Monday, April 28, 2008


I am feeling very fulfilled by today's blog-reading. I mean, come on:

Prince covering Radiohead, to die for*

Overheard in New York, which always makes me laugh, today until I cried

plus, Nino is putting out new roots.

I've been having an iffy day, and that just made it all warm and fuzzy.

In other news, I'm all kinds of worried because Tank has developed a stutter. Stammer? What's the difference?** The Tank has a stammer. A very pronounced one. It's new. It worries me.

Granted, she's two. And two months. 26 months. But still. She took off talking like crazy right around her birthday, and now she's got this going on. My theory is that her mouth can't keep up with her brain, and the discrepancy will even itself out sooner or later. It's just a little hard because her older sister is so articulate that the comparison is much more pronounced. Plus, EVERYONE is commenting on it. Grandma. Grandpa. The Bear. If I hear one more remark, I'm going to start getting really pissed. If, god forbid, this is the kind of thing that sticks around forever, I don't want her to be ashamed of it, or embarrassed about sounding different. I. Will. Not. let people make fun of my baby. Rawr. Mama Bear.

Also, I've been weaning myself off my meds (supervised carefully, duh) to see what that will be like. I'm looking for more natural, less Big Pharma-endorsed ways to fix my head. I'd love to take up running, but then I remember that I hate running. And that I suck at it. Damn.

Also in the headlines: House. Still Not Selling. Big Fat Fucking Surprise, No? Gar.

That is all.

*I would die 4 U, Prince... Well, not die, as such. Perhaps le petit mort? Oui?

**Stuttering is repeating the initial letter or sound of a word, stammering is repeating an entire word or sometimes two. Google it.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Pretender

I'm having some issues right now coming to terms with who and what I am, exactly, vis a vis this whole depression thing. I have to say that it really gets my goat when people treat this like it is something that I can choose to deal with or not deal with. Sure, the same shit happens to most of us. And sure, some of us make conscious decisions to ignore it, or to blow it out of proportion. I know people of both types.

But then there are those of us with a biological failing. Our brains aren't capable of making that distinction. Our brains react before we can stop them. We don't have the luxury of control that some people do. If all I had to do was to *choose* not to be sad, to *choose* not to be angry, what are the odds that I would ignore that choice and live this way voluntarily?

My mom recently had a good friend die of cancer. It was a particularly gruesome kind of cancer, not that there's a "good" kind. And to the end, to the very last day, she kept saying that she was going to beat this, she was going to live, she wasn't going to die. She said that she "chose" to live. And did it keep her alive? No. The cells in charge did what they do, and she died anyway.

I can "choose" to be happy all I want. Many days, I get up and take special note of all the things I see that should make me happy. I have affirmations. I have mantras. I "think positive." Does it help?

No, not really. I still get sad. I still get angry. I still get overwhelmed by feelings of despair and hopelessness. If I could *choose* not to respond to them, *choose* not to be depressed, why in the world would I live this way? Do people truly think that depressed people are just choosing to wallow in their sadness? That we're staying sad on purpose? To what end?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I'm invisible.

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way
one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be
taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, "Can't you see I'm on the phone?"

Obviously not.

No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or
even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.

I'm invisible.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this?
Can you tie this?
Can you open this?

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock
to ask, "What time is it?" I'm a satellite guide to answer, "What number is
the Disney Channel?" I'm a car to order, "Right around 5:30, please."

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes
that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now
they had disappeared into the peanut butter,
never to be seen again.

She's going ... she's going ... she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a
friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and
she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there,
looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to
compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress;
it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was
pulled back in a ponytail and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut
butter in it.

I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully
wrapped package, and said, "I brought you this."

It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why
she'd given it to me until I read her inscription:
"To My Friend, with Admiration for the Greatness of what you are Building
when no one sees."

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover
what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could
pattern my work:

* No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their
* These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see
* They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.
* The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of
God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the
cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird
on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, "Why are you
spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by
the roof? No one will ever see it."

And the workman replied, "Because God sees."

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost
as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, I see the sacrifices you
make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've
done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me
to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't
see right now what it will become."

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease
that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own
self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of
the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work
on something that their name will never be on.
The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever
be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to
sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's
bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, "My mom gets up at 4 in the
morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three
hours and presses all the linens for the table." That would mean I'd built a
shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And
then, if there is anything he wants to say to his friend, let it be, "You're gonna
love it there."

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're
doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel,
not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the
world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

*This was sent to me by a friend and fellow mom today, and I heard echoes of myself in it. Perhaps it's been all over the internet for years now and I've just never come across it, but I thought the sentiment was nice just the same.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Every mother's worst nightmare realized

My daughter is going to grow up to be a stripper. It's her lot in life, I can tell. In what other setting would the phrase "Tank, we do *not* put money in our vaginas" ever come up?

She better be a damn good one, at least, so that she can support me in my old age.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I don't understand why I'm so damn unhappy. This anger is unhealthy. I can't enjoy my life. I'm too busy being angry/frustrated/upset/irritated.

