Monday, January 31, 2005

Do the gypsies have crazy eyebrows?


Boing. Boing. Boing.

This is the sound of our couch tonight. With the help of little Maren, who adamantly refuses to stop bouncing. (Yes, I know it's my own damned fault for letting her that one time when I wanted her to wear herself down.)

But this isn't just jumping on the couch. This is jumping on the couch and sitting on the back of it and doing somersaults on it. It's instigating her little brother to do the same... all while daddy says not to.

So that's it. We have officially had it. We had to do what we almost never do. We had to threaten to call the gypsies to come take Maren away. 1-800-GYPSIES.

We've only used it one or, maybe, two other times and it worked wonders. We told her that we'd have to call the gypsies to come get her because she couldn't behave.

But tonight she actually called our bluff and George had to pick up the phone and dial the number. He had to talk to the head gypsy. He told them about Maren and her jumping on the couch and not doing what she was supposed to, and they agreed to come pick up our eldest right away.

As soon as George got off of the phone with the gypsies Maren was sorry. She would stop jumping, she would do what we said. She didn't want to go with the gypsies, "call them."

Immediately the gypsies were called and the plan was canceled. No more gypsies. But the interest was far from over.

Maren wanted to know all about them. Were they mean? Did they have crazy eyebrows? Would they take her toys?

In the end she decided it would be best if the gypsies didn't take her away. Hmm. Those poor gypsies don't have a clue what they're missing out on.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Hey, Yo, Tommy Boy


A friend recently emailed one of those mass email stories of someone’s worst date (this was apparently featured on The Tonight Show) and that got me to reminiscing. Ah, the sweet, sweet memories. George and I still laugh about my most awful date… incidentally this was one of the last guys I dated right before George. Coincidence?

Tommy was the son of an acquaintance of my parents (can you see where this is going?), and was new in town. The acquaintance of my parents knew that I was single and not horribly unattractive, so he suggested to my parents that, perhaps, I could help show Tommy around town.

I was 19; Tommy was 22. I was a college student; Tommy was working at (and living in, yes, LIVING IN) a used car lot. For whatever reason, he did not live as most people—in a house or apartment, but he lived in a room at the back of the used, "Buy Here, Pay Here" car lot where he worked.

The night of the big date, Tommy picked me up in one of the used cars from his lot and had no plans for us whatsoever. His idea was to let me plan the night, "babe." Hell, I didn’t know what this greasy-haired kid from New Jersey wanted to do. I was a music and philosophy student. All of my friends were music or philosophy students—I didn’t know what to do to entertain a used car salesman who lived in the back of his used car lot. So we drove around. And talked.

Dear god. I could have wished myself to die in that car and it would have been a blessing. If you can believe it, Tommy was not a real bright guy. His conversation consisted mostly of (wait for it)… cars. He told me all about every fucking car on the lot. Then he asked me what I did to "spend my days." Nice. Very smooth. And immediately interrupted to tell me that we were almost out of gas, did I have any money?

After I helped him gas up the car we drove around some more and I bored him to tears with the details of my life. Incompatible. (Or so I thought.) He found out that I studied music: "Heh, I love music." (Original.)

Well, two-and-a-half mind-numbing hours after he picked me up, Tommy finally dropped me off back home along with the usual, "This was great, let’s do it again," bullshit that you have to say when your parents know each other.

A week went by and I thought I was out of danger of a call from Tommy. I joked about the date with my snobbish friends from school and turned him into great fodder. And thought I’d never, ever have to tell my parents what a smarmy weasel he seemed to be.

Then he called.

"Hey, yo, it’s Tommy." (I swear it’s still ringing in my ears.) He wanted to go out on a Saturday night. Blech. No way. But this was awkward. I mean, I didn’t want to just blow him off and tell him what a boring, slimy, stupid creep he was, so I told him that I had plans in the works but that I’d have to get back to him. (Such a big lie.)

I don’t know if he thought he was upping the antee or what, but right before he let me off the phone he made the queen mother of all proposals: "Yo, you know I could come over and, uh, we could take a shower."

Needless to say I was certain to have other plans that night. I called a friend, told him of my other invitation, and he and I got me out of the house so that I wouldn’t have any awkward moments if Tommy decided that he needed a little help scrubbing behind his ears.

Every once in a while George will remember that story and invite me to take a shower in his best New Jersey accent (which isn't all that bad considering he's never even been close to New Jersey).

Goats and Spiders


Sitting on the couch last night, warm, snuggling, giggling, just appreciating the closeness of our little family unit, the four of us watching a movie together, we were enjoying peace and tranquility and harmony. Out of the blue, there arose from the throat of our littlest member such a scream that I thought for sure we were on our way to the emergency room. This was no scream for "buk" (milk) or because his sister had just hit him, or even because he'd fallen and hurt himself, but our little Goat saw the biggest, most terrifying, plastic spider that 50¢ can buy. And it was on the couch (no doubt put there for my benefit).

