Monday, April 30, 2007

Love in the Muck

Anybody else think that this is a particularly useless image?

Clearly it's from Amazon from the obnoxious orange arrow. I found it while scrolling through various recommendations. That black circle is, um, not so appealing, no? Or is it green?

OK, so the lady's wearing green and there's a present. Yeah. It's a Christmas Anthology.

I went to all four author's websites to see if the black/green/pondsludge circle scanned any better for them.

On Edith Layton's website I found this.

OK then.

Not sure what all that proves, or if there's a point to this post at all.

Except that I was drawn into researching the websites of the authors of a book I had never heard of because the Amazon scan was so ugly.

(Nancy and Gayle, I tried to find a website for you, m'dears, but NAL was the best I could do.)

So does this mean that ugly attracts attention? Because I surely wasn't looking for a Christmas anthology. Uh uh. And I wasn't even looking for a Regency romance, come to think of it. I was looking for an audio edition of an abridged version of The Three Musketeers for my son. And then that blackish green smudge just drew my attention away.

So easily distracted these days.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


I have that head cold feeling. The slightly salty taste at the back of your throat. The stuffed up nose, but not so stuffy that you can't breathe through it. Just sort of swollen. Sort of raw or itchy skin under the eyes. I also smell atrocious--too much sweat on the back of my neck which is, um, unattractive. My throat's tight too. My head hurts. My eyes are achy too.

Except I'm not ill. I'm not sniffling and my throat isn't scratchy or hurting. Just tight.

This is all the aftermath of crying.

Or maybe it's the aftermath of trying to hold all those tears in. The dyke is cracking.

I hit the wall this morning. Great big HMO-named-Kaiser wall. I went to an appointment at Kaiser to get a prescription for my son and had to jump through one more hoop. Except I really couldn't do it. Couldn't get that lift to jump high enough for them. Instead I just stood at the reception desk and cried.

I eventually stopped crying, but then again I've been crying off and on all day. Really, whenever I least expect it. The taste of salt will not get off my tongue. I think it's just all those tears of frustration that I've swallowed over and over again. Ever since October really. And here it is April. Well, almost May.

I walked out of Kaiser with nothing. No meds. Nothing except another appointment for next Wednesday. And that appointment (with a whole NEW psychiatrist) may not give me a prescription for this kid either.

Fuck. All I want to do is just TRY some anti-anxiety meds for him. Just try it. Been wanting him on a prescription since October.

But Dear Butcher was reluctant to go forward without a deeper diagnosis. Which is fair, but frustrating. So we got the diagnosis, and now Kaiser won't take the evaluation. They want to re-evaluate (and essentially medicate him as ADD instead of anxiety). The doctor who wants him to be ADD has never met my son, never read a single report, and has never talked to me for more than five minutes. And now I get to fight all over again. A whole new fight with a whole new person.

Meanwhile my son is spiralling further and further out of control and there's not one fucking thing I can do about it. I just get to watch it happen. I don't even know if the anti-anxiety meds will work. There's no guarantee that any of it will "work" -- I mean, there's no magic pill here.

So far this year I've put up with teachers harassing my son, cops harassing my son, aides tackling him in the hallway, teachers dragging him through the library, tearful meetings, angry meetings, changes of personnel, trainings of the new personnel, watching him develop a school phobia to the point where he "elopes" from school repeatedly, chauffeuring him back and forth to tutoring, medical appointments, therapy appointments, hearing rumors of teachers talking about him behind my back to other parents, more meetings -- this time with lawyers, hearing from another trusted teacher that I was being too lenient with him, more meetings, more signatures, problem solving with him about how to deal with recess stress, learning that he is now kicking other students at recess, problem solving with aides, problem solving with professionals, more meetings, convincing him three or four times a night to go back to bed, trying to wake him up he's only had four hours sleep, losing his only babysitter since her husband was beating her, more meetings, more evaluations and more tears.

This has all been since September.

He's always been a tough kid. A prickly kid. No Doubt. No Question.

But shit. This is all in one year. He wasn't like this last year. Not at ALL. He was in a classroom last year. He was at recess last year. He was even at the wrong end of a bully early this year and kept cool and collected during that.

Now, watching him spiral, trying to hold on to that whirlwind, I have totally hit the wall.

I would like to hand in my parenting card now. I am no longer interested in this board game. Let's pack up the pieces and go swing on the swings.

I think I have done all that a reasonable person could be expected to do for her son. I've probably done more than some (although that isn't saying much). And I get to do most of it myself. Dear Butcher has two butcher shops to run and works seven days a week. I get to juggle this crap along with raising two other kids and serving on the school board. Have I mentioned laundry? Yeah. I don't do that anymore.

I wish, I desperately wish that all these people who are asking me to try one more thing, to sign one more form, would just come live at my house for a day. Maybe a week. You tell me how to get him to eat. You tell me how to relieve the tantrum two hours later when he's so hungry that he's seeing stars. Go ahead. Be brilliant. You get him to stay at school. You get him to sleep. You get him to stop throwing his clothes and books around him room. Go ahead.

"Maybe he's allergic to wheat."

"Maybe he needs Anger Management courses."

"Maybe he's Asperger's."

"Maybe he needs self-visualizing relaxation techniques."

"Maybe he'll grow out of it."

"Maybe he needs less access to the computer."

Fuck. Maybe it's all of that.

In the meantime, can you give this poor eight year old some fucking medication? He's eight, guys. Remember eight? Third Grade? No eight year old should have to go through this.

And I shouldn't be made to helplessly stand here and watch him crumble. Because I love him too much to leave him alone through this, but it's killing me to stay and watch him dissolve.

Because today I can't stop crying, and I don't much like crying.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A roller coaster for Neo

I slept not at all last night. I think I had two hours under my belt when I woke up, stayed awake for hours and then fell asleep for half an hour just at dawn. Gah.

I'm downstairs puttering around in the kitchen when Neo, my eldest daughter shows up for breakfast. She shuffles in wearing her robe and says, "You know? I hate my little sister. She's really getting worse. She cries and always gets her way. I never would have gotten away with that. At least I don't remember it."

And Good Morning to you too, my dear. I pointed out that since the little rat fink wasn't even in the room, let alone awake, that this line of reasoning first thing in the morning BEFORE MOMMY HAS HER COFFEE was not necessary.

She perked up and I took her to school. When I picked her up from school, she was euphoric, railing against the stupidity of standardized testing for two weeks, but gleeful in her story-telling. The proctor for her testing is a science teacher with lots of frogs and snakes in the class. Even a native frog, like Neo's four frogs. Neo was even allowed to hold the teacher's frog, which no student is allowed to do for fear of harming it.

