Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hauling out the Shot Gun

I was a bit surprised at the strength of my conviction, which I didn't know was so strong until I found myself standing in the middle of a living room full of 18 year old males and females with a shot gun. Now, this is a vintage shot gun - my great grandfather's 1912 Remington. It's busted, in the first place, and in the second, I don't have any ammunition. Nevertheless, a shotgun does have a way of emphasizing a point.

I was making a policy statement against teen pregnancy to the group after sending Velvet to chase a young couple out of his bedroom where they had gone at about 2:30 in the morning and closed the door.

I didn't make an ass of myself or anything, and I'll admit that no one in my happy home was strictly sober at that moment. The kids know I'm pretty relaxed about most things - although I really hate it when I'm coming home from a reading or an off-off Broadway production and smell weed in the hall twenty feet before I get to our door. My neighbor Mark recommends smoke eating candles, and I may have to get some this weekend. And the kids know that I 100% believe that if the American Government thinks 18 year olds are smart enough to vote, and big enough to go into the military and get shot at - then they are old enough to drink a beer. Just not my beer, and I'm not buying it for them.

As an educator with a lot of letters behind my name, I know that kids will push limits just to make sure someone is paying attention. Kids feel more secure when adults set reasonable limits. So when the young couple in question - who had already been smooching in the recliner - wandered into Velvet's bedroom and shut the door, I was compelled to say: Not No But Hell No.

I'm actually not sure how I got on the topic of my shotgun during that discussion, but once it popped into my head, I popped into my room for the Remington. I've never shot a gun in my life, but I do like using it for arm curls -and like any well bred Texan Female, I can twirl my shotgun.

I may twirl it straight at Michele Bachmann's head one day since I think that these broads from the Barbie Doll/Beauty Queen School of Female Education, like Bachmann and Sarah Palin, should prove they can twirl and talk at the same time. Personally, I don't think they can do it - and as I've mentioned to Utah Savage, I suspect she and I (both well bred Texas Women) can bust those broads on the head with a baton from twenty paces while reciting The Constitution. I can't manage a flaming baton, though, so we'll have to make due with sparkly fringe. And I am damn sure not chucking my 1912 Remington at either one of them on account of they'd keep it.

Sarah Palin should have hauled out one of her many firearms to make a statement about teen pregnancy in her own house, now that I think about it. I never preached abstinence, either. I just said (1) Not in My House, and (2) if you're as smart as you think you are, you won't get pregnant until you're good and ready.

I also said that I had been pregnant once in my life, and put my arm around my handsome Velvet. For some people, Velvet himself is a walking ad for birth control, but I'm proud as I can be most days. When I checked with him later to make sure I hadn't embarrassed him in front of his friends, he said he wasn't a bit embarrassed because I was just laying down the law, and that's how we are in Texas. Actually, not everyone in Texas hauls out a shotgun to make a point. I learned this trick from my mother.

For some reason, folks listen differently when a woman is holding a shotgun. And Mother never actually hauled hers out - she just threatened to hold a repair man hostage until they fixed her cook top to her satisfaction. He should never have tried to hand her a load of bullshit about why he couldn't fix it. Sometimes people will try to fill you full of shit. Mother had simply had enough that day.

In any case, the children now understand that just because they may not get in trouble for hotboxing the bathroom there is no reason to think anyone is doing anything remotely connected with pregnancy when I'm around. Now that I'm reflecting on this event, I've remembered that the kid who went into the bedroom with his girlfriend was a key player in leaving a drunk girl in the bathroom last fall when he and his posse went off to another party.

I am almost positive that if anyone's parents heard that I said No Pregnancy Allowed and hauled out a shotgun to indicate that I was serious as a heart attack, they'd be okay with it.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Chocolate Jesus

A couple of years ago, some guy made a life size, naked, chocolate Jesus. Lots of people were pissed. Chocolate Jesus popped into my head around Easter because of all the chocolate bunnies. Makes much more sense to me to put Chocolate Jesuses in Easter Baskets - especially since communion is all about eating the body of Christ. Why not have a whole Chocolate Jesus instead of one of those tasteless little wafers?

Not surprisingly, there was a lot of commotion around the Chocolate Jesus, but it had more to do with the fully exposed, anatomically correct genitals and the generally sacrilegious nature of the concept of making The Lord out of candy in the first place. The statue was titled My Sweet Lord. I don't remember reading anything at the time that criticized My Sweet Lord for insinuating that Jesus was a dark skinned black man.

The idea that it's virtually impossible for Jesus himself to have been nearly as white as he is often depicted has been around for a long time. In fact, although I don't know the origins of the idea, plenty of people think Jesus was a black man.

