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let’s say thanks Friday October 27, 2006

Posted by gingerbreadman in Ideas.
I think everyone knows saying I am against this war in Iraq is as about as much of an understatement as mentioning I have a few daughters.  But…
I respect, admire, honor, pray for and have nothing but the absolute best hopes for our men and women who are the Soldiers in the United States Armed Forces everywhere.  Whatever the reasons for deciding to become a Soldier, these are the Brave, the Strong, the ones who put their lives on the line whether it be in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel.  Helping survivors in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina get out or secure the shores with sandbags, or being sent to the borders to police them against illegals upon Presidential order, no doubt many of Chicano descent themselves.  Our Soldiers do what is necessary, try to do what is right, what is expected of them, I have no doubt struggling honestly with the human nature within them always rising up and their training, and then the ‘Follow Orders’…sometimes against everything they’ve ever believed in ethics and belief system orders.
Dang, I’ve gone completely off my topic.  Sorry.
There’s a wonderful website up…  www.letssaythanks.com/  Click there and you will find a GREAT group of drawings schoolchildren made to send to Soldiers overseas with "Thank you" on all of them…Xerox has linked up with the website and will make a card and send it to a soldier overseas when you pick a drawing.  Five minutes of your time…great drawings to choose from, there are messages you can choose to include inside or write your own and the only info they want is a name, your city and email address.
I checked it out with Snopes and they say it’s completely legitimate.
I found the greatest card…loved it on first sight, wrote exactly what I wanted to say.  I’m  thrilled to have a place to be able to send a card to a soldier overseas, as many times as I like, and who doesn’t love a kids drawing?
There are at least two people I know with sons in the service now…I need to get addresses from them so I can send cards too…but my hope is that the cards I plan on sending now, this way, will find their way into hands that don’t get mail regularly…or to people who don’t get supportive letters.
Regardless of what this war is about…supporting the men and women fighting it is something we ALL should be doing here at home.  It seems to be the only thing we can do until November 7th.
Then we need to VOTE!

I Am… Friday June 2, 2006

Posted by gingerbreadman in Ideas.
Found this on Escape for a sec…Rebecca’s Space and put in my own thoughts.  Feel free to do the same…it makes you think.

I Am… open

I Want… to find the time to write my book

I Have… six beautiful daughters that are everything to me

I Wish… that I could play comfortably in the sunshine again

I Hate… apathy

I Fear… the idea of one of my children in real pain or illness

I Hear… real, wild, raw joy when the kids and I laugh and play together

I Search… for quiet places in my house

I Wonder… if I’ll ever be able to be outside like everyone else…watch TV, movies, remember things…if someday there will be a procedure that will ‘fix’ me

I Regret… nothing. I am who I am, and I got this way because of the past.  Changing any of the past would change who I am.  Can’t do that, now can I?

I Love… the way Lala still curls up in my arms to fall asleep every chance she gets, all wrapped around me…so sweet!

I Ache… when my girls do

I Always… have at least 3 cups of coffee in the morning

I Usually… kiss Emily at least 7 times a day…that kid is affectionate!

I Am Not… a Republican!

I Dance… everywhere music is playing, if I like the song, no matter where

I Sing… badly

I Never… ummm…eat bugs

I Rarely… drink alcohol

I Cry… when I’m really angry

I Am Not Always… rational.  Example…I have a stuffed animal torture chamber

I Lose… memories

I’m Confused… when more than one sound is going on at once.  If someone is talking to me, I lose the train of conversation completely if the phone rings or some background noise interrupts or someone else breaks in, etc.  It takes a lot of my concentration for me to follow television programs or a conversation.  Damn Topamax  LOL

I Need… More sleep!

