Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It Surprised Me Too.

I have had some surprisingly flirting encounters lately.
Surprising, as in, I didn't really realize it was flirting until after the encounter(s).
Flirting, as in, I didn't really expect to be using that word at my age. But it's not my fault. I promise I didn't initiate it.

A good friend asked me what I first thought of when I saw someone I found interesting, or noticing me (or realized - too late? - that he was flirting).
'Huh?' - was my first response....'You mean people are like...flirting with me??'
(turns out, yes)

Anyway, the question the first priority thought:
Does he have a job?
Why is he hitting on me?
How good looking is he?
How old?
Why is he hitting on me?

I responded, without really thinking about it,
"Well...I guess I look at every dude now and wonder if he would hurt someone if he got mad. I just wonder if he would hurt someone. Actually, I wonder that about the women who overtly flirt with me too."

That is what I worry about the most now. Violence. Unpredictability. Crossing that limit.
Being physically threatened.

I worry that my daughter our daughter will expect nothing less for herself.

My friend said "Well I remember provoking Dude to be angry many times early in our relationship. I wanted to see how he would react."
What I know about this friend is that she was abused by her father and she never went back. What I know about this friend is that she is one of the strongest and most objective friends I have and one of the best mothers I know. The mother who can change things when she fux it all up, and the friend who can say 'you need to change what you are doing because you might be fuxing it all up' because she isn't afraid of change.
She reminds me that I am not afraid of change.
I watched to see her husband's reaction to her description of challenging his temper. He shook his head, remembering it with clarity and an obvious shred of residual terror, then saying, "I get it now. I understand that. Men can be pigs. She had to test me. But we communicate."
And he does. And they do. And he gets her. And respects who she is and has accommodated his life changes - as has she - to pursue their life as a couple.
They communicate.
They adore each other.

I have a village, and I am grateful that they are part of it.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Verizon Disney App Adventure; Part 1

Remember that secret I may have leaked a teeny tiny bit once or twice?

Yeah, that one.

Well...I was actually working while I was there so don't tell anyone how much fun I really had. I didn't think I would personally enjoy going to Disneyland as much as I would enjoy watching my kids have fun in Disneyland, but well....okay. I liked the mouseland, ALRIGHT??? Can we just keep this between us? Okay, you, me and Verizon.

Yes, Verizon. I was offered the opportunity by my friend, David Hoffman to try out a new Verizon application for Disneyland, and put it to the Gwendomama challenge. I had no idea what I was doing with either the app or Disneyland, because I (shhhhh) am was a Disneyland virgin, and if you saw how many keys were missing from my laptop you would easily and correctly assume my lack of technical snobbery or expertise. But I do love to have fun, and so not only did I accept the challenge...I agreed to be filmed while trying it. (As long as I could say whatever I wanted, whenever.)

I may or may not have been drunk crazed when I agreed to the filming part, but my friends hid the evidence and held me to my agreement.
Okay, I totally made that last part up because I hate the sound of my own voice and can't believe I agreed to be filmed. Why on earth would I talk about getting drunk in the same paragraph I mention Disneyland? This is a family blog. And Disneyland is ALL about the family fun and NOT AT ALL about endorsing drinking heavily. Unless you count Goofy.

First I was all, "Why do I need a special application on my phone to navigate Disneyland?" But nobody could hear me because they were all chatting away on their bluetooth devices. So I shouted, "WHY CAN'T I JUST USE THE PARK PROVIDED MAP?" and looked down to find my instantly discarded to the stroller map being mutilated by my small child. That was easy. Now I knew why, and also made a mental note to not allow the phone near said small child.

Turning on the phone, I found the 'Disney Mobile Magic' app and as soon as it loaded, it found me too! "Look!! It found us!!" I told Heidi, excitedly, "Look! That circle is us!!"
So yes, it knew where we were instantly. Which I find both awesome and creepy. I kept looking over my shoulder to see if someone was shining the circle on us and following us around with a laser dot. I told you, I am not very technical.
Despite my admonitions to 'go before we leave the hotel room', Heidi immediately needed a bathroom. We had just walked onto Main Street, USA, and the kids were overwhelmed with the dazzling Disney eye candy, so we could hardly see signs for a bathroom.
OH! The APP!!

'Mobile Magic' opened, I selected 'Guest Services' from the main menu and the first sub-option to pop up was 'restrooms'...which? Was awesome. Without moving from that spot, we located the subtly labeled and previously invisible bathroom directly behind us within about 40 seconds. Which means that Disney and Verizon are totally fine with you being too lazy to do it the old fashioned way by walking around and looking. And that? Again, awesome.

Right away, Bubbles wanted to meet Mickey. Since he is not a kid likely to be shy of giant masked friendly rodents (as his sister would have been) I was sort of excited to get him to Mickey ASAP. I went to the 'Characters' selection on the app, and just as I was telling Heidi that 'it says he should be right here in Main Street Plaza at 8:40' I looked up from my teeny tiny alluring screen to see a line forming directly in front of me. For Mickey. Right there, at Main Street Plaza.
Correct again, Mobile Magic!

Okay, with the bathroom stop and the meeting of Mickey under our mommy belts, we were ready to attack the meatier subjects at hand: Rides.
Oh cool, now I was feeling useful! I whipped out the phone again, clicked on 'Attractions', looked for Finding Nemo's Submarine Voyage, and located it on the map to find how to get there from where we were.
Ready for the best part of all?
What's everyone's least favorite part of Disneyland?

.............(' -----take a moment--------')...............

Yes, we all agree.
Waiting in lines.
(That link, by the way has some great tips.)

This app updates every few minutes to tell you what the wait time is on any given ride.
There are other ways of finding out the wait times for rides; you can, alternatively walk to the kiosk in Main Street Plaza at any time and receive the updated wait times for any ride. And I encourage you to search ahead of time, which attractions you want to see and what you want to prioritize
But if you are roaming in the park nowhere near Main Street, and want to check the wait time of any ride at all in any area of the park, the app is going to save you some time.

While we were trying to find Nemo, we saw some rockets.
We were at Disneyland. Where world famous pirates and animatronic adorable small singing children abound, but our kids wanted wockets.
Wockets won.
And off to the wockets rockets we went.
And we were ready for more action.

We found Nemo just where the app said we would, but after our long and tiring submarine voyage, it was time for food.
Out came the phone, and since I was becoming pretty adept at using it, I bragged that I could find anything anyone wanted to eat. Which, with small children, translated into 'quick service and near- instant gratification'. Within a moment we had located a place to eat just yards away from us. My only complaint about this feature is that it showed me every kind of cuisine available from African to Thai food, but not one category was labeled 'coffee' or 'cafe'. If Disney wants me to chase my kids around in their park all day long, the coffee would help.

