Saturday, January 30, 2010


I hate clothes shopping. There is nothing in this world that makes me more irritable and angry than going into a store to try on outfit after outfit only to find nothing fits! I am trying hard to accept my body, I really am. But I think it would be fair to call me Ruebenesque without the large boobs. I'm 5'5'' and definitely pear-shaped. But I was also a swimmer and I still have very broad shoulders, only I also have sausage-like arms. My butt is kind of bulbous and my hips are "healthy." Basically I carry my weight all over my body instead of condensed into one spot like most people. In fact, people are always surprised to find out I weigh as much as I do because it is pretty evenly distributed.

So I go into a clothes store and I walk around with a broad swath of sizes on my arms because I know...I know that depending on the style, I could be one of many sizes. I'll take 6 pairs of pants into a dressing room only to discover three of them are short-waisted (I am not), two of them are 6 inches too long and look like I could hide a toddler in the legs and the last pair is made of a cheap fabric that I can SMELL and certainly couldn't wear because the feel of them creeps me out. I refuse to wear anything that pushes my tummy up and into the ever popular "muffin top" and I refuse to wear anything that shows off my butt crack. It just ain't pretty and I taint going there.

So I am down to my last three pairs of pants and no hope in sight. Here in CountryTime we have two department stores and a Walmart. There was nothing at any of the stores that fit me, so now I have to drive myself into the next state and HOPE that I can find something that I can wear to work with kids AND to church. And I know someone is going to tell me to buy large and get something altered, but that's expensive and we just don't have that kind of money.

Also, I have this big formal shindig that I have to attend in March that requires me to buy a formal gown. I didn't even wear a formal gown at my wedding! Have you ever been a large woman trying to buy a formal gown? Let me amend that, have you ever been a large, small breasted woman trying to buy a formal gown? Most larger size clothes assume you have the boobs to back them up. I do not. So I can buy a formal dress that will require me to stuff two water balloons in it, or I can buy a dress designed for a 60 year-old mother of the bride. OR, ebay has drag qeen dresses available that might actually fit me.

What to do, what to do?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Super Dog

Henceforth the raptor shall be called "The Mighty Raptor!"

Yesterday my daughter was playing with the dog in our fenced-in backyard while I was on the computer in the office. Suddenly I heard our gate slam open, a blood-curdling scream and the raptor barking his most ferocious bark. I thought someone was trying to kidnap my daughter so I flew out back to save her.

When I got outside, she started running as fast as she could towards me. It was then I saw what was going on. An 80+ pound stray boxer/akita mix had forced his way into our backyard. He had come straight for my daughter until the little 18 pound Mighty Raptor blocked his path. That little shit held off that behemoth of a beast until my daughter could get inside. Of course, my daughter being the little responsible thing that she is, she stopped to close the gate so OUR dog wouldn't get out before coming inside, trapping (or so we thought) the big dog in.

I managed to call the raptor in and called animal control, but the stray dog was so big he just lobbed himself over the fence and took off. It was scary for all, but I have to say, for the first time I am glad the raptor has aggression issues because he gave that big dog a whooping! All hail the Mighty Raptor!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Getting Involved

I have worked with kids my entire adult life. I have tutored, taught, babysat, hugged, held, disciplined and just been there in one capacity or another. I have been lucky to never have had a child in my care whom I felt was being physically abused (don't get me started on lack of sleep abuse, however.)

The parents of my new two-year old class were amazed that not one of their children cried when they left them in my care for the first time. I was very firm with them at the door. I greeted their children, took them by the hand and told them to say goodbye until later to mommy or daddy. The kids did great. The moms cried. But it worked. Kids basically need to know that someone is in charge and will keep them safe. The crying comes when an adult loses that demeanor and caused the kid to worry. I try very hard to provide that balance and security for them.

So whenever I am exposed to a place where children gather and are overstimulated, I start to shudder. Take for example the hell that is Chuck E. Cheese. I cannot get over the amount of children I see being hit by a parent there. I don't know what parents expect. They take them to a large, crowded, noisy room where there are bright, flashing lights and music coming from every different machine; they feed them soda and pizza and cotton candy and then wonder why their little angel is screaming and yelling "NO" when they try to take them away from something.

A is staying with us for the weekend while her mom attends the dreaded Retreat so Hubby and I took the girls up into our neighboring state to go to the nearest Chuck E Cheese. It was so crowded that I couldn't sit at a table, so I sat on the floor by the emergency exit reading a book and watching children. There was one mom who was carrying a 9 or so month old child in her arms and chasing after a 3 year old. The baby had two large cuts over his eye and when I looked at the 3 year old, I noticed bruises all over his face. This didn't alarm school kids come to school banged and scraped up all the time, heck, they go home with bangs and scrapes all the time. Kids fall. But there was something about this mom.

The older boy gravitated towards a machine I was sitting next to and it was frustrating the mom. She kept yelling at him to get away from it and do something else (It would have required her holding both him and the baby for him to do the game). This occured over and over throughout the time I was there with no real resolution. I was getting frustrated with both the mom and the boy, but I didn't want to interfere and make it worse.

