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Yelling into the Fan

Updated: 2018-03-06T08:11:35.880-08:00


Much Too Much


Yeah...for all of the blather, not much to back it up.But. A funny thing happened on the way to a blog post...A co-worker - and one with whom I'm not particularly close, not to mention a person who's a little bit...well, eccentric, to put it mildly - said to me: "Have you ever thought about writing?" And here's the weird part (Okay, here's the weirder part, because the whole thing was not-quite-right): I felt...stripped, in a way. Like, embarrassed. Because for this particular person - someone, mind you, with whom I've had very little interaction, to ask such a question? Yeah, well, it almost felt like I was parading around the office, wearing a sandwich board that said: "Thinking of writing a memoir. Your comments, please - but only if they're positive". So, anyway. I answered as truthfully as I could, all things considered - and by "all things", I mean that this exchange was taking place between me and someone who could very well know my whole sordid mess of a story (oddly, she once came to a Halloween party at my then-house; the "home" in which I lived with my then-husband, a Halloween party to whom we both invited our co-workers. She came as the guest of someone that we...well...that we never really expected to come. And, surprisingly, about 10 years after this particular event, we became co-workers - and she remembered me and the party. Considering this, yeah...she could know)...but I've come to assume that of everyone. Better safe than sorry, right? And, it wouldn't surprise me if I learned that she thought, 'who better to write a memoir than someone who has a fucked-up mess of a story that, if it's good for anything'...well, it's like a train wreck. You know people want to watch; so why not charge them for the "privilege"? And, if I'm going to be truthful here -and, hell: Who better to be truthful to than a bunch of strangers? Okay...if I'm going to be truthful here, I harbor far too much resentment for the consequences I've suffered. Oh, I'd love to take the moral high road - that traveled by the most altruistic of altruists - and say something like, "If my story helps even one person, then it was all worth it." Bullshit, and double bullshit. Anyone who says that is choking on the bullshit, make no mistake. THERE IS NOTHING THAT MAKES IT "WORTH IT." But, yeah...publishing a memoir would go a long way toward, well...taking the edge off. So, back to the conversation: She said that she sometimes gets these "feelings". And that talking with me - and mind you, the conversation that we were having was a very innocuous one - made her feel that I should write. And, further-she said this-when she gets these feelings, they're very often right, and she felt, well...compelled to share this with me. I was - no joke - quite touched by this. I don't think I do the greatest impression of a satisfied-with-where-I-am person, most especially professionally. And, look: She could be totally full of it - maybe even full of herself. But when something like this comes at you in a bolt-from-the-blue fashion, I don't know...even the cynics among us - and, oh, how I count myself among their numbers - would be tempted to sit up and take notice. So I am asking you all, who humbled me with your feedback regarding my "first chapter" (and there was one comment that touched me so deeply, a comment about how many people use the Internet to puff themselves make themselves look better...and how I have chosen to utilize this forum to do pretty much the polar opposite of that; that made me feel, well...on the right path, for lack of anything better to say): If anyone is still reading what I am writing: Should I stay or should I go?**Disclaimer: This isn't a solicitation of praise. This is a genuine appeal for HONEST FEEDBACK. I'm looking at you, Booksteve. Considering your business...could you point me in an online publishing direction? I'm at the jumping-off place and I'm gonna jump or hang up the parachute.[...]

From Whence I Came


Yeah, I've "spoken" - perhaps too much - of the day that changed everything. The beginning that was an ending that was the beginning of an ending and the end of a way of life. Well, the "anniversary" of that date is fast approaching - September 14, 2006, to be precise about it. I've been so melancholy and edgy...and I'm sort of aware of it (obviously), but it wasn't until just recently that I've become AWARE of it. I guess we're all like that.

I recently had job interview in which it became necessary to "disclose". They were going to background check, and I decided that it was preferable to me to get my story out there in some sort of a context, rather than as the contents of a perfunctory report that related just the facts. Ma'am. I'll have another such opportunity tomorrow, and to bastardize Nietzsche...even though it does make you stronger, I'd argue that it kills you a little bit in the process, too. The only way I can really characterize it is surreal: THIS is my life? THIS is my story? And that is where I become eminently frustrated: Because it's only PART of the story, but such a fantastic part that it sort of supersedes all else. What I told this interviewer, though, is so much easier to say, and boy, does it sound eloquent. I said: "I would have to ask, at what point does one's past become just that - one's past?" I also gave her some blahblahblah - and I'm coming across as more facetious than I felt, or feel - about the fact that I CANNOT dwell there...that I have to look ahead but that when I do look back, I look at the then and the now.