I Should… Climb more trees

Scattered Thoughts Monday May 15, 2006

Posted by gingerbreadman in Ideas.
I’ve had a blissful past few days: the family collectively pulled together to give me a wonderful Mother’s Day batch of Gifts:
Saturday afternoon late and evening I had time to myself as Mike and Becca took the kids away and left me to my own devices at the house.  Ahhh, the bliss of an uninterrupted bubble bath, unrecalled happiness of actually choosing what movie to view on the television all on my own with no thought to the ratings or how much testosterone-pumping adrenaline might be contained therein.  I puttered around the house without picking up a single thing, straightened out nothing, washed not one dish or little face. 
It was a magnificent batch of time.  I felt a tremendous let down when they all returned a mere six hours later.  Real world and all it’s racket, right back upon me.  Bless them all.
A Mother’s Day holiday in which all of my children made me know I was loved and appreciated very much.  What else could a mother want?
Today Rebecca, the Alien and I set off on our appointed rounds and I listened as the Beck told me stories of how her friends and acquaintances found her to be such a rebel, quite the anarchist, the big daredevil girl–because instead of waiting behind people endlessly turning left, when possible she simply slams the car in reverse, backs up enough to go around the left-turning car and passes on the right when it is safe to do so, zooming along her merry way.  She uses the men’s restrooms when the line is too long for the women’s and she’s gotta go. 
This stuff blows her friend’s minds.  It isn’t mainstream behavior.  It isn’t the Way Things Are Done.  It isn’t Small Town Mentality.
I get no credit for teaching any of it to her of course.  Mommas never get the credit, except in psychiatry offices.  *Plenty* of credit to go around there, huh? 
She’s frustrated with some of the people on her favorite egghead quotations/discussion forum board right now.  A small percentage of them didn’t get her latest little quotation/statement she put up, even after she explained it the first time:
A masochist passionately begged and pleaded, "Please, please beat me?!"
The Sadist smiled as he stroked her hair, letting the flogger’s leather falls glide across her shoulder before walking away with but one quiet word to her…."No."
The funny part is that Rebecca *thinks* she understands this…thinks the masochist is being punished, that the sadist is getting his kicks.
Momma still knows more than the child.   Thank goodness I’ve got a few years on her.  She was smarter than I was by the time she’d turned seven.  The only thing I have on her now is age and experience.
Mondays are just strange, aren’t they?

I love… Friday January 13, 2006

Posted by gingerbreadman in Ideas.
Watching the snow falling through the glow in the streetlights
Listening to Libby and Laura play in the bathtub together
Playing "Combination Titles" with Becca on the Cable Guide. 
(you pull up the title guides on the screen for what’s coming on next on television, and yanno how they split into the next hour or half hour, and the titles for the shows will run into each other?  And sometimes they look REALLY goofy?  We sit and make fun of how dumb some of them turn out…and vote on which one is the best/worst for the entire screen…the one for this week was  ‘Six Feet Under Ray’….Second Place went to ‘Mother, May I Oscar’.   See how it works?  The shows were  Six Feet Under and Ray, and Mother, May I Play With Danger but Play with Danger was cut off and Oscar.   Heh.  It’s a silly game, but we like it.)
Watching Lala imitate dance moves she sees on television.  She is going to be one heckuva artist one day if she chooses. 
Waffles.  Homemade waffles in the waffle iron my mom gave me when I got married, the one handed down from her family.  It’s OLD, but it works.  Jess has her eye on it. 
Coral colors.  And reds.  Mmmmm.  Red is my favorite color.  I just can’t wear it.
Flannel sheets.  They are just the warmest things ever, aren’t they?
Knowing I have raised a complete person and she is awesome.  I look at Jessica, and I am satisfied.  I am thrilled.  She is everything I wish I had been at twenty, and so much more than that.  There may be mothers in the world who have daughters who have accomplished more than me and mine, but I guarantee you there is no mother any where on this earth as proud of their daughter as I am of Jessica.  She is everything any parent could want.  I love her wholeheartedly.  She makes me glad.  Just plain glad.
Getting gigglefits in places I shouldn’t.  I know, I’m forty.  I shouldn’t get gigglefits for no reason, let alone in ‘wrong places’.  I certainly shouldn’t be delighted to have them, but I just cannot help myself.  It’s my romance with the absurd, that’s all I can think to attribute it to. 
Helping the kids with their math homework.  It is so cool to find out I can still do seventh grade math.  WHEW!  I am brain damaged…but I’m not stupid!  YAY!  This is the measuring stick I use now for my intelligence:  can I do the kids math?  I figure as long as I insist on helping them with it, I can keep up and somehow manage to know it with them…it wasn’t *that* many years ago that I was dancing and grinning my way through college trig happily.
The idea of going back to college again someday, or at least taking a few classes.  I didn’t start college until I was 32 and had five kids.  I could go back, theoretically. 
Listening to Emily and Katie having one of their twin talks.  Oh my goodness but they are fascinating.  I can’t give away any of their secrets, but for fraternal twins who are night and day, completely different and determined to be that way, it amazes me how bonded they are, how beautifully they mesh.  Listening to the way they talk to each other, communicate with each other, sometimes more in gesture and looks than even words…powerfully moving in it’s intensity and the very nature of it.
Watching Laura and her Daddy sleep together.  One place Lala always wins the fight is in the sleep department.  She never sleeps alone at night.  She rarely did.  She shares a room with Emily, she’s sort of made the rounds as she has waited out who was going to get the downstairs bedroom with her.  They’ve actually fought over it.  Hard to believe, but both Emmy and Libby love sleeping with the little Alien so much there was a tussle over who got the smallest bedroom with no cable, but one Alien in residence.  Emily, as Older, won.  But, sometimes, Empress Pterodactyl just isn’t satisfied with Big Sister and only Mommy and Daddy’s bed will do.  Of course Daddy isn’t going to tell her No, no matter what Mommy has to say about it.  I’m too tired to argue, and in actuality am usually dead asleep when she decides it’s time to switch beds.  But I wake up first, and there they are.  Daddy and La.  Both in the very same position, no matter what it is.  She emulates him completely in slumber, or vice versa.  And when he moves, she moves with him.  It is wild to see.  I’ve taken photo after photo, because no one believes me.  And she stays tightly curled up to him.  It is the sweetest thing.  Lala is at her most babygirl darling when she is sleeping next to Daddy.
Watching NFL Football on Sunday afternoons.  Oh MAN, I love my football games.  Woo WHEEE!  Playoffs!  I am READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL!  All our games are on Sunday.  Mike is goin’ nuts…the Colts AND the Bears both in the Playoffs.  If they both win Sunday’s games, he will have a nervous breakdown the NEXT weekend.  One of my first REAL memories of watching NFL with my dad was the year the Bears won the Superbowl…Refridgerator Perry…LOL…I was fascinated with that team…my Daddy LOVED them, hated the Cowboys…now Mike hates the Pats with a burning passion.  He’s Colts all the way, but then he grew up in Chicago and Indiana.  Alas, the Titans.
Libby’s passion for the environment and animals.  She is just the coolest, sweetest child.  She loves the earth and all things green, is an excellent student because she wants to learn how to ‘make the world a better place with my better brain’ and is going to win the lottery so she can buy a rain forest, live in it and do research to help it grow better and employ people.  *Grin*
Jumping in puddles
Sock races in the kitchen
Strawberry jam
Biting my couch and growling when I am really stressed.  It works, weird as it sounds.  Don’t laugh until you’ve tried it
Homemade pizza.  There’s really nothing better
Photographs of family members all over my walls
5:34 am when my coffee has been poured and fixed and I’ve had my first two sips and the house is all quiet and still and I can pretend I’m all alone for just a little tiny while
Those first Good Morning Mom! greetings and Hi, Honey I get each day
Everyone from Blogland

