Tuesday, February 28, 2006


My blog has become completely non-anonymous – identification buried within a guise of anonymity. Some members of the family read it. Some good friends read it. I love that – it’s wonderful to post a post of my inner workings, or something memoir-related and know I’ve reached out in some way that’s good and warm and love-inducing. Similarly, my usual readers have become like family, like my good friends.

There is such a thing as too much information under these circumstances. I’ve found myself cutting information. Trimming detail. Reconsidering how I describe another. Edit, edit, edit.

I’ve definitely remained quiet on some potentially interesting topics. Mustn’t talk about that…anything but that.

There might be judgment. Someone will delinkalize me and everyone knows how terrible that can be.

So I wonder what to do now? Do I create a new blog, under a new name? Do I reveal my real name here? Do I just come out of the blogger’s closet and be done with it? What IS this blog about? What DO I want to say with my blissful ruminations?


So I have a friend of a friend and as a young woman she wished for love and passion in her life. She married, had children. She lived day to day, squeezing in various hobbies or another to fill the empty spots on her daily calendar. One day she woke up and found that she’d turned into a couch.

It was a fine couch, don’t doubt, the friend of a friend said – dark green in color, plaid in design, comfortable. Firmly set. She was a recliner. People turned to her at the end of the day and relaxed there in her warm, cozy embrace. Every night the dog curled up in lazy sleep on the armrest. Children dropped food and money into the creases, they once or twice threw up there, but the vomit never lasted, a solid Hoover brought to wipe it all away. The husband slept on the couch each night, soundly, in front of a blaring T.V.

The couch was useful, highly important, an absolute necessity. She got great satisfaction from her service in the household, but what of her dreams? Perhaps this was passion-redefined, perhaps she had misunderstood passion. Perhaps passion is simply the occupation of time. The hope to leave a lasting impression.

It’s not so bad being a couch, the friend of a friend said. The best time of the day is nighttime when ghosts walk the hallways and the joys of the day swim in the heated air. She sits in the center of the house, watching, guarding, ready for someone to jump into her.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Feeling Chatty


In rereading the story below, I forgot to mention a sight my husband and I saw one day at Legoland. Outside one of the many stores at the amusement park, was an unmanned cart laden with toys and tee-shirts and other sundry souvenirs. There was a young boy playing with one of the spongy axes, bopping his brother on the head. The two good-looking parents in their 30’s were playing with the kids. They looked to be middle-class suburbanites with nice clothes, neatly coiffed hair, and the children in the best outfits Target has to offer. Good shoes. The stroller with yet a third kid in it, a little girl, was a fairly new and sturdy one, definitely clean.

My husband and I were sitting mere feet away at some tables, all five of us eating pizza and sipping soda. D and I were commenting on how if that were our cart and our business, we certainly wouldn’t leave it unattended. Just as we were saying this, expressing our distrust of humanity as a whole, the father of the axe-wielding child took one other axe off the cart and gave it to the other kid and the whole lot of them walked away without ever paying for the toys.

D and I looked at each other, disbelieving this “nice” family just did that.

“Wow,” I said.

“Some role model,” D said.

We kept thinking they were going to come back, that they’d made a mistake…and maybe they did. Maybe they were going to pay for it somewhere else…at another stand…except the cart was outside a store. All they had to do was walk inside and pay. They didn’t.

D did take a stroll and tell the young manager that a family just ripped them off and that maybe they shouldn’t just leave the cart out there. How interesting that we didn’t trust our local citizens and sure to form, a suburban family comes along and steals from this very nice park.

Another addendum to the thieving post below: at the same birthday party, the ladies also mentioned lying about one of their children’s ages to get the kid into Disneyland for free.

I’m left wondering if, like Fromage suggests in the comments below, this has become part of our culture – we are a culture of criminals. We are a society that believes in the precepts, “to each his own,” “do what we have to do," and "dog eat dog." We are taught this in our early years on the playground when kids grab toys out of each other’s hands, when they take food off each other’s plates. Our media continually glorifies the “murder” case by recycling over and over again, murder stories for entertainment. I could go on indefinitely on our media. And then there is the government and all the corruption that keeps leaking into the mainstream...with laws being written and re-written to make legal such conduct.

