William Cowper

This is a man who has my heart. I am so compelled to love him that it never ceases to amaze me that I've never met him! (Indeed, how could I? He lived more than two hundred years ago and I've never even set foot on the continent on which he breathed!)

Here is just a little bit of the reason why he holds me so:

( Excerpt from http://marshall.thefreelibrary.com/English-Literature-For-Boys-And-Girls/73-1 )

Cowper loved animals tenderly and understood them in a wonderful manner. He tamed some hares and made them famous in his verse. And when he felt madness coming upon him he often found relief in his interest in these pets. One of his poems tells how Cowper scolded his spaniel Beau for killing a little baby bird "not because you were hungry," says the poet, "but out of naughtiness." Here is Beau's reply--

"Sir, when I flew to seize the bird
In spite of your command,
A louder voice than yours I heard,
And harder to withstand.

"You cried 'Forbear!;--but in my breast
A mightier cried 'Proceed!'--
'Twas nature, sir, whose strong behest
Impelled me to the deed.

"Yet much as nature I respect,
I ventured once to break
(As you perhaps may recollect)
Her precept for your sake;

"And when your linnet on a day,
Passing his prison door,
Had fluttered all his strength away
And panting pressed the floor,

"Well knowing him a sacred thing
Not destined to my tooth,
I only kissed his ruffled wing
And licked the feathers smooth.

"Let my obedience then excuse
My disobedience now,
Nor some reproof yourself refuse
From your aggrieved Bow-wow;

"If killing birds be such a crime
(Which I can hardly see),
What think you, sir, of killing Time
With verse addressed to me?"

Raising Hell or Helen?

I've often said that being a mother feels like having a steel pole driven through your body and the only way it will kill you is if it's removed. Now it's true that there are many joys associated with parenthood. But there are just as many deep sorrows. If not just those experienced when you see your child suffer to the smallest degree. If we could, we would shield them from every potential pitfall. The unfortunate thing is that, in this day and age, you really can protect them from most every type of peril. Makes us wonder, why would we do this? Think it through. The people we admire the most in the world. They have been through some serious shit! And how did they become so admirable? Getting through that serious shit! I know we have good intentions in our attempts to keep our children unharmed. Of course we should protect them. Try to give them situations in which they can grow, in a controlled environment. But the adage is true that you begin letting go of your child from the moment they are born. The fact that you have to let them go from your body is the first step in the process. And every step after that is no easier than that first one.

Many believe in holding on tightly to their children until they leave the nest. Now this sort of letting go is much more painful than the ones that naturally occur in their time (remember, I'm including labor and childbirth in this category). And I believe it to be much more damaging to the child.

Honestly, the heartache of raising children can be so deeply melancholy, I very often tell people that motherhood is overrated. And being a grandmother is even worse. Now you have a child whose life you really have absolutely no control over. Anything can happen! Talk about letting go! When I chose the tattoo to represent the birth of my first grandchild, I was sifting through some maori tribal symbols. She is a real maori princess and I decided to just be presumptuous and believe that the tribal people would allow me the privilege of wearing one of their signs. I seriously considered using the symbol which meant "sorrow." But I decided on "hope."

So, now that my children are all grown, my thoughts often turn to wondering, "what will really become of them?" You see them go through bigger struggles every day. You see them overcome them. Others looking on might think, "Oh those kids are just going nowhere," but I know those kids. I know their hearts. I don't feel the need to worry about their welfare because I know them to have strong characters. I've discovered that they possess the qualities that are necessary for any little or big thing that they might need to deal with. And their bond provides the benefit of their being able to help one another when they are weak. These are the things that are of real value. They even help me from time to time! Now that is cool, when your kids encourage and uplift you when you're down. Yeah, they did it in a sense when they were even babies. Babies always put your feet back on the ground and remind you what's important. But now they give the gift of real generosity of spirit. So those are what I call successful adults.

Mi Madre

I don't think I let my mother know enough how much she means to me. I mean I think she knows. But I doubt she knows how deeply her love has impressed me.

She had her first child when she was twenty. By the time she was 23, she was giving birth to her third (me). I don't think she had that illusion about white picket fences and a house full of children in mind for her future. But there she was. She was taken away from home by a handsome young Air Force pilot. He understood her vulnerability. She would feel the need to call her mother often, and he never said a WORD about how much that was costing him. He was gone a lot. I grew up in the style of the military officer's family. There were cocktail parties. Beautiful cocktail dresses! Officer's Wives Club events. Lots of moving around. Mom and some of the other wives started up a singing group in Japan called, The Whymsingers. I loved watching them practice and perform. It was really a very full life. And mom never made us feel like we were any trouble. To me, she was the most beautiful woman in the world. I know there are jokes made in movies about the horror of having your mother or father come to school, but when I saw my mother come to my school, I was overjoyed. She was there to see me! I loved seeing her beautiful self in the middle of my school day!

Dad was in the middle of the Vietnam war. I knew nothing of war. I just knew he was gone. I am sure that my mother was under a great deal of stress. I don't remember ever seeing it affect her. No doubt, she would tell you a different story. She was very much affected. Especially when she found out she was pregnant with baby number four! All I'm saying is that she didn't thrust any of that burden upon us. I feel I was so well cared for by my mother that, on the rare occasion when she needed to find a sitter for us, I used to sit by the window watching all the cars go by, hoping it would be her coming home. My dad would send us little notes from time to time. I have a little valentine from him. I've no idea how long ago it was sent. It's just one of those little individual valentines you give out to your classroom and it's signed, "To my sweetheart #3." My mother always honored my father. I learned this from her. To me, as a little girl, he was often just a shadowy figure that would come darken the doorway in his flight suit. As time went on, I got to know him better. He would be the man who would drive the station wagon and take us on trips. I began to want to spend time with him and find out the things he knew.

