she's back!

All I can say is Rio is going to give herself a hernia if she dances around much more for 'Tia Pia'! Pia is my sister's middle name although, in true Rio form, the wee one does occasionally refer to her as 'Valencia.'

Yesterday she wanted to put her tap shoes on to show off her mad moves. She didn't fall down but she was close. A thousand times. But! She was giving Gregory Hines a run for his money. I miss that guy. Loved it when he was Grace's love interest on Will & Grace ...

So, yeah. I got nothing. But I can see and I'm so happy she's here. I'm full court pressing her to stay on the east coast :) I can be persuasive and I know where she stuck her return ticket ...

uh oh

... another ocular migraine. This is the third in two months. Anyone else nervous? Unless they're caused by impending psychic powers, me no likey ...

all sorts of news

:: bad ::
I was on hold, on and off, for nearly an hour yesterday with our insurance company.

:: good ::
Our sitter was here so I didn't have to make Sculpy creatures while arguing with 4 people who all gave me conflicting information.

:: bad ::
The insurance plan, which is administered out of Georgia, has found a way to pay for a certain service - EMDR - but only when provided by a certain type of doctor - MD. Coincidentally, that type of doctor doesn't do that type of service.

:: good ::
I found a provider, not an MD, who does EMDR really well.

:: bad ::
We have zero coverage for it AND I really need it AND it really helps.

:: good ::
The certified EMDR specialist takes cash.

:: bad ::
A lot of cash.

:: best ::
I had a pretty grueling session yesterday. I felt like Sculpy personified all afternoon yesterday. Before going to bed last night, I worked on a specific relaxation technique and was pleasantly surprised to NOT have my usual going to bed feeling which is someone holds a gun to my head and says, 'Nighty night! Pleasant dreams!' and then the gun holder turns into 30 monsters over the course of the night.


Last night I slept well. And I woke up in a good mood. Make that great mood. See you later!

wild hair

One of the many, many lovely sayings my mother used, often, when we were growing up was, "What's the matter with [him/her/you/that cop/that crying baby...]? Must have a wild hair across his/her/its ass!"

Yesterday, I guess I sort got one. A wild hair. I called all the salons and only one was open: UberCheapoCuts. For the first time in my life I put my name on a sign-in sheet and waited for whomever to be free to cut my hair. Off. I may be going crazy.

So, today I have a halo of hair that scared the shit out of my in my morning bathroom run. I did a doubletake, shook it out and decided, "Hey, it could have been worse."

I'm going to fix it in a couple places and then confess, with pictures, that apparently I'm sporting The Katie Holmes-Cruise hairdo.

Crap, I look like somebody's mother ...

out and about

Just another Saturday around Casa Crazy. Stern show playing in the background, waiting for the Monkey Princess to finish a much protested nap ... the Stern show discussion surrounds Richard Christy's status as homosexual or straight. Evidently, he said for 500 million dollars he'd suck a dick. Here's how that plays at our place ...

me: How 'bout you, Bear, would you suck a dick for 500 million dollars?

bear: (no hesitation) Hell ya, for 500 million. I'd swallow for that much! I'd do it for 200 million!

me: Really?

bear: Would I have to tell anyone about it? (I shake my head no) Then I'd do it for 100 million.

He doesn't have to tell anyone but I am not so, uh, tightlipped. Hahahahaha.

silly sphincter

The newest large part of my job is cleaning public restrooms.

Now, you don't know me, but those of you who *do* can attest to the point that I rarely, if EVER, in my pre-Rio life used public restrooms. Well, not for tinkling anyway ... but I digress. I loathe the whole concept of zillions of random humans going into the same space to void their interiors. It absolutely creeps me right the fuck out. *shivers*

Once again, my daughter is teaching me to embrace, literally, the unknown. I had the first inkling of impending disaster when we went to Florida in March. She was new at the training thing; interested in M&M's but not overly concerned with perfection. We were in JFK and I could clearly see that anyone who's job it was to pick up anything, anywhere in the airport, had been fired. The place was a disgusting pit. We're shlepping from one terminal to the another one across town* and I stop to get her a book to read in her stroller. She spies the M&M's and immediate starts to wail, "I HAVE TO GO TINKLE ON THE POTTY!" and I try to whisper, quite aware of how much of an asshole I would sound like if overheard, "You can tinkle in your dizzle. I'll give you a tinkle treat anyway," but she persisted with the hollering about tinkle and potty and right now pleeeeeeease so I was forced to capitulate.

