Wednesday, December 16, 2009

closure

I'm working through end-of-year closure one email at a time. Here's wishing the new year will really start anew...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dear Izzy

This is mine and Chris' new "project": http://dearizzy.blogspot.com/

Hopefully I do better online than I've done with her journals. And if you have any additional ideas please share! In addition, if you'd like to write her a letter yourself, let us know and we'll send you the logon info. (because there is no such thing as too many letters!)

Here's to raising our parenting "stock".

Friday, November 20, 2009

for the record

Despite the current page of my blog (geez I've been depressing lately), things are good. I am happy. Positivity is slowly finding it's way back into the Dawson home. I've smudged, lit candles and spread more salt than one can imagine. The bubble is getting stronger.

We're taking Izzy to Grandma's for a week. Heading out for a relaxing camping trip and then coming home to an empty and clean house. I'm a superstitious girl (so I hope I'm not jinxing things here), but I hope to end this year on a positive note in order to bring in a positive new year. We're

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dear Ovaries, why do you do this to me?

I once worked with a girl who claimed PMS was "an excuse" created by women to excuse their bitchiness. I should have said it then, but instead I'm going to say it now: "Screw you Erin." I'm not a gynecologist, but I'm telling you, there is something to this PMS.

I consider myself a fairly self-aware 30-something and I'm positive that I did not just use the "PMS excuse" to spend $130 on groceries consisting of 2 pints of ice cream, a Betty Crocker "Decadent Carrot Cake", hair color and Half & Half. I NEVER buy any of those things. In fact, now that I think about it, I only buy hair color when I'm on my period. I'm going to say it has something to do with my self-loathing during that time. But I swear at the time I was absolutely convinced that ALL of those things were essential to my happiness. It wasn't until I got home and unloaded groceries that I thought "WTF?"

The only reason I went to the store in the first place was because I was tired of yelling at my husband. Something else I NEVER do unless I'm on my period. No excuses there, just cold hard facts. And it should be noted that he is better at predicting my cycle than I am at this point. Because I buy dumbass shit from the grocery store and yell a lot. So once again, screw you Erin. I hope you are enjoying your well-balanced personality, free of the PMS rollercoaster.

Monday, November 9, 2009

2010 To-Do List (ongoing)

I've decided to start a list of all the things I'd like to do/change next year. As most who have been following along knows, this has been my year of self-sacrifice, and honestly, this year has pretty much sucked as a whole. But to look at things optimistically and on a positive note (because Jessica insists I must do this) - this year has enabled me to really call next year as mine. Guilt free. And I'm really starting to look forward to the possibilities. So here is my 2010 list:

* Travel!! - I have trips planned to California, Portland and possibly Sedona. And if we manage to make it through the summer without completely breaking the bank (unheard of before now) - I totally plan on rewarding us with a trip to Scotland.

* "Me" time - I'm looking forward to finding some things next year for just me (as opposed to family). I'm considering a quilting class (Erin's t-shirt quilt has inspired me!), a fitness class of some kind (yoga, pilates or kickboxing), and learning to sew/knit.

* Get Crafty - In relation to the above post, I'd like to reverse my input/output next year. This year I have taken a lot in and most of what I have put out was to benefit others. In 2010, I'd like to create more. In a perfect world I'd always be working on a project. Knitting, sewing and jewelry making are on the tops of that list. I'd also like to make a stained glass mirror, some yard art and create more stuff to hang on the walls. Big goals, but it can be done if I'd just close this damned laptop.

* Get off the phone - I'm on the phone 90% more than I'd like to be. Next year I'm moving towards texts and emails as Emily assures me it should only take a year to "reset" the phone call abusers. This provides many benefits. A.) I'll be able to think before I speak; B.) My energy won't be sapped by people who like to call and say nothing; and C.) I'll have more time to work on my many projects.

* Change up social dynamics - Some of my friendships have been really "trying" this year. After several discussions and psycho-analytical sessions with my husband, I realized I've been putting wayyyy too much energy into our friendships and social circle. I'd like to bring the focus back to our family and put less energy into my friendships. The ones who love me will respect it, the ones that don't will move on. And finally, I'm okay with that.

* Get in shape - This is a repeat of above, but it needs to be mentioned again. I've been talking about it for 3 years, but I need to make it a top priority. I've been feeling tired, lazy and embarrassed by how out of shape I am. I really miss the days when I felt good about myself. It's time to finally do something about it.

* Make changes for Izzy - Bless her heart, she has no friends. I need to put her in some kind of pre-school and start her in some classes of her own. This will do a lot for her and ease some of the Mama guilt I've got going on.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Screw you 2009, Screw you.

Serenity NOW!

p.s. - Screw you again 2009.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I think I AM doing my job, sir.

Today on the way home from Izzfest grocery shopping I was stopped at a red light. I had my windows rolled down, enjoying the beautiful day, when the corner “Homeless Vet” started walking towards me. I didn’t want to be the jackass rolling up her window, so I just tolerated the rising anxiety.

“Hello there ma’am, how’s your day going?” he asked. “Good, thanks,” I replied. “Do you happen to have a dollar or two,” he asked. My anxiety rising, I said, “I’m sorry, I don’t have any cash.” Shaking his head, he said, “It’s okay. I’ve done my job, now you are doing yours.” Nervous and guilty, I started fiddling with the radio. He lingered at my window until the light finally turned green and I drove off.

It wasn’t until I turned left that I started to get pissed and have my George Costanza moment, thinking of all the things I wish I would have said. Had I had it to do all over again (with bigger balls, of course) I would have said “You’re right. I AM doing my job. I’ve just spent a shot-ton of money for my daughter’s 3rd birthday. I don’t have any money to give you because I’ve spent my last dime on birthday presents, brisket, eggs and fucking expensive-ass jelly beans that match the color of the Seuss theme. And don’t look at me that way. I’m responsible for feeding 30+ people on Saturday. People that have taken time out of their busy schedules to come celebrate with us. People that have fed us, people that have listened to our woes over the last 5+ years and people that are working just as hard as I am to get by.” I would have continued saying, “I appreciate your service to our country, but believe it or not, due to that service you should have a lot more benefits than I do at this very moment and I really wish you’d take the opportunity to explore those benefits as opposed to making me feel so damn guilty for not having a dollar bill on me. Thank you and have a nice day.” Next time I think I’ll just be that asshat that rolls up their window…

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bad boys bad boys, whatcha gonna do? Come to Austin!