Emotional Hermaphrodite Tuesday January 10, 2006

Posted by gingerbreadman in Ideas.
For those who don’t remember their Human Biology class, or Weird Science ;), a Hermaphrodite is:  1. an individual in which reproductive organs of both sexes are present. -n  2. a person or thing in which two opposite qualities are combined.-adj.
I was talking to a friend about a conversation I’d heard on the street, two teenagers discussing Elton John’s marriage, wondering which of the newlyweds was the "guy".  Grrrrrrr.  I’d asked my 12 year olds, who know some of my gay friends, if they understood there weren’t any ‘guy’, or ‘girl’ designations in gay/lesbian relationships, that those were just stereotypes, and for the most part was happy with the answers I received from them.  I remarked how funny (to my friend) it was to think someone would have to be a ‘guy’ if they were female in a relationship all the time, or the ‘woman’ in a gay relationship…and that I was a blatant emotional hermaphrodite.
My friend did a fine Tim Allen imitation confused  "UWUHHH???"
And yeah, I know the ‘guy’/’woman’ thing is somewhat sexual when ignorant people comment on it within homosexual relationships, but they also honestly believe that lesbians hook up with one of them being more ‘butch’ while one is the apron wearing lipstick cuddler, and one of the males is the construction worker type while the other is Carson Kressley.  Have mercy on us all.  Idjits.  Someone please educate them.
So…"Emotional hermaphrodite???  Ummm, hermaphrodite as in the errrmmm, two parts hermaphrodite, uhh, Lynn????"
Giggling…"Yep, that one."
"What’re you trying to tell me?!"
Choking laughter now…"That I’m an emotional hermaphrodite, hello???  Is this a bad connection?  Should I move around?  Can you hear me now?  Now?  How about now?"
"Smart ass.  What do you mean?!"
"Simply that I’m not just girl emotionally.  Not even close.  I’m quite male emotionally.  I’ve been accused of it all my life.  And it got more so as I got older.  The phrase just came to me as we were talking, but the more I say it, the more it fits perfectly.  I’m an emotional hermaphrodite.  Definitely."
I’ve thought about this conversation, and my life a great deal in the past couple weeks.  Wondered if we’re not ALL emotional hermaphrodites and thus there’s no reason at all for this post, it’s just simple human nature.  But no.  I look at Mike…ALL MALE.  If he suspected a girlish emotion in his body, he’d be out making appointments for an exorcism, high colonic and a ritual cleansing before I could finish writing this sentence.  He’s got all the girlish emotions he can handle from without, inner ones would drive him mad.  My parents are very much gender assigned emotionally.  My girls, except for Rebecca, are quite happily ensconced in their roles.  Rebecca thinks quite a bit like a male in a lot of situations, yet she is assuredly and undisputably all girl. 
I am a hunter/gatherer type.  I loved being the breadwinner.  Adored working my butt off each week to earn that paycheck, know I was providing for my family, making the money that paid for the things that took care of the children.  It made me proud and happy.  It satisfied something deep and spiritual within me that cooking the dinners and decorating the kids rooms had never done.  Finding out I was good at fixing the machines, fixing the parts to fix the machines, working the bosses, figuring out how to juggle schedules, all the stuff that makes up having to DO a job, be a breadwinner…those things just jingled my bells.  I didn’t care if I came home exhausted and still had loads of laundry piled up and stories to read and a kid to tuck in.  I was fulfilled in a way that all the childbirthin’ and floor scrubbin’ had never ever done for me.
I am one competitive, eye-scratchin’, oh yes, I CAN, and better than you, buddy, go-gettin’, female.  I will take any dare, fight anyone, bare my teeth and stare a hole into a wall for hours in any competition.  I love a game, any game.  Any contest.  Any time.  I am serious about my competitions.  If you want to win, get me on your side.  Unless we’re playing Candyland, or with someone under 12.  I throw the games in a heartbeat then.
I don’t cry during fights.  I laugh.  In your face.  I can’t help it.  I’m a mean fighter.  It’s awful.  I’ll stare a hole in you, look at you with disdain, hurl an insult or four, maybe a dish, get out the duct tape, but I don’t go girly, ever.  I don’t do girl arguing. 
I fix my own appliances, fixtures, walls, electrical devices, toys, clothes and problems.  I really don’t like it much when you try to fix them for me.  I tend to snarl.
I could go on for a long time.  I remember meeting Mike’s mom for the first time in Indiana, and riding with her over to meet his brother and sister-in-law, Jenny.  Norma, the MIL, was telling me she didn’t care so much for Jenny because, "Jenny is too much like a man, she likes to fix her own things"
Mike started choking on his soda.  Begging me with his eyes not to say it.  Yeah, right.
"Oh, we’re going to get along wonderfully then.  I just got a new cordless drill from my parents for Christmas, I’d asked for it all year.  I fix all my own things too."
Mom-in-law and I are not the best of friends.
I can go to the bathroom by myself.  Even in the mall or at a bar or restaurant.  Definitely not a girl gene.
I hate the phone.  Guy thing.
Love football.  Yell at the tv during the game.  Guy thing.
Love to cook for my kids…I dont even mind making more than one thing for the pickydamnkid.  Girl thing.
I bathe in scents.  Girl thing.
I hate doing things with my hair.  Blech.  Guy.
I cry during really emotional movies.  Girl.
I love action movies when stuff BLOWS UP!  Guy
I hate romance movies, romance novels and musicals.  Smart. 😉
I like it when the bad guy wins.  I think that’s a guy thing.
I was this way from a kid.  Perhaps it stems from the very earliest conflict I had:  my parents wanted me to be a boy.  Dad wanted his first child to be a boy, as many families do.  Sorry Dad…ya knocked the stem off the apple.  When little TJ came along two years later, I felt quite displaced.  It set up a competition you wouldn’t believe.  I out-boyed my younger brother every opportunity I could get.  It wasn’t hard, he was a major wuss.  But I wonder now how much of a wuss he would have been if he hadn’t had GI Jane for a big sis?  I jumped out of haybarns *first*, climbed the highest trees and threw apples at his head, raced him everywhere we went.  I came home filthy and worn, he came home neat and full of self-defense injuries and stories.
It’s becoming a little clearer now, some of it at least.  But why the emotional conflicts?  How come I am so womanly, but so non-girl?  There’s nothing wrong with being a girl.  And why so much man?  Because there’s definitely a LOT of guy in here.
I don’t know a lot of people who aren’t clearly defined emotionally for the most part.  I’m one of the few.  Of course I know plenty of women who have ‘male roles’ as breadwinner, housefixer, etc.  But they don’t like it, really.  They’d rather go back to letting someone else *sweat* over it; that and mowing the yard and baring the teeth and growling at the neighbors and taking the bat out into the backyard when the cats knock over the garbage cans.  I am perfectly happy to do all that.  It is just as much a part of me as the need and urge to nurse my babies when they were put into my arms as infants. 
I wonder if I’m the only one waving the freak flag on this one. 

