Veni, Vidi, Ventus --
The randomly chaotic and crafty scribblings of a deranged, wannabe artist allowed too many colours in her Crayon box.

Surgeon General's Warning: Some content of "From Pooka's Crayon" may not be suitable for: work, blue-haired little old ladies, the politically-correct, rabid moonbats, uptight mothers, priests, chronic idiots, insurance claims agents, Democrats, children, small furry quadropeds from Alpha Centauri, or your sanity.

Thursday, December 07, 2000

To sleep...

I'd like to live in a temperate zone, I think .... with mild summers and winters and a lack of the temperature changes that cause me to ache so badly.

I'd like to sit on a dock, dangling my feet into the cool water below and listen to the dragonflies buzzing and the frogs croaking while watching the sunset, just once more, and know that it was my place to be.

I'd like to curl with my friends around a fire once again and add my voice to their songs that rise into the night with each spark from the flames, riding the updrafts into a single, joyous melody.

I'd like to dance barefoot on the sands to the sounds of steel drums, hand in hand and heart in heart with people whose only cares of the moment are for living the music.

I'd like to walk the misty moors and lay in the heather, to chase sheep and climb hills and breathe in the air of my ancestral home.

To sleep, perchance, to dream.

Sunday, November 19, 2000

We need a life

Pooka: ::goose::
Sorcha: HEY! Ref, I call a fowl!
Pooka: Disallowed, no phones in the game.
Sorcha: Ahhh, go lay an egg you big chicken.
Pooka: Cluck you. I don't need to be hen-pecked.
Sorcha: Listen to her crow. Don't get your feathers ruffled.
Pooka: Look, chick, don't you take this any fea-ther.
Sorcha: Damn, looks like I scratched a nerve
Pooka: I'm all cooped up, what do you expect?
Sorcha: Eggcuse me? Who's fault is that? Not mine.
Pooka: You're the one that Rhode me, Red.
Sorcha: This is silly. You crack me up.
Pooka: Eggsactly.
Sorcha: You keep carping on like this and it could get messy.
Pooka: What, we might need a sturgeon?
Sorcha: Someone may have to call the cods on us. It's gonna smell rotten.
Pooka: Mako, mako not. Besides, no one is floundering yet.
Sorcha: I think I am just gonna try to tuna you out before we are all in a heap of trouble.
Pooka: You're on fin ice, eh? Sink or swim, and you can't even keep your head below water.
Sorcha: You sure as hell have some nerve. Having a whale of a time screwing with me. Why don't you go suck a jellyfish?
Pooka: You hard of herring, honey? I think your just doing this to me on porpoise.
Sorcha: Listen Gilfriend! I have had about all of the flotsam I can take from you. I'm gonna land you with a right hook.
Pooka: Just can't fathom that. I mean, you're so crabby, but you don't have enough groupers to back that up. Hah, you're kelpless.
Sorcha: That does it. I'm gonna pound you until you are as flat as a mackerel.
Pooka: Oh, I get it. You're tanked.
Sorcha: Ya, one too many Seaweed cocktails.
Pooka: Your barbs are losing their sting, Ray.
Sorcha: Don't whine at me. I have a haddock. Besides, you are just feeding me the same old line over and over.
Pooka: Betta back down then. I marine it.
Sorcha: Bite me. You blow dogfish for quarters.
Pooka: And you're just being shellfish.
Sorcha: I am just gonna clam up now. You make me seasick.
Pooka: Brine, brine, brine, that's all you ever do.

Monday, November 13, 2000

Sunrise, Sunset

Oh god. In approximately 10 hours or so, my baby, my very last and final baby, turns four. FOUR. Four freakin years old. How did she get so old, so big, so fast?

She's wearing one of her sister's dresses, with her new Walkman on, dancing around the living room to a Britney Spears tape. She's doing it well. She has rhythm. The pixie cut just makes her look even older and more impish -- especially since I know WHY it's now that short.

I still can't believe she massacred her hair that bad.

Four years old.

It's still not enough for me to forget labor with her. Nor is it enough to forget how she came into this world -- not with a whimper or a cry, but a full-fledged roar.

"Well, it looks like you have a baby ...."


"...Air Raid Siren."

I still remember my initial terror when a nurse casually mentioned, "Oh, we have a birthmark."

AAAAIIIIEEEE! How bad, is she okay, is it ....

Oh. It's a little witchmark under her right arm. It suits her.

Unfortunately, I also remember all of the pain AFTER her birth, when my gallbladder decided it was finally time to freak out. I remember the fun of my liver trying to shut down. I remember being hooked up to EKGs, and some MORON trying to put an oxygen mask on a panicking asthmatic. Cannula, dumbass, thank you very much, you want me in hysterics? No, didn't think so.

She stayed in my room with me, except for the times that the doctors forced me to give her up so I could rest.

I well remember being in the hospital for a week, eating the worst, blandest food they could find due to the gallbladder. I'm still trying to forget the huge stone that finally went away so my liver could work right again.

Oh boy, and do I remember the night that Hubby showed up, only to have the head nurse kick him out.

"You've let me be here till all hours for the last week. What's up with that?"

"Well, she's no longer on the Critical List now."

Critical ... oh hell. Nice of them to let us know. Shudder.

Every time a new shift came on at the nursery, they all would migrate down to my room to see "the pretty baby."

She was, too. Auburn hair, violet eyes, and a perfectly round head. It's nice to have big hips sometimes.

Of course, from the moment she roared into the world, her attitude was cemented.

She didn't want to nurse. Why? It was WORK, dammit. I should take care of all of that. Two days before we finally got her to accept nursing, and a hell of a lot of effort in both fighting the nursery staff that wanted to give this indignant child a bottle, and getting her to accept doing the work involved for food.

