The Eyes of the Beholders

I live in a house with three people who pee standing up, and I am convinced that being forced to look at male genitalia every day for the length and breadth of your life inhibits your ability to notice other things. I think this is a safety mechanism built into the human male brain, because the best practical joke God ever pulled really was making something so useful and generally pleasant to be around so totally fucking strangepork bizarro-looking.

This is why I seldom if ever get upset when they don't notice my new haircuts.


Maybe they just can't see in sepia, I dunno.

They way I see it, they can't see things because all that weiner all the time has blinded them slightly. You know how they say new mothers get dumb so their brains can focus on the babies? I think boys get blind so they can deal with being forced to look at dinglehoppers for the rest of their lives. And since I made 2/3 of those franks-n-beans, I can't really complain that they don't notice that I dropped five pounds or got a $300 haircut that looks exactly like the old one (and actually, I'm pretty thankful one of them didn't notice that).

One of them will be a teenager in 10 weeks and one of them is in the throws of tweendome and one of them has been contractually bound to me for the better part of 16 years so at this point, their job is to look through me until they want something anyway, and when they DO want something, it's rarely every from my face. Well, not from 2/3 of them.

And this is why I had a daughter.

Because for as long as I've had her, I've had red, plastic, cat-eyeish glasses. I've had only two pairs, and if you could tell the difference in them, you were too close.

Me and 3of3
Me. Not Squared

I got new glasses last week.


When my husband saw me that night, he was like, "::cocks head to side:: hmmm ::grins, kisses my forehead::" which is man for, "I'm supposed to notice something here but I just went pee and everything's kind of a blur; please don't hurt me".

My sons came home from school and elbow-checked me on their way to eat everything that wasn't stapled down and have been screaming something about kill all the aliens die die until you're dead die into the headset of the XBox360 since. They have yet to look at me above the oven mitts.

But my daughter? I picked up her up from school that afternoon and before she even left her classroom, I saw her pointing and shouting through the window of her class door, "MOMMA, YOU LOOK SO BOOOTIFUL IN YOUR NEW GWASSES!" Because girls notice these things. Because we pee sitting down like civilized human beings who want to play dress up with whatever the last thing you replaced was.

You Show Me Yours...

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away....

I tried to figure out how long we've been doing this thing, and I *think* it's in it's 5th year? Not sure. Ask Rude Cactus if you really have to's all his fault, anyways.

Last year, I was all like Delurk! and I'll add you to my blogroll! and then right that very week, my blogroll service shut down. You ever try to re-build a five year old blogroll? Yeah.

So this year, I'm not going to make any grandiose, sweeping gestures that I can't follow through on, but in the interest of getting you to out yourself, I'll out myself a little bit.

You know how they say everything's bigger in Texas? Yeah.

Four years ago, that said a significantly smaller number.

Right after we moved to Texas, I was like Hmm, I really have to do something about my ass. So I thought about what I ate and made better choices and a year later, I'm about 20 pounds heavier than I was. So fuck my life.  I bought that 30 Day Shred bullshit and here's the official review:

See, I was that girl in grade school who sat in the bleachers during gym, looking all sullen and pale with huge dark circles under her eyes and lips that were the most subtle shade of blue while you did push ups and sit ups and jumping jacks and ran miles because I have two holes in my heart, but I have the kind of two holes in my heart that, in 1975, led my doctors to say to my parents, "well, you can fix the holes, or you can just wait and see. If she makes it to 14, you should be okay" and I have the kind of two parents who didn't have enough money to gamble, but they sure did have enough kids to.

Don't worry...I totally made it to 14.

But I couldn't take gym class ever. So I'd read or do math or sort books in the library or get the shit beat out of me on the playground because I was the kind of kid who would use her spare time to read or do math or sort books in the library and then one day, that goddamn Presidential Fitness Test would come along and good old Ronny Reagan didn't give to shits what my doctor's note said, I was doing a set of chin-ups, so help him god.

And so, for about a week every year, the gym teacher would make me take gym class so that I could pass that test. And that is that exact sort of pain I feel like right now, except I asked for this.

So anyway, I'm officially a #shredhead and I'm still minding what I eat and I quit smoking for real, I think, and I learned at least seven new swear words in the 20 minutes I worked out with Jillian Michaels so I'm still getting a decent education during PE.

