...for a different kind of girl

silent surburban girl releasing her voice, not yet knowing what all she wants to say about her life and the things that make it spin. do you have to be 18 to be here? you'll know when i know.

Monday, May 24, 2010

pioneers! o pioneers!

Do you ever imagine what it would have been like to be a pioneer?

Crossing the rugged terrain of this great nation's undeveloped land in a covered wagon led by a determined team of work horses!

Staking claim to new hope! Toiling the soil for life's rich bounty!

Hearing your children refer to you as 'Ma' (which might become a wee bit annoying the longer they do it if you are, in fact, a Pa)!

Possibly eating your loved one(s)(to the victor go the spoils) because a plague of grasshoppers destroyed your corn fields and sweet merciful Jesus, it's been a long winter!

Ah, yes, I confess, from time to time, my mind wanders to what it would be like to be a pioneer. The verdict? I WOULD BE A SUCKTASTIC PIONEER! Pioneers were made of heartier stock than I've ever had. They had to be to be able to entertain each other every night by candlelight after the chores had been done. Hell, some nights, my family members can barely stand the sight of each other, so kudos, pioneers! You win.

Additionally, my ability to survive the difficult living conditions of such a life hinge not on my ability to swing an ax, preserve vegetables, sew clothing for the entire family, or look awesome in a bonnet (none of which I can do, by the way), but instead rest solely on my general unhappiness over extreme temperature conditions. When it's cold, I'm bitchy. When it's hot, I'm whiny.

(and a little extra whiny if you tell me it's not necessarily the heat, but the humidity, which someone did first thing this morning when I got to work and it was approaching 90 degrees and I was sweating like a nun at a pornography convention)

Do you know what's fun to do when it's hot as hell outside? Turn on your central air conditioning and discover it doesn't work! Oh, modern conveniences, why do I take you for granted so?

That was Friday. As I write this, it's Monday night. The high temperature today was 97 degrees (shush about the heat index, kapeesh?). I'm this close to losing my mind. It would probably be gone completely by now, but I'm afraid finalizing the act would require more energy than I'm now capable of mustering up. Have you ever tried to get someone to come to your house on a Monday morning to fix your central air after the first taste of summer? Impossible! Everyone Tool Man called today either laughed at him or kept him on hold for so long (to laugh at him in secret) that he gave up. I even tried my patented "I'll cry on the phone and they'll feel sympathetic toward us!" approach, but heat inside the house made it impossible for me to muster up an ounce of moisture. If I don't get some sleep tonight, I might have to give myself up to the authorities tomorrow because I'm going to go homicidal on Tool Man.

Or I might simply fade away in my sleep. The average lifespan of a woman during pioneer times was 42, which is how old I am, so clearly, the cards aren't necessarily stacked in my favor.

Anyway, I was going to write a scintillating post about something or other, but the heat of my laptop on my thighs at this very moment is what I imagine it must be like to be burned alive and that coupled with the humid, god-forsaken temperature in my house, is like a giant bear hug from Satan. Toasty! So instead, I'm going to just drop a couple bombs on you and then go whine a bit more to Tool Man about how unbearable it is in here even though it's not his fault, but gah!
  • I got a free sample of deodorant in the mail today. How convenient! Also? Somewhat pointless (see above). I think the only thing that will get me through this heat smelling fresh is to be dipped in industrial grade plastic. Finally also? The deodorant has glitter in it! Wha-huh? I am but a simple girl (though not pioneer-grade simple)(microwave popcorn, you hear my heart thumpin' for you?), so to have shimmering deodorant is mystical to me. It's like my armpits got invited to a totally kick ass party and the rest of me is stuck at home because our invitation got lost in the mail. It's probably better off that way, really, because my armpits have a serious lack of self-control, and they'd probably end up strung out on Ecstasy and whoring themselves for pocket change and loveless sex before the month's over, and the rest of me is just trying to stay clean, man.
  • So LOST, huh? I may have actually used up all my tears watching it Sunday night. I slobbery bawled like a baby at the end. Claire and Charlie! Sawyer and Juliet! Desmond and anytime Desmond was on the screen! Now I want to go back and watch it all from the very beginning, and I want to make Tool Man do the same. He joined in the middle of the fourth season and immediately proceeded to tell me everything he thought the island was and I was all "Hush your mouth, latecomer! I've been here since DAY ONE! You don't get a say in this!" In the end, however, we were both pretty right about it, and so was almost everyone else in the world who watched the show. Still frickin' awesome, though!
  • And yet, this morning, as I was taking my extremely cold shower, I got to thinking and was struck by the possibility that LOST wasn't so much a morality tale of Shakespearean heights, but was actually an incredibly long video for the song Jet Airliner by Steve Miller Band! Think about it! That's why I provided you a clip to the video! You know what, screw that! Just read the lyrics. I've highlighted the lyrics that apply DIRECTLY to the theme of LOST, and as you can see, it's almost the ENTIRE SONG! Either this is the most excellent long con I've ever experienced (tip o' the hat to Sawyer) or a frighteningly eerie coincidence that I can not seem to shake You be the judge:

Leavin' home, out on the road
I've been down before
Ridin' along in this big ol' jet plane
I've been thinkin' about my home
But my love light seems so far away
And I feel like it's all been done
Somebody's tryin' to make me stay
You know I've got to be movin' on

Oh, Oh big ol' jet airliner
Don't carry me too far away
Oh, Oh big ol' jet airliner
Cause it's here that I've got to stay

Goodbye to all my friends at home
Goodbye to people I've trusted
I've got to go out and make my way
I might get rich you know I might get busted
But my heart keeps calling me backwards
As I get on the 707 (or flash backward to 1974 - almost the same thing!)
Ridin' high I got tears in my eyes
You know you got to go through hell
Before you get to heaven
(See!? SEE?!)

Big ol' jet airliner
Don't carry me too far away
Oh, Oh big ol' jet airliner
Cause it's here that I've got to stay

Touchin' down in New England town
Feel the heat comin' down
I've got to keep on keepin' on
You know the big wheel keeps on spinnin' around
And I'm goin' with some hesitation
You know that I can surely see
That I don't want to get caught up in any of that
Funky shit goin' down in the city

Big ol' jet airliner
Don't carry me too far away
Oh, Oh big ol' jet airliner
Cause it's here that I've got to stay

Oh, Oh big ol' jet airliner
Don't carry me too far away
Oh, Oh big ol' jet airliner
Cause it's here that I've got to stay
Yeah, yeah yeah, yeah

Big ol' jet airliner
Don't carry me too far away
Oh, Oh big ol' jet airliner
Cause it's here that I've got to stay

Oh, Oh big ol' jet airliner
Carry me to my home
Oh, Oh big ol' jet airliner
Cause it's there that I belong
  • Remember awhile back when I was all "I think Train's Drops of Jupiter is the greatest songs ever written"? Yeah, well, still holds true. However, over the weekend, I developed a raging case of fever for Mumford & Sons and the band's debut album, Sigh No More. I'm going to pause right here to allow you time to go purchase it. Now open it, listen to it, take it out of your CD player or yank the ear buds off your iPod and now lick it because you want to show this CD some hardcore love and licking it is the only way you know how to at the moment. First, I suggest you make sure your earbuds are clean, though. Are they? Good, then lick them again. This is beautifully raucous folk music that makes me want to get crazy drunk, lift up my skirts, and kick up my legs in some sort of crazed form of sweaty Riverdance...and honestly, because I'm already dripping with sweat AND listening to this CD, all I need now is the getting drunk part! I'm going to give you a little taste of them from their debut single, Little Lion Man. Listen to it and then tell me you think it's awesome and thank me for bringing them into your life after you buy the CD. If you don't like it, lie to me. Wouldn't be the first time someone has (that one's for you, my beloved former paramours!)

pssst - Before you click, you might ask "Fadkog, is there a pretty strong curse word repeated several times in this song that I should know about before clicking 'play'?" Good question. I'm glad you asked, because yep, there is, which is why you're going to want to have your car windows rolled all the way down and the stereo cranked to 11 when you listen to this while driving to work one day. Enjoy!