Bongos and Black Berets Saturday December 31, 2005

Posted by gingerbreadman in Ideas.
It’s been quite the year, hasn’t it?  For the world, for the United States.  Even my county got hit by a tornado, and we live in Bumfark, KY; Mayberry RFD on valium. 
Quite the year for me too.  A year of going from being a scarred up zoned out brain surgery patient to….
I don’t know.  But I’m damn better than I was, that’s for sure.
I started seeing Amazing Therapist in June.  She told me to write.  Letters, poems, stories, whatever.  I wrote this poem in that time period somewhere, ended up putting it in here later:
  Coming Back

Once you’ve faced your own mortality
Fear becomes a new entity
Things others are afraid of you shrug off
Laughing, thinking "I’ve been through worse and lived"
But the problem with this truth is that it’s true
Your nightmares become deeper because they are real
What is there left to face when you’ve faced death and won?
When you’ve been to Heaven’s Gate and turned your back on God?
Sometimes living on is harder than letting go
Little dark back then, eh?
I had a lot to wade through.  But I did it!  =)  With a lot of help from a lot of people.  The aneurysm groups.  The Mommy Group.  My sis Imp.  My blessed family.  This blog.  I gave up on writing poems, cuz I suck at it.  But while I was writing them, they eventually got lighter.   More about life, less about death.

Today, I just feel like a beatnik’s poem.  Written by the character Norman Bates.  Read by Rosie O’Donnell.  There’s definitely some bad acid involved in the entire thing too.
Mike’s gone tonight.  He’s at a party.  Becca’s leaving to go to Jess and Landon’s party.  Which leaves me here with the preteens and La.  I should be lonely.  Somehow, I feel liberated and relieved.  I’m looking forward to pushing them all upstairs later and enjoying the peace of being alone.  Is that horrible?  I know it seems pathetic…New Year’s Eve and what am I doing?  Hanging out on my pc, writing on my blog. 
I don’t care.  It’s what I want to do.  Happy to be doing. 
The kids and I are going to play Outburst and Skip-bo.  We’re going to do whatever it takes to make Laura go to sleep.  Then I’m going to have a couple little/big drinks and find a book I don’t remember reading that I love, put Stevie Ray on, and try to get this day out of my head. 
Bad beatnik poem, written by Norman Bates, read by Rosie O’Donnell, people.  Think on it.  On bad acid.
But hey, you know what they always say….
tomorrow’s another year.

Going to the Drive-In Thursday December 29, 2005

Posted by gingerbreadman in Ideas.

 When I left very bad man and very bad marriage, I looked back at my man history and realized I had a problem:

I was really bad at choosing companions for myself. 

I didn’t know why that was at the time, I just knew it was a very big truth.  As such, it was important to me to figure out why that was so, and change it.  I had these five girls after all, and I didn’t want to drag them through any more bad relationships, expose them to any more bad men or good men for that matter, only to have them disappear later on when I decided I didn’t want to end up living happily never after with them.

So I went on a man-hating journey.  Dad was horrified.  He constantly reminds me of it now, "Yeah, those were SOOOOME years, Lynn.  All you did was talk about how much men sucked.  I really liked hearing that."

I got over it.  Stopped blaming men, started realizing it wasn’t them, it was me picking the bad ones.  It was all those insecurities screaming at me that I wasn’t good enough for a good one, so grab that grunge and growl, girl…that’s the one you deserve!


So then I went on a celibacy sabbatical.  

It was undoubtedly the most exciting, enlightening time of my life.  It was the time of self-discovery, the years I got me back.  The age of  learning to love Lynn, to figure out what was good and interesting and loveable about her. 