So there we were, Chris and I coming home from an impromptu night out of Pictionary and Sweet Tea Vodka’s with friends. We drove on to 35 South from St. John’s, a drive we’ve driven a hundred times by now. We were absorbed in a rather serious examination of our relationship when a Chevy Tahoe almost sideswiped us. “Son-of-a-bitch,” Chris cussed, before slowing down to let the Tahoe get ahead of us. It was then that we noticed he was drunk. Really, really, really drunk.

It was just a couple of weeks ago that this same scene played out before us. Again, coming home from the same friend’s house at the same time of night (1:45am). And just like last time, we dialed 911. It didn’t take long to realize that this guy was far drunker than the last. As I talked to a 911 operator, the guy swerved across all three lanes of traffic, barely missing several cars. “I’m not kidding,” I told the operator, “this guy is going to kill someone if you don’t get an officer here soon.” We made this call at the intersection of 35 South and 8th. The operator assured us she’d inform the police and dispatch someone immediately.

Meanwhile, drunk-driver is swerving across lanes, slowing down to 20 m.p.h. and then speeding up again. Chris and I both agreed that we would follow him until the police came because we were worried that he would hit someone and help would be needed. So away we go down 35, waiting for the police. And waiting. And waiting. And waiting. At several points along the way it appeared he was going to exit, only to veer back onto the highway. And there we were, veering with him (albeit far more cautiously). By this time, 8 (or so) minutes had gone by and I called 911 again. I gave all the information again (only this time reading his license plate the “police way” – saying 125-Victor Charlie 9), and again expressing how crazy this guy was driving. “We are going to follow him, because this is not going to end well,” I tell the operator. “That would not be advisable,” she says, “you will become a liability.” Exasperated I say, “then you need to get someone out here quickly before he kills someone.”

Finally drunk-driver made a hasty exit onto William Cannon (about 10 miles down the road for those non-Austinites). We follow and suddenly see 2 police cars speeding down the exit ramp behind us. “Finally,” we both yell. Chris turns on his hazards, pulls over and rolls down the window to motion to the Tahoe. And just as quickly, both cop cars speed right by us as drunk-driver takes off through the light. “Are you fucking kidding me?” Chris yells. And off we go to follow. We drove down the feeder to Slaughter (where we witness him driving off the road, completely onto the grass, then back on to the road), then follow him into the SouthPark Meadows shopping center and right into a Jack In The Box drive-through where he abruptly stops. I call 911 again, informing them of his location (along with repeating everything for a 3rd time). Again, they say they’ll send an officer out. And again, we wait.

4 minutes into waiting (because now I’m timing this shit), we see a security guard driving around the Walmart parking lot. We flag him down and inform him of the situation. At the same time we notice that cars are not able to access the drive-through because drunk-driver has apparently passed out in his car. We wait another 5 minutes (with another cop car driving right past us), before someone manages to flag down an officer who happened to be at the Whataburger next door. Turns out, she had received no calls. As we were giving our statement, she asked why we didn’t call 911. “We did – 3 times!” we said emphatically. She then said they would attempt to “find our calls” and attach them to the report, “should this guy be arrested and taken to jail.” My jaw dropped a little and I said, “Oh no, you can’t let this guy get back in the car. Seriously. He will kill someone.” And she assured me it would be “taken care of.” We drove off, without seeing the outcome of the situation.

Seriously, is Austin having some kind of police officer shortage? This wasn’t some slightly drunken individual who swerved across a lane or two. This guy was all over the place. He passed out in a drive-through for fucks sake. It was 25 minutes from the time we made the first phone call to the time the officers finally showed up. 25 damn minutes! I dated a cop for a (very!) brief time when I was still living in Baytown, and their response time was supposed to be 4 minutes or less. Most cops could make it completely across town in 2 ½ minutes (I had the pleasure of witnessing this on one occasion), and per Wikipedia, Austin is only 7 times larger than Baytown. I mean, come on already.

Either way, Chris and I did our good deed for the evening. Thank goodness he didn’t run over anyone along the way. Though, had he, I would have been prepared with my fancy Emergency Roadside Kit complete with bright orange triangles. ‘Cause lord knows, the Austin cops would have needed them to find us…

Sunday, October 11, 2009

ode to friendship

At a time when I’m questioning a small number of friendships, I’m also experiencing a deep and huge appreciation for my true friends. The last couple of months have been trying for me. Old friendships are going sour. New friendships are being put to the ultimate test. And I find my compass spinning wildly.

But the love I have for my solid friends has grown exponentially. They have advised me well. They have loved me through it. They have fed me literally, mentally and emotionally. New friendships have grown deeper. Distant friendships have come through in a crunch. It upholds my idea of friendship at a time when I could be questioning the whole thing.

This isn’t Baytown. We aren’t stuck together based on environment and circumstance. We have chosen one another. Based on similar philosophies, lifestyles and goals. We have thrown down and mended. We have walked away and come back. We have torn down and built back up.

Being a friend is tough for me. I’ve admitted as much since coming to Austin. I’m flaky, I’m opinionated and I’m outspoken. I’m sometimes a hermit and goodness knows I struggle with the concept of being quietly supportive. But once I consider you a friend, I will be there for you on a deeper level. I may flake out on shopping, but I will stay up into the wee hours of the night helping you work out daddy or relationship issues. I will feed you, I’ll let you borrow my car and put a clean blanket and fluffy pillow on the couch for you. I will hold your hand when you need a hand to hold. I ask for nothing in return except for you to hold my hand when I am in need.

