Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Science Rocks! a.k.a. In my defense . . .

Excerpts from Joel Glenn Brenner's well documented volume The Emperors of Chocolate:

"Like many foods, chocolate contains numerous mood-altering chemicals, such as phenylalanine, an amino acid that elevates mood and increases amiability, and magnesium, which helps the brain manufacture serotonin, a potent neurotransmitter linked to mood stability."

"But of chocolate's psychoactive ingredients, the two most interesting are anandamide and phenylethylamine, chemicals found in the human brain that help arouse emotions and heighten bodily sensation. Anandamide is similar to the active ingredient in marijuana [THC] which may explain why people crave chocolate and why many people consume chocolate when they're depressed."

"Phenylethylamine, called PEA, was discovered in chocolate in 1982. It, too, is associated with feelings of happiness and bliss. Win the lottery, get a promotion or fall in love, and your PEA level shoots up. But have a bad day, and your PEA level drops. In 1982, two New York psychopharmacologists, Donald Klein and Michael Leibowitz, suggested that people eat chocolate in order to boost their PEA, thereby experiencing the same euphoric feelings they have when they fall in love."

" . . . there are connections between chocolate and mood. Observing lab animals, scientists at MIT have found that certain cells of the hypothalamus portion of the brain send out pleasure signals in response to substances that are either sweet or fatty. They go mad with joy when the substance is both sweet AND fatty. Chocolate derives about 50 percent of its calories from sugar and about 50 percent from fat--a combination unequaled among foods."

"That unique mixture of fat and sugar is pure heaven to our brains," according to nutrition researcher Michael Levine. "Chemically speaking, chocolate really is the world's perfect food."

One more time, please? "Chocolate really is the world's perfect food."

"Its appeal is particularly strong for premenopausal women." "Women do need chocolate as well as other foods high in starch, sugar and fat to stabilize moods, control weight, and revitalize well-being. Chocolate has the perfect combination of sugar and fat, plus a plethora of other ingredients that account for its unmatched biological and psychological experience."

Hell. Yeah.

Suck on that, Jeans!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Lamaze Method

[Midwife: n. mid(with) + wif(woman) One who assists in or takes a part in bringing about a result.]

Midwife: "It's just the early stage, nothing to worry about yet. Deep breath in and slowly let it out. Good."

Mama: "It's beginning already?"

Midwife: "Inevitable from the moment you conceived her" she smiled. "At first it will be just like this, manageable pain from time to time--nothing you can't handle, nothing you can't breathe through."

Mama: "Okay, I'm going to trust you on that since you've been through this yourself. Oh--it's coming again. Just breathe deeply, right?"

Midwife: "Yep, just breathe. Slowly in, slowly out. Relax. You can do this."

Mama: "It's getting worse. That one was much more painful. I wasn't ready for that. What do I do?????" she begged, panic clearly evident in her voice.

Midwife: "The most important thing is to stay calm. Remember that it's all going to be okay. She's just letting you know she's ready. I know it hurts--keep calm. It's going to hurt worse before it gets better--but it will get better. Do you trust me?"

Mama: "Yes? The pains are coming more quickly now! I don't know if I can do this!"

Midwife: "Yes, you can. The pain only lasts a short time compared to the lifetime relationship you're going to have with her. Don't concentrate on the pain, concentrate on the outcome. And breathe!"

Mama: "Oh God, this hurts! Please, isn't there something to ease the pain?"

Midwife: "It's healthier for you both if you can go without. I know it hurts like hell, but you will live through this. Women have been doing this for millennia without drugs."

Mama: "She's ready! But I'm not--I don't want to do this!"

Midwife: "No turning back now. Push."

Mama: "I don't think I can do this. It hurts so much . . . I feel it, I have to push . . . "

Midwife: "Breathe. Now, push--again, push! Look--she's out! She's healthy and ready to be out of the womb! Cut the umbilical cord, she's doing fine on her own!"

Mama: Crying, "She's beautiful. Her first apartment, handling her bills and obligations on her own. She's just beautiful. You were right, she was ready to be out on her own. Thank you . . . "

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Roll Call

As my blog's subtitle suggests--okay, as it outright declares--there are voices in my head. My voices have quite the conversation going on daily, they even permeate my dreams. They vie for top billing when I write, but tend to scuttle off to dark corners in real life. I thought it would be fun to introduce you to the cast. Actually, I thought it would be tedious, but the cast insisted. They all wanted their turn in the spotlight.

