Thursday, May 31, 2007


I've been completely self-absorbed for the last week. Lilycentric. There has been so much to do, so very much to do. My poor friends. All they've heard is a frantic whine from me. I'm excited. I'm exhausted. I'm exhausting!

Last night and this morning I decided to go traipsing around the blogosphere. I hadn't been doing much visiting recently. I realized how nice it felt to be connected again to people I don't know! Isn't that weird? But it's true - it felt good to be reacquainted with the details of familiar strangers' lives. I lurk a lot. I follow the progress of new quilts and new babies. I sympathize with other folks who are training or selling their houses too. I read about travels and drool over gorgeous pictures of Australia and Japan. I get inspired by the books people are reading and make mental notes to add to my "Read Next" list. And this morning I went to see Neilochka at Citizen of the Month and found out that Sophia's next surgery is today. Perhaps right now (although since they're West Coast, that would be very early.) He is funny and odd and I love his blog. I immediately sent my thoughts and prayers and then almost as immediately worried that I shouldn't have said anything because they don't know me. But then I think, that's the point! He blogs - he puts it all out there and most of the people that read his blog were strangers until they started reading and commenting. I have to keep reminding myself that that is how blogging works. It makes total sense until I apply it to me. Then I feel like my comment of good wishes might be seen as strange and unwelcome. What is that about?? Anywaaaaaay...prayers, good vibes, and general lurking have gone on this morning. I feel connected. I love being connected. I think it is a good and joyful thing (always and evermore) to be connected in kind and random ways. If you don't have your morning's quota of brain/heart power already allocated, please spend a moment or two thinking healing thoughts for Sophia. Then we'll all be doubly connected.

Now I have to go paint some more [curse word, curse word] trim. Not so joyful. Yet, if you are reading this, then you're connected to me as I paint (and curse). And that's pretty darn cool. What would be cooler is if you could pick up that brush right there ...
Oh well - I guess there are limits on this here ether connection.



Wednesday, May 30, 2007


I had all but stopped reading Joshilyn Jackson's blog but clicked on it for some reason today. Faster Than Kudzu often has 3 question interviews. Perhaps that's why I stopped reading? I had no interest in today's author or book. I'm crabby and was just looking for a bit of chat when my eye snagged on the word "redemption". I love that word. Even when I hate Christianity and the South and Bible thumpers and spittle flingers - I love redemption. Joni Rodgers says of her characters, "Each of the sisters dies and rises again in a different way, learning that redemption is tragedy cross-pollinated by grace." Redemption is tragedy cross-pollinated by grace. What a FABULOUS thing to say, to learn, to read. Redemption is tragedy cross-pollinated by grace. Redemption as some strange and wonderful spirit flower. Grace buzzing around. I so needed to have that in my head tonight. Not that there's tragedy here - just grumpy folks, stressed out with upheaval and change. Still, redemption! The ultimate pick-me-up.

Kids Out, Carpet In, House On, Mayhem Down

The kids are out of school (last week already!) The carpet is in the house (finally yesterday!) The house is on the market (tomorrow really.) Mayhem is down and out, sick as a dog - a feverish dog (right this very minute.) It's been a crazy week. Here's what you missed because I wasn't able to blog. (There are pictures. They are on the camera, which is in a box, which is in a stack, which may be in the garage or even in storage - but which I'm hoping is in the back of the car. I'll post 'em when my head stops spinning enough to locate the camera.)

Brag Time:
Chaos won a presidential achievement in education award.
Mayhem won tenth in the regional math contest and received a library award (a plaque - not just a paper certificate he wants everyone to know.)
The Ninja Princessa received an award at school honoring her state literacy contest win.
Havoc placed first in math and second in science in the gifted program's contests.

Mayhem and The Princessa both received their black belts in karate after THREE AND A HALF HOURS of testing. They had two five minute water breaks but the rest of the time they were marching up and down the floor demonstrating their striking techniques, grappling, doing reversals and take downs (there were some twenty of each!), freestyle sparring, shouting out creeds and last of all holding their belts straight arm out in front of them - not above their heads and not below their chins - for three minutes. It doesn't sound as hard as it is. Had their hands dropped even the slightest bit he would have plucked that black belt out of their hands and tied their provisional belts back on them. It was so nerve wracking to watch them get that far and then watch their arms shake, sweat pouring down their faces. I don't know that I breathed for those last three minutes. Their instructor put on a good show, but she was, if anything, more nervous than us parents. Her sensei was doing the testing and he kept telling the kids how he had had to test and re-test to get his black belt. It took him seven years. I was so relieved and proud of them when they got their belts on their first test. They were proud of themselves - but worn out!

