Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Things, and the Having Thereof

You guys are brilliant. First of all, Jane, oh goddess Jane. I can't even BELIEVE I didn't think of "I have things"! (And while I did say it with the emphasis on the have--thereby contrasting it neatly, or so I like to delude myself into thinking, with the 'not having' implied by the first part of the sentence, "I'm not a hypochondriac..."--a things emphasis would work, too.) (Um, yes, I did just kiss Jane's ass. But I lurve Jane. She gossips with me. And I have an insatiable need to foster and retain her unmitigated approval. And she's way way way naturally funnier than me. So I kiss. Sue me.)

Actually, there wasn't a single suggestion that didn't make me laugh and nod my head in agreement. In particular, though, loved the irony in Libby's "There is no word, phrase, or saying so universal that I would wish to transmit it to everyone with whom I have contact each time I contact them." In fact, I am going to HAVE to send that one to the annoying (but really one of my closest friends) brother-in-law who started this, because it will earn me one of those gratifying chuckles.

And, Leila, my lovely, that Camus quote! "Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal." It's perfection! I love the others as well, but Camus' sums me up in a nutshell. (Get it? Nutshell? Hee! I crack me--and only me--up.)

So now, a quandry. I'm thinking that I'll use one of these three as my real-life email sig, another as my Tiny Coconut sig, and--having now been shamed by the brilliance of these ideas into despising the insipidness that is my tag line on my blog--one of them as the new blog tag line. But which one where?

On another note: I had a yummy, non-Core-but-not-too-bad lunch today with the soon-to-be-world-famous Tamar and her mother, Leya, with whom I immediately fell deeply in love. It never ceases to amaze me--though perhaps it should have ceased by now, having happened to me time and time again--how immediately comfortable I can feel with people I know only through words thrown out into the ether. I cut my teeth in this regard with my homegirls, aka the LA Moms, who I met on our birthmonth list, and are now my closest friends and confidants. And I have yet to meet an online buddy towards whom I don't feel an immediate closeness.

Blogging or journalling or whatever-the-heck-it-is-we-all-do kicked it to another level. Long before I left my first comment on Tamar's daily log about her son (which has since morphed into Postscript, which ranges far and wide and deep), I knew so much about her, and about the things she struggles with and the things she takes pleasure in. It's weird to think about knowing that much about someone who doesn't even know you exist, or that you're reading her thoughts, or that you're even sometimes applying some of the literary deconstruction skills you learned in college to look even more deeply into what she's saying.

My first comment to her, if I'm not mistaken, was a bit belligerant: I disagreed with a post she'd written about the grocery strike last year here in LA. But that quickly morphed into a friendly correspondence, and a simple innate conviction that this was someone I was going to like. A lot. And when we met up for the first time, bam. I remember walking away from the restaurant at which we met for lunch that day, and thinking, "I'm usually shy and cautious when I meet new people. So who was that chatty, opinionated, stick-your-nose-where-it-doesn't-necessarily-belong person in there? And how did I know that the chat, the opinions, the nose-sticking would be welcomed and accepted?" But I did. And it was.

I felt much the same way today, saying goodbye to Tamar and Leya and hugging them both. (I'm also not usually an immediately "touchy" person, either.) It just felt natural. After all, I've known them forever, right?

I'm getting obnoxiously sappy, but what I'm trying to say is that there's a level of comfort in this new way of forging relationships, in which you can prescreen your potential friends and thus walk into a relationship that's already gotten well past the feeling-out stage in which you try and figure out where the potential pitfalls are ("she seems nice, but what if she's an anti-semite? what if she's a gay-basher? what if she thinks working out of the home is equivalent to child abuse?") and straight into the "you're interesting, and we have a lot in common, so now let's take it to the next level of getting to know one another."