So as I grew older, I saw the couple. I saw how protective they were of one another. I rarely saw my mother or my father angry, but if someone was disregarding either of them, the other would surely make a strong protest! She made sure the home was a haven for him and he made sure that she was always provided for. When I was in Junior High School, she got a job outside the home. I would walk from school to her office and just spend time there with her. She'd give me money to go next door to 7-11 so I could buy a snack and maybe a word puzzle book. I loved seeing how proficient she was as a secretary. In my life, I had many opportunities to go to work with her when I wasn't quite well enough to go to school, nor ill enough to stay home. I would help her file and just do all the things she did. I loved every inch of her being. When I was a teenager, mum would take my sisters and me along with her to blood drives as volunteers (she had started working for the red cross up at the base). Yeah, we got those guys' blood flowing as we strutted about in our little mini skirts! But mom and dad still painted that lovely portrait of a real and true couple. Dad retired from the Air Force, mom began working more. But still home was a warm haven and dad would do things like make sure mom's car had gas in it and that the snow was all scraped off of it and that it was warm for her drive to work. She'd get to work and call him to let him know she made it. Every morning. They still do that shit. It's just too cute. 'Course they're both retired now, but when they are apart, they know how to assure one another that all is well.

I took my childhood for granted. I honestly thought everyone in the world had the gentle experience I had. I knew there were SOME bad stories, but I thought they must have been mostly good. I've come to find out the opposite is true. My story is unusual. As are my parents.

Who is Bernard Goldberg

From Wikipedia:

Bernard Goldberg (born 1945) is a writer and television reporter. For nearly thirty years, he was with CBS; his reporting won multiple Emmy Awards.

In 1996, Goldberg wrote an op-ed column in the Wall Street Journal, accusing network news operations of harboring liberal bias. The editorial resulted in Goldberg's ostracism from CBS. In 2001, his first book Bias was published and became a number one New York Times bestseller. Goldberg followed Bias with two more national bestsellers—Arrogance: Rescuing America from the Media Elite and 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America.

Goldberg believes that there is a liberal bias which is often not conscious.

"I have many friends at CBS News and some even agree with my take on bias—privately. Publicly, they won't say a word, fearing repercussions."

I Got Nuthin ~ So read this by Bernard Goldberg from his book, "BIAS"

It's long and I'm having to fix some of the format, but I'll post what I have for now... even this much is worth the read.
Great day everyone!

Targeting Men

It's one of those funny-sounding, completely inelegant Yiddish words that is
totally without charm but manages
to make its point.
Like schmuck.
For the uninitiated, putz, loosely translated, means jerk -as in "I went to
this fabulously trendy East Side restaurant and ordered the pesto pasta with
sun-dried tomatoes and the waiter brought me spaghetti and meatballs. What a
For some reason this word is used a lot in Manhattan but almost never in Jackson
Hole, Wyoming. As for the literal translation of putz -don't ask. (Hint:
rhymes with Venus.)
The "wounding power of slurs" is something the New York Times and sensitive
network news types are always on the lookout for. Except when the slur is aimed
at the one group they consider fair game.
This brings us to Harry Smith, the former coanchor of CBS This Morning, as affable a feminist as you'll ever meet -and even in a business populated by so
many liberals, Harry is out there, way off in left field. It was the summer of
There was Harry interviewing the actor Dennis Quaid about a movie he had just
done, Something to Talk About. In the movie Quaid plays a sleazeball, a married
man who can't keep his hands off half the women in town.
To Harry this is how men act in real life too. Which prompted him to say to
Quaid, "I'm under the assumption that most men are putzes."
In Harry's mind this was a perfectly reasonable observation. Because to Harry
Smith, most men are putzes. I know this because I called him a few days later
and asked just what he had in mind.
"Men are the cheaters," Harry told me. "Men are the philanderers. We're the ones
who don't take care of our families."
The word putz was creeping into my mind... but it wasn't most men I was
thinking about.
"And white guys are running around the country complaining that they're
victims," he added, just to make sure I was getting his point.
I understand all that hut what I can't figure out is how you can spell "Harry
Smith" without using the letters pc.
But what if affable Harry Smith (who in 1999 left CBS News to host A&E's
Biography) in some other context had said, "I'm under the assumption that most
black people are putzes”? Or "most Irish are putzes"? Or "most Jews are putzes"?

Let's put it this way: if he had said any of those things, good ol' Harry would
have been out on his affable liberal ass in about the time it would have taken
his bosses to say, "Pack your stuff and get out, you putz!" Even then, Harry
would have been lucky to get a job doing the overnight news at a radio station
in Kodiak, Alaska, which is one of those places where they don't use the word
putz all that much.
"What if you said on the air," I asked Harry, "you know, I think most women are
putzes. Do you think management would have tolerated that?"
He couldn't stop laughing. What Harry meant is, "You've got to be kidding,
putzhead -they would have tossed me out the freakin' window"
Nobody at CBS News thought this putz episode was any big deal. Eric Ober, the
president of the news division, said it was a joke. No harm, no foul.
I'm sure he was right. And I'm sure he would have felt the same way if I had
gone on television and said, "You know, Ms. Steinem, I don't understand what you
and all your feminist friends are always com-plaining about. You women are such
And it was a joke, too, when Katie Couric, on NBC, asked a bride who had been
jilted at the altar about a proper remedy: "Have you considered castration as
an option?"
Warren Farrell, a California psychologist and former board member of the New
York chapter of NOW, was exercising at his home near San Diego, watching the
Today show, the morning Katie made her castration joke. In his book, Women Can't
Hear What Men Don't Say, he wondered what would happen if Katie's cohost, Matt
Lauer, asked a jilted groom, "Have you considered the option of cutting off her breasts?"
Well, Farrell didn't really wonder what would happen. Like everybody else, he
knew. "NBC would be considering the option of cutting off his contract."
The difference between the two is obvious, isn't it? Castration is funny.
Cutting off breasts is not funny.

