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Archive for October, 2010

Keaton and I are on day 2 of Attack of the Green Snot, which means jammies, couch, blankets, Cars, PBS and Kleenex. So. Much. Kleenex. Between this, school Halloween events, 2 birthdays and a funeral I really feel like we’re not communicating anymore, Internet. I feel us drifting apart and I see the way you look at those other blogs. The ones that actually write meaningful content that makes you laugh or think. I see how happy they make you but you should probably know that they are all WHORES and probably have syphilis. I hope it was worth it.

Even though you’re probably cheating on me with Women of the Interweb Night, I still love you and and really want you to know all the super exciting things that have been going on in my really important life.

*Bill got Effen Vodka, a shaker and all the fixings for Martinis (so yeah, a bottle of vermouth and lots of olives) for his birthday. I’m telling you this simply so you can bookmark this date as the decline of our productivity and increase in heavy drinking. Goals! We make them! With vodka.

*My five year old has already started planning her family and has informed me that she is planning to have 5 children when she “gets big enough to drive a car” (in other news, please join me in my new Lobbyist group that will shamelessly pay off congress to push the driving age from 16 to 37.)  She will have 3 boys and 2 girls and their names are as follows: Johnny, Caden, Junior, Chandelier and Fuchsia. I love the subtle beauty of the girl names. My daughter is nothing if not classy.

*Last night we went to the memorial service for the Deps’ dad. Having been through the loss of a parent, I was so torn up for Jay and Lisa and couldn’t even begin to fathom Mavis’s pain (who was released from the hospital for the service but had to go back afterward). As hard as this was for them, they really pulled together and Jason’s eulogy was such a perfect tribute to his dad. I was beyond awed at his strength. Do you want to know what else I was beyond awed at? ALL THE PICTURES OF THE DCFI. You guys. It was seriously like walking into my own personal blogging goldmine. Here is the DCFI in a neon windbreaker. Here is the DCFI in an awesome prom tux. Here is the DCFI in WHO KNOWS WHAT I AM TO DISTRACTED BY HIS SUPER POOFY HAIR.

“Bill?”

“Yeah?”

“I’m really conflicted right now.”

“Why”

“How can I tactfully take out my phone and take pictures of these pictures?”

“You can’t, Christy. You have to make a choice.”

I want you all to know I chose tact but it was probably not as easy of a choice as it should have been.

*Have you guys taken the Autism Spectrum Quotient? After seeing a bunch of links to it on facebook I decided that it was a definite improvement over the folks that take the “What sexual position are you?” test and “When and how will you die” test so I went ahead and took the thing. I did it during lunch in between Keaton’s requests for this and that and I really didn’t pay too close attention to how I was answering so when I scored this:

I thought it was sort of high for me so I decided to re-take it during nap time when I could pay closer attention. And I scored this:

Whaaa? Then I took it again and scored the damn 24 again. Now do I believe I have a propencity for behaviors common with those on the autism spectrum? No. I just don’t really like people very much. See how that works? It skewed my answers.

*Keaton’s bracelet broke off this week and I cried.

My 12 year old niece Jorie spent the summer making friendship bracelets.

She made Keaton a red, white and blue one last 4th of July and those little braided strings somehow became a symbol, a mascot of sorts, of our summer. Keaton loved the bracelet, it never bothered him, he never asked for me to cut it off- which is pretty surprising for him.  Bill and I were out to breakfast on Sunday and I felt something poking me inside my shoe. When I pulled the shoe off, the bracelet fell out. I have no idea how it got in there, other then an educated guess that involves my son’s love of footwear. I’m just really grateful I found it so I can tape it in his baby book. When I think of his summer of 2, I will always remember that tiny bracelet tied around his wrist.

*We haven’t taken the kids to the pumpkin patch yet this year. I think Rowan is seriously expecting CPS to come knocking on our door to save her from her terrible parents.

*I think I’m going to go ahead with Nablopomo again this year, you lucky Internet, you. Jen is doing it too, and maybe Heather if you go vote in her poll. In all honesty I’m going into this with more of a photo emphasis in mind because I just don’t see how I will find time to write any sort of meaningful content everyday, but it was really such a great experience last year that I want to try it again.

