Next year on this day, we’ll have a seven month old baby. I can’t quite wrap my head around that, or the fact that the movie Ghostbusters came out 28 years ago. (Once in a Lifetime by Talking Heads. Am I right?)
Over the weekend we carved the pumpkins we retrieved from the pumpkin patch to resemble gruesome heads that will soften and rot away on our porch, as you do, and we allowed Julia to cut her own all by herself. WITH A KNIFE. ALL BY HERSELF.
(Hers is the second from the left.)(And yes, that IS dust all over my piano!)
So, there’s no need for scary movies this season. I’ve had my fill of fright.
Later, we will eat brain cupcakes and watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!Tomorrow (or this weekend, if I’m feeling lazy) This weekend, we will put up our Thankful Tree.
Julia wanted to be a vampiress for Halloween, which is a pretty easy costume to improvise. All you need is some form of black dress, a pale face and fangs. Maybe some fake blood, if you’re into gore. (She wasn’t.) We pulled her costume together and were all good to go score some candy until we found that the various plastic and rubber fangs we had were uncomfortable to wear and, more importantly, made it so Julia couldn’t talk and she refused to wear them trick or treating. Instead, I drew some fangs with her make up.
Julia came home from school yesterday and asked me to make some Halloween treats. “The Fall party is tomorrow and I said you’d make some.”
“The Fall party is TOMORROW?”
I’d had an experience earlier this week that left me feeling so completely low and useless and unworthy of living that I’ve been pretty much curled up in a ball for two days. (Maybe I’ll tell you about it sometime.) (Maybe not.) But this made me sit up.
I called her teacher and indeed, it was true. And yes, I could supply treats and also cups.
I hung up the phone and stood at the counter tapping my pencil on a pad and looking serious.
“It’s short notice, huh?” Dave asked cautiously. He’s been so worried about me.
I continued to look serious.
“Are you mad?”
“Mad? Are you kidding? I just saw my Bat Signal, dude. I’m getting to work!”
I actually LOVE party-doing, treat-making stuff, even at the last minute. My only concern was that I didn’t have enough time to come up with 1) something mind-blowingly awesome the likes of which the third grade Fall party has never seen before and/or 2) something so labor intensive and elaborate that, even if it’s been done before, there could be no denying it’s (and by virtue, my) awesomeness.
Yesterday we made our annual trip to the pumpkin patch with our good friends (who live in this blog). We enjoyed the usual pumpkin patch merriment:
And minus one epic meltdown on behalf of Bee…
(In her defense, she’d just had her face stepped on in the corn box. Here she is pre-face sqashing:
(Notice the fat lower lip, complete with bloody wounds. Also the toe prints on her right cheek.) Poor kid.)
…much fun was had.
Just as the place was getting ready to close, we decided to squeeze in one more activity and cashed in our tickets for potatoes to see how far we could launch them in The Spud Slinger (picture circa 2010). Lucy and I went first and slung a spud a little over 50 feet! Dave and Julia went next. Now, Dave is extraordinarily competitive and wanted to be sure he beat our 50 foot slingshot by a lot, so he pulled the slinger back, back, way back until he was almost sitting on the ground. “I’m really gonna launch this thing,” he said with a wink and let go. The leather pocket propelled the potato forward as the rubber tubing stretched, wobbled for a few seconds, and snapped back, nailing Dave right between the legs with force so great it CUT HIS BLUE JEANS!
And gave him a potato-sized souvenir (if you know what I mean).
Lucy had school today, but Julia didn’t. Dave had plans with Phoebe, so Julia and I spent the morning together, just the two of us. Now, I make sure Julia and I get some “just us” time each week, but it’s usually packed full of things we need to get done and the clock is ticking the entire time. Not today. Today we took Lucy to school and had three lovely hours to “waste” until we picked her back up.
So often, I have that feeling of panic that Julia is growing up so fast, that I’m losing my little girl. She’s so mature compared to her sisters and I find myself expecting so much from her sometimes. But today, it was just us and I was “Mommy,” not “Mom.” And when I asked her what she wanted to do, it was climb and play and run and explore rather than window shop or get her hair done. She couldn’t care less about getting grass stains on her knees or dirt on her butt. She called out for me to, “Watch this, Mommy!” and was full of questions and observations and crazy ideas. She was playful and innocent, and still so very little.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I was pretty excited to review the BlogHer Book Club’s latest pick Diary of a Submissive: A Modern True Tale of Sexual Awakening. I enjoy sex. And sometimes, I like to read about sex. (If you don’t, you probably wouldn’t like this book. And if kinky sex isn’t your thing? You really wouldn’t like this book.) This book seemed especially provocative to me and not because the publisher was calling it “The “real” Fifty Shades of Grey.” (I haven’t read that book. I probably won’t.) It was the “true life erotic story of female submission to rival The Story of O” claim that got me. I loved The Story of O. I read it in my late teens/early twenties and it made a lasting impression. But The Story of O is a filthy little BDSM fairy tale – a fantasy. This book? True, supposedly. Real life. And I wanted to read about that. Having a fantasy or a desire isn’t necessarily the same as having it realized, so I was intrigued.