I have her stand in the corner of the stall while I scrub the whole toilet and anything else she might come in contact with with wet wipes. And no gloves. I literally was wretching and scrubbing and the smells have not been forgotten and all manner of detritus that needed to be coaxed off with a barely protected fingernail - I'll be right back, I gotta hurl ...

Anyway, we always tinkle before we go out so that's under control. She's still a poop holdout cuz she doesn't like to go. ?? So she waits until the last possible second. Only problem? She's not sure exactly which second is the last second, so we have a lot of 'maybe' mania lately. She'll give me the hysterical, "I gotta poop the potty right now!" and I scrambled like a lunatic to clean a public stall without vomiting because she can't prepare herself for a goddamned trip to the grocery store.

So far today I've scrubbed a toilet in the following locals:

*BJ's: has the added bonus of the motion sensor that I have to disarm and cover before she sees it because they scare her to death. You can totally disarm the sensor by draping a wet wipe over it :)

*Old Navy: I just tell myself that all those skinny girls don't eat so they probably don't poop, either...

*Whole Foods Market: at this point I know it's a game cuz she really just wants to go in there to look at the baby changing table. She hollers until I wipe that down, too, and unfold it to show her and throw myself between her and random baby ass germs because she's convinced touching it will bring passage to Nirvana.

*Cold Stone Creamery: People, if you're fucking lactose intolerant STOP EATING MOTHERFUCKING ICE CREAM, WOULDYA? enough said.

In the toystore she gave me the look and I said, "Forget it. We're going home right now and I think you'll be okay. Let's go!" and we begin the mad dash home. Now I'm looking in the mirror at her pinched face and I start to feel wretched because that's how you always feel when you used to have a job where you bossed people around and had meetings and wore clean clothes and you leave all that behind to raise a child from scratch with no experience and you are actually losing weight burning so many calories with epic amounts of self doubt...


... we make it home. Our bathrooms are all clean. Truth? They sort of smell like a train station where hobos live because she likes to look when she tinkles so there is tinkle everywhere and if I don't clean the bathrooms every day, which believe it or not I don't always have time to, well, they no longer always smell like lavendar Mrs. Myers. Fucking shoot me. You try keeping this joint spotless and have all the ironing done and it takes half a day to go to three stores with all the "Can I ride the boat? Don't put money in it. I don't want it to go fast. Just catch me!" and all the scrubbing....


I get her on the potty. She is clearly in distress and still trying to squeak 4 more minutes of poop ownership out of today ... she tries to scoot of the potty and I say, "No way. You have to poop. We'll wait!" and she says, "No, I don't. I have to play marbles!" and as I'm guiding her ass back to the seat she poops on my leg a little bit.

Needless to say she's feeling better after, um, the successful and rather massive transfer of ownership. Me? Me, you ask? I'm still a little shocky that this is the high point/most exciting part of my day.


now i get it!

For the haters in the group, I will admit to having a pretty perfect kid. No real tantrums, and that handful at age two were weak, at best. We talk about things; there is rarely a need for a timeout; I believe my toddler to be a reasonable little person.

No longer.

I understand how you can want to slap your kid - after tossing the evil dwarf across the room and into her bed.

Last night she decided she'd sleep with us. We did the usual 'comfort Rio and discuss irrational fears and read her a story and everyone goes to sleep' routine. Except. Last night she decided she was having none of it.

