I am so, so tired… life just keeps getting harder, not easier
Just some highlights:
Neru’s online friend, apparently, is a dirty middle-aged man trying to groom her? I told my father- how are we going to honestly file a report when we have no return address or full name?
I had a hot date with Cimmorene, a CT machine, a radioactive isotope, and a nuclear bone scanner Tuesday.
Wednesday was meeting with the doctor, getting poked AGAIN for the second day in a row, and showing Dad how my stereo stuff I gave to him years ago works.
Poor Skittles (my parents’ cat). He skewered himself in the pit of his right front leg, and he has to wear a cone of shame. He is miserable being confined inside. If we cat-sit for him next week (parents are going to Utah for my brother-in-law and niece’s birthdays), we may need to spend a LOT of laptime with him.
More to come, dear readers. Stay tuned
I work very hard not to badmouth or backbite. Sometimes, though, I feel I have to share the “holy schmoly, did this person REALLY just say that?” Now, because I’m assuming you haven’t dug through my blog archives (because the last time that happened to me, I got me a pervy female stalker)– I will tell you that usually, the person I name is Crazy Aunt. Crazy Aunt who I haven’t actually spoken to in years, but, y’know, because she’s married to Dad’s older brother, more often than not, I hear some whack quote she said from him.
Oh, but no. Not this time.
Cimmy was in a funk so I took her to lunch, picking up some images of my spine along the way. (The why for those images is a story for another time.) We decided to stop by my folks’ house to grab some frozen/canned goods– some of which we had helped to preserve. We couldn’t linger very long, because our kids were getting home from school. In fact, we had to call our daughter and ask her to watch for her brother’s school bus. (He’s on the SpEd bus route, and the driver will take him back to school if someone doesn’t show her that they are home for him.)
My mother proceeded, on our way out the door, to tell us a bizarre tale about the co-worker who apparently will take her place once Mom retires from Social Security in May. She warned us with a “normally I wouldn’t tell you this, but since you don’t know this person, I’m going to tell you anyways…” and although she was talking to Cimmorene (or at least Cimmy thought she was talking to just her), I said, “okay, TMI warning, go ahead,” well, we were not ready for what came next.
Apparently, co-worker’s vagina and bladder (anus? I forget) were falling out, and she needed a bladder sling put in AND a hysterectomy done at the same time…
Oh dear God. WAY TOO MUCH FUCKING INFORMATION.
But since Cimmy and I are sick fucks, we pondered it out loud on the car ride home, far from her ears. (Ironically, see, she’d complain that WE were sick.) Cimmy said it was like she pulled out a frozen herring and slapped us with it. I said, ‘no, I think it’s more like she pulled a frozen herring out of her vagina and slapped us with it.’ Cimmy pointed out that then it wouldn’t be so frozen anymore. (I’m not so sure of that, but, y’know…) We then proceeded to discuss the eww of mixed slime and the smell of real fish with… hot tuna.
Yes, dear readers, the only way to recover from someone telling us something disgusting is to make it even MORE disgusting.
Shout-outs to Aussa Lorens. Seriously, she asked recently if we would be brave enough to talk smack about our crazy workplaces as she has (ironically, hers is a psych ward!)… well, we aren’t employed in the public workforce, but, this is what we’ve got.
I’m not too big on blog prompt questions, still, it seems. If you’ve got a story where you saw or heard something you can’t bleach your brain enough from, please let me know in the comments. Please tell me before I trot out the story about Hannah at LiveJournal making a post about a Valentine’s card with fanfic about Snape buggering Harry Potter, and that she thought it was funny as hell. Oh wait, I just did. Seriously… please share, dear readers. Surely some of you have freakish family members who can’t seem to control what comes out of their mouths. (Bitter bonus points if it was a family member that abused you… yes, dark sardonic humor…)
Two years ago, I learned that my daughter turned to cutting to deal with the crushing stress in her life.
She turned to it again two nights ago when Cimmorene lost it with Boy when he would not go to bed for several hours. Cimmy let me know, because she knew I wouldn’t be angry– how could I? I dealt with it myself.
I cut myself years ago when I was in a stressful romantic relationship that ended with false accusations of rape. Cimmy wasn’t around then, but she was when I started cutting again, as the university we were attending was soaked in scandal, and the music department especially was mired in dirty politics between professors. When she miscarried before our son was born… more cuts.
So all I could do was listen to my daughter, and tell her more about my struggles with this issue.
I want her to continuing taking pencils, pens, and such to paper– not a knife to her arms.
Laura Lord at History of A Woman wrote a wonderful article called How to Be a Man – For My Son a few months ago and my thoughts on it were long enough I figured it would be courteous to write a post in response rather than a really long comment.
Awhile back I wrote a post for my daughter: Life Hacks for My Daughter. I was struck by the unfairness of that. I mean, here I am, a mother of two wonderful children, and I only dedicate a post to my daughter. I mean, surely there are some “life hacks” out there for boys…ones I would want to share with my son.
But I’m a woman.
I don’t have the necessary equipment to figure out what is hack-worthy when you’re a grown up of the male variety.