Holding Out for a Hero

I ran into a friend's son the other day in the bar side of a restaurant where I was picking up some take-out (the most amazing and addictive hot wings). He called me over just as he was ordering a pitcher of beer for himself and some friends he was expecting. The bartender asked how many glasses he wanted and he said, "um.... five" to which I added, "he wants six." He laughed and graciously poured me a beer. We chatted about personal current events. At one point he said, "Oh hey! I saw you the other night outside the movie theater. You were with a um...... a hero!" Yep. He was right. My guy is a hero. There's hardly another word to describe him. When I told him he'd been referred to as such, he said, "A hero? Why would he call me that?" See. What a hero-ish response. I really had no way of explaining it to him. He just looks like someone who rose up out of the ashes of some ancient Nordic battleground.

I've had the pleasure of waking up with this man at least 250 times now. Every single time, as I watch him get up out of bed, it still amazes me to see him proceed to put on just regular mortal clothing.

But it's not just his appearance (and humility about it) that makes him a hero. He's genuine and true and full of integrity. It's his birthday this weekend. I'm glad he was born.

Cosmo Quizzes

Why do we take them? Are we trying to know ourselves via a women's magazine? And does it work? I'd love to hear from y'all on the subject.

Today, I received an email asking me to "click here" to find out whether or not I'm marriage material. I thought it would be fun to take the test and see how it lays that out. I quit on the third question. The first was regarding whether or not you think you are able to be monogamous. The second was asking what is most important to you in a relationship (great sex, similar life goals and um.... I don't remember the other choice). Now why was it that I couldn't choose both A and B? Anyway, question three was "Why do you want to get married?" Huh? *Teri smacks herself in the head* I don't want to get married! Why am I taking this stupid test? I already know I'm not marriage material!

How do I know I'm not marriage material? Well first of all, what's one of the main things that people say about marriage? Anyone? Anyone? Marriage is all about ________________ . (Hint: it starts with a "c" ~ I call it the C-Word) I have no interest in that word (and I'm fairly sure it has no interest in me, either!) My ex husband used it as a tool of manipulation. Many people do use it that way. I realize that the true meaning of the word is not a bad thing. It's the way people use it to get what they want that has made it the C-Word. Secondly, I think similar life goals is extremely important if you're going to become maritally institutionalized and the person does not exist who has similar goals to mine. Unfortunately, we often just feel we can persuade that other person to come around to our way of thinking (this is on both sides of the sexes) ~ thereby achieving common goals. OR, we present the person we think the other person wants, even though that is not who we are. I think that's called DECEPTION (the D-Word ~ shall we go through the whole alphabet? By the way, the F-Word is "fine!" ~ hehe).

Here's how I think the Marriage Material quiz should go:

1. Do you use the C-Word a lot?

2. Are you looking for someone to "complete" you?

If you answered YES to either of the above questions, then you are not ready. Hee hee.

Seriously, I was thinking this weekend. (Yes, AGAIN!) If people would stop looking to others to be their relief or their help ~ and by this I mean in the sense of needing someone to "call my own" or needing someone to help you accomplish your financial goals (this includes tax breaks, the general success of being a homeowner, etc) or needing someone to help you raise the babies ~ we'd have many more happy relationships. Think of how often you hear the plaintive cry, "Why aren't you THERE for me?!!"

I'm here to tell you that marriage is not a solution to any of those things. As a married person, you can be more lonely and more financially destitute and more alone in your struggles than anyone in the world. I'm hard pressed to really know any good reasons to get married, but I sure know that those aren't them.

"If you want to exchange the admiration of many for the criticism of one, then go ahead and get married." ~ Kate Hepburn

To Be or Not To Be....

Carrie Bradshaw says to look for someone who loves the you that you love.

When I was almost twenty-one, I got married. I was a beautiful and glowing bride at seven months pregnant. hehehe
It's true, I had a fantastic body. I didn't know it then, but I did. When my groom-to-be met me he was just amazed that he could reel in such a catch! We dated for two years. During that time, there were a number of red flags. He would often try to coax me to do things and be things that I didn't want to do or be. I was young. I probably thought this was normal. But inside, I knew it wasn't good. His frustrations grew and they manifested in his taking opportunities to be cruel and controlling. He would try to get me to do demeaning things. Not extreme or sexual or anything, just things that would sort of let me know that I was lesser and he was greater. Put me in my place. I had a strong upbringing and none of this set well with me. But I would do them. I suppose in hopes that by doing them I'd prove my love and he'd stop or whatever reasons people come up with to put up with abuse. Again, let me remind, this is when abuse is at its very infancy, but abuse is never to be taken lightly. Or so I know now. Let me give you an example.

One day, I think it was Thanksgiving, we were all at his parents' house (he lived there, too) and he and his sister's boyfriend decided to go skiing. So they did. They had a great time. When they got home, he said to me, "Go out and get my skis off of the car." I laughed, because I was sure he was joking. He didn't laugh. And he had a very stern look on his face. I said, "What? Why?" He said, "Because I want you to."
I looked around for help from someone. They all just stared, dumfounded. So, I just went out and did it. I am sure that this is the first time in my life that I felt real humiliation.
It's also the first time in my life I denied the adage, "To thine own self be true." Little thing, big mistake.
He continued to do little things like this from time to time. I really didn't get the deep reason why until many, many years later. And that is yet another story. But for now, I use thise to talk about some of the more normal problems this causes in a relationship.

