Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Statue Scaredy Cat

I've decided that I'll photograph all the bulldawg statues but my little accomplice isn't so sure!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Meow Mix

For most of my childhood I wasn't allowed to have a cat. Every time I'd ask, my father would simply say that some wild dog would probably catch it and eat it, so why bother. This worked well for him because how do you reply to something like that? Naw Dad I'm up for a little excitement...let's try it anyway? I knew right off that there would be no animals in the house, and I also knew that he was probably right about something potentially killing the cat. And because I'd witnessed first hand how excited my father got when his headlights exposed an unsuspecting possom trying to cross the road at night to find a little grub to eat, I also had to think about him as a potential hazard as well. "Ah ha! Looky there" he'd shout upon seeing the possum and then before I could even focus my eyes on the little guy I'd hear him underneath the truck tires. Duh dump! And then, "got 'em!" Ah ha! Ha ha! And if there ever was a time when my father wasn't too sure whether or not the animal was dead, well he'd glance in his rearview mirror to make sure there was no one coming, throw the gear in reverse, and then go at it again, this time with veracity and skill and focus. All I could do was put my hand over my little brother's eyes to shield him from sight of it all, but unfortunately there was not much to be done about the recurring duh dump from underneath us. Such is life in the country. You can actually take time to kill a thing in the road, once, twice, three times if you have to. Dad did this with snakes sunning themselves on the blacktop or the dirt roads in the summers too. There wasn't too much excitement way out there amongst the forest and trees and tractors and gardens and folk but once in a while, a snake or possum would get brave enough to try his luck.
When I was older and had years of therapy under my belt to overcome the duh dumps in my childhood, I decided I would get a cat. First there was Charlotte, the sweetest grey tabby I've ever known, and then six months later we adopted Rusty, her half brother. And because I was whiny about the prospects of them going under the knife, we had a cute little litter of six kittens! Nevermind the fact about the incest. Hal and I helped birth the babies one night. I remember it well. Lost a good comforter that night in the process. Big fat pregnant Charlotte was lying between us in bed when she squawked and squeaked and we knew it was time to get her out of our bed. We picked up the whole comforter with her on it and spread it out in the livingroom floor. And then we watched in equal parts horror and delight as all her tiny little babies were born. The last little guy didn't make it and Hal and I both got tears in our eyes as we wrapped him up and buried him out back. Bradley was the fifth, and most difficult. Because Charlotte was so tired from licking, licking, licking and birthing, birthing, birthing, we'd had to intervene with him and cut his cord and get him out of the little protective sac. His back legs didn't want to work at first so we babied him a lot and wound up keeping him for the next seven years. Charlotte and Rusty and Bradley had to move into the warehouse where Hal's business was when we had to move into the dorm for my graduate assistantship, and eventually Charlotte and Rusty put out a paw and took a ride to some other place I suppose. But Bradley stayed and was the best and loudest and most "talkative" cat I'd ever known. When we were living up in Virginia after grad school, we adoped P.P., a sleek black kitty. She's still with us and has decided that a) she hates the new kittens, and b) she's never coming into the house again. She still shows up for supper and rubs all over my leg if no one's looking. She's a warrior cat and must protect her image in the neighborhood at all cost. This means lots of hissing and growling and not a whole lotta lovin'. Recently a new little kitty has decided that he wants to live here, or at least around here, which sometimes means the garage, again, if no one's looking. Thing is, he looks exactly like P.P. except he's much younger and thinner and scared of me. I discovered him one night when I went to put food out for P.P. and thought for a moment that he was P.P. The cat across the street looks like P.P. too, except he's older and fatter and his face is it's not unusual to see a black cat that isn't mine. Over the last two months I've been shooing the old fat cat back to his house and trying to get the young thin cat to trust me. He's got an adorable face and I think P.P. might be willing to tolerate him. So every night I put the Meow Mix out and every night I talk to him in my very best kitty voice and he's getting more and more comfortable. Today I have decided that I will give him a name. But since I've never had a cat adopt ME, this will require some consideration. It needs to be something that evokes survival and bravery and cuteness all in one.

The other day my neighbors and I were chatting about some loose and lost boxers wandering around. Crush was trying to make his eight and a half pound body look menacing and foreboding so the dogs wouldn't come after him. He stood sideways and arched his back and fluffed out all of his thick orange fur.

Is that your cat?

Yes, that's the mighty Crusher as Hal calls him.

Just then the stray comes up on the porch.

Is that P.P.?

Nope, that's our stray I tell her. I catch myself. Our stray?

Then her old fat cat crosses the street towards my yard. P.P. is there too. Soon there will be three black cats standing on my porch, a calico in the shrubs, and little menacing orange tabby fluffing at the edge of the sidewalk.

Boy, all the cats just love your house!

It must be the Meow Mix.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

24 cents

A few weeks ago my father called me at 6:30 something in the morning to tell me that there was a feature story coming on one of the morning shows describing how you could make money from the ease of your own home by using Google. He called three times but I was sleeping peacefully upstairs that night with my phone located downstairs. When the tot finally woke me up at a little after eight, I saw the missed calls and dialed him back. Urgently he told me to turn on the news and watch and then hung up. I turned on the television and listened (I had to listen because I had no picture on channel 2 - funky cable) with one ear while Sarah whined in the other ear that she wanted donuts and milk and Dora all in the same breath. I realize that the anchorwoman is talking about Google Adsense which I installed onto my blog shortly after I started writing it. At noon my father calls back. Did you watch that thing about how you could make money at home? I tell him yes, and that I'm already doing what they told people to do. "Huh" was his reply. Then, "well have you made any money?" Yes Dad. Twenty four cents so far. At this rate, I'll have enough to buy a cup of Starbucks coffee in three years.

CLICK people CLICK!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Meow, Ahhhh Chooooo!

