Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What Do You Take for Granted?

E has become BFF with a little 10 year-old girl in our church. They are the same height and have similar interests and the 10 year-old is extremely innocent so they make a great pair. But I really feel for this girl because she has had a rough life and carries the weight of the world on her shoulders. For the purpose of this post, we'll call her A.

When she was 4 her dad had an affair with another member of our church. The woman was in an open marriage (even though he wasn't) so the affair became public knowledge and quite painful for A's mom. They tried to reconcile for a year but couldn't and divorced when A was 6. From then on, things went downhill. Her father went through some sort of mid-life crisis and stopped paying full child support. The couple had owned 2 houses together and the dad lived in one while the mom and her two daughters lived in the other. Each paid their own mortgage even though they were both signers on both houses. The father decided to stop paying his mortgage as well, sending the house into foreclosure and ruining the mom's credit rating.

Before the foreclosure, her mom went back to school and got an education degree but hasn't been able to find a job. She's been subbing at the local schools, but it is not enough to make ends meet. Things have been extremely tough. Hubby has been trying to slip some church money to the mom, but it is only enough to help a little. Things are tight all around and giving has been down. Now A's mom has put her house on the market in hopes of moving out and getting an apartment.

So here is this little girl who knows the score- she's losing her home, her mom can't afford to buy any extras, they eat Chef boyardee a lot and they NEVER go anywhere because the cost of gas is an impediment. A is stressed to say the least. A's mom did a lot of her Christmas shopping at the Dollar Store and 10 year-old A received Tinkerbell gloves. She needed gloves, but Tinkerbell for a 10 year-old is embarrassing. I saw her mom talking to her about them and A lifted up her chin and refused to complain because she knew it was the best her mom could do. It just made my heart hurt.

So today we took A with us on a road trip. We drove 2 hours to one of the local history sites. E had missed her school field trip to the site because we left early to go to Florida at Thanksgiving and we wanted to make it up. We don't go on road trips often, after all, we don't have a lot of money either. But when we go, we let E splurge. We get snacks when we get gas, she gets $10.00 for the gift shop and we eat one meal at a nice sit-down restaurant. So of course, we gave A the same treatment. A was shell-shocked! When we stopped the first time and got snacks, she was afraid to ask for anything. I told her that we had received a little extra Christmas bonus from the church that money was paying for this trip and she could get what she wanted. If I hadn't made that fib up, I am not sure she would have let us buy her things. But that was all it took. She got a bag of chips AND a drink. She felt so guilty, but I could tell just letting some of that stress go, if only for a moment, did her a world of good. For the rest of the day she laughed and smiled and just seemed to feel relieved.

It's hard to believe just two years ago Hubby and I couldn't afford to buy groceries and I actually had no snack send to school with E. That was the worst feeling in the world to me, but no matter how bad things got or get for us, we will always have a church-supplied house and church-paid for utilities. This little girl doesn't have that safety net and she's still holding her chin up high. And looking at her I realized just how much I take for granted.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dear Friends

The Christmas Eve service is a memory; my parents and family devoured our annual chese fondue and wine tonight (no Velveeta, Wide Lawns, I promise); my holiday french toast is soaking in the refrigerator for tomorrow's breakfast and the traditional flounder is thawing in preparation for its yummy pecan/crab stuffing. My daughter is anxiously awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus and even the raptor is contentedly chewing away at a bone. We are ready.

I know this year has been a difficult year for a lot of people. Jobs have been lost, loved ones have become ill, divorces became painfully final. But I hope, for just one day, you can have a glass of wine, take a breath and find a moment of solace and rest in this crazy world.

Peace and joy!

LIMW

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Please Don't Squeeze the Pastor's Wife

I hate being touched. Unless you are my Hubby or my daughter, please stay at least 2feet back from me. I have a very defined sense of personal space and if you cross that, I get edgy. I'll shake your hand briefly, but I don't want to sit there and hold it for longer than the perfunctory 3 second greeting.

I have one friend of about 6 years who is a hugging menace. She hugs everybody- church members, her school kids, even homeless people she comes across, complete strangers. She knows how I feel about hugging, but grabs me anyway. I hate it, but I allow it because she has been a great friend over the years and accepts my quirks, so I try to deal with this particular one of hers.

This new church is lousy with huggers. There's even one 94 year-old woman with a cane who, when she sees me, makes a slow, decrepit bee-line for me so she can plant an old, dry kiss on my cheek. I try to slip away before she gets to me, but she hunts me down. She insists on doing this every Sunday even though I try so hard to avoid her. For someone so old, she has an amazing radar for finding me.

This past Sunday one of the new members (who is also a mom) cornered me, grabbed my hand and said, "You are such a wonderful and light spirit. I'm just so blessed to have you in my life. I would love to have some time to get to know you and learn more about your spiritual journey." WHAT THE HELL DO I SAY TO THAT???? I stuttered out a stunned thank you but didn't offer anything more. She persisted and asked when we might talk. I told her I am always at church and she was welcome to sit down with me here, all the while I was trying to extricate my hand from her death grip. That's all I said. I didn't invite a phone call or a lunch date, nothing. I have no desire to "share my spiritual walk" with anyone. What am I going to say? Well, I have a pack of tarot cards that I used to be pretty good at reading...oh yeah, I speak to dead people...and I believe in the Native American religion more than I do hers? Something tells me that's not what she wants to hear.

But the worst part about this anti-hugging battle is this is such a small town that I run into church people everywhere. I was at the Y this morning and an old woman who had just exited her exercise class, came up to me and asked "You're LIMW aren't you?" When I said yes, she grabbed my neck and squeezed. A sweaty, old woman whose name I didn't even know was perspiring all over me. ICK!!! Thank goodness we weren't in the locker room!

I've tried telling people how I feel about hugging. I think Hubby has even talked about it in one of his sermons. Sometimes I think people believe that Hubby and I have some kind of magic pixie dust on us that, if rubbed on them, gives them special access into heaven. Well I've got news for them, if I did have magic powder, I sure wouldn't share it with the huggers!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Update

For those of you who think I have gone over the edge, I wanted to let you know I am fine. I landed in the doctor's office again this morning. Apparently I am not a good candidate for antihistamines. The Allegra I have been taking brought on pseudo-heart attack symptoms, anxiety and OCD-like tendencies.

I stoppped taking it two days ago and noticed a 75% improvement in my mood and pain. Since my heart still hurt this morning I went to my doc who gave me a thorough check, EKG and spent an hour talking to me. He thinks this continuing cough is allergen related and the pain is mechanical from the trauma my body experienced from the infection causing the cough. So I have been cleared for take-off.

I apologize for taking you all on my wild-emotional ride. I had no idea it was all medically induced. I'm off for my date day with Hubby. Tomorrow maybe I'll tell you about the people I am working with in my theater. One is a former Miss State (as in, contender for Miss America) and the other is, well, that's going to take a while.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I Know How I Don't Want to End Up....

My therapist must be able to read my mind. Either that or she has found my blog. She called last night to remind me about my 9:00 AM appointment today. I didn't have a 9:00 AM appointment today but I needed one, so I went.

The past 4 days I have been suffering from near heart-attack conditions. I have had tightness in my chest, pain in my neck and jaw, light-headedness and severe anxiety about the physical symptoms. I knew it was anxiety and panic, but I couldn't figure out why it was unending. It never let up unless I was completely absorbed in something I was doing.

It got worse when I went to bed or if I let myself wallow in my bed. I've really been struggling with wanting to just cocoon myself in my room and escaping from reality. But when I would do that, the anxiety would become worse. I was hopeless.

But remember a while ago when I said my mom used to disappear into her room for days? I am determined not to do that to my daughter. So my body was panicking because it needed to rest with everything I have been doing, but I couldn't rest because I was going through a depressive stage and flashbacked to my days with my mom. I was in a vicious cycle and couldn't figure out for myself that it was my PTSD. As soon as my therapist told me it was a PTSD attack and not just a panic attack, the pain lessened and I could breathe again. I was floored. I should have known. But I guess that's why I am in therapy.

Anyway, while I was in with her, her business phone kept going off over and over again. She usually lets it go to voicemail, but the caller was so insistent she checked it. I could tell it was someone in crisis but also someone who tries very hard to keep her on the phone talking. You know the kind of person I am talking about. They get you on the phone and then won't let you hang up? Anywho, she told the person her 10:00 had cancelled and she could come then.

When I was done I left and walked out to see the person seated in the waiting area. I was floored. It was a woman, a very large woman with wild hair and lots of make-up. None of that is what floored me. I am used to that, it's called the South. But what I couldn't get over was the blanket on the woman's chest. Or should I say, what was going on UNDER the blanket. The woman was talking to blanket as if she was nursing a child. Having breast fed for 16 months I took a furtive glance, I didn't want to gawk at her, but I wanted to see the baby. ONLY IT WASN'T A BABY!!!!! The woman was trying to nurse a DOG!!!!

There's very few people who make me speechless. I have been a pastor's wife for so long I have dealt with all kinds of people in all walks of life. But this woman nursing her dog just disturbed me to no end. Maybe because with each therapy session I am realizing just how damaged I am. Maybe I know that if I didn't have a supportive husband and loving daughter I might end up walking a very similar road. I didn't feel pity for her, just horror that something so horrible had happened to cause her to need to nurse that dog. I hope my therapist can help her.

I love my raptor and for all his struggles I would do almost anything for him....But I won't do that!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

How to Quit Smoking-English Father-in-law Style

Before I begin this story, you have to understand the relationship my husband and father have. It's tense but cordial. My father is a fanatical atheist and doesn't like that my love for my husband took me 600 miles away from him. But they manage. Whenever there is a visit on either our part or theirs, my Hubby and father always go out for a beer together.

