Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I Fucking Hate Politics

I don't talk about politics much on the internet or in real life.

In real life, it's because I am a minority in a land where diversity is not celebrated. Anything different is viewed with antipathy and suspicion.

New ideas and fresh perspectives are rarely embraced. Those who express them are treated as interlopers. Outsiders. Infidels. They are a threat to a heritage that runs deep and finds validation in the pages of history.

I don't like being looked at as if I am an insect or an idiot, so I except myself from those conversations.

I don't talk about it online anymore, becuase I learned during the last election that political fervor, not unlike religious fervor, makes people intolerant, inflexible and mean.

And that's what I want to really talk about today.

People...why are we passing moral judgement on other people for choosing differently than ourselves?

Isn't that one of the most basic principals upon which our country was founded?


I have heard the most insulting things from both sides about the other. Democrats are immoral. Republicans are stupid. Liberals have no values. Conservatives can't think for themselves.

And you know what? Sometimes the ones fighting the hardest for freedom and choice, are those most vociferously denigrating those who choose to exercise theirs.

Yes, Liberals, I'm looking at you.

Sometimes, those most doggedly defending American values, are those most willing to compromise them if the ends justify the means.

Yes, Republicans, I'm looking at you.

This is why, for many years, I opted out of any and all political folderol. There never was a "side" that I wanted to be on, because both sides were just....badly behaved.

But I'm older and wiser now and I can't bury my head in the sand any longer. This country is a legacy to our children and our grandchildren. We have a responsibility to them to see that it's one worth leaving.

This election, perhaps even more so than the Bush/Kerry election, is very emotionally charged. The winds of change are blowing and people are scared. That means tempers are short, emotions are high, and the rifts will be deep.

But I actually think that if we can get through all this stuff, the country will be better off for the experience.

Some things that have needed addressing for a very long time now, will be adressed. And though it's going to take some time, I think we are going to see America going back to some of the principals and ideals with which previous generations were raised.

There will be a shift in priorities, a change in how we see America's place in the global community, and a new understanding of how to manage ourselves fiscally, environmentally, and governmentally.

But we have to stop the fighting amongst ourselves.

People who don't agree with you are not stupid or immoral. They just believe differently.

We earned that right when we fought for and won our freedom from Great Britain. It's the cornerstone of our values system. It's what our people have killed and died for in countless wars, and still do.

By being assholes to one another, we cheapen the sacrifices they have made so that we can all choose.

Nobody wants to make a bad choice, after all. Everyone, I believe, is trying to do what they think is best for our country. Their children. The future.

I can't fault someone for that. I can disagree. But I can do it quietly, respectfully, and kindly.

And so can you.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes

THE SETTING: A trendy tot shop in an upscale suburban mall.

THE PLAYERS: The Real Charlie Brown (Baby #1-right), Pre-Pubescent One (Baby #2-left)

Baby #1: Dude, how long does it take your Mom to pick out a breast pump?

Baby #2: I don't know man. Frankly, I'm baffled by the whole concept. I mean, I don't want to brag, but I can empty a breast in like, 3 minutes. You cannot improve upon perfection my friend.

Baby #1: Okay, Seriously? Enough. You're breastfed. I get it. We all. Get it.

Baby #2: Geez, who pissed in your Enfamil?

Baby #1: I'm sorry Dude, I'm a little irritable.

Baby #2: You don't say.

Baby #1: It's just that my binky is permanently embedded in my back fat, this diaper has exceeded maximum capacity, and it is definitely past lunch o'clock.

Baby #2: I hear ya. This gay outfit is making me a little cranky myself.

Baby #1: It's not that bad.

Baby #2: You're just saying that.

Baby #1: That's what friends are for.

Baby #2: Well at least your lunch is right there in the diaper bag. Thanks to the whole "breasts are sexual objects" thing, I have to wait until we get home.

Baby #1: Sucks to be you Dude.

Baby #2: That's what I'm sayin.

Baby #1: But at least your lunch will be fresh and warm and straight from the source.

Baby #2: Yeah. And it doesn't taste like ass.

Baby #1: Watch it.

Baby #2: Sorry. I forget you're sensitive about that.

Baby #1: I'm not sensitive. I'm discerning.

Baby #2: Oh yeah. That's why you put your toes in your mouth.

Baby #1: They satisfy my need for oral gratification, okay? Not all of us have breasts at our beck and call.

Baby #2: Not my issue, man.

Baby #1: ever do that motorboat thing?

Baby #2: No.

Baby #1: C' never even thought about it?

Baby #2: No.

Baby #1: But your face is riiiiiii-

Baby #2: I said no, Dude. No? means no.

Baby #1: You don't deserve to be breastfed. I would totally do the motorboat thing.

Baby #2: Not unless you wanted to find yourself drinking out of a rubber nipple attached to a bottle with rainbows and teddy b...oh, um, yeah. Sorry.

Baby #1: Ouch.

Baby #2: do not disrespect the milk makers my friend.

Baby #1: Yeah. I see your point. Say, uh...speaking of milk makers....Two babies walk into a titty bar....

Baby #2: .......HAHAHA! Milking it! That? Is Classic. You crack my ass up Dude. I mean, you really slay me.

Baby #1: Eh, well, I messed up the punchline a little. I hate it when I do that.

Baby #2: Doesn't matter, Dude. Titty jokes are always funny. I think I pissed myself. For real, I mean.

Baby #1: Well you're in good company then. I'm practically floating away over here. But at least I can use my diaper as a life preserver.

Baby #2: No doubt. What's in these things anyway?

Baby #2: I don't know. Some kind of super absorbent petrochemical crap. We'll probably be sterile someday.

Baby #1: Dude, do not even joke about that.

Baby #1: Sorry. Hey, here come the Moms. Act Natural.

Baby #2: Goo goo. Ga ga.

Baby #1: (Fills diaper explosively)


(Repost, because I am stuck in home improvement hell. God help us.)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Without Further Ado

I promised to share my "Melancholia" playlist with you, once I had created it.

I've gone through each and every suggestion that my kind readers made. Some I liked, some I didn't. Some I liked, but didn't feel they had the right "flavor" for my list. But I truly appreciated them all.

I decided that rather than an entirely cheerless playlist, I would make one that is a medley of melancholia and mellowness. So some are sad, but some are not. Regardless, they are all smooth and soft and impart a certain mood.

I've been listening to it primarily in bed. I'm a lifelong insomniac and I find that it helps me shut off my brain and fall asleep.

There are still ten or fifteen that I'd like to add, but I had to stop, as I was running up quite a bill on iTunes. I had quite a few in my library already, but I kept adding one more and one more until I realized I had purchased 30 songs or more.

