Yin And Yang

If you know me at all, if you have even one shred of respect for me, do not go read this post.  Otherwise, have at it.  I should be ashamed of myself....but I'm not.

On a completely pure note that would make even Jesus smile, my good friend Kori has a shiny new, gorgeous, and deliciously ironic new dot com. There are a few tiny details to work out, but please go welcome her to the world of the big kids and tell her what a fucking fantastic job Judith Shakes did on her design.

See, there I go with the fucking first thing in the morning. Le'sigh.  The BlogHer Vancity meetup is at 1pm today, and it's 10:21am right now, and I apparently have to go wash my mouth out with soap before this thing.  So, yeah, happy Saturday.  And thank god I don't have Irish Spring soap in the house.  Worse than a Newport, that.

So I'm Sayin' You Have A Chance

My husband hates tattoos.

Correction: My husband loathes tattoos.

So naturally, one day I left what was at the time our 1of1 with his godmother and scampered off to the tattoo parlor up the street from me, and walked out an hour later with a couple o' fish in the middle of my back. Because I'm a thoughtful and considerate wife.

And it only goes to say that a few years later, when we were officially done having kids because two was plenty for anyone, I'd leave a little early on my way to go see my kids in their Christmas play, at church, and stop at the other tattoo shop up the street and get a big ass arm band with my whole family tree on it. Because it's not like God's going to forgive me at this point anyway.

And just for the record, when you do shit like that, God smites thee and he smites thee hard. By fucking up your whole family tree tattoo with a shiny little new branch two weeks later. Which, ironically enough, turned out to be pretty fucking awesome, so suck on that, God.

But I still can't find anyone who'll add her or her godfather to it. Bygones.

And then, having been glared at and mumbled about under my husband's breath for a few years, I wised up and took the kids out to "run errands" one day and that is when they got the distinct pleasure of passing out when they saw the needle the lady pulled out to stick a hoop through my nose. But at least it wasn't a tattoo.

Turns out, he hates nose-rings even more than tattoos. Who'da thunk it?

A few weeks ago he gave me an extended sigh and a demonstrative eye roll when he asked, "You're getting another fucking tattoo in Chicago, aren't you?" And I told him I wasn't. And I'm not getting a tattoo at BlogHer; I'm getting three. So if you were ever thinking of asking me out, I'd wager that by the first week of August he'll have kicked me to the curb, and your window may just open.

Or he'll still love me just the way I am, and we'll live happily, and doodily, ever after.

Either way, since a whole mess of us have been talking about getting tattoos in Chicago, I made a few phone calls and I sent a few emails and I managed to pull together a little sumpin' sumpin' for those of us who like to tempt fate and there's a little something for the rest of you who would nevereverever or who aren't going to make it to BlogHer in July.

And due to the contract that comes with my ads, you've got to follow this link to my dumb review blog for the juicy details, which involve cheap booze and a whole mess of free stuff....

Here, There and Everywhere

I'm posting here to tell you I'm not posting here because I haven't finished editing my pictures yet and I have a post up at Canada Moms Blog and I have access to a metric shitton of free Dreyer's ice cream to give away at my review blog and I just spent the past hour on the phone with a bunch of kick ass bloggers and ohmygodItalkedto KatieCouric talking about children and the recession, and suddenly my little day at the skatepark seems pretty damn unimportant to talk about, and perhaps a bit self-indulgent.

Oh, and it's American Idol's last performance tonight, so I've got to put on my random hat for my Mamapop recap tomorrow.  

And I'm trying to organize the Vancouver area's Pre-BlogHer get together.  Because they've asked me to be the BlogHer 09 conference liaison up here.  Because, apparently, they hate you.

And that official turned into a post.  Free ice cream?  Nice.  Mounties?  Oddly hot.  BlogHer meet-up?  Way fun.  Katie Couric and her work for the children affected by the recession?  Yeah, start there.  That actually matters.


I have two tattoos and 19 piercings.  My husband hates them, every one.  Most of the piercings happened before I met him and involved me, a safety pin, a bathroom sink and a heavy dose of neurosis.  The rest of it involved some very sneaky dealings.

One evening, many years ago, baby 1of3's' godmother watched him for a few hours for me while The Donor was at work, and when he came home, I had a tattoo on my back.  He was less than thrilled.

I know it's a crap picture. You try taking a picture of your own back.

One Sunday afternoon, the boys and I piled into the car and went out "to run errands."  We came home that afternoon with two cases of post-traumatic-stress-disorder and one nose ring.  He didn't look at me for a week.


One night many years ago, we decided after long negotiation that we weren't having any more children and The Donor gave me the okay to get my tubes tied.  The following Saturday night, while the two boys were at Gramma's for an overnight, I snuck out and got my family tree tattooed on my right arm.

Family Tree
It's not the whole family, just the ones I'm willing to admit I'm related to.

Two weeks later I was pregnant with 3of3.  Karma's a bitch.

Odds are pretty good that while I'm in Chicago for BlogHer, I'll be getting a new tattoo.  Odds are I'm not the only one.  It's my one weekend away from my kids this year, and a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.  Luckily for me, for all of us, I found someone willing to accommodate a sea of women of questionable levels of sobriety for the weekend and humour us while we relive our youth, just with much better shoes.

tattoo factory

The Tattoo Factory in Uptown Chicago has agreed to hook us all up that weekend.  They've offered everyone attending BlogHer a 20% discount over the entire weekend on tattoos or piercings and have arranged to provide us a free drink after our work, and then some drink or dinner special after.  (We're not quite there yet with the details).  They are Chicago's oldest continually running tattoo studio, they have something like 24 different artists, and best of all, they aren't scared of a bunch of cougars conventioneers descending on them for a weekend.