My hubby was always a sneak smoker. He claimed he could take it our leave it, but you know that is never the case. He rarely smoked a lot, but I would find packs of cigarettes hidden in odd places. I thought he had kicked the habit entirely because that was the only condition I had put on our marriage. I refused to be married to a smoker (my dad smoked until I was 10 and I was always sick). My dad knew he was smoking, though. I guess it takes one to know one. Just this past year I learned my Hubby was smoking in our first church during a very tense semester in seminary.

Anywho, when E was 13 months old, my prissy English uncle was visiting for Christmas so we packed up and made the 10 hour trek home to Ohio. Hubby was having a really rough time at school being a newish dad, student and pastor. So my uncle and dad took him out drinking to blow off steam. But before he went out, we all ate pizza together at Donato's....meat lover's greasy pizza. Hubby who normally doesn't eat a lot, ate a lot of this pizza. One, we rarely get pizza and two, we never order it with ALL of his favorite meats! So this was quite a treat for him.

My dad was very good friends with the Scottish man who owned the local pub. When Hubby got to the pub he was treated like family, which meant free drinks. He started out simple, drinking a few glasses of Boddington's. No problem, he wasn't driving. But then the owner pulled out his special stash of cigars. Hubby loves cigars, but he hadn't smoked anything stronger than cigarettes in years. The owner insisted so Hubby pulled out a cigar and started to enjoy it.

But, according to my dad and the owner, you can't have a good cigar without a good stiff drink. The owner pulled out his Dalwinnie and insisted on giving Hubby a few glasses of it. Meanwhile, Hubby was totally happy. Meat pizza for dinner, a good cigar, an expensive scotch. What more could he want? Have you ever heard the expression beer then liquor, never sicker?

He smoked the cigar until it was too small to hold. But my dad told him he couldn't waste the best part, so he convinced Hubby to put the butt end of the cigar on a toothpick and walk around smoking it like a cocktail weenie on a stick. He was quite the rube, I'm sure. But he was happy.

He was happy that is, until he came home. He walked in the door and turned green. He then proceeded to throw up, several times. He went straight to sleep, only waking up to vomit again. He was still vomiting the next morning. Still green, too. But he never smoked again.

The bar where this happened closed down a few years ago, but if you are from the Lane Ave area of Columbus, you very well may have heard the story because for the rest of the time my dad went into the bar, they always mentioned his son-in-law with the cocktail weenie cigar. Yes, that's my hubby!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Two Things

First, I have to tell you what happened today. I have been bartering one of my skills with someone who has something I want for Hubby for Christmas (remember, I can only spend $15). Well, the woman I was bartering with told me she thought this $15 thing was just being stingy. That took me back a step. I never once considered this odyssey we are taking as stingy. In fact, it is the only thing that is keeping me going right now. Up until that moment I was having fun coming up with truly meaningful gifts that came from the heart and not my wallet. Have we lost our sense of Christmas so much that people think that you can't love someone unless you lavish them with gifts you can't afford? That's just sad. Just a 100 years ago kids were happy to get an orange and a corn husk doll as their total Christmas. Oh well, I refuse to consider myself stingy.

Second, as many of you have been reading for a while know and have probably figured out from my last few posts, I am once again spiraling into my depression mode. I take heart in the fact that this is the longest I have gone in my adult life in between "episodes" and my therapist told me to expect it to happen right now especially, so I was warned. But it doesn't make it easier.

I've noticed my posts about my obsessive need to do everything get the most hits and the most comments. Many of you can't understand why I just can't say no to things and just let things fall between the cracks. I don't either. That's part of the reason I am in therapy. In fact, one anonymous commenter suggested: How do you let things go undone? Just don't do them. You will find out that the world doesn't fall apart. I suggest taking just one day at a time. The first day, don't make the bed. Find out the world still functions. Then maybe the next day try something else. You will feel such a great relief to realize that not everything has to get done! That comment alone almost sent me into a panic attack. Things that don't get done weigh on me until I obsess so much about them I get out of bed at 2:00 AM to take care of it. So just saying "don't do it" isn't the answer for me.

But I hear what you all are saying. I want to get to the point where I say no. I do...really. I did say no to something. We were going to have some new church members over for lunch this Saturday and I just said I couldn't do it. I couldn't do the cleaning, cooking and preparing that that would entail. I am trying to change...it's just not easy.

So if anyone has anything more than "just don't do it", I'm listening. I think I am just a worse case than you think I am, because I also justify my actions by saying "what's wrong with being in control and responsible?" Anywho, I ask that you bear with me over the next few weeks because I suspect my next few posts will be about this subject as I mull over why I am the way I am. But I bet there are more than a few of you who are walking the same road I am, so maybe, just maybe, me talking about it will help you this season.

Oh, and Assassin, I miss you, too. I still haven't made any real, kick you in the shins when you are down to get you up kind of friends. I think that is part of my problem right now.

Lastly, my malignant cough seems to be releasing its hold on me. The death rattle is now just a wee little wheeze. Hopefully getting my health back and being able to exercise again will help, too.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Just a question....

So what would happen if:

I didn't run the kid's Christmas program
I didn't bake the 10 dozen cookies for shut-ins and church functions
I didn't make the Christmas meal or breakfast
I didn't feed the homeless on Christmas Day
I din't sweep the mud off the floor that my family dragged in
I didn't do the laundry
I didn't walk the raptor
I didn't volunteer for the PTA's Santa Shop
I didn't sing in the band
I didn't sing on Christmas Eve
I didn't empty the dishwasher, print the Christmas programs, buy the gifts, plan my lessons, attend the parties, send the cards, send the thank-yous, wrap the gifts, make the ornaments that the youth will sell and make the bed.

What would happen if for just one day I opted out...because I need to opt out for a day...would the world stop turning on its axis? I mean, I AM the person that everyone turns to to get things done. The only time the Assassin ever hurt my feelings was the day she told me my lot in life was to be the Arranger. I hate that title, but it is so true. Even Hubby commented last night about the one time when we were dating that I blew off a meeting to be with him. He said he knows now what that meant because he has never seen me since that day not be responsible.

How does one do that? How do you say enough and follow through with it? I have control issues so it is really hard for me to relinquish my tight-fisted grasp on EVERYTHING, but I want to....

How do you just not care and let things go?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I Survived!!!!

This past weekend was the required district wide Christmas party for pastors and spouses. I hate attending this event. Every year it is the same thing: buffet style dinner, cheesy entertainment and a bunch of pastors trying to one-up each other in the showing out department. I swear, you get a bunch of pastors in the one room and they all try to outdo each other with booming voices, religious jokes and their biblical quotes. If I have to hear "Man can not live by bread alone....eh, eh, eh..." one more time.....

Now something you may not know is that pastors are notoriously unhealthy. Our health insurance costs $1,000 a month and the conference had a hard time getting it that low because most pastors don't exercise or watch what they eat. Seriously, when do they have time? Congregants get upset if their pastor doesn't work at least 6 days a week and attend all of the night time meetings. Then there's all the church dinners and lunch meetings and meals at church members' houses. The food is either cheap (bbq is a staple here) or something that is exremely caloric because the host wants to make "something special." It's all a bit much sometimes.

But what gets me is the behavior of the pastors. First, the buffet. Now, Advent is supposed to be a time of preparation, fasting, looking at what you have and evening the playing field for those that have not. One of the main tenets of the Advent season is to simplify. This includes eating. But we get to the dinner and the people are loading their appetizer plates with huge mounds of shrimp and cheese. It was disgusting and completely inappropriate. An appetizer is supposed to be small, whet the appetite and stave off hunger until the main course. These people had dinner-plus on that one plate.

Then came the main course. It was a very good, albeit fattening pasta dish. Again, people loaded up their plates and then went back for seconds. Pastors are not a starving group, there was no need for seconds. But what really got me was the dessert. The host church had caterers filling our drinks, clearing our plates....when it came time for dessert, they were attempting to cut the cake and serve it while the people where sitting at the tables. Only, apparently, dessert wasn't coming fast enough because about a 1/4 of the people got out of their chairs to walk over to the cake istelf and grab a piece as it was being cut. SO RUDE!!! And not a little bit germy.

But the highlight of my night came in the seating arrangement at my table. I had to sit next to someone who was a big-time advocate for the Retreat. If you missed the Retreat post, go here. This woman (who was a pastor) kept trying to engage me in talking about the Retreat and how I had to go. I told her that I had no plans on attending. So she changed her tactics and said I could attend the Southern State retreat or the Middle of the State Retreat. I finally had to very forcefully tell her that I do not leave my family for that long and I WILL NOT BE GOING!!!! She turned her back on me and didn't say another word to me the entire evening. Hubby, of course, was seated on the other side of me but he had a good friend sitting next to him whom he talked to all night so I was left to twiddle my fingers and count the number of "Amens" (27) I heard during the cheesy band's attempt at singing Christmas carols.

But thank goodness it is over. I survived. Now if I can just get through the children's program (which I am in charge of). Ho Ho Ho....

Friday, December 4, 2009

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

I think I have been a very good girl this year. I haven't hauled off and hit anyone who asked me when I was "saved." I have made sure to tell my husband every day that I love him and sometimes I tell him more than once a day. I have suoported my daughter through a move that was really hard on her and I tried very hard to be pleasant and nice to the new moms I have met. I have even started talking to someone who might be able to help me take care of me. So as you see, I deserve everything I am about to ask for.

