Tuesday, August 31, 2004

touching a nerve

My most recent article in LCL Mag, Snack Attack has generated almost as much e-mail response in only one day as my previous columns had, to date. I was concerned that the subject wasn't "low carb" enough, but apparently I'm not alone in struggling to find decent things to feed my kids -- who won't eat my LC home-baked treats. I am not insulted by that, since they don't eat many store-bought high carb treats, either. They are just picky. But I am stubborn and somewhere in there we find a middle ground and everyone gets adequate nutrition (I hope).

All the responses really perked me up. I was feeling rather dispirited about the MILC venture, but this gives me renewed enthusiasm. Not to mention, something to do tomorrow while DS2 is in school.

Yes, yes, my baby is starting school tomorrow. I know, it's only pre-school. It's only 2 days, 2+1/2 hours each day, but this is a huge milestone. I know I will cry.
I'm welling up now just thinking about it.

DS1 and DD had early release today, and since it was DS2's last day before becoming a "school boy", we went to lunch at Chili's and then Border's. DS2 is now tall enough to get his own drinks from the low water fountain. He has to stand on his very tippy-toes, but he can do it. Once he figured out that he could do it by himself, he went back to get like 6 more drinks and then needed to pee, but that was OK. He handles himself very well in the bathroom, too.

It was a good day. It has been a good week so far. I have had tremendous fun reading blogs and commentary and watching the RNC, although I cried throughout the speeches last night (tonight, not so much, tho I do adore Ahnuld). I am hopeful.

I am trying, as Brother Lawrence wrote, to practice the presence of God. But I am afraid to do as Keeft suggested in his book (Prayer for Beginners)and renounce everything that moves me away from God. I am afraid and I am ashamed of my fear. But at least I know what to pray for, eh? Mostly: help.

I will have to update my list of blog links later this week. I think I will make this a weekly thing -- when I discover someone new I like, I add them to my bookmarks and check back on them from time to time. If they make the cut, I'll add them to this page. Today I discovered via InstaPundit (I think? Maybe it was Althouse) the blog of a young conservative black woman,Nykola.com. She wrote recently about being a philosophical conservative. I find her writing compelling, and I recommend this particular piece because, to use a hideous phrase, "it spoke to me." When I grow up, I want to be like Ambra: I could certainly use her dispassion when it comes to arguing talking points. She articulated a ton of things I had never put into words, and she did it with startling clarity and purpose. Now, I'm a 41-year-old white suburban mother of three, and she's a 20-something black woman, but we look with the same eyes on the world. Or perhaps it is with our hearts that we see the world?

I found Michelle Malkin's interview on O'Reilly tonight to be on the money, as well. It's kind of icky that the RNC is trotting out all the "compassionate conservative" stuff because true compassion is not a handout. True compassion enables people to discover their own abilities and their own success. Michelle rocks. But politics is what it is, and I'm not going to fault the RNC for today's parade.

This has been an enlightening few days on several levels. Tomorrow looks to be an emotional day so I best get off to bed at a decent hour!

Monday, August 30, 2004

more post-spa observations

My arms and shoulders are killing me today. That yoga class did not seem all that challenging yesterday, but apparently it was a lot more upper body work than I am used to. In retrospect, it would've been good to have the massage today. I finally broke down and took some ibuprofen.

Meditation was very interesting. The instructor said that 1/2 hour of meditating gives your body the same rest as 4 hours of sleep. I'm not sure I buy that, but I did get to bed late night and tried some of the meditation techniques to help me get to sleep and it did work. I find it pretty easy to do the physical part, letting go of the body, so to speak. It's keeping the brain focused (or unfocused as it were) that is more difficult for me. But the heavy, relaxed feeling of just lying still with every body part quiet while breathing deeply is awesome.

The book I read yesterday is Prayer for Beginners by Peter Keeft, which is one of the best books I have ever read. The entire book is just one "wow" after another. It's still all sinking in, so more writing on it will be coming later.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

spa day

It was so peaceful it was surreal. I may write more about it when I figure out what my final decision about it is. I mean, this was self-indulgence to the point of absurdity. It was very nice, and I really appreciated the experience -- I especially liked the yoga and meditation classes -- but I don't know if I would want to do it again.

During my facial, my lips were exfoliated and now they are sore. (pout)

I learned that having nice scents around is really uplifting. No wonder those candle companies are raking in the bucks. Grapefruit is one awesome scent. On the other hand, I found it grating to have a soundtrack of New Age music constantly running. I know it's supposed to be calming, but I think the best time I had was when, post-facial, post-massage, I sat outdoors and read my book for an hour or so, in the quiet, in the heat, all wrapped up in my big robe.

Those big robes... they are the uniform of the spa. They are awesome, I have to say. For a while I wore mine over my workout clothes, because I was freezing. Later, I wore it over nothing it all, and it's not as if anyone could tell the difference. Still, you see the robe and you wonder: what's s/he got on under there?

Two serendipitous compliments today: first, for my little white Payless sandals... which was just too funny, because there I was spending over $200 (well, DH was spending it) to have just a few hours at this place and I get complimented on my $12 sandals. They are cute, but, c'mon? I'm sure the society lady can find something just as cute for 10x the price (hee). But she was very nice when I said "Payless!" with glee, so maybe she was just a person like me, who'll shop at Payless but still show up at a pricey spa for a day. Who knows? She was kind, and it was a pleasant exchange. She was from Texas, and I said, "Well I bought these in Massachusetts..." then we both laughed because we said at the same time, "I think they have pretty much the same thing in all the stores, though."

Second, after the yoga class, the question: "Were you a dancer?" My response, "A long time ago," yes, I was a dancer, a very bad one, back in college, always taking classes, never getting anywhere with them, but I didn't go into all that. "You have a beautiful arch." My response: "Thank you." Funny thing, even though I have not done Hatha yoga in quite a long time, and haven't had a class in about 15 years, my form was better than I expected. I think I have done a pretty good job of incorporating what I learned years ago about posture and breathing and all that into how I carry myself everyday, and that has made a huge difference. Plus I have some innate flexibility that I never lose no matter how infrequently I exercise. Freaky. I never thought of myself as flexible but there it is. The flipside of that is, no matter how long I train, my flexibility only improves a little from where it is now. It's like I have a flexibility set-point. I can live with it.

I learned a great new piriformis stretch, I will have to show my physical therapist. I really enjoyed that class, it made me want to find one that I can take regularly -- there is one at the Y... hmmmm....

The "motion studio" had skinny mirrors, the kind that make you look taller and thinner than you really are. At least that was my impression. I'm so vain I look in the mirror all the time, but at the studio, it was different, because I actually had a legitimate reason to check my reflection and correct my form. I didn't look like me. It was odd to be able to do everything, in a way. I have felt so betrayed by this body it was bizarre to feel "Hey, I can do this!"

Maybe I am getting well. Maybe I am well already and didn't realize it before. Hmmmm.

It was a good day. I have my mammogram in the morning. That brings up a whole maelstrom of feelings, which will have to be dealt with later.

Saturday, August 28, 2004


Got the links up. I like that a lot.

It has been an eon since I coded in HTML. It was kinda fun. There are still a couple of things that aren't as aesthetically pleasing as I would like, but I'll get to those eventually.

minding (why my kids are sorta spoiled)

Something trivial happened today that triggered the realization that, for the most part, my kids do what they're told, and without serious amounts of supervision, either. Yeah, they leave toys and shoes and socks all over the floor as all kids do, but they don't do things like flush random things down the toilet, or terrorize the cat, or try to pour their own milk from a full gallon. You know, they don't do the stuff that's expensive to fix, makes a huge mess, or endangers anyone.

Which is not say that these things don't happen from time to time, because of course they do. This morning we found a tiny incursion of sugar ants by the sliding glass door, which was just disgusting but made worse because the ants were in and among DD's Ello pieces, which had been sitting in a heap on the floor there for days, despite reminders to put them away. Brushing infinitesmal ants off tiny plastic beads, balls, cubes, and squiggles is not my idea of a good time, but I clearly couldn't let it all just stay there. So I put it away, and the Truly Nolan guy came about 20 minutes later and nuked the ants into oblivion. (BTW, I highly recommend both Ello and Truly Nolan, although obviously for different purposes and reasons.)

The Ello-everywhere situation is an example of how my kids are spoiled. They know they're not supposed to leave stuff lying around like that, but they also know that if it's really bothering me, I'll lean on them until they clean up. This week they got a pass on pretty much everything... there was no pressing need to have the place impeccably tidy, and I've been putting my energies elsewhere. Nagging is an exhausting undertaking.

I think somewhere along the line my parenting philosophy evolved into something that can be roughly described as "Stay out of the way as much as possible." Of course my kids are quite small and I have a huge amount of control over their lives (bed times, where they go, what they eat, how they dress...), but I have permanently squelched my instinct to react negatively when they do something that never would've occurred to me, and that my own mother would surely have yelled at me for. Case in point: DD embarked on a craft project today, she wanted to "make a house." This involved drawing the outlines of the various house parts: house, roof, door, windows, etc, then coloring them in, cutting them out, and taping them together. It's really quite cool. The girl can be quite ambitious when she wants to be. The only part I had in the entire project was getting the tape dispenser down for her.

When she asked me for the tape, my first instinct was to give her the third degree: what do you want it for? how much are you going to use? blah blah blah. Then I realized, It's just tape! Tape is cheap. Let her have the tape! I let her have the tape with nothing more than a "Here you go."