Alright, your turn. Delurk away....

January 7th

Five Star FridayNineteen years ago today, I held a green kitchen telephone receiver to my ear and listened to the world end.

You never realize that the world is going to end when it does. The day it happens is never one of the days that birds decide to see what all this 'gravity' nonsense is all about. The day it happens will be a Tuesday, and it will start like any other day; you wake up in the silence of blackened pre-dawn, stagger across cold, hardwood floors to a colder, harder tiled bathroom. You rinse everything that needs rinsing, find your way to the kitchen, mix yourself a very tall, very caffeinated drink that will ensure you will always remain very short and very caffeine dependent, and you make your way out into the real world.

You stand at the bus stop in a coat that is too thin, with shoes that have no socks, and you watch the twinkling stars begin their daily retreat, as morning threatens to break. You hop on the bus and rest your head against the aluminum window frame, still frozen from the chill of the night's air. You ride south and ever so slightly east, watching the blazing sun  in all its staggering enormity tear its way out of the water that covers the horizon as far as you can see.

This reminds you to recite your blessings. Your life happens on the very outermost edge of the world; there art thou blessed. You survive each day to witness a close-up of the mightiest star of all being re-born every morning; there art thou blessed. You have woken up again, only to have truest of beauty burned into your eyes and your heart and your mind, again; there art thou blessed.

You arrive at your destination; a high school you've only recently entered, having been forceably removed from your previous one some two months previous. You still use the map given to you on your first day of admission, not having had enough time to learn unfamiliar halls and unfamiliar faces. You meander through your first few hours of your second semester of your second school of your junior year of high school. You find your way to your drafting class, which will last until the end of the school day. You busy yourself with Buick engine blueprints for the auto department (or maybe it will be the Boeing engine this day, for aviation) and when you hear the door swing open, you hardly notice. Until you have to. Until you're forced to accept that she just walked in the door, again.

You don't know why she's come here, but you're certain it can't be good. The last time she walked in a drafting shop door you spent the next eight weeks alone in a dark room waiting for her to come and put you both out of your misery. She tried on occasion, but she is weaker than you realize now, nineteen years later, and besides...truancy officers have an uncanny knack of catching up with everyone, and so you were shoved back into a slightly rearranged world.

And here she is again.

And suddenly, you can't breath. You can't remember how you ever learned how to breath. You taste blood, and you think it's rage but it's actually your blood pouring from the insides of your mouth that you've bitten straight through. You run to a water fountain and when the water hits the back of your throat, you heave into the fountain.

You see her behind the glass doors of your instructor's office, and when she knows you've seen her, when she is sure that you know that she knows everything there is about you, that you will never, ever have a sanctuary, she rises, shakes your instructor's hand, and leaves. She doesn't even acknowelege your presence in the room; she simply walks out the door with a laugh.

You've never seen her willingly laugh before.

You run. You run as fast as you can, as far as you can. You come to a phone booth, you enter it and you call the only person you can think of to call and you tell him everything. You tell him every detail you've tried to protect him from for over a decade. You tell him everything you've been too confused, too afraid and too ashamed to admit out loud. You tell him you are afraid, and he tells you to carry on about your business, silently, and pack. He tells you he will fix this.

He is two thousand miles away from you at the moment.

You carry on about your day, gather your belongings, hop back on the bus, ride north and slightly west, then begin the walk back to where it all is all about to come to a screetching halt. Your too-thin coat and your socks-less feet don't bother you anymore, because, you've learned, fear is the single greatest source of heat in the universe, and you think that the sun must be terribly afraid of something (probably heights) and this comforts you slightly as you walk into that door and everything you know awaits you.

You can create heat where there is none; You are as powerful as the sun.

She is still laughing when she sees you, a condescending laughter that is sickening to hear, doubly so when aimed at your head. She laughs because she knows she has you; you are terrified and she is as unpredictable as the weather.

The barometric pressure is dropping all around you. There isn't enough air in this room for the both of you. One of you isn't going to make it out of here whole.

And one of us didn't. I'd argue that neither of us did, in hindsight, but that is simply me romanticizing the effect that the loss of a daughter would have on a mother. I wouldn't know because as far as I am aware, she's not spoken of me since that day, when I sat on a green, kitchen wall phone like they don't make anymore and listened to my mother discard me.