And that brings me to more surreality: I mentioned that my formal punishment consisted of 6 months in an "alternative" correctional facility - although my lawyer nailed it when she told the prosecutor that they could send me to prison (and that was the first offer from the prosecutor - two years in prison, take it or leave it, and you should really take it because I happen to be in a "generous" mood today), they could take my freedom, but the divorce/custody had really taken all that was meaningful from me; this woman can be hurt no further, she said. Well, during that 6 months, I crossed a lot of paths. And some of them were being trodden by some very disturbing people, disturbing in the way that institutionalization renders a person. One of those path-walkers is back for another 15-minute helping of infamy...she's currently facing federal charges for compelling prostitution...of minors...and despite the fact that, in the interest of said minors, particulars about the kids are being closely guarded, it's very likely that at least one of these children is her own.

Relativity is inherently dangerous in many ways, particularly when it's being used for self-aggrandizement or, worse, self-pity. This woman's actions have been in my face and on my mind for several weeks now, and I fear that I'm applying my own, very twisted version of the Theory of Relativity. Like addiction, for this there is no cure...and I need to get myself on the road to recovery quickly. I'm finding myself licking wounds that should have healed long ago...and maybe even some that never existed in the first place.

Streaming Consciousness


First of all...I'm not even really sure that I'm back. I keep abandoning this blog. I do want to make some sort of concerted effort to get back to it...I think, in fact, that I NEED this; and I'll get to that. But, recently - and I'm not a huge follower of blogs, not on a regular basis, anyway - I responded to a request made by another blogger: She asked that people send to her posts from their blogs. She's essentially an atheist blogger, but...well, she's hard to characterize. But I felt some...I don't know, connection with her; like me, she's an atheist (and maybe I'm not even quite that; more of a questioner) looking for a religion. How many of those are there? So, I sent her THE POST; the one that's about the fateful day that changed my life; the 2 minutes that reverberate still. I've not really followed up on what - if, indeed, anything - that she did with the post (she was going, I think, to re-post those that "touched" her on her own blog). But I thought that I could perhaps use that as an ass-kick to get back to my own blog. And, truthfully, I've been somewhat intimidated by what I see out there on the Internet; I mean, some truly beautiful and thought-provoking blogs! How the hell do I fare amongst all of that? But then...I got even more frustrated with myself. Why should I allow that to daunt me? This thinking is akin to the way I used to feel about my husband: Me, married to a man with these intimidating degrees! An undergrad in engineering from one of the country's preeminent engineering institutions! And an MBA! But then I would think: Why NOT? I mean...why take vicarious validation from someone when I'm perfectly capable in my own right? So...I'm going to accept my own challenge and, instead of being daunted and feeling intimidated, well...I'm going to try daunting for a change.

One other thing, another motivator: Someone very special to me. This is a person with whom I am no longer in frequent contact, but who was so unreservedly a proponent of mine in many ways. She was one of the first people to whom I showed THAT POST...back before it was a blog post, when it was the "first chapter" of a someday-I-hope-to-write-a-memoir. She recently characterized herself as a "secret admirer" of this blog...and while I'll not be so self-involved as to say "this is for you", to HER, I will say, unequivocally, that her support and encouragement are so precious to me that they serve as inspiration and encouragement.



As much as I intended to remain staunchly anonymous, well...vanity, vanity, all is vanity. This post is an anecdote about my adorable 3-year-old, whose name is, obviously, Ella. And I really thought myself clever with the title, so...there you have it.

This past weekend was one of "my" weekends with the kids - and, as Lemmy can certainly attest, I'm a different person at those times. Like many of us, I fall prey to periods of bluesy melancholy, and sometimes even succumb to out-and-out depression; but when my kids are with me, I'm animated and happy, very much in my element, and I cannot help but think about the times past when - I'll admit it - my kids sometimes felt...cumbersome. If only, if only. Not to mention, I've heard many a person complain about their kids - and it's not like I wasn't sometimes one of them - and I think, I'd give a pinky finger to have what I had...and lost. Or, if I'm being perfectly frank, what I gave away.