Also, did you know you cannot buy Beatles tunes a la carte? That sucks. I'm not a huge Beatles fan, but I did want to put "A Day In The Life" and "Eleanor Rigby" on my playlist.

It's a bit eclectic, but I like that. Also, some artists such as Norah Jones and Bette Midler appear several times with different songs. When you're good, you're good.

So without further ado, I give you Blog Antagonist's Melange of Melancholia in no particular order.

1. Time In a Bottle - Jim Croce
2. Fast Car - Tracy Chapman
3. Hello In There - Bette Midler
4. The Rose - Bette Midler
5. From A Distance - Bette Midler
6. Who's Crying Now - Journey
7. The Sounds Of Silence - Simon and Garfunkel
8. Cat's In The Cradle - Harry Chapin
9. The Rose - Bette Midler
10. Everybody Hurts - REM
11. Hurting Each Other - The Carpenters
12. Rainy Days And Mondays - The Carpenters
13. Goodbye To Love - The Carpenters
14. Stop And Stare - One Republic
14. Linger - The Cranberries
15. You're Beautiful - James Blunt
16. Stop And Stare - One Republic
17. Apologize - One Republic
18. Come Away With Me - Norah Jones
19. Seven Years - Norah Jones
20. Don't Know Why - Norah Jones
21. Tears In Heaven - Eric Clapton
22. Total Eclipse of The Heart - Bonnie Tyler
23. Travelin' Soldier - Dixie Chicks
23. God Speed - Dixie Chicks
24. I Believe In Love - Dixie Chicks
25. Stand - Jewel
26. Haunted - Jewel
27. The Thunder Rolls - Garth Brooks
28. Tiny Dancer - Elton John
29. Lost - Anouk
30. How Do You Love - Collective Soul
31. The World I know - Collective Soul
32. Don't Give Up - Peter Gabriel
33. Where I stood - Missy Higgins
34. King Of Pain - The Police
35. 100 Years - Five For Fighting
36. My Heart Will Go On - Celine Dion (normally, I loathe her, but love this song)
37. Leader Of The Band - Dan Fogelberg
38. Mad World - Michael Andrews
39. Save a Prayer - Duran Duran
40. Ordinary World - Duran Duran
41. What Happens Tomorrow - Duran Duran
42. Lyin' Eyes - The Eagles
43. Don't Speak - No Doubt
44. Any Other World - MIKA
45. Don't Laugh At Me - Mark Wills
46. Almost Doesn't Count - Mark Wills
47. You Can Sleep While I Drive - Melissa Etheridge
48. Dust In The Wind - Kansas
49. No Rain - Blind Melon (rethinking this one, not quite mellow enough)
50. Piano Man - Billy Joel
51. Never Tear Us Apart - INXS
52. Crying - Roy Orbison
53. Winner Takes It All - ABBA
54. Little Sparrow - David Cook
55. Dear Mr. President - Pink
56. Please, Please, Please - The Smiths
57. Constant Craving - K.D. Lang
58. Iris - Goo Goo Dolls
59. Sweet Thing - Van Morrison

Here are the songs I would still like to add:

1. Candle in the Wind - Elton John
2. Yellowbrick road - Elton John
3. Nothing Compares 2U - Sinead O'Connor
4. Major Tom - David Bowie
5. Left of Center - Suzanne Vega
6. Wouldn't It Be Good - Belious Some
7. Cry Me A River - Diana Krall
8. Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
9. Pink Floyd - COmfortably Numb YES
10. I Can't Make You Love Me Bonnie Raitt.
11. George Harrison - Give Me Love
12. George Michael - Praying For Time
13. Sunshine on My Shoulders - John Denver

There you go. Something fun and frivolous for the weekend. Go forth and purchase.

And just for fun, here's one of my current favorites on the list. Ignore the video itself, it was the only non-live video version I could find. Just listen. His voice....heavens. If you like it, check out more of Collective Soul. They're amazing.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sometimes, Public School Doesn't Suck

Historically, I haven't been the biggest fan of public school. Those of you that have been reading for any length of time know that. Here in the South particularly, I have concerns about how well my children's needs are being adressed and in what way.

I'm still not over the whole Kathy Cox textbook debacle. Seriously. I saw her on a television program not long ago, and I wanted to punch her in the mouth. It wasn't so much the proposal...I've lived here long enough that I expect that kind of crap. What was really disconcerting was the fact that she had a lot of support.

It worries the hell out of me that my children are being educated in a state where something like this is not instantly laughed right out of existence.

But I digress.

I've also been concerned about the public classroom model, and it's ability to teach children who are anything but average, conventional, typical. I've worried that my kinesthetic learners are becoming increasingly apathetic because they are not motivated, inspired or challenged.

I've been disgusted beyond belief by the standardized testing that has become the cornerstone of educational bar setting, as well as the fact that our kids are being taught to take tests, instead of being taught to discover and experience knowledge for it's own sake.

Time and time again, I've considered homeschooling my boys. I don't think they will ever excel academically under the current manifestation of classroom standards. My kids are off the charts smart. But because of their respective disabilities, on paper, they are just one more number; neither outstanding nor unique.

But I lack the patience. I know this about myself. And I've had to admit that trying to homeschool my children would be an unmitigated disaster.

So we struggle along, putting out fires when we can.

Unfortunately, Pubescent One is not doing well this year at all.

He is in 8th grade and struggling with the whole testosterone fueled psycho sexual cocktail of awkwardness and angst. His ADD has gone into overdrive in tandem with his hormones, and for the first time, his behavior is becoming a problem as well.

We are trying to manage things, without much success. Because aside from all the issues that come with his learning disability, we have the added pleasure of A-TI-TUDE.

Those of you whose children are still young and cute and guileless...appreciate it. Because thirteen SUCKS big hairy donky balls. If my son makes it to 14, I will march myself down to the nearest Baptist church and accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior, because it will be a bona fide miracle.


I've been getting emails continually since school started, and Pubescent One has had to serve detention twice. The 8A team asked us to come in for a meeting. The ubiquitous "not living up to potential" meeting. Been there, done that. But of course we agreed.

Husband and I went in there ready to do bidness.

I had gotten the feeling from a couple of emails that he was being labelled unfairly as a discipline problem and that his issues weren't being given the consideration they deserve. One thing I've learned over the last 5 years, is that not every educator is willing or able to understand how profoundly ADD affects a child.

One teacher in particular, I felt, was being rigid and nitpicky and looking for reasons to mark his behavior card. There was a "tone" in her emails that I didn't like.

So I expected a lot of finger pointing and accusation.

I have to confess that I felt a little intimidated when we entered the classroom and saw all of them sitting there in a circle. I did not do well in school myself, and I had flashbacks to my own struggles with teachers and administrators. I felt my throat grow dry and my palms grow wet.