In short? My life would be much poorer, and much more narrowly defined, were it not for the internet and the opportunities it has brought me. I am Geek Girl, hear me roar.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

I Do Not Heart Fasting, and A Contest

That sucked. I hate fasting. Really. It gets you at both ends, literally and figuratively. By the time we had dinner, my mouth was so dry my tongue was stuck to my front teeth. Ew. And I was dizzy, and cranky. Actually, I was way beyond cranky. Let's just say that the young teenaged kids selling...oh, I don't even know what they were selling, because I didn't let them get that far in the spiel...won't be coming back to my house any time soon. If the "oh, you are so barking up the wrong tree today, kids," didn't do it, the shouted-at-their-retreating-backs, "come back some time when I'm actually able to eat!" likely freaked them out for good. It wasn't so much the ferocity--though I was mighty ferocious--as the fact that we're probably the only Jews in the entire neighborhood, so these kids undoubtedly had no idea whatsoever why I was behaving like a complete lunatic.

And then, when I did eat...OW! Apparently, you can't go for 20 hours without food and then grab large handfulls of grapes, shovel herring into your mouth, and then rapidly down two bowls of matzoh ball soup without paying the price. My price? Gas pains that were so intense I was hobbling around the house, unable to straighten up. Woohoo! Fun at the Coconuts' home! (On the other hand...yum. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. My matzoh ball soup? Best in the frickin' world.)

I need some sig lines. It has been brought to my attention (and that's the nice way of putting it) that the sig line I've been using on my non-TC-related email (i.e., the one with my real name associated with it) is getting old. Hmph. OK, yeah, I've had it for at least five years, but it's a good one! (It was sent to me by a science-writer friend of mine, and says: It might look like I'm doing nothing, but at the cellular level I'm really quite busy.)

So while I'm somewhat reluctant to change it--partly because I still love it, and partly because I hate to give my brother-in-law the complainer the satisfaction of actually responding to his comments about it (TC, thy name is Passive Aggression)--I do realize that I need to at least consider it, and at the very least to come up with something to put on my TC-related mail as well. Which leads me to: A Contest. Send me a great quote (with attribution) or some other perfect-for-my-sig-line suggestion, and if I decide to use it, I'll send you...um...something or other. You name it, and I'll definitely consider it.

One, two, three...go. You have...let's see, what completely arbitrary deadline shall I set?...until Wednesday at noon, PST. Have fun. Be creative. Send something! (Because won't I be embarrassed when I get absolutely no responses to this post?)

Friday, September 24, 2004

I'm Sorry

I'm sorry for spending so much time compiling lists of personal grievances and lamenting my lot in life.

I'm sorry for spending so little time truly savoring all of my blessings.

I'm sorry for all the times I looked the other way when faced with someone in need.

I'm sorry for not having moved forward even an inch in my personal journey to discover and explore Judaism, and to expose my children to it so that they, as adults, will have a basis from which to work should they choose to make their own exploration.

I'm sorry about Madonna and her whole kabbalah thing. Trust me, you're not the only one who's deeply embarrassed by her.

I'm sorry that there are still people planning to vote for Dubya.

I'm sorry for the way my patience still gets thin sometimes with my precious kids; I'm sorry for yelling too often, or even at all, especially when I know darned well that it's mostly undeserved.

I'm sorry for my fairly anorexic levels of patience for life in general.

I'm sorry for often being petty and mean for no good reason, for feeling jealous of others' successes, and for not always being as supportive as I could be of friends and family, especially Baroy.

I'm sorry for being such an inveterate gossip, and for savoring every juicy tidbit, even when it involves the pain of others.