Other Random News:
The house! We (ALL of us - kids, SH, me, VBGF - the whole village!) have painted and weeded and packed and sorted and scrubbed and buffed and dusted and vacuumed and cleaned and fixed and replaced every freaking thing in this house. This sucker better sell IMMEDIATELY!

Did I mention Bug (my stepson) is here? Yay! We get him for three months.

Chaos? Did I tell you what Chaos' birthday present was? Is? He wanted another piercing. (His dad did the first one for him by piercing his earlobe in February.) He had to wait until after school was out but then VBGF and I (and Unky Dunky) took him to the world's cutest piercer and got him an industrial. He agreed to hold off on any more piercings until he's 18. He's very pleased with it. I think it looks great. I also think that it's plenty. If he wants to do any other bod mod for the next couple of years, he's going to have to hit the gym and lift weights or something else innocuous.

We are moving no later than mid July. Even if the house hasn't sold (oh, please God - I want the house to sell quickly), we are moving and getting the kids registered for school. From '86 to '92, I lived in Florida, California, Texas, Maryland, and DC. Then from '92 to now (FIFTEEN YEARS!) I've been here. It is more exciting than I thought it would be now that the process has truly begun. I can't wait to be in a new place - a place I've never lived. I can't wait to drive around and explore. I look forward to training rides and runs through the new neighborhood. I wonder about the new people we'll meet.

I want to go now!


Monday, May 21, 2007

Havoc's Take On The Birds And The Bees

The other day Havoc desperately wanted to watch a movie with the whole family. No way that was going to happen. Everyone was going in twelve different directions and the 'to do' lists were a mile long. He did not want to be alone. I can understand that. I told him there wasn't time for a whole movie before his dad came to get him, but that we could find one together on demand and watch for about 45 minutes. This is how we came to be watching "Look Who's Talking". Remember that movie? It has Kirstie Alley and John Travolta with Bruce Willis as the voice of "Mikey" the baby. I had forgotten how very 80's it was. The hairstyles were cracking Havoc up! I'd also forgotten the opening bit. The story line is about how a single mom goes about finding a father for her new baby son. The part I'd forgotten is the cute little visual at the beginning of how she became a single mom.

Havoc said, "What's that?! Is that her baby?"
"That's an egg." I explained.
"She's laying an egg? Like a chicken? Right there in the office with that guy there?"
"Sort of. Not really. Remember the puberty book? This is that kind of egg. It is what grows into a baby. They're showing you what's happening inside her body. Women can only get pregnant during the few days each month that they have an egg healthy and waiting."
"Wow, it's really big!"
"No, it just looks that way. It's a movie. In real life, it's very small."
"How small?"

While we were going though all that the movie concerned itself with a bit of plot: Kirstie Alley talking to her client (and lover) and then some kissing and then...
"What are those? Guppies?"
Guppies! I thought I was going to choke. His eyes were glued to the screen.
"Those are sperm. The egg is the mommy's part and the sperm are the dad's part and when they meet up at just the right time, they make the beginnings of a baby. Remember?"
The whole time I'm saying this, Bruce Willis' voice is saying, "Come on fellas! Faster. We're almost there! Look at that! I'll beat you there!"
Havoc thought it was the funniest thing he'd ever seen. Mommies laying eggs inside their bodies! Dads sending racing guppies with Bruce Willis' voice up inside to get the egg! Never mind the puberty books we bought and the talks about how babies get made and the conversations we've had about what sex is - you just know this is what he's going to remember. Thanks Hollywood! I guess chickens and guppies are as as valid as birds and bees, right? Right?
Oh well. What's one more therapy session?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

I Heart My Power Washer

I washed most of the roof with the power washer yesterday. VBGF did the courtyard and the side of the house and the windows. (Sweet Hubby was weed eating the gimongous hill we have. Poor guy - we hogged all the pressure washing fun!) The only reason I stopped cleaning the roof was because it was 8:15 p.m. and almost completely dark. I had grand visions of pressuring washing again this morning bright and early. The only obstacle? My right hand is curled into a claw hand - a sore claw hand. To the point that I dreamed (and this won't make any sense to non-Harry Potter fans) that I went to pick VBGF from the Dursleys with my hand all twisted up and blackened. I magicked up everyone a few drinks which they refused to drink so the glasses hovered in the air and clonked them in the head trying to get their attention. VBGF howled with laughter at the Dursleys getting knocked about the head by glassware and was finally ready to leave. My hand was still shriveled. THAT'S how sore my hand is today.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Anti-Prometheus

