Saturday, December 30, 2006

Where, oh Where, Have the Laundry Elves Gone?

So, as usual, Christmas takes weeks to prepare, a day to (or two) to actually enjoy (if you call mind numbing exhaustion and tiny people so hopped up on sugar and excitement that they literally drive you out of your everloving mind, enjoyable) and then weeks from which to recover. There's the process of putting away newly acquired gifts...meaning, oh crap, there's enough room to put away all of Cassidy's new toys, so long as she doesn't want to actually spend any time in her bedroom. The process of removing said gifts from the completely ridiculous packaging. Did you know they sew Barbie's hair to the box? It's true. Plus, there are all these little wires attaching her and all of her accoutrement to the cardboard, and they've been taped in place and wound up...Very sadistic people, those toy packagers. Nothing like a seven year old whining in your ear while you spend 30 minutes getting a single toy out of a box. Makes me want to poke my eyes out with a sharp stick...

So, given all that...who the hell has the freaking time to do things like laundry, and dishes and vacuuming that don't simply go away because it's Christmas. If anything, Christmas actually makes the chores mushroom into tasks that seem to take eight times as long as they normally do. And my fucking animals won't stop shedding, so if I don't vacuum every three days or so, we all have to move out because you can't breathe for all the pet hair in the air...

That said...we had a very Merry Xmas here in the magical land of Laura QofU. There were ginger bread houses and presents and happy children just about everywhere you looked. Plus my whole family crowding around the latest baby (Hayley, a chubby little thing who has just learned to smile and stick her fist in her mouth) while the other children get along quite harmoniously. now it's time to take down the damn tree, put all the decorations back into storage and try to reclaim my house from the creeping laundry monster.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Weighty Thougts For Christmas Night

I've recently decided to reread books from my past. Things that were assigned reading that I either didn't do, or stuff I wanted new understanding of. Or just things I don't really remember, beyond that I had, indeed, read them.

I just finished rereading Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and Let the Circle Be Unbroken by Mildred Taylor. I read Roll of Thunder as a fifth grade reading assignment and liked it so much that I read Circle on my own. A few days ago, while on a box-hunting expedition in my aunt's basement, I discovered my cousin had them and generously agreed to loan them to me. (Thanks, Amy!)

If you're unfamiliar with the books, they tell stories about a Depression-era black family in Mississippi that is lucky enough to own their own land. It describes, in depth, the struggles involved, not only in cotton farming during the Depression, but the amazing weight skin color added to that struggle. It is directed to young readers, so while it's frightening and sad, there's a layer of protection there, too. The sexual issues between whites and blacks are hinted at broadly, but not explicitly. So, too, is the violence inherent in a book about those times spoken of in a way that makes you feel the horror, but not in the in your face, bloody way that we've become accustomed to on the evening news.

I'm not sure why this book struck such a chord in me at the age of 11. While my mother has always been left-leaning and in no way racist, her live in boyfriend at the time was a heavy handed man whose frequent use of terms like "nigger" and "coon" made it clear where he stood on the issue of racial equality. And in no way would my mother have risked his wrath in explaining to me how vulgar and destructive those terms were. I know I admired the girl who was the main character. She, like I was at the time, was poor, preferred the company of boys to girls, went about barefoot in the summer and grew up in the country, living mainly off what the land earned. I knew about spending hours in a broiling summer sun performing the unending task of weeding and feeding livestock. She reflected my life in a way that none of the other girls in books I'd read did. I certainly didn't know anything at all about the easy comfort of the lives of the Wakefield Twins, heroines of the Sweet Valley Books so popular at the time.

In rereading this book, I can see that I missed the important issue of race almost altogether. It would be impossible to not have taken note of it, but I don't think that was the main issue for me. After all, at 11 I had an education that had (for lack of a better term) white-washed such issues as racism and slavery. Certainly we discussed Martin Luther King in January every year. Though the weight of who he was and what he did was never really explained in a satisfactory manner and the U.S. government always ended up looking the good guys who ended slavery and gave blacks their equal rights. Certainly, the idea of institutionalized racism was not one that was covered in the pages of the text books I read. I knew about segregation in a vague sort of way, but certainly had no idea the danger involved for blacks defiant enough to try and cross those boundaries.