That’s when I went to college, and found out I was really good at math.  Learned I LOVED quadratic equations, dividing the square, sine, tangent, cotangent, permutations *shiver*, statistics; I had a professor tell me I *was* a writer, I developed a love of history and a crush on my European History teacher…made a LOT of female friends…

because I wasn’t worried about making any male ones.

I went to nice restaurants by myself.  I insisted on a good table, dressed nicely and was plain about it being a table for one.  I brought a book that I didn’t read, instead placing it on the inevitable plate placed across from me so no one would come and try to sit themselves down with me.  I refused to let anyone take my extra chair because "I wasn’t going to be using it".  I ate slowly and absorbed the surroundings.  I enjoyed my solitude.  I thought over my day, made plans for the next one, the next month.  I reveled in the glory of eating a meal in peace.

I read in the paper that a movie I wanted to see was on at the drive-in.  The kids were all gone for the night for *ONCE* at Nana’s.  But it was late, I was already in my jammies.  So what?!  I grabbed my purse, a few sodas and a bag of chips, my pillow and wallet, jumped in the car and went to see my movie.

Shoulda seen the face on the lady selling me my ticket. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was worth the price of admission.  I could have turned around and gone home then, it was so amusing.  But I didn’t.  I saw my movie.  Comfy in my car, alone.

I went to the occasional nightclub, and danced alone.  I went with girlfriends and danced with them. 


I’m writing this because I’ve visited occasionally a woman’s space that just saddens my heart.  She doesn’t understand why she is lonely, why she can’t find love.  She dates.  A lot.  She has sex with almost every man she dates.  Most of the time the first time she goes out with him.  Many of these men are already in a relationship, or she’s just met them.  She’s serial dating, looking for anyone, anywhere, just to find one.

But she hasn’t found HER yet.

Until she does, she’s not going to find anyone else either.

You gotta love you, know you, understand you, like you, figure out who you are and what you want for yourself before you can even begin to start looking for someone else.


This poem taught me that, a long long time ago.  It isn’t the full poem, but it’s the version I was given, on a plaque by of all people, my mom when I turned sixteen.  I wish I’d paid attention to it then.  It took me another sixteen years to finally absorb it.  Lucky I am a pack rat, huh?


 After A While

Veronica Shoffstall


After a while you learn the difference
between holding a hand and giving your heart.
And you learn that kisses aren’t contracts
and presents aren’t promises
and you begin to accept your defeats
with your head up and your eyes open
with the grace of a woman
not the grief of a child.

So you plant your own garden
and nourish your own soul
instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn that through it all
you really can endure
that you really are strong
that you do have value
and you learn and grow
with every good bye
you learn.

