Wednesday, April 25, 2012


i've been writing my whole life. i started out writing love notes to my mom and dad. i filled up diaries in elementary school to document my every thought, feeling, or irritation. i wrote letters to all my friends as well as pen pals i picked up around the world. i've had a pen in my hand since i developed enough fine motor skills to make letters look like anything legible.

i've always been a reader too. books, magazines, newspapers, letters, notes, recipes, graffiti. i can't fall asleep at night without reading. i start reading from the moment i wake up in the morning and in one way or another, i keep it up until i fall asleep at night.

i've always suspected that one day i'd write a book of my own, but i was rarely willing to whisper that dream out loud for fear of being mocked. i guess i always thought that people who said they were going to write a book were like those folks who said they were going to make it big in hollywood one day. or be recording artists. or sports.... guys. what do you call people who play sports? i never watch so i don't keep up with those things.

but lately, i can't fight the feeling that there's a book trying to escape from my brain. it's like there's a swirl of words and ideas and possibilities that won't leave me alone and won't let me rest. it has to be written.

i don't know if it'll ever get published or if anyone will ever read it, i just know that i can't wait any longer. i can hardly even go about my daily routine of schooling brooke and cooking and doing the other stuff that fills up my days because i'm so distracted.

i've read other bloggers who wrote posts like this. then they disappeared. it felt like the post of death to a blog. i hope that's not the case here, but i think i understand it now. it's not really a choice so much as a necessity for the writer. oh my gosh, i almost just suggested that i'm a writer. that's a class of people that i don't fit into because i'm not one of those cool kids. but write i must. thank goodness summer vacation is just a few weeks away or i think my brain would explode.

i'm feeling all vulnerable and nervous and excited. like i just opened up my guts and showed them to you. for me, telling embarrassing stories about myself is no big deal, but sharing an honest feeling out loud makes me want to cry.

holy crap. what am i doing?

Monday, April 23, 2012

standing room only clothes

i've had to give entirely too much thought to clothing lately. and i'm finding that i'm not really a fan of clothes. i mean, i don't prefer nudity, but i like to not think about clothes almost at all. if i could wear stretchy pants and a baggy t-shirt and no bra all the time, i'd be quite satisfied with that.

alas, dressing like that looks like crap and makes your body look even blobbier than it already is. as i've been losing weight (36 lbs so far) i've been shrinking out of all my clothes. for a while i could wear belts to compensate, but i'm down two sizes now and i just need new clothes. i've not become any wealthier as i've become skinnier though, so new clothes aren't really in the budget. what's a girl to do? she heads to goodwill. and thankfully there's one fairly close to my house that's filled with the beautiful castoffs of our rich neighbors.

i'm having to remember as i shop that there are different types of clothing. there are standing pants and sitting pants. standing shirts and sitting shirts. there are even standing/sitting bras. the standing pants are the ones that look fine when you're standing up. they feel acceptable, but God forbid you wear them on a day when you're going to spend most of your day seated. those things work like a tourniquet for your waistline and will just about cut you in half, especially if you've eaten recently. they're great though for a day at the mall or a park where you'll be mainly in an upright position and shunning food. these are the pants you want to be photographed wearing.

standing shirts are close fitting and show the outline of your body which emphasizes how you actually do have a waist that dips in between your bust and hips. however, you don't want to be caught sitting down in one of these shirts because, well, because it shows the outline of your body. and when sitting down, everything in your middle condenses, causing things to bulge about in a very unflattering way. it hugs lumps and dispels any possible question as to whether or not you might be pregnant. because pregnant bellies don't have multiple rolls like you do. these shirts are best worn while standing up and with your hands on your hips. sitting shirts are more forgiving and can even be paired with standing pants as long as proper care is taken when seated to make sure that the shirt is flowing outward adequately so as not to get caught in any fat cracks.

bras are another one of those dumb clothing items that have standing/sitting preferences. underwires are better while standing, while something without a wire is better when you'll be seated for most of the hours that you're wearing it. those pesky wires can be quite disagreeable when they're poking you in the ribs or armpit, but they sure do make the girls look young and perky if you're standing up.