Never being one on whom details are lost, I immediately realized the potential for enjoyment that we had here. Our fella, who generally has a completely unhealthy lack of fear of anything is afraid of a little (well, huge, actually) plastic spider. Hee. Naturally, George and I lept on the opportunity to use this new, little tool in our own pleasurable torment of our child.

For the next several minutes we played a game of showing the spider to Grant (whom we are now calling Goat due to his preference for head-butting and yarn-eating) and listening to him scream-giggle-scream. The spider would mysteriously show up on mommy's leg... boo! Then it would be on the Play-doh table... surprise! Then it would be in Maren's hand... gotcha! We chased him through the house with it, convinced him it was gone, and then... aha!

This is a fun little game, and he seems to be a good sport about it. The reaction seems to be more giggling than screaming at this point. But here's what George and I are wondering: Where did he learn to be afraid of spiders? How does he know what this is and to be afraid of it? It seems like he'd have to have some sort of experience with spiders to know to be afraid of them. Otherwise, wouldn't this just look like a black plastic toy?

Whatever the explanation, it's a fun game. But one that's quickly losing its impact. He's already getting used to the spider, darn it. Pretty soon he's not going to be afraid of it at all... then what will we do for fun?

Thursday, January 27, 2005



Our littlest monkey is starting to pick up words and phrases like crazy. The current favorites are, "I tuk" ("I'm stuck") and, "Uh-oh, it boke," (pretty obvious there).

Today I got the sweetest email from George. Apparently Grant climbed up in his lap and said, "huk," and gave him a big hug. Complete with a pat on the back.

The good mommy part of me was so jealous that I couldn't even respond to the email. All I could think of was how wrong it was that George got to be there for this cherished, adorable moment and I got to read about it in an email. I felt guilt (momentarily) about working--just like a good mother is supposed to.

Then the bad mommy took over and felt glad that even though I missed this adorableness, I wouldn't have to deal with the aftermath of having one child on the lap while the other was wanting up. Because I'm certain that's how it went--that's how it always goes. I was happy to be away from the whining and the fit-throwing that come with a preschooler and a toddler.

I can't help but wonder if there are others like me out there: moms who prefer to come home at the end of the day instead of staying home with the kids. I love my children. I love them tremendously, but they are at an age that I don't do well with. I think it's good I can recognize that. I like to think of that as good parenting, recognizing my weaknesses.

I suppose I should feel guilty about not wanting to stay home with my small children, but I just can't. No matter how hard I try, the only guilt I feel is in not feeling guilty.

But I think what we do works for us. George works out of the home and keeps the kids home with him and I go to work. We are both doing what we are best suited to do. He does so well with the kids here at home. I don't know how he gets stuff done, but he does.

So, even though I didn't get to be here for the demand for a "huk," I got mine as soon as Grant got up from his nap. That little guy couldn't be any cuter.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005



Man, I've been a real barrel of monkeys lately. Sorry. The pendulum has just decided to get stuck in the not-so-fun area of my Disorder. I'm in a funk and, frankly, it's just not going away.

I wish I could feel free to write about what's bugging me, but having learned from Dooce what not to say, I just don't feel that I can. Suffice it to say that there are issues at work (who doesn't have work issues?) that are exacerbated by the Disorder that plagues me.

It's so irritating that free speech doesn't necessarily exist. You know? I would like nothing more than to really explain what it is that has me really, really down and what is keeping me from coming out of this depression (there, I said it), but I can't because I'm too worried about the possible consequences.

It's keeping me from enjoying the things I usually enjoy in my life: my family, reading, writing, sleeping, you name it. I have these intrusive thoughts that just creep in and snatch away any enjoyment I almost manage. It's getting to be tiresome and seems as though I'll never to be able to have another unfettered thought. It's exhausting.

I had an appointment with my psychiatrist yesterday and she gave me a new med to try to get rid of these thoughts. Hopefully I'll be back to my usual, peppery self soon.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

p. 975


So I'm working (for the second time) at National Board Certification. I didn't pass the first time. It wasn't even close. I'm pretty sure it's because I didn't pay close enough attention to the standards that the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (in my head that sounded like one of those booming announcers from Monday Night Football) has set for my particular area.

This time I will know those standards and be able to "cite" them and "elicit" intelligent discussion and "evoke" emotional connections using "prompts" with my "class," (all of which are defined in the standards). See... I'm already head and shoulders above last year's knowledge of the standards (which I glanced at enough to realize that it was a bunch of education-ese).

This morning I was reading through the standard that deals with learning environment and actually got something out of it. (What?! There's a reason they wanted me to read this stuff???) This standard talks about creating a classroom environment that is "caring, supportive, inclusive, challenging, democratic, ..." I had the revelation that I really don't create that environment as much as I'd like to think I do.

Sarcasm and irritability just really don't belong in a "supportive" and "caring" classroom. I do the other things and quite well, but "supportive" and "caring" are two qualities that I've always just sucked at. I'm just too damned snarky/bitchy/rude. Clearly this isn't something I can keep doing!