I have found one more thing in life that annoys me: sneezing cats. The little stinky kitties that I adopted in June have grown a lot, and they've turned into real furballs. Most of the time they are sweet and cuddley, kind of like a squirmy little ferret I saw at a pet store last weekend. About two weeks ago, they got the chop chop if you know what I mean...sterilizations. Can't have brother and sister mating or any other kitty mating going on around here. Apparently the weakened immune systems they had because of their surgery helped them both catch a cold. Have you ever known a cat with a head cold? Clara sneezes about every half hour or more. And she doesn't just sneeze once. She sneezes and sneezes and sneezes again! Yesterday she crawls up in my lap to sniff the air around me while I'm eating my lunch. I immediately start to try to get her off of me when she stops and looks right at me and sneezes. A big sneeze too for a five and a half pound cat. Little droplets of cat mucus fly everywhere and I pause to take in what has just happened. Slowly I rise, the cat jumps back to the floor and my lunch goes in the trash. No sooner than I've sat back down she comes back, lies down right beside me on the couch and sneezes again! Meanwhile, Crush starts sneezing in the other room, the back bedroom, and he does this several times because I can hear it echoing down the hall. In a minute he staggers in the livingroom where we are and his little eyes are barely open -- his furry face seems puffy. I want to throw them outside, because their sneezing is gross, but I can't just do that..won't help them get well any quicker and I feel sorry for little Clara..having had a c-section myself not so long ago. So, tell me. What do I do for a couple of pitiful sneezing cats? My future lunch depends on it.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Santa Clause is Watching You..

This one was too cute not to share with the world. Too bad Christmas only comes once a year. Of course lying to my child about Santa and then using that lie as leverage for good behavior ought to be a parental crime punishable by some obscure law. I have a problem telling Sarah about mythical creatures that bring things: Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, etc. but what do you do when every other kid in this region of the world believes in them too? I wonder how this group lie got started? Probably way back in the cave man ages some little cave girl was thundering around the cave screwing up everything or whining so loud that she was scaring off animals that could have been that night's dinner. Or maybe a little prehistoric tot was clubbing his little brother when some mother decided that if she made up Santa or something like him, that promises of new animals skins to wear or new sharp pointy spears being delivered by this figment of her motherly imagination would get the little clubbers to calm the heck down and eat their dinner or stop scratching up the cave walls. Okay Sarah, yes, there's a Santa.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Short List of Don'ts.

Don't leave lip gloss on the table.
Don't leave candy on the countertops.
Don't leave paper in the printer tray.
Don't leave the computer on at night.
Don't leave the DVD player unattended. Ever.
Don't leave Dr. Pepper in a glass anywhere in the house alone.
Don't say the word "Starbucks" if you're not actually going there now.
And finally, don't attempt to anticipate where the mind of the 3 year old is going next...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Dear Santa, I'm ready for presents again.

For some reason this year, Christmas advertising began before Halloween was over. And at the crack of dawn on November 1st, mass retailers and retailers in masse blew the dust off their ornaments and unboxed their trees, a full three weeks before Thanksgiving! Perhaps I'm telling my age here, well okay, I'm 33...but when I was growing up we didn't think about Christmas until Thanksgiving was over and done with, all of us fat and full on broccoli casserole, macaroni and cheese, Aunt Sharon's famous slaw, and a host of other things that family and friends made and brought to dinner at my grandmother's house. Every Thanksgiving after we piled onto the couches and chairs, our bellies popping out like surprised eyes, someone would ask one of us (the children at that time) what Santa was going to bring us for Christmas. At that point, the ball was rolling. Talk of Santa and Rudolph and sleigh bells (even if there was no snow in Georgia) and of course PRESENTS was non-stop until December 25th. We'd walk down in the woods behind my grandmother's house and check out the trees, looking for the perfect one to chop down when we weren't so full anymore. If it had rained enough that year we'd have a nice full tree with no empty spots that we had to fill with decorations, but if there had been a drought, we'd wind up with a little Charlie Brown-ish, scraggly tree that we usually liked better anyway. Now when I was a kid, of course I wanted presents, but I never really got that many. At some point along the way to becoming an adult, I turned off the "want presents" switch and decided that I'd give to others and that would be my source of happiness and fulfillment. For years this was how it went, and for years I was perfectly happy. Several years in a row my husband and I "adopted" two foster children that one of our friends was caring for. We didn't give each other gifts because we didn't have that much money back then (still don't). But with the money we had, we bought the children new clothes, new Nike shoes, school supplies, and we even gave them our gently used but very nice Trek mountain bikes one year. Their eyes lit up like new stars in the sky. We had them over for dinner and they spent the night. And as undomesticated as I was, I even cooked for them! That was a great feeling and I admit, probably did surpass the pleasure I could have gotten from just getting presents. Of course. The last three years we've concentrated on our child and what we could do to make Christmas special for her. When she was only three months old, for her very first Christmas, we bought her a tree and a fancy schmancy set of colorful lights that had 8 different blinking selections! She would sit in her swing and stare at those lights for hours. The next Christmas she got the tree again, with the blinky lights, and we got her the Radio Flyer Retro Rocket whose seat vibrates when it BLASTS OFF TO JUPITER! Last year she got a whirlwind trip through Toys R Us and we dropped over a hundred dollars on little things to delight and interest her. And we decorated the tree again with the blinky lights. Oh yes, Christmas is fun when you're giving to others. I've enjoyed it all very much.

But I've decided that all good things must come to an end.

This year, I want presents! I want something for myself! I want a real present, wrapped in pretty paper and a nice bow under the tree all for me. And I don't want to know what it is beforehand. The years that my husband has given me a present, save 2 out of 12, I've known what it was because I've been forced to pick it out. Not this year. This year I will do something I've not done since I was seven years old.

I will make a list.

Now list making is not my strong point, you must understand. I don't even make grocery store lists. I never made lists at work. I never made lists when I was in college. Lists confuse me, generally speaking. I can never decide which order to put things in and it seems like I'm wasting time when I could be just sporadically and spontaneously working on things that I could put on the list if I wanted to. If you have a list, you gotta check things off. If there's no list, then I can leave projects unfinished in case I get bored later! Never know.

But this year I'm going to depart from my usual habits altogether. No Ms. Nice Guy. No Ms. Benevolent. None of this "oh don't worry about me" stuff. Uh uh. I want presents. Oh I imagine that I'll get the kid something, because she's cute and cuddly and that's my job as a full fledged adult parent, but I still intend to receive, receive, receive. :)

Here's the list so far:

Tiffany Frank Gerhy "fish" bracelet (the one with the black rubber cord).