So much for short posts, eh? I'd write more, but my keyboard, much like me, has started to melt. It's going to be a long summer, friends. Brace yourselves.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

V is for well, this is kind of awkward...

I was at work yesterday at the bookstore, throwing down the kind of high quality customer service that helps me pocket an enviable 25 cent raises every review period, when I spied a pair of young boys scanning the shelves. With lightening speed, I closed in on them and offered my assistance. The older boy, who fell somewhere between the ages of 10 and 12, asked for several titles, and my quest to find them began. While checking inventory and searching the children's department, I made the kind of small talk that results in the usual grunts and monosyllabic declarations I've come to expect from young boys, but I didn't let that discourage me. Eye on the 25 cent prize, friends! Armed with several books, I turned back to the boy to hand them to him when I noticed a large white bumper sticker-style sticker with a heart and large red letters slapped across his chest.

"Huh," I thought, my eyes quickly flitting over the sticker. "This young boy's love for Virginia is so great he felt it necessary to share that with the world by means of a large sticker on the front of his shirt."

Now, I know Virginia is for lovers, but this seemed an unusual declaration for such a young boy, so I took another quick peek.

"Oh! Angina! It appears this young boy 'hearts' angina!"

If Virginia confused me, you can imagine how odd I thought it was that a boy between the ages of 10 and 12 would be a fan of a chest pain that may be a symptom of coronary heart disease, but what do I know. I'm old enough to actually
HAVE an angina, so I'm probably not hip to all the cool happenin' scenes kids are into these days.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I stepped closer to the boy to better hear him spell a word in the title of a book I'd never heard of and was able to get a closer look at his giant bumper sticker. Suddenly, I felt like I was in a classic episode of
The Electric Company with Morgan Freeman. Do you remember the silhouette blends they'd do on that show to teach the parts of speech? No? Well, here's a reminder for you.

As my eyes locked upon the sticker, one half of my brain said
"va," the other half said "gina" and the two came together to say "vagina."




The kid's giant sticker slapped upon the front of his shirt didn't read "I 'heart' Virginia!" nor did it read "I 'heart' Angina!" It declared for all the world that this young boy who fell somewhere between the ages of 10 and 12, hearts vagina.

"I 'heart' Vagina!"

Exclamation point!


Listen, I'm no Nellie Olsen. I'm nobody's idea of a prude. Truth be told, I, too, heart vagina. So, so much! In fact, I might possibly be one of vagina's biggest fans! Why, if vagina had a fan club, I'd sign up for the exclusive membership just so I could have the official t-shirt, autographed photo, and special members-only holiday message I'd listen to while penning some sweet vagina fan fiction I'd keep tucked away in my Trapper Keeper. Here's the rub, though. I'd probably only wear that t-shirt when I was at home. Alone. I'd not even wear it out to grab a gallon of milk if all my other clothes were filthy, and I definitely wouldn't let me sons, who fall between the ages of 8 and 12, borrow it. Ever. And if I had daughters, they'd not leave the house wearing a sticker that declared their love for vagina's more extroverted friend, the penis. Seriously, would any of us? Because that's what I've been wondering all day since encountering this kid.

"No worries!"
you might be saying. "You're not this kid's mother, so don't dwell on it!" Good point. In fact, I could take a cue from the kid's mother, who, oh, yes, was also present and was sucked back toward the boys and I by the vacuum created in the atmosphere when my jaw dropped to the ground after reading the sticker. I looked to her. Then I looked to the sticker. Then I looked back to her, and back to the sticker, my mind racing with silent 'mom speak,' hoping she'd pick up on my silent question. "Hey, do you realize your kid has a love letter to the secret garden pinned to his chest?" and she'd say something, like "Oh, that? I know, but kids, huh! What are you going to do?"

She apparently had no issue with her son's declaration of love, and that's fine, really. Parenting is hard enough without taking on all the battles, but I wonder what you'd think. Everyone I've mentioned this to today expressed a variety of opinions. My own 12 year old son told me he didn't think it was cool, which means I don't have to worry about him stealing my imaginary fan club t-shirt (it's one of those sweet baseball-style ones, too, with the word 'vagina' spelled out in glittery rainbow decal letters, by the way), but how about you?