In the end, by the time she weaned herself at 1 year, she never did willingly take a bottle. Only once in that time did she have a bottle at all, and that was when I finally went in for surgery to remove the gallbladder -- and seal off all future chances at motherhood -- and even that bottle was given with even more effort than it takes us now to get her to do something, like, oh, clean up her room.

Four years.

Where did the time go?

Where did my baby go?

Happy Birthday, Thing 2. I hope you don't mind if I cry.

Sunday, November 05, 2000

Kid For Sale: No, I'm serious

Thing 2 just knocked over a bottle of water.

She stood there and WATCHED it pour on the floor. So did Thing 1. It took several shouts to make them realize that Mommy wanted them to stop the sparkly waterfall. ARRRGH! Pick it UP already!!!!

It had puddled on a polar fleece blanket. The carpet was safe.

Stress "was."

Exhibiting all the genius of her father, Thing 1 picked up the blanket poured it off on the floor.

She then stood around and stared at the dripping blanket. And stared. And stared.

"Get ... a towel. Put the blanket on the washer, get the towel that is there."

Yeah. Right.

We're talking brain surgery here.


"You. Kitchen. Blanket. Washer. Towel. Trade. Return."

"Oh." Drip drip drip drip.


She carries it there, slinging water as she spins in circles the whole way. There were even a few swooshes and swoops in there. Water is now everywhere.

I'm hoping the blanket had a better fate than the towel and the spill.

Her idea then of mopping up the mess was to throw a towel down and walk off.

Hell, why do I need my mother to make me crazy? My kids are going to manage it in record time.

Sunday, October 15, 2000

Butt Floss!

I don't get thongs.

Okay, okay, let me correct that. I mean, I DO get that they're the only way you can wear some kinds of clothes without panty lines showing through (and I'm including g-strings in the thong description to save time). I can also see the point that if your underwear is going to crawl up your ass, you might as well just start with it there and save time. Personally, I think that's just an excuse.

But Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the things just aren't comfortable. I've tried, and I've tried. I own multiple pairs (and why in the hell is it a "pair" of underwear anyway?) Really, you spend most of your life trying to keep your underwear OUT of your crack, but by putting them on, you deliberately subject yourself to it.

Okay, so they look good -- on SOME people, anyway. I'm firmly convinced that I'm not one of them, no matter what hubby says.

What sadist came up with the idea?

Closet Skeletons

There are skeletons in my head
there's some underneath my bed,
and the closet's overflowing.

Pocket demons in my brain
eat my thoughts till none remain
and there's nothing left but screaming.

* * *

I'm lying in bed, and some wild stray thought picks the lock to a childhood door that had otherwise been blissfully locked behind me.

My monster. My mother. Same colour, different smell.

I'm not sure when I first became aware that I wasn't a child, I was an inconvenience.

Maybe it was the day that, after complaining quite mightily since the night before about my ears and throat being sore, I was given cough medication and sent to school.

I passed out in the hallway.

When my mother showed up, annoyed that I'd dared to interrupt her day, the first thing she did was bark accusations at me in front of the school nurse and everyone nearby. I was a druggie, I'd taken something and was stoned. I was taken home, given a lecture, and that was that. Right.

Until I passed out at school again two days later. Yeah, fuck you lady.

This time, the old nurse (who had been a buddy of mom's when she worked at the school) wasn't there, and there was a temp in place. This budding genius not only took me seriously, but took my temp. 103. I was taken to the doctor, who pronounced a severe ear infection, strep throat, and an extreme case of vertigo. I spent several months on Antivert just so I could walk a straight line without staggering or stand up without promptly falling down.

Or maybe it was flag camp. Ah, the joys of summer activities. I spent the first day throwing up. Every time. Every year. Same routine.

Now, logicially speaking, heat stroke and heat exhaustion were to be expected. This was usually June, in Central Texas heat, out in the middle of a freakin open field with no shade whatsoever. Even better if they could find a paved asphalt parking lot. Mmm, boy. Baked tennis shoes, anyone?

I was a slacker, of course. I was just trying to get out of it. I just didn't know the drills (hah) and was trying to get out of it. I was lazy, blah blah blah. Never you mind that I was shaking and clammy and had totally greyed out to the point of being completely witless.

"Excuse me, but could you move your speculations 5 feet to the right whilst I vomit on your shoes? Don't mind me, that's just my lunch, do carry on."

Once I got the first few rounds of barfing over with, everything went fine.

Till my last year.

Oh no, they couldn't give us asphalt this time, some genius decided the grassy yard by a dorm was more satisfying. Kick and turn and OH FUCK where did that hole come from?

I went down in a heap, my leg twisted beneath me. At first, I thought I'd broken something. After all, your kneecap isn't supposed to wobble like that, and it CERTAINLY isn't supposed to be on the SIDE of your leg, right?

Oh, I was fine, there was nothing wrong. Get back up, dammit. Do it again, and without the falling down this time. What do you mean, you can't stand up? Lazy girl, here. (yank tug excrutiating pain) Now, wrap this ACE bandage around it and you'll be fine. See, you can do it!

So I spend the rest of camp limping around on a dislocated knee that had been VERY poorly popped back into place. Mmm, love that sweet smell of success in the air?

My mother, of course, told me to stop being a baby. There was nothing wrong with me, there was no one around to watch my act, take the damn brace off and cut it out. Yeah, fuck you lady.

The pain and frustration led to a frantic desperate tryst with the current boyfriend that led to the fun of a condom breakage and, in the two weeks before my birthday, my first and only abortion. I was 16.

No sanctimonious holier than thou bullshit here, thank you. If I'd carried the baby to term, I'd have died. I know this well enough know, though I didn't at the time. As it was, I almost bled to death when I finally did have a baby (and the next, and so forth until they tied my tubes so my body wouldn't help me self-destruct) and had enough trouble. Frankly, it was it or me. Selfish as shit, I know, but that's what teenagers are good at.