Apple IPhone.

Anything STARBUCKS of course.

Patagonia Cordalette pants (in chanterelle)

Patagonia retro-x vest (in any color but natural)

2 new tires for my car

The new Bruce Springsteen CD.

Let's see....that's all for now! If I think of anything else, SANTA, I'll let you know. You can thank all those retailers and gadget makers and advertisers for giving me so much more time to think about presents this year!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Did I try?

When I started this blog I stated that I wanted to be a famous writer and at the time was working on something that I realized quite soon would turn into a real manuscript. I thought it was fun to talk about being an author, to hold the fat stack of papers in my hand, to smell the ink after I'd printed it out on my not-so-fancy inkjet printer. I've wanted to write a book since I was thirteen years old. What I have now is a document that could potentially be a book although now I'd have to go back and add stuff to it, simply because I've lived more of my life since finishing it the first week of August. Things have changed. I have changed.

But in my quest to be a famous writer, I found much more satisfaction just doing this blog. People who are serious about actually publishing a book do much, much more than what I did on behalf of trying to "publish" my book. I emailed an acquaintance who is a local book publisher, and whose wedding I just so happened to be at. I told him I was writing a book and he expressed a small interest in me - we at one time were going to meet, but we never did. He never was told what the book was about and never read one word of it. I don't think I ever even mentioned the title to him. I emailed a lady with Skirt Books and told her I had a memoir and she gave me some advice: memoirs are hard to sell. It was never about "selling" the book anyway. I got excited simply because I was able to write over 50 thousand words. That's quite a feat. Made my fingers sore!

People who are actually trying to publish a book get agents, hire editors, craft proposals for advertising and marketing, have money to put into the process and have much more experience than me. Not only did I not have the time to do all of that, I didn't have the financial resources either. I got excited about the prospect: about what it would be like to hold my book in my hands. But I didn't actually try to get it published. I have no rejection letters and there's not a book by me on the bookstore shelves. If you try, one of those two things will happen.

Ariel Gore says that when you write a "manuscript" that it's a good start. That the manuscript becomes something to work with. You can't make bread without kneading some dough. So a first draft of something that started as a personal reflection one night in late June and grew to be over fifty thousand words in one month isn't a publishable thing anyway. I knew this. I asked smart people and they told me this. But I wasn't let down because in all that typing, and in all of that self discovery, I noticed something. I'm already a writer. I don't need to publish anything to be a writer. I don't need to make money to be a writer. All I have to do is write and have fun doing it. I'm happy with this blog. If anything else ever happens to me and somehow I have a book deal, it'll be just as much a suprise to me as it is to you!

Perhaps that is disappointing news to some of the people who may have been following the excitement in the air when I first started this blog. I'd still like to be a famous writer though. Let's not forget about that...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Things I thought I'd never say and more.

The number one thing that came out of MY mouth that I never ever thought I'd say: "Baby don't rub the grape under your nose before you eat it!" And one thing that gave me great pleasure to say (after my 3 year old tells me not to tell her what to do): "Listen, I'm your mommy and I'll tell you what to do until the day I die." I still smile when I think of is as if she sealed her fate.

I have gained a new and tremendous respect for women who stay out of work to raise their kids all by themselves. It's not easy, but it is very rewarding. Lots more cuddling, lots more hugging, lots more spontaneity and the bond grows deeper the more time you share with them. In my first month as a stay at home mommy I've discovered the library, I've walked the parks, I've cleaned my house and I've cooked more meals than I did in the past ten years. I've remembered my grandmother's funny lines and teachable moments, and I've awakened a part of myself that I didn't really know was there. I've become more loving, more soft, more honed in to this little child that I brought into the world. I've never thought about exactly how to teach a child to recognize letters or draw a house. I've learned that washable markers come out of clothes easier than soft young skin and I've found many a grape floating in my toilet.

I don't know what's around the bend for me, but however long this lasts I'll hang on to every minute. I love my little boo, no matter how many times I have to watch Peter Pan to keep the peace. Tick tock.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Happy Halloween

Trick or treat, smell my feet, gimme something good to eat. Here's the sweet little Candy Corn all ready to go out for her very first trick or treating adventure! I made that little candy corn thing myself. After my first two weeks of being a stay at home mother (ahhh!), which of course I never, ever thought I'd for one second be, I am starting to get the hang of playing, being crafty, using my imagination again, and teaching my little tot about the ins and outs of the world. I bought her a Memory game and taught her how to play it and she's beaten me at every game since! Seriously. Forget being smarter than a 5th grader. I'm just gonna try to outsmart my 3 year old...

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A haunting face.

I've decided that some of the sweetest words I'll ever hear are:
"mommy, I want to stinky in the potty" and "I lub you too" and "do you wanna rock me (to sleep)?" My little child is the most wonderful awesome thing in my life. It's amazing how this feeling inside that I have for her just keeps deepening and widening and growing. Cheesy I know, but she completes me. Really. Before her there was me, and now there's me and her (and her daddy of course), but I don't see him as an extension of me like I do her. If she hurts I hurt, if she's happy, I'm happy. It's WEIRD. Like having a part of me outside my body.

There has been a little girl in the news lately, who was raped by a grown man -- who was audacious enough to film it and then show the pornography to others. This girl's face was plastered all over the media because the police were desperately trying to find out who she was so they could get her out of danger. In the film she was only three years old, and here's the personal horror: SHE LOOKS JUST LIKE SARAH. It threw me for a loop that I've been in now for days. How horrible that those things happened to that little girl, that awful look on her little face, and how strikingly similar her little face is to my own little girl's face. It has haunted me; I have dreamed about that little one. I have been so disturbed that I have gone into my little Sarah's room and crawled into bed beside her just to touch and smell and hold her so that I know that she's safe and alright and here with me.

Tell me, how in the name of whatever god we pray to, could someone be so horrible and cruel to a little baby like that? At age three, my little one is just now potty training and naming all the parts of her body. She shows me every little nick and scrape and bump for me to kiss it and make it better. She's keenly aware of how pain feels and what seems nice and what seems mean for other people to do. How terrible and terrifying it must have been for that child to endure those brutal things that were done to her. Will she ever be okay? I worry about her now every day, although I know there is nothing I can do for her. I am still haunted by the image of her little face, staring into the recorder, her little shoulders holding up a leopard print nightie. How sick I feel for her, and for every child who has ever suffered at the hands of an adult who should be protecting and taking care of her.