I am also tentatively planning to do some book reviews. On my nightstand right now for non-fiction is The Out of Sync Child and Nurture Shock and my fiction line-up is Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Water For Elephants, Shiver, Love Walked In, Belong To Me and Bill and I are planning to start reading the Percy Jackson series aloud. This is sort of an ambitious list (for me, anyway) but we’ll see how far into things I get.

And now, time for a cold medicine induced nap, Internet. I hope this post shows you how serious I am about this relationship and how I really don’t want syphilis, so, you know, enough with the whores.

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A memo to my husband on his 32nd birthday:

yourlistofto-dostoday

aresimplytobehappy

andmaybealittlegoofy,asyou'reapttodo

youworksoincrediblyhardforus364daysayear

todayisallYOURS//weloveyouso.

*This post is written in the style of the 6,936 e-mail to-do memos I have sent Bill over our marriage. They include all sorts of jumbled unpunctuated runtogetheryness that he has to first decode and then complete. It’s more work than it’s worth to read through for you, Internet, but I assure you, the birthday boy is an absolute expert. Now say Happy Birthday to Bill. Or maybe just send him some vodka- It’s his favorite! He’s married to ME after all…

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What a week, you guys. Ugh. I’m going to hit you all  up again for some love and prayers and shiny rainbow thoughts for Deps’ family. His mom is now hospitalized and they are dealing with one crisis after another. I’d really appreciate it if The Almighty Universe could maybe focus its negative energy on some assholes for a change, instead of a family that is trying to process a profound loss. This really isn’t an outlandish request. There are a shit-ton of assholes out there. Take me for example…WAIT! Don’t take me. Take some other asshole.

I did have a high point on Tuesday when I accompanied the Kindergartners on their field trip to the local hospital. Yes. A hospital. Remember when we used to go to the apple orchard or a petting zoo for field trips when we were kids? Yeah. Now they go to emergency rooms and learn about the importance of hand washing via a video circa 1991. And here I thought that by now my kids’ educational trips would surely include a visit to the Flying Car Factory or a Hover Board Plant. I’m totally disappointed in you 2010.

Rowan’s teacher invited me to come early if I wanted, so I could have lunch with Rowan which I thought was a fabulous idea. In an act I’m still suspicious of, and haven’t written about because I didn’t want to jinx it,  Rowan has recently decided that hot lunch is in fact NOT the work of the devil, but actually pretty OK. Watching her carry that tray, pick out a fruit and ask politely for the pancakes and hashbrowns seriously made me tear up like an old fool.

She looked so small but so very grown up all at the same time.

After lunch it was recess and I tell you Internet, elementary school recess is NOT for the faint of heart. In the 5 minutes Rowan and I were outside I was attacked and my legs were nearly severed at the kneecaps by 3 jump rope wielding hellions and I took a red playground ball TO THE FACE. I saw the kid on the periphery, very carefully setting his ball down and aligning himself with me. Then I saw him take a few steps back. And then I saw him kick it with everything he had. The whole time I was naively thinking that this boy would course correct at some point. He can’t possibly be aiming that ball at my head. Even when it was flying through the air a good half of me KNEW it was going to hit me, but the other half was SO SURE it was going to be stopped somehow. By what? A ball-intercepting playground pigeon? An army of helper bees? An invisible electric shield? Yeah. That ball hit my face. Fuck you helper bees. I’m so glad I didn’t wear my glasses because they would have gotten SMASHED.

Then we had rest time. I was actually really excited about this because COME ON, PEOPLE. I get to lay on the floor in a dark room with calming music and do nothing and my kid has to be quiet or I can tell the teacher on her. How awesome is that? Rowan was very sweet and cuddled up in my lap, and most of the kids were pretty well behaved but I have to tell you, Internet… do you know what your kids do during rest time? They fart. And pick their noses. It’s gross. And kinda funny. But mostly gross. Having another adult in close proximity did not in the least deter them from these behaviors as one might expect.

