Archive for March, 2006

Love and Marriage…. it’s not just an old Frank Sinatra song.

So today is mine and John’s anniversary. Two years ago today, we were married in a beautiful church in New Orleans with everyone we love around us. So much has happened since then.

We are phasing out of our newlywed years and getting down to the nitty gritty of what this married life is all about. Yes, we are best friends. Yes, we know one another better than anyone ever has or ever will. Yes, we make sacrifices for one another. But those of you who are married know the deeper issues; those days when you want to kill one another followed by a love stronger than you ever thought possible for someone other than your children; those days when you realize you are actually a better quality of person because of your other and vice versa; those days when you can look at each other and realize that the two of you have built an entire world consisting of children and pets and careers and homes and experiences that are strong and exists solely because of your love. Marriage is being able to throw a container of cottage cheese at your husband, thus starting a cottage cheese war, while you are both sobbing incoherent mutterings about everything being the other’s fault because you are both so exhausted from the eight-week-old baby hanging off your breast or in his tired arms at 2am and the five-year-old playing shoot ‘em up cowboy as loudly as he can for attention in the midst of a sexual drought that neither one of you can remedy due to the aforementioned state of exhaustion. It’s the most beautiful thing in the world.

I found a poem about a year ago and wasn’t smart enough to write down the author — it is so beautifully written that the creator deserves full credit and accolades. It says it better than I ever could, so enjoy. John, this one’s for you:

Anniversary
That you and I, I and you,
this twenty-fifth year after
you stamped your foot, shattered
the glass, and friends, so many dead
or forgotten, applauded in a ballroom
long abandoned, twenty-five years
of Monday good-byes, monthly wars
with stacks of bills, bags of garbage,
frozen gutters, nights filled
with pink medicines, fevered cheeks
on shoulders, the other hand reaching
for the pediatrician’s call, termites
chewing, and hours waiting
for the door to open, holding
our own daughter’s head vomiting
beer into our own leaking toilet,
that now, as mirrors mark the descent
of breasts, the tub catches silvered
pubic hair and our eyes wear pouches
and hoods, as though expecting rain,
that you and I could smell the salt
of each other, coming together after
long absence, silent, still, staring up
at the darkening ceiling, naked in a house
with empty, orderly bedrooms, the last
of dead roses and discarded boyfriends
tossed out, your hand touching mine,
our breathing slowing,
the wonder of it all.

Posted in Relationships, Marriage | No Comments »

FamilyResource.com Revamps Website Design and Launches New Discussion Forum

It’s official, I just finished doing a minor update to FamilyResource.com’s design. The layout is basically the same, but the site should be more crisp and usable. One of the things I’m excited about is the new forum. It’s based off of the open source forum software punBB. I picked punBB because it’s free, fast, and very well written.

I took the plunge and wrote the first forum entry entitled, “I Don’t Feel Attached to My Newborn Son,” located in the Parenting section. I want the forum to be a place where family members and parents can talk candidly about real-life issues, and learn from each other. I figured the best way to do that is by example.

I encourage you to take part in the discussion, either by engaging yourself with my new topic, or creating your own.

Posted in Parenting | No Comments »

Adding Grip to Slippery Tools

plasti-dip.pngMost people have tools and utensils that can be slippery to hold under certain situations. If only those things had some sort of rubber coating to help keep your grip. I recently ran across an excellent howto that shows you how to add grip to just about anything using Plasti Dip.

You can buy Plasti Dip either as a spray for fabrics, or as a can for dipping tools and utensils into. To see how it’s done, visit MetkuMods website and read Super Grip with Plasti Dip.

Posted in Lifestyles, Arts and Crafts | 1 Comment »

East Nashville Blues

It’s funny what time does to a girl.

We get older and we start to fumble and have mis-steps and flailing hands and incomplete thoughts. There was a time when I could slash an offender with a rapier wit that even David Sedaris would be knocked out by. I had ideas. I had nerve and gumption. There was a time when I could run circles around the other waiters in whatever restaurant I was working at (while going to school full time, while raising a son). I could do things! There was a time when I was kind of neat.

So I am having one those times in life when I don’t feel like that girl anymore. Not only do I not feel like that girl, but I don’t feel anything even remotely familiar to anything that I have ever felt before. It all started two nights ago when I went to work at a lovely little European café in East Nashville. I was witness to my own ineptitude and fumbling older self.  It wasn’t pretty.