For now, my sweet little toddler is slumbering away in her bed, covered up and tucked in and kissed multiple times by me. I've told her I love her a zillion times since she was born, and if I had a dollar for every kiss I've given her since the moment I first saw her, I'd never have to work again. Here's to you Sarah, my sweet little girl who is okay, alright, safe and warm in your bed tonight.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Is there a fortune teller in the house?

I need a fortune teller, a soothe-sayer, a medium, a hypnotist, someone to tell me what's gonna happen in my life. I'm tired of waiting around day after day trying to figure it out. Where's that commericial with the EASY button? Major life crisis? Just hit the EASY button. There, there. Problem solved. Someone hit your car? Bang! Fixed. Someone steal your money? Bang! You got it back! Someone steal your spouse? Bang. They stay gone! :)
It seems like the 30's is when life really whacks you. In the 30's you have to start dealing with problems you created in your 20's because you thought you knew everything there was to know about life. So people in their 30's are divorcing left and right, going bankrupt or going in debt, having career crises, looking at themselves in the mirror trying to figure out what has happened to their bodies....
That's it. The 30's SUCK. So what happens if I hit the EASY button? Will I turn 40? Will I go back to 20? Will I vaporize?
Forget the EASY button. I want a fortune teller and a voo doo doll. I want to find out what happens and beat the shit out of whoever caused the problems...muh ha ha ha....ha ha.

Monday, September 24, 2007

My new discovery: Yamuna Body Rolling.

I've stumbled upon a great way to relieve tension, realign your body, and relax stressed muscles. Yamuna Body Rolling. My doctor recommended it and sent me to a massage therapist who was certified in this technique and so far it seems very helpful and easy to do. Check it out at I got my red ball a couple of weeks ago (my therapist gave me one stretch to do with it). My curiousity was intense so I did some research and bought the book over the weekend. I've signed up for a body rolling class now too. I think this will be a great way to be kind to myself and relieve serious muscle tension! Check it out!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Rain & Music

The first thing I should say is that I saw something pretty amazing today, that I'm sure I must have seen earlier in my life, but perhaps just don't remember...or maybe I just didn't slow down enough to realize how cool it was. A rain cloud. A rain cloud while it was raining. Way off in the distance, it was dusk, and there was just enough light and just enough dark that I could see the mist coming down from the cloud all the way down to the horizon. It was so cool. The second thing I've got to say here tonight is that James Blunt's new CD (All The Lost Souls) is really, really good and you should go out and get it pronto. I think the first song he'll release is called Same Mistake and it's my favorite one but really, the whole CD is pretty good. I rarely just go out and buy a CD without having heard anything but I'm glad I did. Good soul baring stuff. Had I been walking through that shower with this music playing all around me it would have been a perfect moment.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Monday night rant.

OJ is back in jail. It's all over the news. Everyone is talking about it. My question is this: WHY do we care? Why are we so fixated on this apparent superstar badboy? I remember the initial "chase" on television -- saw it live during one late night of my senior year of high school. I remember when the not guilty verdit was announced, how all these people were cheering in the Tate Center at UGA. And today here we go again. Why is our American public, by and large, so caught up with OJ and with people labeled superstars in Hollywood and elsewhere. Don't we have more important matters to think about, like raising our children right, hungry people on the streets, global climate change, and that freakin' jerk who hit my car and just left without saying a word or leaving a note?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Bate bate chocolate!

Today was a good day and I was feeling rather domestic tonight so I decided to make some blueberry muffins and then some brownies, after Hal exclaimed he wanted to go on a brownie diet. Sarah had never experienced the joy of licking the bowl and spoons and such, so I handed it all over to her and this picture was captured AFTER the first wipe down of her face and arms...!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Retrospective Review

It's been one hell of a week and I am tired tonight but for some reason I just cannot wind down. I've almost finished my latest book in this new reading thing I'm doing. Reading, reading, reading. When I finish Into the Wild there are four more books waiting to take it's place in my hands at night. This has been an interesting book. The first two thirds of it moved along nicely, as the strange story about an even stranger youth unraveled. The kid walks away from college graduation at Emory University and instead of taking his twenty four grand and going to law school he decides to hitch hike and live off the land and what few people he meets along the way. For the next two years he does this until he decides to culminate his adventures in Alaska one summer. But then he starves to death. His poor family hadn't heard from him one time since college graduation. What a tragedy, although I have to say I work with this age group and have for years now and I can totally see how impassioned he was and how some people just aren't cut out to fit the mold of modern society. He obviously wasn't out to die, but that is the folly of the extreme stubborn youth I suppose. So this book was sort of depressing. Maybe that's why I'm having trouble sleeping tonight -- because this story is hard to put down and hard to leave. I wanted things to turn out differently but of course they do not. I understand that there is a movie coming about him. Check the book out if you'd like, it's slow in two sections but other than that it's good and logical story-telling.
Reading a book like this makes me even more determined to be a good mother to Sarah. Not to say that this guy's parents were bad, not the case at all. I just want our lines of communication to always be open, no matter how old she gets or how far away she lives. I'd die if I had to go two years without knowing her whereabouts or her condition only to get that call one night that she was no more. I'd just evaporate. I feel totally sorry for his parents. They had a son who had a complete mind of his own and would not stand to reason.
So here I am. I guess I'll lie down and stare at the ceiling for a while through the darkness, listen to the buzz of the box fan that I insist on having nearby, and wonder why some people do the things they do, including myself.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Remembering September 11th, 2001.

Today at the college where I work I hosted a 9/11 memorial for our students and staff and we had a speaker who is a minister. I showed a video on our large plasma televisions from CNN, with lots of footage from that day and the days afterward depicting the tragedy and how our nation tried to grapple with it.

Last night I read an article in USA Today that asked the question, should we continue to remember and mark this date publically, or should we not? How helpful and/or healing is forgetting?