There are a lot of things I do fairly well; a lot of ways in which I believe I am a good person; a lot of instances which I believe indicate that I'm becoming an ever-better human being. But today is about shortcomings and downfallings. It's about recognizing those shortcomings and downfallings, and about apologizing for them. It's about working to overcome them in the new year. And I will. I will work at them. But it's going to be hard, and there are going to be times when I'll fail. Which leads me to:

I'm sorry for the mango I just ate, well after sundown, just because it was sitting there all ripe and ready for me, and for the glass of milk I'll be taking my meds with tomorrow morning so they don't chew up my stomach, and for the water I'll be sipping throughout the day because of those drugs' suck-every-drop-of-water-out-of-your-body side effects. But, really, I'm pretty sure you don't want to have to deal with me if I'm both starving AND unmedicated. Not a positive way to close or open this year's book, I'm thinking.

In any case, I'm sorry. Both in advance, and in retrospect.

Yours in atonement,

Monday, September 20, 2004

West Nile Ain't Just A River in Egypt

C'est moi. Back among the living. I fought the West Nile and the West Nile...LOST! I was at Death's door--well, OK, more like in the lobby of Death's apartment building, if Death were living in the building's 35th-floor penthouse apartment--and I survived. I am hypochondriac, hear me whimper!

(Yes, I know, I have to stop insisting I had West Nile. Except, really, I don't. Because no one can prove me wrong. And besides, for all you know, I DID have West Nile. Haha!)

(And yes, I know, I have to stop mangling 70s song lyrics, too. Trust me, it hurts me just as much as it hurts you.)

It seems that the FXor is already doing something. That, or the endorphin rush from surviving West Nile (hee!) is lifting my spirits. Because my friend Deb spent the bulk of Em's birthday party yesterday (a rousing success, per the kiddie reports I've since received) repeating over and over to me just how much BETTER I looked, and not just physically, nosiree, mentally too, really, soooooo much better, it's just amazing...leading me to wonder just how close to the edge I really got this time 'round, but that's a different post. And then today on the phone my mother suddenly said, "You sound so much calmer...Calmer than you've sounded in months, really..." and when I told her I was on a new drug (she's been dealing with gall stones and an impending gall bladder surgery this past week, so I never got to tell her about my new drug regimen) she immediately said, "Oh my goodness, it's so obvious. You were so speeded up on the Zloft lately..."

So beside for the annoying headache currently centered behind my left temple, I'd have to say that so far, FXor is a rousing success. Not that I feel it. But the recovering crazy person is always the last to know, I guess...

And, finally, a birthday party funny. I'll set the scene: It's a hot day. One of Em's presents was a little pink, plastic Hello Kitty fan, which she immediately began carrying around the house. At one point she walks into the family room where all the grownups are sitting, fanning herself, surrounded by about six of her friends, with her 9-year-old (male) friend in the middle of the group, pleading with her: "Aw, c'mon Em, blow me. Just a little. Blow me just a little, pleeeeease!" Which led immediately to a chorus of young voices saying, "No, blow me Em! Blow me!" "Em, blow me next, OK?" "But Em, I want you to blow me!"

Really, there are no words. And, in fact, there were no words. But there was a lot of laughter.

Gotta love them kids, no?

Thursday, September 16, 2004



It could be West Nile. So there. Of course, it's probably not. I believe she said "highly unlikely." But it could be. I am vindicated!

So. Nothing they can do for me. Ride it out. If it's regular ole flu, I'm contagious with a fever, so no work until it's gone. My boss is getting a teensy bit antsy 'bout that. But not much I can do about it, I guess. Plus, I feel like crap, and wouldn't get anything done anyway. Much like the rest of the time I'm in the office, but now I'd feel justified in my slothdom.


Did I mention recently that I moved from the Flex Plan to the Core Plan on Weight Watchers and I'm loving it? I'm losing VERRRRRRY slowly on it, but that's because I cheat. It's also because I've already lost two-thirds of the weight I want to lose, and frankly, if I stay here forever, I'm still way ahead of the game. This is an eating plan I can stick with for a very long time. I'm enjoying it, if feeling just the teensiest bit guilty that it's been so easy for me. Clearly, these were pounds I was never meant to have, because they slid off with so very little prodding. Now, these last ones may be a little more tenacious, and if I do decide I really want them off, I may actually have to get--gasp--strict with myself. But I have time...