Country Mouse is a good place to start. She's the agoraphobic in me. Though she sounds timid and shy, she's the one who wields the power. She's the one who talks everybody else inside my head into not wanting to leave the house. Into hanging out at home in a comfy pair of sweats. Country Mouse is the one who encourages the rest of the voices to write.

Country Mouse's closest friend and confidant is Peach. Peach is who you meet in public. At the Post Office, at parties, in the grocery store. Peach is insecure and awkward in social situations, like Country Mouse, but Peach recognizes her obligation to keep up at least the facade of a treaty with the outside world.

Ohhhh, and then there's Verdana. Verdana cuts a wide swath through my life. Verdana is jealous and envious and bitter and, frankly, kinda bitchy. I try and try to counsel Verdana to dial it down a click, but to no avail. Verdana is strong. Strike that. She's powerful. Strike that. She's formidable!

Verdana is thick as thieves with Vendie. Vendie's the girl to watch out for. Don't ever cross Vendie! Vendie is the girl who, if you hurt her, will keep a straight face while saying, "I would like to tell you that you lack intelligence and breeding, but I'll refrain because it would be spiteful and vindictive of me." Oddly, Vendie's only real strength lies in writing. The others seem to have the superhuman pull which keeps Vendie in check when face to face with people. But, boy does she make the others suffer for it later!

Verdana and Vendie are pretty ugly, I admit. Luckily for me, there's also Sexy Girl. By comparison, she is a breath of fresh air. (Though sometimes she and Verdana put their heads together and create a seriously volatile mix!) Sexy Girl possesses all the confidence. Sexy Girl is flirtatious and daring and playful and exciting. Sexy Girl is up for skinny dipping and partying till dawn. Sexy Girl, more often than not, makes her appearances when alcohol is involved . . .

And girl, you have just got to meet Shaniqua LaShaundra LaBelle! Shaniqua is Miss Attitude! You only catch glimpses of Shaniqua--just a flash--mostly visible in my eyes. Shaniqua shows her quick witted self when I have been insulted or taken for granted. "Oh, no, you ditn't!" Shaniqua makes her presence known just long enough to let a person know there will be no treading on me!

A few lesser personalities are Kiki, Kristi and CPA. Kiki is my inner cheerleader! Go team! Kiki cheers everybody on! Kiki has a positive attitude! Kiki sees the glass half full! Kiki can't wait to tell someone, 'way to go'! Kiki bugs the hell out of me! And everyone else!

Kristi . . . oh, Kristi . . . Kristi is the former gymnast in me who is clamoring for re-release. Kristi hasn't been seen publicly in many a year. Kristi is forever youthful and energetic and has all the strength and coordination and athletic self-assurance that is the hallmark of any young competitor. I miss Kristi terribly. But once in awhile, when nobody is looking, Kristi is allowed a quick outing. A cartwheel here, a walkover there . . . and if she's feeling particularly strong, maybe even an attempt at flying . . . *sigh*

CPA. CPA has no sense of fun whatsoever. CPA is the one most likely to wrestle Sexy Girl to the ground and hold her down, rattling off numbers and tabulating outrageous costs until Sexy Girl gives in and abandons whatever sinful fun is afoot. Way to go CPA. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

The most complicated and least understood voice in my head is The Mama. The Mama has a whole subset of her own voices. The Mama can be tender and warm, intuitive and giving--as you would expect a mother to be. The Mama can also be cold and distant and unforgivably selfish. The Mama can be overly helpful (at which time she is affectionately referred to as S'Mother.) She can be demanding and exacting and encouraging and manipulative and affectionate and intelligent and loathsome--sometimes all in one breath. The Mama is a conflicted creature, at best.

Finally, there is Kristin. Kristin is the me that my family and closest friends know. Kristin is fairly honest. Kristin trembles at conflict. Kristin tries very hard to bring out the best of the combined voices--but damn it's a lot of work to get everyone on the same page! Kristin would also like to believe that Billy Joel's "She's Always a Woman" was written about her. Kristin suffers delusions of grandeur . . .