"I sleep with you. I don't sleep in my bed." and that little gem was repeated 20 or so times. It was replaced, at midnight, by "I CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN'T SLEEEEEEEEP IN MYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED"!!!!! at the very top of her lungs for just over an hour. Thoughtfully, she repeatedly brought the insane monkey show to the foot of our bed in the unlikely event we couldn't hear her histrionics.

I calmly took her back to bed about 30 times. I calmly picked her up off the floor and managed to get that elastic-arms-straight-over-head wormlike body up and into her bed again and again. I calmly blocked the fade left/shoot right move she used to try to get by me to the more malleable Bear. (She completely telegraphs, by the way, and always goes left fade/right run. Dumbass.) I calmly, and wisely, put one earplug in and put her over that shoulder so I'd be able to hear today. Bear and I snipped at one another because it's not okay to take things out on a child. I laughed at her absurd anger and cried at her frustration. But I held the line.


Parenting is hard. It is one thing to imagine your child pushing against the imaginary bubble of her world; desperately needing that bubble to remain solid so she can focus her energies on exploring the unknown - safe in the knowledge that her world is secure. It is quite another to stand in the face of that category 5 storm and hold that line for her.

I'm proud of myself today. I didn't give. All the shingles blew off but I kept the damaging rains away. I hear her now, just awakening, and she's singing.


If she pulls that shit again today, watch for her on Ebay.

push, pull, repeat

She's very into testing these days. It's exhausting but I keep trying to remember her job is to poke, push, pull, pinch, etc., and mine is to love, love, love, and understand. I feel like I'm 87 years old!

But! Occasionally she reaches outside the mommy torture arena. Half an hour after Bear left for work this morning she came to me, face twisted in angst.

Mommy, Daddy forgot to kiss me goodbye.

Bear, welcome aboard. I don't want you to feel like you're missing the fun.

further proof i'm insane

Horchow sends me emails. They know I'm insane, but they think I'm rich, too. Anyway, today they sent a missive inviting me to decorate by my horoscope.

Hell's Bells!

I do believe in:
*life after death
*ignorance being bliss
*haircolor that makes your hair soft
*huge government conspiracies
*random acts of kindness

I do not believe in:

So imagine my surprise when I discovered that, with the sole exception of that awful turquoise lamp which must be included as some sort of bizarre taste test, I loveloveLOVE every single recommendation!

Horchow, you get me. That is kinda scary.


Those of you who really get me, well, you know I'm trying to bury that last post with fluff. I've found, through extensive research, that fluff is not good burying material. Alas...


My best friend Marion knows me like no one else does. She can even see my face, read my expressions, dry my tears when my head is full-on buried in the sand. She's good like that. We are always talking books, books, more books. I'll hear an author on NPR and call her about it. She'll give me a bag of books when I visit - having faith I'll find the time to read. When I get in a great book, I steal time everywhere. Stop lights. Nap time. Book in lap under the table while everyone eats. I'm at my thieving best when engrossed.

A while ago she called and said, "You must go buy this book today. It can NOT wait. It's a mother-daughter tale that will give you hope." Then she called and asked if I'd gotten it yet three days in a row! I went to Barnes and Noble on day three because I need that hope.


My relationship with my mother is, um, ridiculously complicated. My childhood could fill 10 volumes but I can't/haven't/won't find the voice to write the stories. I struggle daily with trying to conduct a mother-daughter relationship while standing on a still smoking battlefield. She continues to litter the landscape with incendiary devices. With regularity I wander into long forgotten minefields. I'm getting an eye twitch just writing this ...

I was hoping to gain some insight with this Marion-must-read. Maybe the author found a way to deal with borderline personalities in a wonderful and creative way. Maybe the troublesome mother had an epiphany and she started, even at a late date, being a mother. Maybe the troubled daughter discovered a new brainwashing technique and found sleep at long last.

I made many suppositions from Marion telling me hope could be wrought from the pages of a book. I assumed it was written by a daughter. I assumed we shared problematic parenting. I assumed there was action to be had; closure to be found; resolution to finally patch the holes of the soul.

Come Back was so much more.