And my friends have been holding my hand a lot recently. It’s not lost at all on me. In fact, I am drawing strength from each and every one of them in different ways. Their calm, their wisdom, their wit, their grace and their fight. I am humbled by these friendships – something I’ve never experienced before. And it’s worth all the nuttiness to experience something so worthy. Thank you to the 100th power.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Nobody goes "full bad guy"

We all have patterns that we repeat in our lives. Many of those patterns we find ourselves in time after time, many of which cause the same disastrous results time after time. And yet, time after time, we refuse to recognize or change those patterns.

I have a pattern. And I recognize it. But changing it is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Here’s my pattern: I walk around vocalizing my opinions all over the place. I’m open, I’m honest, I’m forthcoming. Eventually one of my opinions rub someone the wrong way and they attack. They don’t debate (I LOVE a good debate), they attack. And I defend. Somewhere in that defense I hurt their feelings and make them cry. It doesn’t matter how well thought out my defense is. It doesn’t matter that I tread lightly so as not to re-offend. I inevitably re-offend and I inevitably make them cry. It blows my mind that they cry because they so harshly attacked and so I come back with a soothing tone and try to “fix” the situation. Band-Aid applied, everyone is happy, rinse, repeat. I cannot begin to tell you how many times this situation has happened in my life, only to be repeated sometimes for years.

This particular situation happened again recently. And while I exhaustingly explained my actions to Chris, again, he simply said the following: “Do you know what your problem is? You never go full bad guy.” I laughed and said, “You never go full bad guy. Everybody knows that.” He explained that while I have conviction, I’m far too worried about what people think (which I deny, but then later realize that he is right.) I don’t want to be responsible for upsetting people, even if they are wrong and attacked in the first place. I’m “always playing defense, when I should be taking the offense.” He ended his explanation by saying “if this were Big Brother, you’d be going home while those other assholes would be staying.” Something about his analogy and movie misquote hit home with me. I finally got it and was able to see myself from an outsiders perspective (possibly because I LOVE to analyze Big Brother).

And if anybody should know, it’s Chris. He often goes “full asshole” and people love him for it (or despite it). But most of all, people know he has both conviction AND integrity. If you find yourself going up against Chris, you are forced to rethink your position because he so rarely gets involved. Or not. If you do not rethink your stance, he could give a shit. But he will not budge on his, nor will he apologize for it. And you will either love it or leave it (few leave it, frustrating me, but it has been known to happen). My problem is that I budge. I apologize for the way that YOU feel. I compromise my integrity. And by doing so, it allows people to feel luke-warm about me, and allows them to stick around to rinse and repeat. The real problem is that I talk a big game, but I’m a poor player. And I lose often. And after tonight’s pep-talk, I’ve decided to step it up. To stop compromising. To finally go “full bad guy” if need be. Because as we all know, nice gals never win.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

another day, another crazy obama email from family

This pretty much speaks for itself. While I love my family dearly, they are not the most politically correct group of people I've ever known. And oddly enough, it infuriates them when I call them on it (when I am calling you on political incorrectness, you KNOW you've done wrong). And yet I feel it's my duty to do so, while still loving them as my family. Bless their hearts. And no doubt my response to this email will start a small war (which will surely be blamed on Obama as well), but what can I say? I enjoy myself...

p.s. - Names have been changed to protect the ignorant.


On Oct 3, 2009, at 7:58 PM, d. wrote:
I was watching TBS and guess what I seen ? Obama doing a commercial for the George Lopez show ! We have wars in 2 countries , our economy is in the tank . Unemployment is at a 30 YEAR HIGH , Iraq is working on a nuclear bomb and Obama is working on a commercial ! This is the same black mother fucker who only spent only 20 min in 9 months with his top General . Hell , he spent more time on the Olympics and look at what a good job he did there ( eliminated in the first round ) . This is kind of thing that will give me a heat attack ! I'm so freaking pissed , I'm having a hard time sending this e mail . I want anybody that voted for this clown to email back and tell me what he has done right ! I'll expect the email around the time hell freezes over and monkeys fly out my ass .


From: taunyadawson@gmail.com

Subject: Re: Somebody explain this !


I don't usually respond to these emails (really, what is the point), but for the record, he was not President of the United States at the time he recorded this commercial. It was recorded back in 2008 when he was a candidate. The same span of time when Sarah Palin was doing all of those stints on Saturday Night Live...

As for what he has done right, well without doing further research and just pulling off the top of my head I have a list of what I think he's done right. But that's just me. And I live in Austin, so I guess I probably don't count for much:

* He reversed a Bush signed order so that stem-cell research would be allowed and government funded.

* He reversed an executive order that refused the press to be present when our fallen soldier's caskets arrive back in the country. The new order allows the families the right to make a decision on if the media should be present or not.

* He expanded loan programs for small businesses.

* He expanded eligibility for the State Children's Health Insurance Fund (which saved your niece the first year of her life).

* Banned lobbyist gifts to executive employees.

* Extended unemployment, as well as expanding funding for Public Health Practitioners.

* He signed a bill to ban torture and inhumane treatment of prisoners.

* He froze the salaries for top White House staff members.

Granted, whether or not these things are considered a "success" lies in the eyes of the beholder. I, personally, do not feel like the "wars in 2 countries", the economy OR unemployment lies solely on him. There are those of us who could make a decent argument that Bush Jr., corporate greed, or personal irresponsibility should be to blame.

One last tip. You should probably refrain from using the term "black mother fucker" in the future. It only serves to negate your argument by making you look like a racist (and nobody supports a racist. Not in public anyway). While I'm sure you have very valid points, you don't want to lose your voice due to racism. Instead, how about "liberal mother fucker", or "worthless mother fucker", or even "socialist mother fucker" (which is actually completely inaccurate for anyone who is truly educated on Socialism). And by all means, do not have a heart attack over it. The Republicans need your vote.