I had just turned 27 when the planes crashed and burned and buildings toppled that day, killing thousands of people. I remember exactly where I was. I was in graduate school at the University of Georgia in the College Student Affairs program and had just left a statistics class. Another person in the program, Tanya, stopped me in the hallway and asked me if I had heard that America was under attack. I cannot remember the last time I saw Tanya, and I don't know where she is now, but that conversation with her, that bit of significance in my life will live in my memory for a long while. I quickly headed back to the dormitory where I worked as a graduate resident and found the large television on in the lobby, CNN tuned in, with hundreds of students watching. Some of them were crying, some were scrambling to call family members or friends in New York, and some were simply mesmerized by what was unfolding in front of their eyes. I started watching CNN almost around the clock, and I had never watched the news before, aside from being forced to sit through it when I was a kid and my father turned it on. I had never felt threatened as an American, even though three of my family members had fought overseas on behalf of America. I was 27 years old, and I had never felt unsafe or vunerable simply because of the soil I stepped onto each day to walk to class. What a priviledged life I had led.

I started keeping up with the national news that day, watching and reading CNN in addition to my usual daily Red and Black student newspaper. I started to develop an interest in people who had to live in countries constantly threatened by suicide bombers or military police, or coup de etats hiding and operating in the darkness of night. I started that day to take more pride in the American flag, the nation itself where I was so priviledged to grow up, and the men and women who defended that freedom at the drop of a hat (or building), risking their lives to do so. I started to think about people whose very job requires that they be willing to sacrifice their own lives to save and help others in danger, such as the hundreds of firefighters and police men and women who died that day.

Perhaps it is okay to forget that which brings us insufferable pain, I don't know. Again, I was lucky. I didn't know anyone who died that day. So for all of you who did, for all of you that need to forget, I will hold the candle. I'll remember the day that changed my perspective on life and death, on sacrifice and freedom, on love and hate, on religion and sin.

Love, Heather

Friday, September 7, 2007

Happy Birthday Boo.

How old are you Sarah?

I'm free years ole Mommy!

I love this little child more than life itself. Motherhood is HARD WORK but it is so rewarding. I never thought I'd be excited to see any other person pee in a toilet. I never thought if offered a booger out of another person's nose, I'd take it so willingly off their hands. I never saw myself cleaning up another persons vomit or being so excited to spend the last dollar in my pocket to clothe or feed them. I never thought I'd be so happy to see another person smile. She's a seperate little being with all her own thoughts and dreams, her ways and her expressions, but she's also a large part of me. Happy Birthday little one.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Hokey Pokey Morning.

Yesterday morning I was sleeping peacefully when I heard a whine at the side of our bed. It was my little tot of course, wanting one of us to hoist her up into our bed, so my husband quickly obliged. I heard him several times trying to shush her whining but I knew I was going to have to come out of my slumber, crawl out from underneath the warm covers, and make the morning trek to the fridge to get the little whiner a sippy cup full of milk. So I did. And she drank it down and Hal cuddled her again, shushing her, shhh Sarah be quiet, it's not time to get up yet.

Oh but it was. Within moments after I'd slithered back twixt the sheets and she'd gulped down her milk, I felt her little bony elbows digging into my chest. She was crawling on top of me, and soon after the gouging elbows she was sitting right on top of me, my c-section scar underneath her rear end.

"Mommy, mommy! Let's sing!" Then instantly she starts bouncing/dancing and I begin to laugh and groan, (a) because I haven't gone to the bathroom yet and my bladder is full, and (b) because she's a 32 pound wrecker ball pummelling my mid-section.

"You put your right han in, you put your right han out, you put your right han in and you shake it all about! You do da hokey pokey and dat's what it's all about!"

Hal laughs and stares through the dim light at her, shaking his head in disbelief.

"Why is she so happy in the morning?"

Answer: Because she doesn't have to go to work darling.

She bounces some more, and loudly sings what we refer to as the Sarah Medley: a lovely rendition of Finkle, finkle little star, the ABC's, and Where is Thumbkin?

Finally Hal is able to drag her off of me and get her to slip back underneath the "cubbers" and snuggle somewhat quietly with him. I roll onto my side and look at my sweet little child with her eyes closed and her thumb in her mouth and I silently hope that it's not time to get up yet.

In that instant the alarm goes off. Welcome to another day.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Save the World, part 2.

Here are some more suggestions from the Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook: 77 essential skills to stop climate change -- or live through it, by David de Rothschild.
#38: Paper or plastic? Neither. Take your own cloth, reusable, bag to the store with you. Like, duh. #39: Plant a tree. Again, DUH. #45: Take a bath together. Now this one is funny to me because I remember as a 4 year old my father told me that he was taking a shower with my step mother to save water. Uh huh, right, I thought eleven years later. Turns out, he really was saving water, and therefore, the world. He'd just found a mutually beneficial way to do it. #46: Build a straw house. What? Did David de Rothschild ever hear of the Big Bad Wolf? I think not! #48: Green your roof, e.g. plant a garden on the roof of your house or office building. Hmmm. Lemme think. NO! #54: Pronounce "nuclear" correctly. Ahem. George Bush?
Useful stuff I feel absolutely responsible to pass on...
Use rechargeable batteries, stop buying bottled water, buy recycled paper products and things made of bamboo, use old rubber tires as building materials, buy recycled polyester clothing or organic cotton clothing (Patagonia!!), wash your clothes in cold water with eco friendly washing powders, wear vintage (a.k.a. recycled) clothing and accessories.
Also, #68: Buy a Camel. Not a bad idea...but you'll have to read the book to find out why. Interesting creatures!
Wait, more. Send my blog to ten of your friends. Sorry, that one was just my ploy to become a famous writer...again.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Stay at home, save the world.

