Category Archives: Uncategorized

Night at the Plaid Sheep House

My kids are weird, and they only get weirder after night fall.

Last night I was laying down with V while she went to sleep,

everything was getting quiet when suddenly…

She kept telling me to “hang on a minute” while she very urgently bunched herself under the blanket, then decided that wasn’t enough and crawled under the sheet, then kept going further and further until eventually she was in a tiny ball under the fitted sheet next to the mattress.  Then I heard a little muffled but determined voice say from underneath it all…

I did what any good mother of a crazy person would do and felt around until I touched what I was pretty sure was her clavical, and that seemed to satisfied her because she came out and got into bed like a normal human again.

As I lay there listening to her sing a made up song about unicorns and unicycles I felt a tiny hand touch my face and turned to see Finn and woken up and was trying to crawl into bed with us.  So I pulled him up in and he squirreled around while Verona continued singing for a moment until he stopped, looked me dead in the eyes, and vomited all over the bed.

I sighed, got up and got a rag to wipe him and the bed down with, but as soon as he saw it in my hand he freaked out and started grabbing handfuls of vomit and furiously shoving it in his mouth like I was about the steal the only nourishment he’d ever get again.

Once everyone was cleaned up I decided I was going to bed even if they weren’t.  I shut the door so there was no chance of escape and curled up in bed while they crawled around playing.  Eventually they both passed out… Verona on the floor spooning with Barney the morbidly obese basset hound…

…and Finn across my face.

How to fuck with your dog

Daisy, every night for the past five years or so, has slept happily by my feet on the bed.

I gave the dogs an IQ test a year or two ago to find out once and for all whether Barney is really retarded or that’s just a big mean joke, (he actually is retarded… it didn’t surprise anyone) which is how I know that Daisy is a really smart dog.  She just over thinks things and isn’t very good at change.

Which is why occasionally I like to fuck with her by randomly sleeping the wrong way in the bed.

Then I just lay back and watch how messed up it makes her.

After looking back and forth from one end of the bed to the other for a good ten minutes she’ll half heartedly go lay by my feet.  Then a few minutes later she’ll come lay by my face where she normally is, toss and turn and stare at me like “goddamnit mom.”, then end up flopping somewhere in between and moving around all night long while I laugh at her.

I’m so mean.

Let the children out of the cage!

A few weeks ago Lenore Skenazy, author of the book “Free Range Kids” and the blog of the same name invited parents interested in the concept to get together across the country with other like-minded families.  Like any good crazy lady I thought “The chance to hang out with strangers!  Yes!” and posted an open invitation on her blog for a picnic at the park by my house.


It was a blast.  A handful of parents, a small soccer teams’ worth of kids between the ages of teeny tiny and 9 (claiming to be 10), and a vast over abundance of food which I’m sure stray animals will be enjoying the remaining bits of all night long.

It was a perfect place to have it.  All the adults could shoot the shit in the grass while the kids flowed freely between us, the playground, the surrounding fields of grass, and a few giant colonies of crazy bugs they found.

Verona found a new bff in the other little girl there, and proved that you can love making snow angels even if you’ve never seen snow in your young life.

Farms and Things

It occurred to me that, aside from not posting nearly enough lately, I haven’t put any pictures up in FAR too long… I’m turning into one of those boring text blogs.  I’m here to remedy that today.

This past weekend we got to spend some time on David’s extended family’s farm down in Yuma.  For these little ferrel children of mine there aint nothing better than a farm.

Verona has ridden horses a few times before with her older cousins but this was Finn’s first time up on one, he didn’t get to ride it, just sat for a few minutes while Verona squealed with glee.

Finn got more attention than he can handle from aunts and uncles.

The best part though was that Verona found a tortoise, Jhenaveve, who lives on the ranch.

It was love at first sight.  At least for Verona… I don’t really think Jhenaveve gave a shit.  Verona spent the majority of the afternoon following the poor thing around where ever she went, giving her hugs and kisses and little neck scratches which she assumed tortoises would like since dogs do.  Reasonable assumption I guess.  And Jhenaveve never bit her so I’m taking that as a sign that she agreed.

That time I popped a baby out of my lady hole.

The fabulous Wilson over at Not Quite What I Expected gave the run down of her just popping her new little girl out and I realized I never did that with either of my kids.  So put on your seatbelts folks, I promise never to use the word mucus and to use as many euphamisms of vag as possible.