This café, it should be said, is full of beautiful, well put together folks that abound with utter confidence. They float about the café with serene smiles and such a crisp sense of self.  Enter me: tired, haven’t bought new clothes in three years, uncollected lady who can’t complete a thought and really needs a cup of coffee – or a nap. It should also be said here that working in restaurants (the right one, anyway) is something I love to do. Granted, it is something I have to do on occasion (reminder: my husband’s an artist, I am a writer; we try to avoid the “starving” part of the artist bit) but it is something I truly enjoy and do quite well. If you find the right place you are gifted with the company of the smartest, funniest and savviest people you will ever meet.

Savvy I am no longer – the last two years of nose-to-grindstone survival has taken some of my spunk and collectedness. I realized it when, walking up a flight of stairs, completely viewable to every person in the place, with two hands full of very expensive crystal glass ware, I stumbled (a nice way of saying that I completely busted my ass). I picked myself up, no broken glass, thinking “jesus Lisa, what are you doing here????

The night went downhill from there.

 I came home whimpering to my husband about how I have lost it – I can’t hack it with other people my age who have never let themselves get soggy with mundane, everyday life trials. I went through the whole horrible evening. I told him about how in incapable I was of having minute conversation, how uncomfortable I felt around people whom I normally have so much in common with, the “stumble?, the aches in my legs and arms.. I sounded like an old lady with a bad back. It was miserable and silly.

Husbands are good for lots of reasons. Mine, specifically, can make anything seem a lot less horrid than it really is. He has a remarkable way of reminding me that I’m still neat, even if I feel (deep down) that he is just being nice. He gives good advice and makes sense of my crazy, illogical brain.

Husband’s insightful words:  You aren’t ever going to be that frightfully energetic and bounding-with-ambitiousness youth again – which should be followed by a huge “thank god?.  You get a chance, every once in awhile, to up your ante.  What you do with that chance is up to you. You have an opportunity to get better or you have the option to wallow in your lousiness. It’s nothing but growing pains. We have ‘em forever.  We’re meant to be better than we once were and to acknowledge that we aren’t as good as we can be yet – in between therein lies a great land of awkwardness that sometimes crescendos with you face down on wooden stairs trying not to break your nose and praying that no one is looking at you. You then have an option, do you just succumb to your stumbling gracelessness and stop trying to sort yourself out, or do you get your self together so that you can move it on to better places? I suppose if you take the former option, then you may as well just get used to your face being smeared on the floor, even though at this point I feel like it is my assigned fate. Obviously, sorting yourself out seems like the more appetizing option.

So, I’m sorting myself out then and hopefully the growing pains and awkwardness won’t last much longer. I’ll just be certain to stay focused and to watch for steep steps.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Women’s History Month and AIDS Awareness

Okay, I won’t bombard you with guilt or any political or social agenda that might be associated with the aforementioned Women’s History Month (which March is) and why AIDS awareness is a relevant issue in regard to it. It should simply be known, and for some reason is not in most circles, that more than 25% of AIDS related cases are now in women. One of my best friends is an HIV vaccine educator and researcher and has made me privy to these staggering statistics.

Celebrate and educate yourself on March 10th - The first Annual National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day — I plan to.

Posted in Lifestyles, Daily Living | No Comments »

Don’t Date Him Girl

DontDateHimGirl.comThere’s an amusing (yet useful) website called DontDateHimGirl.com. The website is designed to help women stay away from man-scum. They have a Find A Cheater search engine that will give detailed reports on infamous male cheaters. Included with each search result is a fine description of why the cheater should never date a girl again. Many of the descriptions also include picture of the notorious cheating bastard.

There’s plenty to get and do at DontDateHimGirl.com other than finding a cheater. You can also buy fancy DontDateHimGirl.com clothes, read featured articles for dating tips, and keep track of what’s current via their blog.

Thanks to Brittney at Nashvile Is Talking for the heads up!

Posted in Dating | No Comments »

Insomnia and Larry Hagman

JR ShotI had a strange dream, about the television show Dallas last night - specifically the one where JR gets shot. Larry Hagman had, in my dream, been setting up the scene and as the other actor “shot” him, he really went down. For real - there was a real bullet in the gun, not an actor bullet. It woke me up in a cold, cold sweat. I had this weird disconnect from reality in which I felt as if I needed to call some one and make it clear that when JR had been shot that on the show that the real Larry Hagman died.