Will I be seeing the monkeys flying out of your ass during my next visit? If so, I'd like to prepare Izzy for such a site. Her only reference to flying monkeys is the Wizard of Oz and they most definitely were NOT flying out of asses.

Lots of love,
~Taunya

Saturday, September 26, 2009

hello mid-30's

I turn 34 today. For the most part, I’m okay with it. I find myself proud of my age, wearing it like a badge of wisdom. I also find myself saying things like: “of course she feels that way, she’s in her twenties.” That’s not a dig on anyone in their 20’s, rather it’s the discovery that there is a shift when you hit your 30’s. You lose that sense of urgency. That fatalistic feeling that everything is do or die. You’ve most likely experienced love and loss and start to see that you will survive, and even be better after the experience.

I’ve learned that most clich├ęs are true and are around for a reason. Here’s a list of some of what I’ve learned in my 30’s so far:

  • Communication is the most important part of relationships. The Most Important Part.
  • It turns out I do not know everything. In fact, sometimes I feel like I know nothing.
  • Weight is harder to lose as you get older.
  • Forgiveness is imperative to happiness.
  • I will survive.
  • If you don’t handle your shit, your shit handles you.
  • There are no rewards for martyrdom.
  • I’m not the fattest, ugliest, dumbest girl in the world. In fact, I’m pretty damn awesome.
  • Where attention goes, energy flows.
  • Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
  • Problems do not take care of themselves.
  • This too shall pass.
  • Sometimes love is not enough.
  • Oxyclean will get a stain out of anything. If Oxyclean doesn't work, use Incredible.
  • It’s not what you have, but who you have.
  • Nothing lasts forever.
  • You cannot change other people, but you can inspire change.
  • Putting grapes in the microwave creates a terrifying plasma explosion.
  • Honesty is always the best policy. If you cannot be honest, say nothing.
  • Anybody is capable of anything. Good or bad.
  • Once a cheater does NOT mean always a cheater.
  • Judge not, lest ye be judged.
  • The only way to be happy is to stay checked in to life. Checking out (ie: drugs & alcohol) only makes things worse and brings resentment from those around you.
  • NOBODY likes a victim.
  • Your life is your own. You are responsible for your own happiness and often times you’ll have to fight tooth and nail for it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

30DoW - bitch of the day

Okay, I admit it. I’m a bleeding heart liberal. I’m also, personally, a socialist. Let me clarify. I do not necessarily support the idea of a socialist government. But personally, I’m a socialist. Example: I stop at a red light and there is a homeless person asking for money. I don’t think twice before opening my wallet and giving them half the cash I have (which I assure you is never more than $10 bucks). I have taken in a number of people who’ve needed a place to stay, fed a number of hungry people and believe in universal healthcare.

Chris and I have argued about this incessantly since the beginning of our relationship. He feels people take advantage. He feels it is enabling. And I don’t necessarily disagree. But my argument has been that it’s not the point. My personal feeling is that it doesn’t matter what they do. What matters is what I do. And I help whenever I can. I picture myself blessed and lucky and feel the need to pay that forward at every opportunity possible. I’m not much of a volunteer and I don’t tithe in church (I don’t go to church for that matter), so this is my small way of making the world a better place.

But I feel those days may sadly be coming to a close. Over the past few of years I’ve started to notice a trend. Some people whom I’ve helped, the ones that I know, have not been paying it forward. In fact, few have rarely taken advantage of the opportunity, instead, they’ve taken advantage of me (or us, rather). When I extend my hand to help those that I know, it does not come with strings attached (those kind of people irritate me). However, I do expect that it at least be appreciated. If I loan you money for food, I’d hope that you would shop for HEB Meal Deals, as opposed to going out for steak and wine. If I invite you to stay in my home, I’d hope that you’d at least clean up after yourself, not leave spaghetti-stained dishes in the bathroom.

I’m starting to believe that you cannot teach people to respect others. You cannot teach people to appreciate opportunities. You cannot teach people to pay it forward. Some people do it. Others do not. Some people actually bite the hand that feeds them. I think it’s learned in childhood, and if one doesn’t learn it, I’m starting to think they never will.

I remember a conversation I had with my dad’s best friend not too long ago (a “reformed liberal”). “I was once a hippy liberal like you,” he yelled (I had made him angry just prior). “You know what I got out of the deal? Nothing! Absolutely nothing! I watched poorer people move ahead. I watched people hold out their hands. But when I needed a break, I got nothing! So you go ahead and give shit away, but let’s see where that gets you 20 years from now.”

I cannot change who I am. I will always help others and extend a hand when I can. I will continue to give money to those who ask. But politically, I feel I’m moving further and further to the right. I’ll never be “the right”, because those guys are just assholes. But while I used to describe myself as a “bleeding heart liberal”, I now find myself defining myself as a “moderate” or Libertarian. And Lord knows that has made discussions with my husband and family a little more tolerable. But let the record show (my dear husband), I’m not budging an inch on Universal Healthcare. I still remember the $1700 bucks we had to spend on 7 damn stitches, and the newborn baby we had to put on CHIPS, because we couldn’t afford $900/month for insurance. And I won’t be forgetting that any time soon.

Monday, September 14, 2009

30DoW - in loving memory of my Grandma

I have truly been blessed with the best and most interesting of grandparents, so it was hard to choose just one to write about (and I feel a strong desire to revisit this topic at a later date). There’s my paternal grandmother, who was Wiccan and drop-dead gorgeous Dolly Parton-style. There was my paternal grandfather who defined the phrase “larger-than-life”. And there is my maternal grandfather who has become a huge part of my life in the last 5 years, sharing my love of politics, finances and general life philosophies. But this entry is devoted to the woman who played such a huge role in what kind of woman I would later become.