After we had dated the two years, I broke up with him. I went on a trip to Cape Cod to spend the summer with a girlfriend of mine whose grandmother had a beach house there. Was a great trip. Many things learned. Now my figure has never been slim. I've always been curvy. And at age nineteen that summer, my weight was probably around 130. I was (and am) 5'4". Well my friend and I found a very meager host in her grandmother (or, should I say, step-grandmother) and we spent a good deal of the time very hungry. I got down to around 118. And then we started eating like starving people and drinking LOTS of beer. By the time I got back home, I weighed around 150. When I arrived, this boyfriend I had broken up with wanted me back immediately. He begged and begged. So, well my stupid young heart was far too inexperienced to know what a trap it was. I got pregnant and then he convinced me to marry him. I don't really remember how. But I know it was important to him to do the right thing. This was the rightest thing he could think of. He joined the Navy (left for bootcamp two weeks after the wedding) and the baby was born a month or so later (he was still in boot camp).
You can imagine, this didn't help my struggling weight. But in all fairness, I didn't gain a lot of weight during the pregnancy, and in just a few months, I didn't look at all like a woman who had just given birth. So I didn't look bad. However, he thought I did. Very much so. I'm afraid this is all too common for men to feel this way about their wives/girlfriends who have babies. Now, there are many movie stars and models who will make it clear to the world that there is no reason to have childbearing affect your figure at all! (Thank god, that fad is passing for the moment ~ good girl, Jen!)

So, to make this long story longer...
What happens next? Does he just suck it up and say, oh well, she's my wife and I'm stuck with her? Or does he tell her that he needs her to care more about her appearance (oh and don't forget to add health)?

*heavy sigh*

Here's what I think. I don't like either of those choices. I've learned to love the honest approach. And settle for nothing less. Aha, you say! Honesty requires him to tell her he's not attracted to a fat-ass woman! This is not the honesty of which I speak. I'm talking about honesty with his own self. I think it's just plain wrong to get involved with or marry a person you don't want. Obviously, I was no small thing. Trouble is, this man likes the starved look on a woman. He likes small hips. Small everything. If you could see my hips, you'd realize how asinine it is that he even asked me out! They are not small, they never were and they never will be!
So rather than admit to himself that he just doesn't like my kind of woman, he tortured me for it over the years. He even argued that all men want slim women and that no man would be attracted to me. Now there's a fun strategy.
Unfortunately for him, there were plenty of men (most of them his friends) who were attracted to me. Very attracted. Most of them approached me at least once and said, "Leave this bum and go out with me!" (Especially when I got into aerobics and bicycle riding and boy! did I look good! It's scary how good I looked! ~ he would just say, "Aerobics every day? Try twice a day.")
To these "friends" I would reply, "Yeah.. sure you like me now, but what about in ten years? You'll be just like him." And I wasn't kidding. I really believed that.

So what keeps us from being honest? I mean he struggled for so many years just TRYING to convince me that I needed to change my appearance so he could want me. He fluctuated between trying to be the right kind of man and just look at the good things about me and cheating on me with women he did want. All of this killing his own soul. What the hell? Didn't he know where the door was?
Of course he knew. He just felt that divorce was the wrong thing. He was all about the right thing. (See how warped we are about the right thing?)

I don't want the right thing. I want the true thing. I don't want a man who settles for me because I have some good qualities, so he'll just do his best to accept the rest. That isn't what I wanted him to be.
I want a man who can appreciate who I am, in all aspects. It's true, I don't look at all like a model. But I'm damn good lookin. And, even though I am MUCH heavier than I ever was when I was married to him, I still have a great figure. I'm fit (still work out every day) and active and healthy and sexy and I have a passel of men who will confirm this, if you don't believe me. But what if I weren't? What if I were homely and sickly? What if the only qualities I had to offer were substantial emotional support and a great and interesting mind and creativity that has no bounds and love and acceptance that is immeasurable? How then would I want to settle for a man who says,
"I know.. I love those things about you and I don't even care that you are homely." I say nay. A man who really appreciates the things that make me who I am, will certainly never see me as homely. Or fat. Or inferior in any way.

Is this an ideal that lives in no man? I say nay again. I know many men like this. If you don't have one, then girls, go get one! And I say the same is true in the reverse. I think it's time to be honest with ourselves and not drag another soul down with us into our own desperate darkness of discontentment and all the while call it righteousness.


Her name is Elizabeth Jones. Beth for short. But we call her Tiny. (A nickname my son, Jake, gave her.) She's the mommy of my granddaughter. And she's a perfect little flower. She's beautiful and smart. She loves her baby and she loves me. (That's her finest point! hehehe) She calls me Mommy Face.

I've known Beth almost four years. When we met, she wasn't yet dating my son. I believe we were all doing shots of.. oh hell I dunno. I am not a shots person, so I was just sipping it and she would say, "Hey, finish that up, babe! I gotta use the glass!" :)

Here's the thing about Tiny. She is both strong and frail. She has a solid character that you can feel. But she is sensitive to being mistreated. I used to try to find her work where the people were civil and wouldn't yell at their employees because I couldn't stand the idea of her being exposed to that. It's true, she's come such a long way. She now works two jobs and has gotten her own apartment, where she and the baby live. Her sister and Jake live there off and on to help with the childcare. (Beth and Jake split up some time ago, but they remain close friends and share the responsibility of the baby.) Beth also has a fiery defender's spirit. She is sweet as punch, but if you hurt someone she loves, she'll knife ya!

Beth reminds me of one of those mountain flowers. The type that can grow, even from the ashes of a forest fire. I feel privileged to know and love her.