More details to come (we're still hammering out the details) but if you're heading to BlogHer this summer and thinking of getting some blog ink, go see what they have to offer.  I'll let everyone know when this thing goes live so we can start in with the reservations.

And honey?  Consider yourself forewarned this time.

Just Another Memey Monday

Momma Chaos tagged me for a meme that *I can't believe it* I've never done before.  The jist is that you go to your 6th picture folder and publish the 6th picture.  Um, I'm naked in that picture.  We've already covered that.  So I'm totally cheating, and I don't care what you think of me for it.

That adorable child with the great top and the totally awesome fivehead?  Me.  Somewhere between 8 and 10, I'm not entirely sure.  That teency little baby I'm holding?  My brother.  Somewhere between 2 and 14 days, I'm not entirely sure, either.

In fact, I had no idea that picture, documenting my parents admirably sophisticated decorating scheme, even existed until my brother emailed it to me a year and a half ago.  Which doesn't seem very exciting, I know, but the thing is, that picture is damn close to the last time I saw him.

See, his mom met my dad and they went and had them some babies after my parents got divorced.  The jury is still out on whether or not their overwhelming need to procreate played any part in the divorce, but if it did, well, then I thank their naughty bits.  My parents never should have been married anyway.  In my scattered memory, my dad moved out and the very next weekend there was that new baby.  Except that if you look at that picture, I'm not 6.  So my memory is clearly wrong; imagine that.  Fact is, I don't know the age gap between us, but I think it's 8ish years.

His mother and my father had another boy two years later.  Dear god, I loved those boys.  I loved their mother, too.  She was a total raging bitch to my other brothers and sisters, but she was always really great with me.  I so wanted her to be my new mom.  My mother, for obvious reasons, wasn't the biggest fan of my father's new flame, but we spent every other weekend with him, and we lived mere blocks away from him, and the babysitter lived just doors away from us, so we got to see them plenty.  I think my mother actually let them come over once or twice to play, as well.  We were six active siblings, for sure.

My father and their mother stayed together until one fateful Christmas Eve when, on the heels of a pseudo-break up, the boys and their mom came to see my father at his new apartment, opened presents, had dinner, went to bed one big happy family, and the next morning my father woke to an empty home.  She'd taken the Christmas stuff and the boys and he never saw them again.

My father is a rather difficult man to live with.  She'd had her fill, and I gather from the sketchy stories I've been given, told him over the phone to go away and stay away, and as long as he did that, he would never have to pay her one dime of child support.  It sounds shitty that he agreed, but you should know that in his mind, she was The One.  His great love.  He still aches for her to this very day.  Her mind was made up, and he loved her enough to let her go.

I don't know much more than that.  I know he'd sent gifts to the boys that she'd taken the gift tags off of and replaced them with tags bearing the name of her new boyfriend.  She was determined to wipe him out of her existence, and he rolled over and died.  I saw her and the boys at the grocery store when I was 15 and the boys thought it was really funny that we had the same last name.  They had no clue who I was.  And that broke my heart in two.

My father and I would watch old home videos of the boys' early birthday parties sometimes, and we'd cry a little together, imagining what they were like as teenagers.  He always said that once they turned 18, once it was up to them, he'd look for them.  But he never did.  I imagine that would be a really hard road to start walking down as a parent, and I really don't blame him for just letting it be.

Occasionally, I'd look for them online.  There wasn't really "google" then, but I tried digging through Classmates, guessing what schools they'd have gone to.  I'd search whatever engines I could for their names, but we have a really common Irish last name and they live in Philly.  I just never found anything.

Until MySpace, that is.

A year and a half ago, I was dicking around on MySpace, and who did I find but a boy named Ian MyLastName, with a private profile and a blurry picture that didn't look anything like that baby up there, but he lived in the right place, and was about the right age, and so what did I do?

I freaked out, that's what.

I stared at that profile picture for a while, wrote a post about it, and eventually just sent him a random friend request with no explanation.  Which he accepted.  Once I saw his pictures, I knew it was him.  After a while longer, I got the balls to send him a message that just asked, "Hey, do you remember someone you grew up with named Shannon?"  Which, two (of the longest of my life) weeks later, he replied simply, "Are you my sister?  Because if you are, you really should just say so."

Oh, how I cried.  For days.

We eventually sat on the phone together and rehashed our lives.  He didn't know he had siblings, but when I sent him that message, he vaguely remembered that maybe there was a sister and her name was Shannon.  He sat his mom down and asked her flat out whether or not I was his sister, and she said that I sure was, and that she was more than okay with us talking.  He didn't know anything about our father; he'd never seen a picture, never heard a story, nothing.  Most importantly, he'd had a really good life.  He was happy.  He played guitar, just like we all do.  He was good at technical work, just like we all are.  His life had been good, and that's all I ever wanted to hear.

His, our, baby brother had just before I'd found them joined the Air Force, and was in Italy at the time.  We all started emailing, I gave our oldest brother (who y'all see around my comments as Gnilleps) his email address, and we are slowly starting to come together after something like 20 years.

Why am I telling you all this?  Because sometime this morning, BlogHer is going to announce where they're having BlogHer '09, and Philly is one of the 3 cities on the chopping block.  If it's in Philly, guess who I get see for the first time since before I had armpit hair?  Oh, and my littlest brother is now stationed in Little Rock, and can come up for the weekend if I'm there.

So, yeah, I'm praying quite loudly to as many gods as I can think of that they didn't pick St Louis.  I'd really like to pinch these cheeks sometime soon.

Update: Chicago. It's in CHICAGO. le'sigh. So much for killing two birds with one stone, eh?