First, I would like to be able to make Christmas cookies again with my friend Jenn and her three kids. For some reason, my Christmases have never been the same since we both grew up and she stopped spending them with us. Everytime I have to tell someone about a great Christmas memory, I always talk about the time we misread the recipe for candy cane cookies and instead made candy cane doorstops. She's kind of my Christmas spirit and without her I struggle. So if you could send her an extra hug and maybe let her know that I really miss her at Christmas, I'd appreciate it.

Second, could you please let me know if my brother has passed on to a better place? I don't care if it is heaven, or some great beyond or even to a rock concert in the sky. I just need to know that the spirit that has been haunting me and now my daughter is not my brother, because if it is, I'm going to kill him. That violently rattling screen door yesterday really scared me and E, plus the voices that woke me up last night...yea, I'm thinking I would like that to stop. Can you do that for me Santa?

Third, could you send me a big sign that the Raptor can wear that says "PLEASE DON'T PET THE DOG!!!" He's doing so much better. Kids can now come over to our house and play without being growled at or bitten; he walks past people quietly if they just ignore him; he even has learned he can go out in the backyard by himself and he will not be abandoned. I love him so much but I just need people to work with us instead of against us. Do you have a sign like that?

Lastly, my therapist says that I need to accept that it is time to worry about what makes me happy and not try to make others happy at my expense. Hmm...that's kind of tough at Christmas time since I am the person who makes the Christmas cheer for my family and some church people. I know that I am not going to solve this problem this Christmas, but if you could Santa, can you help me see the things again that make me happy? Help me focus on my husband and daughter. Help me see all the good things that I have in my life like a comfortable home, food on the table, not one but two jobs (one of which is actually in my field) and hopefully, after I see my doctor next week, my health will return. Yeah, if you could take away this malicious cough, I would REALLY like that.

So that's it, Santa, that's all I want for Christmas. I hope it isn't too much to ask for. I'll leave you some lovely non-doorstop cookie for you!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Can We Talk?

First and foremost, Happy Thanksgiving. I hope that everyone who is reading this has a little bit of home and comfort today.

Second, it has come to my attention that people really wanted to donate to a Wii fund for E. I greatly appreciate that there are people generous enough in the world who are willing to give a complete stranger money for a gift for their daughter. You are amazing people with kind hearts. But although I appreciate your offer, I must refuse. Hubby and I have spent years straightening ourselves out financially. Now that E is older and we can finally afford to give her a Wii, even if it means we buy less for ourselves, WE want to give her the Wii. It means more that we are buying it without going into debt, making her sacrifice and to be giving it to her now. We are fine. I am enjoying the fact that I only have $15 to spend on Hubby this Christmas. His gifts are going to mean more to him and to me, also. So thanks, but I must decline.

Third, I always associate myself as a Southern writer even though I am a true Midwesterner. But whenever we come here to Florida I am reminded that I am just a poser. I go from the polite, nouveax South to Down-South, DEEP Down-South. Now you may not think of Florida as being the deep South, but there are pockets here that rival Biloxi, MS and Mobile, Al. Since I have been here, I have been fed homemade black-eyed peas, creamed corn, sticky rice with tomato gravy and pan-fried pork chops. The house we are in is the oldest house in the town and it is filled from floor to ceiling with country knick-knacks and antiques. I kid you not, Country Living may one day come here to do a pictorial spread. There's even a swinging bed on the back porch.

People get together just to chew the fat and talk about the Snow Birds and Damn Yankees. I surreptitiously leave the room when these conversations start. But the air feels different here, heavier and more humid. We are surrounded by orange groves and flowering bushes. Banyan trees grow native here and Spanish moss abounds. It's amazing. It's so different here that my father-in-law just asked who Bob Marley was. It is the true South.

Lastly, I must answer some of my commenters who think the real alarms going off are a message. I must say I am starting to agree. I purposely didn't mention that the night my fire alarm went off, I felt that tell-tale tugging at my feet. Sticking to my desire to keep myself closed off to all things spiritual, I firmly told whatever it was to go away. It was only a few hours later that the alarm went off. But I still wasn't convinced, until we arrived here in Florida. We had only been here a few hours and I was upstairs reading to E before she went to bed when my in-laws security alarm malfunctioned. It's warning beep kept going off, alerting them that something was wrong with Section 14. Only there is no section 14. My father-in-law called the alarm company and they couldn't figure out what was going wrong. They agreed there was no section 14.

I was starting to get freaked out. ANOTHER alarm was going off. What the hell? But then I got to thinking about the number 14. Remember when hand-held calculators came out and we all spent so much time creating words with numbers, flipping the calculator over and reading them. HELLO, OHIO, HI!!!! Think of 14 on a digital screen. The four on a calculator does not look like a closed four, it looks like an upside down h. Was my message a ghost saying "hi?" Am I crazy? Who's trying to talk to me again? Do I even want to answer?

Anywho, I have one more day here and will be driving the long drive back up 95. I still have my deep, malicious cough and the fuzzy animals here are not helping, so wish me luck surviving my last day and the long drive home. Not to mention the crush of relatives that set off all of my "too close to my personal space" bells. Ahh, tis the season....Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Best Line Ever

I so totally meant to post about this the night it happened, but life got in the way. I am working for a teaching theater and I have a great group of kids. Some have talent, some don't. My theater is not about bursting bubbles, though, so I treat them all like they're great. Real life will start to kick their butts soon enough.

Anywho, my male lead in our show has not yet embraced the fact that he is gay. Now, before you go "Hey, how judgmental is she?", wait! All my life I have been surrounded by gay men. My best friends in college were all a group of gay men who spent a lot of time together, too much time, if you get my meaning. I have learned the intricacies of gayness and I wholeheartedly applaud those who accept themselves.

But for this 14 year-old boy, his gayness stands in his way of his acting. It is not that he can't act because he's gay, it's because he hasn't come out and so when he does something really feminine, I can't call him on it because it is not my place. I want his character to be more like Barney on How I Met Your Mother (played by a gay actor) and he is playing it more like the guy who won the most recent Big Brother (or was he runner-up?).

He comes from a very religious family and I am not sure he will ever accept who he is. Which brings me to a Grey's Anatomy episode a while back. I have to say, I've been disappointed with the show this season. It has just seemed more like a soap opera than a drama. But the episode where Callie stood up to her religious father made Hubby and I cheer, actually cheer. I found a small clip here. Somewhere in that same episode Callie and her dad go head to head with bible verses about homosexuality. I think I should memorize her part for future interactions with religious homophobes.

But I wish all young kids going through their sexual identity crises could have someone who stands on a table top and screams "You can't pray away the gay!" Then adults like me, who want to hold open and honest conversations with kids could make a difference. This male-child could have an adult whom he doesn't have to hide around, doesn't have to worry about slipping around. He could realize his sexuality is just another part of him, like his hair color or his eye color. I can't be the person standing on the table top because that would make him run screaming from the room.

But instead he goes to a fundamentalist religious school everyday and hears that his "kind" are bad. He doesn't even know he is his "kind" and he will struggle for the next few years and experiment in dangerous ways because he is ashamed and lost. Shame on all the religious zealots who created this atomosphere.


YOU CAN'T PRAY AWAY THE GAY!!!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

It had to be the fire alarm

When E was 5 she was attending kindergarten at our local public school. She had already been tested for the gifted program and so would stay in her K class for science and social studies but walk (by herself) from the far end of the K hall all the way through the school to the farthest end of the 1st grade hall so she could take 1st grade math and reading. Imagine a Giant H. That's how E's school was designed.

Now remember, my daughter has severe issues with anxiety. Enough that we sought treatment. But she has reason to be anxious, she's got my weirdness magnet. One day while she was walking from K to 1st, the school fire alarm went off. E had left the K hall but hadn't made it into the 1st grade hall. She was stuck in the bar of the of the H so to speak. When the alarm went off the doors automatically closed. I guess that's to contain the fire if there is one. E was too tiny to be able to open them by herself, so she was trapped in a hall all alone with the alarm blaring. No one thought to look for her, however, because the K teacher thought the 1st grade teacher had her and the 1st grade teacher thought the K teacher had her. You can imagine how scared she was. The principal found her on his final swing through the school.

Well, fast forward to today. E has been struggling again with her anxiety. I think it is because she is so lonely. There's no kids to run out and play with here. Several weeks ago there was a fire at her school. The alarm went off and all the kids filed outside while it was put out. I thought E was okay with it, but she wasn't.

Then I had my lovely little toaster oven fire and her nerves just became shot. One thing happened and another and we discovered her anxiety overwhelmed her leading to some embarrassment at school. So Hubby and I have been diligently doing our best to try to comfort her and still not allow her to succumb to her fears. It's not easy but we were doing it, until last night that is....

Our fire alarm went off in the middle of the night. Not just the "beeping to alert you that the battery needs changing", but the big, long terrifying, blinding-white noise alarm. I struggled out of my sleep and charged through the house to get to E in case there really was a fire. There wasn't (we still don't know why our alarm went off) but she was shaking uncontrollably. So was I, as a matter of fact. But now we have to start over. Of course it had to be the alarm!

On a side note, my car is possessed. Something is going wrong with my key clicker and the doors keep locking themselves over and over. I try to get in and it keeps locking. It's quite comical to see me outside begging my car to let me in.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Take No Prisoners

For those of you who actually keep track of the things I mention, I wanted to let you now I DID make it to my therapy session on Nov. 3rd. I didn't know if I was going to or not...it was the scariest thing I have ever done. But I made it. The jury is still out on whether I am glad I did or not.

The whole thing keeping me out of therapy was the knowledge that I would have to sit down and tell someone my life story. Sure, I do it here all the time for the 200 or so strangers who are interested in my quirks. But to sit down and talk about all the things that have happened to me to someone whose job it it to work through that quagmire? Well, it was overwhelming. And I was afraid of the therapist's response. I knew what it would be. Sure enough, she said exactly, verbatim, what I was most afraid of. She said "You sure have been through a lot of trauma in your life." And that was just the session where she took some personal history. There were things we didn't have time to touch on. What's she going to say when she knows I found a dead body? Or my best friend died in childbirth?