I took her to a hair appointment. Neo has thick black hair half-way down her back which was last trimmed I think a year ago. When I picked her up, it was cut to above her shoulders, with layers, and Yen, the stylist, was curling the ends. Neo, all five foot two inches of her, leaped out of the chair, started jumping up and down in the salon, and hugged Yen. "I LOVE IT! Thank you, thank you, thank you. I should have listened to Yen, Mom. She said I should put one more layer in the back. But she says I can come back next time and do it then. Thank you, Yen. I love it! Can we go home so I can call Nikki?"

"Uh, sure." When did Neo ever express any interest in hairstyles? Whoa.

When we got home, Neo discovered that one of her frogs had died. Poor thing. Poor Neo.

This one, Horus, was getting fairly thin and lethargic. And now another one is looking a little hippy. But what can you do? She's had these frogs for a while, and although I'll take my dog to the vet, I'm not really going to pay the $40 office fee to an exotics vet for a frog a Kindergartner pulled out of the storm drain. And Neo knows that. As she was crying into my shoulder she said, "That's it. Isn't it? They're all going to die now, aren't they?"

Oh Christ. Poor kid.

I tell her that I have to cook dinner for the little kids, but that after dinner we can bury Horus. That seems to calm her down.

Standing in the kitchen my son says, "Mom, I feel so bad for Neo. You know what's good though?"


"We're so lucky that we're not having frog legs for dinner. That would really upset her."

"Uhhh. Yeah." Sweet boy. He was very worried about her. Unfortunately she overheard the comment and started keening again. (We've never HAD frog legs for dinner, but at least he's scouting all possibilities.)

After dinner she brought out a small box with a folded piece of paper in it. Within the folds of the paper was Horus. We dug a small grave for Horus, and Neo sat quietly there for a bit, her palms pressing into the earth. Then she said, "OK. Can I go inside and call Nikki now? I need to tell her about Horus."

"Of course."

Within two minutes, she was on the phone with her best friend. About twenty minutes later she said, "OK, Mom. I'm going to bed. Nikki was surprised to hear about Horus, but then she said something which made me laugh, so I'm OK now. She can't wait to see my hair. See ya."

OK. THAT was a roller coaster ride.

I need some sleep.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Milestone 351

When I signed in this morning to the blog I learned that I have 350 posts to my name.



That's fairly amazing.

But what I was going to say when I first go the urge to sign in is that I'm going to have to seriously consider what in the hell I'm going to do at the end of this summer. Yes, I know it's April. But I have to start thinking about summer and fall now.

My political term ends in November. Which means that I'll need to run for re-election during Fall if I'm going to stay on the Board. And if I Run in the Fall, I have to declare in the Summer, which means I have to pull together my campaign committee and volunteers in the Spring.

Which is now.

I bitch a lot about serving. It IS a hard job. But I also know myself well enough to know that I'm obsessed by the school board and public education. I've been tapped to run for City Council, but I can't see myself doing city politics, or larger politics in general. (Although I'll admit to harboring a secret desire to work in some politician's local office. A mini-West Wing? That would be something.) I don't see myself staying away from the position if I were to decide to step down. I'd turn into one of those public cranks who haunts every meeting, just bitching and making trouble.

But fuck, you guys. Running a campaign is an INSANE task. Campaigning, except for public speaking, does not rely on ANY skill required by a School Board Trustee. Asking people for money. Ugh. Cold Calling asking for support. Ugh. Tracking yard sign placements. Ugh. Filing campaign finance paperwork. Ugh. Walking precincts every weekend without fail to knock on doors. Ugh. Re-organizing, highlighting and collating precinct lists after precinct walking is done. Ugh. Asking your friends to show up on Saturdays during September to walk to precincts you missed. Ugh. Stressing that they'll say something stupid to an angry homeowner and misrepresent your opinions. Ugh. Stressing that you should have done that precinct already. Ugh. Stressing that you're doing all this work and still you won't be successful. Ugh. Wearing makeup every day and driving slowly and carefully so as to always make a good impression. Ugh. Staffing phone banks and asking your friends to cold call other people to gauge support. Ugh. Sending out thank you notes to the people who showed up to cold call for you. Ugh.

From June through October this goes on.

Now. It only happens every fourth year, and the first time I did it I won the election. Came in first over candidates who had lived in town for twenty or more years. So I'm pretty good at it. But it doesn't feel like it when I'm in it.

And I worry about this blog. I think I'd have to take it off-line for a while. (I know that everything I've ever posted is cached somewhere. I've said it before: If someone who were running against me were to find these and try to embarrass me with them, it wouldn't work. I've only ever been honest. But I worry about the casual voter stumbling into this morass of opinions and discussions of sex and books and loss and frustration and not knowing me well enough to incorporate it fully into my political objectives. Which are only to better the schools and to get the infighting to stop.) But still -- I'd feel less worried if I were to pull it off line for the duration. But then I'd miss having a place to vent and to get some support back in comments.

I dunno about this campaigning thing.

Dear Butcher says that I'm just worrying too much. That I already have broad based support, and that I already have tons of yard signs left over from the last election, so I don't need to raise as much money as I think. That I just need to announce the candidacy, put out yard signs, sign up volunteers to walk precincts for me, send out an announcement mailer, attend the four candidates forums and sit back.

I dunno.

I've watched a few other candidates do that: "I'm on the ballot but I'm not going to spend a lot of money running." They never do well. Two of them came in dead last. (Except in the last election where there were three seats open. Two candidates campaigned hard and the third came in by only attending the forums and putting up about six large yard signs. But I think their campaigning helped her.)

Then there's the shift from poll voting to absentee voting. We've seen a significant shift there. Which means that you have to get the bulk of you campaigning in before October 10, when the absentee ballots are mailed. School starts in late August, and people don't want to hear about campaigns before then. So to hit the absentee voters (about 25-36% of our most-likely voters) you have to make contact with them between last week of August and first week of October. For campaigning purposes, contact means either one phone call, or one personal visit, or four mail contacts. (People throw mail out, but absentee voters have been shown to collect mailers to refer to while voting.) That four mailers in one month?? No way I'm doing that. I'd HATE a candidate who did that to me.

So we come back to the importance of precinct walking and phone banks. Which will require volunteers. Whom I'll have to recruit now, before school lets out. Because by the time they get back into town in late summer, I'll have already needed their services.

Once I get this far into my train of thought I come up against, "Good lord, woman. Are you trying to kill yourself? You have three kids to take care of, one of whom needs a lot of attention and doctor visits. You have no reliable babysitters to depend upon for any precinct walking you want to get down after school. Your husband runs his own retail business, which means he'll have commitments during the weekend. Just who are you expecting to be taking care of the family, Hmmmm? On top of which, you'll still be ON the school board, with all of those commitments during the Fall. This is insane. Step down. Become a cog in the wheel behind the scenes."