So, to the point. This past Saturday morning, my daughter and I were playing with her many, many babies. As an aside, there is a disorder called, I believe, Reactive...something, that stems entirely from a child's inadequate maternal bonding during their first year of life. As I've mentioned previously, I spent six months in what is euphemistically called an "alternative" facility - actually, a community-based correctional facility that is, strictly speaking, a very low-security jail, but is conducted more along the lines of a rehabilitation center. By "rehabilitation" I am, of course, referring in part to substance abuse; however, it's a far more holistic approach than that and I honestly know of almost no one who couldn't benefit from what they do there. In fact, my sister, in pursuit of a master's degree, was required to take a course that almost perfectly mimicked some of the "courses" I was required to take during my stay. At any rate, the disorder to which I previously referred manifests itself at around 5 years of age and is marked by violent tendencies and outbursts. It doesn't stop there, though, and considering that my husband and I divorced RIGHT before Ella's first birthday, well...just add this to the list of damages about which I was worried. It has been to my GREAT relief that she is extremely maternal...and I do mean extremely. She fusses ceaselessly over any life-form that's even a minute younger or a tad smaller than her, and the baby-doll play is among her favorite. I am "Gammy", the dolls' grandmother, and, thankfully, I factor hugely into these activities.

Saturday morning, as I sat with a lapful of dolls, she fussed about, feeding everyone their bottles and checking diapers (I have sacrificed many a paper towel to make dolly diapers, and double-sided tape functions amazingly well as a fastener - it works almost like real diaper-tabs). She then told me that she was going to feed everyone baby food, and proceeded to pretend to be taking something down from an imaginary cupboard, opening "jars", pouring "food" into "bowls", and mixing everything with "spoons". I said, "So, what are you feeding your babies? Applesauce? Peaches? Squash? Peas?" With great solemnity she said, "No. I'm giving them strange mangoes." Well...she was so serious, I didn't have the heart to laugh out loud, but I did ask her about this. "El? Don't you mean...strained mangoes?" No, she adamantly replied. Strange mangoes.

And I think I like it better her way. It also sounds like an awesome name for a band...or maybe for the hopefully-some-day book. Because, to be perfectly honest, sometimes life is, well, like a bowlful of strange mangoes.

Murder by Numbers


Yes, once again...a small aeon between posts.

I have long joked that the "math-gene" must skip a generation. The father of my children is an immensely intelligent man, with an undergraduate degree in engineering. I am making (this semester, at least) every effort to blow my attempts to wrap up a mechanical engineering degree (well, a 2-year, at least). As everyone obviously knows, if you're not good at/don't like math, DON'T go down the engineering path.

My 10-year old doesn't seem to have much in the way of math skills. As I've written before on this blog, he has oodles of other strengths, some of which are so special and uncommon that they easily supersede this shortfall. However, no one gets through fifth grade by achieving high marks in "intuition" or "sensitivity", so I do share his father's sentiments about his rather lackadaisical approach to the subjects which do not hold his interest, and I can relate to my ex-husband's frustration with some of the grades he's earned lately.

The similarities between us - at least on this subject - end there, however.

I do not consider myself an eminently patient woman. Where my kids are concerned, though, I've surprised myself many times. Likewise, I'm NOT creative but, once again, for them, I can be many things I cannot be for myself alone.

As to the differences between my ex and I: Under NO circumstances do I feel that it's appropriate to tell your middle-school-aged child that - just as a for-instance - he would benefit for a special tutor for retarded people. And, believe me: I know his wrath firsthand. Several years ago, I was having some difficulty with a physics course [I ended up dropping out of school during this semester; I was having a horrible time, and was almost constantly sick. I thought the culprit was stress, but it turned out that I was pregnant. For the eighth time in 6 years. Expecting another miscarriage, I left school - and was branded a "quitter" by my then-husband - but I'm glad I did. Several months later (and 5 weeks early) our healthy, amazingly un-preemie-like daughter was born], and he was merciless. This was calculus-bases physics, and I had gotten straight As in calculus. I was having difficulty setting up the problems, and I don't think I'll soon forget being asked, in the most sardonic, taunting tone, if I had taken "retard" calculus. So...I can relate to my son.

My ex-husband, despite his often vocal denigration of my approach to many things (in case I failed to mention this, he comes from a LONG line of perpetually negative people), asked me to step in and see what I could do. I came up with...Mama's Magic Math Methods. While I won't bore anyone with the details, this is nothing more than some little tricks I developed as a child to
enable me to do math in my head - and I still use them, and so far they seem to be helping.

