Monday, September 29, 2008

a quick meme...

to break up the family saga

1. Where is your cell phone? desk
2. Your significant other? R
3. Your hair? cut
4. Your mother? amazing
5. Your father? amazing
6. Your favorite thing? peace
7. Your dream last night? weird
8. Your favorite drink? bourbon
9. Your dream/goal? happiness
10. The room you’re in? living
11. Your fear? heartache
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? here
13. Where were you last night? here
14. What you’re not? diplomatic
15. Muffins? lemom
16. One of your wish list items? tickets
17. Where you grew up? colorado
18. The last thing you did? puzzle
19. What are you wearing? pajamas
20. Your TV? big
21. Your pet? skinny
22. Your computer? old
23. Your life? pleasant
24. Your mood? mellow
25. Missing someone? yes
26. Your car? lincoln
27.) Something your not wearing: shoes
28. Favorite Store? Kohl’s
29. Your summer? short
30. Your favorite color? pink
31. When is the last time you laughed? today
32. Last time you cried? saturday
33. Who will/would re-post this? moosema
34. Four places I go over and over? Work, home, store, temple
35. Four of my favorite foods? Eggs, lasagne, roast, gravy
36. Four places I would rather be right now? Lodge, europe, alaska, moutains

amazing how many of my actual answers are more than one word

Thursday, September 25, 2008


L –

This one is going to be harder. I know that my sisters are both going to be harder to write about. There is a fondness for your brothers that you can never feel for your sisters, at least for us three girls. I know they feel it too, it’s just different, some sort of ‘they-could-blow-up-puppies’ and it would somehow be forgiveable, but with your sisters there is a bond that comes from sharing the deepest secrets, your innermost fears and anticipations, your embarrassments, you can brag about your accomplishments – big and small – no humility or dignity required at all. Sisters could probably blow up puppies too – but the difference would be that you would have known before they did it that they were contemplating it, and why – and for some unG-dly reason, you would have found a way to support that (or you would be the one person on the Earth who could convince them to do something different). My oldest sister is eleven years older than I am. That’s a lot when you are young, she was feeling teen angst while I was still peeing the bed – the bed we shared. Our great grand-father lived with us when I was a baby/toddler – he died when I was three. He had the master bedroom, my parents had another bedroom, then we girls had a room and the boys had a room. After he died, my parents moved into the master bedroom and we girls split the two upstairs rooms and the boys continued on with the one room downstairs. Anyhow, we shared a room for a few years, and she was a tween (not a term in the sixties) and I was tiny baby. She adored me – or so she reminds me, more frequently than I think is necessary. I had a heart on the end of my nose and she loves to tell me about it. She was a regular wanna be flower child, she loved all the hippy stuff, but she also loved good hygiene – my mom says she was the cleanest hippy on the hill. She has a magical way of attracting all of the most unique people, all of her friends for her entire life have been the most interesting people in the room. She is the most generous soul you could ever hope to meet. For her gift giving is an art, and it feeds her soul. She is not complete when she is unable to select what she feels (and is almost always right) is the perfect gift. She is also hands down the most loyal person in the family. I think I’ve made it clear that we are all very loyal to each other and would support anything – but she is more loyal than that somehow. I can’t put into words her loyalty, but you dare not utter a syllable that could even be interpreted as against one of us – she will exact a vengeance, and she will make it clear to all who are witness that you do not mess with her family. She is also the most vengeful – I don’t remember her being as vengeful when we were kids, but she spent 17 years in Boston, and she picked up some character traits there that are as ingrained in her as anything she learned at home. She too, like Markie, loves completely and utterly and with a deeper passion than many people ever know – but rarely, very rarely. She has had two true loves in her life – she married neither. She never had children, but she has always made it very clear that it is her goal to be favorite auntie – and she has spent many hours finding just the right way to express her special love and loyalty for her many nieces and nephews. She is very careful what she lets people see of her inner self, very guarded. I would say that only one person outside of family really knows her at all – and it’s not the man she did marry. She did love her husband, and they had a good life for awhile, but he had addiction problems (he was recovered when they met and married, but eventually replaced drugs with gambling and eating) and that can tear a marriage apart. It doesn’t help that she also has a drinking problem – she wasn’t what I would call an alcoholic then, though she probably is now. She has always suffered from Alcohol Induced Psychosis however. I don’t want to give a long description of this – just to say my grandmother and my sister both have it – and it’s so unfair that my mother has had to suffer through the behaviour again and again all of her life. Drunks are ugly, but they eventually pass out or something. Psychotic drunks are far uglier, and they never pass out – they can go and go for days and days like some sort of demented energizer bunny. I don’t want to focus on that though, but I want to give a complete picture – so there it is, one of the ugly skeletons in the family closet. My sister is so much more than her drinking. She is one of the most beautiful women you could ever meet – she turns heads from nine to ninety. At one time, while she was living on the East coast, she was doing makeup for a Marilyn Monroe review and she looked so much more like Marilyn than the stars it was uncanny. She did herself all up in her Marilyn look and flew home. My dad said that walking through the airport men were actually stumbling and falling as she walked by. Mom always says that yes, she’s as beautiful as Marilyn when she does Marilyn, but she’s so much more beautiful than Marilyn when she doesn’t do Marilyn. She’s not just physically beautiful though, her soul is tremendous. Generous, loving, loyal – she exudes an excitement for happy things that catches anyone and everyone in it’s wake – you can’t help but get excited too – it can be Mom’s cooking, decorating the house for a holiday, a kids kindergarten recital, a rose blooming in the garden, a vacation, a baby, any happy occasion and she will involve and excite all who come near. She always wants to make everything bigger and better – if the neighbors had a piñata – she will have two piñatas and they will be stuffed with better bigger candy. If the last wedding had a well known band, she will have a better known band, and they will play all night. She’s also the queen of getting what she wants – it doesn’t matter how absurd it seems, she will find someone who can get it for her – but, it’s usually not for her, it’s usually for her to give as a gift to someone she loves. Oh and artistic, she is amazing – hair, makeup, decorating, clothing, ideas – always new and eccentric and people just ooh and ah. She also has an uncanny knack for impressions – she does so many so well – we laugh and laugh. I have so many funny stories, I can’t seem to choose one to share. So her artistic side, and her ‘hey-I’m-so-excited-side’ took over on a fishing trip one time. She packed a “fishing outfit”. It won’t sound quite so strange in 2008 as it did in 1985ish – keep in mind… she has always been ahead of her time. It was part glamour, part hippy – like pretty much everything she wears – it was like a collage of blue cotton rags, all hanging here and there on this shirt and Capri pants – she really looked like shredded blue burlap from a distance – and a turban of the same material…so this turban had shreds of fabric hanging here and there too. Her makeup was flawless – her hair just jutting out of this turban thing here and there, and she headed for the dock to drop a line in the water. She was clearly out to entertain my mother’s friends – as she had been bloody-worm-gut-your-own-fish fishing many times when we were growing up – but it had been awhile since she had fished. She headed down to the dock with her Boston accent and said to my mother – or perhaps no one in particular – “I’m here to fish darling, how do you like my outfit?” – my mother laughed at her and said, all those rags will come in handy for wiping up worm guts. She proceeded to cast her line out into the water, catch a fish right off and as she was reeling it in to the dock another of the seasoned fisher-women on the dock (also a very glamorous woman actually, but could dress down and be her raised in South Dakota regular gal when in the right company and venue) said to give it a tug to set the hook – so my sister yanks her rod and reel hard and the fish flies outta the water up over her head across the roof of the boathouse and down the otherside where I am sitting quietly fishing and reading a book – amidst quite a cacophony of squeals and drama from my excited sister – “I caught one, I caught one, I just put my line in and I caught one” – laughing and squealing. We never heard the end of the “lucky fishing outfit”.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Markie –