I know that the family who took the toys felt the store deserved it for leaving the cart unattended. I know the women at the party felt Disneyland charges too much anyway for three-year-old guests who can’t even fully participate in all the entertainment the park has to offer. I know they also felt the stores somehow owed them for all they spent. The same sense of entitlement probably extends to cheating on taxes, stealing gas at the gas pump, and eating produce right out of the bins in the local supermarkets. It's a sad, true state of being.

The last comparison by the way is not the same thing as dipping your hands deep into the rice bin or deep into the bean bin just to feel the weirdness against your skin. How fun was that?


A couple of weeks ago I visited a friend of mine, a woman about my age, prematurely grey like me, cute face, rather round by current standards. In fact, her weight has long been a point of great pain for her, especially when it comes to her husband. Their sexual life has dwindled to nothing and it has been this way for years. He actually makes comments when she steps into their jacuzzi - he makes faces at her with regard to her clothing. She’s beautiful, upbeat, and funny as all get out. When we get together, I laugh my ass off at the things she says. Well…she admitted to me that she and her husband have separated. She has a new love in her life. She’s ecstatic…tales of all night love-making, exciting dates, driving up the coast…all basically without the knowledge of her husband. One could probably say this is an affair.

She then proceeded to tell me how many women she’s spoken to who are in similar situations with their spouses. Men who no longer show interest, who are perfectly happy to lead celibate (apparently) lives, who do nothing to feed the marriage. She’s a manicurist so her job allows this type of intimate conversation. She says, “Do you know the percentage of my clientele who are unhappy, married women in their 40's?”

“Try me.”

“Must be 70% of my clients. Those are just…my clients. Imagine what it must be on a grander scale?”

Oh I imagine.

“Imagine,” she said, “how many women are off…on extramarital adventures.”

Oh for the love of all that’s holy, tell me. In great detail.

“Really?” I say, “I can’t imagine.”

“It’s a disease in our country. Check out the chat rooms on AOL.”

So I do. I slap my picture up on my profile, I announce that I’m a teacher (careful to say “part-time” lest I mislead anyone, God forbid I mislead in chat rooms), I state unequivocally that I’m married with many children. Within an instant of stepping into a chat room for people in their 40’s, I get three instant messages from various men. They each tell me I’m beautiful. I get up from my little chair and dance around in joy. I’m a woman again! I’m not just a piece of furniture in my house! I’m not just a taxi driver! I actually have sexual appeal!

“I am????” I’m beside myself with illicit joy.

“Yes, very much so. I love your nose.”

“I’m blushing!”

“What are your fantasies?”


“FETISHES FANTASIES. What do you like?”

Oh shit. I no longer dance at the lift of my confidence.

I type, “I like the mountains. You know…cabins…romance in front of a wood fire.” And yes, I use ellipses when I write. My fantasy is a big snore, but hell if I’m actually going to “go there.” I do wonder why I typed “wood” when discussing an obviously sexual question. Must be Freudian. I take a deep breath, deciding to venture “there” for just a moment, for a single…moment.

I type, “What are yours?”

“I love the Wizard of Oz.”

“As in…Dorothy?”

“Yes. I get hot thinking I’m the Cowardly Lion and I’m doing Dorothy in her red slippers and red panties.”

It is at this point I come to the conclusion that my friend is wrong. Women are not the only people in severe sexual crisis. I say my goodbyes and return to watch “24” next to my sleeping, snoring husband. I show him my boobs…and he continues to sleep. So while I may be part of the deprived 70%, I am thankful he has no wish to be any sort of Lion…or Scarecrow…or ouch, ouch, ouch, the Tin Man.

On the other hand, Dorothy does have…an awfully cute nose.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Thieving Suburbanites

The birthday party was typical for the San Gabriel Valley, a myriad of attendees gathering at a 1970's-built single-story ranch home, tastefully decorated in semi-antiques, an HDTV, and red-apple wallpaper. Apples of all colors sat on shelves and in curio cabinets and the carpeting was a deep apple-red. Present are former and current long-time neighbors, a few parents of school chums to the birthday boy, family members. Not everyone knows each other. The hostess is a bubbly, friendly sort. She's warm and kind and she and I kid about how her 5-year-old son, R, will marry my M, my 5-year-old daughter. The two children are wonderful friends. He's a true gentleman even at such a young age (when it was time to leave, he offered to open the car door for her, and did). The first time I saw them playing together, I was touched (and maybe wondering if I should be forewarned) at how M literally beamed at him. They were 4. Despite the fact little R has moved to another school, the two still remember one another and played together the most.