I gave the book to Bear and said, "This is me. I am the damaged girl. I am angry and wounded beyond the damage done to bones and organs. I am also the mother. Possessing knowledge of evil and powerless over it. Some days I fear every second I am awake. This book will help you understand the bad days."

He read it and it helps.


I started EMDR again. If I refuse to parent with fear at the wheel, I have to open the trunk where I stuff bad things. I have to take them out and examine and banish. I know why I have a hard pit in my stomach, I'm just afraid of it. I know the power is gone but like a spent nuclear blast, it still makes me sick. Makes my hair fall out. Makes me fear the light ... especially that crack of light in the deep of the night that invades the peaceful sleep of childhood.


I will stand and face my fears. I will leave things behind that I've carried for far too long. I will keep no secrets and I will allow the joy of motherhood to be mine.

Claire, thanks for stopping by. This has been stuck in my throat for a while now. I struggle with giving horror a name, a face, a story. Your bravery and honesty is an inspiration. Thank you.

the power of the train.

I have used Thomas the Train and his little crackhead train friends to bribe my daughter into using the potty all.the.time.

Thank you, Thomas. Thank you, Chinese people who painted them with lead paint. Thank you, random person who somehow knew talking trains would appeal to children. Thank you, said talking train series inventor, for naming the train town "Sodor" which makes me think of "sodomy" which makes me giggle.

She's really growing up. Happily, I'm resisting successfully.

so far this morning ...

heard over the monitor

rio: Mommmmy! Get in here and snuggle me! Bring Jacky Boo Boo Boo!


heard from the staircase

bear: C'mon Rio. We gotta go upstairs

rio: I can't! I'm stuck in Boston!

bear: Huh? What are you smoking?


ring ring

me: H'lo Valencia

v: *sleepy groaning noises

me: Why do you always call me the second you wake up to tell me how tired you are?

v: I thought you liked that. (laughs) No, I called to tell you to check Facebook. I have the funniest pictures from last night. There's a really good one of me and my friend (who's a girl) smooching.


She is so fortunate I can't figure out how to link to a Facebook picture :) She'll be here at the end of the month and I can't wait! Now we must get ready for Bear's work picnic. He has to wear long sleeves because no one knows about his tattoos. Ah, corporate America.

I swore I wouldn't think about Michael Vick ...

... but I can't help it.

With the pressure of raising a loving and kind human at the forefront of my mind, well, I'm busy. I read the paper once a week and I'm often way behind on 'Breaking Britney News' and the rest of the non-news that is covered to death.

So when the Vick story broke, it took me a few days to catch it. Here it is. I have to cruise through and try not to get the details of the horrifying claims or I'll never sleep again. I still can't get my mind around the fact that people can abuse animals; the scope of his alleged crimes numbs the mind and sickens the soul. With his cohorts turning on one another at a frenzied pace, and details details details satisfying our current 'if it bleeds it leads' media mentality, it is tough to shut out the images. I'm on a strictly TIVO diet. The flashes of dogs being carried out of the compound, and knowing their probable fate, has left me sore inside.

When Bear got up to take over Monkey Princess duty this morning I foolishly watched the news. I saw a handsome man in a gorgeous suit and then saw the name
"Michael Vick" appear on a banner beneath him. The story said he had until 9 this morning to agree to a guilty plea with federal prosecutors. So, from 6am until now I've been nervously checking the internet. Apparently no news source has been informed of his decision. My stomach still churns.

So, I'd like to offer Mr Vick my advice.

Michael Vick:

Don't take the deal! It could affect your NFL career. I gather your camp is very concerned about the Player Conduct rules. From what I've read you're concerned with your ability to play in the future. You're in such a gray area you should totally try to ride it out.

Don't take the deal! The offer is 1-2 years in a federal prison. They are very bad places. Some unfortunate person with nothing to hope for could try to harm you just to make a name. You could win at trail, right?