My mind has been drifting along many trains of thought, the most important one being that in a more concrete way it makes me question the value of a public education system for my daughter. They spend years teaching what amounts to junk history, only to have to unlearn it later. As a mother, I have always wanted to instill in my daugher certain virtues. And at the top of that list is a respect for other people, regardless of race or creed. But, how can you truly respect a group of people villified in the press nightly for some admittedly horrid deeds, without understanding their history? How can you respect black people given the statistics on the nightly news without knowing the background? It goes unsaid that less than two or three generations ago the murder of a black man was rarely punished. It doesn't mention that the greatest minds of several generations were extinguished, either from violence blatantly ignored by those sworn to uphold laws, or from the despair that was inevitable from such crushing oppression. It is unsaid that the damage from this assault against the blacks in this country was so extensive that recovery may not even be a possibility. We are taught as children that slavery is over, and blacks now have civil rights so now everything is okay. We are not taught that the consequences of some actions are so severe that they cannot be undone.

I've done alot of my own educating of my daughter outside of school. We've talked a great deal about religion and about the environment. We've talked about history as well, she knows names like Ruby Bridges and Rosa Parks, people I had little familiarity with at that age. So, the question becomes this: Is giving her this extra knowledge that reveals how misleading her teachers can be doing more harm than good at this age? After all, there is no reason for her to question her math and English lessons. Those are pretty much objective and follow a set of rules that doesn't really change as time goes on. However, history and social studies are so subjectively taught at this level that it not only possible to question them, but necessary to do so. The reality, of course, is that I lack a degree in education or child psychology, so I don't really know what the result of two such conflicting messages is. Will she suffer for knowing now what we have to learn later anyway? If asked to explain the role of the U.S. government in deciding civil rights and portrays the government not the hero as expected, but rather as an institution that was dragged along into the move for equality reluctantly and only by great force, will she be graded negatively for it?

As I said, weighty thoughts for the end of a day that started with the squeals of "SANTA CAME!!"

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I Made It!!

As many of you predicted, I made it through the surgery alive and well. I've had more entertaining experiences in my life, and won't be signing up to do that again any time soon. But, it's done and I'm still here and (wonder of wonders) I can actually breathe without hearing the air squeak through my compressed windpipe. It's fabulous.

The surgery went well, except for the part where they couldn't find a vein to give me an IV. The anesthesiologist said he'd seen bigger veins in children. So, they ended up giving me a central line, which is a big tube in your neck through which they can administer medications and draw blood. A very disconcerting feeling, as it's done while you're still awake. But, they got all but a small portion of the damn thyroid out. They had to leave a very small part because it was entirely too close to a nerve. We will have the results of the biopsy in a week. So, keep your fingers crossed.

So, I'm (mostly) back to my level of activity presurgery already. Yesterday was a frenzy of baking assisted by the most wonderful Erin the God, or Archaeogoddess, or whatever the heck you want to call her. We spent the day up to our elbows in cookie dough and gingerbread dough. Exhausting, but fun.

Cassidy, my adorable little girl who is way too smart for my comfort, spent the weekend with her aunt and uncle in San Jose. Her uncle, who will be a father himself in a few months, got a preview of what the future holds when he took her to a holiday street fair, which in previous years was merely a set of dazzling displays of Christmas lights and Christmas scenes. This year, however, they added carnival rides. Now, most of my readers don't have seven year old children, so let me let you in on a little secret. Children cannot see carnival rides and then not go on them without thinking their lives are over. And my child, more manipulative than most, is especially good at making up reasons why she must ride the rides or her life as she knows it is over. She tried every possible ploy to get her uncle, who like the rest of us doesn't have money to just throw around on things like 30 second crappy carnival rides, to buy her tickets. Finally, she told him she was embarrassed because she was the "only kid" not riding the rides, and furthermore since he had offered to buy her a hot chocolate at the beginning of the outing, he clearly had money. I, of course, am horrified and embarassed, her uncle felt like crap, which was, of course, her ultimate goal, and Cassidy has long since forgotten the incident altogether.