I get 3 straight days off work and think that I have all this time to do leisure activities so I go out and buy 5 new books to read. One of them is the Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook. I'm about half way through this intoxicating little read tonight and because I am completely dreading the work day tomorrow I've decided to share with all of you suggestion number 21 in this book. Work at Home! Check it out! Work at home. Of course my problem would probably be that I wouldn't crawl out of bed until I absolutely had to, and I'd be distracted most of the day by my under-organized house. However, when the mood did strike to churn some work out, I'd be happily alone and not surrounded by people, and I'd get more done. And I'd help save the world from over-heating. Since my job sort of requires that I be amongst the students, I'll just have to save the world in other ways. Bank online. Grow tomatos in my backyard. Change my incandescent lightbulbs to compact florescents. Those are easy. Composting worms and weighing my garbage? Not so much. Get the book. It's extremely interesting.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Bad CAR-ma

Some no good dishonest suv-drivin' (e.g. the high location of the dents) person side swiped my Jetta today in the parking lot and didn't even leave a note. So I stand out in the rain to file a police report and I call Geico and they are really great at handling my claim, and the guy on the phone with me is so empathetic and sensitive. Now I feel like I could be one of those people telling my story on their commercials -- who they'd hire an actor for.
"Hi my name is Heather and some dumb shit side swiped my car and didn't even leave a note."
actor: OH GOD my beautiful black New Jetta is toast!
"I was upset and it was raining, but I called Geico and the sweet little guy on the phone made me feel so much better. He said the call right before mine was a woman in Alabama with the same problem."
actor: (singing) It's a rainy night in Georgia and I feel like it's raining all over the woooorld.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

If I were a cat.

I have always said that if reincarnation is possible, and even considering inherant risks, I'd like to come back one day as a cat. A male cat, because I don't ever want to go through any sort of c-section type surgery again. I'd like to be short hair, because I know I'd have to lick myself to keep clean, and too much hair in the throat can be an awful experience for a kitty. If you have cats, you've no doubt heard the god-awful sounds that emit from a cat whose throat is full of fur; kind of a cough, hack, wheeze, gasping sort of sound. I'd like to have rich owners who can afford to feed me the food that comes individually packed and looks like something that humans could potentially eat for dinner in lieu of grilled cheese or p,b, & j. I wouldn't want a collar because, let's face it, they're confining, and if I was gonna crap in a neighbor's pine straw or flower bed, would I really want them to read my name tag and be able to shout my name out loud as they chase me up the street? If my owner was mean to me, I'd do what my brother-in-law's cat did -- shit right in the sink that he brushes his teeth over. Wake up and smell the feces man....that'll teach you to adopt a freakin' stray cat off the street whose ass smells like she's from the lower part of town if you know what I mean. And if I were a cat, I'd spend my days lying in the sunny spot on the carpet or the couch or someone's favorite chair, and I'd do my best to shed there to mark that spot as my own. I'd be a one person kind of cat I think, and I'd curl up in her lap every night and bury my kitty face in the crook of her arm and purr like an angel. She'd whisper sweet nothings to me and give me treats and brush my hair. During the nights I'd frolic around the neighborhood or the house and get in to everything I possibly could, and I suppose I'd kill a thing or two and proudly deliver the corpses to different doorsteps. Perhaps I'd meet a companion kitty and we'd prowl through my terriory together, swishing our tails happily ever after.

Cats have the good life, for real. Many times as I have drug myself out of bed to go to work for another day I have wished I could lay in the sunny spot with my cat all day with not a care in the world except getting up to pee and eat and drink. And I guess those cussed hairballs. But I could take a hairball every now an then if it meant I had no mortgage and no job and I could spend the days doing whatever I wanted to do. Hiss at the mailman, arch my back, scare the kids, whatever. And if my owner called me some silly name in some fake nice voice, I could sit under her chair and let out a big tuna fart and listen to her blame everyone in the house but me. :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I know why Davinci cut off his ear.

What does a girl have to do to get some sleep around here? The child has come downstairs and asked for something to drink two nights in a row, and of course when she does she wakes the dog, who then wants to go out to pee, and when the dog gets excited, so do the kitties, and the whole house is up at one in the morning, or at four, take your pick. I have heard that the less sleep you get the more creative you become, and I've also heard the less sleep you get the more depressed you become. Who was that genius that cut off his ear? Davinci? Did he have a kid, a puppy, 2 kittens, and an outdoor attack cat? Probably not, but it's worth further investigation. I know nothing about the man except that he knew how to paint, but I'll be willing to bet he had a pet 'something' that woke his ass up at night day after day, wee morning hour after wee morning hour, until he finally couldn't take it anymore and figured he wouldn't hear the freaking noise if he cut his ear off. People will do strange things to get some sleep. Of course, I'll bet the first time he laid his knobby sore ear down onto his probably hard pillow his ass woke back up. That's all I'm saying. I know why he did it. It wasn't a good idea, but I know why he did it. To get some freakin' Zzzzzzzs.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Butt Sniffin'

It's funny how addicted I am to the internet, my email, and recently this little blog o mine. My nighttime lack of internet this past week was very stressful, so in some ways I'm glad I was tired and grumpy from work so I didn't have to pace around the house muttering expletives about my cable company.
Tonight I'll call "stinky alert night." Every hour or so my child, who has quite obviously taken a break from the potty training that we started almost two weeks ago, thought it would be funny to tell us that she had a stinky. We asked her over and over, do you have a stinky? Or do you just have a froggy (which somehow became our family term for passing gas)? She would smile and point to her butt and say, "smell it."
I never ever in a million years thought before I had a child that I would be a butt sniffer. I thought butt sniffing was only for dogs and cats and other wild things with small brains and fur. But I have become a world class butt sniffer, and so has my husband Hal. The other day he walked into the livingroom, having just risen from a weekend afternoon nap, and immediately started sniffing the air around him, his face contorting into a grimace. Oooooh, I smell a stinky. He looks at me. Who me, I can't smell a thing! (I'd been stuffy for weeks - damn allergy to the dog.) And then he asks the question. Sarah, do you have a stinky or did you have a froggy? Sarah shakes her head yes. Then he seperates the questions and asked them again. Stinky? She shakes no. Froggy? Yeah daa-ee. I had a froggy. Then she goes hopping across the carpet. Ribbet, ribbet! So he goes and does it anyway. Grabs her up and sniffs her butt. Looks inside the diaper. Yep, just a froggy Sweetie!