I sat with several other women, including the hostess, the five or six of us sharing school stories, ADD stories, sports stories, and other such anecdotes about our kids. R's dad buzzed around, working to convince us to have some Martinis. After some tentative rejection, we said yes. “Appletinis” all around.

Mind you, I was trying really hard not to check the hour. There was an element of personal torture sitting in this quasi-knitting-circle and even the prospect of alcohol (which was weird to me because there was this huge Bible on the countertop and I swear to God Martini drops spilled on it as the drinks were passed to party guests) didn’t help. The women were curious…the x-ray technician who loved animals and who has a mean temper which recently showed when a fellow soccer mom dared smack the windows of her SUV during a parking mishap, the Oregon retiree who still wears her hair long and red and sports a nose piercing while dressing in stylish denim and suede, the sexy divorcee with black-rimmed glasses who adores her teenage children, R’s grandmother who chugged beers like nobody’s business with the long, no-longer-blond hair, and the hostess’s sister who wears puffy boots and a long knitted scarf. And me. I wore my jeans, suede cowboy boots and not-warm-enough coral sweater, and my white-streaked curls kinked out due to the gray clouds and threat of rain.

I laughed in unison with the ladies as we chatted (the men were outside, bonding over a new leaf blower the dad recently purchased) and nursed the Martini. While I sat in this circle, I wished I smoked pot again (another story, another time, a lot of sweat trying to explain it) and cursed my friend G for always dropping the ball on bringing some to our breakfasts. The problem is that I’m inherently shy and would much rather be at home, reading, writing…oh hell…really, I’d rather be in Palm Springs, reading, writing, entertaining my fantasies about taking on a lover.

The conversation turned to the skyrocketing costs of goods, to the joys of shopping at discount places. The x-ray technician said, “I have to tell you how great Walmart is on a Friday night at 11:00 – no crowds, the cool people all hang out there, it’s so awesome. My kids and I’d been bored last weekend and absolutely had a blast walking the aisles. Now I know where to go! And it’s cheap, too!”

Cheers, we all said with our Martini glasses (red plastic, disposable cups). Here, here Walmart.

The blower blew outside – the men were blowing leaves out of the bouncy house. Taking turns. M ran into the house and R chased her – neither kid was wearing shoes and it couldn’t be more than 50 degrees outside.

The sister chimed in, talking to the hostess, “I forgot to tell you guys about the great bargain I got at Target the other day.”

“Ooo do tell,” the ladies said. “Love that store.”

“Disneyland to my kids,” I added.

“Well, I’d stopped by to pick up some things and I found this adorable pair of jeans – you know, with the sequins? They weren’t on sale…forty bucks or so, but I went ahead and popped them into the basket. Didn’t even try ‘em on. Got to the checkout stand and saw the bill to be only about fifty. Thought maybe I was wrong about the pants. When I got to the car, I saw the receipt didn’t list the pants. Oh my god, the cashier forgot to charge me for the pants.”

“Wow…lucky girl,” someone said.

“Great deal!” The divorcee laughed.


The men outside started doing shots and I was having flashbacks of college (well, what college was to some people being that I spent most of my time in the library, wandering the stacks and breathing in the delicious mustiness of old literature and literary criticism books). I began to wonder if the Christian pre-school our children attend is aware so many parents of their students are blatant lushes.

The x-ray technician added to the tale of thievery, “I never told you about Home Goods.”

The hostess queried, “Home Goods?”

The red-headed retiree clarified, “Yes, the store Sears had going for a while, went out of business.”

“Right,” the tech said, “I loved that place. So when they had their final clearance sale, me and the kids – the daughter was just 4 – we headed right over to pick up stuff. We were shopping up a storm – totally excellent deals. Anyway the daughter spent the time scooting around with one of the those kiddie shopping carts the store lets customers use.”

“Love those carts,” the divorcee said.

The hostess smiled really big, a gushy sort of smile, “Awww…R loves those, too. Adorable!”

“Sweet!” I added.

X-ray tech continued, “So we go through the checkout stand, buy all our stuff…just $102 for tons of decorative stuff…and we walk to the Suburban. I unload, look around, and just pick up the kiddie cart and shove it in the truck.”

Gasps all around, claps.

The men had moved on from the shots and were now playing with R’s brand-new fishing toy. The end of the fishing toy, the plastic hook, got caught on top of the added-on, extra-huge garage, the extra garage that’s meant to house the hostess’s toy-box (by the way, for those not in the know a “toy-box” is not made of wood and is not used to store Playskool toys, but rather is a trailer meant to tow around ATV’s, motorcycles, dune buggies, and such). R and M watched as the men took turns trying to unhook the plastic hook.

