Friday, March 28, 2014

vikings: season 2, episode 5 recap

find me at flickering myth for this week's recap. lagertha leaves me again and i'm despondent. athelstan is seeing demons with big teeth and bjorn takes a swing with a big axe. read it here: answers in blood.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014


i have a kid in my life that i'm not going to name. or identify, really. just know that he's 10 and he loves art and he's not my son.

over the past year, he's tried my patience.

he couldn't sit still. never got more than a few words down at a time before buzzing around the room knocking things over. laughing at everything and nothing. ripping paper apart when forced to sit still. making up nonsense jokes just to try to make the kids around him laugh and lose focus.

he was that kid for the majority of the year.

today he was...different.

he stayed at his desk, pencil moving. doing what i was asking. asking questions that were relevant instead of talking just to keep me by his desk a little longer.

there was a prize up for grabs, so he concentrated extra hard and constantly asked for my feedback.

but he was...different.

more than once, i asked if he was okay.

was he sad? was something bothering him? was someone mean to him during lunch? was he sick?

no, no, no and no.

i mentioned to his teacher how much he'd concentrated on his work and how different he seemed and she nodded.

"medication," she said.

that's all she said. she didn't approve of it, she didn't condemn it. she simply stated fact and went back to the chaotic business of being a teacher.

for the entire ride home, my mind's been circling around the change in him and what's caused it and no matter how hard i try, i can't find entry into the puzzle or how i'd react if he were my son.

i can't decide how i feel.

is it better now that he's not a major disruption for the class? was he better when his personality was larger than life?

i don't know.

i don't know.

i am just grateful that i've never had to make a decision like that and i pray for the ones who do--the parents and teachers who must decide who needs to be less "you" and more "us" and how much.

what dosage yields enough "us" with plenty of "you" left?

do they miss the energy? are they grateful that now they can concentrate on the quieter students who weren't so demanding?

i don't know.


i pray for them.

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Monday, March 24, 2014

goodnight. sleep tight.

Antiques Roadshow is finally on (after a marathon three hours of  Nick Jr. which consisted of  five Peppa Pig
episodes, two Dora the Explorer episodes, and the majority of one Bubble Guppies episode). I have the tea kettle on and I'm sitting here thinking about what it takes to get my kids to bed.

It's changed over time. Dom used to require an endless loop of Baby Einstein. Andrew needed a humidifier about an inch and a half from his face. Makenna needed mausoleum-level silence, and Riley needed me sleeping in the bed next to her.

But lately?

Dom and Andrew require a simple rhyme:

"I love you once.
I love you twice.
I love you more...
than beans and rice!"

But when I tuck Andrew in, I need to put in a few rounds of mistakes. It might sound something like this...

"I love you once.
I love you twice.
I love you more...
than pizza and beer!

("Noooo, mom!")

"Ok...I love you more
than chips and dip!"


"Hmmm. I love you more


"Ok, ok, ok. I've got it.
I love you more
than beans and rice!"

("Yes! Goodnight...finally!")

With Dom, he takes the rhyme correctly the first time (and yes, he still wants me to say it), but I have to roll him in his blankets like a Dom-rrito (his word, not mine) and bounce him on the bed as I say it. Our dog gets a little silly at that point and lays on top of the kid.

Makenna is a simple girl now. She needs her Olivia blanket draped just so over the top of her comforter. She needs her curls tucked out of her eyes. And most importantly, she needs to be promised that I will take her to the mall in the morning.

For the record, I haven't been to the mall in months--but she still requires the promise every night. "What do you want to do tomorrow, Makenna?"

"The mall!"

And Riley, well, Riley wants to contribute to the mall vote as well, but more importantly she waits for me to lean down to give her a nighttime smooch. When I'm close enough (and she can contain her giggles) she rips through the silence with a loud PSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

Peeing on me.

She drifts off to sleep each night after pretending to pee like a boy. On me.

Who's the lucky gal?

Sweet dreams!

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

review: vikings season 2, episode 4

it's that time again. i'm hanging out a flickering myth talking about how happy i am that bjorn finally makes it back to reunite with ragnar. now if only we can get rid of princess aslaug, my life would be complete. read it here: eye for an eye.

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

review: vikings season 2 episode 3

over at flickering myth writing about episode 3 of vikings. check it out here: treachery!