Then there are the farting kittens. Two weeks after I adopted the dog during a minor bout of depression, I saw on a listserv the little orage tabby of my dreams - for adoption. I've always wanted an orange tabby. When we drive 35 miles to the farm, there are six of them and we wind up taking two because we think they'll be happier if we get two. We love them; they are really great. As if we didn't have enough things producing poop, these little guys make lots of it, but they are great with the litter box. Never any accidents, that is, unless you count the big potted peace lily whose soft dirt wildly attracts them. But when they first moved in, we didn't realize that little cats have so much gas. They'd be under our chair and we'd smell something awful and then we'd be over sniffing Sarah's butt, asking her if she had some kind of mega tuna stinky. These little kitties who barely weighed a pound a piece were producing some whopper farts. They were turn on the ceiling fan and run out of the room laughing histerically kind of farts. I'd accuse Hal and he'd accuse me. It was you! Yuck! No, it was you! It wasn't me!

So because we have, as Hal calls her, "the poopin'-ist dog on the street," and the fartin feline duo, and the toddler who teases us with the new smell my butt comments, we have decided to install a wonderful new invention. The Lysol wall mounted automatic mist air freshener. Every nine minutes we get a quick snort of lavender scented air just to remind our nostrils that there's more to life than "elimination."

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Go to sleep (because you're bored)

Wonder what I could write about if I went downtown every Friday night and just bar-hopped (without drinking)? Anthology on Athen's alcohol problem?
My blogging abilities have been severely hampered the last few days, as I have no working cable at home. That's gonna be fixed soon so everyone be patient. I know you've been checking! Just kidding, seriously. If one person other than myself is reading this, thanks. Send it to all your friends. I wanna be a famous writer. FAMOUS. WRITER. No day job. Just writing and musing and speculating and being. I want people to read my thoughts. Is that weird? Seems weird. The fact that I'm already thinking about writing a second book seems a bit over the top I'm assuming that the first one will make the press. We shall see.
This week is stressful - work is starting to get busy. That's one of the reasons I wanted to finish the book before August. Still working on the name changes. My best thinking and writing is late at night or in the middle of the night so this afternoon attempt is boring I know, but I felt like I had to give all of you loyal followers some kind of update... :)
Here's a song I wrote for Sarah: I sang it to her for probably 30 minutes last night. I stopped and with her fingers in her mouth and her copy (soft white cloth attachment thingy) in her hand she said, "mommy, do it again." This produced an awesome mommy moment. Yes.

Go to sleep, go to sleep
Dream a sweet, sweet dream
Go to sleep, go to sleep
Dream a sweet dream

Nobody loves you the way that I do
Nobody loves you the way I love you

Go to sleep, go to sleep
I will be here
Go to sleep, go to sleep
I'll be right here

Walk on a cloud with a silver star
Walk on a cloud with a silver star

Nobody loves you the way that I do
Nobody loves you the way I love you

Monday, August 13, 2007

Dead man (almost) walking

Sunday morning at around 1:45 AM I'm headed home from a visit to my cousin's house and I'm sleepy but I've got Evanescence cranked up loud on my stereo and I'm thinking about everything that's going on in my life when all of a sudden, and I mean this was super strange, a dude in a white tee shirt walks right out in front of my car. I saw him coming about two seconds before I would have hit him but I had time to stop because I had just gotten off the bypass and was going to start breaking for a turn. He walked right out in front of me and I actually had to wait for him to stagger out of the way of my car. He had NO idea that he almost got hit by my car. I knew cats had 9 lives, but people? It really freaked me out, and I sat there watching him for at least ten seconds or more before I started driving again. Just thought I'd share.

Friday, August 10, 2007

So sue me Bubba.

Okay, some good things happened today. Number one is that I took my last three dollars and forty one cents and got the combo at Dunkin Donuts and gave the kid another donut this morning and she now knows beyond all shadow of a doubt that I am in fact the coolest mommy ever. Of course, the time out she got tonight for pitching a screaming fit on the potty might have erased the aura of the donut...don't know for sure.

The doggie I'm trying to find a home for is right now underneath my feet shreading a little foam football I got while I worked at Clemson. It's keeping her from jumping in my lap and slobbering all over my favorite sweats so I'll let her continue to shread and I'll pick up bits of foamy orange and white in the morning. The sacrifices I make for this blog and my future fame!

I started the process of changing the names in my manuscript today, you know, to protect the guilty. This was a disturbing thing. I find that I don't like creating falsities. I mean, yeah there will be that little disclaimer at the beginning of the book, but I can't stand reading something when I know it's not the person's real name. My name of course will be correct, and if my family promises not to shoot me, their names will be correct, but most others will have to be changed. What have lawsuits done to America?! And then there was the task of trying to come up with the "right" false name. I found myself wanting to give stupid characters names like Bubba. No really, just kidding...but it was strange. I couldn't decide on each one if the new name I came up with sounded authentic enough. I went on the Social Security website and researched popularity of names and tried to find a real name that would have been given to the person in the same year he/she was born. I went on baby naming websites to search for cool sounding names I wouldn't have otherwise thought of. I even pulled out the phonebook to look for authentic Southern surnames. I mean, I put a lot of effort into this. Who knows..? Might be a movie one day and who'd want to play a guy named Bubba or a girl named Jonnie Sue? The real names will always be the coolest. Even as a novice author I've already found something that irritates me. Changing the truth.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Jill the rat terrier and some reading I've done.

I just finished reading Ariel Gore's How to Become a Famous Writer Before You're Dead, and let me say, it's a definite kick in the toosh -- a word of encouragement for aspiring writers like myself. There are no charts, graphs, tables, or how to's in her book, just good solid narrative about what it is like to be a writer, about how to handle yourself in the lit world, and how not to give up when you can paper your house with rejection letters. I learned a few things, many less things than I thought I would learn buying and reading a "how to" book, but hearing about what it's really like trying to get published was the most valuable thing this book offered. Also, something I'd never thought of or considered was in here: the whole idea of self publishing and promoting my work. Not that I have a whole lot of work done. I've had two articles published in Athena Magazine and I've written a manuscript for a book I've titled Consciousness Lost. That's about the sum of it. Unless you count that first little story I wrote back when I was a thirteen year old in awe of Jill the rat terrier who had single handedly given birth to six teeny little puppies. It was Jill and her pups that convinced me that some things were worth writing down. So if you're aspiring to write or get published, pick up a copy of this book. It's good stuff.

Other than that, I'm still sick with this funk that I think I got from being allergic to the dog. If you want to adopt a not quite house trained Austrailian cattle dog puppy who loves to fetch and who's just as cute as she can be, lemme know. I've got one. My sinus passages will thank you. I'll even throw in the money for her spay.