I remember the abortion itself clearly enough, though. My parents never knew. Which is a blessing, because I'd have been out of the house quicker than shit through a goose. The only one with me was my boyfriend who was as scared as I was. Planned Parenthood gave you chances to back out. I almost did. I remember him promising to stand beside me, no matter what my decision was.

In the end, I went into the room.

Afterwards, all I felt was overwhelming, all-encompassing relief. I digress.

So, I'm a teenage unwed post-abortion ex-mother-to-be with a fucked up knee, (k-i-s-s-i-n-g), trapped in a car with my happy little Norman Rockwell from Hell family on our way to Outer Nowhere, New Mexico, to visit my aunt the doctor who happens to be the only really cool person left alive on my mother's side of the family. My grandparents are okay, really, but my aunt is more in touch with the Now of the world, rather than with the Then.

And my aunt wants to know what's wrong with my knee. I tell her. My mother blows me off and starts scolding my aunt for encouraging me. My aunt, love her to death, ignores my mother and looks at it. She also promptly "suggests" to my mother that maybe taking me to an orthopedic doctor when we got back might be a good idea, just in case.

Thank you for inserting some logic into the woman's brain.

The doctor she somehow picked happened to also be the orthopedic surgeon for not only my high school's football team, but also worked with the Houston Oilers. Oh. My. That must mean he can Be Trusted. Yeah, fuck you, lady.

Doc looks at my knee. I explain. He looks at me. He unwinds the wrappings. He looks at the knee. He, mind you, GLARES at my mother.

He then makes her come over to the table, and put her ear down right against my knee. He wiggles my kneecap (which moves quite freely). There's a horrible grating sound. Nasty. Icky. Makes you shiver.

"Hear that? That's a Bad Sound. How long has she been walking around without seeing a doctor?" He's not glaring at me. He's still looking at her.

She mumbles something incoherently and inspects the ceiling.

Doc starts prodding. "See this muscle?" He whips out his handy blue marker. "This is where it SHOULD be. " Marker slash. "Want to know why it isn't?" He told her anyway.

"These..." Several marker slashes. "Are where her scars are going to be if we can't rehab this knee." Lots of physical therapy.

Mom makes sure physical therapy is done, because by god she's not going to waste money having me cut on because I'm lazy. Yeah, fuck you, lady.

Hell, maybe it was the time that Dad had been sick for a few days. Dad is not a Brave Man when it comes to being sick. Dad is a downright card-carrying certified Sick Wuss. He's dying. After a few days of this, you wish he would so he'd at least shut up. But Dad had germs. And Dad passed them around.

And I got them.

But noooo, I wasn't sick. Fuck, I could be bleeding out the eyes and ears and my mom would slap a bandaid on me and tell me to shut up and get dressed because school started in half an hour.

Two days later ... yup, you guessed it. I passed out at school.

Here came the accusations again, here came the glares, here came the .... the nurse holding the thermometer. I was too pale and too red (all at once, I'm a very dramatic feverish) all in the right places, and she'd taken my temp. Whoo hoo, lookit that, she really IS sick, go fucking figure.

Walking pneumonia. Another day, and the doc would have hospitalized me. He should have. It's not like I got any care or compassion at home for the entire two days that I got to skip school. Oh yeah, mom, I'm having a whole fucking world of partying down drug doing fun here at home while I'm laying in a goddamned coma in the bed, unable to even get up to get a drink. Yeah, I'm just partying down so hard that I'm working myself into dehydration just for the sheer fucking fun of it. Yeah, fuck you, lady.

This is is the same woman whose idea of responding to a grade drop, or a bad conduct mark, or a note from a teacher was to threaten me with a visit to a psychiatrist. Maybe I should have just let them send me. I'm sure he would have loved the rant I'm going through right now. Psychiatrist, great. Physician, forget it.

Yeah, fuck you, lady.

* * *

There are skeletons in my head
there's some underneath my bed,
and the closet's overflowing.

Pocket demons in my brain
eat my thoughts till none remain
and there's nothing left but screaming.

Yeah. Fuck you, lady.

Wednesday, October 11, 2000

Are we there yet?

So, am I the only totally sick fuck up this late?

Apparently so. None of the other journals seem to have been updated recently, while I was busily off writing the great American novel: "How to Fuck Up Your Kid's Life in Twenty Moves or Less."

I feel like I'm a total failure at everything, heavy thoughts for 6 am when you haven't been able to go to sleep and all those little skeletons keep nagging at you. My eldest child is a neurotic, delicate wreck. The youngest is a sociapathic future Playmate looking for a clock tower.

Where the fuck can you go RIGHT with that? Talk about troubles finding a middle ground, it's the classic scenario: perfect victim, perfect victimizer. The baby is a bully, her sister cries. No, she bawls, loudly, like a cow with colic. It gets old, because it's not a matter of her not wanting to defend herself, she simply can't.

And I'm so tired, so tired of everything, so tired of being in charge of everyone else, tired of having to be responsible for everyone, tired of being sick, tired of feeling guilty, tired of the whining and crying and bitching and moaning that it's impossible to feel sympathy. I don't care about fair. I don't care about hurt. All I want is some fucking peace and quiet.

I might as well talk to myself. No one else around here listens to me.

My house is a disaster of Biblical proportions. My health is bad enough that the process of repeatedly bending down to pick up and put away various haphazardly strewn items relocated to such a position by Hurricanes 1 and 2 causes immediate waves of dizziness, followed by spiraling levels of sheer pain. Up and down and up and down are meant for roller coasters and carousels, not my ears

When, in some self-abusive burst of energy, I get totally sick of it and do a massive whirlwind attack before seeping into unconsciousness, it lasts all of an hour before WHAM. I'm giving them credit, usually it takes the amount of time for me to turn around before it's a mess again.