Something I didn't get to try out but found highly appealing was the 'set alerts' option for the 'Events' option. I tend to get distracted with my kids' involvement and may forget something in which they had earlier expressed interest. For instance, the parade. I could go to the 'Parade' label in 'Events' and set an alert on the phone so that, ten minutes before the parade (or whatever 'Event' I chose) the phone would ring and remind me.

Verizon certainly has a cutting edge product for Disney fans and park goers, and, with any brand new product, there are many suggestions for how to improve it. Droid users will be disappointed to find out that the Mobile Magic Application is not yet available to them.

Personally, I was pretty happy with the features of the app, but the Chocolate phone I was using would shut the app down every time I closed the phone and put it in my pocket. Sadly, this is just the nature of flip phones or phones which close.
I suggested a 'kid tracking application' to Verizon - useful in any situation in the prevention of lost children. If I can have all the benefits of GPS, I want a tiny receiver which I can clip on to my four year old's shirt or pants, activate with my phone, and keep track of him should he stray from my side. I am sure they will get right on that. (HELLO? Really nice guy from Verizon- are you listening?)

All in all?
I had more fun than I thought I would at Disneyland, I am now far more technically savvy than I was before using this app (and phone, for that matter) - so savvy, in fact, that you should hire me to teach you really important technical colored things . My only complaint is that Disney did not control the weather, and we spent one full day of our 2-day pass, drying our soaked shoes and socks over the heater and huddled in the motel room watching cable Disney channel.

My very last tip to you? Choose a motel with a hot tub. Because then, even if you get caught in the only freezing, pouring rainstorm of the year, you can get warm and keep children who are entertained by warmth and water happy.

This post was created voluntarily to record the events which were filmed by David Hoffman. I was not paid to write this post, nor was any other party able to edit the final publication.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Things recently uttered in court during which I had to maintain composure and not puke in my mouth:

"I'm not going to pay child support because she keeps threatening to take our kids and move out of this jurisdiction."
(Because that makes sense. And because our children can certainly afford to live here without any child support. And jurisdiction? Because there is no jurisdiction on me...I'm not the convicted one here. And because you told our daughter you could practically SEE OUR HOUSE from yours? And ....ummmm.....)

"I'll be paying almost as much in health care as in child support."
(Last I checked, the county health insurance cards they received because I am at the poverty level were not costing you anything. And if you are paying their health care, it would be the first time, and you should probably look for coverage for their play therapy. Not speech therapy, which is covered by the school district. Which you might have known had you ever attended an IEP.)

"I have a letter from the only witness present which will shed new light on the incident!!"
(#1. Not the only witness; our preschooler was present also. #2. From the witness your sister, who sent me an email admitting that she asked you to hold me down so I would 'stop yelling and listen'. #3.Nobody will stop yelling if you grab and hurt and choke them. #4. New light. On YOUR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CONVICTION. Not mine.)
(By the way, you are way more scary and intimidating now than when you were sorry and you thought what you did was wrong. Was that your intention? Because it seems like you only were sorry until I reported it.)

(Because the statement you yourself gave to the police was a lie? They got it wrong? You didn't actually run into the house to attack me and grab me and put me in a full nelson...twice?) (Shut up about the defensiveness. You look ugly when you blame your victim.)

"My client can no longer afford to pay the child support ordered because he suddenly lost his job."
(Spoken by his attorney. Who is NOT pro-bono.)

"This information is all one-sided!! It's all HER side of the story!!"
(Because the police report which includes both of our statements was provided to the childrens' therapist as impartial evidence so it did not become a 'he-said-she-said' situation? Because the 15 hours of observation, during which you couldn't even pretend to be sorry, led her to write her recommendation that you need therapy and the children need honesty?)

"I put her in a full nelson. Because a half nelson wasn't effective."*

*Legally speaking, this last one was not 'uttered' but it was 'admitted' into court as his direct quote.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Colossal Disney Swear Fail

Okay, I still can't really tell you why I am here, but, after a day of dogs-and-cats type freezing rain, chilled-to-the-bone and whining kids (the OLDER ONES!), absolutely zero photo opportunities, and all day hotel TV, I must at least tell the funniest part so far.

Last night, after a long and tiring hot tub swim with the kiddos, Heidi put herself and early bird kids straight to bed, while I put mine straight into an anti-chlorine bath and slipped into a glass of wine. As my kiddos were toweling off, we heard some large booms, and almost instantly - and very excitedly - realized that we could see the spectacular show from our second floor hotel balcony/walkway.
"Ooooooo, Ahhhhhh..." they exclaimed once before the door bolted open next to us and Heidi and her boys emerged....
"OH MY JESUS CHRIST SWEET BABY JESUS I thought someone was getting shot out here! SHIT! I am SO GLAD it is fireworks, but FUCK that scared me!! I was just falling asleep, and BAM! BAM! BAM! Holy fucking A."

Note to self: Create new hashtag - #colossaldisneyswearfail

There's a Waterfall On My Head

I tried to stop swearing because of the Disneyland trip - bad form and the thousands of kids and all.
But I have to say something.

This is a fucking lie:

Sunday, December 06, 2009

It's Where the Magic Happens

This post is coming to you from the most magical place on earth.

How do I know this?

The six hour car ride, the all expense-paid trip, the fireworks from my hotel room at 9:30pm, and my son Bubbles, the one who eats a grand total of eight nine foods, ate calamari rings tonight.
(I may or may not have told him they were chicken.)

Now if that isn't magic, you tell me what is.

Tune in tomorrow for more magic with pictures.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Family Court Gives Me Ennui

The family court system is broken. Shocker.

'Don't say anything negative about the other parent to a mediator' I have been told. Why would I say anything negative? The interview is about the children, right? All I want is for him to get some counseling like the rest of the family. I told her that I supported the recommendations of the therapist, but if he would agree to ongoing counseling, perhaps there was less immediate need for a psych evaluation? I want to know that he is helping himself so the kids can see him again regularly. I told her I have no desire or intention of keeping them apart unnecessarily. I want to know that he understands that depression doesn't just go away on it's own, and that nobody can deal with the death of a child on his own. He broke. It was serious. I have compassion for these issues. Compassion is positive; I want to move forward, not back!
A psych evaluation will show us, however, the real potential in that desire becoming a reality.

The interviewer never asked more than two questions about our children to me. Instead, she sat in front of me, sighed, and said, "I am required by law to give you this domestic violence questionnaire." And then she proceeded to do so. She asked about the incident in April and any threats made in our history. Then she finally asked where our children go to school and how they are doing emotionally. That last part took about five minutes. For five minutes she heard me talk about our children, then cut me off.
Seems to me that it would be very difficult to say nothing at all negative about a person when being questioned about how he hurt you (a document she could have looked up - his own police statement) and what he was yelling at you while he did.
I told her, "He can be a good father - there was a time he was a good father! He loves his children."

Do you think she told him that?