So I can't decide whether I'm actually GOING to run. But for example, I know that the GATE program isn't functioning in this district. Bright kids are getting NO extra accommodations, just trips to the ice cream parlor. And Neo's bright, so I need to be in a position of power to see that this program DOES get changed for her benefit and mental health. For all the kids who are bright. And then there's the Special Ed program, which is going to need more administrative personnel. But no one WANTS to hire administrators--it's not sexy. But if we want functioning programs, we cannot expect change to happen with one full-time Director and one part-time secretary. That is NOT enough staff. And this is the case for two other departments as well.

And then there's the drug use at the secondary level which is out of hand, allowed to be swept under the rug by parents who refuse to acknowledge that even their own children are using. (Can I just point out here that the Mormon parents are THE WORST in this regard? When all of your kid's friends are using, so is your very own angel. OK? Got it? If your kid is in the upper parking lot with all the other potheads, guess what: You've got a pothead for a child. It's not the end of the world, but please don't pretend that your child, your very own little darling is just up there watching the blunt pass on by.) We need real programs, not this Every Fifteen Minutes crap.

(Although, as an update to that post from May of last year. I have great news. The policy committee -- which I chair -- passed a policy requiring all drug prevention education programs to be scientifically based. Hee. AND the Superintendent has agreed to get rid of Every 15 Minutes. Hee. I did do some good for the schools this term, after all. Of course, the downside here is that the organizers of the program have not yet received word that their program will not receive approval when they request it. So the backlash has not yet begun. This reminds me, I have to ask the Sup on Monday to put out a letter to them explaining the impact of the new policy.)

Even just typing that out, I realize that I HAVE done good things for the schools. This week we approved an integrated Arts, Music, and Drama program for K-12, complete with a dedicated Music teacher and professional development for existing teachers. I participated in that. I helped negotiate the re-use of our closed elementary school for use as a community center, and that deal brings in revenue to the District. And I have pushed forward all sorts of policy revisions and renewals. I keep forgetting what good things I can do for the District in my weariness which comes on from the enterprise itself.

SO I guess it comes to:

Don't run: Sit back and watch the system dissolve back into personal rants and favoritisms and wild-on political maneuverings. Learn to live with the funding decisions others who sit up on that dais decide to make. But know that I did my part and that my voice is a respected one should I step forward to comment on the proceedings.

Run: Lose my mind in the Fall and know that for the next four years I'm going to maintain this same level of stress in my professional life. But know that after the campaign is done, I can be part of the decision and policy-setting process.

What to do. What to do.

Maybe I've got another 350 posts to work it out. Stay tuned.

Friday, April 20, 2007

No title seems to fit this one

I just have to go on record here as having the biggest THING for Sir Percy Blakeney, Baronet.


I know I've written about it before, and so have many others, but man oh man, I do so love this character. And Lord Anthony Dewhurst. And Sir Andrew Ffoulkes. Ah, Sir Andrew. So loyal. Mmmm.

I don't have much else to add, because anytime I start thinking about Sir Percy, he of the clever phrase, the knowing wink, the detailed plan, and the prescient gaze, I start rambling on and forgetting what I was going to write about. (Although it occurs to me that perhaps a "knowing wink" and and "prescient gaze" are almost the same thing. Hmm. Maybe perspicacious gaze would take care of knowing wink and then we could focus on prescient somewhere else. But that first phrase sounds so, um, polysyllabic.)

Odd's Fish! See what he does to me? La!

OK, here's what I wanted to say: I love the character, and I love his dialogue, however The Baroness Orczy's prejudices show through and are annoying. We know that Percy is going to rescue French nobles, so obviously we are going to develop a tendre for those characters, but the Baroness has an unfortunate tendency to sketch everyone who isn't a noble as some sort of half-human.

But you know what? In the end, I don't really care. I don't think I'd like being beautiful, dim-witted, and judgemental Marguerite, no matter how much Percy loves her. It might be very nice to "live in the center of his smile," to have that attention lavished upon me, but really, what I've always fantasized about is being some underling. Perhaps the Captain of the Daydream, who brings him his yacht when he most needs it. A lesser member of the League who convinces a guard to open a door at just the right moment. Maybe a valet. Maybe a courier.

Then I could get a slap on the shoulder and a "Job well done, lad." And that would be enough.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Aftermath of the Virginia Incident

I made it through the Thursday night Board Meeting. No one spoke about the shootings at Virginia Tech, and no one exclaimed at how unsafe our own little High School is or might be.

I had really been dreading this meeting--preparing myself for a group of parents to cry, "It could happen here!"

Because mostly? It won't. I mean, you still have to be prepared and have "action plans" in place so that staff knows what to do. But in the grand scheme of the universe, the likelihood that a shooter is showing up on our campus is pretty small.

Feeling a great sense of relief. Sometimes Public Comment creates a little too much angst.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hello Mudda. Hello Fadda.

OK. There are some of you out there who may not want to read this. It involves penises. Thought I'd warn y'all.

I have a point here, but it's going to take me more than a minute to get there. Strap yourself in for the ride.

In general, I don't do gooshie eye la-la Romanticism well. Weird, because I mostly read Romance novels. Yeah. I know. There's an attitude I really don't get, one which shows up a lot around pregnancy and babies and sex. I have trouble putting it into words, but I know the feeling of annoyance I get when I see it. It's the adoration of the magical. The mystical occurrence which brings us all closer together while we experience the wonder of it all.

Oh! Forgot.

Discussions of menstruation bring this on too. As in the utterly stupid one of "Now I feel closer to all the women who have experienced this before me. I look forward to my monthly cycle so that I can be part of the cycle of the earth and moon and water and appreciate the connection of all women together in their fertility cycle throughout time."

UGH! Stop it.

Stoppit. stoppit. stoppit.

It shows up around sex too. But since society don't *talk* about sex too much, it's harder to peg in a conversation. I first noticed that I had a screw loose when I was in High School and two of my friends started talking about boners. "It's like there's really a Bone in there! God, it's so beautiful."


Excuse me, but WHAT?!?!

First of all, I knew she was a full on idiot for bringing up the Bone/boner thing, but secondly... what? Yeah, I know. I've got a screw loose.

I stumbled onto this in a book I was trying to read recently. The heroine started fantasizing about the hero's dick. I totally don't get it. Really. I could spend hours fantasizing about the curve of a wrist, the angle of two curved fingers on a wineglass, or the back of some one's neck. (Cary Grant had a great back of the neck curving into the shoulder. Sean Connery's neck is great too. Just below his ear. Sigh.) But to go on and on about a penis?