My brothers and sisters brought home lots of strays over the years – hell so did mom and dad for that matter – mostly dogs, occasionally we would sneak in a cat or snake for a day or two – dad is allergic to cats and deathly afraid of snakes – we had a monkey, goats, rabbits, gerbils, turtles, birds, lizards, frogs, salamanders, crabs, hamsters, fish, dogs and cats – my sister brought a dog home one time and she thought the dog was so beautiful that the only name that would fit would be her own – so she named the dog after herself! She also brought home Mark. She was 14, he was 14 – just a few months difference in their ages. Mark had been going to Jr. High with her, and he was cute and fun and everyone loved hanging out with him – besides he was the new kid in school and that offered all sorts of possibilities since his parents didn’t know who was who or what was what. It was 1969 – summer of love and all that. Mark had recently moved in with an uncle in a foster care situation – his single mom of 5 boys and 1 girl – all hellions couldn’t handle the older three boys anymore and shipped them all out to foster care. Mark and his twin brothers – Uncle was not the best foster parent on the planet – well in fact, he really wasn’t equipped to have any kids around – some people have to learn in baby steps and having a few teenagers plunked on your doorstep isn’t much of a baby step. Mark’s first twin (btw, they are the least connected twins I have ever been around, it’s impossible for people to believe they are twins) was last out of uncle’s house, but ended up with some great foster parents that kept him for the rest of his growing up years. The other brother bounced from here to there and eventually just ended up on his own, which he always did very well anyhow. He had been born overseas, in Germany, a military brat. I don’t really know the story on his biological father, they lived with their mom and grandmother – the grandmother was quite the hard ass – the boys rebelled big time – and it being the late sixties, there were plenty of creative opportunities for rebellion. Mark came to us – it didn’t take my parents long at all to decide that they could do a lot more good for this boy than the uncle was doing. Mark had already been in quite a bit of trouble with the law and had a few habits that continued getting him into trouble – and it was 1969 – a lot of kids were getting into trouble. Eventually Mark ran away (I think it was more “running to” for those kids in those days – at least the ones in my family, cousins, inlaws, sister, brothers – they were always running to some cool event that they weren’t going to be allowed to attend – maybe even a long-term, open-ended return on a sneaking out – they weren’t running away from anything, they were running toward an opportunity to be a sixties kid) one too many times for the foster care people to put him back in our house – they sent him to a boy’s home – but he never lost touch or quit participating in the family. He eventually fell in love with a great girl and had two beautiful babies with her. My first niece and nephew – both parents themselves now. The relationship didn’t last – Mark drinks too much and the passion fell away from their young love and they parted ways – but Mark never lost touch with his kids, and neither did we – we saw them all of the time, at times they spent huge chunks of their summers or other vacations with us. Mark shared so much of his life with us, it was like a puzzle piece we didn’t know we were missing until he filled the spot. Mark eventually married again and had another daughter – she lives with her mom in another state – that marriage ended also. Mark loves very passionately, he falls very hard for the women he falls for, and then he usually gets his heart broken very deeply. It’s been hard to watch him fall and hurt and heal over and over, but it has never dampened his spirit – he continues to love passionately, all of his family, to share anything he has with anyone he loves, to be there to help or support regardless of what you’ve done or how inconvenient it is for him to get there for you. I know that any of my brothers or sisters would do ANYTHING for me – you know “help me bury the body” type of help – but Mark would be there first, and he would stay to the end making sure I was okay – even if it meant missing work or traveling a long distance – it’s just part of his passionate way for things. And he is always up for some sort of party – he loves people, women, talking, drinking, dancing, music – he may not always be the first to arrive at the party, but he is generally the last to leave. I have so many fond memories of hanging out on the beach at the lake, drinking beers and listening to George Thurogood – going to the racetrack to watch he and my other brother, or just to watch the races even if they weren’t driving and then drinking in the pits till the early morning, always laughing, always singing. His children hold a very special place in my heart, watching them grow, seeing them become beautiful wonderful passionate people like their parents, and watching them grow more beautiful children with that same amazing passion for life and love.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


