I’ve Got a New Mantra

Edison said “Invention is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration,” which has been one of my favorite quotations for years because it absolutely puts those talkers into their place.  Yeah yeah, I’ve heard the talk, but honestly, what have you done lately?

You could say much the same about me and my writing, both the blog and otherwise, where I have all of these great ideas of things I want to say but just can’t get around to getting it down.  Writing about Love Your Body Day (on November 1st) was one of them.  My mind was full with thoughts of the cathartic spilling of the ridiculous things I allow myself to think about my body and ultimately myself.  I daydreamed about the post, what I’d say, fretting about how personal to make it, wondering how honest I could be.  I spent so much time mulling it about it in my head that I never did it.  The whole idea was to strike while the iron was hot and I let it freeze over.  So I moved on.

And then, via Kate Harding, I read this post about a recent interview with Ani DiFranco.  Ani, of course, being The Voice of My Feminist Generation — 30-something women who, 15 years ago, were listening to Not a Pretty Girl while reading deBeauvoir and making signs for the next demonstration.

Okay, I have to be honest here.  While that may have been going on in some circles, my mainstream appearance was a little much for that crowd and after attending a meeting and being insulted for shaving my legs I didn’t return.  Incidentally, though, in terms of my feminist studies and activism — I was the one selected to co-teach in women’s studies while still an undergrad; I was the one the Department approached about tutoring members of the football team in women’s studies in the aftermath of Bronzkala and VAWA; and I was also the one photographed going head-to-head with the Dean of Student Affairs over the issue of how the school handles sexual assault charges among students.  So ‘feminist’ appearances don’t mean much.  Ugh.  Did I really just write all that?  My glory days are more like gory days.


The point here is that although I look all peaches and cream and home baked pie with my blonde hair and occasionally shaved legs, for years I’ve harbored the secret desire to be Ani DiFranco.  To Just Be That Cool.  To have it all out there so plainly.  I hadn’t thought much about Ani’s music lately, being subjected as I am to constant requests for “Elmo” and “Imagination Movers” (occasionally veering into Young MC, as my kids are HipHop fiends).  Then I read about her new album and this song.

Everything I wanted to say about Love Your Body day?  All that stuff I was thinking about?  It’s right here.

lately i’ve been glaring into mirrors
picking myself apart
you’d think at my age i’d have thought
of something better to do
than making insecurity into a full-time job
making insecurity into art
and i fear my life will be over
and i will have never lived unfettered
always glaring into mirrors
mad i don’t look better

but now here is this tiny baby
and they say she looks just like me
and she is smiling at me
with that present infant glee
and yes i will defend
to the ends of the earth
her perfect right to be

so i’m beginning to see some problems
with the ongoing work of my mind
and i’ve got myself a new mantra
it says: “don’t forget to have a good time”
don’t let the sellers of stuff power enough
to rob you of your grace
love is all over the place

there’s nothing wrong with your face
love is all over the place
there’s nothing wrong with your face

lately i’ve been glaring into mirrors
picking myself apart

… okay, I know.  I KNOW.  But it’s only 6 days more.  And it starts with “Holly” and ends on my birthday.  How could I not?


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Jekyll and Hyde, you’ve met your match

There’s been a lot of moaning over here lately regarding my first born.  It’s been well-deserved moaning.  Over more than excessive amounts of whining.  More than general not-listening.  More than forgetting to be nice.  More than things that make my head actually lift off of my shoulders.  The sort of stuff that makes me pause and look around for the hidden camera, because it’s way more than conniption causing… it makes me sound like my Mother.*

Then yesterday evening, the Universe smiled down upon me and granted me the greatest wish, one that every parent longs to receive.  The one where we learn that other children are possessed by the same demons as your own.

A saw a friend whose child also attends an immersion school and she lamented on how hard the first few months were… how tired and cranky and difficult and unpleasant her child was for those first few months… AND HOW THE SCHOOL TOLD THEM THAT WOULD HAPPEN.  Yes, I understand it must have been an unpleasant back-to-school note: “Dear Parents, be warned that your child’s behavior over the next few months will turn you into an alcoholic.  In November, we will start an evening AA group with free babysitting to help you get past this hurdle and safely into the rest of the school year.”  Still, it’s a note that would have helped us tremendously as I contemplated how old a kid has to be before Boarding School.  At least I know now and can relish in the relief that my kid is not in need of exorcism, he is simply adjusting to a big transition.  For the record: acting the angel all day long, collecting girlfriends left and right covering 3 grade levels, and excelling everywhere — while coming home to pick fights, whine, refuse food, throw tantrums, miss bedtime, and insult family… THIS is what ‘adjusting to a big transition’ looks like.

Now that Will has set the bar, I have a much clearer picture about what I am going to do when I hit menopause.

*Incidentally, when I share these episodes with my Mom, she finds them HILARIOUS.  As in, snorting milk through her nose, a total riot.  Which I will remember when I pick her nursing home.  (Hi Mom!  I love you!)

Life in New Orleans

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There are two less open holes with live wires!

We have lights in our bathroom!

Behold.  A chandelier.  In the bathroom.  On a dimmer switch that turns the lights low, WAAAAY LOW.  Honestly, it’s so romantic and beautiful that I’m afraid to share it.  Really, I am.  You walk in, the light goes dim, and you’re filled with the urge to strip down and dip sloooowly into that waaaarrrrrm waaaterrr…

It could make dinner parties a bit more intimate than we’d intended.