But the fact that my worst fear came true and I didn't shrivel up and blow away means that I am strong enough to do this. It's going to be a painful, take no prisoners, gut-wrenching experience, but I can do this.

I will say it has made me very lonely. I have superficial friends here in CountryTime, but no one I can rush to and lean on to help me through this. Something very devastating and mortifying happened to my daughter yesterday and there was no one I could share it with. The open wound left behind by taking off the band-aid just made it all that much more glaring. But I know that will come with time.

I doubt I will be talking much about my therapy. I'd rather rant and rave and share the ups and downs of the pastoral world...I did just want you to know, though.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Feeling Guilty

When my daughter was 4 we took her to see a child psychiatrist for anxiety. When she was young we had lightning strike close enough to knock us to the ground and then later, on a family vacation, she and my husband were swarmed by hornets. This caused an immense fear of bees and storms in her that we just couldn't seem to manage.

The psychiatrist gave us some good tricks to help her, but told us that she was one of the most empathetic children he had ever met. Normally, he told us, he didn't recommend children sharing in the troubling things that adults face, but in her case, she was so good at reading our faces that she could tell when things were wrong and imagined things that were usually worse than the truth. He told us when we were dealing with tense issues that we should share a thumbnail version of those issues with her so that her imagination didn't run away with her. We have done that. Of course we don't drag her into the dregs of the drama, but she knows more than most children about things, such as the economy. She knows that we are lower middle-class and that while we have enough money for the important things, we don't have a lot of extra.

She also knows there are a lot of children out there who have nothing and their parents are struggling right now. So when the Toys r' us wishbook came out I asked E to go through it and circle what she wanted. She spent an hour pouring over it and came to a page that she hesitated over for a very long time. I went to look at what had stopped her and it was the page with the DS games. When I asked her why she wasn't circling it, she said, "Because it is so expensive." I was taken aback. This was Christmas we were talking about. I told her that if it was something she wanted, she should circle it. Yes, it was expensive, but maybe Santa would get it for her.

At that point she kind of paused and said, "I don't want to ask Santa for it. There's so many kids this year whose parents can't afford Christmas, Santa needs to help them." My mommy heart just ached after that. She's such a good kid, but I feel so bad for taking away her innocence.

But the thing is, Hubby and I are not buying each other gifts this year because we are really trying to buy her a WII. She really wants the Wii but knows there's no way we can afford it. Since there are no children in our neighborhood and this is going to be a sad Christmas without her neighborhood friends from last year, we wanted to get her something really special. I guess we're trying to buy her love. Only now I feel guilty all over the place. Tis the season.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Through the Looking Glass

Someone asked me the other day if, given a choice, I would marry a pastor again. I thought about it for a second and responded that, yes, I would marry a a pastor again, but only MY pastor. I definitely would not marry any other pastor, in love or not.

It's funny the twists and turns your life takes. 22 year-old me would never have thought almost 40 me would be here, in CountryTime, married to a minister, Super-mom and living with a "terrier with issues." In fact, I got to thinking about where 22 year-old me thought she was going.

My brother had just died and left me a $25,000 life insurance. I used $15,000 to pay off my college loans and started to look around at my life. I knew I wanted to sing and act, but where? Columbus wasn't really the hip-happening place to be, even though I was working with a professional-of-sorts company. I wanted more and now had a $10,000 cushion.

Charlitan, aka Chrysalis now, has a life-long friend whom I adored living in Chicago. He graciously allowed me to come out and spend the weekend with him to check out the lay of the land. I had lived in Bolingbrook as an elementary student, but couldn't say I knew a thing about Chicago. When I visited I just knew... I.....Loved....It! Chicago is one of the greatest cities in the world. I knew that's where I wanted to be. I went home to Columbus and started plotting and planning.

As it just happened to turn out, I had done a show with a lawyer from Cinncinnati named Dick. Dick was a great guy, very personable and willing to help out a friend in need. Not what I thought a lawyer should be at all. Dick had a good friend named Jerry who had a small talk show in Chicago. When Dick heard I was thinking of going to Chicago but was too responsible to go without a job, he called his friend Jerry up and asked if he had any work for me. Jerry said sure, send her up, she can be a production assistant. I was set...I had a job...I had friends in Chicago...I had $10,000 to get started with, what more could I want?

This was February and I had a commitment on my apartment lease until September. I knew the job wouldn't wait forever, but I decided to move in three months. That would give me time to find someone to take over my part of the lease and give notice at my job. I was so excited. I was going to Chicago.

But a funny thing happened, I met this guy, this really southern, charming, good-looking guy who swept me off my feet. He was in Columbus for just a few months and during the coldest winter we had had in 50 years. He was miserable, but I kept him warm. And I feel head over heels in love with him. He was willing to do a lot of things for me, but go through Chicago winters was not one of them. So my plans changed and I let go of my dream to move to Chicago.

Which was probably a good thing, since the Jerry with the show was Jerry Springer and his talk show turned into something that would have caused my very soul to melt into a caustic goo and I would not have been able to look at myself in a mirror ever again.

So, instead, I am a teacher, a mom, a pastor's wife and a person who helps teach theater. Sometimes I sing with the church band, sometimes not. But that's okay. Almost 40 me is not as unhappy as this blog makes me appear. In fact, I think I am pretty lucky. It's not a bad life after all.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

But Not the Swine....

I haven't been posting because my life has been busier than I don't know what. I've been trying to get my living room and family room painted before our parsonage open house. That on top of work, training the raptor, soccer and church responsibilites, I've been just a wee bit distracted. But it got a lot rougher when my throat started to twinge....and by twinge I mean hurt like someone fed me crushed glass and then topped it off by shoving a hot poker down my throat.

Now several years ago I would have ignored this pain and pushed myself until I ended up so miserable I couldn't lift my head off my bed, but not this time. I went straight to the doctor and got a strep test. And then I got antibiotics. So even though I still feel like crap, I am on the mend. I really didn't want to have to go to the doctor's office, though, because I didn't want to sit among all of the people with the flu. The flu is hitting this area hard. An entire school system had to close down early last week because the staff and kids were falling like flies. One of my school kids had it and it turned into pneumonia. That gave me a moment's pause, but I am still sticking to my guns about the vaccine.

Anywho, whilst I am sitting here mending, I have been using the crushed ice out of my fridge at a death defying pace. I have to have my drinks ice cold, especially when my throat hurts. When I was in Europe, I was that weird, rude American who insisted on ice in my drinks. Not just the begrudging one piece of ice that I usually received, but enough to clank in my glass and cause the condensation to form.

Do you remember grocery stores and Green Stamps? You would collect the stamps and put them in a booklet and then go and turn your stamps in for some weird, made for tv gadget? I still remember the best thing we ever got. When I was 7 or 8 my parents let me choose an ice crusher. It was the coolest thing EVER! It looked like a toaster with a little drawer. You could put three or four pieces of ice in it at a time and the machine would grumble and shake for a few minutes and crushed ice would appear in the little drawer. Just enough for one drink, but I loved it. I used that machine for several years until one day it started to puff and smoke and my crushed ice was no more. I was despondent. It would be 25 years before I would own a refigerator that dispensed crushed ice and light returned to my world.

That's all that's new in my world. Sorry.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Birds do it...Bees do it....

First off, I have to tell you I found the cure to my fast food addiction. I watched "Supersize Me" on Hulu. I may never eat McDonalds again and I haven't eaten fast food since. Ick! So I have been doing a lot of cooking at home. Friday night, though, our church fed the homeless and it would have been really late for E by the time we got home and I made dinner and we got her to bed, so we went to our local Italian place for dinner.

While we were there, a couple with a three week old baby sat in the booth behind us. E's birthday is coming up in a few weeks and Hubby and I were reminiscing about E's baby days. It's kind of sad to know that I will never have another baby and get to experience all of that cuteness. Sad, but not sad enough to make me change my mind and have another child!

Anywho, E was listening to Hubby and I talk when Hubby asked me if I wanted to have another baby. E piped in and said, "Mommy can't have another baby, Daddy. You've been spayed." I stifled my laughter and corrected her. "No, honey, Daddy's been neutered." To which Hubby got all huffy and corrected me.

But it got me to thinking, E must have some semblance of how babies are made even though we haven't talked to her much about it. We follow the "Answer questions when asked" approach. So I asked her if she knows where babies come from. She very astutely answered that babies are made in their mommies wombs and come out their private parts. So I pushed her a little harder. How did the babies get in their mommies wombs? She didn't know but wanted to. Both Hubby and I were stumped. What is the correct thing to say at 7? How much is too much? So I said, "Well, honey, I have an egg in my uterus and Daddy has these things called sperm that kind of look like teeny tiny tadpoles. They join together to make a baby." But then, E asked, "Well, what about single mommies?" And this, for some reason, is where Hubby decided to join the conversation: "Sometimes they are divorced or the daddy doesn't live with them." This would have been a good place to stop, but then he said, "But sometimes doctors put them in the mommies." I halted the conversation right there. I thought that was too much information. E was confused, I was lost and Hubby, well, he was just a little too technical. So I told E we would get a book for 8 year olds and read it together.