Melting Pot

A lot of things on my mind today. Posts and comments of late got me thinking. And yesterday's range of emotions made for a strangely calm and clear-thinking today. It's a bit like my post migraine sense. I never see things quite as well as at that time. Or maybe I should say quite as plainly.

As the news spreads about my youngest son's news of a child on the way, I get plenty of opinions tossed my way. (No doubt he does, too.) He's eighteen. The unanimous response is along the lines of, "Oh he has no idea what he's done to screw up his life now. Having a child will throw a wrench into his plans like none other!" (I guess I'm into hardware metaphors today.)

I consider myself a realist. But I'm a little too optimistic in some eyes to be considered a REAL realist. I think optimism is very realistic. After all, the sun does rise again every single day. I see no reason to take that for granted. It's a beautiful thing, and I count on it. In my darkest days, just knowing that has gotten me through many, many times.

When I discovered I was pregnant with this same boy, I was devastated. Not only was my marriage in a wretched state, but I wasn't even sure if he was my husband's child! (I'm not going to bother explaining that.) I did not want this child. Every day I woke up disappointed that I had not had a miscarriage.

One day, while driving over a bridge, I thought, "I can just turn my wheel and drive over the edge and it will all be over. Easy." At that same moment, a song was playing on the radio. One I'd heard a million times. It's called "Signs." From the seventies. Just at that point, I heard, "I made up my own little sign. It said, 'Thank you Lord for thinkin 'bout me. I'm alive and doin fine!'" Hit me like a ton of bricks (hardware simile). I think I even said out loud. "What the hell am I thinking? I AM alive and doing fine!" From that moment on, I was over it. Brady was born and I was, of course, overwhelmed with love and appreciation for him. Just as I was with the others.

So back to Brady's pending fatherhood. We were talking about this negativity that's being tossed around. I swear, I think people want me to tell Brady every time I talk to him, "okay.. but don't forget... from now on.. your life sucks!" They are kinda disappointed that I'm not doing that! As my dad said on the subject, "It's gonna be whatever you make of it." Brady is made of strong stuff. He does better than roll with the punches, he fuckin hits back!

Now Brady wants to get a tattoo of that line in the song. :)

She's Two!

The blog world is full of dark messages today. And no wonder.

That was a bad day, 9/11. (I'm sorta into understatements.) I was at my friend, Betty Jean's house. I was staying with her to help her take care of her grandson. I was getting ready for work and happened to walk by the tv just when the tower's were being attacked. She was sitting on the couch, stunned. Time did stand still. It was shocking. I'll never forget what she said. "I hope it wasn't white people who did this." ?????? What the fuck? God love her. She used to say some backward things. I said, "What in the hell are you talking about?" She said, "You know... like the other guys... the unibomber and those kind of guys. It seems worse when we Americans are attacking ourselves." I said, "Betty, I know this comes as a shock, but there are lots of Americans who are not white." She giggled in her little schoolgirl way. "Oh yeah." I miss her silly self. She lost the battle to ovarian cancer the following year. It's hard for me to think of the events of that day without thinking of her.

But the most shocking thing, to me ~ the thing that made it hard to concentrate on work that day, that made it impossible to do much but stare at the computer screen ~ was the idea that people could be so intentionally destructive. (Gosh, Teri, have you ever heard of war?) I didn't see it as an attack necessarily on Americans. There were people in that building who were not Americans. And all of us came from somewhere else, except the Native Americans, right? I saw it as an attack on mankind. It was pure evil, through and through. No matter where you stand politically.

The response of the nation I can only describe as horrifying. The sudden view of any mideastern person as "the enemy." The sudden desire to give up our freedoms, right and left, in the interest of "security." We felt powerless. We felt as if SOMEONE had to do SOMETHING! So, no matter the request, we were there. Even if it comes down to traveling with just the shirt on my back (no pants or shoes) I'm ready to do it! JUST MAKE IT SO THIS WON'T HAPPEN AGAIN! What a bunch of dolts we are. As if any of that has any effect on whether or not this will happen again.

So here we are. Time marches on.

Two years ago, my granddaughter was due to be born around this date. People almost unanimously said, "Oh! I hope she's not born on 9/11!!" And I'd say, "Why?" They would normally just say, "um.... I dunno.... just seems like that would be bad!"

I said, "I think it's a good thing to have new life come to remind us that it doesn't end there." And so it was. She was born on 9/11/04. I'm pretty sure she's not the only one.

Recently, I was reading about the Biship Pine. A forest fire can sweep through thousands of trees and cause great destruction. How in the world can we replace so many trees? The seeds. As it turns out, "the tight-fisted pinecones only open in the heat of a fire." There is always a provision made for life.

So we remember the dead and celebrate the living. Can't do one without the other. Would make for a terribly imbalanced life.

So to celebrate BrynLeigh Jade at two, I'll repost the poem I wrote for her just after she was born:

Sweet light that shines from those bright eyes,
Makes heaven wish for bigger skies.
The sun could warm the darkest place,
Yet still not match that precious face.
And in her orbit, gorgeous moon,
Seeks to make a dim world swoon.
But all her efforts pale in vain
When those small sighs our hearts obtain.

Haven't Got Time For The Pain?

As a mother, you feel you need to absorb so much.
Not having ever been a father, I don't know how it works for them.
But I can only describe it as like having to...
absorb impact.