So she assembled her house to her liking, and then the tape, which is usually tucked away on a high shelf, became the toy of the day. She put about six pieces over her mouth and came over to show me, in some kind of kindergarden performance art piece. Of course she was cracking up at her own silliness, but she couldn't laugh or else the tape would come off her mouth (this was "magic" tape after all). My reptile brain immediately sounded the alarm: She's wasting tape! Aaaauggghhh! Fortunately I was able to keep the lizard under control and laugh with her at how silly she was. *whew*

We have rules for three reasons in our house: first, for personal safety. This covers stuff like not running into the street and no playing with knives or matches. These are always enforced, no questions brooked. Second, for saving work or time. These rules are things like, put your shoes away and clear your place at the table. Not only do these minimize work for other people, but they make life easier for you because, for example, you always know where your shoes are. We are much more lax about these rules because, let's face it, they're kids and it's hard for them to think about anyone other than themselves. We figure with constant repetition, we stand a pretty good chance of overcoming that innate tendency. So the third type of rule, and the one that's least important in our fortunate household, includes rules that save money: turn off lights when you leave the room, close the refrigerator door, don't waste food... let me tell you, with kids aged 3, 5, and 7, it's darn near impossible to enforce these rules consistently, and that's the kind of thing that can make you crazy, if you let it.

It took me a while to figure out that Class 3 rules just aren't that important. We have them because the kids need to learn that nothing is free (except air), and they don't get every single thing they want. It's tough, but we'll keep working on it.

So, getting back to DD and tape: she has hundreds of things to play with in this house, and she really did use up an extraordinary amount of tape. But tape really is cheap, and she had so much fun. Whatever that amount of tape cost, it was money well spent for the enjoyment we got out of it.

Now, when I was growing up, there was no heirarchy of rule enforcement. All types of rules were enforced equally: doing something stupid-dangerous was just as bad as making work for my mother, which was just as bad as making my parents spend money on something they didn't want to spend money on. I understand why it was like that, but in retrospect I'm thinking that's pretty warped. I don't blame my parents for it, I believe (truly) that it was my own interpretation of things going on in the house. At any rate, I did my best to follow all the rules when I was my kids' ages, and was devastated if I disappointed my parents by breaking any sort of rule.

My kids, on the other hand, are hardly aware of breaking Class 3 rules because we are just starting to work with them on those, hopefully over time they'll become habits -- they're old enough to start dealing with that type of thing. Class 2 rule infractions are pretty much limited to small things, like socks left on the coffee table, not major disasters -- but there are still a lot of Class 2 infractions. So a lot of people (one dear friend in particular rags on me for this) will look at that and say, Your kids are totally spoiled!

But they're not, because for the big things -- Class 1 rules, and about 85% of Class 2 rules -- my kids mind what they're told. I like this word, mind, in its sense of being mindful, paying attention to what's required, because it conveys so much more than "do what you're told". Anyone can "do what he's told," it doesn't require any thinking. Minding the rules requires brain work, and I see that constantly in all 3 of my kids...sometimes more in the younger ones than the older, but all of them are actively engaged in the process of navigating their lives.

So, as I said, I try to stay out of the way. We have defined a structure for them to operate within, and we'll remind them of the rules and teach them new ones as they grow. Within that framework, though, we have ceded control over to them entirely, and this idea has been directly conveyed to them: You are the only person you can control. There are two meanings there: first, you can't make anyone else do anything they don't want to do. Sure, you can influence them, or persuade them, but you can't make anyone do something. The second point derives from the first, obviously: no one else can make you do something, either.

I think actively teaching these concepts at such a young age is a gift. I didn't figure these things out until I was in my 30s, much to my detriment. But I also realize that minding is just another way of exercising self-control, and my children, bless them, have that in abundance.

So I have the luxury to read and study, and to write, without that creeping anxiety I see in many of my girlfriends when their little ones are out of earshot for more than a moment or two: What has he gotten into now? I cherish this sense of calm we have cultivated, even though we endure our share of sibling battles. When DS1 visited his preschool last week, his teacher remarked how calm he was, how relaxing it was to be around him. I think that's extraordinary for a 3-year-old, but all of my kids have that same quality. There's no anxiety, just self-possession and an active interest in the world, and a willingness to engage in it.

Every time I remark to myself on these qualities, I remind myself to just stay out of the way. It's working fine so far.

Friday, August 27, 2004

working, again

Well, not really, but some work-related stuff happened today.

First, my freelance boss called me to let me know "the check is in the mail." OK, he didn't say those exact words, but I couldn't resist. I think I detected a tiny amount of awkwardness on his part, but I didn't acknowledge it; if he has a problem with me then he should speak up. After apologizing for not being in touch for so long, he gave me a quick update on where things stand with the product. I asked him outright whether or not there was any work for me right now, and he said, basically, "Let me get back to you on that." Which could be code for "I never want to have anything to do with you again," or it could really mean "I'll have to get back to you on that," because he's completely swamped, as usual. So anyway, a nice fat check is working its way cross-country, and that's a good thing.

Minutes after this phone call, I popped into my e-mail and found a letter from one of the editors at ForeWordReviews.com, asking if I had any interest in reviewing any of 7 or 8 titles. I politely declined, since most of them had something to do with healthcare or pharmaceuticals, and the ones that didn't either used acronyms that I didn't recognize or sounded like murder-mysteries (which make fine reads but I have no desire to review). Except for "Bio-terrorism Certificate Program":I admit to having some trepidation as to what, exactly, a Bio-terrorism Certificate Program certifies someone for, I told the editor.

I doubt I will ever write for them again, although if the right title came along I would certainly consider it. The last piece I did for them included very mild but still useful criticism which was cut. It would be one thing if I had only done one or two revisions on the piece but there were substantially more, and I was left with the impression from my then-editor that the last thing to leave my keyboard was what was going to be published. Silly me! Still, if you can't rag on a book for having very bad typos on the first page, there's no point in writing the review at all, is there? Eh. At least they paid me.

In other exciting news, I scheduled myself for the day at Aji Spa on Sunday. In the morning I will go to yoga and meditation classes, and after lunch I will get a massage and a facial. I'm really looking forward to it, even though I am also having fits over how much money it costs. (I'm also thinking I should've asked for an iPod, which would've been a lot cheaper, but there's always Christmas.) It is really a lot of money, but I learned quite a while ago that if someone wants to splurge on you, your job is to be appreciative (Hi, Big!). We can afford it, and DH wants me to have this experience, so I'm going to go and enjoy it.

One of the benefits of being over 40 is that I am finally not worried about what everyone else at the pricey spa will think of me. I've been through a lot in the past few years, and I am what I am, no apologies. In earlier days I would've been nervous about what to wear, my haircut, any number of silly things. While I'm still thinking about what to wear vs what to bring, it's not from the perspective of "Oh, no!" It's more like, ""OK, I'll need my swimsuit to hang out by the pool afterwards..." I'm also considering what to bring for reading materials or handwork, because I plan on hanging out for quite a while. I have no desire to be either single or childless, but it will be nice to pretend that I am for the better part of a day.


Yay! I submitted my column, after deciding that I couldn't write a treatise on parenting while simultaneously discussing good snacks. I mean, I could, it just wasn't the appropriate venue.

Food and Kids is an infinitely malleable topic. I could write a book. I probably should write a book. Shall I add it to the list? Ha!

I also re-sent my last invoice to my boss on my freelance job. He has always paid me promptly before this, so I expect he was on vacation... I dunno. It's a lot of money so I will become a pest if I have to, but I don't think it will come ot that.

Late naps are simultaneously life savers and killers. I dozed from about 7 to 8:30 (passed out on the futon while the kids watched a DVD and DH did baths, etc), so now I don't feel like I'm dying, but it is after 2AM again. Not good.

I really need to figure out how to do a Links section here. I discovered a couple of great new blogs today, and my favorites folder is getting stuffed. I know I could put them in a sub-folder, but I'd just as soon put them on a page that will be my stuff-to-read homepage. That could work quite nicely.

Something is making me itchy in the evenings: it's either the iron, or the selenium. It's annoying as all get out, because it keeps me from sleeping. I need to look into that!

Thursday, August 26, 2004


I'm working on my September MILC column, wherein the topic is snacks, and what to send to school with your kid. As usual, I have over-written tremendously and need to cut, cut, cut. There's just too much information to pack into one column, and I need to define what my goal is. The idea has been percolating in the back of my head for a while now, but I have been lazy about laying out all the possibilities and deciding which content belongs and which does not.

It's also probably not helping that I made bread today. Just popped two little round loaves of simple Italian herb bread into the oven, hoping to reproduce for DS1 the kind of bread you get at Macaroni Grill. I was mentally toting up the carb count, which is 168g per small loaf. Yikes!!!

If this comes out good, I may give de-carbing it a shot. I adore focaccia, but 30-40g per piece is out of the question. If I'm going to splurge like that, I'll do it on chocolate.

judged by the company you keep

Whenever I see someone with a t-shirt or tag line reading "I'm with stupid," I always think to myself, "Why?"

always something

Up too late again.

Here's my latest read: World War IV: How it Started, What it Means, and Why We Have to Win. Fascinating stuff, very educational. Excellent articulation of the Bush Doctrine. I especially appreciate it because Podhoretz is a reformed Liberal, like me.

Between that and too-frequent excursions into the blogosphere, I am getting something of an education on the history of the last 40 or so years in this country. Very top-level, of course -- the big trends, important events, etc. Except with respect to the Kerry/Swift Vets controversy... I now can argue persuasively minute details of the Bronze Star incident. And why, exactly, does Kerry have three Silver Star citations, with two conflicting stories? And why is that Silver Star listed with a combat "V", when Silver Stars are never issued with a "V" because the only reason you get a Silver Star for valor in battle.