I really think you need a license to have a kid!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Morning Greeting

Posted by Anonymous:

God
When will you realize the world doesnt revolve round you??? As poetic as your post may be (bbbbbleh.....I think i just had part of my breakfast come up from the back of my throat), you need to check your victim self at the door and just deal with stuff. Go see a shrink or find someone you can confine in. Yes - you have your fans - yes - but many of us who read your whining are truly sickened by your constant me me me me poor me me oh, I've got it so bad - bitch bitch moan moan moan bitch complain "I've seen ghosts" - I am SO ESP - I can't wake up - bitch bitch bitch moan - I am married to hubby - complain - I hate the neighbors - I hate E's teachers - i am so much better than ANYONE - I am better than the people I overhear at the store - cream cheese cream cheese fondue furniture . . . . . bleh bleh bleh bleh blah. Fucking deal with it all you fucking bitch. The world IS NOT out to get you (really!!!)

love twice removed,
the blog bitch

p.s. fuck your crying. If your're daughter reads this blog years from now, I would hate to have her think her mom was a wuss. you wuss. who fuking cares if I am anonymous - either way you are a whining bitch - will you EVER be happy ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? no you won't. throw in the towel now. I'd hate to see you suffer any longer.


That was lovely. Thanks for your thoughts. Hate much?


Anywho, on to why I am not getting the swine flu shot.

First, let me say, I think the shot is completely safe. My decision not to get the shot has nothing to do with the mass media warnings about the shot. I got the flu shot for the first time last year and got the regular flu shot again this year. I did it for convenience. I work in the childcare field and get exposed to everything. I just didn't want to get a full blown case of the flu. And E will get the regular flu shot. The flu is going through her classroom right now, so we don't want to get her the shot when we know it is coming, it just makes the flu worse. But when the rush of kids with the flu to the doctor's office eases off, she will get the regular vaccine.

Second, I am fairly certain I had the swine flu last year. I even blogged about it

Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Going on Record
Okay, I'm going to go to go record and say that before this month is over, there is going to be a lot more discussion regarding this year's flu reports. We have been hearing all flu season how the flu vaccinations given this year "hit the mark" and did "pretty well" at fighting it off. Tell that to my school. We had someone come in and vaccinate the whole school in November and today we had a less than 40% attendance rate. The culprit, the flu. And it's starting to trickle out into our community. This may be the worst season in a long time.


The more I learn about the H1N1 flu, the more convinced I am that that is what went through my school last year. Specifically the rebound the flu seems to have. All of my kids got sick, seemed to get better and then got worse.

But last, and most important, I am not afraid of the H1N1 flu in its current form. I am afraid of what it is going to mutate into. I would rather E get this flu now, when she is healthy and I have time to be with her 24 hours a day to monitor her and nurse her to health then her get it when it is truly deadly and have no immunity to it. The flu vaccines wear off very quickly. It's not like our 25 year MMR shots. If she gets the actual flu, her body will create a natural immunity to it and possibly protect her in the years to come. How long will the next H1N1 vaccine take to get on the market? Will all of the people who never had the real flu have time to wait for the vaccine to come out?

And if you think I am being reactionary and far-fetched, think of MRSA. My entire family had it. It was the single-most scariest disease I can imagine. It took round after round of antibiotics before we finally got rid of it. No one thought bacteria would mutate to become so deadly. Will that happen to H1N1? I don't know. What I do know is that I believe in ibuprofen. I know I can stay awake for 72 solid hours to watch and monitor my child for any danger signs. I know that E has the healthiest immune system I have ever seen. I do not, but I still am willing to get the flu.

So, Enthusiastic, that is why I am not getting the swine flu vaccine. It may not make sense to anyone but me. I do think the media has caused a huge panic and feeds off the frenzy and I don't want to buy into it. I am not speaking for anyone else and think anyone who has health issues should get the vaccine. But I will end with this. Last year, when all of my school kids got the flu, the only children who never got sick were my organic, chemical free children. I worked at a posh private school and about 10 percent of my kids were raised with no chemicals. They never got sick. Just food for thought.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bad Daughter

This is not a funny post. I am essentially writing this for my IRL friends who know my pain. Sorry. I'll bring funny back another day.

My parents spent three days last week at my house. My mom asked me no fewer than 9 times why my family was not getting the swine flu shot. She was just obsessed over this and would not leave it alone. By the end I snapped and just...well...I wasn't as patient and loving as I normally try to be.

My dad was my dad. I just duck and cover the entire time we are together. I can do no right and so I have just stopped trying. So you can imagine the relief I felt when they went home. I feel so guilty that I feel that way, but it's true.

But then they were in a bad car accident a few days ago. A young girl rammed into them with her brand-new SUV. No one was seriously injured, but their car was totalled. My dad, however, in his stubborn state of mind that he lives in, DROVE THE CAR HOME! His seat was broken and he DROVE IT HOME. He won't see a doctor about his pain and my mom just had all that neck stuff going on, now she gets to go through it all over again.

I can't control my parents. But I don't feel like they should be 5 hours away when they can't make good judgments for themselves. I just feel trapped. And I feel like a bad daughter. I should be there, but I can't do that to myself.

Maybe tomorrow will be a better day.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Thoughts after two glasses of wine

Do you every think about where you come from and who you are? Where you really come from? And who you really are? Not the city or state, but the nitty-gritty core?

I come from the river surrounded by grist mills and cliffs, where scientists and college students exhange banter and banality.

I come from a dad who can down several pints of ale and still name all of the elements on the Periodic table. I come from a mom raised in the ash of the coal mines and the by the whip of the belt.

I come from the coldest of cold and the hottest of hot. I am from the land where the wind blows bitter and where the swamps take over. I am where the Midwest meets the South.

I am the sister of ashes 6 feet under and the wife of the the man who can offer comfort to those beyond comfort.

I am "you'ns" and "Y'all" all rolled into one. I am both "Mommy" and "Woman" and balance between the two.

I am fondue on Christmas Eve and ham on Easter. I am the corner stool in the corner bar and the last row in the movie theater.

I am the whispered about one, the one who holds the line in the lost relatives and keeps the secrets no one must tell. I am the gift that jumps generations and the curse that follows.

I am the alto voice you call on when you marry and again when you put your loved ones to rest. I am the person your children lean on when their scissors don't feel right and they can't cut a line; and again when they're older, and their hearts break from the loss of their first loves.

I am the person who holds the last rope when all else fails. And who won't let go...who never let's go...who will catch you even when your falling will crush me.

I am all of these things...and so much more.

Monday, October 5, 2009

And a Secret Decoder Ring, too...

First, I apologize ahead of time if this rant takes strange twists and turns or has a lot of spelling errors. My mom and dad will be here any minute and I REALLY want to write this.

Second, I have a healthy respect for Pentecostal and Evangelical people, it won't seem like it in a minute, but I really do. Something about their practice of their beliefs reaches out to a large number of people who would be lost, morally and spiritually. So even though I don't want to be in the same room with them, they have their place.

Thirdly, I want to make it very clear that I respect everyone's right to believe or not to believe, practice or not practice as they chose. It is not my place to judge your spiritual walk. Honestly. But you might get offended if you read on, so fair warning. NOW....ON WITH THE SHOW!!

Hubby came home last night from THE RETREAT. All morning at church, and on FB and via emails and phone calls, people had been telling me that Hubby was just "glowing", he was "ecstatic", "happier" than they had ever seen him. They all went out to a special late night candlelight ceremony on Saturday to honor him. I was getting scared...had my Hubby been indoctrinated? Had he been changed? Had the cult infiltrated his normally rock solid faith and perverted him?

HELL NAH!!! (sorry I'm yelling so much). He did come home unable to get the music track out of his head. He keeps singing some Elijah song. He also came home loaded down with bags of goodies that he received. Essentially he was at a Vacation Bible School for adults. He did find out why it was so cult-like, however. The group was run by the Pentecostals. It was supposed to be non-demoninational, but it really wasn't.

So, highlights of his trip:

The spritual Pentecostal leader made fun of Muslims and the way they pray, I don't know a lot about Muslim prayers, but have you ever heard the high-pitched keening way they pray? The leader mocked that and said it wasn't prayer. However, he was the same leader who asked people if God have given them their "own, secret prayer language yet?" (aka speaking in tongues). It was so forced on people that one of Hubby's cell, I mean, roommates felt like he was failing because he wasn't receiving the Spirit enough to fall-out.

Then there was the group that was trying to show how God needed to be a propeller in your life. So they drew a picture of a slanted infinity with a giant stick emerging from the top center. Go ahead, I don't have a scanner, so I'll wait while you draw it. Do you see it yet? Then the people kept saying the stick was the "shaft of God" as they kept rubbing their hand up and down the picture! Hubby was having enough trouble not breaking into laughter when he looked around and saw two other pastors from our denomination shaking with laughter. He lost it. The Shaft of God, eh?

But possibly the funniest thing occured after he came home and was reading the comments on my blog. Anonymous said, "Hmmmm, sounds like "True Blood" where Jason Stackhouse got hooked up with some scary 'fang haters' who hid behind Jesus. Wow! I'm kind of speechless! I mean it just wouldn't be a secret hide away retreat if he doesn't come back with a special secret cross with mystery symbols on the back or maybe a spin ring that when it lines up right signals flocks of angels to stab demons . . . oh, wait that's "Supernatural" with Sam and Dean." Hubby fled from the room in laughter only to return with a....SECRET CROSS!!! I kid you not. He's only supposed to wear it at future Retreat meetings! Hubby also watches True Blood and said he knew the episode Anon was talking about and so it made it even funnier because he/she was RIGHT! There's even a secret Jesus catch phrase that they use with each other. I won't repeat it here because I don't want to inflict the wrath of the cult on myself.