Apparently I am a fire hoarder. In the sorting, cleaning, and purging process I have come across a crap load of fire starting implements I had squirrelled away. (For a rainy day? For an emergency? In case we needed to start a bonfire the size of Pluto?) I'm not sure what Freud would have made of my tendencies. I have unearthed no fewer than four huge boxes of kitchen matches, three smaller boxes of "strike anywhere" matches, two boxes of camping matches (windproof! waterproof!), and nine (NINE!) lighters in various colors (blue, yellow, orange, pink, purple, and black). Oh! And one (still packaged) camping firestarter kit with a flint/sparking contraption. It's very odd. Most of what I found was tucked away in emergency backpacks, in baskets in the closet, and at the back of drawers in every room in my house.) I don't carry matches (or lighters) in my purse, so clearly I'm not that worried about being able to start a fire anywhere, anytime. Yet...I obviously have a subconscious obsession with having the capacity to start a fire in an "emergency" (provided that emergency happened in the comfort of my home.) Come to think of it though, I'm not sure I'd be a big help in a situation requiring immediate fire. I am historically unable to find implements to light birthday candles or the fireplace!

I'm not at all sure what to do with this pile o'fire potential that I've amassed. I'm not comfortable packing it up and putting it in storage with everything I own. I know Sweet Hubby would say something reasonable like, "Well, if hasn't all caught fire in the house over the years, why would it spontaneously combust the minute we put it in storage?" He may have a point. But I still can't do it. It seems like tempting fate just a leetle too much.

I woke up in the middle of the night worried about those camping matches. I'm not sure it's a good idea to make windproof and waterproof matches. What do you do if you can't blow the match out or douse it in water? I suppose it would be ok for a campfire where you can just toss the match in, but what if you tried to light a candle with that sucker?

I know the Goodwill won't take computers. What do you think their policy is on matches/lighters/flint?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Something Old, Something New

Remember how I was all "Behold! I am doing something new!"? Apparently the newness wore off yesterday and we were back to the old. I could NOT get myself on track with packing and painting and purging. Instead I threw an internal temper tantrum and went for a pedicure. It was lovely to pamper myself. It was part of my Mother's Day present. (As much fun as it was, it was not my favorite part of my Mother's Day present. My favorite part is the handmade card and weird little wind up Carmen Miranda-like bunny thing the kids gave me.)

What was not part of my original Mother's Day present at all was a trip to the bookstore. Yet, on the phone with me as I left the nail shop yesterday, Sweet Hubby said, "Go buy a book! Take yourself to lunch! Re-rax." See why I love that man?

I hied me hither to yon book shoppe. Did I buy a book? No, I did not. I tried. I tried real hard. In the end, though, I could not bring myself to buy a single book. Not me. I, addict that I am, bought books. Plural. As in multiple. More than two. (More than three, if you must know. And you must. That is the point of me being all confessiony on the internet here.) I did save the receipt so that I could take some of them back if need be. (Which is a complete joke really. If I had the willpower to take them back, then I would have had the willpower (in spades!) to resist buying them in the first place. I mean, I suck at returns I HAVE to make. I cannot for the life of me imagine that I would be better at returns I don't want to make. Still. That receipt is emotional insurance.)

I about panicked on the way home as I realized I had no where to "hide" my books. (I mentioned the addiction part of all this, right?) It's not that I hide books from Sweet Hubby. I promise you, he's not judgmental like that. He won't lecture me about $ or natter on about someone giving inches and someone else taking miles. He won't wonder where I'm going to find the time to read them all while still getting done what needs to be done. He's a prince. (Or a really cute enabler. You decide.) He might be slightly disappointed that my book binge is all chick lit. He likes sci-fi. No, my pattern of hiding books is all about hiding them from myself. The old me would squirrel them away, a few here on this bookshelf, a few on that. I would pick one to gobble up right away and the rest would be scattered to be re-discovered later. That way I didn't have a pile of books beside the bed demanding attention all at the same time. The hiding process keeps a book buying binge from turning into an all out book reading binge. Only it is quite a bit harder to tuck books away on this shelf and that when you have no shelves! Or if the few built in ones you have are absolutely bare except for your new books. You know what I did? I put the new books under my bed. Do you think that helped? No, it did not.

I read my allotted one book of immediate gratification last night: Watermelon by Marian Keys. Now I must spend all of today and the rest of this week resisting the rest of the stack even though I know exactly where it is. I've never done that before. Behold! I am doing something new! (I hope.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Random Neuron Firings

You know you got up too early when your body says it's waaaay past lunch time and you look at the clock to discover it's 9:45 a.m..
Are you supposed to put two periods there? One for the abbreviation and one to end the sentence makes sense to me but it looks like a failed ellipsis. If I leave one off though, it looks like a naked sentence. Grammar quandary. I'd look it up in one of my 2,000 books - but did I mention I packed up all those fuckers??
Finally, I think it's weird when women have tanned armpits. I can think of no easy way to accomplish tan pits. Do they lay out in the sun with their arms over their heads specifically to make sure their pits get bronze? What happens if they fall asleep that way and get sunburned there?? Egad. That would be horrible! And? Not worth it. It looks odd to begin with.
Is it lunch time yet?