He was Lee. He was seventeen years-old, dating Mom’s housekeeper, and working as a wrangler at a local stable. He was super handsome – James Dean handsome – gorgeous thick slicked back hair and a perfect duck butt in the back. He was built like a brick shithouse and could turn heads from nine to ninety. He’d seen more in his short seventeen years than most screenwriters can dream up in a lifetime of imagining awful drama that happens to other people’s kids. I’m going to write a little about his childhood, but I may edit it out later. He had been born to a woman who had a knack for choosing lousy men – of course she came from a long line of lousy men – and lousy women. They were from the poorest Irish neighborhood in Denver – and folks who knew of their family said there was lots of violence, beatings and incest -- no one from that part of town had much respect for the family. I don’t even know if she was married to his father. All I know about his father is that when my brother was old enough to still have memory of it as an adult, and little enough for no one to think anything of it – he watched his father shoot a man in the parking lot of a bar. He was supposed to be sleeping in the car when he woke up and saw his father shoot another man. His father went to prison for murder and he never saw him again. His mother married a man far worse. He had three sisters, I think they are all half-sisters, children of the second marriage, but I am not certain about that. The man drove a truck. They lived in the mountains – rural, away from folks. That man was abusive like something out of a book – I know there are stories that I have never heard because they are worse than those that I know. He tore into the mom on a regular basis, beating the hell out of her and the kids. I’m sure from things I’ve heard, and having met the man, that he wouldn’t have blinked twice at doing the unimaginable to those kids. While my brother was still too small to attend school, he would play with his toys outside – often under the big truck/trailer that the old man drove. Like most kids, when he was called inside for supper or chores, he would forget his toys and leave them where they were. The old man was furious, and sent the little boy under that truck to retrieve those toys – then he intentionally ran over his hands, mutilating his young growing bones. He locked him in a tin shack on the property and beat the hell out of his sisters for sneaking food and water to him – I don’t know what prompted him to feel that punishment was warranted. There was a neighbor down the road who was somehow aware the boy was locked in the shed – he would let him out and feed him whenever he could without the old man finding out – he saved my brothers life, I have no doubt. He hated that man, and was gone as soon as he could earn a living on his own, at about 13 years old – strangely though, he could never completely break that tie with his sisters and his mother – he hated her too, for allowing the abuse – but he never lost touch with them. And so he met my parents – and they treated him kindly, trusted him, loved him, and respected him – he blossomed into another kind of man than what he probably would have become. He joined the Navy shortly after my parents were married – he served aboard a ship during Viet Nam. I don’t know many details of his service, I just know that he doesn’t like to talk about that either. I remember him always always being so excited for family time – so into the holidays, the gifts, the meals, the sharing and the love. He would find that one gift that no one else could find and make the biggest deal out of not just the gift, but the whole experience of giving and receiving a whole separate memory worth holding in your heart forever. He made reindeer hoof prints in the snow, and sooty santa boot prints on the hearth when I was little. He hid easter eggs in the most exciting places – you would have to talk him into a shoulder ride to find them all. It wasn’t just for me though – one year he was certain he wouldn’t be home for Thanksgiving – mom was very upset, she’d never had a Thanksgiving without all of her kids gathered around her. It was awful weather in Montana, and he didn’t think he could beat the highway closures. We were all sitting down to eat when we heard the jake brake coming down the hill – my mom ran to the door and ripped it open – tears streaming down her face. He jumped outta the truck clear down the hill and across the street and shouted – “hey ma, I brought some pie”. She ran out to meet him and he took her up the hill and behind that huge trailer and whipped open the doors to reveal two pies sitting right there in the back of the empty trailer! I had pet rabbits when I was growing up – rabbits were my thing. I had this wonderful rabbit, Jacques for years – my Jacques stories could fill an entire entry on their own! – Jacques was probably 3-4 years old the morning that my father found him dead in the yard – having been attacked by neighborhood dogs. I was heartbroken, I thought no pain could compare to my grief for my beloved pet. JL (he was JL by then, having changed his name to ours – the J for my dad’s name and the L for the Lee that his mother had given him) had come home a few nights later after a long trip of driving. I didn’t know my mom had even told him about my awful loss – I was pouring my heart out to him as he sat at the kitchen counter eating something. All of a sudden he was certain he had left his sunglasses in his car and could I run out and get them. I didn’t want to go, I wanted to keep talking to him, but he was really insistent, he needed those sunglasses right now. So I ran out to his car… and there on the seat of the car was a little tiny white baby bunny – hopping around and pooping – just like bunnies do. I couldn’t get up the hill and into the house fast enough. It was the perfect medicine for my broken heart – and he thought it was so funny sending me for sunglasses in the dark of night. He did equally passionate, loving or funny prankster things nearly every time he came home. He married a lot – too much. He had a hard time finding women who could be good enough for him and still put up with his baggage – no matter how much healing you find, there’s still some baggage from a life like his. His longest relationships were those that he had with women he didn’t marry – they became important parts of the family also. He has one son – named after my dad and another of my brothers – spitting image of JL. We danced, we were dance partners. We had so much fun, dancing Country swing and two-step and triple and whatever was required to compete in the competitions at the local country bars. We were good – very very good. We had so much fun hanging out in the bars together – oldest brother and baby sister – so many years difference in age and still such close friends – and when people would ask how old he was or I was – since I wasn’t 21 and he was older than he wanted people to know – I would just say “he’s twice as old as me” – that left them wondering. The string of tough relationships with pain in the ass women and a couple of nasty accidents that left him unable to drive a truck anymore made life in a tiny town in the Texas panhandle look pretty appealing. We knew where he was, but the rest of the world would only wonder. He worked that farm in Texas for a long time, driving a tractor – when he would come home to visit he would charm my kids with stories about the farm and his big tractor and how he would take a potato in the morning and stuff it full of onions and butter and whatever he had around and wrap it up in foil and put it on the engine of that big old tractor – then he would work all morning and when he stopped for lunch he’d have a nice stuffed, baked potato. Somehow my kids took to calling him Spud – the name stuck, darn near everyone calls him Spud now and all those other names are forgotten. His biological mother and her husband are dead, and he sees his sisters only for brief visits every now and again. So his new life as Spud, rotten childhood behind him, crappy marriages all but forgotten, and just Uncle Spud to the kids has him as contented as is imaginable.