She wrote that he denies the incident happened the way I describe, and that he believes I planned the assault, in order to gain control of the children. (Again, I defer to the police report.)

Does it sometimes seem that there are more problems caused to all parties when someone erroneously suggests that the family should then spend another few thousand dollars to further incite and inflame this situation? Let us review a portion of the California Family Code, section 3044:

"(e) When a court makes a finding that a party has perpetrated
domestic violence, the court may not base its findings solely on
conclusions reached by a child custody evaluator or on the
recommendation of the Family Court Services staff, but shall consider
any relevant, admissible evidence submitted by the parties."

That makes sense. I would love to see it come to a reality.
I don't see here, in our specific situation, where our children are being addressed. How does bleeding the parents dry serve to consider our children first and foremost?

Just sayin.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bubbles' First Poem, (as dictated to me yesterday, randomly and all at once in the car)

and hurt
and sad
and scratching

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Is This A Soap Opera?

The day he admits that his violent and unnecessary actions have negatively impacted our children, and that listening to our child scream, "Stop, Daddy! STOP!! Stop breaking mama's arm!!" should have been enough to stop him from continuing to hurt me, will be the day we move forward for our children.

His action, not his absence, was the catalyst here.

Instead, we are in a place where I have been accused of 'planning' the whole incident to get him out of my life.

Which, if you think about it, makes about as much sense as a spleen.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

How to Party Like A Pirate: At your fourth birthday party...

Bubbles wanted a pirate party.
Well really, he wanted a pirate party and then he changed it to a spiderman party and then superman with purple sparkly wings and then demanded live monkeys and giraffes and I just kept nodding and affirming and planning the pirate party. Because, OMG, I was not taking my stressy Virgo brain back to a starting point on this party and he had asked for a boat and castle. And the freaking pirates.
So, pirate party it was.

After the sick ones had been weeded out canceled, we had about seven friends his age coming, and their very welcome gaggle of siblings. And their parents, whose help was infinitely helpful in pulling the event off, food and all.
I wanted to plan a treasure hunt for the kids, but ended up creating the 'earn your way to being a pirate' treasure hunt rewards, and saved the actual treasure hunt for a pro.
Meet my friend the BoS's son, Gabe.

Dude. He made this awesome map:

And then he bravely took the pirate wannabes and turned them into full fledged pirates, with each new treasure map challenge.
Armed with bags, we started off to hunt for our first necessity: gooogly eye patches!

After we were properly armed with less eyesight than moments before, we headed over to dig for some buried treasure (glass marbles and jewels)....

And then over to the trampoline to search under it for bilge rats, bats, and giant spiders...

Then we were so exhausted from all that activity that we had to stop for some pirate sustenance: Peel your own apple on the cool spiral apple peelers and then roll it in chocolate sprinkles ants. The line for this activity was impressive!

Yum, ANTS!!!!

After a hearty snack, they headed up to the hills in search of the famously rumored gold, and lo! There WAS gold in those hills! And plenty of it! Go forth and pillage, ye pirates!

The loot was good!

After the looting, there was really only one thing left to do....fight each other with swords for it!
A duel!
These swords were the favorite part of the party - they kids dueled for hours. Literally, hours. And nobody got hurt!
I made them from pipe insulation (6 ft for .98 = 3 for $1!) and felt (handles) and electrical tape. Total cost for 18 swords? About $11.

The big and little kids loved them. In fact, this is what most of the rest of the party looked like:

I must stress, nobody was hurt!

The scalliwags were then convinced to take a break from the sword mayhem to ransack the treasure chest, which I made from this pattern, and I think ROCKED.

All pirates took home an extra bit of booty at the end: A thank you message with candy and beads in a bottle.

ARGGGHHH!!! I pulled THAT one off!!!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Key Lime Bars of Best Deliciousness


Want to know how I made them?

Because, really? Wow.
They were delicious!!!

Okay, fine.


Sunday, November 01, 2009

We Made It!!

This morning Bubbles woke up and asked me if today was The Big Day.

Bubbles: Today is my birthday, Mama?

Me: Yes! Today is your birthday!

Bubbles: Today I am four?

Me: Yes, today you are four! Happy Birthday!

Bubbles: Oh, I'm four? I keep saying, 'am I four?' and you keep saying, 'not yet!', BUT I MADE IT!!!!


Happy Birthday, Bubbles - every day you bring more joy into my life than the day before.

And, since you share my silly sense of humor....

I hope you like your cheeseburger cupcakes.

Love, Mama.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fish Oil in Peanut Butter? Really?

I wrote this about fish oil and peanut butter and pleasant surprises.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

In Honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month

To the abuser;
If you want to apologize to your victim, I mean really apologize (as in, 'you have genuine feelings of remorse'), here is my advice to you.
  1. Do not ever follow up your apology with a 'but...', thus rendering it no longer valid.
  2. Do not go on to say - yet again - that your actions were defensive. Unless someone was hurting you physically, threatening you with a weapon, or physically hurting another person, your actions were not defensive. 2.a) Chasing someone into a house to violently grab them, shake them, keep them from leaving a room, bruise, batter and choke (twice) does not meet this criteria of 'defensive behavior'.
  3. #2 actually takes what you may have convinced yourself was intended to be an apology, and turns it into just a really complicated and pathetic defense for your violence.
  4. Do not confuse the word 'battery' with 'restraint'. (See 2.a)) I know that's a tough one, but it's not restraint when you chase someone who is trying to get away from you. In any reality.
  5. Do not confuse the term 'battery' with 'grabbing and/or holding' someone.
  6. Do not confuse claiming 'remorse' for actions with 'regret' for having a consequence. They are not one in the same.
  7. Do not continue to emotionally abuse your victim via following up the apology defense with a novel's worth of manipulative lies.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Everything is fine, nothing to see over here.

Yes, I know many of you know we went back to court today.

Nothing happened - there was not enough information offered today for a ruling, so we are going back on Nov 13th, with a bit of mediation sprinkled in.

He used to call it 'the sledgehammer'. He'd bring it out if he needed to...get something done. Or just if he wanted to disarm someone.
He would tell them about Elijah.
Wouldn't talk about Elijah with me, ever. (That's what your blog is for, he'd remind me.)
But the sledgehammer, use as needed, was his weapon.

Today, in court, he pulled out that sledge hammer over and over.
And I feel fucking pummeled.

Nice one, dude. Real nice.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

All I want for my birthday is some heat, please.

Bubbles just told me that his birthday plans have changed. I mean sure, we have been waffling between pirate hunt and safari hunt for the time killing events theme of the party, but there's more to it than that.