This odd, intense moment of non-reality lead me to wonder what is going on in our little brains when we sleep. In fact, it made me wonder so much that I couldn’t sleep for the rest of the night.

So, in order to save myself from another insomniatic night, I have been poking around various sources all morning and trying to come up with something that I feel I can adhere to. I have found everything from dreams being reduced to the simple functioning of biological matter with no deeper meaning to dreams being a conversation with god. I felt my Larry Hagman dream had nothing to do with either one of those things. I did find this - it is an interesting breakdown:

Why do we have dreams and what do they mean? These questions have for centuries been the subject of a debate that has recently become the center of a heated controversy. In one camp we have a number of prominent scientists who argue that we dream for physiological reasons alone and that dreams are essentially mental nonsense devoid of psychological meaning: “A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” The idea that dreams are nothing more than “meaningless biology” sounds absurd and rather blasphemous to the opposing camp, a coalition of Freudians and other dream workers committed to the view that we dream for psychological reasons and that dreams always contain important information about the self or some aspects of one’s life which can be extracted by various methods of interpretation. This camp takes its credo from the Talmudic aphorism that “an uninterpreted dream is like an unopened letter.” There is also a third camp occupying the middle ground, that believes both of the extreme positions on the function and meaning of dreams to be partly right and partly wrong. Its proponents argue that dreams may have both physiological and psychological determinants, and therefore can be either meaningful or meaningless, varying greatly in terms of psychological significance.

It takes some of the glory out of my Dallas dream, no? But I think if I keep poking around, I might just not be kept awake with the wondering and the oddity of it all.

Posted in Lifestyles, Daily Living | No Comments »

Uncle Sam Wants You!

Today, my brother is off to become a certified card carrying member of the U.S. Army. I am sure you have an image of a young eighteen year old, fresh faced and right out of high school packing his bags and boarding a bus. Not so. My brother will be thirty two this year. He has had a life full of playing and touring in punk bands and traveling around living life to the absolute fullest. He is not your typical candidate: both arms covered in tattoos, piercings that are slowing closing up, a wardrobe that is indicative of his ten year residency as a San Diego twenty-something (those southern Californians are very image conscious, it’s true).

He decided about a year ago that all that time was wasted. He decided that it was time to make a change and follow a dream I had no idea lived within him. Now, it should be said that no one knows my brother better than I do - and vice versa. After my husband, he is my best friend and most intimate confidante. Even as Army brats, he and I always fell very left of our very conservative, Republican father. We talked a lot about the propaganda involved to sway youngsters (see MTV commercials) into war and other types of young idealist perspectives that are so comfortable to wear when you’re in your twenties. We were commrades in arms. You can only imagine my confusion and utter feeling of desperation when he told me he wanted to join the Army. I thought it was, at the most, an early mid-life crisis that I could talk him out of. Not so.

As time went on, I watched him struggle to make deals with recruiters and go through rejections from the higher ups - he was too old, had too many tattoos, not enough education. He’s a smart boy and he has been in the service before (a short stint in the Navy) - so he wasn’t about to go in as an enlisted runt for them to send overseas. He was going for officer training school and, eventually, helicopter piloting school. The pilot job was what he, ultimately, was going for. It took him a year and devout consistancy and determination to finally get accepted.

It was his response to the initial rejection that made me change my mind. Moreover, his reaction to those rejections. I saw something in him that I had never seen before - passion and brow-furrowing determination. He wasn’t going to quit until he became a pilot in the Army - nothing else would suffice. Once I saw this, I stopped sending him anti-war books like Slaughter-House Five. I stopped judging his intentions and placing my ideals on him - even if they were ideals that we had (or have) in common. I still am frightened by his decision but I am also standing in great awe of all that he is becoming - even though it is not what I would have planned for him.

It is taking me a great deal of strength to not feel worried or anxious about it - but I can tell you one thing I don’t feel anymore is disappointment or confusion about his decision. I am as excited for him as I would be had he continued on his road to being a musician or a writer. It is beautiful when we see someone we know so well turn such a sharp corner in their life. Sometimes we have to step out of our selves and that may be hard - and it is hard but it is also beautiful and inspiring.