My little son was so sensitive and sweet. He was just made that way.
There were people in his life that were much too hard on him.
And I had to let them be hard on him. I let them convince me that
he needed to be tough. And of course, this is true. We all need to
be tough. Unfortunatly, sometimes we forget that the world will
be tough enough. We don't have to be the ones to do it.
I still remember his big blue eyes. They are the same eyes of my
granddaughter, his baby girl. But she, being a girl, won't have so
much "toughness" inflicted on her. It's okay to be soft and sweet
with girls.
After I had my girl, and saw this, I realized that it's so much easier
to be a mother to a girl. When I became pregnant with number three,
I thought to myself that I would die if I had another boy. My heart
couldn't take it.
But it was a boy. And he was nothing like the first. He was rough
and tough and rarin' to go. Like a little tank. I came to understand
the toughness that boys get exposed to, when they handle it in a boy
way. But the first boy was not like this. He needed tenderness.
And I gave him plenty of it. But he needed more. He needed
acceptance. And I gave him plenty of it. But he needed more.
Now he's grown, and I watch in agony as he goes through diagnosis
after diagnosis (the current one being schizophrenia).
I watch as he goes through the hardness of life and the continued
lack of acceptance. As people continue to judge and "assess" him.
Yet he's entirely a charasmatic being. People flock to him.
He could be a pied piper.
He's charming, intelligent, handsome, creative.
When he plays the piano, it's almost a spiritual experience to watch.
He's a truly gifted individual. And he loves his baby.

I once said that being a mother is like having a steel pole driven
through your body. And the only way it will kill you, is if it's removed.
I feel like that every minute of every day.
You get used to the pain and you choose to be happy.
And you know what? They do too.

Feast or Famine

When my ex and I decided to separate, it was an amicable agreement. Sure, it was my idea, but he was alright with it. We were separating with a view to reconcile. We were to get counseling and try to work out some of our differences. Neither of us had a desire to throw away eighteen years of marriage! Really, in this day and age, that is nothing to sneeze at! *achoo!*

I started looking for a place to stay. He would stay in the house because he loved the house. I didn't. I never wanted to own a house and I still don't. He could keep the kids with him, as long as he kept the house. Truly, it was his behavior AFTER the separation that sealed the deal on the permanence of divorce. His behavior then put his behavior during the marriage to shame! (And it was pretty shitty!) But still, at some point, he suggested we go out one last time. Just to keep things nice, ya know. (this was while it was still amicable)

He is a cop. He had received an award for making the most drunk driving arrests the previous year and he had a certificate for free dinner for two at a pricey restaurant in San Diego. He thought this would be a fun way to go out with a "bang," so to speak. :) So we took off to the south.
We stopped in La Jolla to walk on the beach. At this point, he turned all ... hmmm... what's the word... well he turned on some ancient boyish charm. He carried my shoes. Told me stories of the history of the land, and such, proving his superiority intellectually. In short, he was wooing me. Didn't really work, but it was kinda cute. When we got into the car, he didn't even fuss at me about getting every single grain of sand off of my feet before getting in. He was like a real person. But sad, in a way. Just like a little broken boy. :(

Back on the way to the restaurant we were. He asked me to get the certificate out of the glove box so he could see the address. Up to this point, I didn't know the name of the restaurant we were going to. It was here that the humor of the situation hit, even as the final nail was hammered into the coffin of that union.

The name of the restaurant: Dick's Last Resort.

On a Lighter Note

I just got back from visiting family in Utah. My youngest son went with. In fact, he did 98% if the driving. He hadn't seen his niece since Christmas, so it's been awhile for him! And her second birthday is coming up on 9/11.

I was there two nights, and both nights my grandbaby spent the night. The first morning, I got up with her so her daddy could sleep in. I made her some scrambled eggs, toast and then she had some applesauce. I was tired, though, as I'd been up until one that morning. I took her outside to swing on the old swing in Mom and Dad's back yard. We had moved there in 1970, and I can't remember whether this swing was there already or if Dad put it up. Mom and Dad were gone on a trip, so I couldn't ask them! It's just a portion of fence, hung up with heavy cord onto one end of the clothesline. Just under the big tree. It's a real swing where you have to learn how to balance in order not to flip over on your head. Not like the newfangled things these days where you just get to put a kid into it and just let 'em hang there until they're sick of it. She was getting the hang of it, but was nowhere near ready to do it herself. So I picked her up and I walked and skipped and ran up and down the hill and played catch with her. I did this for about three hours and then went into the house and woke up daddy (and uncle). I said, "WHY would anyone ever have children? Now get up and take care of this baby. I'm going back to bed!" :)

(I forgot to add that I was going back to bed 'cause I'd been up all night partying! Like every grandma should!)

Okay... Here's More Things About The Thing

Here is what I said at another site about porn. (It's three posts, so it's long!)

Number One:

I used to feel pornography was to be accepted as something men... oh, for lack of a better word... need. I have a sister who's husband was addicted to porn. It wound up ruining her marriage. I tried to counsel her to take it easy on the guy. I mean, how is a man to resist it? I feel differently now.

I don't have a moral agenda against pornography. But I do believe (and many sex therapists will back me up on this, cause I've heard it from them repeatedly) that porn is detrimental to a healthy sexual relationship. Often, people who are struggling with sexual issues watch porn in order to help with them. Sex therapists will sometimes (not always) tell them that this will make things worse. And I believe it does skew the way men and women see sex and sexuality.