Where Did Monday Go?

We are in whirlwind mode here. I'm planning on Sweet Hubby's job contract being signed by the end of the week and having the house on the market by a week from today. We have packed all of the books in our house (some 2,000 of them). My studio is packed away. We are moving non-essential furniture, dishes, and clothes to storage, too. Pretty much all we have left are beds, the PS3 (with HD monitor), table and chairs, some food, and random things (like NFL band-aids, bowls of keys, and a headless dragon statue that is awaiting gluing). Makes it easier to paint and put in new carpet. The kids are vacillating at school between last minute fun (field trips, pizza parties, movies in class) and academic cram (National Math League contests, test review, final exams). We had a fantastic time this past weekend. We had all the kids and one party segued right into the next as we celebrated birthdays, and going aways, and mothers. I'm saying goodbye's to my stuff (for a while), to my friends (for a longer while), and to my house (forever). It is a bit drawn out but it feels safe and anchoring. I'm doing everything in stages. Even though it feels like we're doing so much so quickly, it also feels like we have enough time to do it all the right way. I am in a better groove than I've ever been in my life! I am getting better and better at transitions. Who knew that all I needed was more practice?

Friday, May 11, 2007

O'Dark Thirty Realization

When we move, local/regional NFL coverage will be centered on the Panthers!! Not only are they not the Titans, but they're an NFC team to boot! Egad.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Old Home Week (Or Something)

I don't know if the purging of twenty year old boxes I did the other night sent out this mighty nostalgia vibe or what - but today has pretty much freaked me out. I'm registered with this great website/board thingy (that's the technical name for it) that reconnects sailors with their shipmates from yesteryear. It has been interesting fun the past few months to hear what everyone has been up to. Navy linguists formed a close-knit community back in the 80's and even though I was "only" a reservist, it was great to be a small part of it then and it's fascinating to be pulled back into the fringes now. Today, however, was just uncanny.

I hadn't even signed on in weeks. I'd promised a buddy (Matt) who had just found me that I'd write back as soon as I returned from a trip - which I never did! Lame-O friend! Today I got a message from someone new asking if I was the same Lilymane who had been to Misawa TAD in the late 80's. Why, yes. That was me. I wrote back and he wrote back - and I was very surprised to learn that I had thrown a drink in his face. I remember the drinks we were drinking that night. They were called Chu hai's (sp?). They tasted like Sprite but had an evil, delayed kick. The bar was at the top of this steep hill- we are talking vertical incline. It was set up that way, I suspect, so that sailors could just roll down the hill back to base because there is no way you could have walked UP that thing after a Chu hai or two!

Somehow in all this e-reminiscing, I remembered to write to my buddy Matt. In doing so, I noticed that there had been a lot of "visitors" to my profile since the last time I'd logged in. It's kind of fun to scroll through and see who's been checking to see if you're a shipmate they remember. I didn't recognize many of the names - but one jumped out at me. Not to rehash very, very old drama - but there was a boy I was madly in love with. We were sort of an on again, off again undefined relationship, but really? I was off the deep end about this guy. I was quite torn up to come back from that TAD to Japan to find a friend of his waiting for me at the airport instead of him. In fact, I never heard from him again and only saw him once more. We literally ran into each other about a year later. We turned a corner and smacked into each other. "Sorry!" "Sorry!" we both said and kept walking. That was it. For 17 years. Then there was his name on my visitor log. But had he written me? Noooo. Boys!!!!!

I wrote him and said hey. I'd love to hear from him. I kept waiting for some angst to hit me about him - because man, oh man, was I in love with him at the time - but there was nothing weird at all. I just wondered what he'd been up to all these years and hoped he'd write back. I did finally hit the send button on the email to Matt - only to have the phone ring that very second. I saw the caller ID and it said "San Diego" with some number. As Sweet Hubby is in San Diego this week on business, I assumed it was him. Nope. It was my Navy buddy Lisa, (whom I talk to maybe twice a year) calling me on her way to her ship to let me know she's coming through here on her way to South Carolina next month!!