So not me.

I stopped reading the book.

(By the way, after I put this one down, I started reading Laura Kinsale again. Jesus. Does ANYONE do that mute expression of overwhelming desire better than her? I had forgotten how many times in Flowers from the Storm Jervaulx leans his forehead into Maddy's neck when he is desperately needy. No kiss, no words, just pure want and need and reliance. Help me, I'm passing out over here. *fans self*)

So back to my loose screw. Here's the thing: I grew up around horses, dogs, birds, and anything else that wandered in. And that involved taking care of them in the most in-your-face manner. Especially the horses. Mucking stalls, picking feet, sweeping urine off the floor. Flushing a gaping wound in the shoulder when a filly caught her flesh on a nail. Tubing a horse with gallons of water and oil when she colicked. Assisting in the removal of a mummified fetus from an infected uterus. Really gross shit.

But the one that tops it all: Sheath cleaning.


Thank god we didn't have too many geldings around. Because the big boys generally take care of this themselves. (Stallions drop down a number of times a day, whereas geldings are a lot more shy and therefore dirty. Requiring cleaning. Up inside the sheath. Your hands and arm smell for DAYS, no matter if you wear shoulder-high examination glove or not.)

In case you don't quite know what sheath cleaning entails, here's a link a friend sent which contains this excellent song (a version of which I've heard before somewhere). (Sing it to "Hello Mudda, Hello Fadda. Here I am at Camp Granada"):

How's it hangin'?
So much cleaner.
Aren't you glad I
washed your wiener?
I'll admit it's
kinda creepy
that I had to stick my arm up in your pee-pee.

It was sticky.
It was gunky.
It felt icky.
It smelled funky.
It was cruddy,
it was crusty--
when you stuck it out,
it creaked like it was rusty.

After half an
hour of toilin'
and of squirtin'
baby oil in,
you're as fresh there
as a daisy.
Either this means I love you or else I'm crazy!!!
OK. What I want to say here is that once you've required a ten year old to do this twice a year to her own horse, and once that ten year old has figured out that she can earn big bucks every summer by performing this service for all the geldings owned by her extra squeamish friends, this ten year old develops a certain attitude about the male of any species.

(Sidenote: Every heard Bill Cosby talk about baby poops? Same principle. When they're little babies, the parents say, "Aw. Would you look at that. She made a poo poo." And then God, who has a sense of humor, puts odor into the "poo poo", and it turns into "a mess." "Look what you did! You made a MESS in your diaper!")

Anyway. I certainly don't hate penises. They don't disgust me, but on the other hand I don't get all weak in the knees either. I don't quite know what to do about this. Well, not that I CAN do much about it at this point.

What I mean to say here is that every once in a while you start reading a book about really private things, things such as love, loss, trust, betrayal, honesty, sex and commitment. And then the author comes out with a sentiment that is so ingrained in her world view that there's not even a touch of explanation about it. And sometimes just the slightest thing is enough to slam the reader right out of the story. It's not usually a big thing, because big things are explained and built up to. This is a small detail, like squirting dishwashing soap in your tea, which comes up in the middle of a sentence and makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, no matter how many times you go back a read it over.

I hate that.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Various bits of news I've been meaning to share.

The circus is coming to town. Eeep.

A fundraising group has contracted with a circus to set up a big top on school property on the last week of school. (Yes. While graduation is going on. What excellent planning.) So the Superintendent tells me that the Director of Maintenance is looking into it (as in Who Exactly gave this approval?) and is concerned about safety, etc. I'm practically choking on my salad, and the Board Member to my left, who knows that I met my husband while we were both in a circus, is chuckling and rolling her eyes. I sort of sigh and tell the Superintendent one of my TWO BIG SECRETS. (1. I lived at a circus for a year when I was in my twenties and 2. Although I'm a Board Member for a public school system, I have never spent one day of my educational life in a public school. Private all the way, Baby. That second one is a closely guarded secret, although at this point, I think a lot of people have an inkling.)

I ended up speaking to the Director, asking a lot of pointed questions. (Turns out that in his former job, he had a lot of experience from the city side overseeing a big Shriner's production. Which means he's actually got more administrative experience than I do.) We're cool. But it is a weird thing to have one set up in my town under my jurisdiction.

I have a new keyboard.

And this one has a spacebar key which works. Yay!

Eldest Daughter (Who says she'd like to be 'Neo' on my Blog) is on the Honor Roll.

Although, can we just say here that she's not happy in Middle School? Well, she's doing fine socially, except for the crew of about five "Mean Girls" who won't let her alone because she's smart, but she's bored out of her mind. She's a GATE (Gifted And Talented Education) student, but since the GATE program operates after school, more as a reward incentive than as a true educational program, she's not even getting the extra boost that GATE should be giving her. (And she won't sign up for any of the after school offerings because none of them interest her.)

I love and actually admire Neo. She's much more pulled together than I was at that age. She's smart and funny and brutally honest, but she's also entering into that perfectly age appropriate stage where Life Sucks And There's Nothing I Can Do About It, So Just Leave Me Alone.

Dear Butcher and I got into a hell of a fight with Neo over her choice of electives for next year.

Ye gods, do I remember the fights I used to have with my parents. Screaming, weeping, "Why won't you LISTEN to me?" Makes me ill.

Neo brought home a form for elective choice for next year. Short version:

"What do you want to take?"

"Nothing. There's nothing on that list."

"OK, but you have to take SOMETHING. What if we cross out the ones you don't want, and we'll work backwards."

(A few minutes later.)

"So that leaves us with Mixed Media [Art] in the Fall and Industrial Technology [wood shop] in the Spring."

"Yeah, but I don't want to do Industrial Technology."

"I know. But it's paired with Art. Hey. I bumped into Nikki at the supermarket with her mother. She says she's taking Leadership. You want to do Leadership with her? At least you'd be with a friend."


Dear Butcher asks, "Why not? You like Nikki, and you've been complaining this year that you don't have her any classes. Besides, Leadership would look great on a transcript!"

"No! I don't want to BE a leader, and Leadership isn't about that anyway. It's a bunch of cheerleaders!"

"But you also didn't want to do any of the other electives when we started this. Maybe Leadership would be fun."


(This dissolved into hysterical screaming and crying within about fifteen minutes. When did she become a teenager? When did I become the sort of parent who tried to convince her to be happy with what I wanted for her?)

Everyone is happily diagnosing my son without ever having spoken to him.