What I really, really wanted to say to my husband is this: Unfortunately, math has not been kind to our son. For instance, he knows the following equations:

Mommy + Daddy + 2 kids = Happy Family of Four
(Family of four) + Mommy fucking up = Divorce and Loneliness

And he's certainly gotten a tremendous amount of exposure to the concept of diminishing returns, because (Him)/(Daddy's Thoughtless Cruelty) = ZERO. As in, zero self-esteem. And quite possibly (Him)/ in feeling like (1/2)(person).

The Quality of Mercy


I recently - very recently, as in yesterday - experienced a fairly substantial disappointment; I had interviewed for a job that I wanted, badly, and did not get it. Hey, that's life...but if I've learned anything over these past three years, it's that the only way out is through. Trite, perhaps, but very, very true. So, I allowed myself a "wallowing" period, and then moved on to a more "count your blessings" sort of mindset...and although I'll admit that this may sound a little silly to some, it works for me.

The admittedly sparse amount of posts I've managed thus far have contained a lot of information about my children, as will this one. I've received some (greatly appreciated) comments telling me that previous recountings have brought tears to some eyes, and I think that this one may, as well; however, this should engender tears of a very different sort.

The avatar at left is, of course, not me; it is my small daughter and although it's a not-very-flattering photo, it captures her attitude precisely. She's quite a beauty, with magnificent violet-blue eyes and lashes that reach to her eyebrows. In the photo, her lovely blond hair looks frizzed out and wild, and, in case you're wondering...yes, she is flipping the bird. The photo is saved on my computer under the title "Hername_springer" because I think that she looks for all of the world like someone you might see in the audience of "The Jerry Springer Show." My girl has no filter.

My son, on the other hand, has been described by more than one person as an "old soul." I agree completely. He, too, is physically striking, with a fine-boned face and a generous mouth. But it is what issues from that lovely mouth that has sometimes taken me completely aback, shamed me at the level of maturity and wisdom I can only hope to one day possess.

Some months ago, on a Sunday afternoon that represented the near-end of one of "my" weekends with the kids, my volatile little girl dropped a strawberry on the floor, and in the way of nap-needing 3-year-olds, threw a small fit, yelling incomprehensibly and directing her outrage my way. My son, who was walking through the kitchen at the time, did an abrupt about-face and marched right up to his sister. He closed in on her and said, "Do not ever speak to our mother that way, with such disrespect. You know that Daddy will be here to pick us up soon, and after we leave, Mommy will be alone. Alone, and with your temper fit as one of the last things to remember about the weekend." He then looked at me and said, "Mom, you're the adult here. You don't have to accept that from her." I was amazed, stunned into silence...and, I have to admit, somewhat gratified. My ex-husband is a yeller-screamer. I'm the one who says things like, "You're angry and frustrated. I understand. But I'm not the source of those emotions, and I will not accept being the target of them." So, it was wonderful to hear my own words come back to me, to know that it's not falling on deaf ears. But, of course...I'm digressing.

I held my son at arm's length, by his shoulders, and with wonder in my voice half-whispered, "Where did I get you?" He looked directly into my eyes and said, "I believe in you, Mommy."

Five words. Five words that have seen me through wound-licking disappointments. Five words that have LITERALLY kept me alive because, you see, there's always suicide. Five words that have allowed me to acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, I've gotten a couple of things right where these children are concerned.

Five. Words.

Only the Lonely


I don't do "alone" very well. I always thought that having a husband, a family, would "complete" me in some way...and what a bitter disappointment to find out that they were not doing what I believed, almost unequivocally, would be their job. Now, it all seems so academic; if you don't have it within, you sure ain't gonna get it from without.

I still do not have it within.

I have written, to some extent, about the crime and the punishment. And, if you go to enough 12-step meetings, or spend enough time in rehabs or in the "recovering" community, you'll hear about plenty of dirty deeds. It's never a good idea to play the "relativity" game, and I've always salved my conscience by telling myself that I got cracked - HARD - because I have been given to in other areas. By this I mean that I've been given intellectual gifts, strength, determination, and the wherewithal to dig myself out of the hole into which I so fervently threw myself. After all, I tell me, if I'm going to admit and accept the bad - my weaknesses - then I am allowed to acknowledge the good - my strengths. It should by now be obvious that to some extent, this constitutes an internal dialogue between Me and Me...a pep self-talk, if you will. However, I do honestly believe that you are only given what you have the strength to withstand...although given by whom, I am not yet sure.