But wait there's more! After spending the better part of the day emailing various and sundry other Navy buddies (because I was on a roll!), I got an email from my writer pal Steve. He was forwarding on an email from our mutual friend Julia that we had both lost track of about 7 or 8 years ago! Seems she had randomly found the website for the research we're doing on our book project. She had forgotten we knew each other. Julia and I had been friends since I was in Kindergarten (she is a year older) and I'd met Steve through friends in a theater program when I was in the 8th grade. I'd been the one to introduce them to each other - and they went right out and fell in love and had a turbulent relationship for like, six or seven years. (And I thought dating the same boy for THREE years in high school was an eternity!) She'd forgotten she'd just walked in and practically stole this boy away from me? I say that with a smile because I think Steve and I were always destined to be "just friends". It is so interesting to me what we remember and what we forget. She forgot she stole a boy from me in the 8th grade and I forgot I'd thrown a drink in a cheeky boy's face!

Lest you think I'm forgetting to post these next few days - rest assured. I haven't forgotten you, I'm just ignoring you. Ha ha. In addition to Mother's Day - it is the appointed time for family May celebrations. Tidget's birthday is on the 15th, the Princessa's on the 19th, and Marmie's (=my mother's) b'day on the 21st. We will be busy making tacos and strawberry shortcake (the traditional fare in our house for May birthdays!) There is also the wee matter of VBGF being here to help us get the house on the market, SH coming back in from a week out of town, Nurse Nice cycling up to see us, and my sister leaving to go back to Paris. So. Ignoring you. Feel free to ignore me back and we'll catch up again on Monday, eh?
Peace my internetchiks.

Field Trip To Hell

I was just handed a permission slip to sign so my sixth graders can go on a field trip. Where are they going? The local Baptist McChurch. To be innoculated against the evils of alcohol and tobacco. I'm not overly excited about signing this form.

Don't get me wrong - I don't want my kids smoking or drinking. We talk with the kids about it a lot - the dangers, the realities, the health risks, the social consequences, the legal issues - we talk about it all. And by "we" I don't just mean Sweet Hubby and me. "We" means our whole village: other parents, closest friends, aunts and uncles, grandmothers, mothers of peers, karate instructors and wrestling coaches. I would add the "Teen Living" teacher to that list of village voices except that sex, drugs, and personal hygeine seem to have garnered all the glory in her class. Smoking and drinking have gotten short shrift. I want the kids to hear the "Don't drink" and "Don't smoke" messages at school. I don't know that I think a field trip to a church known for its "purity programs" counts (in my book).

I don't believe that pressuring kids to sign pledge cards in front of hundreds of their peers is the answer. I don't think that portraying kids who smoke and drink as villains is particularly honest or effective. I despise the pious crap that this type of program pushes. And yet...

The school was pre-emptively defensive about the location - praising the church for offering to host the event in order to accomodate such a large group. Um, this is just for the sixth grade - and I know for a fact that they can all fit into one of several venues right at school! Isn't that what places like the cafeteria and gym and auditorium are for? Anyway... I'm going to sign this form and let Mayhem and the Princessa go. I think I'll plan on some deprogramming time afterwards.

***I wrote this post last week and never posted it! Today is the day. I talked to them about what I expected today to be like (pressure, scary information) and what they expected today to be like (pizza, no classes or homework). They both assured me that they weren't interested in smoking or drinking. Mayhem added the ominous word "yet" to his statement which almost launched me into a round of lecture until he pointed his finger at me and said, "Gotcha." Both he and the Princessa thought it was very funny. Then they reassured me that they both felt very centered in themselves and they just wanted to go have fun. OK. I guess. ***

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


I spent yesterday throwing away "treasures". Do you want to know what I considered "treasure" in high school? (Yes, I said high school. Remember my reunion - my TWENTIETH reunion LAST May? Twenty-one years. THAT's how long I've been lugging this junk, excuse me - these treasures, around.) The box marked "treasures" was filled with dessicated roses, newspaper clippings of my boyfriend's track achievements, bubble gum wrappers, beer bottle tops, movie ticket stubs, mylar balloon carcasses, construction paper valentines and love letters.

I dated the same boy for three years (=an eternity) in high school so all of that crap was surely connected to him - balloons and bouquets of roses he sent. I can't explain the bubble gum wrappers. My parents HATED gum and you'd get kicked off campus if you got caught with it at school so I never chewed bubble gum. Beer (obviously) was just as forbidden but what worked for keeping me away from gum did not work for alcohol. We drank like fish. Like alcoholic fish. I don't know why I saved a measly three bottle caps as reminders from the squillions of bottles we polished off. I don't even think I want to know. And for the love of God, why would anyone EVER think that a twenty year old movie ticket to "Top Gun" was valuable? Why, why, why have I carted this box around all these years?