I was, quite frankly, surprised to find that my fears were completely unfounded.

The entire team of 6 teachers seemed genuinely interested in and concerned for his success and wellbeing. They acknowledged his disability and expressed willingness to make concessions where necessary, if it was within their power to do so.

They also recommended him for a new program called "AVID" (Advancement Via Individual Determination).

"The AVID program is a support program designed to boost secondary students in the academic middle towards a higher level of college preparation. AVID aims to shift the student’s mindset from a “path of least resistance” to an approach focused on personal achievement demonstrated by successful participation in honors and advanced placement courses by graduation.

AVID places selected students in an elective class with direct instruction in critical thinking, writing to learn, college awareness, and academic collaboration. Students receive support from their AVID tutors and teacher so that there are “no excuses” for poor academic achievement. AVID students are challenged to raise their effort levels significantly in order to reach their personal goals for academic success. The AVID elective teacher and site team are provided annual professional development to that end.

In the process of implementing an AVID program, schools are challenged to rethink preconceptions of student ability. An AVID school becomes “AVIDized” when the belief systems of its teachers are transformed so that they recognize and capitalize on the capacity of all students to become critical thinkers and academic achievers. Thus the AVID program impacts not only selected students but the whole school culture."

This program is designed to help kids just like my son, who are very bright, but struggle in a conventional learning environment. They provide one on one support and direction, as well as peer interaction and group exercises to teach organizational and study skills.

This is the kind of thing he has really needed all along. Though he is amazingly smart, he has trouble breaking down tasks into manageable pieces. He is easily overwhelmed, which demoralizes him and causes him to shut down, give up, or both.

The 8th grade advisor, who is also the AVID program administrator, was very excited about the potential for him to excel within the program.

Husband and I expected to leave the meeting feeling disheartened, confused, and helpless. Instead, we felt positive and empowered.

You have no idea what a refreshing change that is.

Maybe these are the winds of change blowing. Maybe. If not, at least it's a small swirling eddy of hope for kids like mine.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Art Is Free

I wrote this article a couple years ago and posted it when Blogs Are Stupid was in it's infancy. I dragged it out of storage, dusted it off and revamped it a bit the other day. I somehow got roped in to being the Cultural Arts Chairperson on the Middle School PTSA. At each meeting, one member is asked to do an "invocation" type thing for motivational purposes. It's my turn this week and I'm taking the easy way out by using this piece. I'm also using it to take the easy way out on my blog today, because I have a massive migraine. Enjoy.

Art Is Free

This week is conference week at my children's school. I do not expect to get a glowing report on either child, though they are both exceptionally bright.

My children are not conventional learners or thinkers. They process through experimentation, manipulation and sensory stimulation. They are both extremely creative and hunger for visual and tactile sustenance. They are known as “kinesthetic” learners and like other kinesthetic learners, they are often labeled as discipline problems and disruptors of classroom tranquility.

Public school does not know what to do with my children, and so, they are compartmentalized within the very narrow definition of "gifted" and farmed out a couple days a week to harried accelerated learning specialists who have too many students and too few resources.

The rest of the time, they must fend for themselves; technicolor thinkers in a black and white world.

When my youngest child was in second grade, the very timeworn issue of "lack of focus" came up, as it always does, during his parent teacher conference. The teacher, who was actually exceptionally well suited to her job and infinitely more patient with my child than I am, slid a worksheet across the table with lips pursed and waited expectantly for me to comment.

The front of the sheet you see, was utterly pristine. There was not one pencil mark upon it. The back however, was completely covered in graphite...a riot of shapes and shading that upon closer inspection revealed a very detailed and richly embellished medieval battle scene.

This is how my darling 7 year old spent the morning, while his classmates diligently filled in the blanks on their worksheets. The problem then was not lack of focus, but that upon which my son chose to place his focus.

The school my children attend provides art instruction once a week, and obviously, this is not enough to slake my child's thirst. He was simply seeking another outlet for his creative energy. Worksheets do not inspire or motivate a child who is moved by shape, form and color.

It was quite clear that she expected me to be as outraged as she was. But try as I might, I simply could not summon up the kind of indignation that I knew any conscientious mother would or should be feeling.

Here is why:

Since the dawn of time, man has used the arts to communicate, to create a tapestry of the human experience, and to give meaning to his existence. In the ancient world, a civilization possessed of a strong artistic culture was thought to have a citizenry superior in intellect and inventiveness.

Unfortunately, as our world becomes more technologically oriented, with great scientific advances and the advent of many medical marvels, emphasis on and interest in the arts has waned to the point of becoming almost inconsequential. Sadly, only 36% of American students receive the recommended minimum of one hour per week of art instruction, despite the fact that the benefits of arts education are well documented.

Numerous studies have shown that a comprehensive arts education helps children:

  • Learn more effectively in all areas of the school curriculum, including math and science.
  • Experience greater understanding of what they learn
  • Score higher on all aspects of the SAT.
  • Acheive higher levels of academic success in college.

According to research by Professor Shirley Brice Heath of Stanford University, young people who practice the arts are:

  • Four times more likely to win an academic award>
  • Eight times more likely to receive a community service award
  • Three times more likely to win a school attendance award
  • Four times more likely to participate in a math or science fair.

Simply put, public schools are failing our children.

As funding becomes increasingly scarce, and more and more emphasis is placed on standardized testing, our children are becoming one dimensional and creatively stunted. Classroom learning is tailored to those who are "normal" or "average", and those who fall above or below that designation are left to swim against the current in the vain hope of making it to shore.

They either dog paddle in place, placidly treading water and waiting for their peers to catch up, or they are dragged beneath the waves and held there while the rest of the school swims effortlessly by.

I joined the PTA despite an innate abhorrence of such things, to have a hand in changing this. On an individual level, I cannot address the ridiculous academic standards and uniform curriculum, but I can do something about the lack of enrichment programs available.

I submitted a proposal to the Administration for a parent led program that I had seen being used with great success at another area elementary school. The program is designed to achieve the following:

  • To educate students about artistic techniques, as well as art history and theory in a fun and age appropriate manner.
  • To foster a love of and appreciation for art.
  • To facilitate creativity and self-expression.
  • To encourage parent involvement.

The program required a very minimal commitment of one hour once or twice a month in which a parent representative would choose an artist from a pre-established list for the applicable age group (2nd graders just don't get Kandinsky and 5th graders are much too sophisticated for Pollack). The parent would give a short presentation about the artist's biographical information, as well as that regarding the artist’s medium, technique, and theoretical beliefs.