My maternal grandmother was known simply as Grandma. She was my favorite by far, because honestly, I was her favorite. She was born a bastard child from a prostitute mother in Taunton, Massachusetts, so she was never very fond of men. Looking back on her life, I’m positive that she married for security alone, as I doubt she would ever know how to actually love a man (including her son and grandsons). She never finished school; instead she went to work in a factory at the age of 12 or so. Because of that, she was illiterate into adulthood. I believe she taught herself to read at some point, because she was always working on crossword puzzles or word searches.

My first memories of her were when I was about 4 years old. She took a job at the Dairy Queen across the street from my daycare and I was convinced she was the coolest Grandma ever. When I was 5 years old, she took me out of daycare for a week to watch Luke and Laura get married (from General Hospital). I can remember it was a big fricken deal for both of us. After, I remember spending weekends watching the Late, Late Show (this supplied me with an impressive knowledge of “cult classics” such as Cat People, Godzilla and King Kong) while eating chocolate ice cream and then eventually falling asleep on the couch with her. I always slept cuddled up with her, either on the couch or in the king-sized bed her and my step-grandfather shared. I remember her being feisty, opinionated and fiercely competitive. We often played games together, everything from Solitaire to Rumikub. My step-grandfather even built a marble board the size of their dining room table that held 8 players. I remember sitting in my Grandma’s lap while she “killed everyone” at the table and me and her laughing the more pissed everyone else became. Christmastime was the BEST. She would give me a Sears Christmas Catalog and tell me to circle everything I wanted with a red marker. I think I enjoyed the shopping more than actually receiving the presents. But with her, I always received everything I wanted. The Holly Hobby canopy bed with matching gingham curtains and rugs, the prettiest of dresses and every doll my heart desired. I later learned that she was terrible with money. She had a bad habit of bouncing checks (something I also picked up from her in my 20's). But it didn't matter to her. She wanted to give me (and my mom) the world, and it didn't matter the cost or consequences (the cops actually came to her house with a warrant once).

At one point her health started to deteriorate. I remember she had to have a double mastectomy and my shock at seeing her naked after the surgery (they were not concerned about image, only function in the 80’s.) Shortly after, she was diagnosed with Emphysema. My mom went by her house everyday to help care for her and on a number of occasions I remember helping her take a bath. I can still hear her apologizing that I had to bathe her, and seeing her feelings of embarrassment. I assured her that I didn’t mind at all, while hoping to hide how uncomfortable I actually felt at the situation. Her health quickly deteriorated and she became more frail and weak.

I was 16 years old when she died. I wasn’t seeing her as often because I was a teenager and completely wrapped in my own world. It was 1992 and Ross Perot was running for President. My mom was a huge supporter of his and took my Grandma to register to vote for the first time in her life. During her last week in the hospital, she watched the Primaries non-stop. The doctors were amazed that she was still alive as her oxygen intake was next to none. But my Grandma was not ready to go. She held on for a week, eventually losing consciousness. The day she died my mom called me from the hospital. “I don’t know that she is going to make it through the night, you need to get up here,” she said. Again, I was 16 and angry, and had a trip to the beach planned that day. “Fine,” I growled, “I’m on my way.” Mom cried and said, “I’ll tell her you’re coming.” 20 minutes later I received the call that my Grandma had died. I believe her last words were “I’m going to vote for Ross Perot.” I also believe that she did not want me there to see her die.

I’d like to say I was torn up inside, but I wasn’t. I don’t remember feeling much of anything, to tell the truth. It wasn’t until 2 years later on the day of high school graduation that it hit me. My Grandma had never missed an event in my life. She was at every dance recital, school play, awards assembly – you name it. And now it was the biggest moment of my life thus far, and she was not there. And it hit hard. The morning of graduation, my mom bought me a dozen peach roses (my Grandma’s favorite color) and said, “she would have wanted these for you.” I remember sitting in my room alone looking at the roses and finally feeling the huge hole in my heart. The same feeling took hold at my first (and second) wedding and again at the birth of my daughter. Even as I write this, I choke back tears at everything she has missed, when she more than anybody (other than my mom) would have wanted to be there.

But then I realize the impact her life has had on my own. She inspired me to be strong, feisty and opinionated. She pushed me to be better and rise above. She taught me not to be a victim, instead to deal with what life has given you and fight with everything you’ve got. Because of her, I desperately wanted to actually love a man, not just need one. I learned that the little things would matter a lot with Isabella. Random trips to get ice cream, playing board games and staying up really late to watch a scary movie. And most importantly, she never failed to show me how much I meant in this world. I felt loved and adored unconditionally. I was the most beautiful and the smartest and the funniest girl in the world. And without having that kind of love, I’m not sure I would have ever known how to give it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

30DoW - Combo post on Motherhood

I haven't had a chance to write lately, so I decided to make a combo post on motherhood for the 30 Days of Write. It's a bit long (to make up for lost time).

* The following "Parenting Job Description" is copied from the internet. I tried to find the original author to no avail. *

POSITION :
Mom, Mommy, Mama, Ma
Dad, Daddy, Dada, Pa

JOB DESCRIPTION :
Long term, team players needed, for challenging permanent work in an, often chaotic environment. Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24 hour shifts on call. Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities! Travel expenses not reimbursed. Extensive courier duties also required.

RESPONSIBILITIES :
The rest of your life. Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily, until someone needs $5. Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly. Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf. Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers. Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects. Must have the ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks. Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next. Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half million cheap, plastic toys, and battery operated devices. Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product. Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.

POSSIBILITY FOR ADVANCEMENT & PROMOTION :
None. Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you

PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE :
None required unfortunately. On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.

WAGES AND COMPENSATION :
Get this! You pay them! Offering frequent raises and bonuses. A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent. When you die, you give them whatever is left. The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.

BENEFITS :
While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered; this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth and free hugs for life if you play your cards right.

  • · I stir awake with the feeling that something is right in front of my face. That something is my daughter, waking me up with “Eskimo kisses”. My anger at having to wake up at 7am is softened by “Eskimo kisses” every time.