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

'don't you neva, eva pull my leva...'

Act I

A quiet suburban family dwelling. It's Sunday morning. A mother, looking radiant upon emerging from a restful evening's sleep, descends the stairs and settles upon the couch among her two children and her husband and awaits the glory that is not typically heaped upon her on most Sunday mornings, but this one is different, for it is (cue the heavenly choir) Mother's Day.

Oldest child (a handsome, strapping, preteen type) - "I have made you this gift and this card." He smiles and hands her a carefully wrapped package and delicate envelope.

(the Mother smiles warmly at her son and remarks at how the perfumed magazine insert shoved inside the envelope makes the card smell of flowers. She glances around the house quickly, hoping to spy some actual flowers and finds none, but that's a small detail)

The mother (voice cracking at the sentiment) recites from the card - "Mom, I love you. You are the best mom in the entire world. There is no one who could ever replace you. Ever. I love you with all my heart. Happy Mother's Day!"

(the Mother then clutches the card to her chest, where her heart, the vessel that delivered life-giving magic in utero, beats purely for her angelic preteen child. She gives the preteen boy a look that seems to say "How did I ever get so lucky?" and "You are an amazing child. Mothers of daughters, please, consider how blessed you would be to have this kind, thoughtful, quiet boy as your future son-in-law and submit your inquiries now.")

Mother - "I love you, son!"

Preteen boy - "I love you more!"

The pair hug.

:: fade to black::

Act II

Tuesday evening in the suburban family dwelling. The quiet that typically permeates the environment has been compromised by loud voices which are later punctuated by the slamming of doors and the introduction of loud, dramatic sighs.

::lights go up::

Preteen boy (clutching cell phone to his chest so unsuspecting friend on the other end may bear witness to the drama about to be unleashed) - "Dylan wants to know...

Mother (busy doing many mother-like things that consume a great deal of her time every evening, does not look up at the boy) - "No."

Preteen boy - "...if I can come over and hang out."

Mother - "Not tonight."

Preteen boy - "Why?"

Mother - "Because I said no."

Preteen boy - "Later?"

Mother - "Is later still today?"

Preteen boy - "Wha?"

Mother (uncorking the first of many sighs that will be exhaled between the pair) - "If I said no now and later is still today, the answer is still no."

Preteen boy - "Why?"

(much discussion and sighing is exchanged between the two, and continues far, far, far longer than the Mother should even allow, but oddly, despite playing this role for nearly 13 years, the Mother always seems to forget the part of this job known as 'Picking One's Battles' and declaring herself the victor, and so the lights go back up on the pair, who have now raised their voices to one another)


Mother - "I guess you've already forgotten about last Friday night and how I gave you $20 and a short lecture on wearing your jacket because it was cold that night so you and Dylan could go to the baseball game?"

Preteen boy - "Yeah, well, whatever. That was last week!!"

Mother - "Perhaps all your memories of have been erased, which would explain why it is we now must work on a 3D model of a virus assigned to you LAST MONDAY that's due tomorrow in your science class, by the way, and thus, you don't recall me driving you to Dylan's house after school yesterday and two days before that and letting you stay there until after 9 p.m., because you were, and I quote, 'having fun.'"

Preteen boy - "Can't I just go over for a little bit?"

Mother - "No."

Preteen boy - "Well, then, can I get on the Wii..."

Mother - "No."

Preteen boy - "...and play 'Call of Duty' with Dylan?"

Mother - "Seriously?"


Mother - "3D model of a damn virus due TOMORROW!!!"


Mother - "I'm sorry your life is so awful. I suggest you stop rolling your eyes at me. Ours is a people with weak optic nerves, and I don't want to be the one you blame for your poor eye sight when you're even older."

Preteen boy - "I don't even know what you're talking about!!!!! GOD!!!!"

Mother (muttering herself now) - "It's a damn good thing YOU'RE not supposed to make a 3D model of an eyeball...why, I oughtta..."