There are many other supporting characters, but these are the major players--the ones who speak with the greatest volume and force. They're pretty much all I can deal with. If the rest of the characters in my head want a voice, they're going to have to start their own blog : )

Saturday, February 24, 2007

BF Part Deux (You didn’t dream there could be more to it, did you?)

Trying to make one's child a sentimental, thoughtful gift can lead one to the strangest circumstances. Case in point:

I wanted to find a dolly whose hiney I could paint and stamp onto a piece of paper which I would then scan into the computer and print out onto t-shirt transfer paper and iron onto a top for my daughter in commemoration of our delightfully silly summer together--a.k.a. ButtFest '06.

And so it was that I found myself at the Goodwill, feeling up dolly butts. Strange circumstance, indeed. Standing in the toy aisle (which, as it was Christmastime, was filled with other people) I carefully caressed the rump of each promising looking doll.

I was looking for firm, natural bottoms. I wanted plumpness and a lifelike crack. Nothing soft and squishy. No anatomically incorrect posteriors. Nor any with unsightly seams or poorly placed joints or fasteners. Sadly, I had to turn one lovely candidate down on account of an ugly butt screw--can you imagine the imprint that would have made?!

Once a toy had passed the rigorous grope test, I humiliated myself (and the dolls) further by checking beneath the clothing. It was the practical thing to do. After all, what sane person would buy a dolly butt sight unseen? Flip the doll over, lift the skirt (or pull down the pants) and really check out those buns! Can you imagine the sideways glances I was suffering? And there were children present. That was the worst part. I must have looked like a deranged toy proctologist. And I would swear in a court of law that a dainty Mrs. Clause replica cast me a wicked evil glare as I reached out cop a feel of her husband's toushie.

In the end, after considerable deliberation, I chose a darling Cabbage Patch infant boy. And let me tell you, honey, baby got back!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Trying to patch it up

Kristin: (voice filled with timid hope) "Jeans? I walked two miles today--even though it was raining really hard. I walked really fast and my heart rate got way up there!"

Jeans: (voice dripping with venom) "Ooooooooh, two miles! That ought to counteract the 16 pounds of chocolate you've crammed down your gullet in the past two months.

"You know your ass still looks like 2 Mylar balloons shoved into a pair of sweatpants, right?

"Two miles . . . I'll be damned if I let you touch me again.

"Chocolate ho!"

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Based on true events

Infidelity is always brought to light. Sooner or later, something slips or a little clue trickles out . . . someone always catches on. It happened to me today.

Typical morning routine: I was showered, legs were shaved and lotioned--all silky smooth. We were just getting intimate, my favorite jeans and I, when, at one touch of my dimpled thigh, Jeans froze up and refused to go any further with me. I playfully coaxed and even did a little sweet talking, hoping against hope that Jeans were just being coy. Jeans wouldn't budge. Jeans knew. My indiscretion with my longtime lover, Chocolate, could no longer be hidden. Jeans knew.

"It's not what it looks like . . . it was . . . well, it's just that . . . I didn't mean to . . . " Jeans weren't buying a word of it. Suddenly everything became clear. Jeans had had the vague suspicion that things weren't right between us. I had been avoiding Jeans, choosing instead garments like skirts (it felt like spring!) or sweats (I might go work out later.) Jeans were humiliated.

Jeans sat cold and distant in the drawer now, looking at me. Just looking at me and not saying a word. Jeans' body language, all folded crisply, said everything. "Haven't I always backed you up? Don't I always make you look good in public? Aren't I always available to you? What am I supposed to do now--just sit here and wait for you to get your act together?"

"Oh, Jeans, I'm sorry! I was just so tempted. I kept bumping into Chocolate everywhere--at the store, at the gas station, we always end up at the same parties. I just couldn't stop myself. Please, Jeans, I want you back! I'll do anything! I'll get professional help at the gym--anything!"

I begged and pleaded for a good half an hour. Jeans didn't give a rip. Jeans want nothing to do with me anymore.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

It's like Doug Burt used to say 25 years ago, "It just doesn't matter."