Parents were encouraged to be as creative as they liked in their presentations. They could dress as the featured artist; perhaps wear a beret or carry a palette and brush. They might speak with an accent or imitate a physical attribute. Following the presentation, the parent would lead the class in a related project, using what they had learned.

The Administration approved my proposal and expressed excitement about the program. I went forward; incredibly energized and full of altruistic vigor. My enthusiasm was short lived however. Despite relentless promotion of the program and shameless solicitation for volunteers at every possible school function, only ten classes out of 65 yielded a willing parent.

That's barely 15% participation in a school of over 1200. The program was shelved due to lack of interest. It was bitterly disappointing and in my opinion, shamefully shortsighted.

Parents, we need to wake up. Other developed nations are surpassing us at every level of education. Their children are more well-rounded, more intuitive, and more able to compete in a global marketplace because they are provided with artistic, literary, musical and theatrical instruction as part of their everyday curriculum. If we don't take a page from their book, our kids will soon be absent from the pages of history.

If we cut physical education programs, our kids get fat. If we cut enrichment programs, our kids get flat. It's really very simple.

Find a way to bring the Arts back to our kids. Here's a good place to start:

"There is no must in Art, because Art is Free."

....Wassilly Kandinsky

Thursday, September 18, 2008

People I Think About; Part II

I’ve mentioned that Husband and I met in a grubby little honky tonk, but what I haven’t mentioned is that before we met, I was absolutely besotted with the lead singer of the house band. He had emerald green eyes, silky hair that brushed his broad shoulders, an incredibly tight little ass and a gargantuan ego justified by all of the above.

Since I wasn’t interested in meeting anybody, I spent a lot of time sitting at a scarred cocktail table, staring at him. I really had no designs on him. He had women crawling all over him; women far more beautiful, worldly, and erm…blessed than I. I drank wine and smoked cigarettes and just enjoyed drinking in the sight of him as he crooned and warbled and growled and gyrated.

It turned out he was not oblivious to my interest. And one fine night, he made it known that he was interested back. I was stunned, to be honest. I didn’t consider myself to be in the same league with someone like him. Frankly, I assumed I was beneath his notice. I wasn’t blonde, buxom or leggy. I wasn’t flirtatious or uninhibited and I just didn’t know how to play all those come hither games.

There is a picture of the two of us on my 23rd birthday. In the photo, his arm is around me, and a microphone is pressed to his lips. He sang to me that night while I blushed. Looking at that picture, I wonder why I was so amazed that he was interested in me. I was HOT. And man, he should have been on his hands and knees begging for my attention. Why didn’t I know it?

Anyway, it turned out that he was a pompus ass. And married. I had never, ever seen hide nor hair of a wife or a wedding ring. Nobody ever talked about her. There wasn’t even the smallest whisper of a rumor regarding a little woman at home. But she was real, and she made me ashamed of myself.

He assumed I would be happy to be his little plaything for as long as he chose to grace me with his presence. I won’t lie. I considered it. I mean, he was FINE. And I have to admit, the idea of some presumably hot sex with no strings attached had a certain appeal after the devastating break up I had just been through.

But, when it came right down to it, I just couldn’t sacrifice my self respect. I told him thanks but no thanks and he told me I didn’t know what I was missing. In the end, I found that he disgusted me just a little.

He moved on to his next conquest and I continued to sit and smoke in silence; erecting a wall around me with frigid glares and hostile body language.

There was another singer, who occasionally filled in. He was cute and cuddly, with an earnestness that was hard to dislike. He was so young that he couldn’t even be in the club when he wasn’t performing. He would sit outside in his car between sets, strumming his guitar. We used to tease him about it unmercifully.

He was generally thought of as second fiddle to Headliner Guy. He was a good singer, but very, very green, and he lacked the showmanship that made Headliner Guy such a crowd pleaser.

Often, when he took the stage, girls went to the bathroom and guys went to play pool. But you know, he didn’t seem to notice. He was just so happy to be up there doing the thing he loved the most…it was written all over his smooth little baby face.

Shortly after my little encounter with Headliner Guy he got a record contract and resigned as lead singer. We all thought he was going places. He was so good, how could he not succeed? I thought, a little wistfully, about how cool it would have been to be by his side; to be his chosen one when fame and fortune found him.

It was a fleeing thought. I’m generally a pretty pragmatic person and I couldn’t lend any real credence to such flights of fancy.

By that time, Second Fiddle was old enough that some caveat allowed him to be on the premises as long as he didn’t drink. He was asked to replace Headliner Guy and accepted with what I’m sure, was a mixture of exhilaration and trepidation. I think he knew his limits as a performer. But he was determined to give it a try.

And slowly, very slowly, a transformation took place. He became more polished, both in poise and appearance. He matured and gained a presence that was undeniable. And pretty soon people began to realize that he was a better singer than Headliner Guy ever dreamed of being.

The crowd had been dazzled by Headliner Guy’s natural charisma and overt sexuality. He used his showmanship to cover up his vocal shortcomings. And it worked. But when he left that little club, he disappeared into osbscurity.

When Second Fiddle came along, people began to forget Headliner Guy, because Second Fiddle could sing a song in a way that pierced right through you. His voice was deep, and rich and pure, with a velvet quality and an experienced air that seemed far too worldly for someone his age.

He didn’t last very long.

Husband and I met and married and didn’t go back to the club very often. But we heard through a close friend with whom he’d had a short dalliance, that he had been snapped up by a record company after only a few months.

We saw him a couple of years after that, paying his dues by playing at the State Fair. He looked tired, but happy. He’d gotten married, and become a father. We asked him how he was doing, and he admitted that although fame was a pretty wild ride, and the money was nice, the happiest time of his life had been playing at that little hole in the wall honky tonk.

I haven’t thought about him for years.

I was recently going through my iTunes, gleaning songs for my “Melancholia” project, when I ran across his name. Husband and I dutifully bought every CD he put out, moved by a loyalty that was founded in nostalgia. Neither of us have listened to them for years, having abandoned our short lived country music phase. But when we went digital, we uploaded every single CD in our library out of some kind of misguided musical zealotry.

I’d forgotten what a beautiful voice he has. And the lyrics to some of his songs are pretty amazing when you consider how young he was when he wrote many of them.

I began listening, and every song brought back some kind of memory. But this one…this one got me. This one affected me now as a mother, more than it ever could have back when I actually knew him.

What a wise soul he was. And we never knew. We teased him, though kindly, never knowing how deeply he felt things.

Take a listen. Yes, it’s country music, but it’s not twangy twangy. It has heart, and something to say that I think we could all stand to hear.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Turn 'Em On, Turn 'Em On, Turn On Those Saaaaaaaad Songs

When I was a teenager, I delighted in purposeful despair. What teenaged girl doesn't? Oh, the angst. Oh, the heartbreak. Oh, the misery.