My head is full of words of wisdom. I *know* that this negative energy is killing my marriage, stifling my children, chafing my students, and poisoning my soul. But I can't seem to let go of it, no matter how hard I try. It's like the dieting. I know that I'm overweight. I know how to lose that weight. But try as I might, I can't make myself step away from the food. It's like an addiction for me. So is the anger.

I don't think I know how to be happy anymore. If I'm being objective, I can say that I'm happy with my kids, but when I'm with them, they suck the life right out of me. If I'm being delusional, I can say that I'm happy with my husband, but all I have right now are the memories of happy times with him. I just want to be alone. All the time. I don't want to see anyone, talk to anyone, be around anyone, think about anyone, nothing. I just want to be by myself. Not too much to ask, but I can't seem to win there either.

Now I know why depressed people kill themselves. The thought of spending the next sixty years like this is absolutely unbearable.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Today's post brought to you by the letter P

Perhaps. Perhaps not. Why not P?

P is for:

Pee (duh), and

Poop (in the...)

Potty! (can you tell what the Tank is working on these days?)(in fact, she tells me that she wants...)

Princess Panties! (which makes me die a little inside. I hate both princesses and the word "panties" with an uncontrollable loathing. dear god, how I hate them)(sigh)

Pie (blackberry, with a streusel topping instead of the second crust, just because it sounded yummy)(currently baking in the oven)(alas, to be given away to a colleague tomorrow, and not eaten all by myself while holed up in bed with a good book)

People who Piss me off (that would be just about everyone today)(probably because I have my...)

Period! (not that I don't love being in touch with my inner Goddess and all that, but it does tend to make me a little edgy, mood-wise, and totally devoid of...)

Patience (seriously. just gone. missing in action)

I could go on and on about the people who piss me off, because, seriously, the world is a hideously unfair place, and I have to spend all day teaching students who are more part of what's wrong with the world than what's right with it, which is a horrible thing to say about children, but they are rich, snobby, elitist, entitled, privileged rat bastards. Or their parents are, and are raising them to be the same. But then they have their moments, and I realize that I do like working with kids, and I do love my job, despite all the bullshit that goes along with it. I love the three boys I "punished" by making them eat lunch in my room instead of the cafeteria, who then proceeded to have a really great conversation about tolerance and fairness while missing their recess on the first nice day of the year. I love the girl I "make" come see me after school to ensure that she wrote all her assignments down in her assignment notebook, and again in the morning to make sure that she actually did said assignments. She's had all her homework done in all her classes this week, for the first time all year. I love that my students come flocking around me when they see me outside of my classroom. I love that I can play Current Events Pictionary with my homeroom* and they actually sometimes learn something besides the latest antics of the dreaded Annah-hay Ontana-May**. I don't love that I am being paid shit, absolute shit, in wages. I don't love that most of these kids have nannies who make as much as I do in a year. I don't love the fact that their parents seem to think I'm just more hired help. I don't love repeating directions 293459432857 times because nobody was listening the first time. I don't love the paperwork. I don't love the grading. I don't love the drama that tween girls inevitably surround themselves with.

Whatever. I'm sure you can all see where this is going. I love my job, I hate my job. I love my life, I hate my life. Geez. You'd think I was bipolar or something. I'm really trying to let go of the negativity. We only get this one chance at life - why spend it being pissed off? If you can control that, that is.

Pie is done - I can tell by the smells wafting through the living room.

*yes, I totally invented that game myself. What?
**AKA She Who Must Not Be Named...

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Watching the "Compassion Forum" on CNN while working on homework and putting off going to bed, even though I know I'm going to be exhausted tomorrow.

Query: Why is it that every politician in America (and every mainstream American, for that matter) seems to believe that moral, ethical behavior is the sole province of Christians? Why is it that only religious people are believed capable of ethical behavior? Is this in fact the case? Why do Americans believe this, and why do politicians keep pandering to them? Does this bother anyone else?

Back to work.

Friday, April 11, 2008



Tired of Talking.

Tired of Talking about Teenagers.

Tired of Talking about Teenagers and Their Troubles and Traumas.

Two Days of it!

Tired of Teaching.

Taking some Time Tomorrow. Time to care for my Throat - Tea, Toast, Tylenol for my Throbbing Tonsils. Time to Think.

'Tis a pity that laryngitis doesn't start with a T - 'twould have been Too perfect.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

C is for Cookie

Cookies (cause who can ever eat just one cookie? Must make plural) (I've eaten an entire box of Girl Scout Lemonades since Sunday)

Cars (you know you spend too much time driving when the driver's seat of your car has two indentations the exact shape of your tailbone) (not the tailbone, like the coccyx, but the two on the sides that are hips, except not the hips, the part that you sit on) (we always used to call them "sitz bones" for lack of a better term) (I want to say that "iliac crest" is really the right term. whatever)

Coming down with the Creeping Crud (I woke up this morning with an unfortunate sore throat and plugged ears)

Cats (my delightfully feisty little one has recently become much more affectionate toward me. Yay!) (heretofore she has always preferred my husband, god knows why)

Cocktease (but I'll cover this one tomorrow, when we explore the letter S again)

Cute Children (this one is really just an excuse to share all the cuteness, because the lady next door at work is getting tired of hearing about it) (she is to be forgiven. after all, she has kids of her own. boys.)