But all of that aside, let's address this porn insecurity issue. I was involved with a man who had not had a relationship with a woman in ten years. He pretty much totally depended on porn to... er... stir him up and keep things going. He had a pretty good sized collection. When we met, he was bowled over to find a woman who was so sexually driven. He said, "Oh I dont need this porn anymore! I have you!" (Well it is kinda true.. I am kinda like walking, private porn!) I told him I didn't care if he wanted to watch his porn from time to time. It was his business. After a time, he convinced me to move in with him. God knows how. It goes against every fiber of my being to actually LIVE with a man. We had a very active sex life. Then he started getting up out of bed and going online and watching porn. While I was in bed in the other room! And I was horny, too! I would go in and say, "what's up?" He'd sorta try to hide it and say, "oh, nuthin.. just readin emails" Hmmm... I said, "why are you in here looking at these girls when you have one who is ready, wiling and VERY able right in the next room?" He gave me some lame answer about getting ideas and doing it for me. (God help him. Poor guy.) Now, some of this was the "forbidden fruit" syndrome. (As I said, it wasn't I that forbid it... he grew up believing porn was wrong.) But really, I should never again like to be involved with a man who would rather watch porn alone, while I am at hand!

Number Two:

I realized after some serious thinking why it should bother me for my important person to be regularly viewing porn. It's because I want all of his experiences with naked women to be with me! There are arguments about whether or not "online" encounters are cheating, and I put this on the same level. Any intimate sexual encounter (and I am pretty sure that intimate emotional encounters count, too) should be classified as cheating, in my book. I would be extremely disturbed to find that my lover has been having cyber sex and/or phone sex with another woman. And even though with porn, you are not enjoying the participation of the woman, you are experiencing something intimate with her in mind. I think this would be highly destructive to your own exclusive relationship. If you don't want to be exclusive, then just don't be. Last I checked, this was still a free country!

Number Three:

Trouble is, porn can be a real addiction. Has nothing to do with the woman and whether or not she's making him feel wanted or if she's open and playful in the bedroom. Many a man really does feel the "pull of the screen" when the woman he's with has done nothing but make him feel all the things a man wants to feel. In fact, I think it's important to point out to women that if their guy is thus addicted, it is NOT a reflection on her inadequacies. Such is the same if her man is cheating on her. I do believe the old adage that if you don't give your husband a blow job, somebody will! But I don't think this should be taken to mean that men have license to go get it. It just means that they usually do. And when they do, it's THEIR trouble in dealing with their own needs properly, not YOUR failure to do so!

Seduction always begins in the mind. I believe pornography leads to discontentment and over time will lead to a man believing he is somehow missing out on something. It encourages infidelity. Any person who thinks it is strengthening the sexual bond is highly misled. Would it not then follow that swinging and other extramarital indulgences should strengthen, rather than weaken?

The relationship between a man and a woman is not based on sex or sexual experiences. Sex is the expression of what is happening between a man and a woman. Not the other way 'round. It doesn't get any more simple than that.

Lost in Spaces

In a previous post, I mentioned another space where I write. I don't write there any more cause they don't let me use words like shit, fuck and... well any of my favorite things. And sometimes, those words are just necessary to make the point! But it is a site where it's easier to post pictures, and I have plenty of pics of the entire family there! So visit it at will:


I also have a "myspace" but that's mostly just to keep in contact with the kids in my life. (Yeah, Leslie, I just called you a kid!) Not much to see there, except maybe the comments of my biggest fans. And, no lie, sometimes their adoration is the very thing that gets me through. Someday I'll tell the story of how I feel about myspace.


Okay, Here's The Thing...

I have strong feelings about pornography. Feelings about it's detrimental effects on men. In short, I believe indulgence in porn hinders him from becoming sexually mature. But I'm not a snob. I don't FREAK OUT about porn, or porn shops. Or if I see it on tv. In fact, about six months ago, I applied for a job at a sex shop. I think sexual freedom and growth is a great thing.

So, I was just today wondering, "How does my current boyfriend feel about porn? Does he spend his time watching porn?" Well first of all, he works A LOT and he drives A LOT and almost every spare moment is spent either sleeping or eating or sexing (that's my part.. hee) ~ and second of all, I asked him about an email I sent him about two months ago and he said, "I don't remember the last time I was online." (Not that I think porn is only available online.)

We met online. We first chatted on the phone for a week or two before meeting in person. I remember I would just ramble and ramble about what I thought about things and such. He is a man mostly of few words, but he was responsive and would stay on the phone a long time. I do recall bringing up the subject of porn and even asking how he felt about it. BUT, on the day we met, I was so overwhelmed by his... well here is where I lose it. I can't even think of the word for it. I even told him that day, "I don't usually date guys who are prettier than I am." He's just so... oh gosh... well he's like a viking that stepped out of some ancient battlefield. He's just so... (honestly, right now I'm weak just thinking about him) Well, anyway, ever since that day, I've been speechless. And I don't recall anything we talked about before we met or anything! My only hope is that this will wear off and I'll come to my senses! Or maybe my hope is that it won't! :)

I Have No Use For Eva Longoria

This post might have some random statements, such as the title.
And I have no idea why my background template decided to change. I was scrolling through the various options over a month ago, and I clicked on this one called TEQUILA, cause I thought, "ooooooh... I love tequila!" (Yeah I know. Good Reason.)
Anyway, I wanted to see what it looked like and it just never showed me. So I moved on. (It's true. I know how to move on from those things.)
The other day I guess it decided to change! Haven't decided if I like it or not. I had the rose-colored one for so long. I'm not sure I want to see things without the rose-colored glasses. Time will tell. It always does.
So I'm kinda pissed off today. My son is dating a girl whose step-father is a neanderthal. In all fairness, I know almost nothing about him. But everything I do know so far is negative. Well... he does make a very good carne asada, which is nothing to be sneezed at! Her mother is an idiot, at best.
So why should I be upset? Because now son and girlfriend are expecting a child. Which means (you guessed it) I am now linked to these two undesirables for the rest of my life!
Yesterday, the caveman found out about it. Parents' responses to their teenage daughter's pregnancy is always fascinating to me. I'm sure you can imagine that I've seen a lot of these responses. I have rarely seen a case where their first reaction wasn't in light of the reflection this will make on them as parents. They feel like they've failed. They are not happy about letting people know that they are failures. In short, it's all about them. As humans, it's only natural that our initial responses be about us. We are egocentric creatures.
This creature decided that he would insist that the "kids" get married. So I called a meeting. I told him that I understand his shock and concern, and that my son is clearly ready to take his responsibility in the matter seriously. His life has now changed drastically and will continue to do so. But I will not stand idly by while a "shotgun wedding" is performed. The man then proceeded to tell me about his upright view of the sacred wedding vows and their importance and blah blah blah... to which I said, "I don't agree." So he said, "Well then what do we do?" I said, "I say it doesn't matter what you or what I think, it matters what they think... let's ask them." And so we did. He conceded that the wedding was not going to be a priority that he would try to force. Fuckin hell. What's next? I can see that it's not going to be an easy journey. That's alright. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger, right?