Since I spent spring break down in Texas, Chocolate Jesus was already on my mind when a couple of different people asked me what I thought about the Seder at the White House. **Note** I am not Jewish. Buzz Kill's dad, who died when Buzz Kill was in High School, was descended from Russian Jews who came to this country during The Pogroms - which is why everyone was leaving Anatevka in Fiddler on the Roof. Although Vagina Dentata is a New Agey Presbyterian, people still have a tendency to think we're Jewish on account of our last name. And there is the fact that Velvet himself is Jewish enough to have met criteria for Concentration Camps - which makes me pretty much the most Jewish person many of my mother's neighbors have ever met. Plus, you can't live on the Upper West Side of New York City for twenty years without becoming fairly acquainted with Jewish cultural traditions. Ergo: When I was in Texas, folks asked me what I thought about the Obama's having the first Seder at the White House.

I thought it made perfect sense that they'd have a seder since Michele Obama's cousin is a rabbi. I thought it must be common knowledge that Michele Obama's cousin is a Rabbi since it was in the New York Times. His name is Caper Funnye, and he wasn't always Jewish. He converted during the Civil Rights Movement, like a number of African Americans, especially since there was strong support for the idea that Jesus was a black man, and Jesus was Jewish, after all.

Here's Rabbi Funnye:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Yippie Ki-Yay, Motherfucker

Liberality has given me The Honest Weblog award - and the first rule that goes along with this honor is that you absolutely, positively must brag about receiving it. I'm going to reference Rule #3 while doing this bragging since I got this award because somebody considered me Brilliant. Since the person who publicly declared I am Brilliant is a socially conscious, politically aware, psychologically sophisticated, self-declared Old Hippie who reads all kinds of stuff all the time because she's a librarian - I'm particularly honored that she thinks my blog is worth reading at all, much less Brilliant. My ass has been dragging lately because of work related BS and because I have had to admit that I over-reacted during the recent family drama on account of my emotional gestalt being All Fucked Up, so getting this recognition from someone I admire and respect is better than those chocolate cupcakes Velvet's girlfriend made from scratch. Chocolate cures a lot of ills, but besides being fattening, those cup cakes were Velvet's. This award is, in fact, All About Me. Yippie Ki-Yay, Motherfucker!

1.You must brag about the award

2. You must include the name of the blogger who bestowed the award on you and link back to the blogger
3. You must choose a minimum of seven (7) blogs that you find brilliant in content or design
4. Show their names and links and leave a comment informing them that they were prized with Honest Weblog
5. List at least ten (10) honest things about yourself. Then pass on the instructions.
Within my list of seven blogs are some folks who I absolutely cannot imagine playing along with the award thing - particularly the 10 Things About Yourself - but I'm naming them anyway because I like them. We still live in a free country, after all, and they can choose to ignore as many of the rules as they please.

Alternate Brain
Bruce M. Hood
Drinking Liberally in New Milford
Fading Ad by Frank H. Jump
Of Course I Could Be Wrong
Swerve Left

Now for the list of ten honest things about myself.

1. This list reminds me of that list of 25 Random Things about yourself on Facebook. I kind of like Facebook even though the new format really sucks.
2. I almost gave into an impulse to post my real name here at Menopausal Stoners so we could all be friends on Facebook - then I remembered all the good reasons why I use PENolan as my name here on the blog. You never know about stalkers and/or ex-husbands, boyfriends and fiancees.
3. Mostly, I'm so afraid of other people that I'm surprised I can leave the house. When I first moved to New York, I was so afraid of getting hollered at by people that I couldn't call in an order for Chinese food and had nightmares about giving taxi drivers a bill larger than a twenty.
4. One of the main reasons I work as a preschool teacher is that I consider a preschool an emotionally safe environment.
5. I hate my body
6. I like my hair
7. I'm a sucker for wild flowers and chipmunks
8. I wish I had the guts to send out my stories to be published in a real magazine. I'm getting there, but I'm still a dang chicken.
9. I'm better off financially than lots of people, but I wish I could pay my bills on time and didn't owe my shrink a fortune and could afford to get my teeth fixed. Unfortunately, there's no relief in sight even if I phased my therapy down to once a week and I'm not quite stable enough to do that yet since I've only been totally off Depakote for three months. Maybe by September.
10. I'm proud to be a Welsh Witch like Stevie Nicks - even though I'm not really a witch and I don't think she is either.
11. I still can't figure out how to create a link in somebody else's blog. Every time I try, I wind up with an entirely separate post in my blog that gives the link to their blog. I wish somebody could explain this process to me since the Blogger Help on this task positively sucks.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Four Twenty

April 20th, or 420, is National Weed Day. Around the country, maybe even the world, joints will be sparked, bongs will be hit, and pipes will be passed in celebration. Some people may wait until 4:20 in the afternoon. Others will start smoking at 4:20 in the morning and stay high all day long. Then there will be those of us who aren't smoking weed at all because of our various responsibilities. Nevertheless, 420 is a significant stoner day whether you're smoking or not. You can read all about it on Wikipedia: 420 (Cannabis Culture)

April 20th is also Hitler's birthday.
I felt compelled to point out this absolutely random coincidence.