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

for the foxes

Don't feel sorry for me.I am a competent,
satisfied human being.
be sorry for the others
rearrange their
juggling mates
confusion is
and it will
whoever they
deal with.
beware of them:
one of their
key words is
and beware those who
only take
instructions from their
for they have
failed completely to live their own
don't feel sorry for me
because I am alone
for even
at the most terrible
is my
I am a dog walking
I am a broken
I am a telephone wire
strung up in
Toledo, Ohio
I am a man
eating a meal
this night
in the month of
put your sympathy
they say
water held up
to come
you better be
nearly as
(by charles bukowski)

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

slow teeth (a riley story)

dominic arrived early and quickly. impatient, that one.

andrew arrived with a roar and let the entire world know he was here. determined, that one.

makenna arrived with a fever and a whole slew of unnecessary tests. dramatic, that one.

but riley?

riley arrived upside down through the emergency exit. unique, that one.

this baby is closing in on 20 months. it's an exciting time in our family because as our last baby gets through all these final milestones, we're saddened of course, but mostly p and i are just like...


we've been in the baby having, baby changing, baby feeding, baby non-sleeping business for five years now (yep, that's how old andrew is, friends) and we're tired. tiiiiiiiiiiired.

safe to say i'm excited as we check off each milestone with our babiest of babies. yay! no more umbilical cord. EVER. yay! no more meconium. EVER. yay! no more formula. EVER. yay! no more pacifiers. EVER. yay! no more sleeping in our room an inch and a half from my face. EVER.

her older siblings were in a rush when we weren't. dominic had his own entertainment center and nightime ritual by the time he was a year and a half. andrew was walking at 10 months, makenna at 9 months. Both were ordering online papa john's pizza by their second birthday.

but roo?

roo waits. she was almost 14 months before she figured this whole walking thing was worth a shot.

and her teeth? oh, dear god, her teeth. she's consistently three to four months behind the pediatrician's timetable for teeth sprouting and i've already tossed that stupid brochure in the trash and lit it on fire. LIES!

with each tooth that doesn't arrive on that lying calendar, my selfish mind calculates just how many more months we are to a full head of teeth and a restful night.

right now we're on one tooth in on the terrible canines. the three holdouts make an appearance once in a while like a little tiny white dot on her ravaged gum and then disappear. giving us one night of rest before four nights go all to hell with her aching mouth.

at this rate, she's going to be 25 by the time her  molars start coming in and i'm sure that when i hit 49, i might get to sleep in peace the whole night through.

so, while we may be ready for our babiest of babies to skate through this baby age into preschool age, Riley sure isn't.

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this is part of "forty stories." a fun little lent challenge where i show up and write a story (of any nature, i guess) on internet paper. 

review: vikings season 2 episode 2

it's episode 2 of vikings over at flickering myth! read it here: invasion.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

ashes, dust...and clinique

I had a half-psychotic twitch monster on my lap at church this afternoon. I was doing everything I could to pay attention to the priest's Ash Wednesday sermon as he was floating concepts like repentance and sacrifice at us like godly little birdies flitting out to lucky revelers.

I'm sure other parishioners were busy making self-sacrificial plans for the next 40 days like good Episcopalians.

My concentration had been shot the moment I shlepped my three youngest through the doors by the backs of their coats and saw the church nursery dark and abandoned like the tomb on day five.  I had to shove the three amigos into a pew with those pitiful excuses for "kid's bags" that hold nothing more than old office scratch paper and broken colored pencils with no lead.

Thanks, guys. That really helps keep them occupied after the first "All of this stuff is broken!" wail.

So instead of thinking Ash-y thoughts about what good I could put back in the world, I did my best and pretty much spent the service pondering the atrocious breakout on my forehead.

Where had it come from? Was it noticeable? Did anyone else find it odd that I was plum in the middle of being 35 and I still broke out like a kid? Would the ashes make the red less noticeable? More noticeable?

Then I got in the spirit of the day and thought about the priest.

Did he hesitate whenever a forehead appeared in front of him with a comedone the size of his face? What was the protocol? Ashes to the right of the whitehead? To the left? Man up and run your ash-heavy thumb right across the damn thing and pretend you don't notice?

Believe me, I notice things like that.

Back when I first stepped foot off the boat in Alaska (it's true, you take a ferry most times), I had a brand new MFA under my belt and zero employers interested in hiring me. It was fantastic. So much so that when Nordstrom called about an off-chance online application I'd submitted, I jumped at the chance to work at their Clinique counter.

They gave me some color cards, a ridiculous lab coat, a few free makeup samples to obsess over at home and an hourly sales goal to make before setting me free to torment the downstairs shoppers.