In order that Kaiser can see its way clear to prescribe meds to my son, I had to attend a "class" for parents on Medicating Your Child, held by the psychiatry dep't. OK, fine. (Once you're there, you can sign up for an evaluation appointment with the psychopharmacologist. The first one I could get was for April 26. He was diagnosed as needing meds in February. School is going to be OVER by the time I get a single pill into him, so we won't be able to see if anything works in a school setting until the Fall, at this rate.)

We sit down, and the Psychiatrist asks each parent to please give the symptom (or diagnosis) which is causing the parents to consider medication. Three people say anxiety, one says "sleeping", five say ADHD, and I say, "Uh. Mostly anxiety, but there's Explosivity too. We were looking at Asperger's or maybe Early Onset Bipolar Disorder, neither of which we've completely ruled out, but his most recent evaluation from UCSF says that he's got generalized anxiety disorder."

The psychiatrist has written next to my son's name on the white board in the front of the room (How very much like House we are!):


So I say, "Excuse me, but everyone's been pretty clear that it's not ADD. His teachers, his psychologist. All the evaluations have come back pointing towards Asperger's, or maybe depression, but not ADD."

He circles "ADHD??" on the board, points to it, and says, "Your son is eight, right? In this age group you're going to find more often that we're looking at ADD more than any other issue." He points to a child's name with the label "Anxiety" next to it. "You see, up here? In the 15 year old range? There you're going to find Anxiety. But really, what we're seeing is that in most cases, it's untreated ADD from down here, in this younger age range. It develops INTO Anxiety when they hit that High School."

You know what?

Fuck you.

You have never seen my kid, never read a single piece of paper relating to him, never heard any of the family history. I walk into a room so that I can jump through a hoop to get some sort of relief for my kid, and you tell me he's got ADD? Tell me to send him to an anger management class next, why don't you?

I bit my tongue really hard and sat through the rest of the hour. And got my appointment.

This of course was the end of the trifecta of "Let me diagnose your son!"

Part One was when my Brilliant Brother weighed in, and Part Two was when my Mother weighed in.

She's been obsessing about my son, and talks to her psychiatrist about his prognosis frequently. (I'm fairly conflicted about her psychiatrist. He's been very helpful in the past, and knows a lot about Asperger's, but he's not completely trustworthy.) She's very worried that the HMO is taking so long to medicate him. How can I speed this up? What can I DO?

I tell her I'm frustrated too, but on the other hand, the medication isn't going to FIX him, just modulate the behavior and the anxiety enough so that he can learn how to deal with his triggers. That's not what she wants to hear. He needs to be fixed Right Now.

She tells me on the phone the other day that she had told her psychiatrist, Dr. R., that UCSF said he had "Anxiety Disorder NOS." She asked him, "What does that mean?"

According to her (Oooo, take this with a HUGE grain of salt folks, she's totally not trustworthy when it comes to relating conversations), he said, "It means Juvenile Delinquent. It's too bad that they didn't come back with an Asperger's Syndrome diagnosis. So many options open up for an AS kid which you don't get with a simple anxiety label."

She wants me to bring my son to Boston specifically to meet with Dr R. so that he can diagnose him with Asperger's. (Apparently this will guarantee that he will never become a juvie.) Well, fuck. If he already KNOWS he has AS, then why not just write up a report from Boston? And what would I do with this report? What sort of medications are generally prescribed to AS kids? Small doses of anti-anxiety medications. OK, then. And where would I get this prescription filled and his reactions monitored? Oh yes. At the Psychiatry Department of my HMO. Right.

Isn't that where I am right now? Gee, thanks Mom. And thanks so much to Dr. R. for bring up juvenile delinquency. That was so helpful and calming for your fucking INSANE patient.



My mother makes me nuts sometimes.

(Update. My mother just called to tell me that Dr. R. is ready and waiting to see my son. Sigh. Of course my turning the offer down has no effect. I know that. You want to know when his earliest appointment is? An hour for me without my son, and hour with my son, and then an hour with me again without my son. Ready? Really? July 11, 2007. Oh yeah. I'm so there. Thanks for all you do, Dr. R. Here's a tip: you may want to up her lithium now. I'm seeing signs here that her Zoloft, Klonopin, Tofranil and lithium cocktail may need an adjustment.) (At last count the woman was on 12 different medications. Good to know that simply taking medication takes away all clinical symptoms, no matter what the disease is. Yeah.)

OK, enough of that.

I went to an anniversary celebration for our elementary school

The organizers had invited back as many of the staff who had opened the school as could attend. Most of these teachers are retired, including one retiree who now sits on the School Board. There's something about retired elementary school teachers of a certain age. My Mother-in-law is one of these. She wears "an outfit" and her hair is done and her face is done and her nails are done. (I'm lucky if I show up somewhere in clean pants.) Most of these ladies are real straight shooters and have seen it all, but they'll tell you essentially to go to hell in the sweetest voice imaginable. All the while patting you on the back for being "as good a parent as you can be."

I admire these ladies a lot.

So each one in turn was asked to tell the students what they were doing now that they were no longer teaching.

We heard a lot of, "Well. I don't teach anymore. But I spend a lot of time with my grandkids. So I still see young boys and girls every day, just like I used to. And I read. I read every day."

"I miss teaching young boys and girls just like you. But you know what? I have so much time to READ now. I read every day."

"Mostly I read. And I visit my grandchildren."

So the "pull no punches" Board Member stands up, the only one wearing rubbed corduroy pants and a flannel button down, the one who always says exactly what she thinks, and damn the consequences, the one I want to be when I grow up, she leans into the microphone and says, "You know. I decided I needed a rest a few years ago, so I retired. I like being retired. I take naps. I figured out though, there are only so many crossword puzzles you can do in a day. So I go to the casino. I play blackjack a fair bit, and my husband and I play bridge. About a year or so ago, I decided I was getting bored, so I ran for school board. Boy, was I surprised when I won. But anyway, now I read a lot. But it's all School Board stuff. Not what you'd like to be reading. But I do it. You know, when I'm not at the casino."

I almost hurt myself holding in the squeals of laughter. That's one funny broad right there.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Hobbes talks

Hey guys.

You don't know me too well, but I'm Hobbes. There's this lady who owns me. She spends a lot of time on the computer, and I spend a lot of time looking at her just like this.


Whatcha doing?

Actually, this is a picture of me from a few years ago, when I was a little more worried about whether or not they would send me back to That Place if I screwed up. Which I don't. Ever. Well, except when the garbage gets tooooo yummy smelling. Mmmm. Coffee grounds. Mmmm.

Here's a picture of me from today.
My muzzle's a little greyer, but hey. Now I get to sit up here on the couch with all the blankies and comforters. I love this comforter. Hee.

