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May 2011
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July 2011

Wednesday Mini-Rants!

This really should have been Monday mini-rants (because alliteration makes everything better) but I've been having the type of headaches where it feels like someone has stuck hot lancets right above my eyes so sue me if I'm a couple of days late.  Now if only they would come up with a chocolate lancet cure-all. 

Chance has really gotten into Pokemon lately. Smiling, big-eyed children capturing innocent, even bigger-eyed animals and forcing them into the fighting ring.  When they're not fighting they're pressed into tiny balls to live out their cramped little lives.  It's so wholesome I could choke. 

I don't know what's going on with literacy in America but it seems the haiku has been co-opted by popular culture.  I think it started because someone somewhere in education decided that the haiku was all the poetry American children could grasp.  Regardless of how or why, the haiku is now cropping up all over the place and I am offended, damn you!  OFFENDED!  I wouldn't BE so offended if any of these little gleanings were done well or seriously - a haiku, written properly, can be quite lovely - but they aren't, people, they ARE NOT!  The latest perversion?  Fucking Target coupons written as haikus.

( * _ * )

Yeah. They're calling them haiku-pons!  (*Head exploding*)  But I've discovered that the addition of just three little words to each haiku makes them bearable.  Or at least amuses me to no end.  Ahem... "Sandwich needs loving / slice of swiss should do the trick / give thanks to the cows... on my ass."  Do you see?  Improvement!  Let's do another.  "Date night has arrived / cheeks want a colorful boost / I can see you blush... on my ass."  Ooh, naughty!  Or, "A soft, cushy roll / is a cozy, happy joy / sweet squares of heaven... on my ass."  Now that's just truth in advertising.

                 - the weirdgirl

Have pain?  Choco-Rod can help*!  Just shove a Choco-Rod at the source of your discomfort and you'll feel instantly better!  

Choco rod

*May be laced with opiates. Not guaranteed to work on those annoying you.


And the parenting award goes to...

We're at Starbucks and Chance is asking questions about his babyhood.  (He gets very nostalgic over a blended strawberry lemonade.)  I've run through all the usual stories - his first teeth, diaper-changing pee mishaps, vomit disasters - and I'm running out of material.  Yet he keeps on asking.

"Tell me another story about when I was a baby, Mom."

"I've told you all the stories."

"No, another one!"

*sigh*

"Come on, Mom, tell me."

"Ummmmmm... well... there was that time that purple alien showed up and wanted to trade you for shoes. You remember that, right?"

"What? No."

"You don't remember that?"

"NO!"

"Oh well, this alien wanted to trade you for shoes and he kept asking and asking but I said 'No'.  Those shoes were really ugly."

"I don't remember that."

"Huh. I could swear you would remember that because you kept looking at me and shaking your head and saying, 'No Mommy, no Mommy'."

"What color was he?"

"Purple."

"How many eyes did he have?"

"Three."

"How tall was he?"

"I don't know exact inches but he was well over 7 feet tall. I mean, he was huge!"

"What else happened?  Tell me another story!"

"Umm... oh, there was that time on the boat when this giant octopus reached up and grabbed you and snatched you right off the boat. I had to wrestle you away from him. It was like one of your first boat trips."

"You had to what?"

"I had to wrestle you out of the grip of an octopus."

"With the beak?! Did he bite me?!"

"No, no, he hadn't gotten you to his mouth yet.  Just, you know, those big suckers on his tentacles were all stuck to you."

"Was this on the Pacific? Because that's where you find giant octopuses."

"Yes, it was!"

He chewed on that for a while and I got to sip my chai latte for a whole minute before...

"Tell me another story when I was a baby."

"I think I'm all out of stories, kiddo.  Oh wait, do you remember when Superman came to visit?  He was going to teach you how to fly.  But you hadn't even started walking yet so I didn't think that was a very good idea."

"Moo-oom! Superman isn't even real."  (This is where he questions me.)

"Yes, he is. He's coming back when you're twelve to teach you to fly."

"Mom!  Ugh. I don't want to learn how to fly anyway."

"What?!  Who doesn't want to learn how to fly?  That would be awesome!  You could swoop down... hey, can I have your lesson if you don't want it?"

At this point a lady at the next table (close but probably not close enough to actually hear us) leaned over to me and said, "You know, I teach a class on parenting for social services and I wish I could video tape you two. I've been watching how you interact with your son and this is exactly what we talk about in our classes, spending quality time with your child!"

"Uh..." I'm sure my face went beet red, "You didn't hear the story about the octopus, did you?" 

                   - the weirdgirl


Do if you're damned, damned if you don't

This was an interesting article I ran across today.  My reactions were mixed and immediate. Simultaneously I thought, "Ha! I knew it!" and "Crap, am I doing that?"  (But I pretty much feel twinges of guilt whenever I read ANY article on parenting.)  I don't think this is terribly new news.  We all know competi-parents out there; parents who can't stand to see their kids fail or want them to always feel confident, successful, and secure.  At Chance's science fair there were entries that were obviously made by parents.  (Which was a trap I was terrified I'd do myself. I mean, how much "help" is too much?)  And while I was happy for Chance that he won first place, part of me thought, "Shit! Now he's going to expect to win every year!"