So anyway, I fought off attack after attack of the Retreaters while Hubby was gone. They just don't understand why I don't want to go. Hubby even told them to never expect me to go, but they insist on praying for my heart to change. Yea, that's going to happen! Hubby, sadly, is kind of stuck now. He is thinking about volunteering to be a spritual leader to offset some of the radicalism, bigotry and just plain bad theology that has become of this group. Some of me appluauds him for wanting to make a change and try to reset this group. Part of me thinks its egotistical on his part to think he needs to be the hero. But the biggest part of me is scared that maybe, just maybe they got to him and this is his way of continuing in it without me knowing his true reasons.

Maybe he did drink the kool-aid!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Not Fair

I call foul on all things psychic in my life. It's bad enough when I have "those" dreams, but to have one when Hubby's away is just not fair. You have to understand, there is a different feel to one of my regular, old, naked in front of coworkers kind of dream and a dream were I feel like something is happening. In "those" dreams, usually I am not myself, I am the person I am dreaming about.

Last Monday I had a dream that I was drowning under a huge wave of water. It happened all night long. I would wake myself up only to fall back asleep and have that dead body floating just beneath the surface kind of feeling. I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions on that.

But last night I had two occurences. The second one was brief and more of a flashing image as I fell asleep. I dreamt I was in a library with hard-wood floors and a man had shot a mother and child. He was lying on the floor and still shooting at people trying to escape. I don't know if this has already happened or will happen, but it scared the crap out of me.

The first one was the most horrifying one. I dreamt I was a woman who had come home to find her front door open. I went next door to get the neighbor woman. Together we walked into the house to find the tv on. I questioned it, but thought I might have left it on when I left. There was nothing else unusual about the first floor so we climbed the stairs. When we got to the top we entered a pink room with white Scandinavian furniture. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary until we turned to see a door that led to the storage space swing open and a man come barreling out. The other woman and I ran for the stairs but the man beat us to them and blocked our escape. I ran back into the room and grabbed something off the child's desk that was there. I picked up a pair of child's safety scissors and tried to stab the man, but it was obviously ineffectual.

Just as he was starting to overpower me, I managed to wake myself up. My hands were clenched in tight fists and my entire body was tense and sore. But it was the air. The air in my room was ice cold. And I know I was awake because it took me almost an hour to get back to sleep. The air warmed quickly, but that cold prickly sensation lasted for a few minutes.

I don't know why I dreamed either thing, if they meant anything or if they were anything more than just dreams. Maybe I have just been under too much stress lately and this is how it manifested itself, but I was terrified. I still am.

I'll be glad when Hubby gets home.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Retreat Update

Hubby broke the rules to call me.

There was speaking in tongues! (not by him)

Definitely not my cup of tea.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Zealots or not?

My husband has left me for a religious cult. No....really...he's gone. He left without his cell phone, laptop or car. Someone picked him up and away he went to an unknown location to spend the next 3 days being indoctrinated in "The Word." He will be surrounded by ultra-religious people who will be praying and laying hands on each other and generally "glowing" with their religious fervor. I just hope no one brings snakes.

He didn't want to go. He was really in a no-win situation. In our state, possibly others, there is a multi-denominational spiritual retreat that is extremely popular. A person has to be "sponsored" to attend and there is a lot of secrecy about what goes on there. Hubby has managed to avoid going for the entire 10+ years he has been a pastor. And honestly, it wasn't an issue at our last church. People at our last church attended the retreat, but that retreat location wasn't the same. People enjoyed attending, but didn't walk away from it saying it was life-changing.

But the Retreat in our new area seems different. When we had our meet and greet with our new church, the very first question asked of Hubby was "Have you been on Retreat?" When Hubby answered no, he was actually told, "Well, this is a Retreat Church." But we have come to find out it is not. A lot of the people who have attended the Retreat have alienated other members of our church by being so clique-ish. The Retreaters constantly ask me when I am going to go. They walk around talking about it in whispers and with sidewards glances so the non-Retreaters can't hear what goes on there "in case they ever want to attend." They judge non-Retreaters as having a lesser faith then they themselves. And apparently, the only way to get the full Retreat experience is to go in completely blind and unknowing, to just give yourself up to God.

So you can imagine the rush that occured when Hubby agreed to go. He agreed because he doesn't feel he has a right to tell the Retreaters to back off unless he has actually walked in their shoes. So Hubby agreed and the secrecy intensified. I was asked to do this and that to prepare him for his journey. The Retreaters held meetings behind close doors to discuss what they were going to give Hubby, or say to Hubby at the actual retreat. And on Sunday, everyone who had attended the Retreat kept walking up to him saying, "I'll see you there! You won't know when you are going to see me, but you will." It was all just so high school.

So anyway, Hubby is gone and not allowed to call home (how is that possibly Christian? Family is supposed to be the backbone of Chrisitanity). He will be kept in religious meetings and prayer sesssions and hear testimonies from dozens of people from 7:00 AM until well after 10:00 at night. He is cut-off from tv, computer and the world. Sounds like a cult to me. And if you are wondering how I know this since it is all so hush-hush, remember the Retreat in my old city wasn't like this at all. The program is supposed to be the same, unless it has been truly bastardized by these people.

I just hope Hubby doesn't come home with the "glow."

And I hope if someone offers him Kool-aid that he will run far, far away.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Eavesdropping

In my quest to lose 40 pounds by the time I turn 40, I have started religiously going to the local Y to swim every other day. While I was in the locker room changing out of my swimsuit, I was listening to two older women talking about recipes.

Woman 1: I have discovered something. It's great! I've been putting it in everything!

Woman 2: Really? What is it?

Woman 1: Cream Cheese! Man, that is some good stuff. Have you ever tried cream cheese before?

To which I just about choked on my own laughter. Here I thought she was going to say some new form of wasabi, or flavored vinegar, or blue eggplant. Something that hasn't been around for 50 years. But to her...cream cheese is the food of the Gods.

Yeah...I got to get me some of that.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Bats, Raptors and Hummers

I hate bats. I hate them, I hate them, I hate them. When I was in college, I was walking into the school's oldest building when a bat followed me in. I had never seen a bat in the daylight nor one in such close proximity to me and I was terrified. I screamed and started running through the halls with this bat chasing me at full speed. I swerved and it swerved. I turned down a hall and it turned down a hall. It never even noticed all of the people I was passing (who were, by the way laughing at me until they saw the bat fly by). I was finally able to run into an empty classroom and slam the door, thus escaping the bat. But to this day I can't even stand the thought of bats.

So you can imagine my horror at discovering that my new town is FILLED with bats. They live in the eaves and attics of the old houses here. One church woman was even telling us about how she and her brother would go up into their attic during the day and brush the feet of the hanging bats just to see them fall to the ground in their sleep stupor. UGH!!

Next topic: The raptor. The raptor was neutered about a month ago and we changed his dog food to a high-protein low carb mix (apparently some dogs are sensitive to grains). We also have consulted a certified dog behaviorist who has given us some great insights and techniques, plus a book to read (Scaredy Dog). He is doing much better in the house. He hasn't bitten or even snapped at anyone in the immediate family in over a month. He does still become aggressive on a leash towards other people and dogs, but people can pet him if they follow our three simple rules: Kneel down, wait for him to sniff you and then pet him on the back. Easy Peasy, right? NOT!!! Kids are great at doing this and he loves kids. But it's the adults whom we can't get to listen.

For example, every day we walk E to school with the raptor. All of the kids know to leave him be, but today a teacher was standing outside the school with a pom pom in her hand to "cheer" the kids on. She commented on what a cute dog we had and reached her hand out. I very politely said, "Please don't do that, he bites." She actually shook me off like a pitcher to his catcher in baseball, gave me a look like I was crazy and reached her hand out even closer towards him. Of course, the raptor then bared his teeth, lifted off his front paws, tugged at his leash and tried to attack her. And yes, he would have bitten her if he had not been on a leash. After the bite he would have licked and loved on her, but he has fear aggression and has to attack first, ask questions later.

The thing that gets me is this..I have to socialize him to help him overcome his fear. Everytime he has a positive interaction, we are that much closer to overcoming his past. But everytime an idiot fails to listen to us, we end up taking 5 steps back with him. I don't understand why people think they know more about my dog than me. If only people would listen.

Lastly, the hummer. I read an article by Geneen Roth in Good Housekeeping about "Beckoners and Hummers." If you are a food addict, READ THIS ARTICLE. I always like what Roth says. She really speaks to people like me. But this article just really struck a nerve with me. She says that food can be categorized into Beckoners-food that you don't really want until you smell it or see it- and Hummers-foods that you really crave and need. All to often we fill up on beckoners because they are there and real and smell good, overwhelming our senses. But what our body really needs are the hummers, the things we crave. If you succumb to the beckoners you end up not being satisfied and seek out more food to satisfy yourself. I am a beckoner addict. And my Hubby has made me fat. I eat all of his hummers which are just my beckoners. He craves burgers and fries, pizza and fried stuff. I could live my life without ever eating fried foods. No, I don't really blame my husband, but I am finally opening my eyes to my eating patterns because of this.

So I have been asking myself before I eat anything not on the healthy list if it is a beckoner or a hummer. If it is a hummer, I eat some until I am satisfied and then put the food down. If it is a beckoner, I walk away. It's a pretty powerful, new experience.

Also, my new GP gave me the name of a counselor to help me with my food issues. I have her card on my desk and I am going to call her. I just need to get my courage up. But I am going to do it. TAWANDA!!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dirty Little Secret

Have you been reading Dooce lately? I have been reading Dooce for a couple of years. Not since she was pregnant the first time, but since Leta was just turning 4, I think. I like Dooce. I really do. This post is not about bashing Dooce because I know that she has paid her mommy-dues. But lately I've been reading her stuff and thinking about how I would feel if I was reading it when I first had E. So here's my completely honest admission, just in case there is a new or soon-to-be new mom out there who is feeling lost.