Thing 1, the delicate weeping flower, bawls and heehaws and moans when asked to clean up. You'd have thought we'd asked her to cut out her own liver for dinner instead of pick up her freakin mess. Thing 1 has perfected the Eeyore face, and has moping down to an art form.

Thing 2 looks at us like we're stupid, then wanders off to do whatever the fuck Thing 2 wants to do. Thing 2 has decided she will only respond to frantic screams. Everything else is totally ignored.

It goes something like this: Point child to toy. Explain to child that toy must be removed. Explain to child where toy must go. Explain to child why toy must go. Point child and toy to room. Make child pick up toy. Pick up toy, put toy in child's hand. Child drops toy. Child walks off. Repeat. Repeat again. Threaten to beat child. Repeat. Threaten to send child to room. Watch child walk happily off into her room, having decided that was where she wanted to go in the first place. Pick up toy. Put toy in room. Pull out last remaining strands of now-grey hair.

So, as I sit here writing the great American novel and wondering how many people are going to get ticked off for my verbosity ....

"Oh, MOMMY! You ugwy! Your nose all screwed up!"

Thaaaaaank you, Thing 2.

Stop growing up already.

For Mommy?


Sunday, October 08, 2000

Day in the Life, or, Things my family has learned

-- that Mommy can not only do a perfect Beavis voice, but she does a damn good Bart Simpson, too.

-- cats do not like being dressed up in clothing.

-- gravity works.

-- neato seasonal tights are not appropriate wear for tile floors.

-- sticking a key in an electrical outlet is a Bad Idea.

-- rain can be cold.

-- if you unwind a cassette tape, it probably won't work anymore.

-- toilet paper will not hold up a Barbie in the bathtub.

-- Mommy doesn't care about fair, Mommy just wants to stop the screaming.

-- if you aren't bleeding, you do NOT need a Band-Aid.

-- powdered sugar sticks to EVERYTHING, including Mommy.

-- cannonballs in the bathtub make a really big pool on the floor.

-- permanent marker does not come off furniture.

-- washable markers aren't.

-- crayons melt in the dryer.

-- leaving Legos on the floor in the dark is the quickest way to send Daddy to the ER for stitches.

-- they will not die if they don't get what they want.

-- hand soap makes lousy toothpaste.

-- if you ignore something long enough, there is NOT a magical fairy that will come and clean your mess up for you.

-- just because Mommy is sick and can't talk does not make Mommy stupid, deaf, or blind.

Monday, October 02, 2000


I hate dreams that are so realistic that, upon waking, they distort your view of reality. I hate waking up lost and not knowing where I am, certain that I should be Somewhere Else. Maybe it's the fever, maybe it's the meds, maybe ... maybe it's just Karma.

I haven't seen my great-grandmother's house in over 15 years. In fact, I can't even recall the year that she died. I do know that the scar on my hand is still visible, but since it was quite a doozy of a scar, that makes sense.

We had all shown up at the hospital, and were sitting there waiting ... and waiting ... and waiting. It was over half an hour before anyone bothered to talk to us, only to tell us that she'd died before we even got there. What was the wait for? To clean her up.

They had to do a trach on her (severe pneumonia, she basically drowned) ... but they left her on the table where she had died. And so these people take us all in, including me, and I couldn't have been more than 13 or 14. I knew enough to know what a tracheotomy was, and so the cloth they had thrown over her throat did nothing more than conceal the actual damage. It all seemed very cheap to me, that someone who was so loved was presented to their family ... like that.

I pretty much freaked out.

I "think" I hit my hand on the door when I fled the room. My family let me go. All I know is that I stopped some time later, sobbing in the middle of some hallway. A nurse stopped, upset, and dragged me back to the ER. Why? I was bleeding all over her floor. LOL Whatever I contacted with my hand, it left one hell of a scar as a reminder.

I digress.

Anyway, Ethel's house (she wasn't great-grandmother, she was Ethel, dammit) wasn't quite in the sticks, yet wasn't quite "citified" yet either. You walk outside, and you smell country. You had to walk some distance to reach the huge garden in back of the house, where rows upon rows of soon-to-be food waited, scarecrow and all.

I can never remember if the house was 2 bedrooms or 3, but I remember the layout clearly enough, especially the kitchen. I grew up in that kitchen, and the smells of fried chicken or fresh boiled corn, or better yet, jalapeno cornbread can still make me misty eyed. I can remember the incessant and futile humming of the window units, just barely breaking into the Texas summer heat. I remember the back door in the middle of the "living room" that led straight out to a flower bed and a cut brick walkway. I can remember the little iron scotty dog that always held that door open. My grandmother has it now.

For all I know, the house is no longer there.

Yet for the life of me, I can't figure out why I was suddenly back there again last night. Not just there, but moving in, with my family, trying to figure out how to install ceiling fans so the temperature would be bareable until we could get central air, or figuring out where the kids were going to sleep, or how to get the washer and dryer hooked up INSIDE the house, instead of in the huge garage that was always more of a barn, and always filled with wild neat things to get yourself thoroughly in trouble.

In the hazy early wakeup, I had no idea where I was. It certainly wasn't "here."

I was still there, and I could still remember in such clear detail that "home" was hundreds of miles away, in a quiet Texas cornfield.

And they say you can never go home again.

I just vomited an electric pumpkin

I'm feeling extraordinarily self-conscious about my body again.

Fat. Well, the word is really subjective. Everyone has their own ideas of what exactly constitutes FAT, how many pounds versus height make you obese, what you can carry and still at least look good. It's never just a matter of numbers, since every eye views it differently.

