Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The little things

I've come to the conclusion that priorities are almost pointless.

I'm 32 years old. I've spent a decent amount of time figuring out what is most important to me, what my strengths are, and in which direction I want to head. Things are about as clear as one can reasonably hope for (which is to say, not exactly murky, but far from crystal).

But you know what? That doesn't mean anywhere near as much as I hoped it would. Because while one devotes a great deal of time and energy to the top priorities, the lower ones unionize. They gather with their bits and pieces, undetected until they form a giant wall that can completely separate you from your goals.

It's rather depressing.

And now I must go dust before the bunnies revolt.

Friday, July 24, 2009

My Achilles Heel

I'm a pretty confident person. Even when I'm self-conscious, I can usually will myself to appear ballsy enough to fake it. But there's one situation I've never been able to cope with: Court.

I've gone to court on a traffic violation, and I thought I was going to die.
In 10 years, I've gone to family court twice (and mediation twice) and thought I was going to puke all over myself.

Court terrifies me. Doesn't matter whether I'm obviously in the right or not, I have to choose my breakfast carefully because I may have to revisit it in reverse.

I'm waiting to find out if I'll have to go back to court. Just thinking about it, I'm shaky and nauseated and feeling a little faint. The caffeine probably isn't helping, but it's doing a good job of keeping the migraine at bay.

I've had bread and butter and a little bit of pasta today. Anything more would be reckless. Now you know my weakness.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Food is ugly

I'm reading Food, Inc.

I wouldn't say that there are many surprises in the book. I already knew that I didn't like the idea of poisons on my kids' food (or in our air, soil and water). Genetically modified food already freaked me out. I was already convinced that feeding animals hormones and antibiotics is bad. And I've always had a problem with the issue of immigration and farming. But now I feel like I'm on some big crusade within my own home.

Have you ever seen battery cages?

Or a feedlot?

Did you ever wonder who is out there, hand-picking your strawberries?
The USDA comes right out and tells us that about half are illegal (and almost all are foreign), and that 80% of them work 40+ hours/wk for an average of $318. In the sun. Immersed in pesticides. So we can have strawberry shortcake in February.

Basically, this book has taken all of my earlier concerns and made me realize that I'm not just paranoid. There are funky things going on in the food industry and I'm not being forced to participate. I'm being forced to work really hard in order to opt out.

I took my daughters to the local farm market this past weekend. They picked out half a dozen ears of corn (since we planted late). They were relatively short ears. The kernels varied in size and had some "interesting" patterns to them. No two looked alike. In other words, they were perfect! Grown from nature's seeds (not a lab's), in clean, local soil, recently harvested by the people who were paid for them.

We did pay slightly more than we would have for supermarket corn on sale. What we saved were the chemicals, the Frankenstein breeding, and the extra transportation. And my girls got to see that Amish people really do exist!

I can't completely change overnight. I managed to choke down some mass-produced chicken last night, and a Shop Rite cheeseburger the night before. I did talk to one of the farmers about getting half a cow and some chicken for our chest freezer. From a cow that lives in a field and chickens that have never seen a cage. Or been fed antibiotics. Or bred to grow at rates that would produce 300+lb human toddlers.

I know many people already think I'm weird with my slightly-crunchy take on the world, and a whole bunch are going to think I've really gone nuts now. But that's okay. If it's nuts to want to avoid buying a 10yo a bra or feminine hygiene products, or to contribute to a farmer's livelihood instead of a corporation's stock, or to eat real food and avoid poisons, than I'm happy to be nuts. Organic, locally grown, fair-wage nuts!

If you don't mind eating animals that were covered in feces before being cut up, eating species that have been spliced with other species and not knowing what species that might be, or getting your lettuce from China, that's your business. And I think you're nuts.

For the record, there are some points in the book I disagree with. But I do recommend everyone read it. Or see it, if you don't live in the boonies like me. If you can get through it without wanting to make a single change to your kitchen, I'll eat an unwashed supermarket strawberry.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


It's official, I'm an aunt!

Baby M was born at 3:27 on Friday.

I want to bite her. Not in an evil way, but in that "I could just eat her up with a spoon" way. Minus the spoon, because I'm just not that classy.

The aunt thing is so weird. Of the three D-sisters, I'm the one who makes the babies. I'm the one who tries to shush the babies while I'm on the phone. I'm the one who is always trying to grow a third hand. I'm the one who can't go more than a few hours without mentioning poop.

I don't know how I feel about abdicating that mommy throne. I can't figure out whether I'm more upset that I am 800 miles away from that delicious baby or that going to visit her might result in being on the 6 o'clock news for kidnapping when it's been months since I've had my highlights done. I can't make sense of this longing I have for another baby when I've already decided that I most definitely do not want another baby.

Last night, the husband, the kids and I sat down and watched Martian Child.

"Sometimes we forget that children have just arrived on the earth. They are a little like aliens, coming into beings as bundles of energy and pure potential, here on some exploratory mission and they are just trying to learn what it means to be human. For some reason Dennis and I reached out into the universe and found each other, Never really know how or why. And discovered that I can love an alien and he can love a creature. And that's weird enough for both of us."

Welcome to the world, Baby M!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Words always carry weight, but the way in which they're measured can vary greatly from speaker to listener, and the way in which they're balanced can shift in different context or with further reflection. Titles are the biggest word-enigmas.

I had a list of titles I never wanted to be given or to claim. I felt that most were inaccurate or patronizing or that I was simply unworthy. I've never given much credence to the titles others bestow on me because I have been weighing them with my own scale, not by the scale of the speaker. I balanced their words within the scope of my own inferiority complex and my own tendency to attempt to appeal to what I've always assumed were the larger egos of everyone else. And I simply assumed they would do the same.

Two years ago, my grandmother was fretting over my decision to homeschool. With so many degreed teachers in our family, her skepticism made sense.

A few weeks ago, Grandma and I raided the library book sale. As I loaded an insane number of books onto the checkout counter, the cashier asked if I was a teacher. While I started to explain that I was a homeschooler, Grandma proudly proclaimed that yes, I was a Teacher, teaching my children at home.

Before that day, I would have rolled my eyes and cringed a bit at such a statement. But this time I used the speaker's scale; the scale of a woman who once doubted my methods and questioned my lack of credentials. Here she was, giving me a title I had never been able to honestly give myself. And she believed it. And now I do.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


How in the world does one describe M?

She's the second in a set of almost-Irish-twins. She's the second middle child. She's the second girl.

But she's the first child to look like me. She's the first to suggest a frog hunt. She's the first to comfort her baby brother. She's the first to make new friends and the first to help me in the garden. She's almost always the first to forgive, and she's definitely the first I turn to when I need some affirmation.

M is intense.
When she's happy, she's ecstatic.
When she's angry, she is terrifying.
She plays dress up in the mud and reads while hanging upside down.

M is well on her way to being my mini-me. I apologize.

She also happens to be 6 years old today.

Happy birthday, Porgs!