Thursday, August 17, 2006

Self Portrait Thursday many elephants do you see?

(Click to embiggen. Hat tip: Chasmyn and The Simpsons.)

Here's a freebie, one of them is mostly hidden behind the upper right hand corner of my screen.*

Sometimes I'm reticent to tell people that I work from home. They tend to assume I'm just working part time to make a few extra bucks. Not so! I'm the primary bread winner so I work full time and because I'm self-employed, that generally means over 40 hours a week. Although I do work long hours some days, I also have a great deal of flexibility, which rocks the house! I never imagined I'd be so lucky to have a work-from-home (hereafter known as a WFH) job, but I always imagined I'd be working.

Interestingly enough, (to me, you're probably bored to tears, that's alright, just skip ahead a few paragraphs) the issue of balancing work and family life was thrust into my consciousness at the tender age of 7.**

It was a rainy day and my dad*** was driving the carpool to take us to school along with some of the neighbor kids when he asked us "What do you want to be when you grow up?" At least I thought he was asking us, he quickly corrected my assumption. When I cheerfully submitted, "I want to be a Psychologist!"**** He responded with, "Actually, honey, I was asking Mike."***** Then he floored me with what was quite probably one of the most psychologically damaging things he ever said to me, "Besides, don't you want to get married and have kids? How are you going to do both?"

I had no idea what to say. Meekly, I responded, "I don't know?" I was stunned, I did not know I could not do both. This had not occured to me before. At that moment, my Cinderella complex was sown.

Fortunately, I was a child of the 60's so while my father was a heavy influence on my later concessions to the patriarchy, my consciousness was being raised daily in a million tiny ways. At that time the country was exploding, so the mainstream media was full of radical flower children, bra-burning feminists, bussing and civil rights. I was watching Free To Be You & Me and singing along because I knew all the words! Everyone was created equal, weren't they? Women could do anything men could do, right? Isn't that why Billie Jean kicked Bobbie's ass?******

But that day in the car got me to wondering, and a seed of doubt was sown, how could I do both? I'm still trying to figure that out.


**I was also questioning the doctrine of predestination at that age, but that's a whole nother post.

***My Dad deserves a little defense here, after all, he was the affectionate parent. He was the huggie, lovey, here-comes-the-tickle-bird, let's-watch-cartoons, fun guy! He was also the stern but mostly fair (and never abusive!) disciplinarian. While some of his ideas are shockingly progressive and libertarian he can also be a sexist, racist, classist, knee-jerk repukelican deeply entrenched in the care and maintenance of the patriarchal status quo. From his perspective it's just good business sense. After all, he's a white boy who came of age in the 1950's; the dominant paradigm has served him very well! He is hopelessly anachronistic, but he's also always been the most emotionally supportive of my parents. It's safe to say my feelings on him are mixed, but I do love him, I can't deny it.

****Long story: I promise, I'll do a whole nother post on that one too, k? Short story: my mother couldn't deal with me so she took me to a psychologist who procured a prescription for Ritalin, which I took from the ages of 6 to 10. For some reason I liked him so I wanted to be psychologist too. Go figure?!

*****He still lives across the street. His family is one of at least half a dozen on this street alone, including me, who came back to the old neighborhood to raise their children. Interestingly enough, I still don't hang out with any of them. Hmmm...okay, next post? Why can't I get along with people sometimes? Do I fall somewhere on the asbergers/autism spectrum or am I just misanthropic?

******I will never forget watching that moment in history with my entire family, jumping and shreiking with joy when she finally won! Finally we had proof that girls were just as good as boys! It was a defining moment for girls everywhere.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Show Granny Some Love

Wow, I'm not even sure how to start this, Tertia is always so incredibly gracious about these things.

Christina puts this particular cause into words much better then I am able to, maybe I'll just cheat a little today and let her tell you!

Because She's a Mom Too
Please go donate to help out Granny.

Why do I care about helping her out?

1. She has lung cancer and doesn't smoke. WTF. That just ticks me off. Not that anyone deserves lung cancer, but dude, if you don't smoke -- she's a body builder -- that just shouldn't happen. Period.

2. I know what it's like to have to undergo a major medical procedure without health insurance. For those of you who have health insurance -- yes, I am talking with YOU so hear me out -- you don't realize how lucky you are. So share some of the money you're not paying and help out somebody who is about to amass $60,000 per month in bills.

3. Think of somebody in your life who has done a bunch of little things for you that don't add up to much -- maybe bringing you a box of Kleenex when you're sick or e-mailing you a picture you didn't expect or remembering your favorite drink. It's the little things that make all the difference, right? Well the same thing is true here! Even a little bit will help!

If these three reasons aren't reason enough for you to go do it, then make up your own! And blog about it! And link to it!!