    · I beg Izzy for “10 more minutes”, trying to entice her with my arm (she likes to sleep on my arm.) It works. For now.

    · The next time I awake, it’s to Izzy in my face saying “Mommy wake up! The sun is up. Mommy you get up too!”

    · I roll out of bed, get dressed (essential step when roommates are involved) and walk down the hall to the kitchen. I swear to myself that this will be the day I’ll stay awake and get some things done (like a 10 minute workout on the elliptical).

    · I sleep-walk to the kitchen and put some cereal in a bowl and milk in a glass. Let the dog out then in. I turn on the TV to Nick and am greeted by the Backyardigans doing a little song and dance. A small amount of guilt sets in, but is eased by the pillow calling my name on the couch.

    · I lie down on the couch, promising myself just “15 minutes”. Izzy hops up there with me and lies her head down on my arm. An hour later I wake up to Izzy standing in front of me with a gallon of milk, chocolate syrup, cup and a spoon. My heart fills with pride at how self-sufficient she is. I pour the milk into her glass, add the chocolate and watch her mix it up before she puts the milk away. I nod back off to sleep.

    · I am awoken 30 minutes later when she drives a small car over my face. It’s at this point I realize I really do need to get up and face the day.

    · I get up and change her diaper, swearing this will be the day I will potty train her (today is actually the day!!) Guilt once again sets in when I realize most kids are potty-trained at this point. The guilt subsides when I realize she won’t start college with diapers and that she is able to play computer games better than some adults.

    · I check my email, Facebook and indulge in a little bit of online time.

    · I then set about the daily task of washing clothes and cleaning house. I realize I could wash clothes with my eyes closed. Lift lid, turn knob, add detergent, add softener, stuff washer with wayyy too many clothes and repeat. Everyday at least twice a day. I wonder where the dirty clothes come from and swear to start wearing clothes for days at a time.

    · After picking up, I finally respond to Izzy’s constant begging of “you wanna go play in Izzy’s room?” I walk into her room when she quickly shuts the door behind me signaling that I will be there for quite some time.

    · I drink imaginary tea, eat imaginary eggs with peanut butter and toast and sit through her reading half of her bookshelf. I then teach her how to make a “book tower” involving stacking ALL of her books on top of one another. I am certain that she is learning some important skill here, but seeing as I know nothing about child development and quit reading the books years ago, I cannot be sure.

    · I ask her what she wants for lunch and she responds with an expectant “ice cream”. I tell her no and decide to go with carrots and ranch dip instead. While this does not seem like a well-rounded lunch, I remind myself that she is most probably a vegetarian and that this will work.

    · After lunch she sits down for the 103rd viewing of ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks’. I wonder if Jason Lee went through a bad divorce, which is why he decided to star in this movie. I continue washing clothes.

    · At 2:30 it is time for a nap. Izzy kicks and screams the whole way to the bathroom, cries while moving her step-stool, then insists on brushing her teeth by herself.

    · We then walk to “Grandma’s room” (our room now) to lie down. We exchange kisses and “night-nights”, before she snuggles up next to me with her head on my arm. I vow that I will not fall asleep and I will use this time to get things done (like 10 minutes on the elliptical).

    · 2 hours later I wake up with Izzy’s sweat all over my arm. I kick myself for falling asleep (again).

    · I check my email, Facebook and indulge in a little more online time.

    · I start thinking about dinner. I settle on grilled cheese because I am so damn tired of cooking dinner everyday. I experience a certain amount of guilt over this (it’s my job as a stay-at-home-mom, after all) but decide to add chicken noodle soup to round out the food groups and feel better about myself.

    · I wash dishes and clean the kitchen (we dirty dishes like we dirty clothes, apparently.)

    · I start dinner when Izzy comes running with her little pink step-stool wanting to help. I wash her hands and let her put the cheese on the sandwiches, thanking God she wanted to help on an “easy dinner” night.

    · We sit down to eat dinner (on any given night this can involve 2 to 5 people, as we have quite a busy household), while Izzy exclaims how much she “LOVES grilled cheese”.

    · After dinner, I let Izzy play her games. She sits down at the Mac, opens Safari, goes to the Favorites and finds her online game (nickjr.com). She plays until it’s time for a bath while I proudly envision her being a web developer and taking care of me in my old age.

    · During bath time, she uses her bath crayons to draw circles all over the bath tub. I make a mental note to be sure to clean the bathtub before company comes over. But it can definitely wait until then.

    · After her bath, she gets naked time. Whether we have company or not. I suspect this makes some people feel uncomfortable.

    · The time comes for her to get dressed and go to bed. This is a battle every. single. night.

    · Upon finally getting her to her room and in bed, we read 3 Rainbow Fish books. At this point she has 2 of the 3 memorized (including the cover page info. Involving publishers).

    · After reading the books, I turn out the lights. She counts a few of the glow-in-the-dark stars on the wall, says her prayers and makes me promise to “sit” while she goes to sleep.

    · I sit for about 3 minutes and then tell her I have to do something and I will check on her in a few minutes. On a good day, this works (though I have to check in every 2 minutes for about 30 minutes). On a bad day, she becomes worked up and cries for several minutes (to an hour) with me checking on her intermittently.

    · After an hour she is usually asleep. It is then that I clean the kitchen again, finish the clothes and decide that I MUST get a job outside the home as soon as possible.

Monday, September 7, 2009

I'm not a fan of the 70's

I will resume blogging tomorrow. I am too exhausted to think, let along think in paragraph form. I'm so tired I'm getting sucked into That 70's Show. Must. Go. To. Bed.

(I had to edit this post 4 times for corrections. Seriously.)

Friday, September 4, 2009

And I'm out...