This only helps sometimes. And this is not one of those times.

My children, as I've said, are in the primary custody of their father. I spend as much time with them as humanly possible, but it's never enough. Not nearly. I speak to them almost every night on the phone, although I didn't talk to them last night; school began again for me, and I had classes until 10 pm...and, stupidly, I hadn't charged my phone enough and it died before I returned home. So, I was very anxious to speak with them this evening. For Christmas, my ex-husband bought our son a Wii, and it's been a huge, huge's something he's wanted for some time now. So, when he answered the phone, I heard It: That Sound. The one that causes the bottom to drop out of my stomach and my throat to clench up like I'm going to vomit.

What I heard was the sound of a happy family. My happy former forsaken family. And I ask myself, When will that entity who has decided that I have the "strength" to withstand what sometimes feel like blow after blow...when will It have decided that enough is, quite simply, enough? Perhaps I haven't yet cried "Uncle" loudly enough, and the same stubbornness that I place in the asset column won't allow me to do that - not yet.

Oh, yes, I was incarcerated for 6 months. And the loss of one's freedom is a harsh punishment, to be sure. But that? A cakewalk compared to the loss that, quite simply, just keeps on taking.

I fully expect to receive some "get over yourself" feedback on this post and I probably need it. There's not a shadow of a doubt in my unquiet mind that I am doing nothing less than wallowing in self-pity at this moment, and the only thing I can say for myself is that at least I acknowledge that fact. But...moments like this, these are why I started this blog in the first place.

Mea Culpa


Well, I never manage to surprise myself, that's for sure. I'm great at beginnings - enthusiastic, full of bright ideas and hope. And then...well, I petered out quicker than usual this time. Ironically, almost every night, while falling asleep, I "write" posts for this blog in my head. So, it's time to get moving on actually writing them ON THE SITE.

If anyone out there is still reading...I'm still writing. The events of the past few weeks will make for some excellent posts, the site needs maintenance, and a long weekend looms.

The Kindness of (Semi) Strangers


If anyone is looking for a restoration of faith in mankind, then you've come to the right place. It should come as no surprise that the holidays can be kind of depressing. I'm still not over the divorce and its consequential fracturing of my family, the family of which I always dreamed. In fact, I've been so miserable that I was contemplating a post on suicidal thoughts, a frequent companion of mine, and I'll probably still write that. However, something happened today that absolutely trumps that sort of subject, and I hope that it will inspire everyone who has become a little jaded with the conspicuous consumption that now seems so much a hallmark of the holidays.

I have two relatively new coworkers...they're working with us on a temporary basis, due to enhancements provided by the stimulus (okay, I work for a grant); however, they're both lovely people and I consider them friends as well as coworkers.

One of them also works for a thrift store in her hometown, and she's asked several questions recently about my children (sizes, etc.) that led me to believe that she would get them something for Christmas. I tried to demur, but, whether I feel deserving or not (and the answer is...NOT), well, this isn't about me - it's about my children. At any rate, earlier this morning I was sort of "lured" from my office (an aside: I'm one of those frustratingly literal people; I cannot read between the lines or sense nuance, so I'm easily bamboozled by any sort of subterfuge). When I returned, about 10 minutes later, my door was shut, but I didn't think much of this and opened it. I am not kidding when I say that my office was virtually filled with gifts for my children. A beautiful winter jacket for each of them, several outfits apiece, toys, hats, name it.
I knew from whom it had come, although what I didn't know was that it wasn't just my coworker, but HER coworkers at the thrift store, as well. I had been fretting the last several days, while shopping and wrapping, hoping that I had done enough for my children for Xmas, all the while realizing that I can tend toward overcompensation, largely because of the transgressions I've described in previous posts. I mean, I know, academically, that nothing will ever make up for the monumental fallout from my bad judgment; but intuitively, I still...I don't know, reach, I guess, for something that will, at the very least, distract from what I've done to them.