Luckily, we have kids.  They are REALLY GOOD at spoiling the mood.  It’s one of the things they do best.

Yes, yes, I know that there is nothing on the walls.  Good heavens, people.  We just got lights!  There are no doors!  There aren’t baseboards in half of the room and the shower is in pieces!  Stuff isn’t scheduled to go on the walls for at least 2 or 3 more years.

While I picked up the kids tonight, Paul took the progress one step further and installed the base boards around the vanity.  The pictures don’t do it justice.  It is starting to look like an actual bathroom.  (Please ignore the shower, the trauma of which we are still in the therapeutic stages of recovery and not yet ready to face with a solution.)

We knew we wanted a chandelier in the room from the beginning.  I searched some of the local salvage places a few times, but nothing particularly interesting turned up.  The idea was to find something unique, with classic details, New Orleans charm, and not at all what you’d find at Home Depot.  I found this particular model on Big Time Clearance online — with a coordinating vanity light.  It was some fancy-shmancy designer that makes no difference in quality and was about 80% percent off.  We agreed that the pictures were risky, but intriguing and we for it, picking up the set for a song.

Except for the mirror.  That’s just a place holder.  The actual mirror should arrive later this week — it’s a hugely discounted return on a slightly damaged product.  (We get our best stuff that way.)

Here’s the shocker: the accessorizing doesn’t stop there!  Today, we went to The Bank (local architectural salvage) and ordered DOORS.  Next week, we’ll be able to install doors on this bathroom!  It will put a real damper on the conversations we’re able to have with company — that’s quality bonding time, sharing those moments — but it will make it so much easier to keep the kids out of the bathroom when those lights take over and we just can’t help ourselves…

Here’s a few mood-spoiling pictures of the kids in the tub.  Just like a cold shower.

(Paul took this one, cute eh?)

Home and Renovation

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All I want is loving you and music, music, music

We saw WALL-E again over Thanksgiving and I was reminded at how much I like the Peter Gabriel song, “Down to the Earth.”

I don’t have an Ipod.  I don’t use iTunes (yes, I do have a Mac).  I have not bought any online music, ever, except for ordering CDs every once in awhile from Amazon or Basin Street.

So I wondered, if I just want the Peter Gabriel song that I like, how can I get this song?  Where can I listen to it?  Can I listen to it on my interview recorder (which will play MP3s)?  If I buy a used Ipod, will it play there, too?  What if I upgrade the Ipod?  And what happens when I get a laptop — I’m not going to use only my desktop forever?

Paul started trying to explain the facts… which are basically that you never own an MP3, the player you use could be obsolete tomorrow, and compatibility is something you determine through fine print.  I’m not really into buying things I don’t need and not at all into re-buying anything ever.  The whole thing just got me more and more confused.  Then Paul remembered an xkcd cartoon that he said, explained it all very clearly.

Okay.  NOW I understand.

What I wonder now is how people use their Ipods, and what experiences with incompatibility have they had?  Do you have advice or stories on how you enjoy music, where you store it, how much you spend, etc. etc?  Me, the music Luddite, wants to know.

And just ’cause I like it, you can hear it here…


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The Mommy and the Study

(Writ in the style of “The Piggy in the Puddle” — my favorite children’s story to read out loud.)

See the Mommy.
See her study.
See the Mommy in the middle of her silly little study.
See her cruddy, see her bloody
in the fuddy, duddy, study.
See her muddy, down and ruddy, in the silly little study.

See the Daddy,
chummy-tummy, chummy-tummy, chummy-tummy.
“Don’t you get all crummy, dummy, Mummy, Mummy, Mummy!
You are much to smart and sassy to be in the down and ruddies.
Research is oofy, research is poofy, research is oh-so oofy-poofy!
What you need is lots of HOPE.
But the Mommy answered, “oofy-poofy, oofy-poofy, NOPE!”

See her Babies.
Cutey-tooty, cutey-tooty, cutey-tooty.
“Just stop that writing – lighting, nighting, fighting, miting, citing!
You are much too Mommy Dearest not to be so often near us.
Research is willy, research is nilly, research is oh-so willy-nilly.
What you need is lots of HOPE.”
But the Mommy answered, “willy-nilly, willy-nilly, NOPE.”

Now they all stood by her research,
Right beside the murky research.
And they looked into the ‘search,
What a messy, murky, murch!

There was Mommy, cruddy and bloody,
getting beat up by her study.
She was reading, she was writing,
she was drinking to be wired.
She was listening, she was talking,
she was very very tired.

Said the Daddy,
Mummy-Mommy, you have made me very proud.

Said the Babies,
Mommy-Mummy, you are a sun behind a cloud.

Said the Mommy,
I thank you, but for this I am avowed.

See the Mommy and her study
with her family in a huddy.
They are loving, they are listening,
to the very daunting study.

Said the Mommy,
“Oofy-poofy, willy-nilly, oofy-poofy…
Indeed,” said tired Mommy,
“I think we lack in hope.”

But Daddy and the Babies answered,
“Oofy-poofy — NOPE!”

This post is a Monday Mission, to write a post in the style of a children’s story, as inspired by The Painted Maypole.

I’ve been feeling uninspired lately and needed to remind myself of a few things.

Family Stories

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