I wasn't a terrible consultant and within a month I'd beaten all the girls at my counter and had even put to shame a couple of the coiffed, stick-up-their-arse Lancome girls. (Take that, $80 serum freaks!)

Mostly I sold gallons of that atrocious yellow moisturizer that I wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole these days (hello, mineral oil!) and bars upon bars of that awful soap that dried up in the little dish the moment you took it out of the plastic.

But another part of my job was zeee actual applying of zeee makeup. Like, on the public's face.

In my mind, beauty queens and Rocky Horror Picture Show actors would be lining up for a spot in my chair, like they did at the Mac counter.

The best I ever got was a couple prom court nominees but that was only because Lancome and Mac were double booked and nobody wanted to go to the Estee Lauder counter because it smelled bad (awful, awful ancient lady perfumes).

But mostly I dealt with teenagers and really old women with lots of money and time on their hands. The teenagers wanted cover up for their ravaged skin and there was nothing short of compound joint that would help them at that point. Gobs of concealer really only highlighted the acne worse, but they weren't interested in hearing about the whole "wash your face" or at the very least "zip this toner across your forehead before bed."

The other girls were pros and would dab the product all over the erupted skin using the sensitive skin on their fingertips.

dab dab dab...swipe.

 I made the manager buy me those extra-long medical swabs because the more distance between me and a weeping white head, the better. I did my best.

poke poke poke...switch. grimace. repeat.

If the young ones were hormonal, the older ones were bitter and demanding of every single serum, cream, and sandblaster I could fit on the counter.

"Make me younger," they'd demand.

Without the Tardis nearby, there wasn't much I could do but make them look extra greasy and shiny with 19 layers of anti-aging product applied by kitchen sponge.

Other people's faces aren't my thing.

My career at the makeup counter was short lived and as far as I'm concerned, removed me from all priestly aspirations from that day forward.

And as for my priest?

Pure professional. Straight down the middle without a wince or a shudder.

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this is part of "forty stories." a fun little lent challenge where i show up and write a story (of any nature, i guess) on internet paper. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014


"We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty." (Mother Theresa)

i hate my facebook feed lately and i'm pretty sure it's a sentiment a lot of folks feel.

 i've seen friend after friend threaten to drop people who insist on spouting their politics. gay, anti-gay, abortion, anti-abortion, gun, anti-gun. obamacare, anti-obamacare.

 it's all over the place and mostly i just zip past it and pay people's opinions no mind. i don't care what you support and what you don't. honestly. it takes all sorts of folks to make the world go round and i believe that with all my heart.

but lately there's a trend that flames poor people. accuses them of all sorts of things. drug abuse. fraud. laziness. theft. being a scourge on society.

because, you know...

social welfare recipients couldn't possibly hold down jobs. they don't give of themselves. they don't help others. they don't contribute to their neighborhoods. they're pariahs. scum. absolutely deserving of our social network scorn.

they take and they take and they take while the rest of  US work hard and get our pockets pilfered by "big brother" so they can pay society's useless to remain idle.

i'm here to say that it's absolute bullshit and just another dirty form of discrimination and ignorance.

one of my favorite bloggers (who focuses on paying off debt and frugality) posted an article about how absurd our american poverty level is because people who qualify have things like air conditioners in their apartments and a color television in their home. commenters were quick to jump in an rail about how these fake poor probably had the gall to have kids and own an xbox. they probably bought their kids new shoes a few times a year. they dared have a cell phone.

i commented about how lovely
the view must look way up on those high horses and it all snowballed from there. virtriol. name calling (how i became a commie-liberal scum sucker  in the span of 15 minutes is still a bit of a blur, but i'm piecing it together.) i'm not interested in ever reading her thoughts ever again.

these piece of shit memes keep showing up over and over and it breaks my heart. i'm not sure whatever happened to the "therefore by the grace of god go i..." but it seems like a trendy thing to do to cast shame on others from the safety behind a keyboard.

people post these and add their own "lol" or "so true" and laugh. because they've spent a lot of time with the poor, haven't they? they know that every person who gets assistance smokes weed and buys alcohol with the money they do earn.

 they themselves have never ever had to take a pell grant or an education grant to get back into the work force or used  unemployment, have they?

i don't care what your politics are. i swear. i think we all have a brain in our head and it's our job to use it to form our own, independent opinions.

i believe that if you don't like somthing about policy, then you get off your ass and you vote and you change it.

please, do this and i will give you my undying support (even if we don't agree) because you are working toward something positive and forward.

but if your idea of change is throwing up a poorly-illustrated bit of shame toward a person you've never met, well...

shame on you.

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