And nothing added fuel to the fire of my hormonally imposed wretchedness, than the perfect sad song, which, of course, I collected with a zeal previously reserved for unicorns and rainbows.

Yes, the ubiquitous mix tape. I remember holding a microphone (with a cord, no less)to the tape deck to create veritable masterpieces of melancholia. I still have some of them, but sadly, no longer the means to play them.

I still love a good sad song.

Though certainly, like any woman, I am subject to periodic bouts of dejection, I wouldn't say that by nature, I am a doleful person. Quite the contrary, in fact. I think that generally, I'm very positive and upbeat.

And yet...there is something about that funk...that woeful, whimsical, wistful longing, that sorrowful, searching, sublimation....that is undeniably appealing.

That's why we watch movies like "Terms of Endearment" and "The Notebook".

So anyway, recently, I ran across this song. And I can't get it out of my head. I'm not depressed, I swear. The opposite is true, in fact. Some personal issues have been resolved and I'm feeling more positive about things than I have in a long time.

But this song has grabbed me and pulled me in.

Maybe because it's been a very long time since I indulged that side of myself. As a teenaged girl, I did so with a dedication and a determination that was truly profound. As an adult, I tend to bury those feelings in favor of more productive mental and emotional pursuits. I just don't have time to be willfully weepy.

I'm not suicidal in the slightest. In fact, I harbor a profound abhorrence of death. And yet, this line...

"I find it kind of funny, I find it kind of sad, the dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had"

....just strikes me as deliciously dark.

I'm going to create a modern day version of the mix tape, for just this sort of music. I'm going to create a "Melancholia" playlist on my iPod. I've already got a good start, but I know that you all can help me create a real work of art.

What are your favorite sad songs?

Later I will share my list here. Because who can resist an invitation to despair?

Come hither and share, blogging bretheren.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Inspiration, people. I needed to feel moved. Compelled.

And now I do.

Let me tell you why.

I spend a lot of my time reflecting upon how much people suck. I'm really not a misanthrope, but sometimes it's hard to see anything else.

But every now and then, you run across people that touch you; truly, deeply, profoundly. And those people reignite the little spark of hope that lives inside each of us. The things that they do aren't necessrily big and flashy. Even a small kindness can illuminate the hugeness of a human heart.

These are people, however, who are capable of amazing geneorosity and selflessness. They are the ones who should be figuring so prominently in the media that we devour on a daily basis.

Not politicians. Not celebrities. Not fame whores and poptarts.

Because they are the ones who illuminate the goodness of which we are all capable. They are the ones who battle the monsters that walk among us. They are the ones who make human beings worthy of the value we place on ourselves; arrogant creatures that we are.

We don't always know who they are because they don't go about proclaiming their benevolence. They simply live it.

Such was the case with a woman I met recently.

At baseball practice last week, all the parents huddled together, sharing a small patch of shade and getting to know one another, as they always do at the beginning of the season.

As a seasoned baseball Mom, I tend to get a lot of questions from the newer parents. I've been doing this for 9 years. I know the ropes, the rules, the regulations and the rumors.

One Mom approached me, and asked me about athletic supporters. At nine years old, it was her son's first time playing baseball.

When Husband asked the child if he had a cup, he quipped, "No, but I have a water bottle. Are you thirsty Coach Antagonist? I can find a cup."

Truly a neophyte, this kid. Husband chuckled over that for a week.

I told her what I knew, and eventually we began conversing about other things. I liked her right away. She and I are about as opposite as two women can get, but she has a directness that I like. She's a no nonsense sort. No affectation. No pretension.

I suspected that she might be a lesbian and that was confirmed when she mentioned her partner. It doesn't matter to me in the slightest, but you don't see many openly gay couples here in the ultra conservative South.

I hoped she wasn't in for a rough time of it. Southern suburbia isn't exactly an enclave of diversity and acceptance. One of the Moms had already made a disparaging comment about gays, not realizing, I'm sure, that there was one standing right in front of her.

During the course of our conversation, it was revealed that the boy is not her biological son. She and her partner had recently gone through the process of being approved by the court for adoption. They had scarcely completed their evaluation, when they received a call from the social worker who had been guiding them through the lengthy and laborious process.

There was an emergency.

They had three children who needed a place immediately, as the court felt their domestic situation was unacceptable. Would they be willing to take these children until a foster home could be found? There was the boy, a five year old girl, and a 15 month old infant.

Now, most of us get to transition into parenthood; adjust to the phases as they come. We have time to fall in love with our children in the womb and as blank, sweet smelling bundles of potential before they plunge us into the challenge of parenting autonomous beings.

Even then, it can test our mettle in ways we never imagined. It can break us. Who among us has not found ourselves questioning our fitness as parents? Who among us has not, at some point, curled up into a tiny ball and cried, certain we were failing our children?

Recognizing, this, the woman and her partner had expressed in their application that they would rather adopt an older child, as they did not feel equipped to deal with a toddler or an infant.

So they were hesitant. But the social worker assured them that the situation was temporary, and the need dire. These children were in grave danger.

They put aside their plan.

They took the children into their home, and unknowingly, into their hearts.

They realized that their well constructed idea of how things should be, was insignificant in the face of what was. These children needed them.

Instead of one child, they got three. Instead of just one older semi-independant child, they also got a fractious five year old and a wholly reliant toddler. But they dug in and did their best.

Several weeks later, parental rights were terminated, and the children became wards of the court. They could now be placed in a semi-permanent foster home.

But the women found that they could not let the children go. These little beings that they had regarded with such trepidation had become their family. They told the social worker that they wanted to begin the adoption process.

I listened to all of this, noting the joy that suffused her face as she told me that in a few weeks, the children would be theirs.

"I had our name put on his jersey." she said shyly.

She humbled me. I mean really, really humbled me. She made me ashamed of my complaints, my sniveling about losing myself, and the challenges of raising my spirited, head strong boys. She made me ashamed that I had forgotten what a privilege it is to be a mother.

It was clear that she is determined to give these kids all the trappings of childhood. Baseball is part of that. And never, ever have I seen a child so unabashedly overjoyed over a simple game. For him, of course, it more than a game. It is a chance to let go of the responsibility he has shouldered for so long and just be a kid.

Free. Unencumbered. Innocent. Normal.

The first game came, and I watched her as she watched him. As he stepped up to the plate, she clasped her hands tightly beneath her chin and waited for the pitch. He swung, which in itself is a testament to his bravery and resolute nature.

A whote lot of kids who are new to kid pitch league can't make themselves stay in the batter's box while the ball comes hurling at them with questionable trajectory.