Personally, I can't wait until the timeline catches up with Kerry meeting with VC Communists in Paris - our enemies, you understand? - while still an officer in the Naval Reserve. He was a non-drilling officer at the time, that's clear, but it's also clear that he was still in the Reserve when he went over there. From what I've read, that's definite no-no (that is, treason).

I'm not focussing on my own life right now because I'm so deep in this. Two things keep my wheels spinning and me going nowhere: 1) the Kerry campaign keeps doing ridiculous things, like that stunt with sending Cleland and Rassman down to Crawford today to deliver a letter to President Bush (wtf?!) and 2) the mainstream press continues to carry Kerry's water, even after the Kerry campaign has conceded on 2 important allegations made by the Swifties. The first being, of course, that Kerry was never in Cambodia around Christmas of 1968, despite the memory being "seared - seared" into his consciousness, and the second being that his first Purple Heart may have been awarded for an unintentionally self-inflicted wound.

Now, that first Purple Heart: it's uniformly reported that Kerry himself applied for it, which I thought just wasn't done? What's the deal with that? It was a bandaid over some anti-biotic ointment, and Kerry's then-CO refused to put him up for the medal at the time the wound occurred. So Kerry bided his time and brought it up later with another CO, one who wasn't there and who would rely on Kerry's version of events. Doesn't suprise me in the least that Kerry won't release any of the records pertaining to the application for the first Purple Heart, because he knows like the rest of us that he was, at best, fudging.

At any rate, now the AP is jumping all over John O'Neill's recorded conversation with Nixon in which he says "I was in Cambodia, I was on the border," as proof that the entire Swifty effort is a tissue of lies, because previously O'Neill had stated that the Swift boats weren't in Cambodia. Except when the AP reports it, they completely leave out important details like the river that Kerry was on was not near the Cambodian border, and that O'Neill and Kerry didn't serve at the same time, and O'Neill's service near the Cambodian border (on a different river than Kerry's swift boat operated on) was at a later time, when the US had begun operations in Cambodia.

The whole thing just makes me want to puke, really. I have to stop obsessing about all these little details because they are, essentially, meaningless. Every time you look at this story, it grows a new head -- there are so many different Kerry spins out there, the possibility for analysis is endless. And yet the mainstream media is not doing any of it, and precious little is being reported, other than the fact that Bob Perry donated $200K and Ben Ginsburg gave them some legal advice, and Merrie Spaeth worked on ads in a previous Bush campaign, and somehow that's compelling evidence of coordination with the Bush campaign, because of course Bush is behind this whole thing!

Mmmmkay. Right. Next...

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


Sometimes, there's just no flow.

I have lots of stuff to do, and it all remains undone.

I feel like a corked bottle... if I could just wriggle that cork free, I'd be good to go. I was thinking I don't know how to do that -- pull out the stops -- but that's not exactly right. I haven't really tried all that hard, yet. There's a sense of build-up, it will happen when the time is right.

Nota bene: 2AM is never the right time, no matter how persistently inspiration is tickling my brain.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

better & the Laundry Epiphany

Over the past few days I have had several real-world conversations and a few emails that have been very encouraging.

I've been diving heavily into the blogosphere recently. I may never have to buy a book or print magazine again. Eventually I'll put together a links section here... if I ever do anything productive again. That should be a laugh line ("heh") but it's not. *sigh*

DS2 had his pre-school "orientation" this morning and is eager to start school. I'm not sure, but I think my heart is going to explode. Or implode. Or something... it's overwhelming. At 3, he seems so much more mature and self-possessed than his older brother and sister were. And for all that he steadfastly insists that he's "NOT A BABY!", it wasn't that long ago that he was a baby. And now he's starting school, and he's my youngest, and it's a Big Thing, you know?

When I first had my kids, I was so focussed on surviving their infancies and toddlerhoods that I didn't give much thought at all to what it would be like to have school-age children. Somehow my brain elided over the years 3-13, because I thought more about what it would be like to have teenagers than I did about elementary schoolers. I have no idea whether or not that's common, but it wouldn't surprise me: the bulk of parenting books cover new parent information, and then there's basically nothing till you get "help for your troublesome teen" titles. I love my kids' preschool, but it was completely serendipitous that I even heard about it, because a friend of friend had a kid going there. At least when it came time for DS1 to start K, I knew what I had to do and set about visiting all the local schools, etc. But the whole school issue kind of snuck up on me, the complete package deal of getting kids up, dressed, and out the door, and picking them up later, seeing to homework, making sure they have all the supplies they need, etc. It's a lot of work that just never occurred to me.

Then again, most of life is a lot of work that never occurred to me. I will always remember what I call my Laundry Epiphany. I was living in my house in South Natick and carrying laundry upstairs from the basement, so this was probably 11 years ago or so. The basket was full of clean dry clothes, only one load's worth but enough of a pain, since I still had to fold it and put it away. For some reason, the thought popped into my head that I'm going to be doing laundry until the day I die: I have no expectation of anyone ever taking over the laundry for me. As the kids get older, they can help out with the chores, certainly, and maybe they will do the occasional load of laundry... but then they'll move out. DH would do laundry if I asked him, but it's not that big a deal. It wasn't even that big a deal when I first realized this. It wasn't like, "Oh, no! I'm going to be doing laundry forever!" It was more like, "Hey, this is life, deal with it."

I had spent so many years in a fog that it was an interesting concept: laundry is one of those things you can't get away from, just as you can't get away from food (shopping, cooking, eating, cleaning up). They're required for life, and that's OK. I don't even know if other people spend much time thinking about this kind of thing, but I do. I have to, otherwise I end up resenting the time I spend living (that is, doing laundry, cooking, etc) because it takes away from the time I spend in my head, reading, writing, or whatever. Resentment like that is baseless... I have to just let it go, and get on with the business of Life.

Monday, August 23, 2004


Today DH started the long process of copying all of our home video from analog to digital. This, of course, requires actually playing each tape so the signal can be captured. Consequently, I spent a good part of the day ooh-ing and ah-ing over my children's baby days.

The last tape we transferred started out with DS1's trip home from the hospital, one day old, and since it was a 90-minute tape, catologed the next 4 months of his life. It astonished me, literally, to see how easily his tiny head fit in my hand... he seems impossible small. Now, he's about 66 lbs and more than 4 feet tall. How did that happen?

In all that very early video of him, we have quite a bit of footage of him sleeping or just waking up. The coolest thing was to recognize the same somewhat dazed expression on his tiny face that we see every school morning as he struggles to consciousness... even when he was so tiny he was a real person already, no question. Personality, mannerisms, everything -- he had it from the get-go, and some things (like hiccups) were traits even before he was born.

The other cool (and funny) thing was how each one of the kids kept mistaking DS1 for DS2. There was footage of DS1 hovering near DD when she was only a few days old, and DS2 said, "[DS2] stay away from the baby!" We laughed and told him that was his older brother, he should've said, "[DS1] stay away from [DD]!"

Where am I? How come I'm not in these movies? DS2 was wondering, even though he didn't ask that exact question. You can see the little wheels turning, I swear. We told him that he was still up in heaven with God. DS2 struggles with being the youngest, but I tell him that God kept him up in heaven until we were ready for him, and until God was ready to let him come down. Sometimes I'm not so sure about how ready (or capable) I was/am, but I have to just trust that one to God.

Between yesterday and today, I've been tearing up unbelievably. It seems everything happy/sad/nostalgic is enough to make me cry. I'm sure it's a sleep deficiency thing, and possibly hormonal. Or maybe it's because there have been a lot of new stressors lately? Whatever the reason, I look forward to it quitting. I'm tired of having to pull myself together when I could just as easily melt into a puddle of tears. The children don't deal well with that at all, and I try very hard not to subject them to it.

Despite my good intentions I got next to nothing done this weekend, with the exception of laundry. I watched a lot of animated Spider-Man episodes with the kids, though. We're TiVOing them from both Toon Disney and ABC Family, so we're getting 2 different continuing storylines simultaneously. It doesn't seem to bother the kids at all, they have no trouble keeping track. This is the recent series, not the old original animated series, and it's pretty good. The exposition is a little (ok, a lot) clunky, but we have to consider the target demographic. I think it's cool how the series is integrating other Marvel characters like DareDevil and the old Captain America crowd. It's actually pretty interesting.

(Can't believe I just wrote that much about Spider-Man...)

Well, tomorrow's a school day and I best toddle off if I'm not to be a complete basket case.

Saturday, August 21, 2004


My cat is old and a little plump. She used to be downright fat but she had some kind of stress-related illness last summer when we went on vacation for 3 weeks and she lost a bunch of weight that she has not regained. Regardless, she is 11 years old and wary, and not inclined to do much except sleep.

Except, of course, when I'm wearing something that's even slightly fluttery around the ankles. Today I'm wearing a long straight denim skirt, yesterday it was wide-leg linen pants. I've been pounced on 3 times already in the past hour. Now when I get up I keep an eye out for where the cat is. Last night she nailed me just as I came off the top of the stairs.

I'd find it charming if she didn't have so many sharp parts. I do find it charming when she parks herself directly under the monitor while I'm online. I have to scroll everything up to the top 2/3rds of the screen to read over her, but it's worth it just to have her nearby. One of the drawbacks of the new back-friendly chair is that it is decidedly cat-unfriendly. She can't come sit in my lap or lounge on my chest as I slouched at the keyboard, because I literally can't slouch at the keyboard anymore. The upside is that my sciatica is definitely a lot better.