Scary Women with Signs!

Yep. I'm talking about the women who are working the crosswalks during school hours. I rarely see a man doing it, so I'm gonna go ahead and presume to write this story as if it applies to the women of that ilk alone.

You can imagine that, over the years, I've been exposed (well not literally.. hehe) to a great many of these sign-holders. And they are not messin' around! You break some rule, which no one would have a clue exists, and they would have your head if they could! I mean I think they even have stuff like, "only blue cars are allowed on this side of the road, the red cars on the other, and all other colors are shit outta luck!"

Since the school district decided to stop offering the school bus for free, there is a LOT of traffic coming and going. So I have no doubt that these women have all rights to going "postal" at any given moment. (Someone else can think of a word that would apply to this job, as opposed to "postal." I have a migraine.)

My son drove me to pick up my little charges yesterday. He has only had to do this a few times and he was literally shaking when we got close to the crosswalks. It's like stunted driving because you are sure they are going to yell at you any second! Should I stop? Should I go? I said, "What's wrong? She's not in the crosswalk, you don't have to slow down." He said, "Those ladies scare me!"

Emotional Integrity

Worth every penny you pay for it. I lived for years without it. Didn't even realize I was doing so. It's kinda like being sick, but not knowing how very sick you are. Until you're well again. All those years of telling myself I was staying for the sake of the children. And I wasn't lying to myself. I really believed it was doing them good. At some point, the discomfort of the comfort of having things stay the same became too great to pretend away any more. So I had to go. After 18 years of a bad marriage, I finally walked out. It devastated the children. I don't believe there is any way to dissolve your marriage without devastating them. I don't care what "ideal circumstances" you come up with. But these seven years later, it's clear to me that the only thing to regret about the whole thing is that I didn't leave sooner. The children learned a much greater thing in seeing the end of that wretched union. They learned the difference between a home of darkness and pretense and a home of truth and light. There was a false sense of security that they didn't much like doing without at first, but when they came to know what REAL security stands on they were the much better for it. It all cost a great deal of pain, but every one of us wound up with the prize of emotional integrity.

I had the wonderful privilege of having dinner last weekend with my beautiful and vibrant daughter Erin (along with my visiting niece, Graci). Graci wants to leave Utah and go SOMEWHERE, ANYWHERE. She loved being here with us so much and even said she wanted to stay without going back home to pack up for the move! She hemmed and hawed about needing a job, etc. I told her, "When I came here, I had nothing... when Erin came here, she had nothing... and we've both had nothing several times since! But we'd rather starve in southern California than thrive anywhere else! You just have to decide to do it... and go... or you never will!" My daughter then interjected with a very serious look... she turned to me and said, "Mom, I know many people have criticized you for the methods you've chosen in child rearing and for some of the choices you've made, but I need you to know, that it's only because of the way you've loved me no matter what... no matter what kind of a shithead I am... that I have had the strength to do the sort of thing you're talking about. You have always made me feel beautiful and loved and important and strong and it's your belief in me that keeps me going." A mother can't ask for greater words. All three of my children have said things like this to me. After all the struggling and striving I went through, not knowing if it had been a mistake to leave their father... to find that they love me and admire me, even through my greatest weakness, was the great treasure I didn't even know I would find. I heard a phrase yesterday that I asked my youngest son about this morning. He was almost twelve when his dad and I got divorced. He's eighteen now. I said that I heard children would much rather be from a broken home than to live in one. He said, "That's true, mom... I most definitely agree. And have I told you today that I love you?" (Of course he had, he tells me all the time.)

The more men change.....

... the more they fuckin stay the same!

Yesterday I changed my yahoo profile to read that I'm in a relationship and I added "If you're interested in making friends, feel free to contact me... but condescending assholes need not apply" ~ sumthin like that. Figured it MIGHT filter out some of the asinine random contacts I get. I don't mind meeting people. In fact, I like to. Even now, I'm chatting with a girlfriend from Kentucky I met online a few years ago and we've become the very BEST of girlfriends! (HI BECKA!)

Anyway, today I received two random contacts... one new one ~ a married man looking for fun. We had a short but pleasant conversation, but only after I made sure he could read and knew that I was NOT interested in the fun he's after. At the same time, I get a message from a previous dumbshit who sent me a message a year ago or so and here is how today's convo went (his nick has been changed to protect his dumbfuckness):

adamsmith: hi
adamsmith: from, usa
adamsmith: i m adam amale

teri: hello...
teri: have we chatted before?

adamsmith: i think yes

teri: I think so too

adamsmith: i am adam and you ?

teri: I think I didn't really like chatting with you before... and I doubt I'll like it now

adamsmith: thanks
adamsmith: your asl please

teri: okay.. that's enough... now fuck off

Honestly, no wonder I have to write a book.
I can't make this shit up!