But he did. He stayed and he swung and he hit the ball. It was a glancing blow and the ball dribbled slowly toward third base. But he ran like the wind, just as he had been told. He made it safely to first base, where Husband was waiting to give him a high five. When he turned to look for his new Mom in the stands, the grin on his face shone wide and bright behind his metal face mask.

And she? Was beside herself. She clapped and whoopped and hollered as if he had hit a grand slam. She ducked her head and wiped away a tear, but others shone in her eyes as she beamed at him. And when he crossed home plate, she couldn't keep them from spilling down her cheeks.

Later, during a break in the action, he and Husband conversed. The kid was frenetic and as wiggly as a puppy in his excitement. He danced on his toes as they talked.

"Coach Antagonist...didja see that? I hit the ball. I really hit it!"

"You sure did man. That was awesome. scored a run."

"Yeah. My first home run EVER. Do you know why?"

He jumped up, twisted around, landed flat on his feet with his legs spread and pointed with both hands to the back of his jersey.

"Cause you're lucky number 13!" said Husband.

"Yeah. AND, because of my new name."

I turned to his Mom.

"Man, that kid is walking about six feet off the ground."

For a moment, she didn't answer. Overcome, I think, with gladness. Then she said,

"Well, he's not the only one."

Goddamn that made me feel happy inside. Really, really happy.

There are good people in the world. And sometimes, we get the privilege of knowing them and seeing how they change it.

Now inspiring.

Sunday, September 07, 2008


I'm feeling very apathetic and ambivalent about blogging lately. I'm not sure why, but maybe blogging has just run it's course for me. I actually suspect that blogging as a social medium might be on the wane as a whole.

This is not good-bye, I don't think. I've tried that, twice, and both times I came slinking back begging you to love me again within two weeks.

That's embarassing.

So I'm taking a break. If I start to miss it, then I'll know it's not over and I'll come back when my motivation has returned.

But maybe, I'll be inspired to go on to other things. That wouldn't be a bad thing. I feel that I am somewhat mired in the instant gratification of comments, and as such, not motivated to strive for more.

SIGH. I have no idea what I'm saying here.

I'm feeling a little jaded, I guess, about the whole ball of blogging wax.

There are those of you that I adore and can't bear not to "see" everyday, so I'll make the rounds when I can.

Thanks to everyone who has read Blogs Are Stupid these last three years, and left such insightful, thought provoking and just plain enteraining comments.


Thursday, September 04, 2008

In Memory Of Silliness

How things we thought we would remember forever, somehow get lost in the swirling mist of our memory?

The Baroness is in France right now, and has posted about her adventures in the Louvre. This sparked a memory that seems, memorable, that I can't believe I haven't thought of it in the fifteen years since it happened.

It makes me inexpressibly sad to wonder about what other delicious life moments are hiding back there behind the grocery lists, to do lists, school and sports schedules, doctor, dentist and orthodontic appointments....

What things am I missing that I don't even remember I forgot?

This particular memory takes place in the Louvre. It was our honeymoon, and Husband surprised me with an 8 day trip to London and Paris. WOW. The trip was everything I had imagined it would be, and then some. It was easily one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

I took 7 years of French, and, predictably, became quite a Francophile. For years I had listened avidly and with great affection to tales of Versaille and all it's splendor, The Louvre and all it's majesty, the Tour Eiffal, Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur. I even embraced the French disdain for foreigners, because I believed the French to be the epitome of culture and refinement. Why wouldn't they be disdainful of us boorish Americans?

But my parents didn't have the money for me to travel to France with the French class my senior year.

It was a huge disappointment. I knew before they told me that I wouldn't be able to go, but I guess a small part of me hoped that maybe, somehow, someway, they would pull it off. The trip was simply beyond their parental magic, however. I thought I may never see all the things I had dreamed about for so long.

So perhaps you can understand my complete and utter rapture when I found myself standing in the Louvre, in a vast marbled hallway, in front of the most famous painting in all the world. I was absolutely beside myself.

The painting itself? Not so impressive. It was small. Tiny, really. And not all that pretty. There were innumerable paintings in the Louvre that were much more beautiful, compelling, and inspiring. And bigger. Much. Much. Bigger.

It was completely encased in thick, bulletproof glass. Getting a clear picture of the silly thing was impossible because of the glare. There was a barrier erected in front of it that prohibited anybody from getting any closer than four feet.

People thronged around the painting, jabbering in a multitude of languages. I wondered if their thoughts about the painting were the same as mine, and if they felt a similar sense of letdown about it.

Husband enjoyed the Louvre as well, but was not as enthralled as I. He lacked what I felt to be a suitable level of reverence for the ground upon which we stood; the corridors we walked, and the events that took place there.

You see...Husband is a goofball. He likes to caper and cut up. And the Louvre did not subdue this proclivity in the slightest. So he mucked around, pretending that he was going to steal the Mona Lisa. The Mona. Friggin. Lisa.

He tiptoed up to the painting in an exaggerated fashion, looked about furtively and sized it up ostentatiously by holding his thumbs and forefingers aloft in a picture frame formation. He winked. He held his finger to his lips.

A few onlookers frowned, a few chuckled.

The security staff was not amused.

After watching him for a few moments with dark looks and whispered consultation, one beleaguered gaurd stepped forward, wagged his finger and said...

"Monsieur! Ce n'est pas amusant."

Husband look at me with a blank expression. I sighed.

"He said...'That's not funny'." I translated. My tone was accusatory.

Husband looked at the gaurd, hung his head and dropped his shoulders in an exaggerated attitude of chastisement. Then he shuffled to a bench, sat down, and slumped forward like a small boy who has been sent to the corner.

Again, some people frowned, some people chuckled. I shrugged my shoulders, affecting extreme nonchalance, though of course, I was embarassed beyond belief.

"Il aime faire la pitre." (He like to clown around) was my oh so casual explanation to the curious onlookers.

Then I stalked off, leaving husband to follow or not.

He did.

I scolded him for acting like a court jester in a place so refined, so cultured, so....FRENCH. I was well and truly piqued. I was hot under the collar. I was hopping mad. Was my new Husband a thoroughly uncultured swine???

Ugh. It seemed so important then.

But after that? I forgot it. I didn't remember that incident until reading the Baroness's post yesterday. It came to me so clearly then, that I was a little stunned to realize it had been lost for so long.

It's funny also, that now, I don't feel nearly so outraged by his buffoonery. I chuckled at the memory. Yes, that's classic Husband alright. He's still a clown. But I've grown so accustomed to his antics that I rarely even take notice anymore.

Silliness is a gift, I think. And I'm not silly enough. It just doesn't come naturally to me. So I'm thankful that I have him to "faire la pitre" for our boys.