It might possibly be cute if I had married that boyfriend and had his children. But I don't know. Another thing I threw away was a Martha Stewart wedding planner stuffed with receipts and magazine clippings and sketches and guest lists from my wedding in '91 to Mr. Tapioca Head. I did marry him, I did have his kids - and I still don't know what possible worth those momentos could have. I asked the boys if they had any interest in it. They looked up from the PS3 and looked horrified. A book full of wedding stuff - no thank you!

Trash! I have bags and bags of trash. It feels incredible to move through the world so much more lightly. It's not that I want to do away with all the reminders of my past. I kept letters from my grandparents and notes from my high school buddies. Books and letters - I re-read those. The other stuff, though, has got to go. I need room in my life for newness, for change, for clarity. I've decided this move is the best thing that could possibly have happened.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Z-Man Smileth

This is my godson Z-Man. I flew to Philadelphia this weekend to meet him and smother him with kisses and cuddles - and oh yeah, to promise to help raise him in the faith. I renounced all the forces of wickedness (again) and prayed while my godson was being marked up with oil and splashed with water. I loved it. Of course, I pretty much love all the liturgy in the Episcopal Church. Sometimes my witchy side cringes when certain priests get going - especially if they start to get all Baptist on me and say the words "precious Lord" too many times. I figure it balances out because my churchy side gets squicked out by some of the more froo-froo New Agey folks in Circle. I try to focus only the parts I like from both of my paths. I'm a blend, blend, blend kind of gal.

I tell you though, it's a darn good thing I renounced the forces of wickedness (and yea, verily did I renounce them) on Saturday morning. Otherwise my fellow godparent might have become headless. St. Ann is one of my dearest friends and her husband, John the Magnificent or JTM for short, is a prince of a guy. JTM's parents are kind and funny. I enjoy them very much. JTM's brother, on the other hand, is a dickhead. I'm talking, a total asshat. I guess it happens in the best of families.

On Saturday there was a lot going on. Baby ZMan was being baptized and 50 someodd folks were being confirmed or received into the church. JTM was one of those being confirmed. The plan was to all go to church and then head back to St. Ann's for a luncheon. There was even MORE going on when JTM's other son (who is 6) decided that he didn't want to wait and get baptized all by himself. Apparently he'd been talking in Sunday school about getting baptized but waited until Saturday morning to let his parents know that today was the day! The rector agreed to it, the Bishop thought it a fine idea, and luckily his Sunday school teacher was in the pew right behind the baptismal family's and whispered a smiling "Yes, I'd be delighted" when asked if she'd like to be an impromptu godmother. (She even had a present for him in her car! We had to rush to the church gift shop after the service but that woman was prepared. I can only dream of being that prepared.)

Baptisms are lovely affairs where we get to march to the baptismal font for some splashing and we get to pray that the newly baptised be guided in all good things and be given an inquiring mind and a discerning heart. The words of the BCP are truly beautiful. Did this impress the godfather? Not so much. He leaned over halfway through the service - about a nanosecond after the baptisms and confirmations were done - and whispered loudly, "Hey, we're gonna go back to your place. You gotta spare key?" Before the service the priest had made sure to tell us that the little boys were welcome to go play on the playground after their part. They'd gotten squirmy and we'd sent them out. You'd think that the 36 year old could manage to stay for communion, wouldn't you? Wouldn't you think that the godfather would be willing to stay and meet the priest at least? Guess not. Of course this was the guy who had called to bitch and whine about having to wear a suit to this thing. Can you imagine? Making the most of it, JTM asked his brother to take the two boys with him. After the service, Nana (St. Ann's mom) took the two girls (8 and 10 years old) back to the house to start getting the luncheon things set out while we mingled and made a quick run through the gift shop. As we were leaving the gift shop, which was waaaay down in the basement of the church and sort of around a corner, the youth leader walks in with St. Ann and JTM's sons and says, "See, I told you we'd find them. They're right here." WTF??? They were supposed to have gone with Brother Can't Be Bothered 45 minutes ago!!!!!!! The boys told us that he had come out to the playground to get them but they had wanted to stay and play. So he let them. That might have been fine IF HE HAD LET US KNOW!!! What kind of grown up takes responsibility for two little guys and then just leaves them? To make it worse, when JTM asked him about it he got PISSED and said, "What? They didn't want to go. I wasn't going to make them." He completely missed the point about letting someone know. St. Ann said he is self-centered like that. She was surprised that he hadn't just helped himself to the food before everyone got back. Apparently he's done that before. He had helped himself to some beers already but that just made St. Ann and JTM laugh. The beer he snagged was left over beer from the wedding (in Sept!) that no one else would touch. He spent the rest of the afternoon saying embarassing and hurtful things about his 5th grade son. One of the guests tried to get him to change tracks by saying, "Man, you're embarassing the guy." Brother Asshat's response? "Well, maybe he'll go away and stop bothering us then." Geez! The kid was great. He was just sitting talking with the grown ups because he was the oldest kid there.