DH was invited to the Cardinals' preseason game unexpectedly this afernoon. I told him to go and have fun. It was clear he thought that I would want him to stay home, but it's Saturday and we have no plans for anything, and he doesn't get out with his friends all that much. So I ended up taking all 3 kids with me to Mass. We sat in the "cry room" which I really dislike, but since it was kid-to-parent ratio was 3 to 1, I figured I'd better be where I could field questions and shush talking without getting too embarassed. They were all terrific, though. I had thought DS2 might be a little curious questioner throughout, but there were so many people he just clammed up and sat on my lap whenever possible. I hadn't thought about his shyness around a lot of people. It will be interesting to see how he does with that when school starts.


I'm blogged out. I've spent the last few days reading a lot of the blogosphere coverage of the Swift Vets developments. I'm glad I have some good resources to keep track of what's going on, but it gets to be too much, since everyone links to everybody else, and pulls quotes, and comments on the comments, etc. It's a fairly incestuous community, but in this instance I'm fairly sure that's a good thing. My observations are that the other's side's blogosphere is similar. Perhaps the best thing about all this independent research and discussion is that the main stream media is losing its monolithic grip on the distribution of information. It used to be that if the Big 3 and NY Times didn't cover a story, that story didn't exist. Not so, these days. Gotta love that internet.

I commented to DH yesterday that by the time this election is over, the Democrats are going to be cursing the 'net. In the early heady days of the primary, Howard Dean's masterful use of the 'net to encourage grassroots participation and collect cash seemed to show how the Dems could extend their influence even into cyberspace, where surely they would remain rulers of all they surveyed. It seemed clear they were better organized, better educated, better suited to taking advantage of everything the latest technology was offering.

Now? Not so much.


I've been doing a lot of thinking about rules, and when it's OK to challenge rules, when it's OK to insist that a rule be changed. This all ties back into the "Church doesn't seem to ever be swayed by science" altercation. Regardless of whether or not that statement reflects reality, I've come to the conclusion that the assumption behind the statement -- the Church should be "flexible" about changing its rules, depending on scientific advancement -- is flawed.

I did more research on the whole "celiacs wanting gluten-free communion hosts" issue, and found that it has been a relative hotbed of religious activism for probably 30 years or more. So that ticked me off for another reason, that the AP reporter (and probably the mom in the story) had failed to do any legwork... the entire issue was presented as if it was Mom & daughter -v- The Pope, which is definitely not the case, as this issue has been presented numerous times over decades.

But, back to the rules thing, and when rules should be challenged -- this ties in, too, to the same-sex marriage debate, I think -- clearly if a rule is imposing physical harm or causing hardship, it's ripe for change. I guess some would argue that the lack of gluten-free hosts at communion is causing a hardship for celiac Catholics, but since these folks have another valid option -- receiving wine only -- the hardship is greatly mitigated. OK, they can't have bread, but it's not as if they're denied the Presence of Christ. We have to look at what's important here, and remember we can't always get what we want. (cue Rolling Stones...)

That's the crux of the matter. In many situations we have people insisting that they be recognized as different, and yet still entitled to the same treatment, even if it flies in the face of literally thousands of years of tradition. There are reasons that transubstantiation may only be performed with wine and unleavened bread, just as there are reasons that marriage is a bond between a man and a woman. I think they're valid reasons. Hundreds, probably thousands, of people a lot smarter than me and a lot better educated in things sociological and theological have examined them in great detail and still these ideas, these rules have stood.

It irks me when people want to change the rules so as to minimize inconvenience to themselves. When you're different, life is harder. You're not like everyone else, you can't do the same things everyone else can do. I'm different in some ways that are not obvious, but I don't go around insisting that the world re-order itself to make me happy. I know that isn't going to happen.

Sometimes an institution that is thousands of years old has to go, slavery being the best example. I'm not saying that just because something has been around forever that means it's sacred and we can't even talk about changing it. What I am saying is, it's important to get to the heart of the matter, to understand why a rule is the way it is, what is its purpose in the Church, or in society as a whole. What will be the implications of changing the rule? And why are you seeking to change this rule in the first place? In the First Communion story, the family was given options but rejected them, and tried to do an end run and got caught, and now they're being portrayed as tiny Davids up against the Goliath of the monolithic Church. Millions of Catholics with celiac have been dealing with this issue for decades, and yet this one mom thinks her daughter is special enough to merit a reconsideration of this topic at the highest levels. I suppose we all think our children are that special, but for my part, I do not think that my children are that deserving of special treatment. I think it's very rare for any one person to be so deserving.

In the end, I don't think these people get it, anyway. We're talking about the real Presence of Christ, here. Other Christian faiths distribute communion but they do not believe in transubstantiation, the transformation of the bread and wine into Christ. That family needs to focus on the Sacrament, and not the means by which it is delivered.

Marriage? That's a sacrament, too, the only one that lay people (a man and a woman) administer to each other. I always crack up at Alan Colmes' perennial question to anyone who opposes same-sex marriage: "How does same-sex marriage weaken your marriage, personally?" He says he doesn't understand the argument that same sex marriage weakens the institution. Here's the answer: my marriage is not influenced by anyone else getting married or not. It's not current marriages that are threatened, it's future marriages. Changing the definition of marriage will change its value to society, just as removing the social stigma from pre-marital sex changed the way women are valued in society...

Rome didn't fall in a day, either.

Friday, August 20, 2004

grab the torch and pitchforks!

Elsewhere... another spat, this time over whether or not the Catholic Church is ever "swayed by science." In response to the statement that it doesn't ever seem to be, I said, "The level of ignorance displayed in that statement is truly shocking."

Now, in retrospect, I realize I could've been a lot nicer about that. I could've said, "Why do you feel that way?" Don't think I would've got far with that one, though, especially considering how the conversation proceeded.

I could've said, "My experience and education have shown me the opposite." That is probably the best route to take, as it's a completely encapsulated response, it's all about what I've done.

However, the basic premise -- that the Church is anti-science -- was so off, and the way that it was just casually thrown out there, as conventional wisdom, something that everyone knows and agrees with -- well, that was a gauntlet that needed to be picked up, IMO.

Of course it all went rapidly downhill thereafter, and now I'm a jerk. Again. Whee!

At least I didn't indulge in any ad hominem attacks. That's what gets me. I say something going against the conventional wisdom, and I get jumped on as being rude, inappropriate, intolerant... but nobody takes the time to think at all about what I said. This is exactly the same thing that disturbed me the last time this happened, and clearly I had not learned my lesson. Maybe now, I have, but in this case? Seriously, I was not going to leave that gauntlet lying there. I'm sick of casual Catholic bashing and this was one instance where I could actually speak up, and I did.

Not sorry about that, not one bit. Sad and sorry about how things went from there, yeah. Disappointed.

I'll get over it.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

rough day

Too much time online, not enough time with the kids, what time I did spend with them was ahhhh adversarial even though I didn't lose my temper and do anything stupid, although I'm sure they could see/hear/sense my frustration.

Sometimes they are just contrary...

DD breaks my heart without a thought. I said, "I love you," and she snapped back, "NOT!" She's only 5. What is she going to be like when she's 15? Perhaps my heart will be used to it by then.

So, tonight, video therapy. That's what a lot of these up-to-late nights are, I realized, even though Fast Times at Ridgemont High is not the best reason to not go to bed, hmmm? What a depressing movie.

Doctors tomorrow... rheumatologist for me in the morning, DD in the afternoon. We'll see how that goes. Glad it's Friday and there's nothing I have to do, no homework or reading to enforce. DS1 has done amazingly well with his reading, he read an entire Bionicle book in only 4 days. The "reading time" = "computer time" deal has been very effective so far.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

fake it till you make it

Number one most effective advice in warding off minor depression: act as if you're not depressed. It really helps.

Got more done today, but not as much as yesterday. Mostly phone stuff: ordering new faucet parts from Price Pfister, and trying to get the new wireless adapter working on the laptop.

Now, that was a frustrating situation, because the old adapter works just fine, and the new adapter is ostensibly identical to the old one. Except it's not, because there's newer software. So, figuring that at least the hardware was the same, I tried to run it with the old software, but that was a non-starter, literally: Windows did not recognize what kind of USB device it was, because it didn't connect that the old drivers were for the new adapter. So, having already spent tedious hours trying to make this thing work, I finally called Linksys and spent almost an hour with the tech support guy, bouncing back and forth between machines that work and machines that don't, rebooting dozens of times, only to be told, finally, that sorry, the new adapters only work with Windows 98 Second Edition, not plain ol' Windows 98. Which is really, really annoying, because the old adapaters worked just find with Win98, and why did they have to screw that up, huh?

So for now, the laptop will just be offline. The kids can deal with it. I'm not all that interested in spending great heaps (or even small heaps) of money to upgrade the OSs on those machines. You can get a decent little pc for a couple hundred bucks these days, much faster that those old dinosaurs. Maybe that's what we'll do for Christmas, get some new puters for the kids!

This evening I went to the orientation for DS2's preschool. This is my fifth year having a kid in this school, I really didn't need this orientation, but the paperwork said, quite emphatically, that ALL 3-year-old's parents must attend, so I went. In this area, at least, I am compliant. The school looks great, they did a lot of work over the summer, refinishing all the floors etc etc. But the biggest change is that they replaced the old chainlink fence around the schoolyard with a really gorgeous cinderblock-footed iron fence. It's not ornate wrought iron, it's just simple bars, but it really looks modern and clean and safe! Very cool. The new fence, combined with last year's upgraded parking lot, have really added a lot to the school. It looks terrific but it's also easier to navigate and it's safer. Very cool.