And in my eyes, I'm fat.

I hate being fat, I really do. I know I'm overweight, trust me. I'm hardly deluding myself on that issue. Diets can only do so much without exercise, and for me, exercise is really difficult. My health limits it in so many ways that there's very little I can do that won't be infinitely worse for me in short term perspective.

Running and aerobics are right out. Walking, if done often enough and long enough to make a difference, makes chronic foot problems act up. My breasts are too large to be able to comfortably and efficiently use exercise machines. I can't afford an exercise bike, or access to a health club (not that there's one anywhere close anyway). Swimming can only be done in the summer without an indoor heated pool -- which I don't have access to -- and how am I supposed to really SWIM and work out in a tiny apartment pool while watching two small children that don't know how to swim? Yeah, I know, there are ways around a lot of it, but it gets really frustrating.

I'm rarely happy with my body. I'm fat. I've got some wonderful curves that, with 30 pounds off me, would look fabulous. Those thirty pounds aren't off, and I look awful.

I can't be happy with being fat. I can't make myself comfortable with it and just accept that I'm a Big Girl now. I've tried. It's just not happening. The mirror is an enemy even more devious than my mind, because it sometimes gives the illusion that I don't look quite as bad as I think I do.

Then ... WHAM. I'll turn around, and suddenly the mirror will have expanded my bulk till there's nothing left but fat and ugly and repulsive. I do a lot of crying at that point. Sometimes, it's so extreme and so damaging that I can't force myself to put on my fat clothes and go out in public. Hubby has to put up with me weeping and refusing to go out with him and the family, because I'm a hideous fat monster.

Half of the problem could be solved by the breast reduction that my insurance refuses to pay for. They, of course, don't give a rat's ass about mental damage. They don't give a shit about psychological breakdowns. Hell, they don't even give a damn about the blisters and the bruises and the other impacts that my chest has made on my health. I look like a freak. I feel like a freak. They don't care.

Strap two heavy melons to your chest. Go on, I dare you to find something that will hold them up. Oh, don't worry if you're only barely hanging in there, that's what happens when you're a freak of nature. Got it? Great. Now jump up and down. Go ahead. Aerobicise. You can do it.

Awww, did you get hurt?

DUH. No shit.

So, I'm fat. Physically pffffft.

Totally unreasonable. I know, somewhere in my brain, that I'm not THAT big, that the largest percentage of overweight people are FAR bigger than I am. Doesn't matter. They aren't living in my skin. I am. I don't like it. I don't like me.

I'm on a nice limited diet. I don't just sit around and eat junk food and ice cream and crap like that. Goodies like my Hubby bought me the other night will last for MONTHS, till the food is so inedible that it has to be thrown away. A small square of fudge will last days with just a nibble every now and then. I drink water more than anything else, maybe one or two sodas total, IF that, in a day. Usually, it's nothing but bottled water to drink. Yes, I miss drinking other things ( I LOVE root beer, yum ), but it's not like I sit and make a total pig out of myself.

Not that it makes any difference to the people that look at me and see fat. I have an insulin disorder. I've been severely hypoglycemic all my life. My body produces way too much insulin, and doesn't process carbohydrates well at all. I've got a high potential to become diabetic if I don't watch what I eat. I try very hard to pay close attention to what goes in my mouth.

Of course, I'm still fat.

I can't buy a dress off the rack. My proportions are so off because of my chest size that nothing will hang right. I bounce between a 16 and an 18. The problem is, even when I spent 6 months as a size 12, I still had to wear XL and 1X shirts because of my chest. Dresses both stretch and ride up in the front because of my chest, then wrinkle and ride up in the sides and back because of my hips. I have a very tiny waist by comparison, so I'm really doomed.

Then there are the idiots that feel that just sizing up the junior fashions and leaving them alone is going to work. Riiiiight. Take one beanpole, make it really wide. Uh huh.

Now the clothes look like shit and they STILL don't fit anyone with a curve. Yeah, that was real effective, folks. You don't even get a C for that effort.

I *really* have a thing about SOME kind of jacket to go over my arms. I found a wonderful crochet top last summer that helps, but with only one colour, and no real length, it's seriously limited. (I HATE the 4" purple scar on my arm, and if I don't cover the skin, then my arms look chubby AND sunburned. No thanks) If they DO bother to put a jacket with it, the damn thing is wrist length sleeves and too damn warm, defeating the purpose of the sleeveless shell beneath.

And explain this: WHY in god's name do designers think larger women want to walk around looking like neon signs? I see the most horrendous colours in Plus sizes, and it's not just splashes, no. I mean full suits of "This Colour Came Out of My Child's Diaper" green, or "I Just Vomited an Electric Pumpkin" orange.

It's not that I want us to be camoflaged and in dull colours, it's that these colours are flat out hideously ugly on ANYBODY!!!!!

I remember high school. I was 5'4" or so then, weighed maybe 110. I thought I was fat. I hated my body. I was always trying to diet because half of my girlfriends were all twigs.

Twig. Aha. In retrospect, the problem was a simple difference in body structure: I was built like a woman. They were built like little boys. I had curves, serious curves, classic hourglass curves, from late 5th grade on. I never wore a training bra, I went straight to a B cup and kept right on going. I was a heavy C-D all through high school. I had a tiny waist, big boobs, and hips, and hated the fact that I didn't look like a string bean like everyone else.

What a fucking joke.

Looking back, I'd kill to have that body again, to be able to go back and do it over and be proud of what I had. Hindsight is always 20/20. Now I know what fat really is.

Now, I'm fat.

And I hate it.

Wednesday, September 27, 2000

Of Autumn Bounties

My nose relishes the scents still -- the crisp tang of cut apples and cider, the warm kiss of cinnamon and cloves and butter baked on pumpkin and acorn squash, the dry musky whisper of fallen leaves.