The actual field trip was pretty fun for them. After the crappy hand washing video, we got to go inside an ambulance which the kids loved, but I was all BIG. DEAL. I used to drink Dr. McGillicuddy’s in the DCFI’s ambulance at the Halloween celebration the fire department put on every year. For this reason, schnapps and ambulances are synonymous for me so I was pretty disappointed when I didn’t find any. I considered asking the paramedic where he kept his McGillicuddy during the Q&A but then was like, OH YEAH. Five year olds. I should probably save that one for later.

Then, at the Teddy Bear Clinic, they all got to imagine terrible accidents upon the stuffed animals they were invited to bring, to which I’m sure the animals were very WTF! Poor things probably thought their kids picked them out of the toy bin because they remembered how much they loved them and wanted to cuddle or perhaps have a tea party. But no. The kids gleefully waited in line and then told the volunteer how their teddy bear was attacked by sharks or got tangled in the swing and broke their neck and can they also get caught up on their tetnus? And maybe just throw in a rabies shot or two?

In the end, I can tell you that in the 15 or so years it has been since I’ve ridden a school bus, not too much has changed. The seat backs are way higher so as to keep kids from reaching over the seats and messing with the kid in front of them but other than that they still get unbearably warm and have no freaking shocks to speak of. I do NOT miss that part of my life. It was, however, a lot of fun learning all the little faces and names of Rowan’s classmates and seeing her interact with her friends. All in all, it’s been sort of a rough start to the school year in some aspects but I could clearly see she was in very good company and hopefully the rest will fall into place.

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I was originally editing some photos I took this weekend so I could quick post them because I really wasn’t thinking when I put up a bunch of pictures of human waste. Opening my blog to be greeted by the contents of my son’s bladder is, well…EW.

Then I got some really sad, really shitty news this morning and my pictures took on a whole new meaning. After only being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer 4 months ago, the DCFI’s dad, Dave, passed away this morning.  Suddenly these pictures represent a whole lot more than just a random late afternoon in October.

Please keep Jay and his family in your thoughts and prayers this week, especially Jay’s mom Mavis. Dave and Mavis just celebrated 44 years of marriage on the 10th of this month and have built a truly wonderful life together. We wish all of them love and strength as they navigate through this incredibly sad time.

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I don’t want to make light of the recent flooding in southern Minnesota but I’m betting this Hot Wheels is thinking that maybe an onslaught of rain water isn’t so bad…

Keaton wasn’t super clear on whether the car was in the potty first or if it was lowered in after his… um, bidness. Not exactly up Shit Creek, but perhaps the Number One equivalent?

Happy weekending, Internet.

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I just don't know.

Today I woke up crabby. To be honest, I’ve been in a bitch of a mood for almost two weeks. Two Thursdays ago I received a DVD distributed to Minnesota Catholics called Preserving Marriage in Minnesota. I don’t think you need to use much of your imagination to figure out that this is a ridiculous propaganda piece about the evils of gay people and how they are trying to ruin civilization by wanting equal rights. Simple rights. To marry the person you love. Don’t even get me started on how in this economy, THIS ECONOMY, this is how they are choosing to spend money. Disappointed does not even begin to describe how I feel.

I’m not writing this to get all political on your ass. If you are a person who actually believes in these sorts of campaigns, then fine. I know whatever I write in this small space isn’t going to change how you feel and please, if your fingers are itchy with comments defending the Catholic (and pretty much every other) Church’s view on this? Seriously. Save it.

Because this is not about politics or gay marriage per say. This is about my faith and how it was broken into tiny pieces just like that DVD that I cut up and threw in the trash. I’m not an idiot, I’ve always known the Catholic Church’s view on gay marriage. I also know that as a relatively liberal person, most of my views come into direct conflict with those of the Church. How did I get here then? How have I let myself become a practicing Catholic when I don’t believe (way over) half the goods they’re pedaling? Tradition? A little. A familiar community that I already know the language of? Probably. Guilt? Oh yeah, this IS Catholicism we’re talking about.

But also because, you know what? It’s hard to let go of something you grew up with. It becomes a piece of you. It’s part of your personal definition. I don’t want to be a Catholic. But I do. But I am. Can I really change that part of myself?

