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I Had to do it!!! Monday March 31, 2008

Posted by gingerbreadman in Uncategorized.
I swore I’d never do it.  It had happened to me, I hated it and have suffered for it ever since.  It took 6 times over for it to finish it’s effect on me, I shudder at the thought of how many times over it’s going to go on with Emily.
Yes, it’s true…
I put The Mother’s Curse on Emily today. 
I know, I know.  It’s bad.  My own Mother slapped that sucker on me when I was 10, and it took 6 girls to make it all come true on me:  Jess and her "I’m so smart, haha", Becca and her stubborn streak, Emily and her "F-U attitude",  Katie and her "Bite me, I’m cranky", Libby and her "I want, I want, I want! begging, and Laura.  Just plain Laura.
I cursed Emily…not only that, I named a NUMBER.  Eight.  First I wanted eight boys, because I can’t imagine anything worse. Then I realized YES I COULD.  I forgot, somehow what a nightmare hormonal teenage girls are.  So I readressed the gods of Mother Curses and appealed for a re-do and went for 4 boys, 4 girls.  Then I went dementoid, laughed maniacally, Emily called my Mom and found out the Curse really is true and WORKS and is now in her room in a panic.

How does race affect you? Monday March 24, 2008

Posted by gingerbreadman in My Darling Dears.
I grew up in the 70’s, in a small town in Southern Kentucky.  A small, racist town.  A small, racist town where every May right before high school graduation there would be a big racial fight between the blacks and whites out in the stadium parking lot; the participants using fists, baseball bats, broken bottles, chains and sometimes knives on each other.  It happened every year, like clockwork.  The tensions of the school year would just build and build, all that hatred for each other locked up in one building for nine months, and BOOM!!! out it would come in violence and blood just as predictably as the daffodils and tulips coming out of the earth when the Spring Sun finally comes out and stays.
This is where and how I grew up.  Learning about racial hatred.  Learning about it from my town, from the news, and from my Daddy’s family, where the prejudice ran deep and the ‘N’ word flowed easily from all my relatives lips.  All my relatives but my Momma.  She was born and raised in Chicago, only moved down South her senior year in high school to meet and marry my Dad.  She had very different views and racial relations and had no problem with airing them in front of her ignorant in-laws.
I remember one Sunday in particular, for it was the day I chose to be an open-minded, loving person rather than a close-minded bigot.  There aren’t many occasions when you really *know* you’ve found your moment, but this was one of those apocryphal times for me.  I was sitting up on Grandmother’s chest freezer watching the ladies clean up dinner (lunch for you Northerners) and they were all talking about interracial dating.  Of course they were all heatedly against it, and my strange Mother said she didn’t see anything wrong with it, a person was a person, plain and simple.  One of my aunts…my *favorite* aunt, asked her how she’d feel having a "N word" kissing her baby girl.  I sat in silence, thinking about the boys in my 3rd grade class, wondering how I’d feel if one of the black boys were to approach me and realized I wouldn’t feel any differently about it than I would if it were one of the white ones:  namely, disgusted…I hated boys.  My Mom said plainly and loudly, for the entire house to hear, "It wouldn’t matter at all, except that he treated her well and she liked him.  Color doesn’t matter.  Behavior matters."
I was seven years old that day.  I never forgot that exchange between my Mother and my beloved family I spent every Sunday and holiday with.  I chose who I was that day.
It never really came up though, until my Junior year of high school.  I was dating a guy who’d already graduated, and a dance was coming up I really wanted to attend.  He couldn’t take me since he had to work, but his friend Mark was off, so he told me to go with Mark.  Mark was ridiculously handsome, very popular and one of the nicest guys I knew:  he was also biracial; his mother white, his father black.  I knew the ramifications of choosing to take a ‘black’ guy to the dance with me:  I’d be called a "N word" lover, castigated by lots of my so-called friends and absolutely cast out of some of my social groups.  Ta hell with them, I thought…and went to the dance with Mark, and had a great time.  I did indeed get called names, Mark offered to take me home early to save me from harassment and I refused, there were people who used to talk to me every day that thereafter hissed things about me behind my back, and I realized something profound–it didn’t matter to me nearly as much as the fact that I’d done what my values told me were right.
My Dad’s family are still a group of racist asses.  My children are open, loving individuals who count amongst their good friends gays, African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Indians, Native-Americans…the list goes on.  Because I sent all the girls to Head Start, the first people my kids ever brought home for a sleepover, each and every one, was an African-American friend, since they weren’t in a predominantly white classroom, it truly was a mixed classroom.
This is heavy on my mind right now for a number of reasons.  Because there’s so much talk of race in the news with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, because my husband Mike is Hispanic, which makes my daughter a chicana, because Jess is engaged to a Native-American, because Becca is dating an African-American now.  When news of who Becca’s beau is hits the family circuit, the roof is going to go up so high, the space shuttles are going to be jealous of it’s distance possibilities.  My brother found out accidentally and had the nerve to tell me he "didn’t like it"…like it was any business of his!
We went to my cousin’s yesterday for Easter lunch and an egg hunt.  I was a little concernerd, it’d been a while since I’d been around these people and I knew they were all prejudice and was honestly hoping that the years and the times had settled it down some.  So not so.  I heard my cousin’s husband remark during a basketball game that at least a white guy had gotten in the 3 pointer.  One of my uncle’s was asking me about the town we live in, and I described it as I always do-like Mayberry RFD on valium.  One of my other cousin’s husband’s asked me if it had the same values as Mayberry, and I scornfully replied "Yes, I’m afraid so.  There are only 6 black families and the only two Hispanics are Mike and Laura."  The jerk grinned and asked me how far away it was and nudged my cousin and asked her how soon she could be packed.  I shook my head, told him I found him sad and hollered at everyone that we were leaving.
When I told my Mom about Becca’s boyfriend…a great guy who makes her happy, who is made happy by Becca…Mom said that she believed people were souls, and that souls don’t have colours, or races, or creeds.  That people are simply shells that hold inside the essence of a person’s being, and THAT is what matters.  How that person speaks, and behaves, and how they evolve over time, not what colour they are, or how they practice their faith or sexuality.
This is the woman who hurt me so many years ago, but this is the woman I learned to love and forgive.  She made it easy, because she evolved too.  This is the woman who taught a seven year old how to believe and be an open, loving person.  And I’ve sent that message down to six more people.
Now I wonder if I’m going to lose any blog buddies over this…