Last night, during a conversation with my son, we talked about Santa Claus. He is ten, and really doesn't believe in Santa, but we've had a few talks about the fact that his 3-year-old sister does, and that under no circumstances should this be spoiled for her. But he said something that, in hindsight, seems incredibly prescient. He asked me, again, about if there really was a Santa. I, in turn, asked him what he thought. He said, "I think, Mom, that if I believe in him, then he's real." I know that every mother out there thinks that their children are remarkable, but I have to say that my boy is...well, let me put it this way: He's been, by several different people, characterized as an "old soul", someone who, perhaps, has been here before. No matter what your personal beliefs on such subjects are, the fact is that my son has an amazing amount of emotional maturity, so much so that he shames me on a regular basis - not, of course, on purpose, but he does nonetheless.

I cannot help but think that, this morning, my son's belief was made real.

(I Hope) The Kids are Alright


I am, once again, grateful for the feedback I've received on the posts I've published thus far...and, as I mentioned previously, there's been no embellishment - hell, this story doesn't NEED it.

I think, though, that a little backstory might be in order. Although I am, indeed, a convicted felon, it's doubtful that, upon meeting me in, say, a grocery store or at a school function, I'd be the one you'd look at and say, "Oh, she must be the felon in the room." Nonetheless, what was described in the "Redux" post was one of 3 such events. Being caught red-handed during the last one, I confessed to the other two and was charged with 3 counts of burglary (felony 2s, because of the fact that this was someone's house; an "inhabited structure", in legalese), and 3 counts of theft (felony 4s). I did serve a period of incarceration, but it was in what's euphemistically known as an "alternative facility", not a prison, per se; however, should I have been subjected to the maximum penalty associated with each charge, the penalty would have been - get this - twenty-seven years in prison. If THAT isn't deserving of bold italics, then I don't know what is. The even-more-unbelievable thing is that the actions that could potentially have taken me to that place for that length of time amounted to a TOTAL of six minutes. Six. Minutes. Of my life. And, for all that my infant daughter was with me on that last and most fateful of trips, I wasn't charged with child endangerment or anything like that, because, despite the fact that I left her in the car while I broke the law, the amount of time she was left alone and the location of the car actually made this part of things less severe than, say, leaving your child locked in the car while you ran into the store to pay for your gas.

So. Before the legal situation had even begun to play itself out, my husband sued for divorce, custody of the kids, and for me to "vacate the marital residence" which, in all fairness, had been HIS residence prior to us getting together. I will never forget the day the papers were served: We were coming back from a trip to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, where we had taken our tiny daughter for a checkup, of sorts - she had undergone some evaluation due to a potential issue that arose from her newborn bloodwork. As we were turning into what was still our driveway, a sheriff's cruiser was pulling out. They pulled up to our vehicle, handed in the paperwork to him, and he simply handed it over to me. I opened it up, read it, looked up, and said, incongruously, "Oh. This is from you," almost as though it were a gift, or a letter - and not the beginning of the end of the marriage that I had treasured so much.

I contested NOTHING. He got the kids. I have a good relationship with him, and see my kids frequently...we don't abide by the formality of the court order, and still do things as a "family", like go to the fair and birthday parties. But it will never be the same, of course. And I mourn the fact that my small daughter, who was not quite one when I moved out, will never know a home with two parents. Or, is it worse for my now-ten-year-old boy, who DID know it, and mourns the loss? Worst of all, perhaps, is the fact that they are in the care, while my ex and I work, of my evil nemesis, HIS MOTHER, about whom there will be many a forthcoming post. I've often wondered about how to handle HER in the memoir-to-be...she's the type that wouldn't even be grateful to be made famous (hah...infamous is more like it)!

The Census: A Way - in a Manger!


Well, even in a touchy-feely world such as this one, this article ranks up there with one of the most ridiculous things I've read recently. An aside: I am not an atheist; however, neither am I a Christian...and my apologies if I am offending anyone. Not to make this post about my personal beliefs or anything - actually, I'm hoping that this one strikes a few funny bones - I do believe in a "higher power", but the philosophies propagated by pretty much any of the organized religions out there? Ridiculous, in my own, admittedly humble, opinion.

Well, on to the good stuff: I absolutely love the line, in the article, that reads: "The connection between the Census and the birth of Jesus may need a word of explanation" (my emphasis). Umm...a word? You think? For Christ's (pun intended) sake: I went to CATHOLIC SCHOOL, and I have absolutely zero recollection of being taught that Joseph went to Bethlehem to participate in the Roman census. Personally speaking, I think that the most offensive thing about the whole campaign is the poster: Either Mary is leading the donkey (exploitative); Joseph is carrying the Savior for her (blasphemous!); or Joseph is retaining water (thoroughly inappropriate), because he's looking a little zaftig in that illustration. Either that, or his robe is really billowy.