With Verona I was dead set not on having a natural birth (I find it laughable to say I WILL DO THIS about a situation you have no first hand experience with) but on giving the whole natural birth thing my best effort.  However, after 72 hours in active labor I decided that 72 hours totally counts as “my best/anyone’s best”, so after three days with lots of excruciating pain and little to no sleep I wept with joy when the beloved anesthesiologist stabbed that amazing giant needle into my spine… then promptly fell asleep, dreaming dreams of the pain-free delivery I was now sure I would have.

But there’s a dirty little secret your OB doesn’t tell you… epidurals have a finite time frame on their effectiveness.  So by that night when Verona finally made her grand arrival into the world (SOOO many more hours later than I or any medical professional thought) it had totally worn off, and her birth was 100% natural… just like I had thought I wanted.

I’ve heard of people crying tears of joy right after they have their baby, praying, or developing a sudden inability to stop smiling.  All I can remember is swearing.  Swearing up and down at the doctor as he put stitch after stitch after endless stitch in the massive damage Verona’s abnormally large head (in the 99th percentile) had done… all with zero pain killers.

Needless to say, I was a little traumatized by the entire experience, and for the entire 40 weeks of Finn’s pregnancy I was in complete and utter terror that the same thing would happen.

So I scheduled an induction for 39 weeks… and I knew people were judging me but I didn’t give a shit.  Not even a little shit.  Not even one of those tiny round turds that rabbits poop.  You know what I did give a shit about?  My lady garden not being ripped open like a ziploc snack bag full grahm crackers in the hands of a hungry toddler.  I also didn’t give a shit about attempting a “natural birth” because with the exception of that nice 10 hour rest in the middle of V’s labor I had already done that, and I had little to no interest in doing it again.

I was already in early labor when we went in for the induction so they helped keep things humming (none of this four day labor bullshit again) but it wasn’t a full induction in any sense.  And as soon as things started hurting bad enough I couldn’t focus on the movie David and I were watching a stunningly handsome anesthesiologist came in at my request and shot me up with all sorts of horrible drugs.

Because hey, my baby and I were both having a really big rough day, and I thought we deserved to be a little high on something to help us deal with it.  If you’re judging me right now… remember that story about the tiny bunny turds from earlier?  Go reread it… it applies again.

And (thank the LORD!) after the trail that his big sister blazed the little monster slid out of there like my business was a freaking water slide.  Weeeee!

There was no swearing after he was born.  Well, there probably was (I’m part sailor) but it was the good happy kind, not the angry painful kind.  The doctor immediately put him in my arms and David and I ooooed and awwwed, and talked about how perfect he was, and about how we couldn’t remember Verona ever being this small (which we later found out was because he was a full 2lbs smaller than her) until sudden the room started spinning and my vision started blurring and I looked at David and said “take this baby, take this baby right now or I’m going to drop him on the floor” right as he scooped the baby up and I lost consciousness.

Nothing says “love at first sight” like throwing your baby at someone else so you can take a little involuntary nap.  But he was born into a family of people who do everything weird, it was good he found that out right from the start.

After my blood pressure stabilized and I came to we continued the love fest.

And then I had two kids instead of one.  And the rest has been at least partially documented on here.  I hope you enjoyed this little trip through yoni memory lane as much as I have.

Death. And how much I’ll miss one tiny, smelly, sweetheart.

Wednesday afternoon Banana, my precious tiny dog, passed away.

I got this picture the day before he died.  Verona adored this little guy almost as much as I did.

I found Banana as a stray a few years ago and brought him home with the full intention of taking him to a shelter only to find all the shelters were full and nobody would take him… and so, be default, he became ours.

Death is a weird weird thing while simultaneously being the most natural thing in the world.  Banana’s death was beautiful and full of love, while at the same time being horrifying and gross… but somehow the beauty didn’t take away from the horror at all and the horror didn’t taint the beauty… they just existed side by side in a bizarre juxtaposition of inevitability.

We knew it was coming so we all had a chance to say goodbye, but Wednesday morning when I saw him I knew the time was very near.  He was so weak by that point that he couldn’t walk or even stand so that morning I move him and his little bed out into the sun so even though he couldn’t see anymore he could feel the warmth and the kids and I spent the morning outside playing so Verona could spend some more time with him and he wouldn’t be alone.