I emailed someone at UGA Press today hoping for the opportunity to come peddle my manuscript. I phoned someone at Hill Street Press for an appointment two days ago. Nothing yet. Nada.

I wonder if I should dress up in a pink tutu and gorilla mask and stand on the corner downtown reading excerpts from my manuscript? Ariel Gore did. Worked for her.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


Two of my great (and truthful) friends read the manuscript and they loved it. Two rave reviews! I'm really psyched. It is good to have a person say that it felt complete, that it was compelling, that it answered questions for them. Made both of them cry even! I didn't expect that at all...

Monday, August 6, 2007

Excuse me while I choke on a cough drop.

Yuck, yuck, yuck I am sick. Ever since I adopted the doggie I've had some level of sinus trouble and I never have sinus trouble. Today's problem is the same as yesterday's and the day before: sinus infection, round 2. The first one was in June and it lasted the whole month.

If anyone out there knows how to get my memoir published, let me know. It's damn good if I say so myself. I wrote my author bio and synopsis today. The author bio is more humorous than anything, but the synopsis I really had no clue about, so it's two and a half pages when it's supposed to only be one: according to the Hill Street Press website. I'm going to hope it's acceptable. Perhaps I should bake cookies and bring them when I drop all my stuff off at their office. Perhaps I should walk in on my knees with my notebook and the cookies. I'm trying hard not to be vested in this, to let go of the outcome, but I don't think I'd be the next great star of literature if I did that. Doesn't it have to cause angst to move you forward in some way? The rest of my life sure as hell has. And this is why I was able to write this stunningly complelling memoir. It's a cross between James Frey and Augusten Burroughs. I think. Or maybe I just assume that because they are the only memoirists I've read lately. Not that I'm as good as they are. I think they are both amazing writers. They're also freakin rich, which is why I need to find a publisher for the book. See how everything goes back to the book?

I'm gonna go choke on a cough drop now. Peace.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

cool donut mommy

So the other day on the way to school (daycare) and my work (college) I decide that I need coffee. Our usual stop is at Starbucks, my former place of part-time employment, and my one time obsession. They are great at marketing. Anyway, I decide that I am wearing a pink shirt and brown pants and the Dunkin Donuts cup will match my outfit better (seriously, that is how I decided to go there that morning) and I also know that they have a "combo" that is a coffee and two, not one but two donuts, so I can share with my little 2 year old co-pilot.

So we pull into the DD and drive up through the drive thru and I order the combo.

$3.41 ma'am.

I give the woman my money and she gives me the caffeine and sugar and Sarah sees the bag and immediately starts to whine.

Mommee! I want the donut! Gimmee the donut!

I get out of the drive thru and pluck the donut out of the bad using that handy tissue paper stuff they grab the donuts out of the case with. I hand her the donut with the tissue paper and as I do this my arm reaches as far back as it can go around my seat and I do my best to look at her, look at the road, and drive my five speed manual transmission Jetta to school without crashing and spewing bits of car parts, glass and such, all over the road.

Here ya go tell me, am I not the coolest Mommy ever? Huh? A donut before school? Not every kids gets that! I'm a cool Mommy!

And I really catch myself believing this. I am the coolest mommy on the freaking planet right now because I just gave my kid a sugary oily fatty donut and she's not even three. And it's not even eight AM.

She does not say yes or tell me anything that might make my head swell further. All I get is: Mommy! I got a donut!

Five miles later Sarah has polished off the thing and I know this because she shouts Mommy I want anuder one!

I look in the rearview mirror and she's got sugary donut residue all over her face and hands. Little bits of white stuff sticking to her face. She's checking out her fingers by pinching them together and then noticing that they don't pull apart so easy. They're sticky.

I test my Gumby skill a second time when I reach around to give her a wipe, or wipy as we call them.

Wipe your face and hands Baby, get the sticky stuff off.

I notice that she's still holding the crumpled up donut wrapper and I tell her to hand that to me so she can better use the wipe and clean herself up. I think I'm doing her a favor.

I reach around behind me again, trying to move my hand within reach of her hands.

Hand me the wrapper Sarah. I look at her in the rear view mirror to see whether or not my hand is close enough. Now, at this point, the coolest mommy in the world has only one hand on the wheel, and zero eyes on the road. Not too cool, but hey, I'm trying to minimize the mess and do the kid a favor.

She looks at me, looks at my hand, which is actually quite close, and then gives me the you'd better say it look. Mommy, say leeze! Say leeze Mommy.

The kid knows her manners because I have taught them to her. Now however, is not the time to test Mommy.

Sarah, Please give me the wrapper.

Mommy, say leeze. Her eyes look up slightly and then glare right back at me in that, boy you'd better say it or else I'm gonna take you back to where you came from look.

Sarah I have to have this hand to drive! I give up and pull my arm back around enough to shift the gear and straighten the wheel.

Sarah. Give Mommy the wrapper please. Back around goes my arm.

She gives me the wrapper. She wipes her face and hands and throws the wipy down on the floorboard of the car.

The world resumes its madness, we keep driving, more safely even, and even though she's taken several swipes at her face with a wipe there's still a huge white donut sugar crumb right up underneath her left eye.

When we get to school we are nineteen minutes past the time when they stop serving breakfast but that doesn't matter because my kid has already had breakfast.

Wasn't that donut good Baby? I get her out of the car and snatch that crumb off her face so they won't think I'm a total failure of a mother.

Yeah Mommy.

I'm a cool mommy right?

Yeah, you cool Mommy!

There you have it. I'm cool and I have good manners.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

I can't believe it.

I have written a memoir. 50,492 words to be exact. To publish or not to publish? Is it even worth reading? I think so...has all the right, sin, childhood trauma, abandonment, Viagra. Whatever.
I'm on sinus medication because I've got that freaking sinus infection again. Don't share antibiotics. If you do, then you won't have enough to kill all of the little bacteria fuckers and they'll multiply and come back to get you again.
I'm in a strange funk of a mood and probably should not be writing but my fingers need the exercise. Who knows when they'll need to churn out fifty thousand something more words within a month's time?