i hope there aren't any cameras in the dressing rooms that i frequent because it probably looks like i'm engaged in a game of musical chairs with myself as i try things on. for every item that i slip into, i position myself in front of the mirror and then do a stand up - sit down routine while watching each garment closely to see how it behaves. this is truly a challenge when there's no seat in the changing room. i have to do an imitation sit-down and try to hold myself in that squatty position for long enough to get a good look at how the clothing is hugging my bits. i've got to be careful not to purchase too many of those standing room only garments or i'll never be able to sit down again. or at least not until i lose some more weight and they get re-purposed from standing to sitting clothes.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

thumper jr

it's been a good weekend for me. facebook's been treating me right; i found two old friends and an ex-boyfriend (who i wrote about in the beers and tears post last year) and it's bringing back so many happy old memories.

my friend TJ showed up in my life in high school. he arrived in our church youth group with a bang and i've been hooked on him ever since. there are certain people who, when you meet them, you wonder where they've been all your life. he's one of those friends. even when i moved right before my senior year of high school, we kept in touch through letters and phone calls for a few more years. but we both moved too many times. addresses and phone numbers changed too many times. we got lost.

we used to stay up til all hours of the day or night talking on the phone until the phone cord was 15 feet longer than it should have been and when hung up, was lying limp on the ground like a sad, abused noodle. we'd giggle over the stupidest things ever and he'd sing to me. he had the most amusing southern accent which was pretty unusual in new york and he sang country songs.

i'd never had a friendship with a boy before that who i didn't conjure up some romantic feelings for at some point. i was ever in search of my next boyfriend, but tj was never that guy. he was the one who you'd run toward and yank him around a corner to show him where you'd ripped your pants wide open and then you'd laugh until you fell down and one or the other of you peed.

while talking on the phone this morning, i gave tj my blog address in hopes that he might visit me over here in my little corner of the internets. i was nervous and giddy to see what someone from my past might think to read my stories. and not only did he read me, he shared me on his facebook wall for his friends.  he's spent hours reading back through my old posts and i can't stop smiling when i think about it. it's kind of like having someone from your past meet your husband or child for the first time. what if they don't like each other?

tj my dear, i'm so glad i refound you. don't disappear again!

Monday, April 16, 2012

it smells faintly of raspberries

there are times when life feels unfair. there are no good reasons and yet, things happen anyway. we can't control them, they're just a part of life that we have to learn to deal with. like periods. especially for children. and by children, i mean girl-children. and by girl-children, i do not mean brooke. thankfully that's a bridge we haven't had to cross yet.

but many girls start when they're way too young to be having to deal with such things. take myself, for instance. i started at the ripe old age of eleven. i was one of those kids who looked on the event with joyous anticipation. i couldn't get that thing kick started fast enough and once i did start, i told pretty much everyone. it was like it was my birthday and i thought everyone should know and maybe there would be presents and cake.

i thought it made me the most mature and fabulous girl in my group of friends. i offered unsolicited advice to other girls about how it felt and how it should be dealt with and what the drawbacks were. though, in my mind at that time, there were hardly any. long list of pros, not so many cons.

one time, a few months after aunt flo made her maiden voyage into my underwear, i had a friend at my house for a sleepover. she asked about my mysterious period and i proudly boasted that i was having it right then. i was lying. it hadn't been back for a second showing, but i didn't want anyone to know. i felt like my period was a sham, mocking me and my imagined womanliness.

i decided that i would need to prove to her that i really was advanced in the underpants, so i slapped a pad into my undies and would occasionally yank at my rear gear to show her how uncomfortable my new lot in life was. such a martyr. then i decided that it wasn't enough just to wear it, because what would happen if my friend somehow discovered that it was unsullied? i scouted around the house in search of something i could use to mimic blood that wouldn't be dangerous to my girl-parts.

i settled on a bottle of purpley roll-on bath soap that belonged to my little sisters. it came in a bottle like roll-on deodorant, but it was bright colored and fun for kids in the bathtub. i figured it would meet my fake period requirements quite nicely, so i rolled out a storm of soap into my pad and pulled my pants up.

shortly after, i coerced my friend into going to the bathroom with me. i'm sure it didn't take much since we regularly shared bathroom time back then and didn't think a thing about peeing in front of each other. i made sure she caught a glimpse of my "used" pad while i was yanking it out and wrapping it up into a ball with half a roll of toilet paper.