where to go from here

I wrote a piece about my oldest brother -- you know way back in part 1 when I said I would go from oldest to youngest -- I used real names (which I will change) and right now it feels like I'm somehow violating his privacy -- and then I thought -- well I could post it for a short time and take it down again -- only my regular readers that have been reading thus far would probably be interested anyhow...

I'm not sure what I'm going to do now... I guess I will go write about my next brother and see where that takes my heart

so my question to you dear readers (all three of you, lol) is are you feeling voyeuristic enough to want to read about my siblings now that you know how crazy our attachments are - or would you rather I went on to something new?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

part VII

My parents live on a strange piece of land, which if you were there, all the description of what and how might be interesting – but to be as brief as I can, the location of their land, and the shape of their land, and the road that runs through the land make it the ideal neighborhood shortcut for kids needing to get to the houses higher up the mountain. A couple of those kids spotted the puppies one day. They were reaching over the fence petting these adorable little black-lab-hey-come-have-fun-and-play-with-me-kid-magnets several afternoons. Mom let them have their time for a few days and then stepped out her back door to ask the boys if they wanted to walk the pups. It scared the hell outta the boys who were sure they would be in trouble for having used the shortcut, and worse yet gotten caught so close to the house. But, clearly Mom’s not very scary, and the boys took the dogs on many walks on many days. The one boy began to tell Mom a little about his life – well be damned if he wasn’t having a shitty childhood with misguided parents who weren’t capable of treating him like he should be treated, or his little brother either. There’s a big deal in the County where I grew up in 6th Grade. It’s called “outdoor lab” – you go away with your classmates for a week and live in a sort of a summer camp environment and you study animal scat and meteorology and hiking and survival and eco-systems, etc. Everyone looks forward to it for their entire time in school. Well one day the kid confessed that he couldn’t go to outdoor lab cuz his mom, who was a drunk and unemployed, didn’t have the money to get him the needed equipment. Mom said, hey, we probably have most of what’s on your list around here, you can borrow it. So he got out the list and sure enough Mom and Dad hooked him up – sleeping bag, flashlight, duffle bag, rain gear, wool socks, etc. They even found him a pair of boots. He was SO excited – he went home to tell his mom all about the nice “old couple” down the hill who were loaning him what he needed. Well his drunken abusive mom freaked out and made him take her to see these weird people. Mom and Dad charmed her, just like everyone else, and she left convinced they weren’t some weird pedophiles or religious fanatics that were gonna do something strange to her kid. But… she still wouldn’t allow him to go to Outdoor Lab. That kid, the only kid I ever knew who missed, had to sit at home that week with his drunken mom and know all his friends were at Outdoor Lab. He continued coming around to walk the dogs, or even just to avoid going home though, and started occasionally bringing his little brother too. After some months passed he showed up really needing some advice. His mom was being evicted and had told the boys (then 11 and 13) that she was going to go live in a box and they needed to find somewhere to live. Well they all discussed it and mom had two other boys already, and only really had room for one more – and the brothers notoriously did not get along well, and mom really didn’t want to referee all the time. Well the older brother decided he had a friend who lived nearby that he could ask and the younger boy moved in with Mom and Dad. Eventually the friend’s parents asked him to see if he could make some other arrangements; they hadn’t realized it would be so difficult and expensive to have two boys in the house. So he ended up at Mom and Dad’s too. My two little brothers hadn’t been loved or trusted or respected in a long time – and a little trust and love gave them a great foundation. Lots of other complicated crap happened to them… but eventually, they both managed to become fine young men. One is a Sergeant in the Marine Corps and the other has a college degree and a great career. The older one had so little respect for his biological father that when he was about to get his High School diploma he went to my parents, and asked if he could take their name. He didn’t want to ever use that other name again. It was so touching and we all sobbed through the entire graduation events every time they would proudly say his new name.