Divorcee and the retiree laughed heartedly about the stolen shopping cart.

“She still plays with it and she’s 7,” the x-ray technician said, thinking back almost wistfully.

I am now…totally stunned. It must be the pot (or was it my conscience?) that always made me turn back around to the cashier and hand back the un-rung goods, or drive back to the market to pay for the candy lifted by one of my kids, or thank god J was caught shoplifting the time he tried it back in December. As I sat there, downing the last of the Martini in a red plastic cup and openly checking across the room at the clock, I wondered how many thieves live in suburbia. Thieving moms. Stealing goods from Target and Walmart and places going out of business.

I wonder what other crimes they’re committing. Damn, I wished I had a pipe and some good bud.

The men all rallied together and pulled hard at the plastic hook. It came off the garage intact and R and M danced around, holding hands, and kicking up their cold, pink heels. Their wedding will be…fabulous.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy, Happy Day!

Happy Valentine's Day, my friends.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

We Three...

Spent Saturday night at the Twin Palms in Pasadena for T's birthday – D and I spent an entire evening with just the "grown-ups”: my brother B and his wife T, my sister A and her husband DH. The six of us. We ate well, we drank cocktails, and danced to disco music like we were all just dating, like we were free of everything that binds. We laughed and made fun of others...throwing stones as if we didn’t live in glass houses...but in the end what made us laugh the most were our own reflections.

I am always amazed at the closeness of my siblings and I - how it is that today we are best friends - that given the choice of going out with friends or each other, we will choose each other. We simply have too much fun. The inside jokes are ancient, the experiences we've shared are unique, our faults are totally understood. Our connection is rooted in difficulty, in survival, despite vastly different viewpoints of the same childhood environment.

B is infinitely harder in judgment on my father than on my mother. My sister and I are harder on my mother. He was the one who fought them the most – my sister and I were much more compliant, much more accepting of our circumstances, trying the mend the problems, trying to live as best we could within the chaotic confines of the Pasadena house.

One of the byproducts of the “difficult childhood” was that our struggles were unacknowledged. From the outside, being the children of glamorous parents, we couldn’t possibly have any complaints. Cousins and friends saw us as privileged and lucky, oh-so-lucky to have the favorites as our parents. How fun to live with the hosts of the party! How fun to have parents who’d travel and go to Disneyland at the drop of a hat or drive up the coast on a moment’s notice and stay in fancy hotels! How fun! How amazing to live in the old house with the huge pine tree behind that red brick wall…a house big enough to have a gate at the end of the driveway. How fun to zip around in sports cars on your dad’s lap! Nobody does those things!

How could such a life be bad?

We became isolated…nobody understood what we saw, day to day. We were forgotten when our parents could no longer hold it together – my mother being hospitalized – my mother disappearing one summer into the depths of Mexico – my father living away from the house. They occupied the spotlight in their downslide just the way they did when they were on top of their game.

Nobody understood the pain of living in that house.

For a while, we three traveled on slightly different roads. B was busy growing into adulthood, getting his college degree, while I was already there, lawyer-ing, getting married, having my first baby. My sister A was right behind me, working the corporate world, getting married. My parents were divorced, my father dying. When his death happened, the three of us had huddled together in handling the difficult process of telling my mother about his death and honoring my father’s wish that she not be at the funeral. My father had remarried. He’d alienated his own family. The politics of his funeral were…horrible. I remember my brother calling my mother – he’d taken on the chore of telling her not to come. Took the brunt of her anger. I think it was the first time I saw B as an adult.

Years later, B was divorced, I had my third child, and my sister had two. My mother died. All the work we’d done to repair hurt feelings since my father’s death seemed a grateful close call. We had no idea she’d leave us so soon. The three of us were left with the job of closing up her life – we three took on different tasks. I handled the probate, B handled the cleaning of her house, and my sister worked on getting the house sold.

This adult-orphan-hood has been yet another challenge from our parents…another reason for the three of us to be isolated from the extended family. Nobody knew our childhood for its reality, now few know our adulthood. We are the only ones of our generation in our family who lost both parents…making us once again, as always, different. We three…

B got married to T in Maui, Hawaii – we really love her. She fit in perfectly with our already-tight crew, not an easy hurdle. We three are now all matched, making for an even set of six.