But the woman crossed a line when she yelled at her son and then smacked him across the face. I rose to my feet as fast as I could and gave that mom the most intense stare I could muster. She looked at me and yelled "Don't you go judging me!" I took a deep breath and asked her if smacking him made her feel better. She grabbed him and walked away, but I could tell from her eyes that I had hit home with my comment. They left right after that, probably so she could go home and hit the boy more for embarassing her, but I had to stop her at that moment. I probably should have done more but that was a lot for me to do. I really hate interfering, but this time, I had to.

So, the lesson here is: Please don't take your child to a zoo and not expect them to become an animal. And if you choose to hit your child as a form of discipline, make sure that you are not in a primal state yourself before you do it.


Friday, January 15, 2010

God Bless the Child

I have had a very rough week. Seriously. It sucked. That nagging cough and crushing heart pain is STILL sticking around, so I decided to bite the bullet and call my primary doctor who normally takes 6 weeks to get in to see. I called 2 minutes after someone had cancelled an appointment and was able to see her the next day (yesterday.) I actually thought it was a sign that I was supposed to go see the doctor.

I get there and was given another EKG. This one came back abnormal and I was sent to the hospital (I drove myself) for a chest x-ray and in-depth blood tests. We live in a very small town, there is no cardio doctor available which is why I had to go to the hospital for tests. She ordered the test results stat and was supposed to call me back within a few hours, telling me to prepare myself to go spend the night at the hospital if she wasn't happy with the results. No call came last night. I was in agony. Was I dying of lung cancer or a heart attack? Hmm...which could it be? Was it both?

When I still hadn't heard from her by this morning I figured if it had been an emergency, she would have called, so I started to relax. I went to work and tried to just go about my normal business. I have taken on a new class for two-year olds (extra money to pay for my therapy) and I am the only adult in the room. So there I am, changing this cute little boy's diaper when the tell-tale chest pain came rushing back. I kept mentally telling myself I was just having a panic attack, just breathe, all the while talking to this little boy so he wouldn't know his teacher was going off the deep-end. Just as I got his diaper completely off, he looked at me with this angelic smile and said, as serious as you please, "I have a very large pee pee!"

I didn't quite know how to respond, so I simply said, "You do?" to which he answered, again in the most earnest of voices, "'s very big." And with that, a giant whoosh of laughter left my body and the tightness in my chest lessened and I was able to go about the rest of my day.

I did finally get the test results, everything was normal. So apparently I just have some sort of mythological, pleuritic pain that doesn't respond to medicines. Gee, I love my body.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Happy Birthday Kevin!

The person I am today did not exist when I was in college. To say that I was free-spirited would be an understatement. I worked 3 jobs to pay for college, drove 100 miles roundtrip at midnight just to visit friends at other schools and thought nothing of walking along icy boulders at 2:00 AM to get to the Huron Lighthouse near Sandusky. I was fearless and could be terrifying to others.

My junior year of college I discovered this freshman named Kevin. Kevin was from Wilkes-Barre (Don't you dare say Barry) and a music major. He was wound as tightly as I was unwound. I would watch him with the other freshman and giggle at how easily he was embarrassed by anything sexual. One day, when there was an art show of giant 5 foot hands in the music building, I caught him lying on the ground near a palm in repose. I couldn't resist myself. He barely knew me but I went over and straddled him like a pommel horse. He turned the darkest shade of beet red humanly possible and yelled "LIMW! GET OFF OF ME!!!" And right then and their our friendship was born.

I would be his staunchest supporter when he came out of the closet and had a devastating relationship with a mutual friend we shared; he would hold me through the night, night after night, in the months after my brother died and I was terrified to sleep for fear of seeing him. We were a great gay/straight couple.

One week I drove him from Ohio to Pa to visit his family. Coincidentally his Grandma J was taking senior bus trip to Atlantic City and invited us along. She paid for everything and even gave us each $100.00 to bet. There was only one requirement...since this trip took place on Sunday, we had to go to a Catholic mass in NJ prior to gambling. She took us to the church and we sat through the shortest mass in the history of the Catholic church. The entire thing, from start to finish, took 20 minutes. We called it the "Gambler's Special." The poor priest was obviously just going through the motions, knowing we all couldn't wait to dip and drip so we could gamble our money away.

Whenever I think of Kevin, I think of that day. I think of us avoiding the security guards because he was underage and I think of the long ride back on the bus where I think his grandma watched to see if there was any sign that I could turn him straight.

I tried to turn him, I did. In fact, when I found out he had actually slept with a woman once just to try it (even though I was married by then), I was pissed. It should have been me. I think Hubby would have overlooked that one indiscretion. In fact, Kevin's going to read this and get mad at me for airing his dirty laundry.

But tough, Kevin, I love you and Mr. Blue and I hope you had the world's greatest birthday yesterday. If I lived in a city that actually had a Chi Chi's, I would have gone out for a raspberry margarita in your honor. I miss you!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Answering a Call

If you make it through this whole post, you are going to feel like you are on a wild ride of rambling, but it all ties together, I promise.