As far as I'm concerned I'm a single godparent. Oh wait - no. St. Ann's brother is a godfather too even though he couldn't be there on Saturday. He's a pretty cool dude. I think he and I need to get together and quietly vote Brother Blacksheep off the island. ZMan will thank us for it later.

The rest of the weekend was fantastic! It was relaxed and fun. ZMan is a jolly boy and a big flirt. The other four kids were sweet to me and LOVED showing off their brother. Hanging out with St. Ann and JTM was exactly what I needed. It is so nice to compare notes with good friends who understand the challenges of a big, blended family. I even had a nice trip back - once we figured out that the huge, black plume of smoke rising up from behind the airport was garbage/something being burned at an industrial facility and not a problem on the runway! On the plane home I met a sparkly, young gal who had been in Philly to see her boyfriend. She's from Alabama. She and her boyfriend have been together for three and a half years and plan to marry - but she worries about how their families will get along. She thinks all the parents will be fine but their brothers will be a different matter. Her future brother-in-law is a self-important wiseguy named Tony, who talks like he's in the Sopranos. She described her brother Tooter as "Kramer all jacked up on redneck." I wished her luck and said that it sounded like a reality tv series in the making. All families have their issues, don't they?

Currently my family's issue is that we have too much crapola! After the kids had lugged a few boxes to storage, they got on board with the idea that we should throw/give stuff away. Now. This very minute. Before it gets packed in heavy boxes that have to get moved to storage, then into a truck, then into another house. I'm a smart mom for packing all the hardback books first, aren't I?

Peace to the People!

Thursday, May 03, 2007


My beautiful friend (I mentioned I have beautiful friends, right?) C is for Coffee has been such an inspiration to me. She is dynamic and creative and has been losing weight and shaping her body in the healthiest of healthy ways. I've been following my own little plan. I've been changing one small piece of my pattern each week with the eventual goal of losing these pounds and completing the Pacific Grove Triathlon. Next week, my one new thing for the week is to keep a food journal. I have been dreading this task for 11 weeks. I knew it was the new thing for week 12 and I have been absolutely dreading it!

I have had internal temper tantrums. I have thought about skipping that week. I have been scared of writing everything down for fear of triggering those old obsessive and addictive habits. Five years of anorexia/bulimia leaves its mark even after 20 years of recovery!! And in the last two weeks C is for Coffee has helped me get over all of that fear. She didn't even know she was doing it. She tracks not only her food but her calories! She's a great role model. She is interested in the caloric cost of food. She doesn't use the calorie information to deprive herself or chastise herself. She uses it to make good choices. Of course I KNOW that that's what you're supposed to do. I've just never had faith that I could do it that way. That is, until I watched her. She makes it look doable. Still doubting myself, I've spent the last ten days quietly checking the packages of food I eat or looking up info on calorie counter websites. It has not been hard. It has not meant I don't get enough to eat. I've just become aware of the caloric cost of what I do eat. I haven't written it down yet - but suddenly next week isn't scaring me at all. It feels safe.

I think I'm going to change her name from C is for Coffee to C is for Cool Calorie Counting Chick!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Talk

This post may be incomprehensible because my nephew Thrasher is staying with me for the day. You'd think with the herd of children I have that I'd remember how impossible it is to complete anything - even a thought - with a toddler around. Apparently I have the long term memory of a gnat, because I keep looking at the clock wondering how another hour has passed when I've still only managed to write half of an email! For a little guy who spent his entire day yesterday flying from Paris to Boston to Philadelphia to here - Thrasher's remarkably well behaved. Very snuggly. I may not have gotten caught up on my email but I'm making progress on getting caught up on hugs and kisses!

So...Monday night...The Talk
Have you ever tried to wedge a family talk into a schedule of karate and cub scouts and chorus concerts and math contests? There was no "good" night for it. Once we decided that sooner was better for the kids than later, we realized that the only relatively free night in the next two weeks was Monday. Maybe it's good we didn't have more than a few hours to stress about it. I had a hurried, but helpful and encouraging phone conversation with VBGF and then took a walk around the block with Sweet Hubby. Mr. Tapioca Head and I had talked twice already and he said he'd be available for the kids to call him after we finished talking. All set.