Maui for the wedding was an amazing trip – the lot of us traveling so far together and staying in this beautiful villa together for a week. While I have many wonderful memories of the week, one in particular remains the definition of the relationship we share.

We had booked a popular boat trip for all of us to go snorkeling in Molokini, a lovely bay filled with brilliant coral and fish, the sort of place snorkeling was created for. The boat was great, the view lovely, and the weather perfect. When we arrived at Molokini, we got our snorkeling gear on…the three of us…with the spouses and kids. We’d never done it before so figuring out the proper fitting of the equipment took some effort. Well, we jumped in the water and all of us learned to do some basic snorkeling. Everyone was having a wonderful time…

Towards the end of the designated snorkeling time, my brother, my sister, and I, found ourselves alone away from the rest of the crowd. We had those face masks on, the breathing tubes pointing up to the blue sky…we were kicking in the water with our fins, swimming and admiring the view. All at once, we realized how silly we looked. We began making faces underwater, making those signals that scuba divers do, purposely slowing movements in the water, putting our thumbs up, putting them down…we were in stitches, sucking in water, laughing, drowning…just the three of us…kids again…on a fantastic trip, on one to be envied…a prince…princesses…we were ridiculous and carefree. I don’t know when I’ve laughed so hard in my life as that morning in the cool ocean, with just the three of us. Laughing at our own reflections.

Our roads have finally come together – we are all raising families, we are all working to make ends meet. We three have built a tight defense against the outside world – we’ve never connected more. So…dancing to disco, feeling the light effects of Lemon Drops and love, life is good. We’re not alone at all…we’re in the middle of a crowd.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Changing a Picture

I changed the picture on my profile – not so much for the “me” part but for the “M in (dark) Pink” part. The shot is from Carlsbad, California, a moment on a bench in the middle of a field of mums last spring for a self-portrait. The expression on M’s face is one of amusement, curiosity, expectation, and blissful innocence. The day is in front of her – she’s going to get lemonade, she’s going to lunch at Legoland, she’s going to ride the rides and feel the ocean breeze against her pink-cheeked face.

Her day is going to be dazzling.

I love the portrait – so it’s there, a picture of what’s to come, what must come – oh we can’t wait for what’s next!

By now, M is done with her first ballet class – she was so excited this morning, she could barely eat. In fact her bagel, delicately spread with I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Butter and dotted with raisins (a raisin bagel can never have too many raisins) sits in the refrigerator, waiting to be eaten. A breakfast skipped in anticipation of much better things.

D called me from school to let me know that J got a “B+” on his history test, a test D was sweating over because J was left to study on his own. No help yesterday from Dad, no pre-testing. The reports from the other classes are good so far, J seems much more in control of his impulses, not fighting with other students, more attentive. We’re feeling pretty good about dumping all the teachers from last semester in favor of bringing J into D’s fold. (Last night, D called from a school meeting telling me last semester’s teachers all won awards…D said he wanted to throw up because point-blank, these teachers had completely dropped J as a student due to his special needs. The last and only e-mail I received from one of those former teachers right before the semester ended was cold and bitchy in reply to a request to gather work he'd not completed. I was pleading for help, pleading to help him get a "C" so he could end the semester on a positive note. None of the other teachers ever responded to the same request, no phone calls, no notes, not a stitch of help. Two of the four teachers awarded him "D's" and low citizenship scores, putting J on the "ineligible list" which prevents him from participating in extracurricular activities for the next weeks. These "rewarded" teachers did it in the face of and despite my pleas for help. Nice.)

I saw the doctor again about my shoulder – waited two and half hours to get a shot of cortisone that surprisingly didn’t hurt as much as my grandmother said it would. God bless my grandmother and her ability to soothe hurts… “Mija, I still feel that shot in my shoulder to this day, the pain. Tan mucho dolor!” Granted, the shots she remembers were given to her sometime in the 70's. Two hours in the waiting room and about forty-five minutes in the doctor’s examining room. I need an MRI because there’s a chance we’re looking at a torn rotator cuff. I’m old, I’m an old person who doesn’t exercise enough. In honor of my lack of exercise, I drive through the McDonalds and order a chicken sandwich…the crispy chicken sandwich…and eat it happily in the quiet of the house as I watch a soap opera. All I needed was a robe and slippers.

As I write this, A is looking over my shoulder and reading. I shoo him away as he says, “D is for…dad...”