I love autumn, always have. I become a child again, kicking and shuffling through leaves, craving the search for walnuts and chestnuts and the chance to once again stand on a chair in my grandmother's kitchen to help stir, or supervise the baking of seasonal goodies.

Those days are far behind me, but sweet memories linger on. My grandparents are old now, and age has not been kind. There is fear in me, fear of visiting and seeing them, and having that feeble ill health seared into my brain so that it wipes out the only fond memories of childhood. I fear it, because I still see the greatest supporter my family ever gave me, my maiden great aunt, lying in a hospital bed, devastated by cancer. I'm scared. I don't want to lose them.

I could go "home," but it was never really home to me at all.

Now frankly, the whole "Thanksgiving" thing doesn't mean squat to us. There's no glorified celebration of past wrongs committed in the name of conquest and expansion, no triumphant "let's massacre a bird" party for the sacrificial corpse. In my family, this is one of the few times of year when our massive extended family all has a day off and can get together. We're spread out all over the place, and on a daily basis, few of us are able to see the others.

For the largest portion of my life, Thanksgiving was held at the house of my paternal grandparents. All of the cousins, aunts, uncles, and gratuitous spouses or significant others would congregate and plan for the annual Christmas bash, to be held on Christmas Eve like clockwork, every year. We'd eat, drink, watch football, and compare notes on life and pretty much whatever other topic sprang to mind. These gatherings tended to get silly as well. Don't even ask me about food fights. The topic of my incredible aim comes up every damn time. I just don't want to hear about the green jello salad anymore, m'kay? There were wonderful long years of this tradition, even after my grandfather died.

And then Hubby and I moved away. This wasn't any small move this time. Hubby joined the Air Force and our newest family member, Uncle Sam, sent us off to Spokane, Washington, and Fairchild Air Force Base, this time several thousand miles from the yearly gathering. The first Thanksgiving was awful. We ended up in a tiny Chinese restaurant somewhere in downtown Spokane. Neither of us could face cooking or eating a "normal" meal. Christmas was dreadful, of course, and quiet. Again, there was something quite poignantly missing.

January brought us a new surprise, and I was pregnant. That was countered by the death of my grandmother a few months later, who quite possibly was never even able to understand the news that there was about to be another grandchild. This was one of the few times we crossed the miles to be home, and the funeral was worse than anything I could have imagined. I felt guilty for leaving her. I felt guilty for not being there when she died, or when she needed someone to talk to, or someone to be proud of. Worst of all, the only thing I had left of her was memories, and those had been clouded by the miles in between.

That Thanksgiving was only marginally better, for close friends took us under their wings. It was far removed from our "traditional" Thanksgiving, but I think it was easier than having to face the family event without her presence. Thing 1 helped in that aspect as well, since she kept us too busy to worry about what we were missing. Christmas was infinitely better with a baby in the house, but still, there was that sense of loss.

Hubby never really felt it. His family had never been all that close, whereas from the deepest parts of my memory, I could remember being with and knowing my cousins, and second cousins, and aunts and uncles on all sides of the family. I knew my grandparents, and great-grandparents, and their sisters and brothers and cousins. It was hard to explain to him, and I didn't think he was even able to grasp the concept.

He understands now, seeing through my eyes and my tears.


Poppie, the beloved grandfather that absolutely filled every day of my childhood, is suffering from an incurable handicap -- old age.

Over the last few years, I've watched as colon cancer took its toll, added to years of various melanomas on the man who couldn't be kept out of the sun and action if you strapped him down. Now, a stroke has added to that, and the once brilliant and outgoing man is quiet and subdued, and worst of all, slow. He doesn't go outside anymore. He now pays someone else to mow his lawn, where before he would scoff at anyone who didn't bother to work the dirt and grass themselves.

This is the man who, I am quite convinced, spent most of my childhood with me on his back. He'd carry me down the hills of our lakehouse (now sold, and that causes an ache as well that my children will never have the chance to enjoy it as I did) to where the blackberries grew wild. With me on his back, pointing imperiously at the choicest ripe berries, he'd bend and pluck them, knowing full well that the berry would never make it into the bucket. Hours of purple stained lips and fingers later, and he would carry me right back up that hill. His strength never flagged, though I always had to be put promptly to bed, exhausted.

He always had the talent for knowing precisely what would set my mother off, and thusly could finagle a way to achieve the most fun result while being able to placate her. She never really fell for the excuses, of course, but it made the sneaking a lot more fun to think that she did. I can't even count the number of times that we magically managed to just "fall into" the lake, or the number of times one of us had to go in after an item we had dropped. Well, after all, while we were in there, we were already wet and might as well swim -- right?

There was real magic to be found in his gardens. Poppie could grow absolutely anything, and would show us, still covered with dirt and sweat, how to pluck the food item of choice directly from the vine so that we could eat it right there in the garden. "Poppie" even came from there, me being small and impressionable, and seeing a huge field of glowing red poppies. The poppies, and the roses, and the squash, and even the wild blackberries that were somehow not so wild once he had built a cage for the vines to dance across were all a vivid part of my childhood.

I am watching my childhood grow old, and the child inside me is weeping.

It is hard to face the inevitable loss of a loved one. It is even harder when you are slowly watching their decline. My children will never know the fullness of this wonderful man, except through their mother's eyes. They will never know what it was like to be eight, and suddenly decide that the top of a huge persimmon tree was the perfect place to learn to fly -- knowing that He would be there below to catch me when I fell.

Every time I see my grandparents, there is this horrid fear that it will be the last time that I will hold them, and the last time that my children will have to learn who they are. I can't put the camera down anymore. It's become an extension of me, whenever they are around, but not even the best film can compare the dreams and memories that I hold.