My oldest recently celebrated his 21st birthday. Here is what I have learned over 21 years of motherhood:

It doesn't matter what you do, you're going to screw up your kids. How you raise them. How you talk to them. How you discipline them. How you feed them. Educational choices. Extracurricular choices. There are no right answers. There are only well-intentioned attempts. In the end, your kids are going to go about raising their own children in opposition to how they were raised. Believe what you will, but when all is said and done, you're going to screw up your kids.

You have no control. You think you do, but you don't. Whether you learn that when they're 2 or when they're 20—you'll learn it. You have no control. I vividly recall the day when my now 21-year-old was about 12 and he stated an opinion that was not one I shared. I was stunned to realize this little mirror was, in fact, not a mirror, but a person unto himself. He thought for himself—as I purposely raised him to do—but what that added up to was that I have no control. Not that I want complete control over my children's lives, but I do want enough control to be able to steer them away from making horrifying mistakes. Never mind. They have to make those mistakes. They have to make all those painful, humiliating, expensive mistakes in order to learn anything of value. If only the pain wasn't so insidious . . .

There is no joy greater than the joy of raising children. There is no pain greater than the pain you feel for your children. There is no fear greater than the fear you harbor for your children. And there is truly no love like the love you give to, and receive from, your children. Cliché, blah, blah, blah, but clichés come from a kernel of truth and these things are true.

Have you noticed that these birthday musings are all about me and not really about the birthday child? Yeah. That's pretty much how it is. Every rite of passage (or, pretty much every common day) makes you question every decision you have ever made. How does it all stack up? In the bigger picture have I done more good than harm? Doesn't matter. I did what I thought was best. Take it or leave it.

Too expensive

A couple of years ago, when I could more legitimately claim to be in my 30's, there was this guy. A young guy. In his mid 20's. He was one of Beautiful's friends. He fancied Beautiful. Beautiful liked him and liked being his friend, but she didn't fancy him. He didn't fancy not being fancied. The friendship ended. And that was that.

Except . . .

There was something so compelling about this young guy. For one thing, he was wicked intelligent. Very clever. Deadpan funny. And attractive in an edgy and brooding, yet vulnerable way. What's not to fancy? He and I had always enjoyed each other's company, so we kept in touch. It was all good, just the occasional chat to catch up.

Except . . .

Somewhere along the line, our conversation took just the tiniest, slightest turn in the direction of flirtation. Just the smallest hint . . .

After some time, it had become a little more than just innocuous innuendo. It had turned into something more dangerous. We were sneaking up on dalliance territory. Before outright asking Young Guy if that's what we were really talking about, I decided I had better put some thought into whether that was something I could actually go through with.

I did think about it. For a long time. Ultimately, I decided the stakes were too high. It was just too costly. Oh, I don't mean the moral and ethical costs--which were insurmountable--I mean the literal dollars and cents of the thing.

To start with, before letting another human actually touch my person, there would be the cost of a gym membership. I could stand to lose 10 or 40 pounds. And its not just the weight, but toning up. Strength, flexibility, stamina--all good things to have when venturing into an illicit entanglement with someone in their prime, right? So I figured a diet plan, aerobic work-outs, weight training and yoga classes would do it. That could all be accomplished with one gym membership. And the one-time registration fee. And the protein shakes. And the ingredients for cooking meals that are low carb, high fiber, all natural, unprocessed, nonsweetened . . .

But it wasn't going to be as easy as just a little working out and eating right. I may get the muscles all in good form, but the wrapping that holds this package together is just, well, its tired. And faded. And out of date.

In considering the actual mechanics of allowing another person close, intimate, physcal contact with the package and the wrapping, a few new concerns were raised.

Let's begin with hair removal. I had been meaning to get off the lip waxing merry-go-round for a long time anyway. To just buck up and go the laser removal route. And as long as I'm doing the 'lip', there are a few nasty strays on my chinny chin chin. And on my necky neck neck (ugh! Nobody needs to see that!) And while we're at it, how about that attractive furry trail between belly button and pubes that women earn like a military stripe for brave service to their families while bearing children. Let's get that sucker lasered off too because poor Young Guy, well, poor Young Guy . . .

