Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It is late, and I am rambling

I am wasting time instead of writing. My brain needs to recharge before I move on. Somebody please go in and make me another cup of tea.
We went to Jason's fall sports banquet earlier this evening. I am sure there are more boring places to be, but I really can't think of any right now. For the last five years I have had a child playing sports both in the Fall and the Spring, the two times of year they have these things. That means I really should have attended ten of them. So far this is my second.
Lee hates them as much as I do, so he never went to his own banquets, and I sure wasn't going to go if he wasn't. Jason doesn't like them either, so I thought I was going to get out of it again tonight. Dh loves these things, that surely has to be a sign that something is odd, so this year we went to please him. I am glad we don't have to do that again for a few months.
Some days I hate to walk into the school because I know someone will corner me and say 'your on the school board' and then they will go on to complain about something. It isn't that I don't care about the school, or want to hear their opinions, I do. It is just that some days I want to just be a mom, and forget I'm a school board member.

Oh, I forgot to mention that Fria Chica and I found a solution to one of the world's problems on our long drive home the other night. I'm sure it only makes sense late at night, in the state we were in when we thought of in. Here it is: There should be one rule every government in the world has to follow. All religion is personal and can not be encouraged by any government. Churches should be local and not national entities. The U.N. should give up all of its other duties and have an army to enforce this rule. Not peace keeping troops, an army. Before you dissect this, I know it is too vague, and that it gives the U.N. to much power, but in my late night version of the world it would work.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving has came and went. It left a huge mess in its wake. My dishes may never get done. Everyday I wash enough to feel like I am ahead, then by the end of the day I am behind again. You can see we aren't one of those families that run in and clean up right after the meal. That would be wasting precious game playing time.
My first trip to Wichita was great. My brother and I talked the whole way there and back. We didn't turn the radio on once. We only spent an hour in Wichita since I wanted to get home to start baking, and he can't sleep in other peoples houses very well anyway. I am glad he went with me, because he kept me from stewing all the way there. Really I can't remember what we talked about, but by the time we reached Drama Queen's apartment I wasn't bitter at all, and my weepiness was gone. Thank goodness, I had already had an embarrassing moment in the library when I teared up for no reason at all.
Saturday Fria chica and I drove the girls back to Wichita. We stayed the night so that we could get up the next day and get ice cream. The book store is across from the ice cream shop so of course we went there next. Surprisingly, I was very good and didn't buy any books for myself. I picked one up for my brother and a few for the kids and that was it. At Chelmsford Teas I picked up a carton of chai seasoning and some orange green tea for my brother. Then I was overwhelmed and couldn't resist trying something new so I bought two oz. of Windsor Castle for myself. Those books are the only Christmas shopping I have done yet.
As I was leaving Wichita the second time it hit me again that somehow Drama Queen brings out the best and the worst in me. When I am around her I want to gather up all of the pieces of her life, fix them, and hand them back to her in a neat package. There is no end to the amount of help I want to give her. I want so much for her to be happy and fulfilled. At the same time I never find myself being so judgmental as I do when I am around her. Really one of the things I try to do is not to judge people, but to accept them as whole people whatever their flaws instead of labeling them good or bad. Yet I walk in and count the empty beer bottles and add them to her list of errors. When she talks about her life I smile and listen but inside my head I snort and wonder how long it will be until she fucks it up. I am not proud of myself for this and someday hope to change this terrible trait.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Plans are changed

An odd turn of events has given me tomorrow off as well. Now what? I felt like here was God daring me. I said I was just upset because I couldn't see the girls, that I wasn't twelve and wouldn't act like it by being hateful to my sister, but how would I act. It was very hard to swallow my pride, call my sister and ask if I could come and get the girls tonight. I did it though, and she was very nice. She always is when she is getting her own way. It grinds on me that she is getting everything just how she wanted it after throwing a fit. However, I can't wait to see those girls and I will give in for them. I am still crying, and trying like anything to stop before the boys get out of school.
My brother called and sounded like he was in a very good mood. This was a little surprising because this morning my mother had told me he wasn't planning on coming over for Thanksgiving dinner. This is odd, since, like me, he loves the holidays. I have a feeling he was reacting to her just the way I was reacting to Drama Queen, all of our faults are genetic from one source or the other. It turns out Fria Chica talked to him before I did and had smoothed things out a little. This could be a very emotional Thanksgiving. As I was typing that I had a nice thought, so I took a break. I called my brother back and he is going to run to Wichita with me. The only problem is that right before that I was thinking of buying his Christmas present while we were there.