i felt rather pleased with myself for my clever manipulation of her senses. it was like i was a stager, changing reality for another person. only looking back now, i realize that while i thought i was smart, i probably scared her. she probably went home thinking about how she really didn't want to get her own period because that menstrual blood isn't like regular blood. it's purple and foamy, like toxic waste. but on the up-side, it smells faintly of raspberries.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

the mating game

why do i feel compelled to over-explain things to brooke? sometimes i hear myself telling her things when she never even asked a question on the topic, just because i feel like she needs to know things.

she's watching an animal planet show about cheetahs and, of course, there's mating. almost every nature show about animals shows mating and so often, there's violence involved. either the males try to kill each other for mating rights or cubs are killed to bring the female into heat so he can mate with her. there's often biting and aggression inflicted on the poor girl by her determined suitor.

we just found ourselves watching a part where the female was clearly not enjoying her experience. the male was chomping on her neck and she was snarling and trying to bite him back. finally he released her and she skulked away, showing her fangs.

next thing i know, i'm saying to brooke, "when humans mate, it's not like that. i mean, the girl isn't hurt during the process. and there shouldn't be biting. i mean, unless she likes biting, but then it wouldn't be to draw blood, just to.... well,  um...."
it shouldn't be like this.

then i tried to stop and think for a moment before going on with my horrible speech.

"well, sometimes it IS like that and a girl gets hurt and she's mad about it, but that's called rape. and rape is bad. rape is when a man decides he going to mate with a woman whether she likes it or not and while that might be okay in the animal kingdom, that's not okay with humans. and if it ever happens, the police must be told and the man needs to go to jail. and he should probably have his wiener chopped off."

mental hesitation. i clearly didn't pause long enough to think at my last break. why am i explaining rape to a nine year old innocent?

"but mostly with humans, the mating part should be nice. and last longer than thirty seconds. and the partners should love each other and stay together afterwards. and the girl shouldn't be mad at the end. and the male shouldn't kill her babies."
it should be more like this.

i'm such an awkward human sometimes.

Monday, April 9, 2012

greasy tow truck man

nine years ago, we lived in a smallish city in north carolina and my husband was working as a youth pastor at a small church. it was the kind of church where it's filled with mostly old people and their families. families who attend because they've always attended and their mom and cousins and grandpa will be there every sunday. there wasn't much of a youth group because most of church's finances seemed to be sunk into their building and maybe the music program (those elderly folks loved their old hymns), rather than the future generations.

as a result, chris had a lot of time during the days when he wasn't doing anything youth related. he cleaned the building, created the bulletin, answered the phones, and went on sick calls with the rotten lead pastor.

on one of those days when he was out riding around with that snide man, i had to run to the bank to make a deposit, but the bank i needed to go to was about an hour away. no problem. i bundled up brooke, glanced at myself in the mirror and decided that i wouldn't be getting out of the car, so there was no need to brush my hair or change out of my pajamas. i slapped on a coat and away we went.

on the way back from our errand, about 45 minutes from home, my car got a flat tire. we were on the highway, but i was able to safely steer over to the shoulder where i proceeded to evaluate my options. it was march, so it was still pretty cold. i was wearing pajamas. i didn't know how to change a tire. i had a baby with me who was too heavy to carry very far in her car seat/carrier. i had no cell phone.

i decided that my best course of action would be to walk to the next exit which, thankfully, wasn't too far ahead. i picked up brooke, glad that i'd dressed her warmly, and started trekking down the highway, carrying a baby, a purse and a diaper bag. in my slippers.

i got to a gas station and found a pay phone inside the building. then i found that i had no coins. there was an ancient phone card in my wallet, so i was able to place a long distance call to my house. no answer. i called the church. no answer. i would NOT call the old pastor's cell phone even though i knew chris was probably with him.

that left me with very few options. i went into the bathroom and cried while sitting on the toilet with my jammie pants on and my baby on my lap. then i gave myself a stern talking to and dried my eyes. i went back out into the store and sat down at the table where you could eat a nasty hot dog or pre-packaged sandwich if you were so inclined. i tried to think of what i should do when a female employee walked over and asked if i needed some help. i explained my predicament and she told me that there was a customer who usually came in around that time every day who drove a tow truck. she was just sure he'd be happy to help me out once he got there.