It was nice to see so many familiar faces, all of the teachers greeted me, and several asked after DD. I made sure to tell her about that when I got home, and it made her smile. I like that feeling of belonging. It's cool. We've been here long enough that we've got roots down in several places. I really like walking in somewhere and being recognized, even if folks don't necessarily know my name, like at the stores and shops we visit regularly. It's just a friendly comfortable feeling.

I am surprised how much better I feel this evening. I'm trying to figure out if it is because I went up to the school and saw people -- even though it wasn't an extremely social evening, most of it was listening to the director's presentation -- or just getting out of the house for a couple of hours by myself. It may be a combination of the two. Regardless, I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth... it's feels good to feel good for a change. (Maybe it was that 3/4s of a bag of SnapPea Crisps I snarfed down when I got home? Nah...)

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

yes! well... maybe not

I have no idea what's going on with me. I am managing to get stuff done -- stripped the beds, washed the linens, and remade everything today, plus mended DD's dress and finally sewed up that chair cushion -- but still, everything is such an effort. I have a sense of accomplishment, but no sense of pleasure from having done these things. I hope it stops soon.

I had a dentist appointment today, the works. My main reactions: 1) ouch 2) yay! I have some gaps between my gums and my teeth, but they're holding steady (that is, I am not succumbing to periodontal disease), and there was nary a sign of a cavity. That's good. Even the x-rays looked ok, with my troublesome incisor (previous root canal) holding steady for now. I definitely dodged a bullet there, although I know it will eventually need to be dealt with. I just don't want to have to deal with it now.

As I noted earlier, I told LCL that I'd do another column. Like clockwork, that triggered an e-mail from my freelance boss -- I was on a deliberately constructed distribution list, receiving some sensitive info, so I'm encouraged that I am actually still working for the guy, and that he will pay me for that last invoice I sent out. Now I really should be working on that MILC column but I'm whupped now, so it will have to wait until tomorrow.

For some bizarre reason, I short-order cooked dinner tonight. Why, why, why? Too many times, I ask questions I am sorry I asked. For example, "What do you want for dinner?" No, that's definitely not the way to do it, I just have to decide for all the peewees what they will be eating, lest I get into the situation like tonight's. It's not that any of them chose anything particularly difficult or time consuming, it was just, well, silly. DS1 had a cheeseburger, DD had a quesadilla, and DS2 had penne in cheese sauce. DH and I had gorgeous spinach salads with avocado, turkey, Salem blue, pecans, tomatoes, cukes, celery, and pecans. I think that's the lot? Yes, that's it, and it was divine.

I have been wanting to eat and eat and EAT lately. That's a cyclical thing, and should be ending in the next day or so. I hope. I could seriously eat a pound of chocolate right now...in some ways I am very much my father's daughter. He had that after-dinner sweet tooth thing, too. I miss him.

Monday, August 16, 2004

overcoming inertia

Ever since we got home from our vacation, I've been vaguely unsettled, dispirited, amotivated. I didn't want to do anything other than what I absolutely had to, and so, I didn't. The necessities got done, but little else.

Today was looking to be just like that, too: hours spent reading in the blogosphere and elsewhere online, with breaks for feeding the kids and ferrying them home from school, etc etc etc. I know very well that nose-to-monitor is a symptom of minor depression for me, but I also know that I'm a few feet from the edge of that pit, not about to fall in. It could go either way, depending on a lot of things, only some of which I control, like sleep.

So, today: have been home for weeks and hardly cleaned at all. I'm obsessively good at clutter patrol, but actual cleaning? Not so much. Days like today it's a blessing when a chatty girlfriend or two calls, giving me an excuse to putter around the house doing actual cleaning while I'm on the phone. So, stuff got done today. Amazing, inconsequential stuff, like clearing off the junk from the dining room table, which should've been done weeks ago. Ah, that's better!

Then, having cleaned the bathrooms and dusted the furniture and various other random tasks, I actually played some computer games with DS2 for nearly an hour, and gave DD a piano lesson, too. [Oh, the horro of that piano! It needs tuning, or perhaps euthanasia. It will have to do, for now.] I also sat (not nearly patiently enough) with DS1 while he was doing his math homework, and quizzed him on his spelling words (piece o' cake), and then told him he had to earn his computer-game time by doing his reading. That was a stroke of genius, because he did 48 minutes of reading.

By the end of the day, I had spent "quality time" with all three kids, and the difference in demeanor was noticeable. DS2 has been whiney and oppositional lately, but this evening he was a cheerful little guy. And DD, who normally goes into full scale diva mode when told it's bedtime, was cuddly and affectionate.

This isn't rocket science here. I know my kids are much happier when I give them more of me, just lately I haven't felt like there's enough of me for even, well, me. Today was a day when I just shelved that feeling and made the effort to be with them, and it really paid off.

Later, my dear sister called and made me feel a bit better about being so far away from the beach: the weather has been really cold there, no beach weather at all. So even if I were still there, I wouldn't be able to hit the beach anyway. It helps. It sounds really silly, but reality checks are necessary when your brain keeps insisting it wants a fantasy existence.

I think I've made whipped cream to have with/for dessert every day for the last week. It's very cool having cream puffs in the freezer. I just pop them in the toaster oven for a few minutes and they defrost and crisp right up. Simply amazing. I love being able to make DS1 so happy, too. I love treating all my kids, which is why I get so annoyed when they act up in public (as DD did in Border's on Friday) or are just plain mean. How can I do nice things for them if they don't appreciate or even acknowledge that these are special things, things they wouldn't necessarily get to have or do? I see elements of being spoiled in my kids, but overall they're pretty well-grounded.

I just noticed the brightness of this monitor makes it impossible to actually see the keyboard (which is black with skinny white labels on the keys) if I ever need to look at it (I was trying to find the hypen key, since I decided well-grounded needed a hypen after I typed it). Fortunately I've been touch-typing for eons now. Yes, eons, so it doesn't often happen that I need to look at the keyboard, it's just odd having to wait that extra second or two for my pupils to expand a bit so I can see the labels on the keys. I imagine I've tiny pinpoint pupils now, staring at this huge glowing white box a mere foot-and-a-half away from my face.

No response from the freelance job boss yet. Sigh.
I opted in for another month of MILC over at LCL. I'm struggling with that decision, too, even though it has already been made. I should be working for pay. I should be spending my writing hours earning those big freelance bucks. But with the freelance job up in the air, I don't know what's going on. If the freelance gig is over, then I'll quit LCL and get to work on MILC in earnest; if the freelance job is going to continue at all, I can keep nursing MILC along at LCL until I can focus on it exclusively.

Big plans, no motivation, too much inertia.

Honestly, being less hard on myself: now is not the time to be making a huge to-do list for between now and the end of the year. School has barely started, DS2 won't start until Sept 1. I need to wait until they are settled to see what kind of time I have to devote to my own projects. I can wait a few more weeks before deciding anything, especially since my goals are my own and there isn't anyone who's going to assign me a failing grade or even give me a disgusted look if I don't make them.

It felt good today getting things done and doing things with the kids. I need to remember that good feeling and let it carry me, let it persuade me to make this an everyday occurrance, not the anomaly that today was. Typing that, I realized that the kids always know when I'm even slightly depressed. They don't push me for too much, then. But whenever I offer any part of myself, they are always there, eager for it. That makes me sad. I wish I could do better. I can resolve to do better but I always seem to slide back into some minor abyss.

Maybe, as DH would likely say, my thyroid meds need adjusting again. *sigh*

Sunday, August 15, 2004

on the brink of something

I just don't know what.

Well, that's not exactly true. I'm poised on the brink of Monday right now, but still in denial about what that exactly means. It's OK, we'll survive it, regardless, I'm sure.

The weekend ambled by, lazy as a slow river. I only did the housework that was imposed on me (as in, I cleaned under and behind the refrigerator because milk spilled under there...) took the kids to church and to the Mesa SW Museum, and generally did OK.

Still waiting for normalcy to get here, whenever and whatever that will be. Waiting to hear from my freelance job, trying to decide what to do with the column, helping the kids settle themselves into their new routines... I just have to resign myself to the fact that we're going to be in transition for a few more weeks and just live with it. Whee!

Oh yeah. I made cream puffs yesterday. DS1 has been pestering me for them ever since he had them at the Chinese buffet we went to in MA. They are easy to make but require a bit of upper body strength. It reminded me of making playdough! Hee. They came out really good. Now that I've made them with regular flour I have to see how easily they'll de-carb. It would be great if I could make them so I could eat them without having to do math.

Friday, August 13, 2004

finding a new normal

Day 2 of the school year... of course we're nowhere near settled into any kind of a routine, but we're getting there. Fortunately the evening routine isn't all that different: supper, baths, bed, with tv or video before/between baths... we're working hard to make sure they're all in bed by 8:30 -- we actually aim for 8, but rarely achieve that -- since we have to get them up at 7, and they rarely go right to sleep.

DS2 slept in this morning and didn't get up until almost 8, for which I was very grateful. He's in a much better mood. I think he is relaxing about DS1 and DD being in school again, now that he has been through one day of it. It was really not a big deal... DD is only gone for a few hours in the morning, and then he gets her back for the rest of the day (hehe).