He realized today, while putting away his piles of toys in baskets and on shelves, that what he really wants, are:

  • A bag of groceries, non-specific.
  • Enough cash to throw a party for his 8 favorite preschool friends.
  • Five lbs of nitrite-free bacon.
  • Five gallons of organic whole milk.
  • One case of Ovaltine, Malt or Chocolate flavor, please.
  • Sensitive skin shampoo and body wash, Aveeno please.
  • One full case of cereal. Low sugar, please.
  • Electricity: to heat his bathwater, allow him to practice his new 'mouse skillz', cook his meals, and let him jam out on the keyboard.
  • New tires for the car which drives him to preschool.
  • A winter jacket, size 4.

This is dedicated to the dad who reads this and pretends that being a dad is all about bribing buying his kids toys. And avoiding, at all costs, paying to support his children.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Chickens Come and Chickens Go

So, yesterday Supergirl stayed home from school, with a slight cold (cough cough). She was spending more time running with the chickens than lying in bed sipping tea, so I kept threatening to take her to school. At around 11:30 I told her to put the chickens away, so we could go get Bubbles and head into town for some errands. The chickens usually spend a good portion of the day running free outside, happily scratching for bugs and terrorizing our cat.
She put the three she could find into the coop. We were late, so I demanded she get in the car. As I got into the car, I saw a pile of feathers in front of it.
Umm, a big pile of feathers.
But no chicken.
"Ummm, honey? Which chicken did you say you couldn't find?"
Oh. Tiny. The plumpest, waddliest, slowest chicken of all.
"Oh. Umm....honey? Come here and look at this..."
We determined that there was indeed, no Tiny to be found, and that the sheer volume of feathers did, in fact, indicate that there was probably no chance of recovering Tiny.
Personally, I was relieved at the absence of visible carnage.

But oh! The tears.....the sobbing and heaving and high pitched sadness. Oh!

With my own upcoming non-fun events, such as court with bad-vibe Xman on Monday, I knew we needed a solution.
New chicks!
I had to call around the county to find chicks at this time of year; used up the family fun budget on their accoutrement, but I think that, so far, it's worth it.

Meet Lilo and Stitch. Stitch is the wild one.

Now putting an emergency call in to the friend who promised months ago to build that damned chicken run. Because hell no I'd rather not go through this again, and whatever it was (bobcat, coyote, hawk?) will more than likely be back, looking for another chicken dinner.

Lilo checks out what she will look like when she grows up:

Monday, October 12, 2009

Definitely NOT Parent's Choice Toy Award Material...

I am in shock.

Bubbles loves his 'guys' more than any other toys. Sure, he loves his rescue heroes, and his trains, but not as much as his 'guys'. Guys are tiny and have many snippety-snappy accessories and come in blue boxes. Playmobil, with its attention to detail and lack of merchandise produced in China, has won our family over.

But today, while searching for 'guys' to go in the castle and boat he has requested for his birthday (he's not getting both, btw), I came across this.

And it is just so so very wrong.

Notice the mask and the scattered (obviously stolen) money.
It's a getaway car.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Apraxia in Action: Again

So, we love to go to the thrift store on Tuesdays, because it is half price day.
We got this totally lame awesome find for only $2.5o the other day, and Bubbles is in love with it's archaic attractions. We start with just the word 'flamingos', which in some way, I would love to never change and always hear in (my mind at least) as 'fingogos, yeah!'....forever.

On the other hand, we have put almost two years into this speech therapy business, and that is almost half of Bubbles' life. Pretty soon he will have been in speech therapy for more than half of his life...

So. Here is the part where I introduce you to what I do approximately 23.8 times per day.

Oh yeah, watch the magic.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Loser Fortune Cookie

Unfortunately this was not my cookie:

Fortunately, my friend let me take a picture of it.....

Friday, October 09, 2009

Chocolate Sushi (will win you friends and influence people)

Re-posted because my favorite foodie site published this today!! (And because I wanted to feel all kinds of fabulous today.)

I am so freaking clever, can I just say that?
Yes, I can.
When I heard about this place, I knew that I had found god. The thing is, I don't think god is always a good place for me to visit -I tend to the obsessive side, and becoming chummy could only lead to one thing: becoming too chummy.

Once I knew where the house of god was, I could be at serious risk of becoming a god-stalker. Better not to go there.
So, even though I was near this crazy chocolate-works-of-art shop the other day, I did not drag my children along to visit god's temple of chocolate. Because truthfully, I would be a bitch-mama to take my sugar-obsessed girl and my chocolate-worshipping toddler into a store where individual pieces of chocolate are $10 to $15. ("NO! NO!" "NOnono!" "NO! NO! NO!")
So, I didn't.
But that didn't stop my obsession with chocolate sushi. And the possibilities. Oh no, not in the least. I wanted to see what other amateurs like myself were pulling off.

And then I decided to devote an entire afternoon to it attempt it in my very own humble kitchen. (Did I mention it was about 95 degrees today?)

Chocolate was the goal, so the 'nori' wrapper had to be chocolate - not electric green 'fruit' leather. I decided to go with a chocolate modeling 'clay' (reminiscent of my preschool teaching days), which is really just whatever quality chocolate you choose, melted and mixed with corn syrup.

one 12oz bag semisweet choc chips

1/3 cup+2T corn syrup

melt chocolate over double boiler, let cool a bit and stir in corn syrup. wrap tightly and refrigerate to desired consistency. knead and roll into desired shapes.

I didn't like the marshmallow fluff mixed with coconut idea as much as I liked the rice crispy treat filling. I also thought that the chocolate would be easier to roll around something more firm. I made a basic recipe and omitted one cup of cereal so that it might be more willing to give in to my rolling pin with more marshmallow goodness binding it all together.
I then took handfuls globs of that and rolled it out (between waxed paper) to about 1/4 inch thickness. Or maybe it was more like 1/2 inch. I am not good with estimates.
I had just gone strawberry picking (I made jam; yes I did - suck on that martha) and decided that strawberries would be a good filling in place of hamachi. And it would probably taste better too - with the chocolate and all. Dried apricots or mango would look super too, but I only had fresh strawberries, so I was going with the full-on raw tuna look.

So, I divided my big wad of chocolate dough in half, rolled one piece out between wax paper (the kitchen was out of parchment), continually peeling it off one side and dropping it onto the other side, until it was very thin, but thick enough to handle. I found that if it gets too thin, it will spread (instead of roll) over the crispy treats and perhaps (ack!) break.

I measured an actual pack of square nori sheets over the chocolate and cut a nice square line doing the same with the rolled out crispy treats, making sure that the chocolate 'nori' was longer than the 'rice' on the sealing end of the roll. Then I laid the thin slices of strawberries, some snipped up blueberry filled marshmallows, and some slivers of garden mint down the center closer to the rolling end, and, using a fresh piece of the wax paper to help, rolled it up very tight.

After refrigerating to firm them up, I cut them into approximately 1/2 inch slices. I resisted many poop jokes in front of my daughter. The rolls cut easily with our sharpest knife - but would they really end up looking anything like sushi?