After smoking a half pack of cigarettes (really, I need to quit. Like now.), I'm feeling a lot better. I have to give huge props to an AustinMama who led me to this bit of info:


I remember reading about this a couple of years ago, but I thought it irrelevant at the time. I now look forward to the moment when I can say "Godwin's Law - I win." and simply walk away (or close the window to the internet world). No doubt that moment will come soon (most likely this weekend, as I'm heading back to my hometown). While I originally agreed with a recent comment that "nobody wins an argument on the internet," I do believe this is my magic ticket to a win. And it makes me very, very happy.

*Bonus* Mr. Godwin was an Austinite.

30DoW - I just can't "take you there" today

I can't do today's writing assignment. I wanted to stick to the assignments as best as possible this time around, but damnit if today's goings-on don't have me all pent up. I'm going to go ahead and say it: I'm getting to the point where I want to leave this country. And that's just not like me. I'm a fighter, damnit! And the idea that I sat through 8 years of Bush only to want to leave even more during Obama (who I believe to be the best President in recent history), simply makes me want to cry. And I'm not even on my period.

Sure, the government is a mess. My husband will tell you all day long that none of them are worth a shit. And on a cynical day, I'll agree with him. But whatever. People have to act to make things better and we Americans are a damn lazy lot. It's the people in this country that have me terrified. They don't realize that it's them that's destroying America. Not the government. I'm all in favor of free speech. Really I am. I am not in favor of pulling kids out of school, attacking people at Town Hall's or shooting a man in his own church (for fucks sake!)

There's no point in me even trying to expand. I can't think clearly. I just have images and phrases running through my head like a bad pop song bomb. I'm going to spend the last of my energy cursing Glenn Beck and Fox News. Cursing them with every ounce of imaginary powerful magic my crazy Conservative family claims I have. Cursing them with the core of my being. And then I'm going to go to bed and pray that I wake up to a more beautiful world. Because despite my cursing and cynicism, I still have hope. But when that hope is gone (and I fear the cup is slowly emptying, I'm taking my family and getting the hell out of here.)

(Notice to authorities: I cannot be held liable should anything bad happen to Glenn Beck or Fox News. The above was neither a threat or a promise. Just a simple curse. And you know you guys don't believe in that sort of thing anyway.)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Because I have to vent somewhere...

This was a Facebook status update from my ex and the resulting comments. I thought my comment would elicit some pretty harsh feedback, but alas, nothing. Regardless, I was so frustrated by their comments, I had to go somewhere to voice it, otherwise I would have quickly become an internet troll myself (by leaving one nasty remark after another). Unfortunately, this series of comments hit two nerves of mine: politics and censorship. Throw in kids and I become fighting mad. All I have left to say is a.) Thank God I got out of Baytown; and b.) Thank God I married up.

And so it begins:

Billy obama is giving a speech Tuesday at 11am directed towards school kids and the gov as ALLOWED school districts the right to choose if they wanna air it or not,I called my sons school to find out if they were gonna air it and they said they were but were sending home a paper I could sign if I object to it and I'm gonna sign it,if they didn't give that option he wouldn't have went to school that day!!!

6 hours ago · Comment · Like

15 people like this.

Billy AMEN BROTHER!!! OBAMA IS AN IDIOT AND OUR KIDS SHOULD NOT BE SUBJECTED TO IT ANYMORE THAN THEY ARE ALREADY!!!!!

Kari We're doing the same thing for my nephews, they don't need to waste their time watching that nonsense!!!

Billy Well when I sign the paper saying I dont want him to watch it Im going under the radar in the goverments eyes

Kari But there are SO many parents signing it, EVERYONE is going to be under speculation!

Scott heard on the radio today the newest Obama load of shit is he is wanting students to take a pledge to support their leader every day... someone needs to do something, fast!

Jana I need to look into this...are all schools across the good ole us doing this?

Billy I guess I shoulda added I dont really care if I am...just means they gonna waste thier time on me...

Billy Im pretty sure all the schools will have the option to show it but as far as the school lettin you sign a paper to allow them to watch it I dont know about that part...just call them and ask

Vera I'm with you Billy! My kids won't be subjected to any more of his bull shit if I can prevent it! I'm signing the paper in the biggest sharpie marker I can get my hands on! If my kids are going to have to "pledge to support their leader" they better come up with some sort of pledge toward me because I will be damned before I let them pledge ANYTHING to him!

Kari I think it is TOTAL bs that they question the pledge of allegiance and prayer in school but yet they'll televise this trash!

Julie I signed both forms for my kids!! That should be something shown during the evening hours and not during school. What a waste of valuable instructional time. It's my job to guide my childrens morals and values not Obama's.

Dana Don't get me on my soap box about this. They think it's okay to take God and prayer out of school, but they can bring in the President. We shouldn't talk religion in school, but politics are okay. Oh, yeah, religion is okay, just not JESUS!! This is absurd!! Honestly, I think the children than NEED to hear someone tell them how important education is and that they should be in school so they can grow up and get a job and support themselves and not ask for a handout will be there - my children; however, will not be there!! The Good Lord gave me my children to take care of and to teach them MY values, NOT Obama's.

Dawn i don't think i need to comment on this. i am signin the paper as well. it doesn't belong in the schools. i can watch it from home if i wish,WHICH I WILL NOT!!!!!

Michael Here is the "change" that everyone wanted ( BTW this is not a race issue.. I hate how when you are white and don't support Obame.. The race card is automatically played... I'm not racist.. I would have voted for Condaleeza or Colin Powell.. I watch Opera ..the Cosby Show.. and I like Tupac)

Jeremy I don't have any kids (just the occassional anonymous father's day card), but I'm gonna go around to as many schools as I can and pretend to be someone's dad and start signing papers!! Any one kid saved is worth it!!

Taunya I'm most definitely going to get flamed for this, but wouldn't it be more productive to let your kids watch the President of the United States speak (right or wrong, he is still the President. Maybe not YOUR President, but President nonetheless), and then discuss your problems with his speech later that night, rather than to avoid it altogether? I wasn't a fan of George W's (no need to burn me at the stake for that) - but I would want my daughter to hear everything he had to say and then have a commentary on why I thought he was right or wrong. A "teaching moment" if you will....