I can't quit crying

I am dangerously far behind on my nano novel. Last night I stayed up late and wrote five thousand words. So if this post seems extra wordy I apologize. Once you get used to making every sentence as long as possible it is hard to stop.
When I did go to bed I couldn't sleep. Not many nights in my adult life have been spent staying up and worrying. I am a champion sleeper. All of the nights that have been have spent awake have been attributed to Drama Queen. Last night was no exception.
For over a week the plan has been for me to drive to Wichita Monday night and bring the girls home Tuesday. They were going to spend Thanksgiving with us and then I would take them home on Saturday. I didn't realize the depth of my missing those girls until the day kept getting closer to seeing them again. I was like a school child in May. I couldn't sit still and smiled at the thought of seeing them again. Some days I could feel their arms around my neck.
More than one person had asked if they were out of school on Tuesday, or if they were just skipping it. As far as I knew they were just skipping it. Looking at our schedules Drama Queen and I had picked out a day that I didn't work and that coincided with her work schedule so she wouldn't have to pay a babysitter this week. She is having babysitter trouble again, and they are always hard to find on holidays. Since she didn't raise any objections to the missed school day I didn't bring it up. The benefits outweighed the missed day as far as I was concerned, and it was the only day I could make the drive.
I had to work Monday. After work I drove quickly to the school to catch the last half of Lee's scholar's bowl meet. When it was over I ran home make a pot of tea and eat a quick waffle for supper. The waffles were left over from Sunday's breakfast. I covered it with strawberry syrup, whipped cream, and mixed berries. You can never go wrong with a Belgian waffle. While I was eating I called Fria Chica to see if she was still going with me. She was. I called Drama Queen to tell her what time I was leaving, and that I would be arriving around midnight.
She seemed surprised. Somehow she had completely forgot our last conversation and thought I was coming Tuesday. I told her there was no way I was going to drive four hours Tuesday morning, then turn around and drive home the same day. Especially with Fria Chica and the baby. Fria Chica had said she wanted to go because Drama Queen has never got to see the baby, but that she didn't want to keep him in a car seat for eight hours in one day. She was only going if we spent the night.
I have made the trip by myself many times. I kind of enjoy the time to think, so if Fria Chica decided not to go it wasn't a big deal to me, but she really wanted to go. Tuesday is my only day off this week, except for Thanksgiving day, so I told Drama Queen it had to be Monday night like we decided. She called me selfish and rude. Whenever I tried to talk she just yelled more insults over my voice. When I did get a chance to talk I probably said the wrong things. Anyway the whole mess ended with her hanging up on me and sending me hateful text messages. I think she likes conversations like that better, because she likes them to be one sided.
Right now the phone is ringing and I am ignoring it. My mother is calling again. She can't stand going to work when there might be some drama going on, so she is at home trying to meddle. She wants to see the girls, but only if I drive up and get them. She mentioned several times last night that she would go today, except she has to work. I have already talked to her this morning, once was enough. She made sure to point out that she wanted to see them at Christmastime, and that Drama Queen said I could come up and get them the day after Christmas. It was really a one sided conversation, because I have nothing more to say on the matter. Last night she wanted to trash Drama Queen and call her a drunk. Today she has talked to D.Q. and wants to discuss the whole situation with me, explain D.Q.'s side of it to me. I've heard, I've read it, I'm done with it. I just don't have the energy. Last night I was upset, but I didn't want to sit around and trash D.Q. It wouldn't make me feel better. Today I just don't have the energy to do anything more than cry and sleep. I am forcing myself to get a few things done, but it is very hard.
Depression is a family trait, but I have been afflicted very little in comparison with most of siblings. My depression is usually started by an event like this. Once I get down it is so hard to get back up again, but I usually bounce back in a few days.
I say usually, because once it did take me six months to pull out of the funk. I slept ten hours a night and took at least one nap during the day. When I fell asleep while stretched out on the floor, reading a book to Lane, I told myself this is enough. It still took me several months to get back to normal, but I did get back. I credit reading to pulling me out.
It was a point when my children were still young, but I had a bit more free time. If you are not careful at this point you will assess your life, and you may find a lack. I did, but I couldn't quite figure out what was missing. I wanted to run away from home. There was a need to be myself. My brother gave me a gift. It was Bella Tuscany by Frances Mayes.
After Lee was born my life became about him. Then Jason came, two years later Lane was born. Until that year, when Lane was four, my life was full of them. I'm not complaining I loved it. Then suddenly there was a little space and I couldn't remember how to fill myself up. It had been too long since I had done it. I didn't even know who I was. The lost feeling overwhelmed me.
As I read first this book, and then more books, I started to remember who I was. I also began to grow again as a person. My children are still the most important aspect of my life, but they are who they are, and I am myself.
Right now I am a woman who misses her nieces so much. I am a woman who is wondering if she is doing the right think by not jumping in her car and driving to get them right now. All morning I have questioned my resolve to not be bullied. It has taken me many years to learn not give in to pressure when I know I am right, but part of me wants to chuck all of that and call, apologize, and drive to get them. Even if I have to give up things important to me, and go to work tomorrow with no sleep.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I am a stay at home feminist