Me, I'm trying to figure out what my own routine should/will be... so far, so good, on getting up with the kids, getting them their breakfast, and getting them out the door with DH at 8. Today I also had to make lunch for DS1, and remind him that he also has his own snack... slight differences from last year. I'd like to get into a routine where I can work in the morning for at least an hour or two. It seems as if that will be amenable with DS2, at least until he starts school... and when he starts school, that will add 2 more trips to my driving schedule, but will give me some honest-to-goodness alone time, if only in very thin slices. Still, I'd like to have mornings for writing, reading, research, and leave other tasks for later in the day. I think that could be a productive routine for me.

DD spent well over an hour on her homework last night. It was a very simple get-to-know-you assignment, with 2 pictures for her to draw, too. She insisted on writing in almost every response herself. This is such a contrast to DS1, who refused to write at all before starting kindergarden, and maybe spent 5 minutes on that same assignment when he had it 2 years ago! I was very happy that DD actually learned the names of some her classmates already. There were only 15 other kids in her preschool class last year, but she never learned all their names! Or maybe she never made an effort to try and remember them when talking about them? It's hard to tell what's really going on in that little head.

So... DD won't have homework tonight, I think I remember Mr B rarely, if ever, assigning weekend homework, but DS1 might, in fact I'm rather thinking that he should... he didn't have any yesterday, at least not that he brought home. There's the possibility that he did have homework and he forgot it, as he didn't have his folder in his backpack. But I'm not going to assume that he screwed up on his first day of school, there's no reason to. He really is a great kid. He asked me yesterday afternoon, when I asked him about his first day, "Were you worried about my temper?" I honestly answered him, "No, not at all." Three or four years ago, yeah, I was concerned about how he would deal when I wasn't around, but now I have confidence in him, and I told him that.

DH says that DS1 will be riding his 2-wheeler all by himself with just a few more practice sessions. He hopes to get him going this weekend! It's a funny thing, we'll be finished with supper, and just as we should begin clearing up, DH will look at me and ask, "Do you mind if I take him [DS1] out to ride?" I don't mind... I don't mind him taking him out, I don't mind him leaving me with the dishes, either! I can tell DH has a bit of guilt about leaving me with the cleanup since I cook everyday, but at this point, the after-dinner cleanup is reduced to sticking everything in the dishwasher, and wiping down the table and the counters. There's not a whole heckuva lot going on there... I try to do all the other cleanup before dinner, so DH doesn't have to do it afterwards.

Besides, I can get it all done in 10 minutes whereas he'll toodle about the kitchen for a half-hour, and then the kids' baths are late... I should just take it over on weeknights and give the guy a break. Well, maybe that will become part of the new routine...

Thursday, August 12, 2004


I've been reading many other folks' blogs lately, and decided that the Tekka template wasn't thrilling me. I chose it initially because it was so simple, but that huge field of white-white-white was hurting my eyes on this new monitor. The new color scheme is much more soothing.

So after agonizing over that, I decided to go ahead and fill in my profile. I've been online in one form or another for more than 8 years... I have no expectation of privacy at this point.

The photo I have in my profile is astoundingly gorgeous, but way too big in it's original form for Google. I have uploaded the original pic here: http://www.joanhedman.com/lilies.JPG

Way to procrastinate today, huh? At least I put all of yesterday's clean laundry away.

fallout from the blog spat...

I received this private message today:

your blog

I just wanted you to know that I have chosen not to read what many (many) have called a vicious attack on me in your blog.

I'm going to take their words for it that you have far overstepped the bounds of civility.That you would devote such time and energy to me is telling (you wouldn't like what it tells).

Please do not post in my blog again, and do not write to me. (I'd prefer it if you left me alone, even in your own blog, but you must do what is important to you.)


What vicious personal attack? Saying I don't understand how a person can't relate to the pain the aborted thing, however you want to clarify it, feels? How is my confusion a personal attack? Why is my expressing my opinion that there is some internal inconsistency going on there a personal attack?

Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? Not that this is a court of law or anything even close, but still... it's nice to give people the benefit of the doubt. I respect her right to have her opinions. I just don't understand them, and I have the right -- the moral obligation, even -- to question them, if only for the purpose of going through the exercise, since I wasn't questioning her directly. Never mind about all that, though, because many (many!) people have told her that I attacked her viciously, that's good enough for her, and good enough for her to issue the restraining order.

I'm not going to pretend this is not upsetting to me. I don't think I'm unusual in that I generally want people to like me. I know that it's not possible for everyone to like me... it's not even likely. However, I managed to get through 41 years of my life without anyone ever having asked me to stop writing to them. No, that's not right -- there is one other person, who, come to think of it, is a lot like dogfaceboy: well-educated, articulate, interesting, and dogmatically liberal. That individual is the primary reason I quit hanging out at alt.tv.farscape. (Well, that person, and getting a real life. Recovery from depression is a wonderful thing.)

OK, that was a therapeutic paragraph. I feel a little bit better. I know this will nag at me for a while, but I have to let it go. There's certainly no point in appealing to dogfaceboy for a more fair hearing: if she wanted to give me a fair hearing, she would've at least read my blog before sending off that message.

This will save me plenty of time carefully composing bootless responses, no doubt...that's certainly an upside.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

waiting for custard

I've got 7 little cups of custard baking right now. The directions for baking it altogether in one big souffle pan say 30 minutes. Since the individual cups are quite a lot smaller (only 1/7th the size, in fact...) I was expecting it to take less time to bake. However, those suckers have been in the oven for 20 minutes now and are just barely set around the edges. Maybe because it's custard, and not a cake? Maybe you just have to cook egg things as long as they need to be cooked, regardless of container size... maybe it's the depth, not so much the width of the pan... I don't know. Any one of these explanations could make sense.

I found myself a little blue tonight and thought about why. I am sad that I was so confrontational during the blog spat... I don't regret what I said, and I haven't changed my opinions on any of it. What I regret is the way in which I handled the situation. I know that if I continue to argue the way I have been, no one who disagrees with me will ever be inclined to listen. I'll never persuade anyone with snide remarks. I'll have to remember that for future encounters.

Of course, when you're dealing with people with entrenched beliefs who refuse to entertain any notions that conflict with their own, there's very little chance of persuading them, anyway. But maybe they would listen, and remember, and eventually the words could come to have some truth to them. And so change could come about, gradually, in its own time.

Well, the custard is out of the oven now, and looking slightly overcooked. Note for next time: 28 minutes is too long. 24 would probably have done it... still, I don't think it's ruined. It should still taste just fine. I just have to let it cool a bit before I can put it in the fridge.

Just let it cool a bit... sounds like good advice when posting comments, too. Heh.

I managed to finish the laundry, and get all the supplies sorted out. I have to finish up that paperwork, but I've already copied the kids' immunization records, so it'll only take a few minutes. This wittles my to-do list down to the following:
1) send out invoice for last batch of free-lance work (about 15-20 minutes)
2) order prints for everyone from our summer vacation photos (an hour or more)
3) get the laptop working on the wireless network (???)

Plus, the usual meal prep, clean-up, and picking the kids up from school...

first-day-of-school eve

A day of running around and accomplishing little. "Meet your teachers" was too haphazard for my taste -- people coming and going, having to accomplish a variety of different goals all at the same time. I look forward to the more structured curriculum nights where the teachers will present what/how they're going to teach for the year. That's too much to go into during these meet-and-greet sessions.

DS1's teacher is only a few inches taller than he is. Well, she may actually be physically bigger than that, but overall, she projects an image of "petite". I'm curious to see how she does with a class full of 24 2nd graders. She mentioned a few things about how she runs the class and it sounds like she has a good philosophy regarding treats/rewards, etc... we'll see how it goes. Last year, DS1's teacher was really into rewards and such. It bothered me, and I had to make a conscious effort to just let it go. DS1 learned a lot in that class, but not because of all the treats. That's not how he's motivated, so I didn't have to worry about that past my initial concern about it. The reward thing probably won't be an issue this year, it's looking like...

DD has the same teacher for kindergarden as DS1 had. Mr B is a splendid teacher, all the moreso because he's a MAN. There is a special place in heaven for men who teach young children. He has the patience of more than one saint... it is a relief for me, really, because it's one less teacher I have to get to know. Now I have a few weeks to get to know DS1's teacher before DS2's school starts on Sept 1...

I have so much to do this evening. More paperwork (emergency contact cards) to fill out, supplies to sort out for DS1 and DD, backpacks to load up, custard to make for breakfast. The laundry is just about done, I just have some folding to do... I should be able to finish all and get into bed at a decent hour. I'm aiming for 11PM, which if I make it, will be a miracle. But I need to get up at 7 so I can help with the getting-out-the-door process.

DS2 will be lonely in the morning, but I think it will go by quickly. DD gets out at 11:30. We'll pick her up and then have lunch, and give her time to talk about her day and decompress before we get DS1 at 3:15. There are going to be a lot of short hauls over the next 10 months, but I knew that when I put them into this school! We'll see how it goes.

Now, I seem to have lost the Fran McCulloch cookbook with my favorite custard recipe. How could I lose a cookbook?! I have an entire bookcase of them in the kitchen! Where else could it be? I'm annoyed. I may have to go with another recipe and risk DS1 not liking it as much. Grrrrrr.... this is what I get for waiting until the last minute!

blog spat, cont...

From the comment thread:

Kathy said...
I can understand your ban on discussing abortion in your writing classes, but I find it bizarre that you won't discuss it at all.I pointed out her inconsistency in supporting abortion when she literally weeps over tv programs that involve children being harmed in any way.Willingness to discuss abortion and deleting a personal attack in one's own journal strike me as two very different things. So, because Doggy (as do most people that are in support of a woman's right to choose, by the way) are horrified by the thought of someone inflicting pain upon a child -- any child. Your correlation is completely out in the ozone. Your attack was vicious and mean-spirited.
2:22 PM
Kathy said...
I realize my comment makes little to no sense. It's a heck of an argument for getting a good night's sleep, I guess.
2:52 PM
dogfaceboy said...
It might've had an extra period and a subject/verb error, but it still made sense. Stopping a pregnancy has no relation to hurting a living, breathing child. But let's put the government in our pants and keep them away from our gas tanks! Rah, rah, rah!