After arranging them on the platter to bring to the neighbors potluck (where they would impress the fuck out of everyone until the posse of young unwatched children happened to descend upon them like a swarm of teenaged hyenas and annihilate them in 30 seconds) (I am not judging. But if my kid was like, 7 or 8 years old and went all berzerk at the dessert table and loaded up on 5 brownies and 6 cookies and 7 chocolate sushis, well I would get a little whoop-ass on her. She should know about that shit whether I am there to police her or not. Oh wait, she does. And she's not even 6 yet. I'm just sayin.), I decided at the last minute to add two details for authenticity's sake. Because I was still just a
little bit worried that perhaps nobody would understand that I was going for a mock sushi. I colored some sugar orange and sprinkled it on some of the rolls, to (hopefully) resemble tobiko, or, fish eggs. Mmm, eggs-n-chocolate!
And, I decided that a 'dipping sauce' would be nice, so I thinned out some dark chocolate sauce (who knew that dove choc sauce lasts at least 7 months longer than your ice cream?!) and poured it into a little sauce bowl. Later (after I was done taking pictures, of course), I tossed some sesame seeds on top of the chocolate sauce. This appeared to really throw people for a loop. They wanted to dip it in the chocolate sauce - they knew it was really chocolate sauce, but it looked like soy sauce. And, just having gotten over the 'is it rawfreakingfish or is it strawberry' thing, it was a huge leap of faith to dip your chocolate sushi roll in that sauce. It was fun to watch, though.

Does it look authentic? It tasted awesome.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Time Does Not Heal ALL Wounds

I'm frustrated. I know he reads this blog (oh, hi there), and because of this I probably post more video of the kids than I would have, pre-split.

But he reads every word as well, and where the blog was originally beneficial for him, it has become now a source of contention. Much in the way that the very things that attracted him to me were the very things that propelled him to attack me. It's no surprise to anyone that I am an opinionated and resourceful person. Nor is it a surprise that I have fortitude, strength, and great mama instincts. All of these things suddenly worked against him (and me) when I didn't agree with what he said, or I didn't simply shut up, so he could continue to be right.

I have more fear of him now than I did the day after he did it. I don't even want to publish those words, because it is like giving him power on a platter.
But it is the truth, because, at that time, there was still a chance. A chance to have remorse. A chance to feel apologetic. A chance to understand that what had just happened was wrong. Even in the aftermath of having him scream into my ear as I lost the ability to breathe, "Someone should have done this to you a long time ago!" - there was still a chance for that 'OMG WHAT HAVE I DONE?' moment to occur. I went for the phone, so he had to take me down the second time.

There was a brief period of 'What have I done, I am so sorry...' followed by another brief (but achingly familiar) period of 'I should put a bullet through my head.'
Then I went to the police and reported it.

That was when it all changed. Now he is the victim. He is a victim of circumstance.
Now, his own statement to the police has morphed out of truth and into his alternate reality. He has gone to great lengths to resist any education because he didn't do anything wrong. His actions were defensible, and continue to diminish in nature. Certainly they had no negative impact on our children, right?

I lived with him for 9 years. I watched him revise and re-tell reality. Or simply walk away from it if he didn't like what he saw.
So now, what he did to me is fine. Not scary, not threatening, not even 'wrong' in his book.

Hell yeah I am more afraid of him than I was then.
Hell yeah.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I Barely Flinched (and then I had to giggle, because this is what my life has become)

Yesterday morning as I dropped her off at school:

Supergirl: Mama! I told just one person about how you and Daddy had a big fight and then Daddy hurt you, is that okay?
Me: Umm, it's okay. But who did you tell?
Supergirl: Jeff. Because he sits next to me. Are you mad?
Me: No,'s fine. (note to self to call Jeff's mom)
Supergirl: (as she is running away from the car to class) Oh Mom? I also told Kaleb. He sits on the other side.

Me: .... (note to self to call Kaleb's mom, and also the teacher to ask her to please leave her at that desk for a while.)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Yesterday I had an epiphany.

I really did.
Of course, as with most epiphanies, there is companion guilt.

I have been riddled with fear and doubt. I have been the swiss cheese of confidence. I have been in anguish over my childrens' reactions to witnessing violence and living with the ensuing fallout. I have questioned everything I do, every way I help them. I have sought help for them and with them, because I believe it is beyond my coping spectrum, and I don't want to fuck it all up. I am so afraid for the damage already done, for what they witnessed and how they will process that it was done by someone they love to someone they love...I worry what they will consider normal or acceptable behavior.

I call the children's therapist to ask her how to respond to certain conversations I have with Bubbles, and the many questions that Supergirl poses. Bubbles wants Daddy to 'kiss Mommy's arm say sorry'. He also wants to 'get a hammer go bam bam to Daddy, be Mommy's rescue hero'.
I don't pretend to be able to know how to respond to that. If it was your child, or a preschool aged student of mine, I would probably know how to respond appropriately. But it's my child, and objectivity goes out the window when I hear those words. I feel like every response I have, every move I make must be extremely careful and correct. Perfect, even. We're dealing with PTSD here. I want to make sure I do it right. Because for so long I have done it wrong.
I call for help, I ask what to say, how to respond, when to ignore and when it's okay to show my own tears. How much to tell, how little, and always being careful in my response, to separate the truth from a judgment. He is their father, and his relationship with them is not mine. He won't hurt them, they are not me.
I want to believe this with all my heart.

I am surprised then, when their therapist suggests that I am handling it correctly and appropriately.
"What should I have said?" I beg, confused about responding to my three year old's suggestions of violence and rescue.
"It sounds like you handled it just right. You told him you know he likes everyone to be friends, acknowledged his anger, and told him he could not fight with a hammer. I think you managed to validate his feelings and this shows he is continuing to process, which is good!"

"I'm worried I am fucking it all up. I can't do it! I can't do everything right all the time," I sob to my own therapist in a rare moment of being allowed to cry without alarming small children.
"You are doing a great job with very little help. You are pulling this off alone! You realize that, right?" She says as she walks my sniffling self to the door.
I smile weakly, thinking that I've fooled her too. I am not doing a great job. Doesn't she realize that a great job does not include hours of sniffly wet sobbing? She disagrees, which is why I schedule another appointment with her.

Yesterday we had a rough moment. One of hundreds since April 11th, the day the man who claimed to love me, took me to the ground in a choke hold. And then did it again when I tried to run away. In front of our child. While he screamed and begged Daddy to stop. Yeah, that's what I think of when I say 'April 11th'.
So there was a moment. A moment in which Supergirl asked a tough question and Bubbles responded with words which may have shocked another adult. I responded as a mother. I looked at my children and all I could feel was love, not fear or dread that I had done it the wrong way. I was confident that I had answered correctly. I didn't need to call anyone to make sure.
And then, the epiphany. I suddenly knew a lost secret of my life:

I am a good mother.