I thought I was done here, that I had nothing to say other than to list activities that I am planning to do, but will very likely not finish. So instead of making a boring post I searched Dobson and lies together. What I found myself caught up in was an argument about stay at home moms. This is a charged subject for women of the childbearing age. Both sides that I read today had it wrong.
When I had children I wanted to stay home with them, not for the benefits it would give them, but for what it would give me. Children are only yours, truly yours, for a short time. If you don't think eighteen years is a short period of time, have a child. In that first year so much happens and it doesn't slow down until that child is grown and out of your house. I didn't want to miss any of this time. When my children were little I took them almost everywhere with me. I ran a daycare out of my home so I could contribute to the household income without leaving them. I loved everyday that we spent together. Now I am back to work. The boys are older.
Strange things are happening, I went over twenty-four hours without talking to Jason this week. I dropped him off at school Monday morning. He left school that day on a bus for a basketball game. I was at a school board meeting when he got home. He was asleep when I got home. I peeked in and watched him sleep before I went to work Tuesday. He had a home game that night. I sat in the stands and watched. We didn't talk at all until after the game which was around eight that night. I am so glad I had the years I did with him.
One day a friend, who also stayed home with her son until he started school, commented on my decision to stay home and watch both of my sisters kids while they went back to school. Someone else mentioned that it was nice that my sisters could work and go back to school because I helped them with free child care. Both of my sisters now have degrees and are doing well in their careers, and I am so proud of them. My friend said, 'Yeah, but she (meaning me) is still at the same spot.' Monetarily I was at the same spot, but I have a better relationship with my nieces and nephews than most people do. I don't just love them because they are my sisters kids, I love them because they a people I have spent huge amounts of time with. My sisters know that there is someone else in the world who loves their children a great deal. Knowing this is peace of mind for a parent. I too have that same peace of mind because of the close family ties this arrangement has made. When Lee left on his trip to Europe last summer Miss Universe cried as much as I did. If the goal, and mine is, is to love life and be surrounded by people I love, I am so much further ahead than most people I know.
This whole subject has not been brought up so I can convince others to stay at home with their children, or to say people who made the choice to go back to work are wrong. It is to say that every person, regardless of their sex, should be able to make the decision that is best for them and be supported. I am a feminist. Women should have equal rights under the law, in the workplace, and at home as a man.
When my brother decided to stay at home with his children he didn't have to face the accusation of derailing a whole movement. It was said of him, and men like him, that it was great that we lived in an enlightened society that didn't see raising children as only women's work. I agree with this statement, but why should men, even at home, have the advantage? He didn't have to defend his decision. Women should not have to defend their decision to stay at home either.
As for the statement that suggested that mothers choosing to stay at home could lead to an all male supreme court or congress, well that is a bit far fetched. Every mom is not going to choose to stay at home. Not every woman is going to choose to have children, and mothers who do choose to stay at home will most likely re-enter the workforce after their children go to school. All of these women should be supported and applauded for making choices that work best for them instead of just accepting whatever rules society lays out for them.
As for the other side, that instead of using well thought out arguments tries insulting their opponent, well they aren't even worth listening to. They aren't trying to help stay-at-home moms they are just trying to use them as a weapon to tear down all that the women's movement has fought for. They said the woman speaker could have come straight out of the 60's or 70's and used the term 'old time bra burning feminist' as an insult. As a woman I applaud those feminist from the 60's and 70's. It took strength to burn your bra when women were supposed to be standing behind their man. If not for those 'old time' feminists we would not be where we are today and I won't let their legacy become an insult. Hooray to all women from the ones who burned their bras to the ones who stay at home and raise children because they choose to.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Jason running in his underwear