Stressful 24 hours Wednesday March 19, 2008

Posted by gingerbreadman in Ain't THAT a whoopin'?!.
It started with the mail yesterday afternoon.  Some strange envelope from Canada…"why, Sis must have written to me…goody!" I think.
No.  It’s a letter informing me I’ve won 3rd prize in a sweepstakes I entered, and I’ve netted meself $225,000 and some change.  Yeah.  Wow.  Fun thought.  There’s even a cool little check in the envelope for $2,375.00.  A "real" check.  Instructions to go cash the check…and here’s the funny part:  Send $1950.00 back to the sweepstakes people for taxes.
Uh huh.  First flag goes up.
Now, I’ve won sweepstakes before.  I’ve managed to make over $400.00 from MSN alone entering the Spaces contests they have occasionally.  I’ve won free stuff galore, won $50.00 here and there…so the idea that I *could* have won a big bundle…yeah, maybe.  But it all sounds hinky.  So I call the number I’ve been given, and I’m told I don’t have to take the check to a bank, I can cash it at a check-cashing place, send the "tax money" and then call them back and they’ll send off my big fortune.
Uh huh.  Second flag goes up.
So I do what I always do.  I call my Mommy, who starts screeching about scam stories she’s seen on GMA.  I call Sis, since this is a Canadian company doing an "international promotion" and Sis can’t find the address for the company.  Huh.  AND she finds out from the Canadian Royal Police there have been a rash of this type of fraudulent scams lately there.
Ah well….it was fun as all get-out to play with the idea of having a quarter million dollars handed to you.  Heck, if old people in Middleton, Suburbia can win the lottery, why couldn’t I win some mucho mulah?  I’d decided to pay off my parents mortgage, take the kids to Disneyland, and of course set up some sort of fund for later for the kids and Mike and I.  It was fun thinking about it, but I never pictured in my head actually doing it, you know?  Well, honestly, I did fantasize some about paying off my parents mortgage…my poor Mom works so hard and they’re having a really tough time.  It’d thrill me to no end to do that for them.
Ah well…time to play my dollar Powerball ticket, huh?
Oh, turned the check and the letter and stuff over to the local police and called the FBI about it.   I hope they catch this bastardo…this exact kind of scheme has ripped some people off for tens of thousands of dollars.
And then today…*SIGH*
My mother used to smack me in the face whenever I said something she didn’t like, or just didn’t feel like spanking me.  It was the most humiliating, degrading thing she ever did- I hated it so much worse to be slapped once in the face than to take a beating with the belt.  That’s probably why she used that one on me so often, because it hurt so much…she just thought the tears were from the pain of the slap, not the humiliation. 
So there’s always been a policy in our household that fighting will be barely tolerated, physically, I mean…but face-slapping is a "Boy, have you crossed the line, Kid!" offense.  The girls have been told how often men use this as a tool against women to subjugate them, how I felt as a kid being slapped, what a humiliating, horrid thing I find it.
I get a call this morning from Emmy.  She’s slapped Katie in the face *in school…in the hallway…in the middle of class change* because Katie made fun of one of her grades.  Gee, turns out Emmy started the fight about the grades, Katie just retaliated…Em got pissed and hauled off and belted her one.
I’m at a loss.  I’m so furious I can’t even stand it.  I’m sick to my stomach for what Katie must have felt.  I’m just…totalled by the entire incident.  We let Katie pick the repercussions Emily would face for her actions, and Katie grounded her for 3 days.  THEN Emily kept making nasty remarks and ended up grounded for another day, kept from a sleepover she really wanted to attend AND sent to bed w/out dinner.  I haven’t sent a child to bed w/out dinner since 1987.  But, I haven’t had a child say "Why don’t you just STARVE me?!" because they didn’t like what I was making for dinner, either.
I have had it way too easy with Jess, Becca and Katie.  NOW I’m finding out what all the fuss about ‘raising a teenager’ is all about.
It’s sad and ugly and exhausting.