She told my father he had 48 hours to collect his trash, and he told me to pack quickly. She told my father she didn't know what she might do to me if I wasn't gone by Thursday, and he told her he knew exactly what he'd do to her if she did. They talked logistics that I couldn't hear over the screaming in my brain. We all hung up, and I crawled through the kitchen, into the living room, behind her chair and up to my room. I packed everything I could carry into the only luggage I had, my school backpack and two plastic grocery bags. That night she screamed at me from the bottom of the stairs, "You can never come back. Your brother can come back, but you never can. There will not be one trace of your existence in this house when you leave."

And I've never spoken to her since. I burned everything of mine I could burn, I sliced or tore or cut the rest and threw it all in the dumpster outside our front door. Sixteen years of my life was buried alive in that dumpster, and I've spent the past 19 years trying to ignore its screaming.

Internal Snooze Button

Waking up a 10 year old boy before noon on the last day of winter break is a lot like talking to a toilet. I can't blame him, though; I'm fighting this whole Reset bullshit pretty hard myself.

The nice thing about living in places like Denver or Vancouver is that you get heaps of snow falling down all around your life, melting away and taking everything you don't like with it. You get to watch nature do the thing you wish you could, silently and effortlessly. It's slightly inspiring, if you're the sort of person willing to find inspiration. And if you're not stuck on Colfax surrounded by of fourteen foot walls of inspiration.

We don't get a whole lot of snow in Houston, and I've found that it's harder here than anywhere else I've lived to hit reset on anything, because nothing here really resets all that much. My plantain trees are dead, but other than that, it doesn't look a whole lot different outside than it did 70 degree ago. There are still roses defying my many attempts to slaughter them growing, my mums are still shockingly alive yellow, I don't have the external prompt of snowfall or a en masse temperature drop or a first bloom to kickstart me into anything.

You know that smell in the air that makes you say, "Mmm, today would be a fine day to open the windows and spring clean the shit out of everything"? It smells like that here in December. And August.

But just like jet lag messes up your internal clock and makes it nearly impossible for you to be right for a few days, living in the land of perpetual summer is jacking with all of us, making us seek refuge in the only place you can when winter's dye job has bled all over the rest of the sky, staining everything in unintentional blue, when the night lingers too long and cut's into day's turn at the mic...the business end of your softest blanket in the poofiest corner of your couch.

For the past two weeks, we've wrapped ourselves up tight inside a cocoon of the status quo we want so badly to maintain, because it smells like Downy and soft dreams. We've hit snooze each time the year's responsibilities, obligations, demands and potential have buzzed around our dreaming heads and we fell in love with the fireplace and the Christmas lights and each other all over again.

And tomorrow, the debt we owe that clock is going to come screaming down on us.

Tomorrow it's back to school, back to work, back to prompt dinners and rationed television and orchestrated lives. Tomorrow we forge into a new year headfirst, like it or not, and find out if we stored enough up in our recesses to see us through until spring. Tomorrow we start out on a new path, one that we hope will lead us to better math grades or a high G or the courage to take our own advice and write until we get good at it again. Either way, tomorrow morning, we're waking up.

Throwing Winter

The vitreous blue glaze of winter's light fuses against the raw textures of dormant lives. Our porous souls are sealed against the onslaught of winter's desecrations as we brace for the hibernation of our outstretched aspirations. The ambition that slams itself against the shores of our yearning - orchestrating dreams that throb and ache with desire for the new - is quelled by the slowing of the elements, life's gradual crystallization into gleamingly masculine stasis.

Time drags itself across the plains of this barren landscape, fighting to slouch another pace forward into the assault of winter's air. The whole of creation is penetrated by jagged blue melancholy, seeping through the imperfections of our shells and invading our bodies like an awkward lover, all fingers and tongues fumbling towards our dark places, deep inside the recesses where we've hidden away our fires.

But we do not all sleep. We do not all hoard our flames in secret chambers. Those forgotten and dismissed, the discarded remnants of something once grand and impenetrable lay hidden in plain slight, shattering the glassy blue haze of winter's long night with a crimson chorus screaming one universal truth, that there is nothing left to lose, and everything to gain if you only try.

Winter Berries