You should know, he wasn’t the first “foster” brother to choose to change his name. My oldest brother – since he couldn’t get that adoption he wanted – when he was in his twenties and about to get married – he didn’t want his bride to have his birth name, and he too changed his name to ours.

Now we were nine, with three extra exchange students.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

part VI

When I was in High School, I had the house pretty much to myself. My healthy brothers were married, my sisters were both in Boston, and my other brother had chosen a completely anti-social existence that excluded everyone, including his mom, our mom and dad, and all of us. It was very empty, and then when I graduated, I became an exchange student – well that lit a fire for Mom. She wasn’t about to have that house empty, so she got an exchange student. I was living at home for college, so it was me and the French exchange student for a year. Then they contacted mom the next year needing a temporary place for a Brazilian kid whose host family didn’t want him (can you imagine!) She agreed, and of course he stayed for the whole year. Then they called to ask if she could take a Dutch girl a couple of years later – well yeah. So, then we were sort of 10 – really after you spend a year with someone, particularly at our house, they do feel like family. I cry when they have babies and get married; the French girl even had my parents at her wedding and treated them completely equal to her own French parents. They have all been back, the girls for visits, and the Brazilian came back and lived another year here while he attended college. It was during that year that my #2 brother’s ex-wife contacted my mom and said… “Hey I’m having trouble with this kid, and I think that your neighborhood would be much better for him to try to get through school than here in the city”… so my nephew moved in. My mom had the nephew in High school, the Brazilian kid in college, and two new puppies.

Monday, September 15, 2008

part V

Time passed, and everyone got old enough to bring home stray cats, dogs, and my oldest sister even brought home a stray kid or two. One of them was in foster care in the neighborhood – and the foster care wasn’t working out so peachy keen – he was in the foster care of a relative, and that wasn’t much accomplishing anything to help with his self-image, etc. My parents spoke with his foster parent and biological mom and they all determined maybe a new environment might really help him to thrive. He became our foster brother – so wow – we were three girls and four boys in a relatively moderate house – this meant four boys in one bedroom at some times, it worked out okay though, as our oldest brother was already an adult and was driving a semi over the road – he was gone for weeks at a time and home for only a few days here an there. No reason to have his own place when he wasn’t around much, and not much of an inconvenience when he was home as he was an adult, and I personally as the baby thought he was quite fun! Also, middle brother and sister were there like half-time – and in fact he was choosing to be around less and less as he became a teen and was unfortunately afflicted with schizophrenia, which at the time wasn’t diagnosed, but none the less made him anti-social. It was really very awesome – the seven of us, being loved and taught how to be great adults who contribute to society by our parents who had more than enough love to go around for us and any other strays that needed some comfort at various times.

Monday Monday

SIGH... I know I said I was gonna quit using this as my bitching outlet, but I just gotta

I have two meetings tonight, my son has a double header for baseball, and I have a meeting at work tomorrow that I should be spending today preparing for but instead I am cleaning my house as one of the meetings that I have tonight -- I am supposed to hostess -- UGH

also -- WTF is up with all my drafts posting on the day that I typed them instead of the day I click "post"?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

part IV

Mom’s job, the one she had to get to feed her kids, was working as a bartender at a popular bar/restaurant that happened to be attached to a bowling alley. Dad was having his “boy’s night out” with some industry colleagues every week by bowling on a league – hmmmmm, I wonder where Dad was bowling? Well I know where he was drinking! It was an instant chemistry – but they were both a little gun shy – particularly Mom. In the end, Dad won her over and they started dating.

Ironically, they started dating around the time that Dodie decided to up and run off from her job and her boyfriend – she apparently was too fond of a few of Mom’s valuables to leave them behind though. The boyfriend showed up to pick her up for a date at about the same time Mom was panicking who would take care of the kids so that she could go to work. He offered his time until she could find a new housekeeper – and then he kept hanging around after that – he was fond of the kids and mom – and his own family life was more hideous than any Hollywood movie ever depicted child abuse being.