Trying not to jinx it Monday March 17, 2008

Posted by gingerbreadman in Blessings.
I’m so well, it’s almost frightening. 

I took my time, recovered slowly, assigned chores and simply blew the ‘small stuff’ off and let myself heal.  Then I decided I was going to be WELL, not just not sick anymore, but *WELL*, dangit.

I’ve started making myself eat regularly, whether I’m hungry or not.  I’ve started going out every day, whether I need to or not:  to play, to run errands, to simply be in fresh air and out of the house and especially out of that bed. 

Most importantly, I’ve psyched myself into feeling better.  Even when I feel like crap, I make myself get up, get moving and get out.  And when I get tired:  I quit.

I don’t know when I’ve felt so good.  Things with the kids are great, things with Mike are great, I’m not even glaring at Russell as much lately.

Plus, our business is rocking.  *GRIN*

We’ve just installed new beds in the girl’s rooms, rearranging where they sleep and setting up the second computer system in Katie and Libby’s room.  THAT was some work.  It’s kinda disgusting how much *STUFF* girls accumulate and consider indispensible.  Trying to explain to Mike that the stuff was all important and needed was not pretty…he thinks a girl’s room should have a bed, dresser and maybe a desk.  I threatened to find some feminine hygiene products at him and that finally drove him out of the way at least.

Jessica has gotten herself engaged to Landon.  I’m trying to be open-minded and accepting, I really am.  It’s hard, forgiving him for everything he’s put her through off and on the past two years, but she’s determined he’s changed and ready, he’s spent a lot of time trying to convince me of his newfound maturity and appreciation for my daughter, and I never thought he was not intelligent…maybe he finally DID smarten up and figure out he’d never find anyone as wonderful as Jess.

He’d better have.  Third time is the Death Sentence.

Okay…I’m going to bounce around and try to catch up on everyone before I have to concentrate on dinner…or at least say "HI!"


THAT was a whoopin! Tuesday March 11, 2008

Posted by gingerbreadman in Ain't THAT a whoopin'?!.
Well, this is the last year I don’t get my flu shot…that’s for sure.  I had no idea the monster virus was so evil; I swear I’ve never felt that miserable ever before when I wasn’t under a morphine injection machine.  It probably didn’t help that the fever raged pretty high and brought on migraines too, of course:  or that I got up before I should have and tried to be Mommy Homemaker and Office Manager.  Thus, the bronchial pneumonia.  Yippee, what a grand 3 weeks it’s been.
I’m still alive and kicking, though only aiming at shins right now.  Hopefully I’ll be up to full-speed by the end of the week and feel like visiting and catching up to everyone.  I miss like mad not knowing what’s going on with everyone…funny how even in the throes of a fever and coughing spasms I still think so often of everyone who comes to visit me here and that I’m so accustomed to checking in on every few days. 
Lovin’ you all, thank you for the get-well-soons!
Thanks sis for covering for me…when I get my voice back I’ll give you a call, promise!