So, without further ado, a complete non-sequitur into the cuteness:

The Bear, wandering into my room at 3 am to see what her sister was doing up and about: "Mommy, I was sleeping in my bed, and I heard the Tank talking loudly in your room, and I said to myself, 'That is not a soothing noise!' so I came to see what she was doing." Not a "soothing noise." A very polite euphemism for what Tank was doing at 3 am.

Lately, when I tuck them in at night, the girls have taken to requesting kisses in specific places. It started with "Hug!" in the dark. But if you hug one, you have to hug both. Two hugs. Then, "Kiss!" Two kisses, naturally. Then, "Forehead!" "Me too!" Then, "Mouth!" And then, of course, they want to kiss me in the same spots. It's pretty sweet.

The Bear is turning into the most amazing big sister. She takes care of her sister, she helps her learn to do things, she helps me with the Tank, she is kind and loving and always wanting to help. She sings her lullabies in bed at night. She reads her stories and holds her hand and hugs her when she cries. Sure, she's bossy, but aren't all big sisters? She's also sweet and caring and protective.

I realize this is all about the cute things that the Bear is doing, but to be totally honest, the Tank is something of a trial to me at the moment. She is... two. She is purposely defiant. She ignores me. She does the opposite of what I ask. Her favorite word is "no." She doesn't listen, doesn't heed, doesn't care. She knows she's cute and she uses it to manipulate. She flirts with strangers. She runs away in public. It's a damn good thing that she's also incredibly loving and sweet and affectionate - way more physically affectionate than the Bear. Otherwise, I'd be tempted to sell her to Gypsies (who would, of course, bring her back within about five minutes, because the only thing she ever wants is Mom).

Monday, April 07, 2008

Today's post brought to you by the letter D


D is for:

Diets (they suck. I can't Do it.)

Dr. Pepper (the reason I can't stick to my diet)

Diapers (I have been changing diapers for 3 years, 5 months, and several-odd days. Tank is so close, but not really, to pottying)

Daft (a student actually used the phrase "daft wanker" in class today. He had no clue what it meant)

Dogs (we actually played with one tonight that the Bear *wasn't* scared of. Wonders may never cease)

Dealing (I'm working on it)

Drama (oh, how the 12-year-olds love to create it)

Darling (the things the kids have been saying lately) (planning to devote a whole post to that soon)

Damn, dude.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Today's post brought to you by the letter F


I just had to get that out of the way. All-time best word to start with F. Still, since this is a children's show, F is also for:

Flea (it only takes one to make my cat break out in a hideous allergic reaction involving large bald patches [ask me how I know that])

Friends (something I'm finding in short supply here, but since there's no shortage of people, it's probably just me)

Family (a little goes a long way, and I'm way past that point)

Frustrated (how I feel with too few friends and too much family)

Far (really, really far. I drive it every day. I also drive...)

Fast (because it's...)


Fat (how I felt when I looked in the mirror today and realized that the new shirt I got, which was advertised as "slimming," makes me look like a water-retaining sea cow. Also...)

Frumpy (and/or...)

Frowzy (always loved that word)

Funny (something I'm obviously not, since I made a joke today that had a student staring at me like I had two heads)

Futile (my attempts to dissuade the Tank from throwing a tantrum on at the vet's office. On the...)


Feelings (something I'm finding difficult to control these past few days)

but tomorrow:

Finally Friday! Fantastic, Fabulous Friday! Feeling Forlorn on a Friday is just plain Foolish.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Today's post brought to you by the letter S


Shell-shocked (from realizing I'm the youngest mom in the Bear's upcoming kindergarten class)

Snobs (all the other, older, richer, thinner, prettier moms)

Scared Shitless (by the thought of having to think about kindergarten for the Bear already)

Surprised (at seeing my own workplace from a parent's point of view)

Sticker Shock (from what we would be paying if I didn't work there)

Sore (my feet, from working in heels two days in a row)

Sad (because we came home too late and the kids were asleep already)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Today's post brought to you by the letter M

April's NaBloPoMo topic is letters. Eden wasn't very specific, and so, rather than letters, like send-in-the-mail letters, or open-to-the-public letters, I'm going with letters a la Sesame Street.

Today's letter: M.

Words that start with M:

Missing (like my husband)

Marriage (so much freaking harder than they tell you in movies)

Money (need. don't have. must get.)

Mondays (always get me down)

Mexico (where I'm going for a two-week vacation BY MYSELF this summer!)

Meds (need tweaking, perhaps)

Mediocre (this month's book club selection)

Me (the person I'm trying to stay focused on)

Many Mumbling Mice are Making Midnight Music in the Moonlight.