The magic eventually resulted in a marriage – and the blending of their four… well actually five kids. The Wrangler, who was seventeen, asked if they would adopt him – his own family clearly didn’t care about him, and he had never felt like he was loved or belonged anywhere before. They discussed it, and determined that adopting a seventeen year-old was a bit more than they could bite off with a new marriage – but he was welcome to be a part of the family in every way. It worked out that Mom was willing to give the baby making thing one more shot, and she and Dad didn’t have much trouble creating a little one once they set their sights on it. Five soon became six after I made my first appearance. I was absolutely adored and spoiled, or so all five of them would have me believe – my cousins and occasionally my mom will actually rat them out for various levels of neutrality or even annoyance with my existence. Dad adopted Mom’s two kids – their biological father was no peach and they needed the stability of having a good dad and the same name as their mom and siblings. Dad’s two contributions to the family continued to live with their mom, and spend weekends, holidays, and a good part of the summer with us. Though they lived with their mom (the address and phone number are still right at my fingertips in my memory!) we saw them often and were very close.

part III

They were a match made in heaven – Mom and Dad that is – but they had some more learning to do, and part of that was to have other marriages first. Thus came four of my siblings.

Mom and her first husband had a daughter and son – but he was abusive and in order to survive and protect her kids Mom made the brave (and very unpopular choice in the early sixties) decision to get a divorce. This left her in the unique position of being a single mom that had to work to support her kids. There was no such thing as daycare, so she hired a housekeeper – you know like Alice or Hazel or Mr. Belvedere – Mom’s housekeeper stories alone are enough to fill a blog for a few months – wow! Anyhow, after hiring, firing, and chasing a few away with the pet monkey – mom had a cute little young housekeeper named Dodie that was dating the cute wrangler at the stables – this was handy, as Dodie could take the kids out horseback riding for an activity with some frequency, and the kids became as fond of the wrangler as they were of Dodie.

Meantime, Dad was trying to have children with his first wife and things were not working out in the ordinary way – so they took themselves over to the local Catholic orphanage and spotted and adorable baby boy – they took him home and named him after Dad – well at least his middle name. A little time passed and they thought, heck, let’s go get another one. Though thinking they would bring home a baby, Dad’s first wife spotted a toddler girl in a green dress and a miserable expression – she determined this poor child who no one else had wanted had spent enough time in the orphanage and needed the love that she and Dad could give her. She was right; she fit in very well and thrived in their care. But, some lessons are harder to spot, and as it turns out – Dad’s youth had caused an awful lot of damage to his self-esteem, and he really had just settled on the first girl who would have him, and there wasn’t a passionate love to keep them together – and they had different ideas about the future as well, which was a frustration to them both.

part II

Dad had a rough time growing up – his dad had married a woman who had died in childbirth having my oldest aunt. My grandfather joined the army and left the baby with his parents to raise. During WWI he was gassed and had some sort of bayonet injury – while he was recovering in the hospital, he met my grandmother. They were married, but the first daughter was nearly grown and didn’t stay there long, she got married herself. My grandparents had two more children, my dad’s other older sister and of course my dad. There are about as many stories as to what actually happened as there are days in a year, but for one reason or another, my grandmother chose to leave her husband, and he got the kids – I think in order for him to get a divorce she had a pretend nervous breakdown of sorts. According to my oldest Aunt, and it may well be true, before she went to the hospital, or wherever, she interviewed “house keepers” and selected one that she thought my grandfather would be attracted to so that he wouldn’t be too long without a wife and these two kids. It worked. He married the housekeeper and they had two more children, both girls. By that time, my other aunt had also married, but my dad was still a young teen. Since his step-mother was wicked, really awful and wicked, by nature, she had him sent away. It wasn’t very hard to do as my grandfather was downright abusive of the kids and particularly my dad himself. He lived with his uncle on a farm so that he wouldn’t be near the babies. Then he pulled a few normal teenaged boy stunts and the uncle sent him to a sort of a catholic boy’s reform school. The priests knew that he was just a normal kid and not a troubled kid and didn’t want him in there with the other more worldly kids – so they helped him run away. He ran away and came west. He was in Colorado and Nebraska in those early years and met his first wife. Interestingly enough, the two younger sisters were never told they had a brother or other sisters until they were grown women and their maternal grandmother was dying – on her death bed she told the family secret – that their father had other children.

Mom had an equally rough childhood. Her parents were married out of necessity when she made herself known to them. They were deeply in love, and maintained until they died that they both loved each other and never their later spouses. Grandpa would say he only loved two women, my grandmother and some red-head in Florida. My grandmother would only say that the only time she was truly in love was when she first met Grandpa. They were also divorced, but getting married at 18 is not a great choice now and wasn’t a great choice then. Grandpa wanted to fly and ride motorcycles and horse around and didn’t really want to sell furniture and come home to the little family every night. My grandmother was equally as wild and hated children. She was a musician, she wanted to play in nightclubs, fly, ride motorcycles and horse around and didn’t really want to stay home and do housework and take care of babies all day. Also, due to her own baggage, babies and children really truly disgusted her – she didn’t just hate babies, she was completely averse to them. She was extremely abusive to my mom and uncle – and Grandpa would defend them on the rare occasion he was aware of it, but he was so into just doing his own thing he didn’t always realize what was going on. My great-grandparents were very disappointed in their son-in-law, and though they knew that my grandmother was not a great parent, they made certain he didn’t have any contact with them after the divorce. My grandmother eventually took her music to New York City and left my mom and her brother with my great-grandparents, those years were a reprieve from the nasty abuse – but then she eventually returned when they were teens. She promptly shipped my uncle off to military school – she felt he was too “milk toast” and needed toughening up. She re-married and set up house with her daughter and new husband. It was during these years that she really screwed with my mom’s mind – she didn’t completely hate her anymore, because she wasn’t a child – and she would introduce her as her sister most of the time – but she would also manipulate her in the worst ways, and was very unpredictable and often violent, particularly when she was drinking – which being a musician in a nightclub, meant most nights. Mom couldn’t wait to get away, but when she fell in love in High School, her mom sent her away to boarding school to keep her from that happiness. Mom escaped from boarding school, came home and married a different guy.