When they went down for their nap I brought him inside to sit on my lap while I watched a movie, something we’ve done together most evenings since I found him those years ago.  Despite having no eyesight left he kept pulling is head up, something that was incredibly difficult for him, to look at me.  He seemed so scared so, through my tears, I told him he didn’t have to be, that everything was going to be ok, and I was holding him so if it was time he wouldn’t to be alone.  I also reminded him how incredibly loved he was.

A few minutes later suddenly the room was filled with an emptiness, I reach down and put my hand on his tiny chest and realized he was gone.

When I picked his dirty, scraggly self up off the street those years ago I never anticipated how much I would love him or how blessed I would be by him.  He needed me at a time in my life when I desperately needed to be needed.  While it was good to have the chance to say goodbye it doesn’t make me miss him any less.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Hey Kohl’s… consider it on!

Once upon a time for Christmas I got a coat from Kohl’s.  It was cute, green, and I don’t actually own a coat (although I live in Phoenix so that’s not a big deal) what it wasn’t was the correct size.

So I went to exchange it for the right size today to find there weren’t any in the right size.  When I decided to return it instead I was told by the cashier that through whatever messed up Kohl’s system that I didn’t understand I could either take $19 cash or $58 store credit… except the catch about the store credit was that it had to be one item that was exactly $58, not a penny more, not a penny less.  The apathetic sales clerk looked at me with her glazed over look and, without stopping the incessant chomping on her gum said “Well, you better take the $19.  It’s point to be a huge pain to try and find something exactly $58.  Too bad.”

To which I responded “Really Kohl’s?!?!  REALLY!?!?  Them’s fightin’ words!  You think you can screw me out of damn near $40?!?!?!  Oh it’s OOOOOON BITCHES!”  (Ok, those may not have been my exact words… but it was exactly what I ment.)

I searched through that whole freaking store for almost two hours, and you know what the interesting thing about Kohl’s is?  They have a whole lotta stuff for $57.  They also have a whole lotta stuff for $59.  Do you know what they have for $58?  Exactly one pair of bootcut jeans and one incredibly ugly sweater.  That’s it.

So I got me a pair of bootcut jeans.  And Kohl’s can suck it.  Because nobody is screwing me and my borderline OCD level frugality out of damn near $40.

And I mean nobody!

The magical night where Social Distortion was not.

I grew up in a tiny, very religious town in Kansas… the kind of place hours away from any decent music.  3.5 hours to be exact.  3.5 hours was how far away Kansas City, Missouri is.  There was this little hole in the wall place called the Beaumont Club in the Westport neighborhood of KC that always booked the best punk bands, and we all drove up there every chance we got to hear music that spoke to us, that made outcasts like us feel alive and important and like we mattered.

One otherwise unimportant Tuesday night Social Distortion was scheduled to play a show there.  We all wanted to go.  My mother most adamantly did not want me to but I knew, somehow I just knew that I needed to, I knew somewhere in the core of my being that this wasn’t just another concert.

She threatened, she guilt tripped, but in the end the beauty of divorce is that neither parent has any real control over you because they’re afraid you’ll go live with the other one and never come back.

So as afternoon drew to a close I crammed myself into my friend Lance’s tiny, funky smelling car with him, our friends Jono, Tara, and Ben who was one of my most trusted friends who I also happened to be more or less head over heels in love with.  We drove, we laughed, we listened to music, we smoked a shit ton of pot, and got hilariously lost at one point, but finally we made it to the Beaumont.  As we strutted down the cobblestone streets of Westport from the car to the club we felt like the coolest people on the planet, our long journey was over and about to be rewarded by seeing Social D live… except we weren’t.  The show was sold out.  Four hours (cause of the whole getting lost thing) in that tiny funky smelling car and they were sold out.  Completely and totally sold out.  All the youthful exuberance in the world wasn’t going to change that.

It could have been the worst night in the world.  It had ever right to be.  But instead the most epic string of adventures unfolded before us… it was the kind of night they make coming of age movies out of.

Going into detail almost seems like it would taint the memory so I’ll just give you the sparknotes version.  There was cosmic bowling, piggy back races through the Walmart meat aisle, a small fleeing-from-the-cops incident, Lance lifting the car with all of us inside it after a rush of adrenaline, saving the life of an old man in a truck stop parking lot, and Ben and I getting handcuffed to a Dairy Queen ice cream freezer.  And through it all Ben was smiling.  Ben smiled a lot but underneath it I could tell he was a sad sad soul, there was always something weighing him down beneath it all.  But that night he seemed free, he was smiling like he was truly happy.