Last night was the birthday party. The coat we had ordered as a present wasn't here yet. So I wrapped up the jumper I had bought her baby and gave it to Fria Chica as a gift. We also gave her the order receipt we had printed off so she knows what is coming soon. At one point late in the party Jason came in from the kitchen and starting taking his clothes off. When asked to explain this strange behavior he told us he had lost a bet.
Rolando had bet both Jason and Raul, Rolando's little brother (about 25), that he could take the cork out of and empty wine bottle. It was a cork he had shoved all the way in for the bet. He told them he could do this using nothing but a plastic grocery sack.
Rolando got the cork out by slipping the sack inside the bottle and blowing it up. Jason payed up when he lost by running in his underwear to the post office and back. The post office is two blocks from Miss Universe's and Rolando's house. He is lucky that we are having such a mild winter;it is still around forty degrees out last night.
Raul never did run, or strip for that matter. He insisted that Rolando had failed to pay up on similar bet. Godiva, Raul's wife, insisted that they both should make the run to even it out. That never happened. Many times through the rest of the night Lee and Godiva pointed out that the only man in the room was Jason, a thirteen year old boy. Rolando and Raul both willingly admitted that they weren't men and were okay with the shame.
It was a good night. We had too much pasta and bread, just the right amount of wine, and lots of laughs. I had never mad pesto before and was really pleased with the results. Although it may have been easier in a food processor than a blender. I added a food processor to my Christmas list.
Speaking of Christmas. There are few people around here that are really against the Eid stamp. I'm sure this comes from the stupid e-mail that is going around or an even more stupid radio station. A radio station that is supposed to be about Christianity, but instead uses that as its cover to bind people together through hate and prejudice. Anyway I mentioned the other day that I was going to use them on my Christmas cards and got, not just one, but two lectures on the subject of why it is wrong for the postal service to make these stamps.
What is funny is that I was only suggesting this as a way to help out our Postmaster. She gets Eid stamps every year, but since we have a very low Muslim population they are hard to sell and she has a lot left after the holidays. I am not a huge fan of the knitted sweater stamps, but love the blue and gold of the Eid stamp. It seemed like a good solution. I am now thinking about specifically sending cards with this stamp to the two people who lectured me, and everybody else I know that believes whatever propaganda crap they hear on the radio or read on their e-mail. Come on Christian Americans think for yourself, act Christ like, read your bible instead of believing everything Dobson and his gang say. They are trying to steal freedom not give it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

penis vs vagina they are only words

Yesterday was Fria Chica's birthday. We are celebrating Saturday with a dinner. Miss Universe and I have went through several possible menu ideas before settling on a pasta night. I am making brioche, spinach pesto, pasta puttanesca, spaghetti cabonara, and linquine w/red clam sauce. Miss Universe is making linguine w/chicken alfredo sauce, and spaghetti w/meatballs. Can you tell we love pasta?

My brother stopped by last night and ate supper with us. I whined about my nano novel to him and he was very sympathetic. He used to live with me. When he moved out he still lived in the area for years. Now he lives in Guymon and it seems like I never see him. Stupid jobs. I have his name for Christmas and instead of having trouble thinking of something to give I am having trouble narrowing down the list I have. I am already in the holiday spirit this year.

At work the other day I heard what has to be, to me, the most despicable phrase in human language. "I would do it but my husband would kill me." She was talking about dying her hair. WTF! As an adult it is my firm belief that my hair is my hair. When will women quit letting their husbands act like their fathers. I wont go on for long about this but I have to say that they won't stop treating us like children until we insist that they do. Women dye your hair, cut it, shave it, let it grow whatever you want. If you honestly believe your spouse will kill you it may be time to rethink the whole spouse idea. Equality means we all get to think of ourselves as adults not just those of us with penises.