In addition to that, I also liked the part of the article that reads: "It represents an effort to reassure a group that is sometimes suspicious of such government initiatives as the Census" (again, the emphasis is mine). The "group" is NALEO, the National Association of Latino Elected Officials. And, folks, these people must be really paranoid, and I know whereof I speak. When I was pregnant (for the second time, but with my first child; I had a miscarriage shortly after my marriage) I came home from work one day to find my husband installing a satellite dish. Well...I went OFF. First of all, I didn't know that he was going to do this; we'd talked about it, but I wasn't aware that he was actually going to act on those discussions. By the time I arrived home (although I worked a Mon.-Fri. job, inherent within the position I held at the time were a lot of short Saturdays), the deal was pretty much done. For a time, I threatened to wrap myself - or at least my head - in aluminum foil, against whatever forces were arrayed against me.

Actually, the crux of the "complaint" against this campaign is really about a church/state issue...and I get that point. But I think it's downright hilarious that someone out there had the idea to utilize the birth of Christ as a way to get a targeted group of people to participate in the census.

The Beginning: Redux


"It is always best to start at the beginning" - Glinda, the Good Witch, from The Wizard of Oz "Some people without brains do an awful lot of talking" - The Scarecrow, from The Wizard of Oz Can you tell that my daughter is "into" The Wizard of Oz? Yeah...she's three. However, it beats THE HELL out of Alvin and the Chipmunks; thanks to Lemmy, who gave us a copy of it (originally intended, I think, for my son; appropriated to an ANNOYING EXTENT by my daughter), I've probably seen AatC AT LEAST 70 or 80 times. Horrible stuff. Every time I watch it, I think..."If this is all it takes...why the hell am I not a millionaire?" SERIOUSLY. Okay, the title. Well, I am absolutely amazed at the sincere sweetness of the people from whom I've received comments, so...I am going to throw out that kinda short piece that will, eventually I hope, be a first chapter of a memoir (or maybe a "true-life story"; don't you love that? A new "genre"...kind of like an historical novel, I suppose, but used when the story that's being written is something less than historical - I think). Honestly, it's not like I think that anyone is waiting with bated breath - and it is just that kind of self-involvement, or the seeming self-involvement, that kept me from writing a blog. I mean...who really cares what I have to say? But then again...what do I have to lose? And now, of course, there's that "kindness of strangers" aspect for which I was thoroughly unprepared. Just an FYI...this is all the complete, 100% unvarnished truth. And, please...if you care to comment, be brutally honest. I don't know why the hell the whole thing centered and not just the title, but I'm hitting "publish post" before I have time to delete the whole goddamn thing. Eponymous: After MeOnce upon a time…“What were you doing in my house?” This is said low, almost conversationally. “Uh, what, no, I wasn’t in…I’m really glad you’re here! No, not in…I, I, need to take something…Do you know where the Petersons live? Around here?” This is what I said. What I thought was, Apocalypse. Right fucking now. From behind me, there is hollering.In a beautiful kingdom…“What the fuck are you doing? I called the cops! Don’t make a move!” I’m terrified, yet strangely detached at the same time, something I probably couldn’t achieve had I been trying. My eyes wide, I look around…this is really happening. And then I bolt for the car. More yelling. “Block her in! Block her in!”Far, far away…The baby. Oh, God…the baby. She’s in the backseat, but I don’t know if she’s sleeping, just being quiet, or overwhelmed at all of the activity. I cannot get away. I am blocked in. I get out of the car again. “Please. Don’t. I’m so sorry. I’ll just…here. Take them back.” They are a handful of pills. Painkillers. And here’s the rub, the irony, the bitter pill, pun definitely intended: There are twelve of them, an even dozen…and barely enough to do anything but make me somewhat nauseated from the amount of acetaminophen they contain. The narcotic itself, or, I should say, the amount contained in what would surely be a whopper dose to someone who doesn’t have the tolerance of a male bull elephant in his prime – or, you know, a drug addict – is no longer enough to do anything much to my consciousness. And let me tell you something even crazier: In my glove compartment is a prescription bottle with about 50 painkillers, stronger than the ones in my jacket pocket. And yet, I have just broken the law – although, of course, that’s not how I’ve characterized this “visit” to the home of friends, at least not to myself – for something that is less by every measure.Lived a beautiful princess…Did I hear th[...]