The boys need to be picked up – so I leave to get A first. Because I also have to pick up J who gets out of school at 2:35, I bring a Tupperware bowl full of chips and several scoops of salsa (put into another Tupperware bowl) – the dog stayed home. Grabbed two sodas on my way out the door, having passing the fridge. The bowls slide a little on the front seat and so I reach and keep them still, a warm breeze coming in from the outside. The heat, the trees lining the suburban streets, the ranch-style homes, the sound of leaves being whipped by the wake of my SUV reminds me of afternoons spent at a boyfriend’s house when I was in high school. I remember the guilt of those afternoons – my parents had no idea what their daughter was up to…in a home alone with a boy. The heat is welcome, the pushy breeze bringing with it memories and a glance of a future.

When I see A, he’s not smiling but I can tell it’s a pretense of seriousness. He breaks in to a huge grin when he comes in the car, pulling out a certificate, saying, “Mom, I won an award for the being the BEST reader.”

Normally, most people imagine an exclamation point after such an announcement – not for A. He always speaks in a muted manner; he underspeaks unless he’s angry and agitated.

While A munches on chips and salsa (“That’s good salsa,” he mumbled as we drove over the train tracks, passing the liquor store and our favorite Ray’s Market) and I read my latest acquisition, House of Leaves, we wait in the mild heat in a line of cars until J gets out of school. We see him quickly – his long and thick brown hair that falls in his eyes is immediately recognizable. He grins when he approaches, grinning for nothing.

“School was good.”

The afternoon has started – the house will be noisy with the kids fighting, eating, playing drums, watching T.V., opening and closing the refrigerator, and asking for things, always asking. I will be in my office reviewing some writing I’ve done, a test for Business Law due tomorrow morning for copying, and an e-mail or two I sent out. Funny on the e-mail, funny how amazingly awkward I am when it comes to chatting with friends and even family. How funny that when talking to someone who matters, my words fumble and things never sound like how I mean them. D will come home soon to a messy house, to dusty shelves, to defrosting pork chops on the counter, to a dog on a mad dash across the street, followed by four people…hair flying, bare feet and shoed feet…all screaming, “SASSY!!!”

Something’s going to happen next…and we’re waiting…amused, curious, expectant, and blissfully innocent.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Bobbing Along

The depression always passes. On Friday morning I awakened with a normal energy level, even calling my brother to see if he wanted to have lunch. I changed the bedding, tidied the house. Completed the exam and took it to the college to be copied. Just normal stuff...nothing hyper...because that's something else. My mother used to have these deep, deep lows, where she'd cry inconsolably over some past wrong, then she'd zoom back up and she'd be on her porch, taking up the wood floors, planning to do...something. Invariably, my father would have to contact someone to come fix what she'd started but of course couldn't possibly finish.


This morning J decided he wasn't going to school. And he didn't. No amount of threats was going to get him out of the door. He claimed he didn't feel well. No fever. Just a stuffy nose. A claim of a stomach ache the night previous which had kept him up. I ranted a little. D did, too. J said he was sorry and I asked him to prove how sorry he was by getting dressed and getting in the car so I could drop him off at school. He didn't. He just stood in the hallway while I packed the car this morning, saying he loved me, that I was the best mom ever. I merely looked at him, letting him know I was not swayed by sweet words. I reminded him he had a choice. He chose differently than I wanted.

So he's lost the computer this coming weekend. We try to be patient. We understand there are reasons...but at some point, he was perfectly capable of making a "good" choice and he insisted on the other choice. He did eventually get dressed and showered, D picking him around 11:00 so the child could attend two of his four core classes. Oh and phys. ed.


But...but...he has improved. The medication has brought a calmness to the house that was missing. He seems more even-keeled. Last week at school was actually much improved. Granted, it was his first week of a new semester, with new teachers. We've put him into D's class - so J is getting a bit "home-schooled." Meaning, D can micromanage the work much better. The other teachers who are part of my husband's team are veteran teachers (better than the newbies J has had all year) who are in close contact with D - so they'll be able to assist more easily with the micromanaging.


A is doing all right - he's still struggling with writing and math. He's a good reader, though. We finally found some books he likes: "Captain Underpants." What more can a boy ask?

M is...M. She's learning her ABC's and numbers. Makes me think she'll have no trouble in kindergarten. Granted, like the boys, she's got a ways to go with her fine motor skills - writing is hard for her, copying letters, etc.