Motherhood does not come easy to me. There...I said it. I am not a natural mom. I have to work at it and it makes me feel horribly guilty. Now don't get me wrong, I love my child with my whole being and want nothing but the world for her, but there are times when I just look at her and think "What the hell have I done?"

I think it started with an extremely difficult pregnancy. I was sick EVERY SINGLE DAY (yes, I am yelling that) of my pregnancy. Then my labor was just devastating. I had a doctor that wouldn't listen to what I wanted OR tell me what she was doing before she did it and then the anesthieologist had to stick me FOUR times before he hit the right spot. I didn't even want to have an epidural, but the doctor hung pitocin in my IV bag without telling me and I am just not a rockstar enough to overcome that pain. So it was a rough start.

But then E developed colic at 5 weeks old on Christmas Eve. And the colic lasted forever...and I was trying to cope alone with her because Hubby was always working on his school papers at night. Have you ever seen a parent with a colicky baby? Our eyes are just filled with pain and we can't compile complete thoughts because we are just so numbed by screaming. Anytime I hear about a mom with a colicky baby now, I force them to give the child to me and let them take a walk. I know that pain.

E was a very easy child, except for the fact that she didn't sleep. We tried to Ferberize her...once...she screamed for 4 solid hours. And we were firm on the Ferberizing, we weren't going in and making her cry again...but cry she did. She didn't sleep through the night until she was 4. Really.

And then there's the fact that I am selfish. I want my time to myself. I miss my days of getting in the car and driving off without worrying about getting back to pick her up on time. I miss the days when I could be a slob and curse and swear without worrying about setting a bad example. I miss having sex with my husband whenever I want without worrying that little ears will hear or she will walk in on us.

But I know I would miss so much more if I didn't have her. Her laughter just brightens my day. The smile on her face when I pick her up from school just makes it all worth it. And Hubby is such a hands on father that we work well together. He takes over when he sees that anxious look come over my face because I need a break.

So there it is. Someone out there probably feels the same way and suffers from the same guilt. But I have learned that it is okay. A lot of people feel that way but just can't admit to it because you see so many Uber-moms out there who make it looks so easy. But trust me, I have seen the end results of Uber-moms. Their lives are not always as they appear. Motherhood is not easy! More of us need to stand up and share that truth. It really does take a village.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Conversations in the Doctor's Office

Monday morning at new doctor for my physical. Throat's a little scratchy, thought it was allergies. Nurse gives me a flu shot before the doctor sees me.

Doctor jumps in, bouncy, energetic cheerleader kind of gal.

Looks in my throat.

Doc: "You didn't get your flu shot already, did you?'

Me: "Yes, she just gave it to me."

Doc: "Uh-oh!"

Me: "Um, Doc, I don't like uh-ohs."

Doc: "You'll be fine. You just have a virus coming on, I wouldn't have recommeded you get a flu shot. It just might make you feel bad for a couple of days."

Me: "Crap."

Tueday- fever shoots up, phlegm takes over, fatigue overwhelms, I am on death's door.

Wednesday- thinking I might die from the flu. Can anybody save me?

Thursday- have to drive 6 hours to go get my mom who will be staying for the week. Am I being tortured on purpose?

Today-feeling better but trying to play catch up.

Healthy LIMW will return with full sentences in a day or two. Wait until I tell you about the very strange socialites I met!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sept. 11

You know, there are some days when this anonymity thing really gets me down. I feel like if I could share the names of some cities things would become so much clearer for you. You would nod your head and go "OH...I get it...she lived THERE!! No wonder she feels the way she feels." But alas, I must not. Today is just one of those days, though, where you would understand more of what I am trying to say if you knew WHERE this took place.

On Sept. 11, 2001, I was 7 1/2 months pregnant and teaching 4-6th graders. I woke up that morning feeling weird. That's not uncommon for me. But I felt slow and draggy (is that a word). I walked into my living room and saw the world's largest spider. I had never seen a spider this big. It scared the hell out of me and just made me feel all that much weirder. My house had a giant, space-alien spider that potentially could have crawled all over me and covered my mouth, thus suffocating me by its massive size.

I started my drive to work. Every day I took a small, back road that circled around the World's Most Expensive Seminary. A lot of people took this road. It normally was always busy. But on this day, something strange was going on. I came to the main intersection to find an empty police car with flashing lights. There was another car that had hit a pole and one more that was left turned sideways in the middle of the intersection. You would think with all of this mayhem there would have been a lot of people milling around, but there wasn't. I was the sole person in the area. I have no idea where the cop was, or the accident victims, or the other traffic for that matter. I was alone. For just a brief moment I felt like I was in one of the Kirk Cameron books and that Armageddon had really come. Everyone was just gone.

I got to work and told my boss about my weird morning. I even told her "Today is going to be a bad day." She tried to joke me out of my funky mood and told me that I was going to create a bad day if I didn't snap out of it. But just an hour later, the director of my school came rushing into the classroom in frantic tears, pulled me aside and told me to get online and find out what was happening. The radio had reported a plane had crashed into the WTC in NY. My kids saw her face and looked to me to know what was going on. I excused myself from the room and got online. The computer was frozen and slow, so many people were googling to get the news. But I finally found out. I was just sickened by what I saw.

I returned to the room to find one of my most troublesome parents had already arrived to yank her child out of class. We were fairly close to our state's WTC and she didn't want to take any chances. By now my kids were in a panic with not knowing. So I sat them down and told them what had occured. They questioned me relentlessly, asking me if the Towers were going to fall. My dad was a scientist who specialized in corrosion and destruction. I knew what was going to happen. I told them that the buildings were built to sustain a hit from a small plane and that they were also built to withstand earthquakes. They would stand for long enough to get most of the people out, but they were going to fall. The kids focussed on the "most". It was about that time that the director came in again, took me aside and told me one of the buildings had fallen. There was nothing more we could say or do, so one of my kids asked if we could sing peace songs. They wanted to send out love to the people through song. I love Montessori kids.

So we sang. We sang as the firefighters and EMT's and employees and volunteers lost their lives. We sang as people learned they were orphans and widows. We sang as the world watched the second tower fall. We sang. There was nothing more we could do.

When I got home that night, I held my pregnant belly and finally cried. I cried for all the people who lost their lives. I cried for the people left behind. But mostly I cried for the world that I was bringing this new life into. Would she ever be safe?

My daughter was born a few months later and we gave her a special name. Her name translates into "Shining Light of Hope." I hope that we are raising her to know that she has to rise up and help to make a change; to have compassion for others who don't follow the same religious beliefs that we do; to believe that there is a world worth saving.

But for now, I will teach her to sing a song of peace and hope that is enough.

"Peace is the world smiling,
Peace is a gentle dove,
Peace is sharing,
Peace is caring,
Peace is filling the world with love."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Deep Breath-es-es 2

I hate Facebook. I really do. I keep telling myself that I should just delete my account and move on. Somehow it instantly takes me back to the drama of high school and I am that pimply-faced, awkward teenager all over again.

I recently joined an alumni page for my former performing arts high school. The administrator of the site asked very specifically for information regarding this one guy whom I happened to have information about. I left it on the site that he had been at my college for a little while, developed some sort of illness (lupus) and disappeared. I got my information a little wrong, he hadn't been attending my college, he had been trying to get in and was working at the coffee shop in town to make money and still get to know people. He did tell me he had lupus, however, I remember that specifically because I was going through a lupus scare at the same time.

Anywho, he appeared on FB and basically made me appear to be some lunatic liar. I can handle a lot of things, but DON'T call me a liar. I got all huffy and peeved and got sucked right back into the drama until I remembered...he was always lying in high school. ALWAYS! You couldn't believe a thing he said and I was a target for him every time because back then I was pretty gullible. I walked right into it again. I'm such a dork.

So I just left his comment alone and decided I don't need to defend myself. I am 39 not 16 and I have a life.

Speaking of life, the church that inspired all of the Tales from the Parsonage has found my husband on FB and all of the people are starting to friend him. Of course, I know they won't try to friend me, so I am safe. BUT...since they have been thinking about him so much lately they asked for him to come back in May and preach at their Homecoming. Hubby told me that and I just went cold. I shook my head and didn't say a word. The audacity of those people, especially after how they treated me at Christi's funeral. But then again, Hubby's the rock star and I am just the groupie. Hubby hasn't decided if he is going to do it or not but I know one thing, if he does do it, I will not be there!

Boy, I'm bitter today. Must be the rain.

One last thing... I was teaching my class yesterday and standing in the hall waiting for child to come back from the bathroom when I saw someone standing in the hallway out of the corner of my eye. It made me jump because I am locked away on a 3rd floor and no one has access to me. But just as soon as I saw it, it was gone. My little kid, however, was returning from the bathroom and said, "Miss Muddy, who was that?" I looked at the kid and said there was no one there and he said, "Yes there was, he was standing right there." And he pointed to exactly where I had seen the figure. CREEPY!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

So, how was your day?

I started actually teaching my new class this week. There are no Montessori schools within an hour of our city and people glance sideways when they hear I am a Montessori teacher, but one of the directors of a local preschool really wants her other teachers to incorporate some new teaching methods instead of just using worksheets. So she brought me on board two days a week and I work with a small class of 4 year-olds all by myself.

I have been working with children for a long time. I have seen a lot of things. I have had a 5th grader fall off of a high bar directly onto her neck and head. I have had countless beans and things in children's ears. I have had to talk a homeless vet out of my classroom who had wandered in through the back door. I have had a parent send her child in with poisonous berries to share for Show and Tell. I have stopped kids from cutting their hair and clothing and other kid's hair. I even had to talk a group of 4-6th graders through the events of Sept. 11 because so many parents came rushing into our school when the Twin Towers fell that I had to tell the remaining children what happened to ease their fears. I have been through a lot. But I have never been as scared as I was this past week.