It's a bittersweet harvest this year.

Saturday, September 16, 2000

The Sounds of Violence

There was an Incident yesterday afternoon at a Dallas high school. Several kids got into a tussle ... and apparently one called an older friend (not in school) who showed up with his car.

He promptly drove that car up onto the lawn and ran over at least 12 kids. Ran Them Down.

Thing 1 was watching the news. It scared her. "Mommy, is that going to happen at my school?"

I don't blame her for being scared. The problem, unfortunately, is that it can happen anywhere, anytime.

In 1994, an airman discharged for psychiatric unsuitability returned to Fairchild AFB with an automatic weapon and walked into the base hospital. The hospital was outside of the gates, so there was no check point. The hospital was full of civilians, dependants ... children.

One of the first to die was the man that had helped me out of a horrible post-natal depression. Imagine having the one person you're used to calling being on the list of the dead.

My husband worked in that hospital, in the pharmacy. He was shot at repeatedly (and luckily missed) as he bailed and went to help the wounded. A little girl died in his arms as he and other techs tried to save her.

Thing 1 (1 year old at the time) and I were supposed to be there at the hospital, and would have been in the lobby at the time the gunman had walked through if I hadn't had a weird feeling and cancelled our appointments for that day.

I, along with several other wives with spouses at the hospital, sat glued to the television in horror. My husband was lucky enough to sneak a call out to me to let me know he was alive, so I had the only information from the inside among us.

For months afterward, we couldn't sleep in the same bed. His nightmares were so bad that I would wake up with bruises all along my side from his thrashing around. He totally dropped out of life. Full blown post-traumatic stress syndrome.

This was 1994. I'm just now getting him back. The sound of a car backfiring would send him to the ground. After a while, it did it to me, too.

People don't remember this shooting, unless they were involved. When I explain my reactions to certain things, it always gets a shocked expression in response. News coverage of these events has drastically changes in the last few years. Now everyone hears about them.

Every time another story hits the news, I cry. It's hard, when it's happened to those you know. When it happens to others, you share the pain, knowing what they're going through. It scares the hell out of you.

It makes you angry.

Desensitized, my ass. I'm more aware of it now than ever, because it DID happen to me. You can't forget, it's just not possible.

It hurts, and it's stupid, and it makes me mad.

You go on for the children, hoping and praying that you can all make a difference so that it doesn't happen again.

Kid for Sale: Cheap

Thing 2 enjoys causing our hearts to race in fear. She's skilled at this hobby, having a great deal of practice in the field. She set a new precedent today.

Now, see if you can figure this one out: a sealed 2 bedroom apartment. No doors or windows opened. Yet, this enterprising 3 year old manages to TOTALLY and completely vanish. Silent. No giggling to give her away. No movement. No PRESENCE.

Usually, you can tell if there's someone IN a space. Somehow she manages to just put this little psychic shield or some such nonsense around herself. She's a null spot when she wants to vanish.

It's gotten quiet in the house. Too quiet. Quiet and children mean trouble. Total silence and children mean it's time to panic. I look around to see why. Thing 1 is reading a book by herself, unmolested.

Thing 2 is missing. Totally missing.

The three of us, her sister included, spend a good frantic 10 minutes trying to find her. We look in closets. We look under beds, behind doors, under furniture, in laundry baskets, in bedclothes. No Thing 2. We keep right on looking, getting more frantic by the minute.

There's complete silence. Nothing to give the child away.

The mind starts to snap at that point with the weight of What Ifs: what if she climbed into a space and can't breathe? What if she climbed and got ahold of someone's meds and managed to get them open? (there's no such thing as Heddaproof that doesn't involve six different deadbolts, timelock tumblers and retinal scans) What if ... what if ...


It's Mommy that finds Evil Thing 2 at last, catching the gleam of an eye in the shadows. She's managed to work herself into an area in our bedroom near a box that had blankets piled on it. Beside the box had been a stack of Things That Need to go Into the Closet. Without disturbing them, she got behind them and tucked herself in.

We called her and called her. She ignored us entirely. It was a big game to Thing 2.

Daddy swats her. She acts like she's been killed. Mommy scoops her up, hugging her tight enough to smother said child, explaining why what she did was wrong. Thing 2, still mortified by the swat, clings to Mommy and sobs. Mommy, exhausted and in pain and still scared half to death, clings back.

Child for sale. Cheap. Payments accepted.

Ride of the Raging WTF?

I got an interesting email today from someone that had stumbled over one of my websites. The article in question was written MANY years ago, in response to some roleplaying partners wanting some background on one of my characters. While full of lots of fact, there was a great deal of opinion thrown in as to how that character became what she was, etc. It was, in fact, part of that characters website.

It was so long ago, that really, I'd forgotten all about it.

Till today. I thought I'd share this letter with you, since it tickled me to pieces.


""Ride the Raging Host" was in-formative, but it wasn't as objective as it needed to be. For instance, your personal vendettas with Christianity was of little value to my paper. I enjoyed your writing very much, but please, for the sake of college student every-where, strive to remain OBJECTIVE next time. Opinions should not be presented as factual content.


Defender of the Faith


Whoa. Um, college students are using my paper on the Wild Hunt for reference material?? Cool. As the paper was never meant to be objective, I kept giggling when I read it. I want to apologize to him, simply because of that inherent guilt complex thing I have ... but how do you explain the origins of that paper to him without making him feel like an idiot?

What's more ... how in God's name did a college student find that paper to use for reference? *I* don't even know where it is anymore.

Wild, man.

Friday, September 15, 2000

Yesterday's high temp hit 111. In September. Broke all sorts of heat records for the area. At 8 last night, when they were announcing this, it was still 105. Unfreakinbelievable.