For five months I have lived with the freedom of not being told I am fucking it all up, all the time. For five months, nobody has shushed me, berated me, turned a stereo up to drown me out, walked away from our conversation, ignored me, or told me that 'a nanny would do a better job' (oh yes he did).

I am a good mother, and I let him take that away too, until I didn't even know I had lost it.

I have shed a few covert tears over this revelation.
I mentioned the companion guilt. What kind of mother compromises so very much, that she loses that much of her confidence in her mere ability as a parent? What kind of modeling is that?
What have I done?

If I live in the present, I can say, I am a good mother.
I am becoming the parent I want to be.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

One Goof, Seeking His Ball...

While walking the 1/4 mile down the road to the fire team picnic (thanks for saving our mountain!), Bubbles heard the music and announced that his ears were singing, his mouth was singing, and his feet were singing. When I pulled out the camera, this is what he had to say about it.

And then, while we were at the picnic, I found Bubbles and a bunch of girls. Girls of all ages. But his favorite was my friend's little darling, Marz. I walked up with the video camera right after he had allegedly told Marz that she had a pretty dress, thus initiating the flirting. Which was returned.

Edited: I forgot the most endearing part of all! At the end of the picnic, both Bubbles and Marz had red balloons. Marz lost grip of hers and cried, "OH NO!" as they watched it gain altitude. Bubbles, being a quick thinker and still wanting to impress his new girlfriend, said "Hey LOOK!" and then he let his balloon go too. Marz watched in amazement and then they both dissolved into giggles again.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Teaching Responsibility in the Throes of Upheaval

Supergirl has had some problems with responsibility lately. I guess not so much 'problems' as it would be 'slow to learn', and I realized that I need to tighten up on that end, or she will be 'Responsibility Challenged', and I would like to know that I tried.

There are the small things, such as 'forgetting' to pick up something she was asked to take care of hours ago, leaving popsicle wrappers and sticks in the yard (this one makes me nutty and has prompted a popsicle boycott on my part), leaving nice shoes or a new jacket in the yard to be ruined or at a friend's house never to be recovered.
Then there are the big things, such as 'forgetting' to give the pets fresh food or water when asked repeatedly, and losing expensive gifts and then refusing to actually look for them.
"Daddy can get me another one." She says.
"This does not mean you will be allowed to use it until you earn it." I reply, more calmly than I want to.
Not one cent in child support, not one cent in restitution for the amount of debt with which he left me, but gifts are showered on them at each visit. I am very careful in my response, but one can imagine the amount of self-control it requires to take the high road at that fork.

We discussed a plan for looking for the missing items; namely, a Flip video camera which was a Christmas present, and an iPod clone video player which her father gave her for her birthday. I had already found the stylus for the video player, smashed out in the driveway, and the two-piece charger in a basket of her pajamas. "It was from a sleepover," she protested, "I just emptied my backpack into the jammie basket!"
I frowned.
We worked on organizing her clothes more. On reminding that her toys each have their own place...not a random place.
I offered to clean her room with her. She whined, and writhed on the floor while I sorted and got frustrated. Finally, I quit. I was tired of doing it for her. She knew the rules, and she certainly knew how, and she also knew what it would take to earn back the right to even play with my camera.
She quit.

"Fine," I said, "If you don't care about that stuff, I am certainly not going to!"

I lied.

She went to school, and I cleaned her room. And when I peered into yet another brown paper bag with twine handles, I saw a pile of scraps of paper and few tiny plastic bobbly head animal accessories. The kind of bag which every mother loves to just throw away because the kid will not notice anyway, and we're just going to have to clean it up again or pick it out of our vacuum. We know.
I shook the bag to see if there was anything solid rattling around in it. Lo!
The birthday gift video player.
HELLYEAH I WAS MAD! Two seconds away from the trash.
Lucky for her, she was at school, so my eventual reaction was mild and invisible to her. I simply hid it up high. Next to Elijah's ashes - nobody every looks there.
I told her that I found it in a bag of trash and trinkets and that she would need to earn it back. We have set up a new chores chart and there will be a clear and concrete system to earning back access.
She has not yet earned it back (it has been a week).
Today, she was packing for a sleepover. I recently re-appropriated an old storage closet into a kids fort, and thus some backpacks and duffels were retrieved. She had grabbed my backpack which I had not seen since she had used it in our 'safe-house' week long couch surfing back in April.
"My backpack! I haven't seen it!" I love that backpack. It's old and perfectly sized for a day trip!
"I packed my overnight stuff in it. It had a bunch of toys I dumped out."
Ahh yes...when we moved back in, she must have tossed it into the storage closet instead of unpacking it!
"Let me look in it before you go."

::::::::::drumroll, please:::::::::::::::::::

I rifled through some small plastic bobbly head animals, only to pull my hand out of the bottom with this prize:

,Oh yeah, Mama scored.
Supergirl first jumped up and down, then felt embarrassed, then begged for it back.

"No way," I told her.
I had not one smidge of remorse about that.

Clearly, if she had wanted to find these things, she could have put some more effort into the search.

We are both excited that these 'toys' are recovered, but for different reasons.
She gets the prospect of using expensive electronics again, and I get leverage in the responsibility education process.


Friday, September 11, 2009

File This Under: Things I Never Thought I'd Say

I was lucky enough to share a birthday dinner last night with Jennygrace and Grace.

I brought a cake:

Grace took this picture as we were too stuffed to move wrapping up dinner with some surprise birthday tweeting:

Dinner with @grace134 and @Gwendomama on Twitpic

My first impression and comment?

'Wow, have I gained weight? I look so much better this way.'

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Spiderman Theme Song Debate

So Bubbles and his buddy, Orion, have a lot in common, beginning with their shared love of superheroes, especially The Best Superhero, Spiderman.

Much to Bubbles' excitement, Orion came to visit this weekend to 'pway wif toys and share the guys'!!

They then sat down to sing, and kept correcting each other on the lyrics of the Spidey theme song:

That was pretty funny, but then they got the giggles, and it devolved into some sort of knee-slapping hilarity:

I know. Just try not to laugh.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Apraxia Boy at New Preschool

Bubbles, after shaking his teacher's hand goodbye at the end of circle time (oh yes, I do love that manners are included in preschool!): MAMA!! I have a GREAT school! I have a great day at my school!

Me: Oh, that makes me so happy to hear! You like your new school?

Bubbles: I like my school! My school is great!

Language and concept development has tripled in the past few months. He was able to tell me his high opinion of his new school, describe a past action sentence, and sum up his thoughts into a emphatic comment about his school, using different combinations of synonymous words.