Don't take the deal! You'll probably be able to wait until the hullabaloo dies down and strike a much better deal, re-sign your endorsement contracts, start for the Falcons again with a multi-year multi-million dollar contract, and maybe even reignite your kennel business.

Okay, Michael Vick, you can stop reading now.

Everyone else - pray (or whatever you do. just do it hard) that his arrogance makes him refuse the deal. Pray that he gets a jury of *my* peers; people who save animals. Pray that karma is real. Pray that hell is real. Pray that he miraculously pops a conscience and it bothers him every second of every day for the rest of his wretched life. Pray there's an afterlife. Pray this follows him there. Pray the NFL has more than footballs and bans him for life. Pray that he is required to answer for each and every crime he committed.

Pray that the judge in his case loves a dog.

di di di di di di dilemma

I wonder - should I allow her to watch Barney? It seems incredibly inane to me, but all the kiddies groove on it. Last week in a restaurant a kid who could not have been 2, sat down and sang the whole song perfectly ...

Rio woke up at 3 am and would NOT go back to sleep. She begged me to stay with her because of the cricket noise, and then she stuck her fingers in my nose and 'roared' me awake 15 times in a row ... while all this is going on she was gleefully and loudly singing:

I love you
You love me
I love you I love you
And the crickets are noisy
And guy has blue hair
I love you!

I love you
You love me
I love love love love
I'm a little hot and sweaty. Mommy, get me a cold drink.
I love you!
A cold drink?

I feel insane today. Evidently we woke Bear up, who was still blissfully alone in our bed, with all our hollering. She kept going 'roar!' whenever I dozed off. Every time I made a move to leave her room she'd jump under the covers and scrinch her eyes closed. In short - she played me like piccolo. All the while butchering that frigging song. I lay there and debated whether to sing it to her once, this hellacious refrain that festers in the common unconscious, SO I COULD GET SOME FUCKING SLEEP! I didn't. She's now turned it into a freestyle rap/spoken poetry type of deal.

I love you
You love me
Let's paint with our fingers, mingers, chlingers
And sing!
I love you


I'm so toasty I can hear my eyelids open and shut when I blink. Send help. Please. I swear, I did NOT read the fine print in my contract and I need to know if I will ever get a vacation and if it will be paid. If I have a nervous breakdown and need to be institutionalized - does the crazy monkey go with me? The whole 'satisfaction of a job well done' aspect is crap when you're exhausted. I wish I had a job with a desk so I'd have someplace to rest my head ...

Ooo, the 'I love you' refrain has tapered off. I better fall asleep fast so she can scream like a banshee in the middle of my REM and give me the jitters for the rest of the day and night .... tata!

the Mother Teresa trading card?

Seriously? Seriously! I wonder if I win the MT card I could slip it at the Pearly Gates.

me: No.Fucking.Way! Heaven! Pearly Gates! (gnaws on gate bar with teeth..) Holy crap! They're real pearl! (notices man in robes. or dress. whatever, right?) You must be Peter. I bet that was a tough name as a kid, huh?! *snickers*

Saint Peter: (frowning a bit..) Let me check my list ...

me: (throws out hand for a handshake) Top of the mornin' to ya! Wait, that was Patrick, right? Did you know he wasn't Irish? It's true! Anyway, (grasps his unwilling hand, slipping the Mother Teresa trading card into his psalm, uh palm) I was told this little baby will cut through a lot of paperwork, know what I mean?

Saint Peter: ....

me: Serious. It's got a COA from a very reputable firm. Hey, is she around? Does she still have to maintain that vow of brokeass, or what? Do I have to wear a robe cuz in Heaven I'm wicked thin. It would be a shame to cover this action up, know what I'm sayin'?

Saint Peter: I suspect attire shan't be a problem ...


And that, good folks, is your unwelcome morning peak into my psyche. If I've offended you, I am sorry. But what are you doing here? I've been dead. There's no h(H)eaven, silly rabbits. But there *is* more than this so be nice. And let someone merge once in a while ....

begging, lying, and bribing

I'm a little persuasive. And I'm one of those people who are totally comfortable slipping a bill. You know, like a sawbuck. Somewhere in my complex make-up, there is a healthy dose of 30's noir.