Another doctor's visit in a few hours. At least I'll be able to get my painkillers renewed.


Thing 1: "Mommy, there's this boy at school ..."
Me: (thinking, Oh God, not already) " And ....?"
Thing 1: "Well, can I take my sister to school with me?"
Me: (now, WTF?) "Um, why, honey?"
Thing 1: "Because he was being mean to me and calling me names, and I told him that if he didn't quit, I was going to bring my sister to school to kick his butt because she's EVIL."
Me: ::jaw on floor, caught between laughter and horror::

Mind you, the sister in question is 4 years younger than Thing 1.

Oh god. It starts.

Thursday, August 31, 2000

Reading my husband's latest journal entry sparked off the huge mental hammer of Guilt once again. It's not a pleasant emotion by any means or stretch of the imagination, and unfortunately, it's something I've become most painfully accustomed to over the last year. Guilt has been a near-constant companion for me, over something that isn't my fault and that I can't control.

While we're no longer painfully poor, we still struggle ... and I continue to sit at home. My contributions to our welfare are minimal, and the guilt quota increases. At least I do have a paying job right now, and that's what really allows us to have any extras at all. It's still not enough for me, and the guilt keeps on rising, and again there's very little that I can do to make it go away.

My health keeps deteriorating. I need to go back to the doctor, yet I'm almost to the point that I was three years ago, where I had to be bleeding out the eyes and ears and nose, and I'd still say "No, no, I'm all right, I don't need to go to the doctor." I'm scared, man. I'm scared of what they're going to tell me this time ... or next time, or the next. Each visit seems to add something else to the scorecard that states firmly that my body's warranty has run out.

I've lived with asthma and migraines for a while. I was used to that. I was used to the chronic tendonitis in my right arm that would occasionally render my hand useless for a week or so at a time, then drift off into dull aches of reminder.

Then I lost the use of my left hand, ignoring the symptoms of trouble until it was too late and the only solution was the massive surgery that rebuilt my arm and required most of my muscles and nerves to be removed and reordered. The nerves still haven't regenerated totally, and I do have some permanent loss in that arm, along with the oh-so-pretty scar. Then my feet went, chronic conditions that keep coming back just when I think I've got another problem under control.

And just when we thought that was gone, my blood pressure skyrocketed. It's controlled now, thanks to medication. Hypoglycemia, another condition I was used to, added another realm of fun to the equation when my triglycerides soared to incomprehendable levels thanks to my medications and I spent several months on a most unpleasant diet. Unfortunately, the nagging fatigue, aches, and depression that I'd been ignoring for the last year kept building. I, of course, kept ignoring them.

Hell, I had tonsilitis again ... for eight months straight, before they removed my tonsils for the second time. Apparently they missed some the first go-round, or I've developed the world's most useless superpower --- Amazing Regenerating Tonsils. Whee. Mmm, yummy, eight months of expensive antibiotics that don't do a damn thing but make me power barf, yeah buddy, that's what I want some more of.

Of course, when we thought that was settled and done with, and I should be getting better, that was when the fatigue and aches and ... fibromyalgia. Goody. A chronic pain syndrome that never goes away, has no cure, and can only be treated with varying degrees of success. They aren't sure that it's all that's wrong with me, either, and so every trip to the doctor involves me walking out of there bruised and feeling like a pincushion.

I can't help but feeling like it's nothing but excuses.

I still am not *really* working. I'm not *really* contributing to my family's welfare. There are days when getting out of bed is an enormous undertaking, much less doing "complex" things like .... doing dishes, folding clothes, picking up toys, making beds. Little things like this are taken for granted by most people, but for me, they're quite often more difficult that trying to climb K2 without any gear -- in other words, impossible.

And I feel, no, drown in guilt. It's not fun to realize that you're worth more to your family dead than alive.

I'm sorry, honey.

Wednesday, August 30, 2000

The Queen of ... Blah

While folding laundry (a task involving much swearing and agony, but that's another post), I discovered that I have become exceptionally detail-oriented.

For instance ... there are certain things about clothes that make me refuse to purchase them. Clothing that needs to be ironed every time it's worn does not need to belong to a 7-year old. Collars that refuse to lie down even when still on the rack at the store do not go home.

Yet, while folding clothing, I found these very items in the stacks. This annoys me. I think it's revenge from my mother, to be perfectly honest, for all of the clothes that I just had to have that involved so much effort. It's really ridiculous, though, and I see why it annoyed her so much at the time when I just HAD to have that dry-clean only whatever.

For a few moments, I considered pulling the same stunt my mother had, and hiding the offending articles of clothing. The moment passed, and I let the urge go.

Another discovery gave me a mild case of the giggles, even while groaning in pain over the whole folding trauma. I am The Queen of Khaki. Honest. I had no idea that my wardrobe had become so subtle, so mild, so ... boring. If it wasn't an earthtone in some muted shade, I didn't pull it out of the basket for me.

I can't decide if I've grown up, given up, or stopped caring.

A pin drop

Tick, tock.
Tick, tock.
Tick, tock.

Have you ever stopped and just ... sat for a few minutes, and contemplated silence? Not just the lack of noise, per se, but true and absolute silence?

It's quiet in the house right now, but by no means silent. I am the only human awake, yet there's a soft house noise serenade whispering in my ears: the watery song of the fish tank filter, gurgling away, the occasional snuffling sounds of a happy cat blissfully gorging on catnip, the hum of the refrigerator, the melodic whir of the ceiling fan.

It's quiet, but by no means silent.

I've no idea what I would do with complete silence. To me, it would be somewhat overwhelming. I can understand how isolation chambers work now after considering all of this. The total lack of sensory input ...

Thank you, no.

What would you do with a few moments of true silence?