So. You doing much? Cause I'm just laying around today watching my Mom clean pet cages. She does that a lot.

But it's OK. It's a good chance for me to give you a little tour.

First, we need to go visit the snake, Cloudy Sky. He's cool. He never comes out of his hides, so he doesn't bother me much. My Boy really thinks he's neat. And I think My Boy's really neat, so whatever he likes is cool. I've sniffed him once or twice. He smells kind of weird. But once a week, Mom does this really strange thing. She gets a frozen mouse out of the Silver Giver Of Treats (I Lurve Carrots!! Crunchy!), dumps the mousie in a cup of really hot water and gives it to the snake.

So weird!

How come I don't get frozen meaty thingies? I wouldn't mind frozen meaty thingies. But instead Mom gives me carrots. I do like carrots though.

Oh. Did you want to see Cloudy Sky? Here ya go.

He's grown a lot since Mom and My Boy brought him home around Christmas. Mom says he's getting a lot stronger too. But he doesn't do that much, and he doesn't need his cage cleaned, so on we go to the other pets.

The Big Girl likes these two a lot.

I think they smell suspiciously like rabbits. I like rabbits. They run REALLY fast, and I like chasing them. Mmmm. Rabbits. But Mom tells me that they're not rabbits, so I have to believe her. After all. She knows where the carrots live. I've learned not to argue with her.

Mom has these two things in a big run on a folding table in the Living Room. They eat a lot of hay and run around a lot. Sometimes they "popcorn" around in the evenings, jumping up and down while they're running. The Big Girl squeals when that happens. Which gets me worried a little bit. Why does she MAKE that noise?

The Big Girl named this one Takame.

This one the Little Girl named Rosa. Rosa just woke up from a nap under the blue blanket in this picture.
They crawl inside the blanket and sleep. Which makes it easy to find them--just open up the blanket.

Sometimes they bump into each other inside the blanket which causes all sorts of strange noises to come out from the run. But I've learned that if anything is too distressing, a good lie-down upside down on your back makes all the blood run to interesting places. I love lying on my back. Here I am watching Mom typpity type on the computer thingie.Anyway. Here's one of Takame trying to hide. Silly Piggie.

Anyway. They're weird.

Do you want to go visit The Big Girl's room? She's got frogs up there.

I like the frogs.

The Big Girl's been closing the door on me a lot recently. She told Mom that she didn't like it when I got sick on the floor up there. Sigh.

I didn't mean to.

Anyway. About once a month Mom and The Big Girl have to take apart the entire frog cage and disinfect everything. This is quite a process. But it's OK, because they let me in The Big Girl's room for the whole afternoon. Where I can lie on my back, right in the middle of the floor and get in everybody's way.

Mom saw me doing this and said, "Oh, Hobbes. You are so silly!" I don't know why she would say that. She knows that my belly needs airing. Sometimes I even fall asleep like this during frog cleaning and my lips go "Fthllllph. Fthlllph. Fthllph." When they get too loud I wake up.

Anyway. We were going to talk about the frogs. Right.

The Big Girl started bringing them home a few months ago from a friend's house. Her friend had caught loads of them in a storm drain and was keeping them in a plastic box on the kitchen table.

The first two she brought home were Osiris and Maat. (Well, there was one other, but he got out on the first night. The Big Girl never found his body and Mom never discovered a froggy smell. I might tell you what really happened to him that night he got loose in the hallway, but then you might think less of me. And I'm quite cute, don't you think?)

Here's a picture of The Big Girl trying to get the frogs out of the cage. It's not that easy.

The cool thing about the way the cage is set up is that the frogs are reflected in the mirror behind the cage when they go hiding in the back. I can't tell you how many times I've wandered into The Big Girl's room to find both Mom and The Big Girl craning over the tank, trying to peer behind the tank to catch a glimpse of the frogs. And here I am. Big solid old me. No need to lean over a dresser and turn your head upside down to see me.

When they do that for too long, I just lean on their knees as hard as I can so that they have to pet me. Stepping on their toes works too. I like to give out these little tips as they occur to me.

Here's the frogs hiding in the tank, very aware that they will be removed one by one for examination, squealing, and tank cleaning. Don't they look alarmed?

There's actually two in there, but you have to look really hard.

One by one, The Big Girl takes each frog out of the tank. Today Mom and I took pictures of each one. I was very helpful. Then Mom took apart the tank, cleaned everything, put everything back together again, and fed me a carrot. Hee.

Here's Osiris:

And his lovely back

This one's Horus

Who was a little hard to catch. "Squeeeshed! Help ME!"

This is Maat, a goddess

Maat is a lovely golden color. I love golden stripey things.

And this is Min, the god of Rain

Min's very jumpy. Like me. But he doesn't sit still like I do for pictures. Mom likes his eyeliner.

The Big Girl calls this picture: "Clean the cage already!"

I have to say, Horus is looking rather flat in this one. But hey, he perked right up when he got back to his cleaned out home. No more frog poop. Who could complain?

Mom has told me a number of times that she's pretty sure that Osiris is the only female in the group and that Maat, Min, and Horus are all boys. Three of them are certainly croaking. But I don't know about male and female frogs. Female dogs still confuse me. Especially those little ones which can run right underneath my belly at the dog park? They are very worrisome.

I've found that I can get them to stop running at me if I just lie down on top of them as soon as they're under my belly. Unfortunately, this seems to cause all sorts of yelling back and forth between the humans. I don't really understand humans too well. Sometimes the dog park is a little upsetting too. I get nervous you know, with all those dogs barking at me, and then I growl back at them, and then people start throwing tennis balls, which I have to chase, even if there are six of them in the air, and then I don't always remember to give them back to the dogs who brought them. There are so many social rules about balls and dogs that I don't quite understand. Why CAN'T I have every ball in the park? Hmmm?

I should stop talking about the dog park. We were here to look at my animal friends. Right.

I guess I should talk about this guy. He was very disturbing. He made the Little Girl cry because he tried to bite her, and he made Dad angry because the the Little Girl was crying. Sometimes Mom put him in a big clear ball to clean his cage, but he never ran around in it. Mostly he just sat in it and hissed at me.

I don't know why. I never did anything to him. I would certainly never bite the Little Girl. She lets me up on her bed.

One day his cage was in the garage and he wasn't around anymore. Mom scritched my ears a lot that day and told me not to ask too many questions. So, hey. I don't. I'm a dog who likes my comforter and my people.

The Little Girl has Takame and Rosa to play with. And me. Of course. So I think no one's missing Kung Fu Rat too badly.