Now the inner little boy inside me says, “Ooh, me, me, me!” while raising his hand. “I’m a boy! I know!” Hehe. Yep. There’s actually some great resources on the Internet– one of them The Art of Manliness, which I will refer to a few times in this post.
Laura’s a smart cookie, though, and I think she understands that good advice is good advice, even if it doesn’t come from a gender-specific authority figure:
I may not have life hacks for my son, but I have some serious advice on how to be a man I won’t be afraid of passing along to some unsuspecting woman some day.
It is good advice. Consider, dear readers, since I do have the necessary equipment, that I can confirm it as such. So, on to her list of advice.
1. Hold the door (and other good manners)
The business world has changed this a bit, since manners are not dictated so much by royalty anymore. It is for everyone, and I think it’s built on common courtesy and respect.
The Art of Manliness has an illustration series called “Dim and Dash”, which is based on the “Goofus and Gallant” feature from Highlights magazine.
Here’s an example that would apply specifically to the examples Laura gave:
Obviously, the McKays and Ted Slampyak are drawing on a familiar idea, but upgrading it for young men. If you’d like to look at more of Slampyaks’ “Dim and Dash” illustrations for The Art of Manliness, click here.
2. Learn to Cook…Something
As Laura points out, this is a domestic skill that benefits men and women. But I’ll put this from a guy’s perspective– cooking for a potential life partner DEFINITELY says, “Hey, I’m ready to settle down, quite very possibly with you.” Now, I was born and bred to be domestic. Although my blogging started out sorting out how my mother hurt me, I have to give credit where credit is due. I learned a lot of domestic skills from my mother (and her mother too, actually), and one of them was to cook. When my son was born, I decided to take over the bulk of the cooking… and I found I really liked it, and that I was pretty good at cooking. After a while, my mother started to feel jealous.
Cimmy knows how to cook, but she’s much more talented at baking, especially since she knows VERY well how to make bread completely by hand. So one of my pet nicknames for her is Baker, because I’m the Cook much of the time.
Yep, The Art of Manliness has this covered, too (although good manners of dress, i.e., wearing clothes, is included in this category). I learned about wet shaving with an old-school safety razor from the site. Even more specifically, Brett and Kate wrote an excellent article called Heading Out on Your Own — Day 4: Keep a Regular Grooming and Hygiene Routine which covers most of the basics.
Laura speaks more particularly about facial hair, though. I usually keep some, because I have a boyish looking face (and I’ll use the same image she did):
But I won’t tolerate ANY man who tells me facial hair is to save food for later. That is DISGUSTING! I’d much rather someone give me a “beard check” (i.e. let me know I’ve got food in it). I use a fine-toothed comb– one to nitpick head lice out, even (it’s disinfected regularly, settle down)– to make sure the face dandruff, food, etc. is picked out. I don’t always oil my beard, but, in general, some vitamin E and tea tree oils do a lot to keep things clean, disinfected, and healthy. Tea tree oil has a strong scent to it, but Cimmy likes it well enough. And while I tend to let my beard grow out full and bushy in the wintertime, by the warmer months, I prefer to keep it neat and trimmed. (Sometimes even in the winter I get tired of it looking too bushy.)
Verbal self defense, or what the late George “Doc” “Rhino” Thompson called Verbal Judo or Tactical Communication, is a must here. Words, carefully and thoughtfully chosen, can actually help to prevent, de-escalate, or even end confrontation, and physical violence.
Dear readers, I would recommend that you look into this further– it is difficult for me to sum up these techniques succinctly. It is far more than Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. It is tactically engaging people with respect, clarity, and precision– even when people are difficult (Doc Thompson said he was one such person) or cowardly (who he simply called “wimps”). Thompson applied this specifically to law enforcement first (in fact, the L.A. officers who beat Rodney King had been scheduled to receive such training), but he wished to share it with everyone– parents and anyone working in a service profession.
It works. I have seen it for myself.
5. Learn to Clean
This is something I actually teach my son– and I have him wipe the floor too, if possible. I started doing more maintenance cleaning– cleaning and squeegeeing the shower after I use it, and scrub and wipe the toilet and countertop, etc.
There’s something to be said about cleaning up a mess immediately after it’s been made! I still have some areas I need to work on, but trust me, it does a lot in the long run.
And Cimmorene has turned over a new leaf and done some great tidying up. (I used to be a neat freak– she is the more slobby one. But her side of the bedroom now is the tidy one.)
6. Hands Off! (I will add: have some decency and modesty)
Generally speaking, scratching your nether regions, picking your nose, breaking wind, popping acne pimples, etc. in public is a bad idea. Also, know what is considered appropriate dress and behavior. Many people aren’t terribly interested in buttcrack, man cleavage, or T-shirts with stupidly crude messages.
7. You Are the Handy Man
Well, Laura, actually, Cimmorene will fight me to fix lots of things.
Cimmorene jokingly calls me “The Foreman” much of the time, because with my sciatica and chronic back pain, I can’t effectively do some jobs and I just engineer and direct projects now and then. But seriously, we both do the work– it just tends to be an arbitrary decision of who does what, and it’s not divided by she does the stuff inside, I do the work outside.