Diary of a Submissive didn’t disappoint me. The story of feminist-by-day/submissive-by-night Sophie Morgan (a pseudonym, for obvious reasons) was totally believable. Even though her life in England is far from my own, it felt honest. Also shocking and GRAPHIC. It was like a book-long letter to Penthouse in terms of explicitness (and depth of the characters beyond Sophie’s, though I guess most “diaries” are, by definition, about the author above all else). The writing was good and it captivated me (although I thought it started stronger than it ended). I felt a little uncomfortable and a whole lot dirty reading a few passages, but it offered a raw view of real Dominant/submissive relationships (which I’ve gathered are extremely time-consuming, by the way). And that’s exactly what I was expecting it to deliver. I’m especially excited to see what kind of conversation it’ll spark within the BlogHer community. I hope you’ll join me there for some stimulating discussion this month!
This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.
Of course, we didn’t give away all seventeen of those kittens. The truth is, few people give a rat’s ass about cats. We had more people offer to come and shoot them for us than we had offers to adopt them. Only some of the cats were adoptable, anyway. Some of them were pretty feral. Instead, we got them fixed and cared for them ourselves.
By 2009, we had fixed nearly thirty cats (give or take a few, courtesy of the drop-offs we’d gotten, the handful of adoptions we organized, and the cats we couldn’t catch right away). Thirty cats. And you know how hard it is to catch them (and to pay for them).
Now, three years and a whole lot more spay/neuter surgeries later, I can finally, for the first time, tell you that all of our cats – and by that, I mean every feline that shows up at dinnertime to eat at our house – is fixed. Some of them, we’ve fixed and never seen again. Others, like that very first wild cat we couldn’t catch right away, are still hanging around, lounging on our porch and enjoying the comforts of our garage.
To some people, that makes us crazy idiots; to others, heroes. To me? It makes me able to sleep at night. Tonight, I will sleep better than I have in more than four years.
Remember that childhood taunt? There were a number of versions of the second half. When he does the Irish jig, he resembles Porky Pig! Or when David comes out to play, all the children run away! Regardless of how it ended, the start was always the same:
David is a friend of mine. He resembles Frankenstein.
I don’t know how much Dave heard that growing up, but he’s embraced the idea in adulthood. He’ll tell you that Frankenstein is his hero. Who would he choose to play him in a movie? Boris Karloff, of course! Or maybe Peter Boyle. (If either of them were still alive.) He’s got the mooooooooves like The Monster. But why?
Dave has a rare disease called Myotonia Congenita (made famous by fainting goats and kittens) and he, quite literally at times, resembles Frankenstein.
The disease is complicated, but the following video offers a pretty good explanation. Anyone who knows Dave personally – even those who aren’t aware of his condition (because most people aren’t) – will recognize some of the signs they’d never noticed before when they see the way the videographer Jim resembles Dave.
Dave is an active guy. His Myotonia Congenita doesn’t stop him from doing things. He roughhouses with our girls, runs 5Ks and plays softball pretty much every season of the year. His disease usually goes unnoticed because he is vigilant about warming up, which is amazing when you think about it. He’s always thinking ahead, planning out his movement and activities, though you’d never know it. It’s just become part of who he is and what he does. When he’s playing sports, he’s always in motion. You won’t ever see him sit in the dugout during a softball game. He’s on his feet, moving.
In all the years we’ve been together, I haven’t heard him complain about his disease or blame it for anything. I’ve seen him deal with the side effects – the physical pain that comes from it, the giggles his funny movements and stumbles elicit – quietly and with humor. He rarely mentions his condition. (In fact, most people who know about it, heard it from me.) No one on his softball team knows about it. He’s the oldest of the group by a decade, so they attribute his stiffness and constant warming up to him being a quirky old guy. The truth is, he’s a pretty talented athlete – what his disease takes away, he makes up for with heart. He’s not afraid to dive or slide or look silly making a play. He’s there to play, and he goes for it every inning, because he loves the game. And because he’s never quite sure if it will be his last.
Yesterday, at the final game of the fall softball season (at his beloved Firestone stadium) he froze up and fell to the ground – just like Jim in the video – on the way to first base. That was the first time I ever saw that happen. After hiding it half his life, I really saw what his disease can do to him. He clawed his way to the base, and after about thirty agonizing seconds, got up and brushed off his clothes and the whole ordeal with a joke. The team clapped and cheered. Julia shook her head and laughed, “Classic.” And Dave went on to play a great game.
At home, when I mentioned what happened, he made a few jokes and said, “I’m just thankful I get to play. You know, I couldn’t play on an ultra-competitive team that’s all about winning. They wouldn’t tolerate that kind of stuff. I’ve got a great team.” No complaints. No excuses. And when I saw him, tight-lipped and holding his breath, the way he does when he’s in pain, still he said nothing, except, “I’m sorry I’m such a pansy,” when he saw me staring.
Now, when Dave reads this, he’ll shake his head and tell me I’m dramatizing it. He’ll tell me there are a lot of people out there who endure a hell of a lot more. I know that’s true. But this morning, the girls asked their Daddy to give them a train ride to breakfast and with tight lips, held breath and muffled grunts, he did. That’s worth noting, I think. Regardless of what anyone else is dealing with, I see what he is dealing with. I admire him for the way he does it.
Dave has long felt that his condition is embarrassing. Maybe it is, I don’t know. What I do know is the way he handles it is inspiring. Though he makes it a joke, Dave admits that “no one really wants to be Frankenstein. I’m Frankenstein.” But I’m proud to be his bride.