Now, the thing is, everyone thinks they want smart kids. But smart kids are actually much harder to deal with than you might imagine. They are manipulative and sneaky, which all kids are to some extent, but smart kids have logic on their side as well. You can't lie to them, because they figure it out. You end up having to say "because I said so, that's why" despite the fact that this was the answer you hated most as a child. Cassidy doesn't even ask why anymore when I tell her no, she simply launches into a three to five minute speech about I should change my mind and let her do whatever it is she wants to do at that moment. And her reasons are usually valid and she presents herself very well, but you can't just give in every time a seven year old wants something. Then you end up with children that everyone for miles around wants to smack around.

So, okay, wish for smart kids or strong willed kids or independant kids. But god (or whoever) help you should you end up with a child that is all of the above.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Well, I'm about to head off to the hospital. I'm a bit nervous this morning. Not to mention tired and awfully thirsty. This nothing to drink thing sucks. I can hold off on eating, but to not even have a drink a water sucks right out loud.

On the bright side, I got the vast majority of my Christmas shopping done last night. Cass has been so good lately, and Santa is going to be very good to her. I can't help it. I always say, I'm only go to get her x amount of stuff and I always end up going way over. I know I'm totally overcompensating for my childhood and for the fact that her father is much less concerned than I am about how happy her Christmas memories are. Plus, I'm just that neurotic.

It got me to thinking, though. How on earth do people who have 5 or 6 kids do it? Because, really I don't spend tons of money, I shop for things that are on sale, but it's still a stretch every year. Thank goodness I'm not one of those nutcases who thinks it's a good idea to have a whole passel of children. I'd pull my hair out every Christmas if I had to concentrate on making 5 or 6 kids happy. As it is, I just know I'm going to lay awake on Christmas Eve going, should I have gotten her more. Will she be happy with what she finds in the morning.

I tell you, being a parent....? Not for the faint of heart.

Alright, wish me well. Though how great can a day be when the best case scenario is that I wake up later today minus a body part?

Monday, December 11, 2006

It's Beginning To Look...Well Pretty Much Like Christmas...If You Close Your Eyes and Squint

Well, we got the tree up today. And if you want to see something truly beautiful, you should see the look on a seven year old's face when the tree lights up for the first time. Silly and corny I know, but true, nonetheless. We also hung the stockings and put up a few other odds and ends, but I'm still not getting that Christmasy vibe when I look around. And I so want this taken care of by Thursday morning when I get in the car to go have surgery. Sigh...isn't it just like me to leave it to the last minute?

Okay, so I filled out the advanced directive papers tonight. Nothing like a little what to do if I'm a vegetable to fill you with Christmas joy, right? So, here's the what point do you stop having a reasonable quality of life. I know I don't want to be kept alive if someone has to feed and and change me. I know that I don't want to be kept alive on life support, but where's the line...I have some responsibility to my kid to be alive for as long as possible, right? But at what level? I mean, I'm not really being alive for her if I'm unable to communicate with her. But, what if I can communicate with her, just not as a mom because I've lost that mental capability? It's sort of a sobering realization. I mean, yes, I realize that it's most likely a moot point, but it's an interesting idea to consider.

But, for the record...I hereby forbid any friend, family member or distant acquaintance to splash pictures of me as a turnip all over MSNBC should the situation arise. I refuse to be the next Terry Schiavo. If Jamie makes the decision to pull the plug, let her. If you don't I'll come back and haunt you...or something....

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Cliffhangers Suck

I am no good at waiting for surprise endings. I peek ahead to the end of books, fast forward movies and have, on occasion, been known to snoop around for hidden xmas gifts. That being said, I am completely enthralled with Dexter, the Showtime show, only they just ended with one mother of a cliff hanger and now I have to wait a week to find out if the bad serial killer kills the good serial killer's sister. And how they're even connected in the first place....Sigh....

But, if you haven't been watching this show, you should start. Fascinating stuff, really.