One day they are going to have a random memory sparked by something mundane. They will remember their Dad and his silliness.

And I'm glad.

Thank you Barroness. I would have hated to lose that one.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

True Story

Another repost. I've decided to make this week all about the funny.

Also, those of you who complained about kissy face woman in my profile, please take note of my new profile pic. I hate pictures of myself so I can't say how long it will stay. Also the colors in the photo do not coordinate well with my template colors. I know, it's dumb, but it bugs me. Kissy face woman may be back by the end of the day.

Last night, I dreamt that all the diamonds in my wedding ring had fallen out. I was searching frantically, desperate to find them. I was completely panicked. I was absolutely sick with loss.

I don't often dream and when I do, they are usually gone the moment I awake. I am not one of those people who recount their dreams in great detail. But occasionally, I have dreams of such startling clarity that they never leave me. I can think of four such dreams. This one makes five. As dreams go, it wasn't all that terrifying or traumatic. But I woke up in complete and utter despair.

I have no idea what that symbolizes, but I'm sure it's yet another indication that I am perilously close to some kind of psychotic episode.

But it reminded me of a funny thing I hadn't thought of in years.

I always thought I would insist on selecting my own engagement and wedding rings, because I am incredibly picky discerning, and the thought of being stuck with something I hate my whole life was just too awful to contemplate.

But Husband surprised me by proposing to me after just six months. I hadn't even had time to daydream a dress yet.

Luckily, he has good taste, and my wedding set is truly beautiful. I cherish it not for it's earthly value, but because of the bond it represents. Husband has offered to replace the center stone with a larger one on several different anniversaries. But I don't want or need a larger one.

This is the one he slipped upon my trembling hand when I said yes, this is the one that will encircle my lifeless finger when I go to my grave. Unless some mercenary daughter in law sets her sights on it and convinces one of my sons to pry it from his mother's cold dead grasp. Bitch.


The setting is rather intricate and sits very high. I was and am constantly banging it against things; the faucet in the kitchen sink, the porcelain knobs on the cabinets, the steering wheel, glassware, my own flesh and bone and that of my children.

All of us bear somewhere upon our bodies, a scar where the wickedly sharp prongs have furrowed delicate flesh. It's a deadly weapon I'm telling you. I could put somebody's eye out.

Several times I whacked it hard enough to loosen the center stone to the point that it could have been easily dislodged and lost forever. The thought made me quite ill.

I did lose several of the smaller marquis side diamonds, and though not nearly as valuable as the center stone, they were still too expensive to replace on our single income. I hated the sight of those poor empty prongs. I made me sad and disspirited to look at them, so I put it away and took to wearing a wedding band in it's place.

Several years later on our anniversary Husband surprised me by having the missing stones replaced. I was thrilled and I couldn't stop looking at it. I had really missed it.

Two days later, I lost one of them again.

I was absolutely horrified and I cried when I told Husband.

There was nothing we could do, of course. I was pregnant at the time, and the ring was beginning to get too tight anyway. So I put it away again and tried not to think of the wasted expense.

Months went by, and my belly grew. Diminutive One was over 9lbs at birth and I had pre-eclampsia, which caused me to retain water like you would not believe. I'm short, and I am short waisted, so by the end, my stomach was truly something to behold. And it itched. A LOT. So I scratched it. A lot.

I was put on bedrest near the end of my pregnancy and spent a lot of time in my recliner. One day, while lying there trying to watch television over the mound of my stomach, I realized that my belly button was particularly itchy. My belly button is deeply inverted and it never even came close to popping out with my first pregnancy. But with that pregnancy, it was beginning to look like a distinct possibility.

I began to root around, trying to relieve the itch that had become a near constant thing by that point.

Suddenly, I realized that there was something embedded in my belly button. Something small and hard. I rooted around some more, trying to guess what in the world it could be. I couldn't grasp it with my swollen, clumsy fingers, so I heaved myself out of the chair, lumbered into the bathroom, and got the tweezers out of my nail kit. I lumbered back to the chair and commenced digging.

I kind of felt like the newest Milton Bradley game..."Pregnant Operation".

Even with the tweezers, it was difficult to get a good grip on whatever it was lodging in my belly button, and I stabbed myself repeatedly in an effort to extract it. Every time the tines bit into my tender flesh, I sort of expected my nose to light up and a buzzer to sound.

Was it a grain of rice? No. A fingernail? Ew, no. A stone? Yes, it felt like a stone. I finally managed to pull it out and saw that I was right. It was a stone.

But not just any stone....A DIAMOND.

Holy shit, the thing in my belly button was my missing diamond.

I surmised that my ring got snagged on my clothing when I extracted my hand from my pants after a particularly vigorous bout of scratching and fell into my capacious belly button.

When Husband came home, I held the diamond out gleefully for him to see. He was amazed that it had turned up after so long.

"Where on earth did you find it???" he asked.

"In my belly button."


"My belly button."

"Shut up."

"I'm totally serious. I was scratching my belly, and then my belly button got itchy too, and when I stuck my finger in there to scratch it, I found the diamond!!"

He looked at me for a long time. He honestly had no idea if I was messing with him or not. On one hand, it was just ridiculous enough to be true. On the other hand, how could a diamond stay in my belly button for 9 months without being discovered or dislodged?

Finally, he said, "Well. It is really deep."


"You know what would be really amazing?"


"What if it's not the last one you lost? What if that's one of the original ones that got lost. That thing coulda been in there for years."

"No way."

"Seriously, geez. You could have the Hope Diamond in there. C'mere. No. No, no wait! We'll put a piece of coal in there and make another one!! That could work. The pressure has got to be enormous by now."

And that's when he realized that a grossly swollen pregnant woman only finds humor at her expense funny for a finite period of time.

And yes, Husband took my ring to the jeweler the next day and had the diamond reset. And we had all the diamonds reinforced with extra prongs. I haven't lost one since, which means that the belly button diamond is still in place.

So there you go. True Story.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

I've Bitten Off More Than I Can Chew

Husband and I started a home improvement project this weekend that has proven to be much larger than we originally anticipated.

Doncha hate that?

Since this has resulted in the boys' bathroom being out of commission, and since I am not interested in sharing mine one nanosecond longer than necessary....most of my time this week will be spent trying to finish up.

So, I'll be reposting some things throughout the week to keep you entertained. Today I've chosen "Motherplucker", because I am not one of the truly funny bloggers and it's only rarely that I write something that I think is laugh out loud funny. So I like to milk those posts for all their worth.

Enjoy, and please bear with me until bathroom zen is restored to my world.


I am somewhat obsessed with my eyebrows.

Let me just say in my own defense, that I do come by my various aesthetic obsessions mother was a cosmetologist for thirty plus years. My entire childhood was an exercise in vanity.