I'm Overcome...


And I seriously am. First of all, thanks to Lemmy...who, I should disclose, is a real-world friend and not a virtual one. And thank you so much to everyone who commented...I appreciate the kind words of encouragement.

Well, I sort of owe this post to Lemmy, too...because he mentioned that it would make a worthy post, and probably some good commentary.

First, I should say that I am an orphan, have been one for some time - and this is notwithstanding the fact that I am squarely into middle-age. When my dad died, almost 15 years ago (my mother, at that point, had been dead for 9.5 years) I was 28, and I said something to someone about feeling like an orphan. This person - who STILL has two parents - said, "Oh, you're too old for that." HAH. I say, when your parents die, you're mentally 6 again, no kidding. I also am divorced, mentioned that earlier...and do not have custody of the kids. I often tell people that I don't have the kids because I'm a student and a full-time employee...although these things are true, it's NOT why I don't have the kids. I don't have them because of a spectacular fall from grace, during my minor-sometimes-major career as a drug addict. That predicated the divorce. And the custody arrangement. My ex and I have a decent relationship though, but not having the kids sucks, and hurts. I'm close with them and all that, but still feel like a failure. the point, I guess.

My mom died when I was 18; alcoholic cirrhosis, if anyone cares, and more proof that my family has a horrible history of addiction (she's one of many, many others). HER mom, however, lived a lot longer, although she was not mentally attending due to senile dementia. But: In her prime, my grandmother was a TRIP. And, several days ago, I was commenting about something to Lemmy, and that's what this was SUPPOSED to be about (I'm a digresser, notice that?). Okay, mother's family was Irish and German...and they had the weirdest sayings. One of them...when they didn't like something, like some restaurant's food, was: "I wouldn't hit a dog in the ass with that." My sister and I find ourselves saying these things, perfectly seriously, and cracking up about them. Who says this stuff? And...what, if the food was good, you WOULD hit a dog in the ass with it? This is what I meant, in that first post, when I said "mental meanderings."

Thanks, again, for the WONDERFUL comments...and, please, tell me if your families had such crazinesses. Honestly, sister and I laugh, and then, we cry. A lot. Our parents have been gone such a long time, and missed so much of our lives, and yet we still miss them - every day. And for my two kids...I try, as best I can, to keep them alive. They'll never know them, and oh, just wait: I've got some mother-in-law posts coming up...terrifying stuff, and I'm NOT kidding about that.

Damn. I never know how to end these things.

Dipping My Toe into the Water...


Well, I've gone and done it now, haven't I? For some time, I've "threatened" - and perhaps I should have left those quotation marks right the hell off of there - to do this, to write a blog. I guess I should be up-front and honest right from the beginning; I have no compunction about saying that, like every other blogger out there, I'd like to write a book. No, I think I might NEED to write a book. Catharsis, and all of that blahblahblah. Here's the thing: I actually wrote a sort of truncated version of a first chapter...and, I mentioned, to a co-worker, something about writing a memoir. Now, this is a very nice person, and someone with whom I've become quite good friends. Also, she knows a good deal of detail about the past, somewhat sordid (!!! I am being uncharacteristically understated here !!!) last several years of my life. But, she gave me a rather indulgent look, the kind of look that you might give, say, a 3-year-old who says that she's going to be an astronaut. At any rate, I e-mailed to her what I had written, and...several hours later, she came into my office, grabbed my arm, and began talking...about what, I wasn't initially sure, because she was sort of stammering. She finally used the word - get this - "gripping"...and, finally, I got it. She said that she would love to read more. So, based upon that and also upon the truly biased opinions of a selected few others in my life, well...I guess, if nothing else, it will be the cathartic experience of which I've been assured.

Now that that's out of the way, I guess I should make a "formal" introduction (hah! to this moment, I'm NOT giving my real name...and the names of others will be changed, you know - to protect the innocent and all of that). So, this ought to blow at least part of my cover (riiiiiiight):
My name (for the present, anyhow) is Eponymous.
I am a mother.
I am a sister.
I am a friend.
I am a student.
I am an employee.
I am an ex-wife.
I am a drug addict.
I am a convicted felon.

Now, to decide the direction that this blog will take, and to inflict my hapless mental meanderings on some other poor, unsuspecting (at the moment, at least) bloggers out know, to get "my word" out there to the several billion other wanna-bes who beat me to blogging oh, several years or so ago.