N is now staying dry at daycare almost every day.* We're having some poop issues, but considering he's a 3.5-year-old kid with hemorrhoids, I'm not all that surprised. It's not like we didn't have poop issues in diapers, too.

Until yesterday, said potty training was sitting down. But all of a sudden, he wanted to stand up. Now he's got it. So yesterday, Baroy taught him about the 'shake," and now every trip to the potty is accompanied by a description of how many drops he got...and what size they were. Sigh.

* Today, apparently, he did not stay dry at nap time. According to Rose, younger preschool teacher extraordinaire, there was a simple explanation. "They gave them watermelon at lunch," she said, rolling her eyes. "He wasn't the only one who had a problem at nap time." You never do know where the occupational hazards are going to come from, do you?


I'm pretty sure I have West Nile fever.

Seriously. I've been sick as a dog since Sunday--Saturday, if you count the fact that I ended up going to bed earlier than the kids because I had a headache. I've had a fever the entire time. Headache, body aches. No coughing, no sore throat, no stuffy or runny nose. All of these are classic symptoms of West Nile. Not to mention that I've been bit by mosquitoes several times this summer, and I never wear bug spray. So, West Nile. That's my diagnosis, and I'm sticking to it--well, at least until I see the doctor in two hours and he/she laughs me out of his/her office.

Frankly, while I enjoy ill health as much as the next gal, I'm kinda getting fed up with this particular bug. I've been out of work all week so far, which is nice, certainly, except that I mostly lie around the house moaning, and that's not a whole lot of fun for anyone. Plus, Baroy, wonderful man that he is, is not the most nurturing of men. I suppose he could care less about how sick I am, but I don't know that I'd be able to tell the difference. So I'm still pulling at least part of my share of the household and kid chores. (My boss called yesterday around 5, and when Baroy told her I had taken Em to soccer practice, she yelled at him for making me go out with a fever. Hee!)

So that's the deal. Me=sick. Me=fed up. Me=not willing to admit it might just be some pedestrian, run-of-the-mill buggie making me so miserable. Me=clearly in need of even more psychopharmaceuticals.

Friday, September 10, 2004

The Spirit of Volunteerism

So there I was, up until the wee hours of the morning, trying to get the first PTA newsletter of the year done for Em's elementary school. (Who's idea was it again for me to not only redesign the newsletter, but also learn how to use InDesign at the same time when I have a deadline to meet for this thing? Oh, yeah, right. That would be me. And the deadline? Not met. But that's par for this particular course, or at least when I'm playing on it.) Then, this morning, I was venting to Baroy about how difficult finding someone to print it cheaply is becoming, and how I think I'm just going to buy toner and paper and take it to my office and use our printer here and collate, etc., myself and be done with it. And he just became indignant: "You shouldn't have to do all that work," he said. "If they have to pay more to get it published, then they just have to do it. This is ridiculous. And you shouldn't have to be fronting them the money, either. What do they want from you?"

Through this all, I'm just watching him, bemused. When he'd finished, I said, "You're not getting it. This isn't my job, where I can complain about being underpaid and overworked. I'm not paid at all--that's not the point! This is volunteering. The reason I have to do all that isn't because they asked me to, it's because I put my hand up and said, 'Me! Me! I want to do this for you.'"

Baroy looked skeptical. "OK, but they shouldn't be making it more difficult for you. If it costs $500 to publish a newsletter, then they need to give you $500 per newsletter."

"Again, you're missing the point," I said. "It's not that anybody has said to me, 'Oh these bids are too high; we won't pay that.' It's that this is a PTA newsletter, and the money that gets spent on it comes out of a budget that otherwise is doing cool things for the school, and hence for our kids. I'm the one saying I don't want to pay more than $350 tops per month for printing, not the Board. I'm the one saying I don't want to use money that could be better used elsewhere, if there's a reasonable work-around solution. Even if that solution means me putting in long hours by myself."