I said:
One more time, for the record: Doggy can do whatever she likes in her blog, including deleting comments she doesn't like, for whatever reason she wants. It's her space. I have no problem with that. Of course being willing to discuss abortion and deleting personal attacks are two different things. Kathy is the one who strung those two sentences together, which is why they make no sense.

So, if you're going to pull quotes, please put them in context. The first sentence is from up thread, anyone can see it is the opening of a paragraph wherein I agree: Doggy's blog, Doggy's rules. The second sentence Kathy quoted is from my own blog where I talk about this sequence of events. (http://www.farscapeweekly.com/weblog/blogger.html)

Had I been aware of Doggy's unwillingness to discuss abortion, I would never have brought up the issue as an example of the conflicting values she has expressed. (Note: it is only my opinion that she has expressed conflicting values. She herself feels she is entirely consistent.)

Now, my final comment: these two women assert that I am "out in the ozone" because "Stopping a pregnancy has no relation to hurting a living, breathing child".

(I'm making this point here because Doggy has this no-abortion-discussion rule, and I didn't want it to get deleted.) There IS a "relation" because abortions hurt the fetus. Whether or not there is "life", whether or not you believe a "baby" "dies" during an abortion -- there is NO DISPUTE that abortions cause pain, real physical suffering, to the abortee. I do not understand how a woman who falls apart watching made-for-tv crime dramas (about terrible things, which would also make me fall apart, which is one reason why I don't watch them) doesn't care at all about all the pain that is inflicted during abortions.

Now, I'm done... I hope.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

makes ya think


So, my lack of restraint in making political comments in someone else's blog? Inconsequential, after all, because the author of the blog deleted my comment. She rightly noted that I can make such comments in my own blog (and so, here I am). The gist of my comment: I busted her on taking me literally when I was using hyperbole, and I pointed out her inconsistency in supporting abortion when she literally weeps over tv programs that involve children being harmed in any way. (I know about this only because she has posted about it in a public forum.) I also challenged her inability to accept ideas from across the political aisle, and her supposition that it was Republicans who were against Civil Rights, while restating my position that it would be great if everyone understood how the economy works. I used the example of tax cuts stimulating the economy: there's no argument anymore about whether or not they do; the only fights now are over how big the tax cuts should be.

I find it really interesting -- but not surprising -- that instead of posting an answer, she censored me. But it's just as well because there was no point in having that conversation anyway. She is very resistant to hearing anything that disagrees with her worldview, even though she doesn't see herself that way -- and I'm sure she thinks the same thing about me! So: impasse, and I suppose it's better not to waste time on it.

I do regret that she found whatever I wrote so objectionable that she went ahead and deleted it. I spent some time on that reply, trying to get my points across. Now it's gone. It was probably hitting below the belt to ask her if she cares about the pain aborted babies feel, and to speculate that she probably doesn't, since it's not featured on "CSI"... maybe if I had left that out, she'd have left the comment stand. But that was my point... she's so deep into this ideology that she can't even see her own inconsistencies. I know a lot of people like that -- I was like that for years, and Lord knows, I'm sure there are areas of my life in which I still am.

A toxic "friend" once said to me, "Just because you have everything you think you wanted doesn't mean you're happy." If you parse that out, you'll see how nasty it really is. But I encounter this attitude from time to time: my opinions are invalid because I'm not miserable. I'm not suffering, so what do I know? Does it matter at all that I have suffered in the past? [I've been poor. I've been in an abusive relationship... I recovered.] Does it matter that I've reached this plateau through a lot of hard work and one really important decision that I got right: choosing my husband? I guess not, to some people. I'm in a happy marriage with beautiful children living a nice upper middle class life, so obviously I'm some mindless automaton...

Sorry, no. I'm not going to shut up... but I won't waste my time on people who haven't mastered the basic courtesy required to have a discussion: listening to what the other person has to say.

so much for restraint

I don't understand how I can have such excellent discipline in some areas of my life, and yet have none at all in others. I do know better than to get involved in political discussions online. I also know better than to make remarks that can easily be misinterpreted if taken literally. Apparently this knowledge is not enough to stop me from doing both of those things. Heh.

Today I am inordinately pleased with myself because I cleaned out the two junk drawers in the kitchen, in the process of finding the wrench that came with the garbage disposal. Having found the wrench, I fixed the garbage disposal. Yes, I rock! (hehehe)

So, because I was so happy about having fixed the disposal, I took the kids out to lunch at Chili's after we picked up the van at the service center. So much for not eating out as often... we had dinner out last night after dropping the van off (China Lite, "healthy" Chinese food -- really great, although the spring rolls were a little soggy). After lunch, we went to TJ's for groceries, then home to put them away, then dropped off checks at my physical therapist, and then to the barber shop where all 3 kids got shorn for school. They look completely adorable.

They really are good kids. They behave better out of the house than in it... we've been staying in lately because they have been getting on my nerves (and each others'), it would probably have been better to take them out, but I'm getting the feeling that they are depending on me too much to entertain them. There is plenty in this house for them to do... they just need to find the motivation to do it on their own. DS1 gets very bent out of shape if I even suggest he read something. He's going to have to get over that very quickly, with school starting on Thursday!

I have a ton of stuff to do. I really should make a list. At least I fixed the disposal today. And cleaned out those junk drawers! Still have a billion things left, but even little tasks can yield a sense of accomplishment...

Monday, August 09, 2004

escape artist


I spent today at another friend's house. She has a lovely pool, too. Her 10-year-old has already started school, but of course her 2-year-old is still home (he'll be 3 in just a few days). She's really a great person to spend the day with, since we are extremely compatible on diet, politics, religion, family... it's nice to find someone I can be so comfortable with. I don't have to worry about any offhand comment I might make being grossly misinterpreted. Not that that ever happens IRL... (hee!)

She has (in spite of the almost-3-year-old) a very "grown up" house. She has really lovely things, so my kids like to go there. Gorgeous travertine floors and serious furniture everywhere and a baby grand piano that is also the most top-notch synthesizer you could imagine. There's an entire music computer in there, and it's pretty much kid-proof so the kids do play on/with it.

So, we had a great day there, playing in the pool and just hanging out. Meanwhile, our house is pretty much still a disaster area -- haven't successfully cleared the counter since we got back from vacation.

Tomorrow there is no escape, as the van is at the service center until noon getting the new door handle. It will be nice to get that fixed, it's a pain having only one door for the kids to go in and out... I've been running around so much I've been pretty successful at avoidng everything that needs to be done. Today was my last official day of summer, I guess. Tomorrow is the last day before meet-your-teachers, and then Thursday starts school... I'll be back to reality before I know it, right?

magic, technology...

same diff, right?

This is the thought that occurred to me as I cruised up the 101 at about 80 mph today with cold air blowing in my face and nice music on the stereo. It was 108 bloody degrees today. It wasn't all that long ago that life here was pretty darn close to unlivable in the summer months. Now we just suck up huge amounts of energy and make everything, well, wonderful.

I spent the afternoon with my 2 youngest at a friend's house, lounging around in her pool and generally having not a care in the world. Not even sunburn, because of the amazing powers of waterproof SPF 45. Technology rocks!

* * *

I know a lot of women whose husbands drive them crazy. I have my issues with DH from time to time, but in general, he doesn't drive me crazy at all. I don't resent him. He doesn't control me. The relationship works on every level. Of course it didn't always, and sometimes some things break, but then we fix them and move on. I guess the thing that it comes down to is I believe he will always be there for me. I trust him, and from that trust everything else flows.

I am so lucky.

* * *

I have a great tan. I'm sure my dermatologist will lecture me about it when he next sees me, but I don't care. I think the last time I had a tan this good I was still in high school. My ex-husband wasn't much for the beach, never liked the Cape. Y'know, just that and the fact that he was a Yankees fan should've been enough to warn me away, but I was an idiot. Fortunately I recovered.

My hair is getting long now. I can put it up in a pony tail. It's astonishing how long it is, actually. I've had it short for such a long time, and been growing it out forever it seems... now it's just nice to have hair! Plus Elizabeth's cut still rocks, even though it must be 3 months since I've seen her. She is definitely the best. Every time I call for an appointment, I hold my breath thinking, this will be the time they tell me she's not there anymore, and then I'll have to find someone else who "gets" my hair and what to do with it.

Today in the pool was restorative. Also the lack of driving and running around this week was good for me, too, even though I still had too many late nights. I'm feeling a lot better. Whatever minor flare that was affecting my hands and feet seems to have subsided, and even the piriformis is feeling better although still tweaks me from time to time. I just hope I can keep it happy this week with school starting up and all. Transitions suck.

* * *

I avoided a political argument today in one of those blogs I really should stop reading. I just wrote out about 3 paragraphs of political stuff that I decided to delete since I don't want to get into a political discussion here, either. If I believed for one second that there was even a remote possibility of changing anyone's mind, I'd make the effort, but I don't believe it. There is such an unwillingness to even consider another viewpoint that it's astonishing... tolerance and diversity are great, as long as you agree with them. No point in banging my head against that particular brick wall.

Heh. Maybe I am growing up after all.