I got a little carried away -- love inspires me? -- part one

I thought for a writing exercise (and no, I don’t actually passionately aspire to be a great writer someday – but I think we’ve all thought it would be cool at one time or another) and to broaden my blog away from bitching about kids/work/other humans, and to stop trying to force the funny, since I’ve had some feedback that is the reason my few readers drop in – I would start writing stories about my siblings – I have loads, so if I write one story per week that gets me through an entire quarter!

I’ve put very little thought into this actually, but since I generally work from oldest to youngest (I think it is a natural order not just because of first in-first out, but also because you are supposed to list yourself last, and being the “youngest”, that made it appropriate – so I guess I will start with oldest. Well now see this doesn’t work if you don’t understand the whole family flow-chart – which to my knowledge no one has ever attempted to put in writing before. I’m tempted to actually make a chart, you know so that it would look a little like the ‘Days of Our Lives’ character/family tree. Teehee, I’m going to try, I may come back and say – wow I suck at flow charts – we’ll see.

Well it’s not that complicated – but… I don’t have clever names for all of them yet – gonna have to work on that.

Anyhow, the chart will follow when I get the clever pseudonyms figured, for now; I think we have to go from describing my siblings to describing our complicated situation. BTW – if I knew how to put a song up, I would put up Garth Brooks – Love is thicker than Blood – you’ll see what I mean. DO NOT MISUNDERSTAND THIS EXPLANATION – THESE ARE ALL MY SIBLINGS – EQUALLY! A lot of people, including a lot of my in-laws and my brothers and sisters in-laws an spouses have made the mistake of thinking that somehow our biological disconnects makes us less siblings than other families – I think it makes us more siblings – more important to each other, because we know what fractured homes can become and have seen them first hand. When the two youngest came along, none of us were at home anymore, and still Mom and Dad asked us what we thought about them taking in the two boys – not one of us even had to think about it – Mom and Dad cried and carried on about how good we are at sharing what we have – an it’s really not like that at all, it doesn’t feel like sharing, it just feels right.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

I drink alone

I spend a little time wasting time, oops improving my mind at other blogs. I was feeling particularly like procrastinating, oops enlightening myself one day a couple of weeks ago so I looked at the reading lists on the other blogs I read. I ran across a particularly well written, and at least for my sick twisted mind, funny blog – plus it had a great title (I really like great titles, in spite of mine meaning nothing at all to anyone but me) Mommy Wants Vodka. I can relate to that title – there are days… yeah yeah yeah, I know alcohol is a depressant, alcohol does nothing to enhance your mood, if you turn to alcohol for stress you could develop bad habits, blah blah blah… like I was saying, there are days, work goes poorly, some stupid dr’s office you can’t even remember calls up and wants to know why you haven’t paid the $12 you owe them… for which kid, that kid never had xrays, oh in August of 2006, well I never saw a bill, you have to pay them on the spot or apparently they can repossess your house or something, the dog is shedding and the cat is eating it, your kids didn’t do chores because they a) didn’t have time (ROFL, this always cracks me up – they DON’T have time, yeah okay) b) the other kid didn’t do their chore and they couldn’t do theirs until the other kid was done (um if little sister doesn’t clean the bathroom how does that affect doing the dishes?) c) someone was taking a shower… okay my kids are spoiled, and they get away with some pretty long showers on occasion, but seriously, showers do not take ALL day (and, you can actually do dishes while someone is in the shower!) d) they didn’t know – really, so when you fed yourself (WHAT?! YOU HAVEN’T EATEN ALL DAY?!?!)… really, so when you dragged your lazy, oops I mean really busy, ass into the kitchen for beverages and there were NO CLEAN glasses and you couldn’t get to the sink for all the dirty ones stacked in it, you didn’t notice the kitchen was a freakin pigsty? This is when they pull the super card (cuz I’m always bitching at them to be more friendly to each other)… well I didn’t get myself anything to drink, I had a headache and my siblings waited on me hand and foot all day (sure, yeah, okay…) e) speaking of headaches, I had a headache/cramps/backache/my elbow hurts/I’m resting my injured earlobe because I have sport/dance/speech/work later and I couldn’t possibly get up off the couch from my Scrubs/CSI/Gilmore Girls marathon to drop some glasses into the dishwasher and leave the counters all crappy and the trash overflowing so you would think I got something done today. Then of course the followup… “Did you pay the 8gazillion dollars to the place for my thing yet?” – please read that in snotty 14 year old girl voice, cuz it just doesn’t have the same bang if you say it nicely. Those are the days when a little vodka (or in my case God sent from heaven Bourbon) sounds just delightful. My kids know that when I walk through the door and begin to get my cocktail shaker down before I go pee or change clothes they had better walk on eggshells… too bad they can’t read any more discreet (and more frequent, a hell of a lot more frequent) signs of distress from their father and me. I hate to have to drink just to manipulate them into being nice to me – but I wouldn’t want to put those Bourbon distillers out of work either, so I have obligations all over the place.