It's weird. In many ways, Baroy is an extremely generous person. He's well-known among his friends as being a Mac M.D., and is constantly spending hours and hours helping people pick out a new computer, or troubleshooting their printing problems, or whatever. So when Em started in kindergarten and the school's education foundation mentioned that they needed someone to run their once-monthly recycling collection program, I volunteered him. And he's done it ever since--this will be his third year. But he just doesn't get the whole concept of what it means to be a volunteer. He complains constantly about how the janitor doesn't remember to put out the tables the night before, or how the person who promised to buy trash bags forgot--basically, he gets really pissed off about people not doing their 'jobs' to a high enough standard. When, instead, I keep telling him, he should just be grateful for all the kids and parents who do help, and the people who do show up, and just keep his eye on the bottom line, which is making extra money to go toward needed school programs. But like I said, he really doesn't get it. At all. And he knows it.

So when I left this morning, we basically summed up our conversation like this:

"I don't know. I still think you're being taken advantage of."

"Maybe I am, but I volunteered for it."

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Big Kids

Em started 2nd grade today. SECOND. You know, like not even close to being the youngest and littlest kid in school any more. Like, a grade where California requires standardized testing. Like, her classroom has its desks in ROWS rather than cute little we're-really-only-playing-at-being-in-school groupings like in kindy and 1st.

She got the teacher she wanted, and two of her best friends are in her class, plus a girl she's only previously known through the aftercare program, and who she really likes. She got right in line this morning, and the teacher came and basically dismissed all of us picture-taking, anxious parents and told us, in nicer terms than I'm about to use, to get our asses out of there, because we sure as shit weren't getting to go into the classroom with the kids. Who, to be honest, didn't need us to follow them in anyway because, you know, they're big now. Second graders. Very, very grown up school kids who don't cry on the first day like they did in kindergarten. Unlike their moms. Sob.

But really, I'm here to talk about N, who's made these totally astounding (to me) leaps in the past few weeks. N, who at 3.5 is now writing his name--and three out of the four letters are totally recognizable! N, who is now playing Candyland with actual rules, and following the actual trail, and stuff like that. (He cheats, of course, but what self-respecting 3.5-year0old doesn't?) N, who yesterday stood several feet away from me with a plastic bat in his hands, and swung at a ball I pitched at him and not only connected, freaking me out, but hit that sucker way the heck over my head. And then proceded to do it several more times. Did I mention he's 3.5? Ha! Tee-ball be damned, I'm sending this kid straight to training camp. Of course, there's that little problem of his being 3.5. And the other literally little problem of his predicted full adult height being around 5'3", if we're lucky and he grows to his full potential. Sigh. Damn those ever-pervasive short genes. I'd'a had me a baseball prodigy who could buy me houses and cars and keep me in the style to which I'd like to become accustomed, if not for them.

But that's not all. He's also taken a number of very significant steps toward the ultimate in Big Kid-dom: He's potty training. In fact, yesterday he wore underpants to school for the first time ever (though he had to be changed into Pull-Ups after nap time because he'd had a few accidents), and over the weekend, he was in undies the whole time. Plus, today, for the first time ever as well, he demanded underpants when given a choice of undies or Pull-Ups to go to Em's soccer practice. When he made that momentous choice, Baroy and I looked at each other with wide eyes, as it hit us both: We're just moments away from not having a child in diapers...for the first time in SEVEN YEARS. (Yes, my children are slow potty trainers. Do the math. If N trains in the next month or so, he'll have beaten his sister's record by a full two months.)