And as long as we're in the region, I should probably head to the spa for a bikini wax. After all, Young Guy is accustomed to much younger women--younger women whose generation came up believing that the pubic landing strip (or less!) is utterly normal. What would Young Guy do when encountering not just a full bush but a whole freakin' patch of overgrown shrubbery? Yeah. Let's go for the bikini wax. And a leg wax while we're there so I won't have to suffer the embarrassment of him feeling the 5 o'clock shadow on my shaved legs. Leg wax. That's the thing.

After considering all that hair removal--ALL THAT HAIR REMOVAL!--I felt like a regular Yeti.

And then, there're my nails . . . Pedicure and manicure for sure. But it's not just my nails. My hands have taken a beating after all the years of cooking and dishes and diapers and gardening. Paraffin treatment. As for the rest of my skin? There's no faking the glow and suppleness and tone of 20 year old skin. But full body spa therapy couldn't hurt. Massage, hot stones, seaweed, salt, sugar, mud--bring it on.

Might as well go for a makeover as long as I'm spending this kind of dough on the skin (and as long as I'm taking it this far trying to pretend myself 10 years younger.) Perhaps a bit of a fresher look, a little more up-to-date. Add in a fresh hair style and I'm just about ready to go. Except for that other hair issue, now that I think about it. I don't have a lot of gray yet, but the texture of my hair is noticeably different as I get older. Less like a fine silk tassel, more like a haystack.

I'm sure that with the proper amounts of the proper kinds of product, I could achieve glistening, velvety hair for Young Guy to smell and touch and run his fingers through, right? It's all just a matter of forking over the proper amount of money . . .

Yeah--and other things that fade and change as we age? I do have nice teeth, but maybe I should consider a whitening treatment. Ka-ching.

And finally, let us not forget undergarments. Omigosh--do you know what they want for this stuff these days? But it is, after all, a necessary expenditure . . . Cute, frilly panties for sure. And a couple really sexy--really supportive--bras to keep what's left of the girls in check.

Oh, and a boob job.

And a babysitter.

The more noble ideals of fidelity, loyalty, and keeping the family intact never even made it to the table. The proposal lay dead on the budget committee floor. It was simple math. I could not afford an interlude with Young Guy.

I never really told him no. And he never really pressed. With unspoken agreement, we allowed the subject of our conversations to shift slightly. And then to sort of trail off into the nothingsphere.

We still keep in contact though. I e-mail him from time to time just to check in, just to know he's doing okay. And he calls me every now and again to ask me things like what kind of onions to use in his pot roast and how to remove the beer stain from his carpet. Did you catch that? What was once a scintillating and verboten conversation between a man and a woman has deflated down to a boy asking a 'mother figure' for advice. Yep, mom advice. And, as with my own grown children, I greedily (and pathetically) snap up whatever crumbs he scatters my way.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

If you have read (or watched) Pride and Prejudice, you'll get the reference

My Dear Mrs. Bennet,

It is with deepest sadness and regret that I must report to you that my lovely daughter (she who is well skilled in music, dance, art, cooking, writing, riding, conversation, needle arts, and is fluent in 16 languages) has come to the erroneous belief that she does not require my help, advice, counsel and word at every step of her life.

I cannot guess from what quarter she gleaned such a ridiculous idea. I can only surmise it must have been from one of those ill bred young 'feminists', as they call themselves, that one sees lurking about in public spaces. How my darling Beautiful could possibly have come into contact with such rubbish is beyond my power to imagine, but alas, it must have transpired . . .

You will be disheartened to learn that she has stated, directly to my face no less, that she--SHE--is responsible for the decisions which concern her life. Never if I lived to be 1000 years old would I have thought such a bold and insidious lie could proceed from my own child's mouth. A mere girl responsible for herself? What unspeakable nonsense is this? I am quite sure you can imagine the shock that followed so daring and flawed a suggestion. I tell you I was taken to my bed for a month after such an outburst.

Further, you will be dismayed to discover that not only does this inexperienced, untested youngster believe she is capable of making decisions on her own (the very thought of it!)--she has actually endeavored to do such already! This simple youth (I am so sorry to insult your sensibilities with this tale) has chosen a young man for herself. Yes! For herself. The audacity! The impudence! The sheer cheek of that child! Fresh. That is all I have to say about such insolent behavior. Fresh.