So yesterday… some stupid xray place called, they wanted their $12.83 for a cat scan in August of 2006. I do not remember this exact date, but I do remember that kid having a cat scan (hey $12 is cheap for a cat scan, so I was very willing to just pay it and not bother looking for the EOB or other documentation). The assistant principal called… the NEW assistant principal, that I haven’t met yet, that is in charge of discipline, called. Well since we are a whopping three weeks into school, and my darling son has already been to see this man (usually he’s a very good kid, but…) for a trumped up charge of bullying from some Sevie on the bus – seriously, I talked to several other kids on the bus, I wouldn’t say I don’t trust my kid, but, he has been known to put a spin on things on occasion and to get to the bottom of the story BEFORE the school calls I like to have the facts, without the spin. He didn’t spin this, his friends, his sister, and his sister’s friends and even some kids that just know my kids all confirmed this particular little Sevie is on a crusade to torture all older jocks and accuse them of bullying, and sexism, and racism. She sounds like a little darling! So, one of my kids was already in the new hatchet man’s office FIRST week of school. When the phone rang and he said “Mrs. Momumo, this is Mr. Administrator from your child’s school.” I wasn’t actually immediately surprised. I thought maybe there had been a development in the bully crusade, or that he needed to speak to me about something totally unrelated to my kids that related to my position with the School Foundation. I was wrong. He didn’t have my son in his office. He didn’t have news on the great Colorado Bully Inquisition. He probably doesn’t even know I have a position with the Foundation. No, he had just sent my darling daughter back to class after having given her a detention. A what? A detention. For what? For chronic tardies, three unexcused already this term. For what? Three unexcused tardies this term.

LONG PAUSE while I gather my thoughts.

Which class? Math. What period? Fourth.

– Aha (really seriously, if someone had been sitting here they would have witnessed one of those cartoon lightbulbs above my head!), 4th period determines lunch – yeah yeah, the boy had a problem with this a few years ago, could not manage to get to the class that followed lunch cuz he was dicking around with his friends during lunch.

So she has lunch immediately preceding math? Let me check. No. She has lunch AFTER math. Well what class precedes Math? (I mean duh, it’s not like she’s running out to do a little shopping – with my money, cuz she has none of her own – from the closed campus) French. Wait, she is late to class going from upstairs to downstairs in the same wing – that takes like 2 minutes tops, on crutches, in bad weather, and a crowd. Yes, she said the problem is that she is going to her locker between classes. She is what? Going to her locker between classes. She is going to her locker BEFORE 4th hour even though lunch is right after 4th hour? That’s what she said. Well she will have to stop doing that. I will talk with her. She will have detention on Thursday from 2:40-3:40, please sign the slip she is bringing home. Okay, thanks bye.

Well then I talked to her dad about the impending explosive afternoon schedule of everyone going 14 places with only four bodies and three cars to do the going. Could he help out, I didn’t know when my staff meeting would end, they’ve been awfully long lately. Oh yeah, did he this or that? Oh and, your daughter has detention. What? Detention. For what? For three unexcused absences in math. Is she ditching? No she’s just late. You said absences. Oh, I meant tardies, sorry. Okay so she’s been late three times to the same class already? Yeah – she’s going to her locker. Well where is her locker. In the other wing. Well what class does she have before math. French. Well that’s stupid. Yeah. Okay, anything else. Yeah, what are we doing for dinner? I dunno, I’ll call you after my meeting. Okay.

Then… staff meeting wasn’t long! So I left early to go home, pull all my stuff together for the fundraiser for HER organization that I chair (cuz I have this “I can’t say No” neon sign that protrudes out of my ass on a stick and lights up above my head [behind the lightbulb]) – I went home, grabbed my crap, remembered I needed to print more flyers. Husband’s printer is superior to mine, so I trotted my ass downstairs to use his printer. My car is in the driveway, the front door is hanging open, and my son immediately comes downstairs to greet me “Hey, we’re home.” Then, my cell phone rings, it’s her – calling me from upstairs. Well, I didn’t answer. So when I go upstairs a few minutes later she is on the phone with her dad asking where I was. This child walked past my car, into the unlocked house, past my purse and called her dad to find out where I was! Then I hear her end of the conversation about the detention. Which, it was clear he was simply asking her about and not being nasty about. She immediately got defensive and snotty and announced “At least I didn’t kill anyone!” – you know, cuz that’s an excuse?!?! Needless to say, that conversation went downhill fast. Then she got off the phone and asked in her snotty voice if I had registered her for dance. I have told her at least 6 times, that I will not register her, she has to do it herself. So I told her that again and left. As I’m walking to my car, she has the balls to ask me if she can borrow my shoes. Seriously – after talking awful to her dad, making unnecessary excuses (Oh yeah, after she got off the phone with her dad, I told her “ you knew you were late, you should have made an effort not to be late a third time” – to which she replied “I did try” – oh yeah, by GOING to the other side of the school?) she wants to borrow my shoes that I haven’t worn. And her feet are larger than mine, and she is really really hard on shoes. Um – NO.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

color me falling out of my chair patting myself on the back

I wrote this almost one year ago...

listerine let me count the ways

I read this today...

Listerine Fixes More Than Your Breath

hmmmm... I wonder if the Denver Channel will run a piece on circumcision next July???