Another Big Kid Breakthrough these days is clarity of speech. My mom recently commented that she can almost understand everything he says to her on the phone, even if she has no idea what it means. My sister and stepfather said similar things. And I've noticed that not only is he easier to understand, but his comprehension is soooooooo much better. He's starting to understand concepts of time and sequence, and to even deal with some semblance of abstract thought. The other night, he asked me to tell him the story of "when N borned" which I had told the night before when two of Em's best friends came for a sleepover. He laid there and just grinned with that sort of "she's telling a story about ME" pride that he's just never had before. He'd never shown any curiosity about himself as a baby. Now he wants me to tell N stories all the time.

And to wrap up this child-centric post (which is hopefully banal and level enough to show that I am leveling out a little myself), just a cute little conversation between N and I this afternoon. (We kept him home from preschool today so that he could walk Em to her first day and because he's kinda sniffly...not that that's unusual. Preschool, after all.)

Me: Hey, N, you must be hungry. Would you like some lunch?
N, looking up from his Maisy viewing/idolizing: Um...sure. That would make me very happy if you do dat, Mommy.
Me, amused: Well, then I will. Do you know what I want?
N, looks up again: Um...yeah. Macawoni and cheese. Because that's my very favorite.

Hee! Check that out, folks. Vocabulary. Responsiveness. More than a one-word answer. Absolute cuteness. That's my boy. My Big Boy.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004


It couldn't have been more than an hour or so after I posted my rant about Dubya that I got an email from Deb. "I'm worried about you," it said. The next day, within what seemed like seconds of my homeschooling rant, my phone rang. It was Susanna. "Dude," she said. "What's going on with you? You're miserable!" Ambre waited until we got together on Sunday to take me aside and give me a thorough psychological once-over--but that was only because she and Susanna had already discussed their concerns over AIM, and she knew I was covered.

Absolutely coincidentally, one of my very best girlfriends from college emailed me on Thursday, with an update on her life. And one of my very best girlfriends from my BigScience Magazine job, who I had seen for the first time in years when I was in New York, sent me an email that same day with just a couple of sweet lines about how very much she misses having me in her life. (The feeling is mutual.) And then, to top it all off, my xBFF from the job I have now (who is an ex because she left this job earlier this year to be home with her kids) called on Friday because we hadn't spoken in a while, and we had a great talk and managed to get mostly all caught up.

That's not even to mention the booze my friend Bambi sent me a few weeks ago, in an attempt to literally lift my spirits...with spirits.

Clearly, my girlfriends have got my back, whether they know it or not. And if concern and support and love were enough to right my skewed neurotransmitters, I'd be one of the mentally healthiest women on the planet right now. In any case, I'm one of the most touched and grateful.

Wah! I love you guys!

Friday, September 03, 2004

School is Where the Mind Is

It's back-to-school time, and you know what that means, right? It means the homeschoolers are out in full force, looking down at the rest of us with undisguised disdain, then feigning indignation when we call them on it.

[Why, yes, I have decided that I'm in the mood to systematically piss off every single person I know both on and off line. Why do you ask?]

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm going to say this loud and clear: I think homeschooling is an awesome thing. I am literally consumed with respect--and not just a little bit of envy--for people who do it, especially those who do it well. I have almost zero issues with homeschooling, either in concept or in practice, for people who think it works best for them. Do you hear me? I heart homeschoolers.


If I read one more steaming pile of self-righteousness wrapped up in a ribbon of finger pointing, judgement and holier-than-thouness, my head is going to explode. (No, I'm not going to link. This isn't about one person. It's about many.)

Why is it that so many parents feel the need to completely trash whatever institution or thought process they're reconsidering? Why do they have to obliterate the trend they're bucking, or try to hold back the tide they're swimming against? It's crazy-making (assuming there was any crazy left in me to make).