Anyway. When we got the postcard announcing the Hopper exhibit, I jumped up and down with sheer joy. Bear is also a fan, although not so rabid. The postcard came at the beginning of the year and we foolishly felt we had tons of time to make it.

You know where this is going, right?

We finally head in on Sunday because, you know, it ends next week. We take the train cuz trains are fun! And Rio loooooves trains! And trains are fun! So, we go right to Ruggles station and make the quick walk to the museum. We stand in line to buy our tickets and are informed there is nothing available until 4:30. People, it's before noon and we have a 3 year old with us. So, we wander and look and strategize. We have lunch and figure we'll play it by ear.

Long story short - nothing can be done. I tried a few avenues. A lovely girl recommended trying to trade tickets with someone so I do that. After going downstairs and seeing about not picked up 'will calls'. And trying to bribe the guards. With no choice, I start approaching strangers and trying to get them to exchange their 1:30 tickets for 4:30 tickets. I have a song and dance routine but no one is willing to change. In the meanwhile, Bear is carrying Rio on the escalator and going up and down and up and down because the only thing more fun than a train, is an escalator. No lie - maybe 70 times. He says, "Let's bail. I'm soaked with sweat and I don't think this is gonna work," and I say, "On your next trip down hit the ATM and get me some cash!", which he does.

So now I'm doing my song and dance, holding the tickets up with a $20 folded and facing the people. Now I'm getting better and real excuses.

"We totally would but we have dinner plans right afterward."
"We totally would but 12 members of our family are meeting here for this."
"We totally would but we are seeing a house at 4:30."

Then one couple of french dudes. The one who understood the most english looked at our tickets and said to his friend, "Take the money - our tickets are for the same time!" and I just walked away from those fuckers because I totally understood what he was saying! Who said a french speaking Mexican doesn't make sense??!!

Bottom line, after about an hour of my public humiliation the lovely girl walked over to Bear on one of his up escalator rides and said, "I think I saw you drop these...". She had 2 tickets in her hand. Bear said, "No, my wife has the tickets over there, trying to trade," but my spidey sense already had me headed in her direction. I thanked her profusely, traded my tickets out and gave her a quick hug. She said she saw me working so hard and I wasn't just trying to get ahead of line, I was really trying soooo hard to see the show and she'd never seen anyone make so many trips on an escalator to keep a kid entertained!!! and so she 'found' a couple of 11am tickets not claimed so we got right in.

The show was great. Well worth seeing again, which I just may. But internets, I think I should do something for that girl. I have her name. Should I write a letter, not detailing her deed lest she get in hot water, but extolling her extraordinary virtues? Except her boobs? But including her amazing red-gold hair? Or maybe flowers to her at the museum? What do you think would be the best thing to do for her? Fire away!

how to fuck with people in the nicest of ways

I now live in Massachusetts. My entire childhood in Vermont was spent calling residents of this state, 'Massholes'. When I got my plates here, I wanted to get the Spanish word for 'hole' but I forgot to look it up and then the moment passed but whatever ...

These people are the worst drivers in America, second only to Rhode Island. I live right on the border of the two states ...


No exaggeration, whenever I slow down for a yellow light, allow a car to merge or do anything else that may be identified as considerate, some asshole, or Masshole as it were, will beep. And give me the finger. And yell. Loud. This happens to me every single day. I wish this wasn't true, but I swear on my pile of newly deceased friends and relatives that it's the honest truth. I've spent an inordinate amount of brain space, taking away from the every important lottery brain space, trying to craft an effective bumpersticker.

Most are too long. Maybe one of you fine folks could help with editing. Brevity is not my forte.... Here are a few. See if you can find any unnecessary verbiage:

*Please back the fuck off, you total asshole. There is exactly 4 inches between me and the car in front of me and no I won't get any closer! Additionally, I can see up your nose, you're so close, and there is a bat in the cave.