Some of my earliest memories are of shifting from one bony 5 year-old knee to the other, getting tired as I knelt on the sticky vinyl kneeler. Trying to stretch my neck so I could see over the pew. Craning more still to get a view around the person in front of me. Watching the flickering candles. Watching the long robes swish over the priest’s shoes. Watching the faces of other parishioners. From the ancient looking, Parkinson-ridden woman who couldn’t have weighed more than 75 pounds that was there without fail each week, to the chubby cheeked babies blowing raspberries and flinging toys. I was enthralled.

I’d be lying if I said it was my favorite place to be, as I was never one for dressing up and that pesky left Mary Jane went missing every single Sunday morning 10 minutes before we had to go. It was always a rat race to get five kids out the door and it was also the morning my dad was assigned to do my and Snoreface’s hair. We’d run down the hall screaming as a he chased us, brandishing the brown, hard-bristled goody brush and calling out “Mr Kenneth has come to do your hair!” (Mr Kenneth being a local barber that was no doubt more skilled with a brush than my father, who used the old WHACK and PULL method.) But still. Still. There was a draw for me even at a young age.

In my first communion prayer book, on the page that I was to write my name, I did and then followed it in my chicken scratch handwriting “i LoVE chUrH”. My favorite Sundays were when my mom was the cantor. Partly because then there was only my dad in the pew to watch us and he tended to turn a blind eye to naughty behavior as long as it was quiet naughty behavior, but mostly because I was so mesmerized that it was my mom’s perfectly pitched soprano that was ringing through the place. The voice that filled up my bedroom each night was now filling up a whole church.

I remember so looking forward to the fall festival because it always had The Scrambler carnival ride and once I hit about six, my dad took me on it over and over, every year. Oh Lord, the giggling I did as his face turned bright red and shook vehemently as I shouted “Again! Again!” He’d pretend his legs didn’t work but always eventually gave in to my pleas.

I remember holding hands with my dad when we said the Lord’s Prayer at mass. Instead of paying attention to the words that came so automatically, I would just look down at our hands. Sometimes now, I crook my hand into holding position and look down and can remember exactly what his hands looked like. How it felt as it wrapped around mine. The time we spent at mass gave me that memory, something that gets me through when time has taken away some other memory of him. I know this one will always be there.

I went to Catholic school from Kindergarten through 8th grade. The first seven years were a hodgepodge of moral scripture stories, with focuses on sacraments in 2nd (First Communion) and 4th grade (Reconciliation). Once seventh grade hit we mostly worked on Confirmation curriculum which amounted to a lot of talk about our duties as Catholics and the Holy Spirit blah blah. It’s sad but the only concrete thing I really remember about confirmation prep is going to a weekend retreat and totally falling in love with a boy from the other junior high in attendance. I don’t really know what they were thinking shoving a bunch of hormonal teenagers together. In the end the boy didn’t notice me and I had to sleep on a hard gymnasium floor. I was confirmed. I chose Cecilia as my confirmation name. I still love that name.

Church was never an option in our household. Upon confirmation in Ninth grade, many of my friends were told it was now their choice to attend mass. After all, once you’re confirmed you are seen as a whole person, in charge of your own faith. However our household was firmly rooted in the “freedom dies at my doorstep” philosophy, so I was expected to attend church every Sunday morning that I was home. Of course this led to me orchestrating a high number of Saturday night sleepovers in high school with friends with less devout parents so I could avoid getting up early, which worked about half the time.

In college my view toward the Church became cynical at best. I didn’t know what I believed. I honestly didn’t care much. After I transferred to St. Thomas, a very Catholic university, I began studying religion through the required theology courses. The first one focused mainly on the history of Catholicism, so obviously we got a good chunk of Jewish history as well,  but also did a short break-off into a few other faiths, mainly Islam and the major protestant faiths. This was new. Never in my Catholic school days did they go into other faiths.

I was totally spellbound and spent hours in the library researching The Church of England and the Reformation. I read about Islam, Joseph Smith’s Mormons, Buddhism and others. I was rapt and after I was through, the faith I had in my own religion didn’t grow or shrink. None of these religions were free of criticism, my own or widespread. All had some degree of negative connotations. All had scandal. But mostly I felt that at their core they were groups of people gathering together, bonding and creating communities- communities that can do a lot of good (obviously exceptions to this can be argued). I came to the conclusion I still stand by today: I don’t think any one of these religions is right. It’s not my job to figure it out either. My job is to do right by myself, my loved ones and my proverbial neighbor and see where this all takes us in the end. No need to go judging and damning my fellow man along the way. (Unless you liked The Notebook, then I’m TOTALLY judging and damning you).