Overcoming the Klutz Wednesday December 28, 2005

Posted by gingerbreadman in Ideas.
There’s something you find out once you’ve stepped out on your own for the first time with a batch of kids:  stuff costs a LOT of money. 
Now I knew this already, of course, but sorry as the ex was, at least he’d helped to contribute to the family coffers.  No longer was that the case.  Child support was a joke.  I was forced to get what benefits I could, but they were sparse.  I enrolled in college, and got a few grants, but they only helped a bit as well.
Time to find a job.  Job that would fit in with my school schedule and the kids daycare as well.  Finding someone to take care of 3 small wild thangs at night was well nigh impossible, not to mention absolutely sky-high expensive.  The older girls were immensely helpful at staying with the kids sometimes, but I couldn’t take a full-time night job, I couldn’t work 3rd shift while Jess was 12 and Becca 10.
So I took a number of part-time jobs.  Learned to juggle my hours.  I learned I was *really* good with numbers, with people, with public relations, and with tools.
Some klutz.  I was the only one who could fix the car wash at the mini-mart I worked 2nd shifts on Tuesdays and Thursdays all day and Sunday night.  I could slap together a Subway sandwich better, faster and neater than anyone else in the shoppe, and my bread never burnt.  I cut those little boats perfectly.  When the kids started going to grandpa’s for weekends, I took jobs at those temp places for industrial jobs:
I made door handles for PT Cruiser cars.  Think of me when you see one on the road.  Those boogers are HOT when they come off the line!
I punched handle holes out of the places the handles go in milk jugs.
I had a lot of jobs I hated, a lot of jobs I liked a little, some jobs I really liked.  What they all had in common was that I had to use my hands, my mind.  I figured out slowly that I was pretty darn coordinated.  I was good at this stuff.  I was quick with my hands, I was a quick learner, I was requested back over and over by the temp companies because I was personable, efficient and not only did I do the job well but I could do the paperwork too.  LOL
Then came the job at the automotive plant.
Holy tamales!!!!   They want me to WELD pieces of metal together that are going to hold an AUTOMOBILE together???  That children will ride in?  *FAINT*
What kind of car is this going to be?  I will never ever ride in one, that’s for sure!   *laugh*
So my confidence in me began.  They put you in a little space with these welding robots.  You have to grab these huge pieces of metal off a pallet and settle them onto the robot, wait for it to weld in the right spot, move the metal to the next robot, settle new metal onto the old metal, get those pieces welded together, then more pieces welded to those while at the same time swing over to another piece of metal on another pallet take it to another robot, have it welded, put another piece to IT, get it going so that at just the right time that piece will go with the FIRST piece…in oh, about 3 minutes….grab THAT eventual piece…throw it on a pallet and start all over again.
Clumsy people can’t do that job.  It calls for a great deal of hand-eye coordination, as you have to be watching the robots all the time to make sure the welds are going properly.  Most of the pieces of metal you are grabbing for to place you are grabbing without looking…and restocking in between times in a hurry while instinctively knowing when the 30 second break is going to come that you can breathe for a few.
I LOVED LOVED LOVED LOVED that job.  It was fast and sweaty and nasty and hot.  It was hard hard work.  I was just temp the first three months so I was getting paid pennies compared to the Union workers, but I didn’t care.  I was getting paid in confidence.  I was banking something I’d never thought I’d earn:  self-esteem.  I felt *REALLY GOOD ABOUT MYSELF*
It wasn’t just the figuring out I wasn’t clumsy thing.  It was that I was supporting myself.  Taking care of my children.  Completely on my own.  Me.  No man helping me out.  I didn’t need anyone’s help, so I didn’t owe anyone.  I was self-sufficient.  I was smart, my college records had proved that.  I wasn’t lazy, my job record proved that, my college and work hours and the neatness of my house proved that.  I wasn’t clumsy, the strength of my welds and my efficiency reports proved that.  I still came home filthy and nasty, sure.  But I came home filthy from the dirt of a day of work that fed my family, put a roof over their head, shoes on their feet, toys in their hands.  Screw a buncha pretty.  I’d be proud instead.

Insecurity Wednesday December 28, 2005

Posted by gingerbreadman in Ideas.