(the Mother looks to the Father, who makes his quiet entrance from stage left midway through the discussion between the mother and preteen boy. He ignores her glances and requests for backup, which eventually comes as no surprise to the Mother, for the Father gave her a Mother's Day card that read "Happy Mother's Day from the one who got you into this whole mess in the first place!")

Preteen boy - "I just wanna...."

Mother - "I. Said. NO!"

(preteen boy stomps around the house, muttering words of unknown origin. Many texts and phone calls are exchanged between him and Dylan, the offstage friend. The Mother imagines the preteen boy spewing vile words of how awful she is. She knows the boy's spelling is atrocious, and she shakes a bit thinking about how his texts likely read "I height her!" rather than the more widely allowed "I h8 her!!" She thinks of the Mother's Day card the boy gave her only two days ago and repeats the words to herself - all marvelously and properly spelled and written with care - and smiles fondly, if not a bit sadly. The greatest, most irreplaceable mother in the world hides her smile from the preteen boy so as not to make him think she is making fun of him and the potentially world ending catastrophe he feels he's now going through.)

Preteen boy - "I hate you!"

Mother - "I wouldn't have it any other way."

::fade to black::

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Sunday, May 02, 2010

this is probably why they say 'all's well that ends well'

For 30 terrifying minutes last Friday night, my youngest son was missing. My 8 year old, who less than two weeks earlier had, in his mind, victoriously severed the last flimsy fragment of the chord I felt connected us when he burst away from me and into his first solo run for the corner bus stop - was not within our fold.


For 30 minutes.

It's amazing how long 30 minutes can seem.

If you were to visit us on any Friday night, you'd see this one started like every Friday night here. My oldest son spent the quick ride home from school on his cell phone, pecking out plans for the night. After a quick dash home, I chauffeured him to a neighboring suburb, where friends waited to play virtual and real adventure games. Knowing he was safely embedded in another family's home, I rushed back to my own to be there for my youngest son's return from school.

As is his routine, my son hung up his backpack, jumped on my lap for a quick round of hugs, then ran out the door to play with his neighborhood friend who lives just across the street on the block adjacent to ours. Yes, the bus stop was a big step for me. So was letting him cross the street. We're making these strides, but in all honesty, the boy's entire world only stretches as far as that. When he's there, I can peek out the front door and see them playing in the yard. I've visited with and exchanged phone numbers with the friend's mother. Every night, the boys play together. After school. After dinner. After begging for a few more minutes for fun.

With the boys busy, my husband and I embarked on separate tasks. From my vantage point in the front of the house, I had a clear view of my son and his friend racing up our driveway on their scooters around 5:45 p.m., and then inside and up the stairs to my son's room, where I could hear them waging Bakugan battles and singing along to the radio. In addition to his after school routine, my son now has a habit of always turning his radio on when he's in his room, which always makes me smile.

Thirty minutes later, the radio was off and the boys raced down the stairs on their way back outside. "We're going back to Lucas'!" my son cried, and I waved to them while chatting with a friend on the phone. I finished the call several minutes later, then sat down to close my eyes for a few minutes.

Around 7 p.m., I opened my eyes when I heard Lady Gaga's Telephone playing from my son's room, and I smiled again because I know he likes that song. I hadn't heard the front door open while I'd been resting, but thought little of it. Of the two boys, our youngest is the one who always remembers not to slam the door, so I assumed he'd slipped in and went straight to his room when he saw me and thought I was napping. I yelled down the split level to my husband to ask if our son had come home, but again thought little of it when he replied he hadn't seen him. Neither of us thought much of it. I got up to explore the kitchen cupboards for dinner ideas as a new song started on the upstairs radio. My husband joined me to debate dinner, and I yelled upstairs for our son to come down and give his opinion, but he didn't answer. His music's not that loud, I thought, and I yelled his name again, louder. Still nothing, including no worry passing between my husband or I. We figured he was still down at his friend's.