The night ended with a long ride home through which I slept with my head on Ben’s shoulder and my hand in his.  (Truth be told I only slept the last half, the first part I was just pretending to sleep while I tried to soak in everything about the moment.)

When we got home Ben gentle brushed the hair out of my face and whispered in my ear.  “Wake up, we’re here.” then so quiet no one could hear but me “This was the best night I’ve ever spent with you.” and smiled a genuine smile, not the kind of smile he normally had that I could tell there was still sorrow behind, but a real and genuine smile.

It was the best night I had ever had in those 17 years of my life.

.

.

.

That was the last night I ever saw Ben alive.  A few days later he was gone, leaving only a note that said not to cry, that he loved us and would miss us all.

I knew deep down that I needed to go that night.  No matter what my parents wanted, no matter what anyone thought… I knew this time it wasn’t about teenage rebellion or seeing some band.  I had known somehow that night was going to be important.  I knew the path I needed to take and I’m so grateful I stood up for myself and took it.  I don’t know if I would have been able to live with myself if I had missed out on that last magical night with someone who ment that much to me.

You are the only one who can know what path you’re ment to go down.

I so dearly hope I can remember that as my kids get old enough to have magical sold out concert nights of their own.

Safety vs Gandhi

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” -Gandhi

I am determined to show my children a different way to live in the world.  The world can be a scary place, especially living in the big bad city.  Bad things can happen but I have always been convinced that the only way to combat the threat of danger isn’t to run and hide from it but to consciously act in a different way.  To live kindness, to live community, to live trust.  Yes, sometimes that’s not the 100% safest option but I’ve been convinced that some level of risk is worth it because in living unapologetic kindness, community, and trust in a broken world you’re also living hope… and hope is something this world desperately needs.  Only then can the world truly start to change, when we choose not to live in fear.

I’ve been convinced of this until recently.

A week ago a good friend of ours was attacked in her own home in the middle of the day by a complete stranger.  He pushed his way past her when she answered the door, locked her little boy in the bathroom, and beat her mercilessly.  She may not even be alive now if their roommate hadn’t miraculously come home right then and scared him off.  She is profoundly broken, both physically and emotionally.  Her husband and roommate are emotionally broken, family and friends… broken, our community as a whole… broken.  How do you deal with something like that?

The thing is, she wasn’t in any situation I’m not in every single day and she didn’t do anything that I wouldn’t have done.  They only live 10 minutes away from us in what I would consider a slightly nicer neighborhood than ours.  I can’t get it out of my mind that if some nutjob had come to my house instead of hers there is absolutely no reason it wouldn’t have been me.

It doesn’t make me want to reach out to the world, or my neighbors, or a stranger who needs help… it makes me want to lock all the doors to my house and hide.

Every time I’m home by myself with the kids now and the dogs start barking I freeze.  Who knows what evil is lurking outside, ready to come in and get us!?  When I’m walking to my car in the grocery store parking lot after dark and a shadow moves my heart races.  Who knows what monsters may be hiding behind the next red Toyota!?  When I decide to take the kids out for a walk or to the park I think about it much harder than I normally would.  Isn’t venturing out onto the urban streets just asking for trouble!?

Because the hopelessly bruised and swollen face isn’t on the news anymore… it’s in front of me on someone I love.

And that’s really freaking hard to deal with.

It came to it’s peak yesterday when I made a pan of cinnamon rolls for our neighbors across the street who I see and wave at all the time but have never formally met… what’s a better ice breaker than homemade cinnamon rolls?  But when I went to unlock the door (the side door used to be unlocked during the day so friends who stopped by could come right in) I briefly wondered if I should.  Should I open the door and leave the safety of my locked house and my protective dog?  Should I be taking my kids across the street the the house of people who were virtually strangers?

It was that thought that made me realize I had let it go too far.  The idea that I could keep us all locked away in the house for the rest of our lives in the name of safety is absurd, and a world where you can’t meet your neighbors isn’t the world I want my kids to grow up in… risk or no risk.

There is a fine line between being appropriately safe and making fear based decisions that get in the way of living fully.  I used to think I knew where the line was but now I’m not so sure.  Maybe I’ve been making horribly dangerous decisions since we moved here without knowing it (remember, I came from a land where hitchhiking when you run out of gas is totally kosher… even as a teenage girl), or maybe that mythical line is still where it’s always been and I just need to get over this rattled feeling.

I still want to be the change I wish to see in the world… I’m just now painfully aware of how hard that can be sometimes.