn't spot any out in the open.

she asked me what i wanted to have done & when i started to explain she said, "oh you don't want one of those ole swing bobs! i just hate those!" she was talking with a seriously country accent & wadding her face all up to show her disapproval. oh dear.

then she handed me the comb & told me to part it where i like it. okay, that's different, but maybe just considerate. she turned me toward the mirror, but i couldn't see any of myself except for a tiny corner of the top of my head because the mirror was blocked by a piece of paper that was trying to entice me to buy a raffle ticket. i kept reminding myself that this lady's been cutting hair for 26 years & she's been doing chris' for a couple years now quite sucessfully, so i didn't need to worry about what i couldn't see. finally she seems to be done & she asks me if the length looks right. well, how the heck should i know? i can't see myself! so i did a bit of a chicken neck thing till i found a way to see myself & saw that one side was almost an inch longer than the other. i pointed it out to her & wondered why she didn't just move & stand in front of me to see for herself if it was straight. isn't that what i was paying her for? i had to tell her 2 more times that it was still longer on one side.

she finally finishes & by now i'm thinking that i won't even tell her that's it's still longer on that one side because i just want to get out of there! i can try to fix it myself at home. after going to the hair school for years i'm used to having to do a bit of hair repair on myself when i'm done getting a cut. then she wants to know how i usually style it. i told her put something in it for volume & then blowdry it with a brush. she says, "oh honey, i don't have one of those." i seriously laughed. cuz i thought she was joking. nope. she didn't have a brush. while she was blowing me dry, she repeatedly smacked me in the head w/ the hair dryer while she was hollering through the "salon" to talk to an old man across the way. i don't think she even looked at me once while she was drying my hair, but she did managed to poke me in the eye w/ one of her big fake fingernails in between head bonks! when's the last time that thing was sterilized? i hope i don't get some kind of fungus in that eye now! finally she was done & i paid her, including a good tip, primarily because i didn't have change & didn't want to wait for her to go & hopefully find some for me. i just wanted to bolt for the door.

at home i realized that the layers are just plain awful. the back is longer than the front even though i said i wanted it the other way around. it's not good at all. my remedial help has improved things so that i can show my head in public, but i hope no one looks too closely.

so i'll chalk it up to a lesson learned. if there's no one in the shop who is a female younger than 50, i'll keep going! i'll listen to that little inner voice & protect my hair. protect my dignity. protect my husband from all the complaining i'll do if i'm ever stupid enough to get this bad a hair cut again!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

quick change artist

can i just start by saying UGH? i'm having one of those homeschooling mom days where it sucks to have to be the mom & the teacher because both the offspring & the student are getting all over your nerves! there seems to be a lack of cooperation & willingness to obey, no matter what i say. so it's time to stop saying & start doing.

brooke has worn 6 different outfits today. it started with her jammies (does that count as an outfit?) and then changed into a dog suit. then there was the cat suit, rapidly followed by the worm suit. then we had the lion suit & last but not least, a sweat suit. i found the jammies lying in the middle of the kitchen when i came down this morning & the rest of the suits have landed in or around brooke's room and the bathroom. i saw the bedroom & reminded her yet again that it's fine to wear all the stuff you want in a day, but you are required to clean it up. change repeatedly, i don't care, but don't just chuck it all on the floor when you're done with it! and you can't just throw it all into the dirty laundry basket either just so that it's out of sight.

i told her to clean it up. went back a few minutes later ~ not done. said it again, and a few pieces got stuffed into the dress-up box. put her onto yellow (our behavior chart goes from green, yellow, red and that's obviously the first step of discipline), which meant no more tv or computer for the day. then i told her to go into her room & read as part of her school day. she didn't. she found something else to do & then quick grabbed her book when i snuck into her room & busted her not reading. that moved her to red & means that i confiscated her most special stuffed dog (or as she likes to call it, "the most precious piece of my heart.") and she lost her smiley face for yesterday too. and i made her change out of the lion suit & put on the sweat suit.

i came downstairs shortly after that & found her using google to try to find pictures of dogs that look like her most precious fetch doggy, but alas, she's not allowed to use the computer, so now we've reached a place that i don't even have a label for. double red? minus red? i don't know, but she lost another smiley face.

now she wants me to sit & read a book to her so that i can make her feel better, because, you know, she's lost the most precious piece of her heart & doesn't know how to function. i will not. she knows how to read & if the book will make it better, then she needs to read it to herself. i didn't make her bad choices. i didn't throw her clothes on the floor. and it's not my job to soothe her heart right now.

this is one of those days when i wish that for at least a portion of the day i could turn her over to someone else to deal with. let them figure out what to do with her frantic need to change costumes all day. and her opinion that she should get to decide what her school day should look like and what her assignments should be. maybe they have some ideas that i haven't thought of. but then again, no one could love her like i do. no one could be as delighted as i am when she runs into the room in a worm suit asking me to film her while she slithers around the kitchen floor. no one can know how much it means when this kid looks me in the eye & says, "even when you discipline me & make me so mad, i still love you." so i guess it's time for me to go soothe her little aching heart. she did her part by going away & reading the book to herself. now i'll do my part by going up & squishing her with kisses & hugs & thank her for pulling herself back up from the pit of despair. some days that can be really, really hard.