I think most of the kids like my teaching style but don't care for my personal style and this little bit of reading this morning helped to pinpoint exactly what it is about my personal style that they don't like. And why would they?!

(Yes, but why the hell is this one called "p. 975?")

This afternoon after doing some stuff around the house I took a nap. Mmm. Nap. It was delicious, except for my dream right at the end.

I dreamt I was in school but I was the student and the teacher was this lady who was somewhat nice, but kind of bitchy at times (sound familiar?) and who was very impatient (sound familar again?).

Now, here's where it gets weird. I was in my bed naked instead of in a desk like the rest of the students (in real life I was napping in pajamas). I can only assume that, in a Freudian sense, that symbolizes my sense of vulnerability (blah, blah, blah). But I was also having a hell of a time following this chick because, let's face it, beds are comfy! I wanted to sleep.

So she was looking for some ridiculous detail about a page in a book and asked me to tell her what was strange about the page in the book we were supposed to be on. Heh. I didn't even have mine open. She got all snotty with me (and then she passed gas really loudly but everyone was afraid to laugh) and pointed to the place in the table of contents where I was to go: "A Tale of Lincoln (not something that really exists that I know of) p. 256."

I got to p. 256 and looked and looked. I told her that I couldn't find the thing (whatever it was she was NOT giving any clues) she was looking for. Finally, she was just too irritated to wait anymore and she told the class in the most exasperated tone she could muster, "look at the top left corner of your book... what is the page number?" It was p. 975.

She had found a printing error in the book and was completely disgusted that we didn't all find it, too.

There are some comparisons here, but I refuse to draw them. Let's just say that this little life lesson has a little more "concrete evidence" than it did this morning.


Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Spastic No More


After watching the movie Garden State last night, which I highly recommend (wow, I can hear it flying off the shelves of the video stores), George commented to me that I used to be spastic like Sam in the movie. When we first met, he meant. He liked it. I think it's what drew him to me--my spastic-ness (spasticity?).

He didn't continue the conversation, but I got the feeling that he lamented for the days when life was simpler and his sweet, fairly simpler Georgie could do a little dance in the middle of the room without thinking twice (now it takes therapy sessions and Visteral and Topamax and... and...). There was a time when I was lighthearted and fun, but now I'm the other character in the movie.

The sad one.

I'm the one on so many meds that I'm a walking pharmacy. Of course, mine make a difference. Mine, unlike the character's, can't be so easily shaken. I don't have the easy out of just saying, "I don't think I'm going to take them anymore." I need them because when I don't take them it's worse.

So I'm the sad one, but the saddest part is that this sad Georgie is the improvement.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Writer's Block


I'm afraid that George has given me a case of writer's block. You'll see why in a few days when I reveal the new, fabulous, intimidatingly gorgeous look he's put together for me. Damned artist. I don't think I'll ever be able to write anything again because it won't be nearly as good as the site looks.

You'll see.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Tough Day for Georgie


Ugh. This has been one of those gut-wrenching, soul-searching days. God-damned snow and ice. No school today because Mother Nature decided it was best to imprison me with my thoughts, thanks.

I just have such a hard time with Maren and Grant at their current ages: 3 1/2 and 1 1/2. I still don't know why in the hell we thought it was such a fabulous fucking idea to have them two years apart--and so many people agreed (maybe they were just being polite, come to think of it). I don't do well at playing on the floor... OCD tends to get in the way of a good time with Play Doh, my god, it could get in the rug! And I want to reason with them, but they just look at me and laugh and plan their little coup d'etats.

I have spent today avoiding play situations, as I did most of my winter break. I love these children more than I can ever put into words, but I do not know how to play toddler games and feel anything other than incredibly uncomfortable. And today, when I CANNOT get out of the house and make up an excuse of an errand to run, I cannot escape that I am not a good toddler mommy.

I'm pretty sure that I'll be fabulous once they are in school, and I'm damned lucky that George is so great with them no matter what age they are. I can't wait for school and projects and homework and things I can relate to. But this stuff like smearing chocolate all over the afghan that mommy is making for auntie is not something that mommy can relate to, heh. At all. Mommy just cries and feels bad because she doesn't have the right script memorized for what to say when a nineteen-month old with chocolate-covered hands ruins something she's been working on for seven months.

(I still don't know how that little stinker got ahold of chocolate!)

I just hope that the roads can be cleared enough so that I can get back in the classroom tomorrow: it's so much easier to pretend that life is perfect there.

Saturday, January 01, 2005



My absolute favorite find (thanks George) in recent weeks is This is a great mood tracker that combines tongue-in-cheek humor with serious purpose. It is printable and has a diary feature. I LOVE THIS THING!

You can even synchronize your moods with other users and compare how your moods (etc.) are doing with the average user or with other individual users. Pretty cool.

(And it was made on a Mac.)