I screen my phone calls. I admit it, I do. I hate talking to people on the phone, but I especially hate talking to church people who are calling for Hubby. I feel like these calls are sneak attacks; asking me about bible verses, other people's business or demanding to know where he is because they need to talk to him NOW!

That being said, I am a person who very much believes that I am in this world to change it. I may not have the religious conviction I need to be a good pastor's wife, but I do want to help people who are truly in need. So sometimes I really do feel like Hubby's call to ministry was also answering a call I had to be more than just a couch potato.

Hubby and I are both in a pattern of dis-ease right now (not disease, dis-ease). Hubby really isn't happy here at this church. He doesn't like the music director (who relishes being the devil's advocate in every situation) and he is still bristling about not getting a raise this year, even though he was promised by the head Poobah that he would get one. The church didn't take into account that when they accepted Hubby, they moved OUR family and my income got cut by half. We are making less this year together than we have made in several years. He also doesn't like being in such a small town. We run into church people no matter where we go. So I am not sure whether he can make this church grow or not because he always has this little layer of dissatisfaction coloring everything he does. No one else senses it, but I live with him.

I have to admit, I am scared about the money situation. We still don't have the money to pay his taxes. Everytime I have put money away, a car breaks down, teeth crack, something comes up. But I try to put that worry aside. We always manage. We get it together somehow.

So this week something happened. Well, not just this week, but a flashpoint occured this week. I have a new boss with my theater job. I also have a unique skill set in this town, having owned my own arts-in-education theater. My new boss wants me to revive my theater and start taking it into the schools under the arts council umbrella. I wouldn't be my own boss with it, but I would have the guarantee of income because he already has the grant money that he needs to pay me. I would be working with the director of the adult theater so things wouldn't rely solely on me.

Do I like this idea? I don't know. My therapy session this week was all about how I eat to punish my parents and keep people at bay who think I should be doing more with my talent than I do (okay, that's the simplistic answer, it was much more complicated than that.) I like the idea to a point, but I am also scared. I had to perform with pneumonia, drive through tornadoes, worry about so many things. Do I want that again?

Which takes me back to the call. See, I told you I would tie this all together. I have really felt lately like I am supposed to be doing something more important. Not grandiose and money-making, but more important in the fact that I want to help people. I had always wanted to use my theater as a way to help kids learn. I had a goal in my theater's business plan to take my theater for a summer tour through the most poverty stricken part of my state and do my shows, handing out free books and working with the "Fill the Backpack" ministry to hand out food. It's something I felt very strongly about. When I closed my theater I put that aside.

But here comes my boss, asking me a favor and I wonder "Is this a sign?" Is this a calling? But what about Hubby? I really don't see us staying here for more than two years. Do I agree to do this and start it all up, only to leave once it just starts going? And Hubby's job has to come first. He makes the bulk of the money. But I also wonder if he wouldn't be so unhappy here if I were making more money and we didn't have to worry every year about coming up with the $7,000.00 to pay our taxes.

It's all a conundrum. What do you do when both you and the person you love both HAVE to answer a call? Which call becomes more important when they are both for the greater good? Do I even want to ANSWER the phone at this time, knowing how much I hate talking to people? Or do I just want to let the line ring busy?

Monday, January 4, 2010


Last week I spent an entire day planning out my lessons for the upcoming month. Our library doesn't keep a lot of books in stock, so I even went online and requested books from their library partners. The books arrived this weekend and I went to pick them up today.

So there I was, standing at the counter looking at this huge pile of picture books when I of these books was not like the other (do be do do). There amongst the "How Are you Peeling?" books and the big giant picture of a penguin from Antarctica sat my golden egg. Several months ago I had put my name on the wait list for the new Pat Conroy book (I think I have mentioned he is one of my favorite authors). I can't afford to buy a book when I only read it once, so I was very sad to see I was number 149 on the wait list. But I waited...and waited...and waited.

But today, there it was, sitting there looking so out of place, almost majestic, like royalty amongst the peasants. My lethargic stupor that I engage in when dealing with people I don't know and choose not to make small talk with was suddenly broken by the sound of a squeal. That squeal came out of me as I noticed my hand involuntarily reached out to stroke the giant capital letters that said "South of Broad." I am not a squealer, people. I certainly don't caress books, but I just couldn't help myself. I had to prove to myself it was real.

The squeal caused the librarian to look up from his scanning and I tried to redeem myself by telling him how long I had waited. His response? "Normally squeals are reserved for the new James Patterson books." I think I embarrassed us both just a little today.

But if you need me for the next day or two, you can find me hiding in the bath tub (it's frikking COLD here-17 degrees), with a big glass of wine, just me and my Pat.

And yes, I know what a geek I am!

Saturday, January 2, 2010


I've got writer's block. I could just write pointless and meaningless drivel until it goes away, but that would just bore you all. I'll be back when something interesting happens or I get an interesting topic suggestion.

Oh, by the way, one of my friends from the old town ran into Satan's husband (of the stalker congregants fame) and he said his wife now has Parkinson's and dementia. Sadly, I don't know if he is telling the truth or not. But if she does, all I can say is karma's a bitch.