We had a big day today. Dad's painting the bathroom. Mom's cleaned the frog cage, and I've taken you on my little tour. Honestly, it's been great showing you around, but I'm getting a little tired. I didn't get quite enough sleep upstairs upside down, so I'm going to snuggle into my comforter here and snooze a little. Later on I'll fall on the floor, stretch out, and sleep some more.

Drop by if you have a chance. Don't forget the carrots. Little baby ones in a fresh bag. Juicy. Mmmm.


Spring Fever

I am having the weirdest dreams these days.

Usually I have long narrative dreams with lots of symbolism, but not these days.

The best way to describe them is to say that I'm stuck in some sort of pointillist painting.

You know those walkways in from of construction sites where they cut circles through the plywood so that you can check up on the building's progress? Yeah. That's what these dreams are like. I'm wandering through some sort of landscape and sort of bump into a fraction, a taste, a sugar egg scene from another dream. But before I can get a sense of what is going on in that scene, I'm back to wandering in the landscape.

Recent dream:

I'm walking along a stone wall in a field. It's summer and everything smells like grass. I come to a tree with huge dark brown trunk. I stop to look at the bark, but then it's not bark. It's the scales of a huge lizard standing on its head, holding leaves in its hind claws. One eye is closed, one is open.

I kneel down in the grass to look closer into the open eye. I think I want to see if the lizard is OK. Reflected in the eye is a scene from my elementary school playground. Liza, Laura, Sarah, and I have climbed up the hill near the swing sets, and we're hiding under the lilacs. Liza is crying and none of us know why. And all of us are embarrassed that she's crying, so we're sitting in a row, staring out through the lilac branches with our arms hugging our knees.

Just before I can slip into that dream, I'm walking along the stone wall again.

There's a window hanging in mid air in front of me. I look through it. There's a dog trying to cross a street. I don't recognize the street, the dog or the scene. And then all I can see is the rest of the meadow through the now transparent window.

Then I'm walking along the stone wall again. Walking towards me is my high school boyfriend. He's wearing his constant uniform of a black turtleneck, gray shorts and Adidas sneakers. I can recognize him from his silhouette, but before I can figure out if he can see me from so far away, he's gone. I stop walking and look at the wall. A bunch of the stones have reflective surfaces, and about five of them are showing me scenes from my most common recurring dreams: a witch, a church bell, a lake, a bridge, a peacock, and a cat.

I don't know what to make of this. I feel as if I'm having some sort of smorgasbord dream. It's as if I'm being offered the choice to enter into those dreams, and that somehow I'm taking just a second too long in deciding before option goes away. Or maybe I'm being teased by the images? Or maybe I'm witnessing some sort of decluttering of a packed closet of dreams? Or maybe my mind is shuffling them in a bizarre flip book animation?

I actually think that I'm tacking the meadow and the wall on after the fact because I'm so used to experiencing a narrative dream. I don't think that I know HOW to remember a dream unless there's a narrative attached to it. So I think my conscious mind added the other stuff on to make the random images stick to one another.

Anyway. After I have these, I wake up and then can't fall back asleep.

They don't disturb me really; it's not as if I'm upset by them to the point where I can't sleep, but I find that I'm not tired enough after the dream to make it all the way back to sleep.

This has caused me to reread Laura Kinsale's The Shadow and the Star. Goddamn, that woman can write. For every obsessed protective "Alpha" hero who intrigues me but also scares me enough to creep me out (think Wrath), I always come back to Samuel. He works for me in ways that other protectively violent heroes do not. (Well, I'm also rereading Flowers from the Storm too. Christian's another one who works.) I could read the scene where Samuel asks Leda to try on the necklace, and then can't help himself once the back of his hand touches her hair, and gently and just barely holds her face in his hands as he looks at her face in the mirror again, and again, and not get goosebumps. (Hell, I just got a shiver up my back typing out that clumsy summary.)

So I guess insomnia's not so bad.

Monday, April 09, 2007

K-LUV's in da House!


My brother called me.

For Easter.

Some gift, dude.

There's a Thursday Thirteen in here somewhere about all the nutty things he said to me, but I'll break it down to the most bizarre. (He's 45, in an ongoing divorce which he cannot get finalized--three years now?, and is the father of 15 and 10 year old boys. And a total screw-up.)

In general, he and I talk when my mother puts him on the phone and makes him talk to me. He still believes that I stole money from him when I refused to sign a legal document which would have given him the rights to a Cape Cod house and the rights to a significant portion of *my part* of my grandmother's estate in return for, um, nothing. I asked my Dad at the time, "Why would I sign this? I get nothing out of it." To which he replied, "Uh. Yeah. You're right. If I were in your place, I wouldn't sign it either." OK, then. (Note: my parents had been bugging me to sign the thing for weeks prior to this.)

My brother figured he deserved more money out of my grandmother's estate than I did, and that I would be willing to sign my portion of the inheritance over to him. When I refused, my brother called me a thief and a "fucking whore". He would call me to yell at me, I would tell him to stop yelling at me, and then I would tell him I was ending the call by hanging up the phone. As soon as I did, the phone would ring again. "I'm NOT DONE!" he would yell. "OK, but I am," I would reply, and then hang up. After a while he stopped calling, and I really stopped caring about what he was up to.

So, a few years ago he started divorcing his wife. Of course, he had done nothing wrong in the relationship--everything was her fault because she simply refused to change to please him. And he started calling me to tell me all about his new-found dedication to self-improvement. (Which involves teaching lots of spin classes in exchange for a free gym membership. He still doesn't have a *job*.)

Sigh. I can hardly wait for these calls.

He starts off yesterday by saying that he's calling me because his girlfriend keeps asking him when he last spoke to his sister. Good to talk to you too, bub. Then he starts in trying to diagnose my son, because, after all, his girlfriend works with Special Ed kids all day long. I love how THIS conversation is going.

My brother's new discovery in relationships: people fight about the little stuff. He realizes now that his twenty year refusal to clean the house or pick up after himself probably contributed to his wife being always angry at him. He takes responsibility for that. (But only that.) So his new technique is to focus on the small stuff. This way, there will be nothing to fight about, so there won't be any reason to ever fight about the big stuff. (Oy. I can only see about a million holes in THIS arrangement.)

If he just stays romantic, and they participate in "practice fighting" so that they can polish their relationship techniques, then there will never be a problem. (Oh, good lord. He actually believes this crap.)