I stayed home while my husband went to retrieve our son. Two minutes later, he returned and said Lucas' mother told him he'd left their house 20 minutes earlier. Honestly, when he said that, I know we were quietly thinking "It's OK," and "I'm sure it's fine," but the tiniest seed in the worst weed and pest-infested garden of doubt had just been planted in our minds. I dashed upstairs, calling our son's name again over the music, while my husband went next door to see if he'd stopped on his way home to play with the neighbor boy. A second later, he met me back in the house to say that the neighbors weren't home, that our son wasn't there.

Those were the first seconds in the 20 minute window my son had created. We still had 30 minutes ahead of us.

Thirty minutes that instantly felt like 30 hours that morphed into 30 days, then fell into 30 weeks, and finally forever. I ran downstairs and back up yelling his name now, wondering - hoping - why, in his entire life, he had chosen this day to hide from us. I imagined him giggling quietly under his bed while I searched the house, preparing to laugh at me when he emerged because I kept throwing closet doors open to look for him. Knowing, though, that he wasn't in the house. Knowing, also, that I needed to stay calm, but not being able to stop the tears I could feel burning my eyes.

I burst out to the driveway and met my husband, and begged him to check with our new neighbors - whose names we we didn't even know for sure until later that evening - to see if he'd gone there. "They have a dog!" I yelled, hoping he'd seen it outside and wandered over to pet it. The dog barks constantly and has been a source of annoyance in our house, but if my son had decided to show it some love, I decided in that moment that I'd never speak ill of the animal again. We both knew it wasn't possible, but my husband went over, knocked on their door, and asked if they'd seen our son, and I began knocking on the doors of our other neighbors to ask the same. None of them had seen him. All of them came outside. One of them knelt down beside me when I went to my knees on the sidewalk and began repeating "Oh, my God," while trying to catch my breath.

Because that's all I could do. Repeat "Oh, my God," and hope that it was enough of a choked prayer that things would be fine. That's what you want to think as you watch your spouse jump in his truck, race down the street, and then hesitate at the stop sign, unsure of which direction to turn because, again, your child's world is so relatively small that you can't imagine where he might be. Repeating "Oh, my God" is what helps push back all the dark thoughts that try to claw their way to the surface while a relative stranger and another woman you wave to as you pass each other on your street each morning kneel down next to you, touch your shoulder, and tell you everything is going to be fine, but ask if you know what your child is wearing.

Sky blue basketball shorts, a white t-shirt with a drawing of Michael Jordan going up for a lay up on the front looking bloody and battered because at lunch, a classmate pushed into him in the dump line and he'd gotten ketchup all over the front, but he thought it looked cool, he said, while smiling a smile that's missing his left top incisor that fell out last week during recess. I knew what he was wearing, and it killed me to think that I might have to call the police and tell them.

I called my husband instead. He'd told me to stay near home in case our son showed up while he was searching for him, and I wanted to hear him tell me he'd found him. Instead, I could hear in his voice his growing concern as he ticked off the different parks and streets he'd driven through. "Oh, my God." It's all I could say. "It's going to be OK," my neighbors repeated.

Fifteen minutes later, after I'd tore through my house a third time and circled the yard, and pushed back more dark thoughts, my cell phone rang. "I found him," my husband said. "He found him," I told my neighbors. "Oh, my God, he found him." And I cried a few minutes more as the stress of the half hour forced its way out of my system. It was purely by chance that my husband caught a glimpse out of the corner of his eye of a small group of boys running through the backyards of several houses four blocks from our home and saw the sky blue hue of our son's shorts bringing up the end of the pack. He mapped out the location, found the house, and then found our son playing baseball with a group of boys we didn't know.

When we got him home, we sat our son down and talked to him about what had happened and how scared his wandering away had made us. He was very stoic and quiet, but the look on his face made it clear to us he understood why we reacted the way we did, and while he wasn't happy about it, he said he understood why he'd be playing in our yard only for the next several days. Then I made him hug me at least 20 times, endure even more kisses, and then complete an elaborate pinkie swear routine wherein we promised nothing like this would ever happen again. Because there's no way I could do that again. Ever.

I don't have an ending to this story other than the happy one we were given. I know these kinds of tales sometimes don't get that benefit. But oh, my God, I'm just glad ours did.