Insecurities-we all have them, don’t we?  Some we’ve perpetuated onto ourselves over the years after they’ve been spoonfed to us with our pureed peas, some we have jammed down our throats by well-meaning loved ones, not so kind friends, those lovely year end employee reviews, and the bane and love of every woman’s existence:  the mirror.
The worst of mine were gift wrapped and given to me by my well-meaning mom and dad while I was still small, packaged in boxes that exploded on impact to cover me with shrapnel of words like ‘STUPID’, ‘CLUMSY’, ‘LAZY’, ‘UGLY’.
Ugly.  That one was a favorite around our house.  It came from my great-grandmother, I was to find out later in my life; mom heard it her entire life, grandma heard it all of hers as well.  Great-Nana?  I don’t know if she started it or heard it all hers as well…but she loved to state any time one of her daughters asked if she looked nice "Pretty is as pretty does, child…and how many times a day do you act pretty?"
Mom just shortened it down to Ugly.  The entire "Pretty is as pretty does" was only brought out for special occasions.  Granted, I never acted very pretty.  I had ADD, I was all tomboy, I was much more likely to bring a toad and clumps of mud into her house than a bouquet of flowers and the scent of sunshine.  My hair was always so unkempt and wild from my explorations in trees and fields and lakes and bushes that she finally despaired of me and cut it short.  I didn’t act "pretty".
But I wasn’t ugly.  She just didn’t know the difference, poor woman.
Stupid.  That one, I’ll never understand.  I had good grades.  I knew more vocabulary words and could spell better than she could by the time I was nine.  I think she called me stupid because I forgot to clean my room, forgot my chores, forgot the time a lot as I was lost in my imagination and was out running wild in the countryside.  The truth is simple;  mom didn’t get me.  Didn’t know what to do with me, and in her lack of understanding, rather than trying to find it, she tried to bring me to her side.  She didn’t know any better.  All those things got me the Lazy label too.
Now, Clumsy.  Yeah.  *Laugh*  I was and am definitely clumsy.  I’m left handed.  That gives me a disadvantage right off the bat.  My brain tells me to go one way with door knobs, machinery, scissors, the world in general, and to an observer, it looks sad.  It looks as if I’m struggling.  Because I am.  Then I remember the world is backwards and adjust.  I also race through the world, excited to get to the next thing.  ADD…Wheeee.  Makes you a little clumsy.
But those words sting and burn and scream in a child’s heart and soul and mind.  They change how a child thinks about themselves.  When my parents told me my sophomore year I should just forget about college, I was too stupid and wild to go, I believed them.  Never mind my 3.9.  So I majored in boyfriend.  Got married a year out of high school.  Married a very bad man.  Went through many years of hell.  Had myself five beautiful daughters. 
Something funny happened on the way to the grocery store.  We lived a mile from the college campus and my twins were in Head Start.  My bad marriage was on it’s last legs.  I’d just come back from a meeting of the Parent’s Council with Head Start where we were trying to figure out what to do about getting the kids some sponsors for Christmas parties for their rooms.  I volunteered to find one for the twins room.  I kept staring over at the Campus as I drove by it.
*Light Bulb*
I got home and pulled out the phone book, found Sororities.  Started calling them all, explaining what was needed, talking to the Head of Public Relations/Charities.  I just needed one.  Couldn’t get a commitment.  So I called all the Fraternities.  Hit all of them.
Two days later I had 47 call backs.  34 wanted to adopt my classroom.
So I called Head Start back.  How many classrooms do we have?  28?  Okay…Ummmm, I just got them all adopted.  Who can I hand this off to?
WHAT???  I can’t do this!  I’m a stupid, lazy, clumsy, ugly, abused mother of 3 year old twins and a toddler with no college education.  I can’t coordinate this!
No I can’t.
So I did.  It rocked.  Those kids got more stuff than you would ever believe.  It was ridiculous.  In our classroom alone, one kid got a friggin basketball goal and basketball.  Sorority moms and dads really put out when Jim and Jill call up and say "Mom, I need money!"
I learned something important about me too.  *I could do something.*
The Sorority/Fraternity/Head Start Adoption for Christmas is still going on 9 years later.  Those kids in that school have a great Christmas every year.
I left my husband two months later.
Next post I’ll tell you about how I learned I’m not clumsy after all.