Then he goes on to tell me a horrible story about his kids. He came home from work (?) to find only one child at home, the ten year old. He finds out that the older kid has gone to his mother's house so that she can take him to the High School bus on time in the morning, and that she'll be picking up the younger one to drive him to Elementary School. He calls his older son and tells him that he has to come back, and he has to come back right now. He tells me that at this point his son starts crying. (My brother can REALLY yell when he gets going--he spits and rants and gets fairly scary when he's trying to convince you of something. I can't imagine what this is like for his son.) He tells me that he sees now that he probably handles this wrong by talking to the son; after all it was all a ploy by his soon-to-be-ex-wife to discredit him.

"OK. I don't get it. WHY does the older one need to be there?"

"Because I teach spin class at six in the morning. The younger one can't be here by himself. The older one knows that. He needs to get his brother to school."

Oh good grief. The kid's 15, depressed, has enough reading disabilities and medications already. Now it's his responsibility to get his little brother to SCHOOL? No wonder he was crying. And Maybe, just Maybe, Dear Brother, you could, I dunno, get the kids to school yourself? Nah. You've got that unpaid spin class you need to go to to get your "endorphin fix for the morning."

Then he goes on to tell me that the relationship stuff is "just key."

"To what?"

"To relationships." Deep, man. Deep.

"Yeah," I counter. "But all that romantic stuff, the focusing on the details, and everything. It only works while you're in the dating phase. At some point you fall out of love, and you have to make a commitment to making this thing work. It can't all be about the rush you feel."

"I Never fall out of love." Aren't you the one getting a divorce?

"Oh, come on. You're still trying to impress. Right? I know all about that, but at some point, you can't keep it up anymore, and then you have to work on it."

"It's not about impressing the other person."

"Yes it is. 'Oh honey, let me open the door for you.' 'Let me pay for that.' That's dating. As soon as you use the bathroom with the door open, you're not dating anymore. I don't feel a rush of excitement anymore when I see Dear Butcher walk across the room. I'm sorry, but I don't. There's no emotional rush to that. At some point that goes away, and you have to just decide that you're going to work on stuff together."

Ugh. We went back and forth and back and forth and back and forth on this one. He's all about the joy he feels when he focuses on the details, and I'm trying to say that you can't build a relationship on the the emotional payback you may or may not get when you're nice. He finally agreed with me, but only after saying that this was HIS point all along. Oy.

And then there's the Bon Mot of the entire conversation. The phrase which make me drop my jaw and swoop across the floor like Groucho Marx so that I could find a pencil to write it down for Dear Butcher.

"You know. With all this focus I'm doing on my relationship, you know, on the details, I have to say. I've become a Killer Lover. My wife doesn't know what she's missing out on."


Killer Lover?

Good god. He's forty-fucking-five years old dating a thirty year old.

Ew. I so do not need to know this about my brother. Ew. Ew. Ew.

And he has to bring his soon-to-be-ex-wife into this? Good thing he's moving on.

After I got off the phone, Dear Butcher and I were giggling about this. Killer Lover? Killer? or is it Killa? Like in K-Luv's in da HOUSE, homies! Yeah, man. Look out Ho's. Look OUT bitches!

Or as Dear Butcher so succinctly put it: "God help us. He discovered the clitoris."

And the one thing I'm annoyed that I forgot to say to him: With all of this focus on relationship skills, how are you applying them to your relationship with your mother, your relationship with your sons, or even your relationship with me? I know we don't focus on the big stuff anymore, but I'm still waiting on an apology for being called a thief. Oh, and for the fact that you never bothered to call and congratulate me on the births of my two younger children. Oh, and that you've never sent them even a birthday card, let alone a birthday gift or a Christmas present. Oh, and that you never bothered to congratulate me on winning a public election, or that you have never, at any time, asked me about my work in politics.

But that's all big stuff, I know. And we don't worry about the big stuff anymore.


Friday, April 06, 2007

A Connection

Family dinners make my son nuts.

Come. Sit. Be Good. Sit Down. Sit. Eat This. Eat More. Stay and Tell the Adults About Yourself. Sit.

I guess they make all kids anxious, but I remember liking the Big Family dinners when I was a kid, because my seat was always right next to my Grandmother's, even when there was a Kid's Table. She always kept my plate full of black olives and celery sticks. Made me feel special.

Anyway, we knew that Seder with fifteen people was not going to be any fun for my son, and I didn't want to have to answer the same question four hundred times ("Isn't Saul going to sit with us?"), so I decided early on that he and I would go to the movies.

We saw "Meet the Robinsons", which was pleasant enough, but not GREAT, and not terrible.

I'm giving away the plot here to get to my son's comment at the end, so if you want to maintain your suspenseful enjoyment of an animated Disney film, read no further.

The movie's about a young bright kid, Lewis, who's been abandoned at an orphanage. He's so bright that he doesn't fit in well, and keeps not being adopted. He's visited by a kid from the future, who takes him forward to meet a collection of screwy folks who have all come together as a family called The Robinsons. At the end of the movie it is revealed that Lewis is the time traveler's father, a successful and famous inventor, and adult Lewis and child Lewis have a heart to heart about how to get over adversity. Basically don't let the bad stuff derail you and "keep moving forward" with a positive attitude. Very Disney.

The lights come up in the theater and my son says to me, eyes fixed on the screen, "I can't WAIT for this to come out on DVD!"

"Really? You liked it?"

"That kid's just like me. I think I'm going to be a great person one day. I know it."

"Yes, kid. You are."

"And Mom, I know how to get over stuff, I do. I just forget a lot."

"I know. But you know, the moment you figure out what your Thing is, whether it's inventing, or whatever, you are going to make your mark on the world."

"Just like Lewis."


"I love this movie."

So that was all sappy, I know. But it was still really great to hear that my son still has a positive outlook on his life. It made for a beter seder than sitting around and eating horseradish. At least for me.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Palm Sunday, Seder, and Easter

I have guests in this week. Grandma's staying with us. (Yes, I managed to clean the guest room/office enough to unfold the bed.) And Dear Butcher's Sister's family will be visiting off and on all week.

Tuesday we'll have 15 people for a Seder.

My son is already losing it a touch. But hey. It gives me the perfect excuse to hightail it out of a situation I'm not particularly thrilled to be in anyway. I've already decided that I'm taking the son to a movie during Seder dinner.

AND I caught the cold my daughter's been fighting off. Gee willakers, this is a fun illness. Headache that will not abate, deep chest congestion, and although I can breathe, my upper teeth ache which tells me that I've got some sinus funkiness going on. Bring on the relatives! Yay!

(Update on my son--I took him to Kaiser for a psychiatric consult so that we can start a prescription for anti-anxiety meds through our HMO coverage. Now I've been told that there's a waiting list to see the psychopharmacologist so that HE can prescribe meds. So the purpose of the psychiatrist is...? I love HMOs.)