Last word: I have quit taking the Ambien altogether. It has been 4 or 5 days now and I don't feel too bad. Of course this morning I didn't actually get out of bed until close to 11, having gone to bed after 2. Or was it 3? I can't remember. But 11 wasn't excessively late considering how late I was up. gotta stop doing that... but considering no Ambien, I'm actually feeling pretty good today. The idea of having to take sleep medication for the rest of my life really skeeves me out, so I'll see how I do without it for a while, now that I'm home and we're starting the school routine.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

why ask why

Thinking today about the futility of trying to understand other people's motivations. Our culture puts a lot of emphasis on understanding everyone's feelings and the rationales behind every action. There's really no point in most of it, is there? What matters is what we say, what we do. Our feelings are our own, and can be wholly inappropriate at times, but they are not something we can control. What we can control is how we deal with them...

So many people cling to that illusion of control, it's pointless. I work on this every day with my own stubborn self. Certain things bother me for no reason, just because they are not the way I want them to be. Not important things. I must be doing better because I'm trying to think of an example of one and I can't. Hee! Now the only things I can think of that annoy me have to do with the children being unkind to each other and/or making work for me. There's work I have to do -- normal cooking, cleaning, shopping, driving, etc -- that I don't mind. The rest? Major resentment piles up. I try to keep my expectations realistic (a 3 year old that pukes all over the floor is excused, the 7 year old? Not so much) but even so, I can't help but resent it when the 3 year old just drops his toys on the floor and leaves them there, and stares at me blank-faced ("Are you talking to me, woman?") when I tell him to pick up the toys, don't leave them in the middle of the floor. The kid has the temerity from time to time to say things to me like, "You can do it," which of course earns him an earful... of course I can do it, but I'm not going to, they're your toys, you look after them or they will end up in the trash!

See, there's one of those times when I could ask "why?" Why does he do that? It's pretty obvious, he likes to push my buttons. He wants the control. I have a lot of sympathy for him. When you're 3, you don't have control over much. It's difficult. So I feel I have a good understanding of why he does it. But it doesn't really matter why, it just matters that he does it, and he has to learn not to. Lord, I am worn out by the sheer repetition of some of these lessons.

At Mass I was thinking about all the medical problems I've been having since I my pregnancy with DS2, for the past 4 years or so it has been literally one thing after another, starting with the pre-term labor and rather severe (undiagnosed, untreated) depression, seguing into the thyroid and adrenal problems, which gave way to the uterine prolapse, multiple skin biopsies (no actual melanoma yet), and gallbladder removal... I know there will be more skin biopsies coming, and I've a thyroid biopsy in just a few weeks, plus my mammogram. At this point I'm afraid to go for all these tests because it seems every time we go looking for something we find it.

Topic, topic: why am I experiencing all these things? None of it's going to kill me (right off, anyway), but it is definitely impacting my quality of life. Does it make sense to even ask why? Yes, it does, if I could find something in the answer that I could change, that I could control, to make sure these things don't happen again or continue... I have changed the things I can, my diet, my supplements and prescriptions, my computer chair, the stretching exercises I do -- and yet so many things I'm dealing with have no answer, no cut-and-dried "this is what you need to do to fix/prevent this" solution. So there's no point in asking Why, is there?

From a spiritual sense, there may be a point in asking Why? I wonder, what lessons am I supposed to learn here? (Other than that, when depressed, I am a bad mom.) I've got responsibilities, and a few cut-and-dried priorities, after that, I'm pretty much adrift. I try to tie all the medical irritations into some bundle of meaning and fail. Are my multiple conditions supposed to push me towards my eventual purpose? More likely, I see myself struggling to overcome them to achieve the goals I have set for myself, which seem to be constantly slipping away.

I want to say, I never finish anything, but that's definitely not true. I do have the kick-ass embroidery I finished literally days before DD was born, having worked on it for over 4 years. I'm just thinking about whether or not I've finished anything since then. The FarscapeWeekly site is languishing, I should take a good month and patch it up, fix up all the links, upload everything... there's so much content that isn't linked, it's not even funny! Depressing. I'd still like to do a Farscape book, or books... one per season. The question is, when? Perhaps the mini will take off and then I can finally write my books when DS2's in full-time school.

So, Farscape writing? Fizzled. The MILC column? Stalled for now, but doesn't have to stay that way? The freelance work? I have no idea... still have to send that invoice... ah, I can't seem to stick to much of anything, although I stuck with Farscape for four years, that's not bad, eh?

Then I spend hours here, or reading other blogs and commenting, when I should/could be doing something productive, or at least sleeping... my choice. Is it the best choice? Maybe not, but there it is. This entry took 27 minutes to write. That's not too shabby. At least I'm getting writing practice.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

what are you crying about?

DS1 is lying on the family room floor whining because DH wants to take him out for a bike ride. He doesn't want to do it now, he wants to do it later. Later it will be 110 degrees, so that's not really an option. DS1 is just grumpy because I turned the tv off. I turned the tv off because I specifically told them, "No Disney, Nick, or Cartoon Network today, at least not when I 'm around," they've been watching non-stop since we got home from MA... I've had enough. They ignored me completely, so I turned the tv off. Too bad for them.

No more yelling from me, now. Today's resolution is to tell them to do something once, and if they don't do it, I'll get off my ass and walk over to them and more calmly insist that they do what they're told. I have to act, not nag, if we're ever to get out of this pick-pick-pick rut we're in.


Lately I find it difficult to deal with some people. Both IRL and online I interact with some people who are brazenly passive-aggressive, obstinate, and oh-so-sure that their world view is 100% correct and anyone who disagrees with them is not just wrong, but irredeemably stupid. These people have their coterie of fans, too, because they are passionate and articulate and write very, very well. I admire the writing ability of these people, but the attitude just sets my teeth on edge.

But I still go back and read their stuff, or I endure long phone conversations (although yesterday I used the handy excuse of rowdy kids to duck out.) There are a lot of reasons I do this. IRL, there are kids' friendships involved, and years of history. For the online stuff, I have no excuse. Why do I read stuff from people who irritate me? Sometimes I tell myself it's good to have an understanding of how people like that think, but it doesn't further my understanding, and I don't want to lump a group of folks into some amorphous "thinks like that" category. I resist such deceptive, facile characterizations...

I think some of these people need therapy (or medication). [Fully aware there are times when I need therapy, or medication.] It's all I can do to bite my tongue and not tell them. But maybe I should tell them. That leads to a big internal monologue regarding my motivations for telling them, which would be misinterpreted regardless of how kindly I try to phrase the suggestion that they get some help. So I don't bother.

I need to look to my own self and sanity before worrying about other people's, I suppose. It would probably help me if I didn't purposely go looking for things that annoy me.

Friday, August 06, 2004

the price of inattention

There have been a number of spectacular messes for me to clean up since we got home from vacation, averaging out to almost one per day. Today? Par for the course, so far:

A little before 9, just as I am groggily coming to the surface and DH is finishing up getting ready for work, DS1 comes in and says he is going to make his own breakfast. Every morning, same thing: 2 slices (whole wheat) cinnamon toast. OK, no big deal, he has done this on several occasions before.

DH and I get our respective acts together and amble downstairs a few minutes later. DS1 is in distress, "Dad! I put ginger on my toast!" Well, he thought it was ginger. In reality, it was cayenne pepper. Fortunately for him he took only a bite out of the corner of the toast where there was a mere sprinkle, as opposed to out of the middle where there was a huge pile of cayenne.

DS1 does not live in this world. The cayenne, fortunately, is ancient, and has browned from its typical reddish color, so it does look a little cinnamon. And it's in the same kind of glass spice jar as the cinnamon. However, the label says "cayenne pepper", not "cinnamon sugar". It doesn't smell like cinnamon, and there is clearly no Splenda mixed in with it. Not one of these things even remotely occurred to DS1 before he dumped the cayenne onto his toast, lifted it up to his mouth, and took a bite.

So he drank his glass of orange juice in record time, and then a glass of milk to cool the burn, and seemed OK. Then I made him two more pieces of toast which he wolfed down. Then he looked green around the gills and said he felt like he was going to throw up, so I told him, "If you're going to throw up, throw up in the toilet, don't throw up on the carpet."

30 minutes later? Pukes all over his little brother, two floor pillows, and the carpet in the family room. Why? Watching TV, too lazy to get up when he started feeling woozy, didn't want to miss the show, I think.

I am even more upset and angry than I was yesterday, on top of being exhausted and depressed. DS1 pukes frequently, he's that type of kid. He knows when he's going to puke. He just didn't care...

The mess (not to mention the smell) was unbelievable. I had to strip down DS2 and give him a bath, strip off the two pillow covers and hope it didn't soak through... mopped up as much as I could from the carpet with paper towels and then got out the carpet cleaner and went over the spot wtih water, then with detergent to try and get the smell out, then with water to rinse again... still smells nasty up close, but there really isn't much I can do about that. Fortunately I don't usually spend time sticking my nose in the carpet.

After all that, I really, really want to rip all the carpet out of the house and put down hardwood. You can clean hardwood.

It occurred to me that nearly all of these accidents could've been prevented with greatly increased parental vigilance. But on the other hand, I'm not going to spend my life policing the kids in their own home... they have to learn to deal with things on their own. The last thing they need is me hovering over them all the time, keeping them neat and tidy and reminding them to go to the bathroom. That's a prescription for insane kids (not to mention insane parents).

So I just have to suck it up and deal with the messes, because life is messy sometimes. I just resent having to clean unnecessary messes, like the ones that are a result of a greater interest in a television program than in one's own bodily functions.