she walked away and i raced to the phone to try to call my husband again. still no answer. i started praying. praying that the tow truck man would show up soon and also that he wouldn't be a rapist or baby murderer. my stomach was in knots the size of small puppies.

that man did show up before long. he came over and assured me that he'd be glad to help me out. he smiled crookedly from beneath his dirty hat and reached out to shake my hand with his grease stained fingers. i reluctantly shook back and then mentally ruled that hand to be off limits for touching any part of brooke's skin.

he directed us toward his truck. it was a large tow truck, way off the ground and up i climbed with brooke and all our stuff in my arms. i'd never ridden in a vehicle with my baby not strapped into a car seat, but there really was no decent option. so i zipped her into my coat with nothing but her little bald head showing and strapped the seat belt around us both.

he started up the rig and headed out of the parking lot. away from the highway. when i realized that he wasn't driving toward my car, but rather away from it, i gulped hard, trying to wrestle my stomach puppies into some semblance of calm so that i could speak without my voice trembling. i reminded him where my car was and he informed me that he was just going the back way to the previous exit so that he'd come up on my car from the right direction.

i was pretty sure that i was never going to see my husband again. we were driving down country roads in a place where i'd never been with a dirty man i didn't know and i was completely defenseless. what was i thinking getting into that truck? i did a mental inventory of anything i might have with me that could be used as a weapon. my keys were probably my best bet because diapers and breast milk weren't going to be helpful in any conceivable way if it came down to defensive maneuvers.

i held brooke tightly to my chest and kissed her warm, little head. i told her in my mind that i would be willing to die to protect her. and i prayed. the same prayer over and over. "please God, keep us safe. please, God, keep us safe."

the ride probably lasted less than ten minutes, but they may have been the longest ten minutes of my life. we pulled up behind my car and the greasy tow truck man told me to sit tight while he got out and changed my tire for me. when he was finished, he handed me back my keys and helped me down from the cab of his truck. he wouldn't even let me pay him for changing the tire, just tipped his hat and told me to drive safe. then, with a rumble and a chug, he was off down the highway, leaving myself and my snoozing bambino in his fumes on the side of the road.

i got a cell phone after that. and i stopped leaving the house in my pajamas.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

hottie? or nottie...

we've all had embarrassing moments. times when we tooted in a quiet room or had a boob pop out at the water park. everyone does it.

and we've all had times when we felt good about ourselves. a great hair day or a thoughtful compliment from someone.

but have we all had a day that included both? maybe. let me tell you about mine.

many years ago, in the land before husband, i went to a friend's house to hang out. my friend was a couple years younger than me, so she was still in high school, but i was finished by then. her family was all there, including an uncle who i'd never met before. he wasn't so much older than me - maybe ten years - and i thought he was rather cute.

we decided to watch a movie. i was sort of flirting with the uncle who was returning to favor and i was feeling rather pleased with myself that a guy that much older was paying a little bit of attention to me. at the end of the movie, as the credits rolled, a really great song came on. i stood up off the floor where i'd been lounging and proceeded to bust a move. no one else in the room was dancing. just me.

i was pretty sure that i was getting checked out from the rear view, so i made sure to shake my butt extra frisky-like to be sure that it was adequately appreciated by the uncle.

suddenly i was grabbed by the arm and dragged out of the room by my friend. she hauled me to the bathroom without a word, pushed me in and closed the door. i hesitated for a moment, not sure what the heck was going on or why she'd interrupted my fabulously sexy dance solo.

she was only gone for about 30 seconds, but when she returned, she handed me a pair of jeans. i was perplexed. then she turned me around and had me look at my rear in the mirror. there, all over the butt of my jeans was the biggest, most obvious period stain i've ever had. not a dainty little dime-sized spot, but more like i'd been shot in the rump with a bazooka.

i cleaned up, put on my friend's pants and then tried to find a way to escape out of the house without being seen. i didn't want to even open the door because i knew i'd have to walk past the people who'd seen my period dance. my face was purple from the mortification. my pants were wadded in my armpit. my ego was damaged beyond repair.

eventually i had to slink out and face the people. they were very nice and no one said anything about my mishap. the uncle even walked me to my car. he stood in the road and smooched me under the street light.

my ego was slightly patched up after the kiss, but i never heard from him again. it was probably a pity kiss, but i was grateful for it.

my heart still pounds and my cheeks still burn when i remember that bloody night.