And can you even imagine (oh how it troubles my maternal heart to ponder this next question) what said young man must think of such a wayward girl? He must think her, well *sniff* (it pains me to use such verbiage regarding my own dear offspring)--common. He must think her common. Oh how could we have sunk to such a state?

As you have proven yourself to be most excellent and meticulous in the organising of your own dear daughters' lives, I sit in awe of your authority. The method by which you have chosen partners for your daughters, and in which you keep their pairings strong and vibrant, is an example to behold. Mothers the world over should take careful attention to patterning their own lives' work after yours.

With your unimpeachable reputation in mind, I am, therefore, writing to inquire of you, my dear Mrs. Bennet, on the subject of how to realign my errant daughter's thinking to my very own. How can I cause the child to understand that my every thought, my only thought, is toward her future position in society (and her happiness should that coincidentally follow)? Under what course shall I train her mind to recognise that she, an unproven sapling, has no business attempting the intricacies of formal decision making or, more importantly, matchmaking? And in what manner shall I convince her of the truth, which is, simply put, that my entire life of experience has led up to the moment at hand--to the task of choosing, and orchestrating, a suitable marriage for her?

My dear Mrs. Bennet, please advise on what action should be undertaken to correct the impudence straight out of this child. And, as a side note which has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with any unsuitable suitors which might be lingering about the grounds just waiting for a chance to deprive us of the company of our beloved daughter, would you happen to be acquainted with any sort of locally indigenous poisonous flora?

I trust in your impeccable judgment in such situations, my dear lady. I am willing to follow any guidance you might prescribe, no matter the difficulty or distaste of it.

I humbly await your counsel,
A Loving Mother, Coming Unhinged.

The Lost Story

I have just finished reading The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr, the true account of the search for Caravaggio's lost masterpiece, "The Taking of Christ".

While the subject matter is fascinating, I found the execution lacking (I state confidently, as though I know *anything*.) It was as though Harr wanted to infuse the story with the life and breath of the art historians who were searching for the painting but he didn't quite know how far to go with it. Thus the 'characters' (those who were fleshed out) were a bit shallow. And those who weren't fleshed out . . . well, it actually reminded me a little bit of a Scooby Doo cartoon.

I kept thinking to myself that if I had written this story (YUGE presumption!) I would have started with Caravaggio himself in his studio energetically transcribing the vision in his mind's eye onto the canvas, and then followed the painting accross the centuries to its present habitation. I think maybe I've watched "The Red Violin" one too many times.

Truth be told, If I were the one who had written this story, it never would have been written. It took so much research and so many interviews and background reading and fact checking . . . it took too much work. And I'm lazy. L.A.Z.Y. I'm *so* lazy that . . . meh, it would be too much work to type out an example of how lazy I am . . .

Monday, February 19, 2007

BF ’06 . . . or . . . 'What I Did Last Summer'

Last summer was huge. So much happened. In the blink of an eye, my daughter went from girl who had had a few dates to woman in love—and engaged! I consider it the summer I lost my daughter.

But before losing my little girl to a guy who adores her, it was the summer of a brand of silliness usually reserved for 12 year old boys.

Mister was out of town for work and both boys were on a long vacation with the grandparents. Beautiful couldn’t make the vacation trip due to her dance and work schedules. I opted to stay home because hey, when does a mom get a month with nobody asking anything of her? So it was just the two of us in the house--Beautiful and me. We watched girl TV. We rented girl movies. We ate cookie dough for dinner. And we laughed. A lot.

There was also that heat wave. One unbearable afternoon, after working and dancing all day, Beautiful came home and, having learned etiquette from watching The Simpsons, she took her pants off. Strolling her thonged self into the kitchen, she opened the fridge for a quick perusal. "Ooooh," she exclaimed, "that feels good!" Turning her hind quarters towards the shelves, she closed the door as far on herself as she could and stood there looking at me as if it was the most normal thing to be doing.