Tree Personality Monday December 19, 2005

Posted by gingerbreadman in Ideas.
I got the idea for this post from Carol and her lovely post about her Frasier tree…
What kind of Christmas tree, if you have one up of course, did you choose?  Artificial or a real one?  White, green?  Racing, singing lights?  Blinking or the steady kind?  White or colored?  Garland?  Ball or the fuzzy?  Red, green, silver, gold, burgundy, purple, pink, white?  Do you have a theme?  Popcorn?  Lots of kids ornaments or those traditional glass balls?  Do you have a particular day you *always* put the tree up every year or do you just wait for a day it’s convenient?  A traditional day to take it down?
I think it is just whimsical and fun and nifty to have a big ol’ tree in the house at all.  We have to use an artificial tree as Becca and I both break out in hives horribly anytime a real one is in the house, and Mike realized that the cats would climb a real one.  Keeping them out of this tree is bad enough.  It is green, a lovely tree;  6’5 of a Douglas Fir, 600 tips.  We have the calm colored lights…I do have the seizure disorder after all, and this year we went with the white fuzzy garland.  I had my doubts, but the silver garland looked worked over and I hate gold, so that’s what was left.  It’s actually quite lovely, I was pleasantly surprised. 
The tree is covered with old and new ornaments;  homemade things the children have made over the years and brought home from school, things we’ve kept through the years, cheap trinkets bought 10 for a dollar and pieces that were $10 but too beautiful to pass up. 
There are a lot of hearts on the tree this year.  I insisted on it.  Lots of angels.  Lots of bells that I walk around ringing.  I want as many angels to get their wings as possible.  Tons of candy canes on the tree.  There’s a Red Ribbon for Aids Day.  A Red Ribbon for Aneurysm Awareness.  Ornaments with the words
More hearts.
I think Christmas trees tell the story of the family of the house they dwell in.  Last year our tree was smaller, sadder…it was a little neglected and tired, but it was still up.  It just didn’t have enough.  This year it is almost overladen.  It is a happy, loving, spirit-filled tree, joyous and glowing with life and family.  It shines in the corner. 
It isn’t a rich tree.  It would be glorious if it had nothing on it but popcorn and homemade ornaments hanging from it’s bows.  Because each piece was hung with love, and joy and hope. 
I hope your tree shines and shouts the love your family shares, that your season is merry because your family is sharing the joy of being together, the beauty of giving to each other. 
May the Gods bless you, each and every one.