There's nothing wrong with wanting the best for your kids but there should be balance.  A little suffering builds character.  Wow, that sounds wrong.  How about, a little failure never hurt anyone?  Of course, I was irked to see that that article did not give any helpful hints about which nurturing NOT to do.  Ugh, that sounds wrong, too.  My head and my ovaries are totally bitch slapping each other right now.  I don't think I'm giving my child "too much" but at the same time he's got a lot more than I had when I was a kid.  You know the irony is that I often feel guilty AND like I'm doing a good job at the same time! Or at least a the-best-I-can-sometimes-failing-but-mostly-OK-I-think job.

Let's face it, we're all screwed up.  I blame psychology.  (Freud, you bastard, you landed me in therapy.)

Question: since so many of us waited later in life to have kids I wonder if we're projecting our mid-life crises on them? Does that mean if I over-parent Chance into being super successful he'll buy me a convertible?!

Score.     


Summer, it turns me upside down

There is nothing like sunshine to make you feel better.  Summer vacation started off with rain and quite a few emotional meltdowns. The kid's, not mine. (Although, I am sure there are moms out there already pulling their hair out.)  The transition from school to free time was harder on him than I expected, no matter how much he was looking forward to it.  I think some kids, just like some adults, flounder around a bit trying to figure out what to do with themselves when they have free time.  (I'm so jealous of that.)  And I swear there is/was a bit of panic about, "Who am I going to play with all summer?!" Aagh!

But I think that's all settling out now.  I firmly believe in lazy summer days.  (Not that I get much of those, but you know what I mean.)  I think it's important for kids to be able to chill out and get used to not being scheduled all the time.  It builds patience.  And wistful, happy memories for their future selves to dream about when they're stuck in jobs that suck.  The other super important skill I think all kids should have?  Grasping the concept that even though their friend isn't home right now, they'll probably be home later and you can play with them then.  Oh, wait, that's patience again, isn't it?  Whatever.  Drift through the day with grace, buddy, drift through the day.

(We're woking on self-sufficiency skills this summer.)    

Anyway, the sun is out now.  Apple-juice popsicles for everyone!


The Myth of the Remote Cabin

Recently I was talking with a musician friend about artist communities.  The conversation came up because he was telling me about how he occassionally feels sabotage efforts coming from other artists; whether they are intentional or not is hard to tell.  Not all the time but just the occassional negative act that changes the dynamic of what you want or expect in a community of your creative peers.  And I retold some experiences I've had with writers/artists becoming very competitive, if you can find a writing community in the first place.  Which has always been my frustration, finding a group of writers to regularly share critique with.  Then another friend, a true graphic artist, mentioned how she looked to other artists to learn from but sometimes they were loathe to share their knowledge.  Despite these negative experiences, I still strongly believe in and support communities of artists.  In fact, even our very bitching, across different genres, constitutes an artist community.  We get to vent, we get to share ideas, and we get support.  

That brought me, in a roundabout way, to the myth of the remote cabin.  You know, it's the idea for writers that you should go off into the woods so you can "work without distractions"?  (It's very popular in movies, usually to the benefit of some deranged killer or other.)  And while it is a really tempting proposition - who wouldn't want to get away from the every day items that piss you off, take up time, drag you down, and generally distract you from creating? - in reality I don't think it works.  I think it's a great idea, but I've found when I'm alone too much my creative inspiration starts to dry up.  I start to feel stifled instead of liberated, and trapped by expectation, and god forbid you get writer's block when you're by yourself.  I get so many ideas and incentive from talking with/reading/listening to other creative people I can't imagine working in a bubble of isolation. And I constantly crave feedback and critique; I think it helps me grow.  Maybe this is just the way I personally work.  Even though sometimes I do long for isolation... it sounds wonderful!  Getting to write first thing in the morning instead of fixing breakfast for a kid with pink eye and cleaning up cat puke (insert your personal pain in the ass routines here), why wouldn't that sound great?  But then there are those other times when I am so inspired and encouraged by interacting with others (even remotely through books or viewing art) that I decide to stay in the ring of shared community - even if the distractions dramatically cut down my time to write. 

So that made me wonder, since all bloggers are essentially writers, who may be creating other art as well, and they are part of blogging communities, what are your preferences?  Communities or cabins?  What makes you feel the most inspired and/or the most likely to finish your projects? 

And I guess an even more relevant question when it comes to blogging... does sitting in front of a computer make you feel more or less isolated?  Could the Internet be a log cabin?

                     - wg


Blank slate

Wrote this... oh, a couple of years ago now, but this feeling still creeps up on me.           - wg

 

We are seers in the midst…

this age of prophesized age obsolescence,

as our slouching fingers chirp and twitter,

pecking out soul songs endlessly.

While Tiresias, with his digitalized eyes,

Shouts across the ages,

“You all think you’re the beast and Bethlehem rolled into one.”

 

But these coded strings of mutability transfix us,

We rough puppeteers,

Click, clicking, through the remote glow,

Validation… it is so close now.

A representative stumbles forth, defiant,

orgasms twice upon the screen and collapses.

We stretch our arms out for the apocryphal babe.