Clearly, you've made a careful and reasoned choice, you homeschooler, you. Clearly, you think that you can provide educational opportunities for your child that a public school can't. What I don't get is why that isn't enough. What I don't get is why you feel your accommodations are ones that any right-minded person would make. What I don't get is why you feel that it's OK and even necessary to talk about schools as if every child in them is being damaged. What I don't get is why I'm not supposed to be offended by your comments about children being warehoused, institutionalized, systematically brainwashed, forced to the lowest common denominator. Especially since I've chosen--yes, chosen--public school for my kids. With my eyes wide open. With my (intelligent, loving, fully aware) mind wide open.

Let me tell you straight out. You offend me. You offend me when you say that kids in school are being made into rule-abiding automatons. You offend me when you talk about how no child's mind can flower in a classroom's oppressive atmosphere. You offend me when you say that only an average child can reap any slight benefit from what you see as institutionalized learning.

You may not care--heck, it might even be your intention--but you offend me deeply. Mostly, because it's simply not universally true.

My children are incredible. My daughter loves to be taught, both at home and in school. I love the fresh perspective brought by her teachers. I adore seeing which way she's going to grow next, as she's exposed to things I would normally shy away from. I expect to feel the same way about my son, when he enters school.

Are there negatives? You betcha. Nothing's perfect. I struggle with time constraints and social issues and the occasional academic shortcoming. But none of these is overwhelming. School isn't a vacuum. I don't think she's getting enough depth in science? I add that to our home life. I'd like to see her reading more advanced books? I go to our never-ending bookshelves and pluck something off them to add to the stack of books next to her bed. I'm not completely abdicating responsibility for my child's education by sending her off to school each day. I'm part of the PTA; I volunteer in the classroom; I follow through at home; I play with my children and teach them and discipline them and parent them. I am no more or no less a parent than you.

Why should you care what I think? Well, you probably shouldn't; you probably don't. But keep in mind, I'm on your side. I'm a parent who loves her children and wants to see them get the best that I, in my own particular life situation, can provide for them. And I see that you're trying to do the same. So if I'm ever in the position--be it in a voting booth or through my writing or through some as-yet-undisclosed avenue--to help make homeschooling easier for you, I'm going to do it. Why, then, are you trying to undermine me? Why, then, do you so clearly want to knock down my schools, knock down everything I believe in as deeply as you believe in homeschooling? I trust that you're making the best decisions possible for your children, but I don't trust you to make the best decisions for my kids. I fear you'll step into a voting booth (or write an article, or advocate in public) and work to destroy what I think my children benefit from dearly. I respect you, I support you, but I fear you. I want your respect, but what I'm met with is scorn. I want your support, but what I'm met with is resistance.

My kids are not automatons, and I'm not a mindless drone. We have much in common, you and I. Our main difference is that I think you're strong and impressive, and you think I'm mindless and uncaring. And that...that is starting to make me think a whole lot less of you.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

How Dubya is Making Me Depressed

I've been wandering around lately, bitching and moaning and woe-is-meing about how I just don't understand where all this anxiety is coming from...and the depression. Oy, the depression. If you ask me, I'll tell you that I reallllly don't understand where the depression is coming from; I've only been mildly depressed before, and only a few bried times in my life. It's my neurotransmitters, I'll tell you. They're just fucked up. I have nothing to be depressed about. It's just those doggone chemicals in my brain playing some kind of game of hide-and-go-seek.

When I tell you that, I'll be lying through my teeth, of course. And I start to realize it more and more each day, as the torpor that seems to have enveloped me grows more and more...is there such a word as torporous? Stuporous? Whatever. You get my drift. I'm sluggish and slow and lethargic, and so apathetic that while I have the occasional vague thought about bursting into tears, the truth is that I simply can't be bothered. And I know that there are reasons for this. In fact, I can even tell you what the reasons are. What I can't tell you is why they're suddenly bothering me now, weighing me down now, making me torporous and stuporous and unable to pick up a thesaurus to come up with real words to describe how I feel now.

There are, basically, two such reasons: work and Dubya.