So...we're bobbing along. The sun is coming through the glass windows of my office, creating a lovely silhouette of the lillies outside.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Rice in a glass canister sits on the crumb-spread counter, waiting to be cooked. Raw chicken waits in the refrigerator. Tomatoes have been chopped and left on the cutting board. Night’s more than fallen. The television blasts kid shows – has been doing it all day from sunup to sundown. Bed sheets should be changed, the floors should be mopped, and the carpets should be vacuumed. Homework’s not quite done. Dishes fill the sink. The dishwasher is full of clean dishes. Clutter fills most corners, corners and tables and chairs, clutter that looks mountainous. Shoes, toys, cooking utensils, water bottles, paper, envelopes, a sweater, shirts, books, pillows, throw blankets, DVD’s, CD’s, a State Bar Identification card on my desk that says, “Inactive.” The children clash in the back bedroom. The husband’s just called, a mile away, returning from a doctor’s appointment. Yet another $175 spent to fix the oldest. The younger kids need baths. D will be aggravated when he comes home and finds me. Finds the mess.

The computer screen stares at me and I think that when the children finally get to sleep I will climb up on a stool and get the tequila down to drink. Maybe I’ll throw in the last Vicodin for that little extra boost.

I’m so sleepy, so tired, so bone tired, I can barely type the words out. The heavy weight of depression has hit me like it’s done before, knocking me on my ass. Keeping me flat on my back like a dissected frog – hands and legs and innards pinned and tagged.




The stress of the kids’ challenges has finally gotten to me. Everything depends on me and D to keep it together. Every day. All I think is that tomorrow I have to turn in a test to be copied for the students for Monday. The test is on my laptop, incomplete. The test reminds me I also have to prepare for lectures next week. More steep mountains to navigate, drainage of the little energy I have. My shoulder is killing me. Nothing takes away the pain – I made another appointment with the orthopedic doctor.

I had lunch with my sister today for her birthday. I was late getting to her house to baby sit her littlest one – not a perfect child, unlike her other two. I secretly am happy. I swallow that horrible thought. Swallow back my tears. When we go to lunch, we’re slow at eating, and I can’t think of things to say, and I have to rush off, but forget it’s a birthday lunch and leave just enough money to pay for my portion of the bill. I feel like an idiot on the way home. A cheap idiot.

The music plays and D is angry at me. He wants help getting the kids to eat. I bypass the rice. I heat up frozen chicken wings and stick frozen veggies in the microwave. I don’t eat. D and J already ate fast-food. So bad for D. I don’t care at the moment. I don’t eat. I return to the computer. I play “mommy and honey” with M. She chats and feeds me plastic food. I laugh and talk nicely to her.

D is angry that I’m not helping the kids get to bed. I don’t care. The tequila will only make my stomach hurt and the Vicodin won’t do anything because I'd just be taking the one since I don’t have any more left. J slips in and bangs on his drums, making me jump and bitch at him, “Use your soft sticks!”

He switches and bangs away, playing rock songs for me. I tell him how great it is and it is. He slips back out. D is angry at him because he didn’t do his homework like he was asked.

I sigh. Maybe wine will be easier on my stomach. Blech, I never like wine no matter how much I drink. My sister calls and asks me to go to dinner tomorrow night but I’m too tired, too weighed down by the depression. Tomorrow I’m going to take M to school so I’ll have the whole day alone but it will go by and I won’t even notice. It will be an instant between taking A and M and J to school and picking them up. The time will slip past me unnoticed. I will wonder why so much quiet time means so little.

I sigh when I hear M screaming again. My shoulder is killing me.

Tonight’s quiet time will go by barely noticed. Midnight is going to come fast and I’m going to hang on to the late night with the most incredible regret of it in the morning when I wake with bags under my eyes and skin that won’t let the makeup stick.

The goddamn depression has come to me and I’m terrified that I’m my mother and that the children will grow to hate me. That my husband will grow to hate me. That I will grow to hate me. I shake away the thought as J plays with the soft sticks, as he tries to keep a beat. I’m going to get up now, get up and get the kids to bed. Forget the bath. They're playing a chasing game and the thought of catching them exhausts me.

I hear D - he's at the office door and is saying nothing.

I’ll lay down with M in her little pink bed and we’ll just lie quietly until she falls asleep. How sweet it will be, how restful. How nice to hide in the dark room waiting for quiet time.