Go, Bubbles!!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

You Haven't Lived Until You've Seen A 3 yr old Sing ABBA

My little guy Bubbles has become obsessed with the movie, Mamma Mia. He thinks he is Pierce Brosnan, which is even funnier to me, because we met him (but I had no idea who he was.... looooong story) when I was barely pregnant with Bubbles.

Apparently in this scene, he also thinks he is Meryl Streep (aka Donna), and he sings, "He's the Dancing Queen."
I plan to use this as ammunition in his teen years, I am just saying it now.

And then he tried again, with Super Trouper. He is so blown away by the actual video, that he can only sing it when it is not on. But here is his joy:

Thursday, August 27, 2009

First Day of School: We got through it.

Today was an awesome day. Or it should have been. I pretended it was; I am pretty sure my kids didn't notice I was crying...though they probably did notice that I was short with them this morning to stop changing shirts and ZOMG you are kidding you lost your mp4 player already??? In a perfect world, they would have had to deal with neither tears nor short tempers, but their world, like most of ours, is not perfect.

Today Supergirl started third grade with a teacher everyone loves and about whom everyone raves. Every year, this uber-creative teacher stages a fantasy world in her classroom. Last year, it was 'Treasure Island' and this year, it's 'Where the Wild Things Are'. Supergirl was excited and nervous; so many things may change for us with a move in the future, I think it was hard for her to digest it all. She looked so cute - a very generous friend had taken her shopping for a first-day-of-school-outfit, and she was completely put together. She's going to show off her un-pierced ears and then get them pierced soon so she can have the thrill of telling everyone.

There's a new principal at our school, so everyone was apprehensive and excited to meet her. She seems very nice, which is a good sign for upcoming IEPs.
But there is no getting around the stigma of being asked for a copy of the custody and restraining orders, and there was no way to circumvent the lump in my throat as I was asked to provide a picture of the father for the new principal.





First day of school, I should have photos of all of us on our way to school (not that he was into the ritual).
I should not have to provide photos to the school of who can not pick up our children.

I cannot lie, I am angry about this. I am angry that he put himself, our children, and me in this position.

I composed myself to take Bubbles to his new preschool down the hill. Excitement, apprehension, friends, toys, new teachers....WOW! I got a kiss from Bubbles within five minutes of his arrival. "Bye-bye Mommy, I think you go now."

Turning in paperwork at the office this time I was prepared.
"Yes, I will bring in a photo."

I barely flinched.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Apraxia Update

I haven't posted much about Bubbles' Apraxia lately, mostly because he is kicking Apraxia's ass. His articulation still leaves much to be desired, but his vocabulary and sentence structure are skyrocketing. Here are a few 'soundbytes' from our recent conversations.

Last week, as I was filling out some paperwork in a large building:

Bubbles: Mama, can we go ride the helicopter?
Mama: Yes, honey, we can go ride the elevator after I am done here.
Bubbles: YAY!!
Clerk behind window: He said 'helicopter'.
Mama: He did? Oh yes, I guess he did. Well, clearly there is no helicopter to ride here!

The other day, while house sitting for a friend with a pool:

Bubbles: Mama, can I go in the pool?
Mama: Yes, you may, but go get your bathing suit and ask the girls (Supergirl and friend) if they want to go in too.
Bubbles: Hey KIDS! Get your SPACE SUITS! We gonna go in the pooooooool!

Yesterday, after a fun visit with Daddy:

Mama: Did you have a fun time playing with Daddy?
Bubbles: Yes! We played Batman and Joker and Wescue Heroes and Fire! Did you have a happy see the coffee?


Bubbles: Mmmmm....I want some bacon. Can I please have bacon?
Mama: Yes, I can make you some (already cooked) bacon. I just need to heat it up.
Bubbles: Oh good! Can I eat the bacon and watch the movie?
Mama: No, because we are at Grace's house, and the bacon is too messy for the living room.
Bubbles: But I will eat the bacon at the table, and then it can't get messy, it be happy (happy=good)!
Mama: Well, okay but you have to stay at the table and use a napkin.
Bubbles: Okay! Its a good idea, Mom!

Bubbles: Oh no, is the bacon all gone? The box in the garbage.
Mama: Yes, that bacon is all gone now. We will have to go to the store to get some more.
Bubbles: Yes! We will get some more bacon and I will say, 'Mama, I have some bacon?' and you say, 'Yes!'...Then it be happy!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thursday, August 13th: The day my mountain caught on fire...Again.

The Fire.

What can I say? I had hit my very personal emotional wall the night before. Not wanting to be his neighbor; with him insisting on being my neighbor. The person who 'didn't do anything wrong', even though I have clear memory of that person choking me twice. One person can only take so much, right?
I crumpled into a ball of someone who has had to take too much; I tripped over an upended basket of toys I had just cleaned up, then I threw a toy at a basket. Hard. Bubbles noticed and cried, "No Mommy!", I gathered him into my arms and cried. Parenting Fail.

Bubbles likes closure. We have gone through the following process nearly every day for a week now:
Mama, say sorry for throwing my toy.
Bubbles, I am sorry for throwing your toy. I was feeling very sad and it was wrong.
It's okay Mama, it's not your fault.
(Really, it is, but thanks, sweet thing.)
The end.

We read some books (Supergirl was on a sleepover), snuggled and fell asleep early that night. I dreamed of helicopters.

5:30 am, Thursday August 13th: Voluntary evacuation phone call.
WHAT??? Apparently there had been a fire raging nearby for nearly 12 hours. I cursed my broken wifi router for its crappy timing.

10:30 am: Mandatory evacuation phone call.

11:00 am: Giggling inappropriately at the act of packing my baby's ashes in a box, for the second time in 14 months, to rescue them from a fire.
After packing 'The Important Stuff', I hit a wall of 50% indecisiveness, 50% ennui. I had no idea what, nor desire to pack anything more.

12:00 noon: I lock the children inside because the smoke is getting bad. Also, they have taken to shoving random things into the car such as individual crayons and tubes of yogurt.

1:30 pm: First visit from the Sheriff. "Sign this or leave," they said.
"We're just looking for the cat..."

2:45 pm: Second visit from the Sheriff. "Sign this or leave," they said.
"We're just looking for the cat..."
"Sign this or leave," they repeated. I nod.

2:55 pm: Telling my eight year old to say goodbye to her house and most of her belongings.
Leaving our ten year old siamese cat, Ocean, behind - because she ran off, presumably afraid of the sudden influx of air traffic.
3:00pm: "Say goodbye to the house," I said.
"Goodbye, house," they both called.
"Say goodbye to Ocean," I choked out.
"Goodbye, Ocean Kitty!" they both shouted, loud enough for any ornery cat with a shred of sense to hear.

We drove off into the smoke, our car crammed full of chickens and ashes and papers and small plastic objects which my children somehow found meaningful and had shoved into the remaining crevices.