There's nothing new about the work thing. I don't want to be a working mom any more. Period. I'm done with being the bread winner. I want to be supported, coddled. I want to be able to make choices about what I do with my day that are not based on keeping us with a roof over our head and food on the table. I want the pressure off of me. I want to be taken care of. I want to be able to play with someone else's money, and not have more than nine out of every ten dollars I spend be one I earned. I want to do what I want to do. And so I'm acting like a big, spoiled brat, simply because that's not the way my life is. Yeah, I know. Poor me. You're no doubt crying me a river, right? I'm telling you, half the reason I don't like to 'fess up to this being one of the primary causes of my current apathy is because I think it's ridiculous to feel this way, and if the roles were reversed and it was Baroy saying this, I'd basically be telling him to suck it up and deal, because there are worse things in this world than having to work for a living. And I know it. And yet, how many entries does this make now where I whine about how I hate my lot in life?

And then there's Dubya. I can't really say that Dubya's depressing me, because he's not. He's terrifying me--or at least the people around him are. What's depressing me is that it seems like so many people don't see it, it being the threat that I believe he represents to all of us. When I think about Dubya and his team getting into office again, this time without the need to modulate themselves in order to be reelected, I get the same feeling of panic and fear for myself and my family that I get when I think about Stalker Girl. But mixed in with the panic and fear is sadness. I feel unutterably sad--like tears-in-my-eyes sad--every time I think about the fact that there are people out there, close to 50 percent of the population, more or less, who don't see the looming threat that I see. Or worse--much, much worse--don't care about anybody except themselves. People who don't care that this regime wants to legislate and codify discrimination against people based on sexual preference because they're not gay, so it doesn't hurt them. People who don't care that this regime wants to bring together church and state because it's their church and their beliefs being pushed forward, so it's not going to hurt them. People who don't seem to care about the lies and the cover ups and the flat-out propaganda, because they're lies they want to believe.

It depresses me that there are people who actually believe these politicians when they say that our economy is getting better and our schools are getting better. People who actually think that our civil liberties are a small price to pay for a sense of security, even if it turns out to be a false one.

I know I'm not the only one so paranoid that I think something truly dire will happen if these power-hungry old white men get four more years. I know I'm not. But sometimes it sure feels that way. I'm scared. I'm so scared of what might happen, what can happen, what history has shown possible, that I literally can't stand to watch what's going on any more. News about Bushian politics has now joined news about child abuse and the like in my list of la-la-la-I-can't-hear-you-I-don't-want-to-know-because-it's-too-painful-and-horrible-to-contemplate topics. It makes me literally and physically anxious. I'd say that I'm worried about who's next in the panoply of people no longer considered to have rights equal to the 'rest of us,' but that would be assuming that I'm not heartsick, not just plain sick, at the list as it stands right now.

So that's where I stand. There are two things that are making me depressed and anxious, and they permeate pretty much every single aspect of my life. Not to mention that they continue to force me to think about myself and my freaking moods and my state of mind and lack of mental health on a minute-by-minute basis, and I AM SO FRIGGIN TIRED OF BEING INSIDE MY OWN HEAD THAT I CAN'T EVEN BEGIN TO TELL YOU. I'm bored and anxious, depressed and paranoid, apathetic and terrified. Whee! Party at my house! I'll bring the Weight Watchers Core-friendly bean salad, if you'll bring the antidepressants and anxiolytics. How about it?

More Mail From the Past

My grandmother--who, yes, i do indeed remember--was a huge part of my life, loving and nurturing and bragging on me all the time. So it's not a slam, but rather a simple fact, when I say she was one of the World's Most Negative People.

Which is why I started laughing out loud when I picked up the card (which had a check inside) that she sent to me in Scotland that year for Hanukkah. Here is the message she included, in its entirety:

Hi Hon.

This is your Hanukkah and birthday gift. I didn't want to make out another draft. It's really a pain.

Love you a lot, Grandma

Yeah, I know. It's hard to believe I would say she was negative, right?

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