*If you rear-end me, as it would seem you're bound and determined to do, I will sue you so hard and so long and I won't rest until you're ruined and you have no choice but to become my bitch - living in the basement, doing my bidding, washing the cars and cleaning earwax out of my dog's ears.

*I hope your child is as much of an asshole as you appear to be because it would be sad if that little face was actually MISSED after being smeared across the intersection because you HAVE TO BEAT THE LIGHT EVEN THOUGH YOURS IS THE 5TH MINIVAN FULL OF KIDS TO CAREEN THROUGH THIS RED LIGHT!!! CROSSING THE INTERSECTION!

*It's called 'the speed limit'. I won't go faster because I don't want to die in a fiery crash AND I love my child and my dog. I realize I'm going slow enough for you to hit the back of my car with your Dunkin Donuts cup (which doesn't mean you had to go ahead and chuck it), but I suspect you are the littering sort anyway ...

*See the top of my carseat? I know you can! We're going 70 in the slow lane and you're so fucking close to my ass that I can count your eyelashes. Well, this carseat means that, at great personal discomfort, I cranked out a small human in an effort to balance the karma of that video game playing, 'on-board-television' watching, high fructose corn syrup slugging, ill-tempered, over-scheduled monster that is half hanging out of the carseat behind you. Hang up the phone and train your rearview on something besides your puckered smokers mouth. See? That's your kid. Drive like you give a shit, okay? OKAY?

So, yeah, see what you can do to make these viable. I'll totally get one printed for you, too!

In the meanwhile, I'll be that odd soul surrendering your right-of-way to you.

do go gentle ...

Jesusa, my father's mother, passed at 4am. I knew her briefly when I was an infant. Evidently she would dress me up and walk me all over in my proper little pram, proudly showing her world her first grandchild.

Then my parents split for the first time. It's a long and messy story. Back and forth across the country; my brother being conceived and then born too early. Two very young and volatile individuals fighting over everything, especially 'the children'. So, I didn't know my father's side until I was 30. By that time, my grandmother wasn't able to remember me. Dementia met her first. Disconcerting, the aunts saying too loudly,"Ma! This is Roy's daughter! Nita!" and seeing the blankness where I'd occupied such a small space, so long ago.

I'm not going to the funeral. Lots of reasons. Together, the case is made for me to stay here with my family. One aunt doesn't speak to me because of everything that went down when Bear and I brought my sister out here. V was in danger of flunking out of school and I thought we could help. Give her stability. Unconditional support. A place to be herself. I have no regrets for trying; we're all better for it so I'll take the fallout and not be sorry for it at all. But I'm not looking forward to that drama.

I am fond of the family members I've gotten to know and I particularly adore 2 aunts and their husbands. Wonderful and warm people. Glad they're family. But I feel like an interloper. I abhor funerals and I've been to far too many just since the ringing of the new year.

I hope I can sufficiently support my little sister from here. She's going to fly out right after the funeral and I plan to spoil her and love her up. That kid has had some serious losses in her young life. I hope she understands I'm here for her every second and I eat my veggies and get checkups and fully plan to live for an unattractively long time ... for both my girls. All my girls.


I look at Rio, clopping through the kitchen this morning in her pajamas and plastic heels with marabou, smiling and just plain happy, as is her norm. When she's decked out in heels and painted toenails I see my mother's outrageous mother - Vivian. Vivian's entire shoe wardrobe consisted of gold, silver and red shoes. Most had jewels.

I see myself in her sense of timing and snarky edge.

Bear's scientific nature is hugely represented in my child who will peer at the wonders in a patch of grass for an hour straight, asking about every little element.

Most certainly my delicate and particular mother-in-law is represented in her broad and ready smile and her natural grace. There are moments when my child looks exactly as my mother did at her age - the turn of her nose and curve of her lip ...

I know Jesusa's blood runs in Rio's veins but, sadly, I can't recognize it.

i see you. wait, no i don't. yay! there you are!