5:00 pm: Moving around slowly, the chickens delivered to a chicken foster home (procured by dear veterinarian friends), unsure which move to make next. I knew I had to pick up the recently discharged laptop, so 'stopped by' to visit the friend who lived a block away from there, as she had been one of the nine people who had called me while packing.
Heidi's house had burned down 18 months ago, unrelated to either fire, but she and her (documentary filmmaker) husband lost everything in 1/2 of their house/office; every archive and each and every layer of thought from which it was collected and compiled.
Her response was that of a seasoned friend and refugee.
Her first comment was, "You know you are welcome to stay here, okay? You know that, right? Whatever you need."
Her first question asked was, "I am going to the store. What kind of alcohol can I bring you?"

We stopped by on Thursday and left four days later. Their kindness, our similarly aged and ironically compatible children, their intuitively perfected assistance...their patience with our inherently early vs. late scheduled kids....all added up to the best spontaneous vacation evacuation possible.

One week later: Listening to my three year old tell the story over and over, to anyone who will listen.
"The fire not burned the house! The smoke make mama sick! The cat gone, but she okay! The fire not burn my house!"

We're going home today, to face the endless cleaning of ash and restocking of walls and shelves. I will ponder each item....should I return it to where it was, or should I just pack it up, for we all feel like leaving this place.

We are whole, but we are scarred. We have all had enough.

Friday, August 07, 2009

More Big Fun (Or: How I spent my summer with no money)

I am thinking about which Big Fun to have next....

We went to Big Fun Park (also known as 6 Flags) yesterday. The last time we were there was on April 10th, the day before 'The Incident', so it was certainly a milestone. I had probably underestimated the amount of memory-induced processing and pain it would cause for Supergirl, however the closure and ability to move on was worth it. After about 10 minutes of moping, all was well again.
We met The BOS and her family there, to help celebrate the Frankinator's 7th birthday. I
recommend always meeting or bringing someone to these things so you can split up and ride age and/or height appropriate rides.

Supergirl will usually consent to riding the baby rides with her brother, and posed on 'The Boring Train' with him. Check out miss 8 year old bershon.

Thank goodness for The BOS snapping this photo of her, proving she did actually have some fun and smile.

There was some new ad campaign (I suppose?) which entailed many brightly colored signs with strange and crudely crafted, vaguely threatening messages. From a fucking sandwich spread. Which is pretty much mayonnaise with paprika and high fructose corn syrup. If you 'get it' or are some marketing freak wizard, please let me know what I am missing here.

All that Bubbles wanted to do was play in the fountain in Thomas Land. He ran around for a good 45 minutes while the bigger kids rode roller coasters, and until he was shivering and a lovely shade of cobalt.

I love free fun. Okay, so I paid for the season passes, it isn't really free, but it felt free, because I had paid for it months ago. Since I am a master at sneaking bringing in our own snacks, I spent a grand total of $8 while in the park - and that was on the 'prize every time' hammer game. Supergirl won a large stuffed snake and Bubbles won a Superman cape.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Please, Don't Insult Me; I Didn't Ask to Be Here in This Place.

I have heard a few of Xdude's friends and/or former friends express their surprise over the fact that he could be violent or confrontational.

I have heard things such as, 'Xdude was Zen and so how could he have done this?' I have heard that he would never be confrontational.

As Xdude has been charged with and convicted of domestic violence, I find this an interesting and challenging question to hear months later. I expected to hear it at the beginning; I had the very same thoughts myself, as I tried to make sense out of what had happened and how we had gotten there and how, though things were degrading from bad to worse, I could never have seen it ending that way. I could have never, in a million years, expected that he would take me down to the floor and choke me, simply because he did not like and disagreed with what I was saying or doing. Simply because, that time, I would not listen to him anymore.

I do know that none of these people has any clue about what he is capable, largely because I have protected him and our family by not saying anything for years.
There was abuse before. And surprise, it was usually the result of some geyser of refusal of confrontation.
Was it visible? My family knew, as did his, that he had chased me around the house with a two month old baby in my arms, demanding that I hand her over because I was going to fly back east to....see my family.
He was embarrassed and wanted to make it up to me. Eventually, I went back.
Was it visible? Being hounded, berated and goaded for (surprise, surprise, Mr. 'I don't actually want to get a vasectomy -I lied') becoming pregnant with his child; weeks of him shadowing me and demanding abortion and justice, and hoping that I would 'see the light'. There was the attempt to get me to see it; the shoulder shaking didn't produce the epiphany he was seeking. The miscarriage, however, did the trick. I didn't have bruises, and he was so very sorry.
I stayed.

Think about it; there is confrontation in everyone's lives, every day. The refusal to accept that at any level is not a trait of any well adjusted adult. There will certainly be some end result to the dynamic of refusing confrontation (ie, disagreement) in one's life. Add to that, the input of a partner to consider. And children. Dead and alive.

The mere act of disagreeing with this person is, historically, taken as a personal assault; he is instantly victimized and/or disregards the offending opinion.

For two years I have known that I wish to not be under the control of this person who disregards my very existence in his presence. For more than two years I have known that I could not save him from his abyss of depression and self-loathing. I could not free him from his guilt, nor unscrew him from the spiral he had dug.
For two years I have understood that there was no respect and we were teetering on the edge of the abyss - there was certainly growing potential for abuse. I never could have understood the path from passive-aggression to direct attack and violence that was about to occur, but there were many times I was afraid for myself and many more times I was afraid for what he might do to himself.
For two years I did not leave, despite my desperation to do so, because I believed him when he said he would kill himself if I did.
I had children to protect from more grief. I had children to support. I still do.

Each time I asked to leave but didn't, I cemented for him that I do not have a say in my future. I take full responsibility for feeding into his sense of absolute control.

For those who know and refer to Xdude as 'Zen', I ask them to recall how much time they have spent with 'Zen Man' over the past 2-3 years. Let's even go back to when Elijah died - the past five years? For me, living with 'Zen Man' at that time was realistically, Xdude hiding behind the veil of accusatory Buddhism so that he could mock me: "You are grieving our son because you choose to grieve. You choose your sadness."

You all know about the statistics of dead baby families, right? They are pretty grim.
If anything, that dead baby glue held us together for longer than it should have. We tried hard to not fall into that pit.

But I speak to an entire community who crops up when domestic violence occurs.
Please don't delude yourselves into thinking that this could not have happened, because it did. And the punishment is what some might consider severe. For a reason.
The biggest mistake I made, was that this was the first time I reported it.

So if you think that it would not be possible for Xdude, (or your hiking buddy, or your old college friend, or your friend's brother, or 'fill in the blank') to become confrontational and violent, I say that you are incapable of believing that things and people change and bad stuff happens all the time.
I wish it had not happened, believe me.
It happened.
I wish it had not ended this way, but peacefully, as I requested for no fewer than 24 months.

But it is what it is; it is not what you remember.