I said what any good mother would say faced with such a situation, "I refuse to eat food with buttprints on it!" And so it began. Naturally, we started naming all the ‘butt’ foods we could come up with: buttjuice, buttdogs, buttcheese, and (because we’re talking about my fridge) buttmold. It went downhill from there--as though there could be a downhill from there.

Everything from that point on could be (and was) relatable to butts or buttcracks. We buttcracked ourselves up. There were butt cereals (Cap’n Butt Crunch) and butt condiments (Hershey’s Chocolate Butt Syrup) and the new bookshelves got a special finish of buttcrackle glaze. We even had a theme song.

And then there was the time I called Beautiful while I was out for a walk, asking her to pick me up because I had fallen and fractured my buttcrack. I was laughing so hard I couldn’t get the punch line out. She kept asking "what?" and I kept blurting out "BUTTCRACK! BUTTCRACK!" People around me began shielding their children. I am quite sure it was widely believed there was a crazy lady with Tourette’s living in the neighborhood.

Enter Beautiful’s dear friend, J. Standing in our kitchen late one night, Beautiful mentioned something about a buttcrack in front of J. An explanation had to follow. Laughing our buttcracks off, J brought a whole new twist to our twisted existence. She christened our summer "ButtFest ’06." And she suggested commemorative tattoos. I won’t describe her original (and hilariously graphic!) design. Suffice to say, we didn’t run right out to get inked. We decided instead upon commemorative t-shirts. Jokingly, of course.

So, what do you think both Beautiful and J got from me for Christmas? Yep. Commemorative ButtFest ’06 t-shirts. We could not be more like 12 year old boys if we tried.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


I am having an affair. An all-consuming, burning, satisfying affair.

Lately, things have been a little overwhelming. My life is good. Very good. But recently there have been a few added pressures. I don’t seem to have the tools to break the pressures down, examine them, and find mechanisms to cope with them. And so, I have gone the substitutionary route.

It could be argued that the root cause of the maladies now raining down on me are, in some ways, connected to my neglect of certain details, or my lack of attention to needful things both in the distant and recent past. But I elect not to peer too closely. Instead of introspection, I choose denial and replacement—two powerful tools that are readily available and oh, so easy to use.

Banishing all thoughts of responsibilities and problems, I opt instead to close my eyes and give in to the slow, understated seduction of chocolate.

Chocolate has always been a temptation to me. It has never been so alluring as it is now. I see it everywhere I go. I am distracted by thoughts of it. In its sleek, suggestive packaging, it sees me and beckons to me. It knows what I need. What flavors, what variations, what fun little tricks make me thrill with delight.

We have shared moments before. Those special moments are forever burned on my memory. I crave more. I need more. I am desperate for more. Feeling besieged, unappreciated and uncared for, all I can think to deliver me from my confinement is my dark, clandestine friend, Chocolate.

When will we be together again? How long do I have to wait? Where can we secretly meet--just the two of us--nobody to judge us or even know?

Chocolate and I are at last alone together late at night, long after the rest of the household has gone to bed. The lights low, the TV turned up just enough to cover the sound of our passion, I quietly--slowly--disrobe Chocolate. I take pleasure in the first peek at its dusky body. Its tantalizing scent makes my breath come harder and faster. Its wrapper drops to the floor and there is no one else in the world but Chocolate and me. The first taste melts over my tongue, sending a shiver down my spine. It is as good as it has ever been. Better.

Temporarily I have forgotten whatever problems were keeping me up this late in the first place. I abandon myself to the enticing charms of my paramour. Nothing else exists. I know only the guilty pleasure of our tryst.

It will catch up with me. I will be found out and there will be consequences. This I know. But for one moment—one decadent moment—I care not. I am blissful.


This blog was borne of frustration--as most mama blogs are, right? You think you're doing the right thing--the noble thing--staying home and raising the children. Or even not staying home, but putting all your will into seeing that the children are well cared for and well loved. But no matter how much you've sacrificed for them, and no matter how close you think you are as friends, they do grow up. Actually, they outgrow needing you as a mom. *sigh*

And so, since there is no holding back a flowing tide, I have decided to let go, as all mothers must, and expend my energies elsewhere. And here is where I've chosen to expend them. The weird things that dance around inside my head needed a place to go before they drive me crazy. Before Country Mouse comes completely unhinged . . .