So, I’ve already ordered my bumper sticker that says “My Brother is a Pilot in the Army”. I think I’ll use it as a book mark for SlaughterHouse Five.

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Evite Saves the Day

It is my son’s 6th birthday this Thursday.

I have always dropped the ball when it comes to planning these things in a timely manner. I just can’t quite get my timeline right. I start thinking about it way too early and then, before I know it, I have put the plans away until we are a week away from the party date. Having watched all the mothers in my son’s kindergarten class mail out invitations and set rsvp dates well ahead of time - I promised myself I would not do it again this year. I had big plans to be uber-organized and finally give my son a successfully executed birthday - no timing problems and no rushing around at the last minute.

Alas, it must not be my destiny to be the mom who’s on the ball. I’m starting to except it as part of my inherent self. This year, I started making all the plans in my head and even made some lists and budget guidelines (which I have since lost). We knew where and when we wanted to have it and we had our guest list written down (also lost). Then I got comfortable. I didn’t think about it again until this past weekend. I was talking with my mom and she said “Well, we’ll see you next weekend!” and I said “No no no, not next weekend mom - you guys are coming the weekend of Joseph’s birthday party and that’s still a couple of weeks away.” Silence on the other end of the phone - then she said the words that put me into an immediate tailspin. “Honey, we are coming the weekend of his birthday party - next weekend.”

Typical, I thought. I had not put together, much less mailed, any invitations and had not called to make the reservations at the rock climbing place that we had decided would be the location of his party. I had to hustle. Typical, typical, typical.

I called the climbing place and, thank god, they still had an open party time slot. Phew. Now, invitations…. What to do. Should I just call everyone? Should I bring them to school? I decided that a phone call would be ok, but bringing the invitations to school would not work. We capped the party at nine kids and since we were not inviting the whole class sending them to school would, I’m sure, make some kids feel left out and leave my son with some explaining to do to those who were not invited. Then I remembered an Evite that I recieved for the baby shower of a friend. It was quick, sent directly to my email (which I use more than my regular mail these days - as does everyone else I think). Disco!

So, I went to the Evite site and, for free, set up a lifesavingly expeditious invitation to email out to everyone invited to the birthday party. Thanks to the school directory and a few phone calls to those not at Joseph’s school, plugging in the email addresses was simple and less harried that making ten phone calls last night.

Aside from the ease of getting it out to the invites on time, I was also able to attach directions and the waiver to sign (you have to sign a waiver for things such as rock climbing) - saving even more time for everyone involved. I’m in LOVE!

In just a short 12 hours, we have already recieved seven online RSVPs with comments about how great, informative and nice the Evite was. I think I have finally found a means to my end of complete disorganization. Amazing.

Posted in Parenting, Lifestyles, Holidays | No Comments »

Mother-Daughter Relations: Part Deux

I found an interesting article encapsulating a section of this bookYou’re Wearing That?: Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation. 

It delves into the language and interpretation of the mother-daughter bond - how things are said and how things are heard. Just in the small excerpt we see how the author, Deborah Tannene, wrangles the most delicate issues - the small, seemingly insignificant, things that get so misunderstood and rearranged in this most fundamental of relationships.

There is yet another reason that a small comment or suggestion can grate: It can come across as a vote of no confidence. This is annoying coming from anyone, but it’s especially hurtful when it comes from the person whose opinion counts most—your mother. Unaccountable as this may seem to mothers, the smallest remark can bring into focus the biggest question that hovers over nearly all conversations between mothers and daughters: Do you see me for who I am? And is who I am okay? When mothers’ comments to daughters (or, for that matter, daughters’ comments to mothers) seem to answer that question in the affirmative, it’s deeply reassuring: all’s right with the world. But when their words seem to imply that the answer is No, there’s something wrong with what you’re doing, then daughters (and, later in life, mothers) can feel the ground on which they stand begin to tremble: They start to doubt whether how they do things, and therefore who they are, really is okay.

So, as women keep searching for a balance in this ultimate of ultimates of relationships, it is good to know that we are not having isolated experiences. Not only is it common for us to simulteaneously drive one another crazy and love each other more than anyone else but it seems to be part of the nature of the relationship. It is a complex thing, this mother-daughter tradition. I think I’ll read this book - and then pass it along to my best friend Mary Ann.

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