As Leips* postulated, it's just an ocular migraine. They're so fun; you should totally get one! Luckily, I didn't get the whopper headache that is the accompaniment for many people. I haven't changed my eating, I don't drink too much and I don't drink every day, I don't take pills or do recreational drugs. It would seem that ssssssssssstrrrrrrrrrrrrrressssssssssssss might be the probable cause.

So, what kind of seeing eye dog do you think I should get? And can I just shave this motherfucking mop of hair if I'm doomed to blindness? I won't have to look at my crazed self, and I'll be so comfortable! And blindness, flashy-bluish-StarTreky or otherwise, means no ironing, right? RIGHT? If these blindness thingies are caused by stress, don't stand close to me because at some point in the near future my eyeballs are very likely to come torpedoing off the front of my skull like feet off a Superman ride ...

But, know what's fun? Your medical history for a stranger.

Dr Darling: So, any history of eye problems in your family?

me: No. Wait. Yeah. My grandfather had a retina detach at our house one Christmas. Oh, and then he had macular degeneration.

Dr Darling: How well does your grandfather see?

me: Not so great. He's dead.

Dr Darling: Oh, um, sorry. How about any other health issues in your family.

me: Oh, well, Mom has lots of unsubstantiated heart attacks and nervous breakdowns. Her mom, well, she's been dead for more than 20 years. But she was a diabetic. Adult onset. Might have been vodka induced. My mom's sister had an early and kind of bizarre hysterectomy. My father's side... Well, my grandmother is dying right now. Literally. They're counting breaths. I guess everyone else is okay. Well, except for one aunt who's on her 3rd set of hips. Oh, and another had brain surgery last year for an aneurysm. Oh, and an uncle died of colon cancer. Wait, and two aunts are diabetics, too. Oh, and one has Lupus. My brother is hypoglycemic, but he was wicked early. Yeah, that's about all.

Dr Darling: ...

me: A lot of them live or have lived in the midwest ...


Have I mentioned I recently got life insurance at the superior health rate?!!


But stress induced? I can't imagine! Bear drove us home - me with my pupils dilated AND relaxed AND full of 4 other things dripped in them. Left me home with the monkey who, blessed child, took a big fat nap. Yay! When she got up I could pretty much see again.

Unfortunately neither poorly enough to overlook the mayhem, nor well enough to avoid the shit piles.

Yup. Diarrhea. First, though, great protestations of 'I don't want to poop. It's going to be too big. I'll just wait. Please can I have a dizzle?!' We're working on poop on the potty so lots of naked time and no dipes. Am I brilliant or what? What, so then she took off for the bathroom. Somewhere along the way a chunk the size of a can of beans busted loose, so when she hit the pot it was dribbles. I kept her on the potty and cleaned up. I found the chunkalunk by, you guessed it, stepping on it. Load one into the washing machine and 10 minutes spent cleaning both of us up. On pretty much most of both of our bodies. About 15 minutes later I caught a blur out of the corner of my still blurry vision and then I stepped in the liquid shit trail and she hit the other two rugs she missed on the first run. I finally gave her a diaper. Maybe it was a ski hat. Who knows? I still can't really see ...

Um, so, yeah. Things are much better and I'm feeling relieved it's only stress induced blindness. It should pass in no time at all.

*The doctor knew Leips cuz he was a resident when Leips was at school! Leips is family to me. Or, as I told his pal, Dr Darling, "Leip's dad and my mother's ex 4th husband are really good friends. So, he's like part of my family. " Not that he'll admit it, but it's true ....

it's not a tumor

at least, I hope it's not.

I'm off to the eye doctor because I keep losing chunks of my vision in swoopy bluish-white fuzz balls. Fun, huh? I also feel like my neck is being squeezed by an unseen hand and I haven't really been able to sleep without elephant tranqs. Suppose there are any connections?!

I'll let you know how it goes.

gone to the dogs

When I read this, I got pretty far into the article thinking it was about dogs. Something's wrong with my melon, fer sure!