Go do it!!!
I know, it's shocking the way I just come write out and ask you to give money to some stranger on the internet, but that's just the kind of girl I am, I thought you knew that? Oh, we haven't had that discussion yet? Okay, well, um, we'll get back to that one later.

You see, the thing is, Vibrating Liz, aka Granny Vibe is going through a very tough time medically right now, and she has no insurance. I'm putting in a plug for her because she has greatly inspired me. (Did you catch the selfish undertone there? See, this isn't really about her, it's the fact that she inspires me and that I, selfishly, want her to stick around for many years to continue in this manner.) So, I don't want anyone to feel feel bad if you can't, I'm just putting the word out for those who can.

So go visit Granny, find out how wonderful she is with her feminist wiles, her chiseled 50-something body-builders physique, her handsome Painter, her beautiful flowers and her take no prisoners stance on that ugly bastard racism.

Then? When you're done there? Go visit her incredibly wonderful son Finnegan so you can see what happens when feminists get their hands on impressionable young minds. He posts about this here. If you are in a hurry and you already know exactly how wonderful Liz is, thank you very much, here's a quick link to the paypal fund.

Today's very special post was brought to you by our guest sponsor Finnegan's Wake-up Call and our very special guest sponsor, Christina, Downloaded

And really? It's all Alice's fault for putting Granny Gets A Vibrator in her blogroll. So go blame Alice.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Eight down, eighty to go...

Eight years and two days ago I married Willy the Groundskeeper. (Our respective families are still waiting for photo evidence, so I'm sorry but no, I have no wedding pictures to share.) Yes, he's really a groundskeeper, but that's just his day job, in his secret life he's a soon to be famous artist and puppeteer. The image I use for my photo is one of his. One of these days I'll put up a few more for your viewing pleasure.

For you numerology buffs, that's 8/8/98. I'm not sure if that means anything but if it rings any bells for anyone, please let me know.

If any of you are astrologists you might be interested in knowing that we were married on the full moon, which happened to be in Aquarius at that time; a location that encourages independent activity. It would seem that I need to stop fighting that. When we try to work together we generally have very different ideas about how things should be done so we tend to bicker instead of actually doing anything. I’m a very stubborn jackass so that’s probably why it’s taken me 8 years to figure this out.

One good thing I can honestly say is that it gets better every year. It took us awhile to learn how to live together, hammer out the rules of engagement and so on. But eventually we decided that we are in this for the long haul and failure is not an option. We still fight, oh yes, in fact we even decided to have a fight on our anniversary. It sucked but we made up for it the next day. I'll spare you the details, suffice to say it involved candles and copious amounts of lube.

We don't usually give each other anniversary gifts because (I'm too cheap, we don't need anything, it's fraught with peril, I'm full of excuses!) we don't usually have any extra money lying around to do anything other then go out to dinner and buy a carrot cake. But the groundskeeper is a romantic so he bought me 8 long stemmed red roses. Typically, I kind of wish he'd spent the money on landscape edging. Ironically too, because there was a discussion at Tertia's recently about the 5 Love Languages and I commented about how much we had learned from it! HA! Even after 8 years we still have days when we have no clue how to communicate with each other.

For our wedding we had carrot cake, so we buy a carrot cake from a local restaurant every year to help celebrate our anniversary. This cake is undescribably delicious, a rich, spicy cake with actual bits of grated carrots and chunks of walnut topped with thick, decadent cream cheese frosting. It is pure evil. It is so evil we gave it a nickname. We call it The Cake of The Devil. I think it has a thousand calories per slice but they don't really count because I always try to make sure I'm standing up when I eat it. That should work, right?

Here's one of my favorite stories to tell about how we got together: Around the time of our second date I was finishing up some dishes while Yo sat on the floor and played legos with Ebo, then 5. Ebo has always been a very nurturing child, quick with the love and the hugs. So I was slightly horrified but not entirely surprised when I overheard him telling Yo that he loved him.

Desperately searching for anything to say that could deflect Ebo's (obviously premature and inappropriate!) emotional declaration, I started to walk over in that direction to say something. But I had to duck back into the kitchen and clap my hand over my mouth to prevent myself from screaming when I heard the rest of that sentence, "...and I want you to marry my Mom and be my Dad."

Wow. I was floored. Here I was, trying to make a good impression, trying not to move too fast, TRYING NOT TO SCARE THIS ONE AWAY, and in one fell swooop, my sweet darling son put all the cards on the table face up. I stayed in the kitchen for a time, mortified, considering my options.

A few minutes later, Yo came in for a drink so I cornered him in a frantic display of backpedaling by proxy. Not to worry, he assured me. He had sensed it coming and although he hadn't known how he would respond he didn't think it would be polite not to say "I love you" back and then after he said it, he told me, he realized it was already true. He said, "How could I not love him? He's such a wonderful child!"

At that point, I knew. This one might be a keeper.
Marriage is love.