As soon as I sprouted hair it was in rollers. And I loved every minute of it. My mother often describes how even as a toddler I would sit absolutely still while she rolled, pin curled, teased and tormented my thick shiny baby locks into helmeted grown-up lady confections.

In my kindergarten picture, I am wearing a flip that easily rivals anything Marlo Thomas's Anne Marie could whip up. I was a pint-sized That Girl. A living breathing Barbie head and nearly as compliant.

Because I am naturally and surprisingly hirsute for someone so milkily complected, I did and always will require routine maintenance to keep the sideburns, moustache, chinny whiskers, and stealthy eyebrow hairs from overtaking my face like the kudzu that swallows everything that cannot fight or flee in this godforsaken place.

But I never thought much about my eyebrows and neither did my mother. I realize now that is because my brows have a nicely defined natural arch. They are, in their natural state, thick, but not unruly. I never touched them, other than to remove a few stray hairs on the bridge of my nose to keep the unibrow at bay.

Little did I know that I was going through life looking like the Geico caveman's bitch.

Now...I know how to shape and wax brows.

I watched my mother fry her lids with hot wax at least once a week for eighteen years. She would emerge from this process with splotches of fiery red skin adorning either eye, and a her top lip aglow with an angry rosiness, creating the impression that she had blown her nose something like...4,000 times without benefit of Puffs.

I watched her rip stiff yellow strips of hardened wax from the lips and brows of various aunts, cousins, and girlfriends, who, would stoicly stifle their inhuman shrieks of pain and blink furiously to keep the tears of agony from streaming down their cheeks.

In my junior year of high school, I decided that eyebrow waxing would make an interesting, unique and dramatic topic for a demonstration speech.

It was dramatic alright.

The unsuspecting classmate that I had talked into being my victim model was terribly brave when I spread the blistering hot wax onto her already perfectly attractive brow. She gasped in shock, and tears welled in her eyes, but she bit her lip and soldiered on as I repeated the process on the opposing brow.

When the moment of truth came, I ripped the wax from her skin with a flourish and tried not to be disconcerted by the rending sound.

When my mother did it, there was a soft, short "zhhhzip". This was a rather loud and dismayingly prolonged "RRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIP!!!"

I held the strip aloft triumphantly, displaying the hair embedded in the wax. It wasn't until I saw that the entire class was frozen in shock that I looked at the strip myself. There I saw a profusion of ash blonde eyebrow hairs, perfectly shaped and disconcertingly complete.

I had removed her entire. Fucking. Eyebrow.

I looked at the teacher who had her hand over her mouth. Her heavily mascarad eyes were astonishingly wide and her face was completely suffused with blood. I wasn't entirely sure if it was mirth or horror that had caused the trasnformation, so I simply continued.

To her credit, my model's smile never wavered, even when her fingers stole to her now naked brow and encountered...nothing. She made a small sound in her throat, that was kind of like "snerk", but otherwise maintained her composure.

It took six months for her eyebrow to grow completely back.

She was an amazingly good sport about it. She had one of those swooping 80's hairstyles wherein the bangs nearly obscured one entire eye, so she simply reversed her part and was really none the worse for the experience.

My mother informed me that my error had been in removing the hair against, rather than with the growth of the hair. It was a rookie mistake, one she had made herself in the early days of beauty school, along with a misguided attempt to color her hair auburn over platinum blonde, which resulted in a beautiful shade of cotton candy pink.

So I learned from my mistake and surprisingly, earned an A on my speech.

Nevertheless, I wanted no part of such barbarousness.

But a couple years ago, I happened to see a picture of myself that was taken at unusually close range because I was holding my newborn son. And I thought...

Holy caterpillar Batman...why didn't anybody hand me a weedwhacker or something and tell me to mow those fuckers down??

I don't know if it was hormones or what...but I was looking decidedly Australopithecine.

(Heh. Hominid humor. How very "highbrow" of me. HA! Goddamn I slay myself.)

I decided it was time to give nature a helping hand, and I set about shaping my eyebrows.

I discoverd then that I have an unusual growth pattern, and thus, a hair that I thought to be growing in one direction, was actually growing the opposite. Plucking it resulted in a disconcerting gap. To rectify this, I plucked more and more in an effort to effect a shapely and uniform brow.

I hadn't intended to alter the shape quite so much, but overall, I was pretty happy with the results. Unfortunately, plucking is like anything else...too much of a good thing can be disastrous. I became obsessive about stray hairs and a sloppy arch. I plucked ever more ruthlessly. And over the years, my brows became not so much thinner, as...nonexistent.

I should explain that I have very large and somewhat protruberant eyes. Every single time I go to the eyedoctor she asks me if I've had my thyroid checked recently.

Like my ass would be this size if I had a thyroid problem.

But anyway...

After looking at pictures of myself from a recent trip, I realized, that like a bold painting or a stark photograph, my eyes need strong brows to frame them and offset their...bulbousness.

So of course, it was with some dismay that I realized I look a little like this:

Or this...

Or even this

While I'm sure these creatures are the very model of sexual appeal in the animal kingdom, in the realm of human sexuality....not so much.

So I decided I needed to grow them out completely and start over. I bid my tweezers and my trusty nail scissors a fond farewell.

For several weeks I was a paragon of self-restraint. While they were short, the stray hairs were easily concealed by my eye makeup. But as they grew longer, I began to feel a little...unkempt.

But I was strong. I employed all kinds of cosmetic trickery and for several more weeks, I convinced myself that I looked, if not perfectly polished, at least presentable.

Until this morning. Bleary eyed and groggy, I stumbled into the bathroom to put the first of my twice daily doses of Restasis into my eyes. When my vision cleared, I confronted this in the mirror:

I snapped.

Fortuitously, my mother had recently sent me a lovely basket of cosmetics, implements and unguents for my birthday, in which, was a wickedly sharp and beautifully gleaming new tweezers.

I tore the package open with my teeth and got down to business. I may or may not have been making simian like grunting sounds while I worked.

Thirty minutes later there was a small but satisfying mound of eyebrow hairs on my bathroom counter, some with the bulbous follicle still attached, so ruthlessly had they been ripped from my flesh. My cheeks were peppered with stray hairs as well, and I blew them away impatiently.

There on my face were two semi-spherical, perfectly shaped if once again maniacally thin eyebrows. I felt clean and new and unemcumbered. My mother always said that shaping one's brows is the quickest and cheapest face lift money can buy, and she was right. I looked amazingly refreshed and extraordinarily alert.

Marlene set the bar and I faithfully follow in your stilletto clad footsteps.

You can't buy glamour like that. can rip it out of your epidermis by the roots. name is B.A. And a motherplucker.