8. You Are Not a Robot
I don’t think I have to worry about this too much with my son… he is rough-and-tumble, but very sensitive. I was teased mercilessly for crying as a boy, so I am still trying to figure out the balance.
There is a time and a place to show emotion, that preserves dignity and composure, yet punctuates thoughts and sentiments perfectly.
Here’s a wonderful example Aussa Lorens shared with me:
I think Kevin Durant shows the appropriate amount of tears here– he expresses love and respect for his friends, and especially his mother, giving her credit for her part in his success.
9. One day… (about sex, love, and relationships for the long haul)
To sum up and add to what Laura said, I want my children to know the reality of sex and sexuality. My daughter is learning that quite nicely, especially thanks to Cimmy’s part. My son is still too young to grasp such notions– we’re mostly working on #6.
But she is absolutely SPOT ON in pointing out that children will learn what romantic relationships are about by observing their parents. I am grateful that my daughter is still willing to hug and kiss me on the cheek before bed, although she is 12 now. I want my son to know that how I treat her and their mother is a template on how he should behave for women.
and adding one more item–
10. Take the Hero’s Journey, my son.
I know that my posts about the Monomyth/Hero’s Journey are deep, esoteric, and sometimes very hard to understand. But I think there’s a reason why this cycle is told over and over again (and it’s not just for men– it applies to everyone). It tells of how societies regarded the transformations of boys into men, as well as girls into women. They speak of rites of passage, of overcoming obstacles, outer and personal struggles, to find a place in society. They are not just about superheroes becoming gods… they are about grasping responsibility, maturity, and happiness.
Mother’s Day can be a mixed bag for me.
My whole blogging experience started out with trying to sort out the anger I had with my mother, trying to heal a lot of inner wounds and self-loathing from past emotional rape and other traumatic experiences. It didn’t help much that HER mother was also part of the dysfunctionally tangled web that was much of my childhood.
I had to set some of that aside when my mother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
That said, I must give credit where credit is due. I was born and bred to be domestic. My mother (and my grandmother) taught me a lot of skills as such that have served me very, very well. I suppose this was easier to impart as I was the only male child. I know it sparks a small amount of envy at times: I’ve said that I like certain chores very much (vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, etc.) and some women (who have usually bemoaned their own husband’s lack of enthusiasm) will jokingly ask me to come do those chores for them. Cimmorene is usually quick to snap back with something to the effect of: “You can’t have him, he’s mine!”
Things got better when I married Cimmorene. I’ll put it this way: I am not wont to tell mother-in-law jokes. My mother-in-law still has a few idiosyncrasies that drive me crazy, but generally, I get along much better with my mother-in-law than I do my own mother.
And then there’s my other grandmother- my father’s mother. I was devastated when she died, shortly before Princess was born. She seemed to be the only woman for a long time that truly understood me. (Needless to say, she was the first family member I introduced Cimmorene to.) She died after a battle with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
This is something that my maternal grandmother is dealing with now. I’m still not sure if my mother is ready to deal with the full implications of that. She is with her, my grandfather, and my father now for Mother’s Day weekend. She called me back a hour or so ago to ask me if there were any cookbooks I wanted– part of their trip was to meet with an estate Realtor to get the house and some of the furnishings sold.
Now, my writing skills tell me it’s very awkward to end here. But then a gut part of me says that should sum up my feelings perfectly well.
Please join us once again at the Journal Jar– we got a hidden gem related to our anniversary on Christmas!
Last month, jaklumen’s maternal grandparents moved to assisted living. While sorting through non-essential items at their house, jak’s parents found a hidden treasure. Something forgotten, but still very meaningful:
Cimmorene cried when she opened the box. Then she smiled. Then she cried a little more. This china ornament bore the inscription “First Christmas Together — 1998”.
Please see 15 Years of Love for more information.
After the miscarriage, my next big LiveJournal post was Bun in the oven. This was nine weeks in, yet I knew it was going to happen. Right at the moment of conception, even– with me grunting “have my child” at… well, you get the idea, right? It was like the stars aligned and I knew it had to happen, right then.
October 28, 2006 I left the Camarilla. Toxic people, toxic effects, but sadly it happened because I realized I’d alienate my sister if I stayed.
Then we got confirmation the little wombmate was a boy. We knew this already, as I said– our kids made themselves known.
Twenty days before he was delivered cesarean, I started blogging on VOX. We were nervous up until the delivery day:
Well, not much of anything of import to say, save that my wife’s recent pregnancy has been a rollercoaster lately. Last Saturday night and Sunday morning, we had a false alarm– 11 hours in the hospital during nighttime hours, only to find it was likely a UTI that triggered contractions. (March 14, 2007)
It’s down to the last week or two now, but babies do come when they want to. (March 20, 2007)
I felt a mixture of emotions when he finally came out. He was so quiet, even when I was helping one of the nurses clean off the white stuff off him. (By constrast, his older sister wailed.) I was so impressed. But later, I wondered why I didn’t feel as much excitement with him as I did his sister. I thought, “If they took him back, that would be okay.” What was wrong with me?