In other news, the annual feuding over what is supposed to be a happy holiday season has been kicked off in Seattle, where instead of adding a mennorah, they took down an entire Christmas display. What the hell is that? Americans are used to seeing mennorahs during this time of year. Since candlelight plays a big part in most Christmas displays, how fucking hard is it to add a few more.

And now, you just know Pat Roberts or some other ultra right wing conservative fuck is going to bitch and moan about how the Jews are ruining Christmas. And how the liberals get mad if you say Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays. Like it matters. Fuck... The only people who give a shit about this is the ultra Christian fucks who think they should have the only voice in the country. I'm telling you, if Canada wasn't so goddamn cold, I'd be on my way...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Gin and Tonics...

Have become the drink of choice of L,QofU. I mention this mainly for those of you who have read the "increasingly inaptly named" Hitchhiker's Trilogy. I don't imagine that it would interest you otherwise. Unless you are properly amazed by my spelling under the influence of four said beverages. In which case, you get me more than I ever realized possible, and probably deserve a medal for years of putting up with grammatical criticism (assuming that your name isn't Craig and that I haven't badgered you to the point that you've given me full access to your own blog allowing me to correct your spelling and grammatical errors. Although, two hours and a few glasses of water later, I'm beginning to question why Craig, probably the most often on the end of my literary criticisms, as of late doesn't deserve a medal).

So, today I had my pre-op appointment at Mercy San Juan. Pretty boring, except for the part where they weighed me. First time that I can recall ever being weighed in kilos. The upshot of this (aside from the astonishingly small number that I can't ever remember seeing on a scale read out while I stood on the scale) was that I have no idea what I actually weigh, because the only metric conversion that I even vaguely remember is the conversion from Celsius to Fahrenheit, which clearly has no bearing here.

There was also a lovely side trip to IHOP, where I consumed enough calories to feed a small African country for at least a week. I would feel guilty about this but for the fact you don't have to count any calories in any month that contains not only your birthday, but also Christmas and New Year's Eve.

I also had a huge epiphany about my relationship with Jamie today. The main reason that we have lasted for seven (very long for her, as I am a most difficult person to live with) years is that she remains the only person who will sit up until midnight with me, playing Yahtzee and singing along with, not just listening to, my Dixie Chicks DVD.

So, here I sit, more than a little drunk, at 1:00 AM listening to Journey all alone, because even Jamie has her limits.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


So, I've had this blog title for quite some time, now and knew that at some point I would have to do something with it. As usual, I procrastinated on deciding what that "something" might be for entirely too long.

I am currently reading "The Julie/Julia Project" and it has most definitely struck a chord. In fact, it made me want to jump up and start some fabulous project of my own. Reality, of course, struck me almost immediately in the form of remembering Thanksgiving, just a scant two weeks ago, when a day's worth of cooking caused me to hibernate for 3 days. Not to mention that I'm still not entirely recovered from the 30th birthday bacchanalia.

I think what I need to do, for my sanity and the sanity of those around me, is write. Which I can do quite easily.

So, henceforth this blog shall be about whatever strikes a chord in me, moves me or just makes me say "Jesus-fucking-Christ" you've got to hear this. Not just "slice of life" stuff, to quote my dear friend Craig, but stuff out there in news land, too. Anything, really. As long as it interests me enough to tell it to other people.

What you're most likely to hear about over the next two weeks, should you decide that reading what I have to say could be entertaining enough to spare me a few moments a day is my upcoming surgery to remove my thyroid gland. That surgery will take place a week from today in the wee hours of the morning. More on that later.

So, anyway, here I am, 30 years old. Unemployed. A full-time mom, and occasional cook and house cleaner, not other people's houses, just my own and just occasionally. Seems like as good a jumping off place as anything else I could come up with. So, I hereby welcome you to LQofU, a title granted me by my dearest friend, Erin the God, a title which may mean nothing to you unless you understand all about shrubberies, and kahnighits, without thinking we are talking about Monty Python, which we kinda are, but mostly aren' back, hold on and's going to be a bumpy ride.