We took the kids out for ice cream after the concert to celebrate the Princessa's solo and Mayhem's making the math team. We got home and instead of chasing them off to bed, sat them around the table. We said we had big news we needed to talk to them about.
"You're pregnant?!" asked the Princessa.
Er, no. We explained we were moving. Chaos immediately asked, "Will I still get to go to HHS?"
"No, we're moving to North Carolina."
"Oh man!" he said and put his head down on his arms. The Princessa burst into tears. She sobbed. She was almost hysterical for a while. It was not going particularly well. We reminded them about the job situation here and told them about the job opportunities there. We told them we had weighed many factors once we knew that we needed to move. We told them there were other opportunities in other places, but we'd decided on North Carolina because we already had some family and friends there and that all the kids had liked it when we'd visited. We told them that we were making the best choice for our family that we could. Of course they wanted to know where else. I said, "There are some great opportunities in places like San Francisco and Dallas and Atlanta." Chaos cracked me up when he said, "Dallas? Dallas, Texas? Gee, what else is in Texas? Cowboys, prickly cactuses, and, oh the Bush family. No thank you!" I assured him there was a lot more in Texas but that I agreed with him, it would NOT be a good place for us.

We told them about the schools and some of the activities that were available. We assured the boys they wouldn't miss time with their dad because he was going to move close by. We told the Princessa that it wouldn't affect her time with her mom. The only change would be that she'd fly from RDU instead of from BNA. Havoc tried first to find the bright side and started listing the people we knew there. But then it hit him that he'd be leaving his Grandmothers and friends and he got a little tearful. His response was pretty amazing for an 8 year old. He said, "I feel worried and stressed and a little bit angry and excited, too. Would it be alright if I got a piece of paper and a bright red crayon and scribbled while you keep talking?" I praised him for being able to name all of his feelings and told him of course he could scribble if that made him feel better. Mayhem was completely cool with it all. He wanted to call his best friend - but since they see each other more on Runescape than they do in real life, I don't think he sees it as impacting his friendships too much. Mayhem is also easily the most outgoing of the kids. He makes new friends everywhere.

Mayhem, never one to be still for very long - and being more upset by the Princessa's sadness than the actual news, I think - had to get up and move around. He started practicing his karate moves. Chaos was quiet. He also got up but he started wandering around the table and pacing. Havoc snuggled and the Princessa leaned against me as she continued to sniffle. Havoc wanted to know if he could go talk to the guidance counselor at school. Isn't that great?! I love that he thought of other resources to help him deal. We let the kids ask all of their questions and then let them up to go figure things out the way they wanted to. The Ninja Princessa immediately texted all of her friends and Havoc called his dad. Chaos wanted to go sit in the driveway and look at the moon and think. Mayhem and Wasabi went around checking on everyone. Once the big talk broke up, we got to have smaller conversations with the kids in shifting groups. I went to talk to Chaos in the driveway and Mayhem joined us. SH and the NP cuddled on our bed and talked and pretty soon Havoc and Mayhem and Wasabi joined them. Later I had all the boys in the studio. Chaos said he was "fine" with it. I asked him what he felt. "Nothing." I told them that everyone would have a different pattern for processing and a different time schedule. The boys were worried about the Princessa. The Princessa was worried about the boys - especially because she couldn't understand how Chaos could feel nothing. I told her that it was hard for some people to know what they were feeling immediately. I told all of them that there would be more and different feelings everyday for a while. We emphasized that everyone's reactions were valid. There isn't just one way to do big transitions. We tried to make them understand that there were many, many healthy patterns for dealing with things like this. We did talk about some of the unhealthy ways that we wanted to avoid - but mostly we talked about the positives.

It was hard but such a good process! The kids all had to go away to cope for a bit - but they all came back! Each of them came back and added more to the discussion. They each came back to ask more and to talk more about how they felt. Even Chaos, in his own way. He came in and wanted to snuggle and have me scratch his back. I told him I could only scratch his back for a minute and he said, "After what you just did, you better scratch my back for TEN minutes." He also let me know that part of the price for his cooperation with the move is to get his ear pierced the minute school is out. It was sweet bargaining. It was, "This sucks and I'm trying to be a good sport." I know that Monday was only the first stage but it was a great first step. The kids were all honest and present and turned in towards the family. I had been sure Chaos' first reaction would be a huge surge of anger. I hadn't anticipated the Ninja Princessa's intense sadness. I think it likely that there will be more anger from Chaos and less sadness and more resignation from the Princessa as the days move on. I know that everyone is going to cycle up and down through all kinds of feelings. It is a grieving process. It just felt so good to be doing all of that together. It's been hard to try to be juggling details and worry about slipping up and having the kids find out in a backwards way. I like the directness and clarity and I want to keep moving in that direction.

We've already started packing up our books. Remember our beautiful library? Now it looks like this!

There is so much to do in such a short time but now I'm enjoying the process more.
Naptime is over! Thrasher and I are going to have some lunch and pack some more boxes.