Now I don't know if it is because this is my first time being a lead teacher, or because I was all alone with the kids in a separate part of the building, or if it was because it was my first day with a brand new bunch of kids....BUT...I was scared.

A little boy in my class has unlabeled "issues." His mom is currently working with some specialists to diagnose his learning disability. He came in and immediately started eating the playdough (this is the reason I only use homemade playdough in my class). That's not too unusual. I stopped him and he was fine. But later during our circle time the kids were playing Freeze Dance. Somehow when the game stopped, our circle sat down in a different place from whence we started. I went with it, not thinking too much about it. That was my mistake. I wholeheartedly accept responsibility for what happened next.

The little boy had ended up sitting next to an uncovered outlet where I had plugged the CD player in. 4 year-olds by now have learned not to touch outlets, so even though I saw his position, I paid little attention to it UNTIL HE LICKED HIS FINGER AND TRIED TO PUT IT INTO THE SOCKET! I have never seen a child actually LICK his finger to put it in a socket. A huge loud "NO" bubbled up from the deepest Mommy recesses of my soul and I scared all of the kids in my group, causing the little boy to actually cry. I immediately pulled him onto my lap and explained I wasn't mad at him but what he did was very VERY scary. All of the kids chimed in that their mommies and daddies had already told them never to touch an outlet, so they were fine and recovered, but I could not get this little boy to stop crying.

I talked to his mom and she didn't even bat an eye. But I have learned a lesson for life. All outlets must be overed until the children are at least 21.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Guest Blogger for Today

One of my IRL friends posted this on her blog. I want to pass it on. Terese is a beautiful person who deserves to shed her long sleeves and show off her beautiful body. Read on:

"In October 2004, my twin sister Therese Frentz was serving our country in the Air Force. At that specific time she was on her first deployment and in Baghdad… a few days before her R&R.

While in the Green Zone – Therese and 2 other officers were the victims of a suicide bombing that took place about 10 feet away from where they were sitting.

Therese was burned over 30% of her body. Her ear was ripped off, her kidneys were lacerated and she had shrapnel penetrate her entire body.

Therese had a long recovery
The road to recovery has had many more implications than just the physical healing.

Therese, 5 years later, now has to deal with the physical and emotional scars that this event has left on her life.

To this day- Therese has NEVER stepped out of the house without long sleeved shirts and pants.

She hides her scars… in San Antonio. It’s hot as hell and she still covers up. She keeps herself and the world from seeing her healthy, yet scarred body.

What Therese doesn’t know is that she is beautiful.

She is a hero.

She exudes strength and courage.

She is… in fact… a badass.

Therese has just started at CrossFit Alamo and she will be participating in the Fight Gone Bad challenge. This is a nationwide workout to support an amazing cause.

I spoke with Therese about this – and we came up with a personal challenge:
IF SHE RAISES $200 FOR THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT… THERESE WILL DO THE WORKOUT IN HER SPORTS BRA.

Let’s do it for the wounded warriors. Let’s do it for Therese. Let’s do it for beautiful women all over the globe who hide themselves because they don’t see themselves the way others do – perfect.

The wrinkles on our faces. The scars on our bodies. Our stretch marks from birth. These lines tell the stories of who we are and what we’ve accomplished. We are beautiful and unique. Just the way God intended us to be.

Donate here: https://www.rapidreghost.com/fgb/php/frpage.php?frID=26600

Monday, August 31, 2009

Just Add Salt

My name appeared in our local paper this Sunday for the emerging theater I am working with. I was labeled as a "seasoned stage and screen actor." That made me giggle, but then it made me say "HEY!! Doesn't seasoned mean old?" I'm OLD??!!! I don't know that I would describe myself that way, but I guess they are trying to make me look like someone you would want to take classes from.

It made me think of my experience with Summer Stock when I was in college. I was lucky enough to work with the oldest continuously running summer theater in the state. It was an incredible amount of work for very little pay, but it did a lot for my self-esteem. For you see, I am one of the only BA theater majors from my college to never have been cast in a stage show. Sad, but true. I made some mistakes my freshman year because I was working 3 jobs to pay for college and that labeled me as "undedicated." I was never able to overcome that. Eventually I began to internalize it as "untalented."

But I went to the theater alliance association auditions which cast summer programs for all over the state, and I was accepted to several. I chose the one I ended up at because of the season. They were doing Glass Menagerie, Guys and Dolls and You Can't Take It With You. In my beaten state I thought, well, I should be able to get some good chorus experience with Guys and Dolls. So I went, auditioned for the specific shows and something amazing happened. The lead director took me aside privately and told me that I was wanted for both the part of Laura in Menagerie AND the part of Adelaide in Guys and Dolls. But this was a training program and they couldn't cast me in both. Which one did I want?

I was floored. Here I thought I sucked and they were offering me not one but TWO dream roles. I chose Laura because I am a huge fan of Tennessee Williams. The role of Adelaide went to the only other person from my college at that program. At home she was extremely popular among the faculty but only got bit parts at school. And you know what...SHE WAS HORRIBLE AS ADELAIDE. They cast her because she looked the part. Think tall, willowy Marilyn Monroe-esque. But they didn't catch onto the fact that she was tone deaf. She had sung a prepared song for the auditions, not one chosen at random, so she appeared good.

The rehearsals for the musical were painful and the director started pulling his hair out. Adelaide, while not the lead, was important to the show. She had to sing. So the director started staging me as close to her as he could and had me sing behind her to keep her on pitch. I felt bad for her, since I had been struggling at school and knew what it was like to have everyone think you had no talent. I tried to help her as best I could and we managed.

When we got back to school, she ignored me, slept with one of the drama teachers and started getting cast. Yes, it happens all the time. I am not making it up or being bitter. She did what she had to do to get cast. But our senior year she seemed to remember what I had done for her and asked me to assistant direct her Senior Play, which just happened to be another Tennessee Williams show. She didn't have the depth to understand it and once again asked me to help her out. Which I did. I needed the experience to put on my resume. Finally, I was noticed by the faculty but it was too late and I was bitter.

But I got the last laugh. ME...little old me who never got cast, who never got any attention, who was told I didn't have the fire to succeed went to the theater alliance auditions one more time. All of the graduating seniors did. We all wanted acting jobs straight out of school and this was the best way to get it. I auditioned with the supposedly talented "other" group and no one expected much from me. But I got 29 callbacks and 5 or 6 job offers. More than any other student from my college EVER...Ah, it was a sweet moment. I went on to join an acting company and lasted longer than most of my fellow alumni, but I never forgot how badly I was treated. It's a lot of what causes me to be so hard on myself now.

So anywho, the whole reason I wrote this post today was not because I wanted to gloat (okay, maybe a little) but because I am about to send another round of my children's stories out today in search of a publisher. I am trying really hard to remind myself that everything is not always what it seems and sometimes I am my own worst enemy. I want to send them out with positive energy attached. My old creative writing teacher was interviewed in my alumni magazine last month. He was always so supportive of me and tried to get me to change my major several times, but I was stubborn. So I am going to cling to my memories of his class and my experience with kids and storytelling and I am going for it. Please send your good thoughts my way. Since I won't have the income from the good job coming in, I really need to make money another way.

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Southern Segregation

I have to tell you, Pat Conroy is one of my favorite authors. And it is not because he has such gripping, traumatic storylines, it is because the water always plays such an important part in his stories. If you are a water person you will understand this. I have lived next to the water almost all my life. My moods and emotions are tied into the tide (hee hee). Seriously. There is a slower pace of life amongst those of us who live by the ocean, or the river, or a harbor. The southern accents are different here and people live by a code of life that is fast disappearing elsewhere.

But the other reason I like Pat Conroy is he gives a realistic portrayal of racial issues in the south. If you have never read "The Water is Wide" I highly recommend you read it. If you think we have come a long way in racial issues, you don't live where I live.

Now I know several of you called me out on the flamboyant southern man whom I felt was racist. I concede that point. His comment was in bad taste, but maybe not racist. But still, I always try to look at things from a non-white person's perspective. There's a history there that can't be denied.

I knew moving to our new town that we were going to be in the minority. Our town is 57% black. The thing that is different in our town is that our town, way back when, fell on the side of the Underground Railroad and abolitionist supporters. How can that affect today, you ask? Ask the black and white families of Pop 259 who share the same last name and the same plantation owner as a great-grandfather. It matters. Our town appeared to have a great balance and good relations between black and white people. That's what I thought...until E went back to school.

Apparently a lot of the white parents hand-picked their teachers for their kids. The principal said that he wasn't going to honor those requests, but he did. So what we have in E's grade are three classes of 98% white students and 2 classes of 98% black students. E is in an almost all black class. I really don't care except for the fact that I am afraid it might make it a little harder for her to make friends since she already has to cross the "new to town" barrier and now has to cross the race barrier, too.

But what disturbs me is that the parents created this situation. And the other white parents keep telling me I need to do something and get E into a white class. They seem to think I am crazy for holding my ground. I have met E's teacher, I have read her letters home, I have seen her give my daughter extra attention to make her feel comfortable. To me the teacher is more important than the class. We're staying put. But shame on these parents and this principal for allowing segregation to exist. How are we ever going to move forward?

Anyway, my rant for the day is done. I did want to let you all know that Dionne was released from prison and all but "accessory after the fact" charges were dropped. He will be on probation for two years and must attend school or maintain a full-time job, but he has been released. Thank the Universe!