After a terrible, no good, very bad incident with the parish I grew up in when I was going through wedding preparation I decided to be done with the Church. Like stick a damn fork in me done. And you can bet it’s safe to assume that the death of my dad didn’t improve my relationship with God any. In the end I got married outside, under the puffiest cowboy clouds. I felt love. I felt community. I didn’t miss that church wedding for one minute, in fact, quite the opposite. I actually thanked God that day for the opportunity to get married under the big blue sky. A few months later we had our marriage “validated” in a church ceremony. It didn’t make me feel closer to God or my husband afterward. My mom was really happy about it, so there’s that.

Then we became parents and decisions had to be made. I felt I had to provide my children with the opportunity of faith that I had growing up. There was no way I would ever go back into the ridiculously dogmatic, conservative parish that rules over our town. My mom, who is conservative, couldn’t even stand it anymore and left. When you place so much importance on ritual and pomp and circumstance you lose sight of the most important aspect of ANY religion: The people. We found a parish with a Pastor who has a sense of humor. It is a much more liberal community than what I was used to growing up which was a better fit for me but way beyond that, the community was so welcoming. We signed Rowan up for Sunday school and registered ourselves as parishioners. I thought I found a happy medium. To be true to my own beliefs and be a Catholic.

Then the DVD came and I was overwhelmingly reminded that I’m fooling myself. And the questions came flooding in. Can I be a registered member of a church that sends ABSOLUTE OFFENSIVE MATERIAL like this out? Can I in good conscience raise my children in a community that condemns the NATURE of an entire group of people? Do I really believe Jesus Christ would put his stamp on this thing? The truth is, I’m going to have to be accountable for the choices I make for myself and my children. By belonging to the Catholic Church I’m in direct conflict with my own moral code and the one I’m trying to imbue in my children. I feel like a complete hypocrite when I walk in the doors, but leaving feels like I’m turning my back on a huge part of myself. The answers probably seem simple to everyone else. But.

I just don’t know.

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Today has been absolutely gorgeous, with temperatures close to 80 degrees so when Keaton insisted I take him to the park after preschool, I couldn’t in good conscience say no. We tried a park recommended by Bill’s cousin and his wife, a park that I have avoided going to since it is set back in a semi-secluded, wooded area  and creepily located next door to this place. A place whose inhabitants are *and I quote* “extreme risks to the public”. Aaron and Becca assured me that it was totally safe and Aaron even stated that he and Bill used to play there all the time when they were kids. (When I asked Bill if we would be in any danger of being shived if I took the kids there, he said he really couldn’t say but it was kind of a creepy place.)  After driving down the path I kept an eye on the ridiculously impenetrable  electric razor wire fence of death and decided that we were probably mostly safe so what the hell. This stay at home mom totally lives life on the edge, Internet.

Once we were parked and settling at our picnic table for lunch, my fear of the inmates of the level 5 maximum security prison evaporated and was replaced by my much more intense fear of heights. You see, most of this older park has been replaced by modern, smooth-edged plastic playground equipment. But they left The Slide. You know the kind I’m talking about. The huge silver metal monstrosity that you probably should don a spacesuit before climbing because the ladder just keeps going up and up and up. The kind that probably claimed the lives and/or limbs of countless children in the 70’s and 80’s?

Yeah.

THAT

ONE.

Naturally, Keaton spotted it right away and it was love at first sight. No amount of “it’s too big for you” or “It’s probably really hot from the sun” or “I think it has sharp razors that poke you and possibly alligators that eat you even if you do get to the bottom” seemed to deter him. He actually tried it twice by himself, with my “better you then me, pal” blessing,  but his shoes kept catching the side of it as he went down, hurting his legs. This is where most kids would give up but that persistent little bugger made it his day’s mission to have mama help him down and I’m sorry to say no violent, mentally unstable, body building murderers came out from the bushes to aid me with a quick, less stomach-churning death.

Happy Friday, Internet.

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