Jarrod I second everyone's opinion. Even without kids, I am offended. Now that adult America is awake and saying "Hell No!", do they think they can really plant their seeds in future voters? W doesn't seem so bad anymore does he...

Christopher Dawson while the dislike of a president and his agenda (or the congress, for that matter) is completely yours to discuss with your children, the undeniable fact remains that without discourse the next generation of our country will be more diminished and even more out-of-touch than ours. if you really fear a socialist regime and earnestly desire to protect your children, then the greatest defense to provide for them is a logical and open discourse. nothing will be gained by shoving your kid's heads in the sand. if a patriot is uninformed or misinformed, then he is nothing better than a terrorist and a threat to his own countrymen.

Billy Well I was waitin for some liberals to chime in and glad you did...1st he is my president even though I dont like that 2nd Im not shoving my sons head in the sand its just that he doesnt need to make remarks towards the kids...there was another leader that made great speeches and talked to the youth...his name was Hitler! Look how that worked out! Me and my son can discuss everything that is going on but dont want a liberal school to teach him

Michael... Texas should just secede from the Union and have Chuck Norris for president and Ted Nugent for vice president. Don't mess with Texas!

Sarah I am not going to let my boys see it. I will make sure they stay home if the school doesn't give us a choice. I'm with all of you. Amen Billy!!

Christopher Dawson well, to be exact i am a libertarian, not a liberal. i find that a lot of folks i speak with (libs and reps) have become too easily caught up with name calling and invoking the name of hitler. and, for the record, george bush talked to our youth, too. he also urged that america's youth dedicate themselves to a life of service:

(link deleted to save space)

BTW---neither the republicans or democrats are on your side. all this stuff is a smoke screen to keep us occupied and our attention focused elsewhere.

Billy Chris I do agree with you that the goverment isnt here for us "little" people anymore and hasnt been for many many years.I dont recall Bush giving a speech during school hours where parents were at work and couldnt monitor what was being said...but he was in there 8 years so he might have snuck one in

Taunya Bonner Dawson I am quietly stepping away from this comment and moving to my own (on the same issue). God Bless America! (hahaha)

Kari Like Michael said, this is not a race issue nor is it repubican vs the world. We are not "putting their heads in the sand" by not having our kids watch this presentation at school, we just choose to educate and inform our children at home. I do not have children but am a very active part of my nieces and nephews lives. My 14 yr old nephew was at my house months ago and had questions regarding our president. I explained some isues and posisions to him and also helped him look up info on the internet to educate him on Obama. I do not think they should watch this video at school wthout parental supervision to interject when needed. It almost comes across to me like Obama picked this time (when parents are at work and kids are at school) on purpose; almost like he feels he can "brain wash" their neive minds into supporting him. Above all that, my biggest issue with it is the simple fact that congress has been pushing for years now the seperation of school and state. Why is it ok now???

Taunya Bonner Dawson Simple question. Would you guys have felt the same way when Bush was in office? (There's no tone or accusations there, just genuinely curious. Know that I'm treading as lightly as possible.)

Christopher Dawson actually, congress has been doing the exact opposite:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Child_Left_Behind_Act

passed with a bipartisan vote and has had its funds increased over and over. the reason they are talking to the kids now is because they know most parents dont educate their own kids and their publicly funded schools dont really teach anything. what better time than now to begin the 1984 generation? this is not obamas doing or the current congress. this was started a long time ago and no one is more responsible for this happening than the people who elect these career politicians over and over. for any malady that affects a democracy, only the governed (where the power rests) are responsible for allowing it to continue. if you want to protect your kids, or anyone else's kid, vote for a third party. any one of them. eliminate the two party system. BTW--has anyone paid attention to the most recent anti-food bills that were introduced in congress? do you like food?

Shelly I looked at the link abt bush. yes he did, but those were graduates. Not elementary kids. graduates pretty much know what bs is. our elementary lids don,t btw I wouldn't my kids either

Jarrod I'll tell you what, I SERVED my country before anyone asked me to. My time in the Air Force shaped who I am today and it helped to open my eyes to what really matters. I'm tired of people trying to tell me how what when and where to run my life and then try to cram it down my throat anyway. Time for debate is over in my book. We've taken a wrong turn recently as a government. Continuing in this direction is "sticking our heads in the sand". When will someone pull their head out and make a U-turn? Probably way too late. Our grandchildren will be paying for our mistakes and hesitations.

Some people loved to bitch about the past administration. Guess what, now it's my turn on this one...

Christopher Dawson how can graduates know what BS is if they are taught by liberal universities? i think that arguing semantics might be an exercise in futility. youth is youth. besides, is it a fair assumption to guess how whatever obama chooses to say will impact those kids? i highly suspect they will leave school as obama-zombies. more to my previous point, whatever the case may be, obama is just a figurehead. this is bigger than obama and it has nothing to do with socialism. a leisurely read of 1984 would offer a more realistic possibility. anyway, i did find a transcript of an address by Bush Sr to school children, pumping up learning and how it is cool to be smart. but, i suppose one could argue that this was not the entire nation, but whatever. it is senseless to split hairs...unless one simply insists on being right to support their own opinion, which is neither right nor wrong.

http://bushlibrary.tamu.edu/research/public_papers.php?id=3394&year=1991&month =9

Christopher Dawson http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Eighty-Four

Dennis For those wondering about BHISD see the following from the school Website. www.barbershill.isd.esc4.n

et/

Address to students...

President Obama will deliver a national address to students on September 8 at noon ET. The president will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning. BHISD will not broadcast this live to students. There will be a link to the recorded broadcast after Sep 8 so parents and students can watch it together.

Angela thanks denny..my kids go there. that answers my question. i would've kept mine out that day too.

------------------------

I don't have any more to say on this. I'm spent just re-reading it. But bless these poor kids hearts, they are our future.