Along those same lines I have been thinking for years about the word vagina. I know the monologues and other feminist attempts have made the word a little more mainstream but in the household it is still treated like an unspeakable word. With my children I used the anatomically correct word instead of pee pee I taught them to say penis. I often wondered if I would have had the strength to do the same if I would have had daughter. None of the women I know who have daughters do. A few years ago I was driving on an empty highway with a lot of time to think. I started wondering about this. The word penis is thrown around pretty carelessly. Penis head and penis breath are common insults. At that time I had never heard anyone call out vagina head as an insult. That surely has to be a sign of the different status of the two words. This was a few years ago and I haven't given the subject much thought since then. Just the other day I overheard Lee calling somebody a vagina face. I was a bit irritated at first. Why should a part of the female anatomy be used in an insult. Before I said anything out loud I remembered that lonely highway and thinking that this kind of an insult would be a good sign. Since then I have heard him use the phrase again and again. Maybe this is a sign. Could the word finally be becoming just another word that describes a body part? Have we moved out of the unspeakable stage? I hope so.
I remember the first time I really gave thought to how mothers react to the vagina. It was in the middle of an interesting conversation. I was talking to a mother of three girls. I of course had three boys. She was saying how she hated cowboy hats. She couldn't understand why a man would want to put something that looked like a female body part on his head. "A female body part?" I asked. "Yeah, you have boys but believe me," Here she lowered her voice. "When you change a girl and you see 'her' it is really ugly." We still have a long way to go.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I am still in shock over what has happened to my novel today. I was way behind this morning when I started. After writing 3,000 words today I was still behind but a lot closer to being caught up. Somehow today, and I'm still not sure how, I deleted the whole thing. I can't find it anywhere.
My sister Fria Chica was here when it happened. She was actually the one on the computer when it happened. I sent her over to read what I had wrote. She tried to open it but a warning came up saying it was already open. Since I had just closed it right before she arrived I rashly told her to click yes and open it anyway. Now it is gone. I actually felt tears coming to my eyes, but I banished them out of fear of making her feel guilty. It wasn't her fault at all, but I was afraid if acted too concerned it would make her feel bad. I forced the whole thing out of my head. We went for a five mile walk. Pooky, her baby was bundled and slept the whole way in his stroller. The wind was cold and Fria Chica lost her breath. Neither of us had thought to bring an inhaler. I was pretty worried about her; She was having trouble taking any deep breaths. My asthma hasn't been giving me problems for the last few years. Listening to her I could remember how tiring it was to fight for every breath. How hopeless it felt to be away from home and have to keep walking, every thought focused on getting to an inhaler. It made my problem seem very small. When we got back here I dusted off my inhaler for her to use. Then I rushed to my computer to search for the missing file. It is gone. Now that she has went home to rest and I know I have to start over I feel like giving up.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Worst Hard Time

1,667 words a day will be a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Not a good novel, by any stretch of the imagination, but a novel. Last year I didn't succeed. There were two reasons, one, the one I openly blame it on, is that Drama Queen ran in to a bit of trouble last November and I spent too much time on the road trying to help her out so I didn't have time to finish. The other is that I tried writing a story that was just too much for my small amount of skill. The year before I finished a few days early and had a story I really liked. This year I am going with a nice simple story and have full expectations of finishing. I have wrote 1,982 words so far. I may try to find a way to keep a word count on this blog.

I finished reading The Worst Hard Time yesterday. Every few minutes my mind strays back to the book. I may need to read it again or something else on the same subject. It is a non-fiction account of the dust bowl days; something I should know more about. Most of the books I read take place far away from here. When I picked up this book it didn't occur to me I would be reading about my own area, I just liked the cover and title. At first while I read I romanticized the setting of the story and found myself walking outside to really notice and enjoy the wide open space we have here.
As a child I romanticized the plains when I read Little House On The Prairie. I romanticized the locations of almost every book I read, I still do. Whenever I read a book I wanted to go there. I want to walk around and feel the air, smell the smells, experience the hard times as well as feel the sun shine on my face. This was how it was when I read Heidi, Anne of Green Gables, Jacob Have I Loved, and really any book.

As the book progressed and the depression worsened I grew amazingly scared. I heard it said once that if it went long enough without raining it could happen again and on some distant level I believed that. I also knew on that same distant level that we had caused the dust to fly. Reading about it in such detail I realized that our greed and lack of foresight was the main cause, not ignorance. There were voices of warning before and during the great plow-up. People chasing money never listen to words of caution. It is very scary.

Another thing that I didn't realize is that the grasslands are still in the rebuilding stage, and that it could take hundreds more years to for them to completely heal. I am simple in some ways. I thought we had just ran in planted some grass and trees and problem solved. Beyond that I never gave it much thought. Which is sad since I have been caught out driving in dust storms. Once, years ago, I was driving on the highway north of town when suddenly all I could see was dust and the occasional piece of corn stalk that scraped my window as it flew by. We don't really have shoulders on much of the roads out here so I was afraid to pull over. I was afraid to slow down too much for fear of being hit from behind. I couldn't drive very fast though because I could only barely make out the white line for a few feet in front of me. My kids were sleeping in the back seat and this was about the most tense half hour in my life. You would have to magnify this experience by 100 to get anything near what the people endured here during the thirties, but it does show that our dirt does still blow some days.

The scariest part is that we are now using our water supply just as flagrantly as they used the soil back then. There are voices of warning and we give lip service to water conservation, but nothing is really being done. Without our ground water we would be back at the mercy of the sky for our water and we have seen how fickle the sky can be.

Read this book it is informative, entertaining, and a word of caution to us all.