I learned this information about Hitler when I was telling my shrink about how on New Years Eve I had declared the party over at 4:00am since I figured there was no reason there should be noisy kids in my living room when all the bars were closed. Then one of Velvet's friends wanted to stay twenty more minutes so they could smoke a joint at 4:20. As it happens, my shrink evaluated Holocaust survivors for reparations from the German government for years and years. She was perplexed and immediately asked, "Hitler's Birthday?"

I explained right away that 420 has absolutely nothing to do with Hitler. It's all about weed from start to finish. Here at Menopausal Stoners, we want to make sure there is no confusion.

I don't celebrate 420 myself, but a lot of folks think it's fun. I hope they use the occasion to support the decriminalization of marijuana. And growing hemp for paper products and oil and stuff like that should be okay too.

We could all pause a moment, however, and hope with all our hearts for peace. Then party on, dudes, and be excellent to each other.

George Carlin as Rufus in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.

Chocolate Frosting on Granny's First Dead Birthday

It's Granny the Ho's first Dead Birthday. She was alive on all her other birthdays, so today is her first dead one. In Granny's honor, my mom arranged for Granny's favorite cake, pineapple upside down cake, to be served today at the Senior Center out in Lake Tahoe where Granny enjoyed bingo for years and years before having to move down to Houston to die.

Talking to my Granny would be a comfort today because, being fairly manipulative herself, Granny could spot a plot a mile away.

Both my grandmothers put a lot of effort into mangling the relationships between their children. They didn't pit their kids against each other, but with subtle interference and bold face lies, they both were able to keep their kids from comparing notes. My Beaumont grandmother, the Pit Bull in Pink, was even more manipulative than Granny. The Pit Bull had to tell a bunch of lies to keep all those skeletons from falling out of the closet. I can't blame her - even though my life would certainly have had a few less traumas.

Her own father blew his head off with a shot gun at the start of the Depression and her mother remarried rapidly since they needed the money. Most likely Grandmother, or Ms. F as we all called her, was just as appalled as anyone else when Mr. F, the stepfather, began molesting her three daughters. The Pit Bull grew up thinking that's just the way life is. So when my own grandfather, her husband, turned out to be an alcoholic wretch, I suppose she thought the best thing to do was enable his bullshit as best she could and stash the money somewhere safe when he was too drunk to notice. It's not like the Pit Bull was a saint, of course. For recreation, she whipped our thighs with a switch she'd cut from a bush in the yard . I hated those people and am glad they're dead. I don't even know when their birthdays are.

From what I understand, however, my younger cousins had an entirely different experience with that grandmother than I did. I hear she was pretty wonderful to them which makes sense because by then, my grandfather was dead and The Pit Bull didn't have near the stress. Also my Uncle Jenifer had moved away to Houston, so she didn't have to cover up his bad behaviors either. When he was still a man, he occasionally beat his girl friends and molested their children. We can only hope things are different now that he's a woman.

Granny the Ho never had problems like these. I expect she lied to her kids just because she liked the drama of a family feud. And they weren't big old lies, either. Just little tales to make it seem like the child she was living with was a greedy brat so the other two would send more money. Fortunately, my mom and her brothers finally put two and together, and they all did their fair share when it came to taking care of their mother's financial needs with a minimum of resentment.

As fucked up as both sides of my delightfully Southern Gothic family are, no one has ever been passive aggressive. Down Right Hostile, Violent, Drunk and Perverted - but not a passive bone in any one's body. That's what has made dealing with Buzz Kill so difficult for me. It took me years to understand that I was being manipulated by a masterful passive aggressive so that he always looked like an innocent bystander when I lost my temper and started shouting.

I fell for it one more time day the instant I got back to New York City. I had left some paperwork on the table in my apartment for Velvet and Buzz Kill to deal with while I was away. It was for the NY State Tuition Assistance Program, TAP. Although Buzz Kill did look at said papers, he didn't touch them. He could have filled in all but two blanks and left a post-it note where I needed to provide information. Never mind that I'd left the Financial Aid folder on my desk, clearly marked, for their convenience - and he didn't need me at all. The point is that the papers were untouched for a week.

Buzz Kill decided, without calling to let me know, that he'd come over to work on these papers the minute I got back home. I appreciate that he doesn't like to talk to me, but considering he had my flight information, it would have been extremely simple to leave a voice mail on my phone while I was en route.

Buzz Kill said he never called me because he didn't want to disturb my vacation - as if me drinking coffee with my mother was infinitely more important than Velvet's financial aid. Thankfully, Velvet heard this excuse with his very own ears when Buzz Kill was trying to explain why he'd called Velvet to say he was on his way over and told Velvet to tell me.

I'm sorry to say I hit the roof like a cross between Sarah Bernhardt

and Yosemite Sam

It wasn't pretty.

Despite the fact that Buzz Kill tried to make it seem like I needed to be institutionalized for my emotional instability, in the end Velvet and I worked together and saw that Buzz Kill was trying to cause a rift between us where in I would run off back to Texas, Velvet would use Vagina Dentata's address as his permanent residence to secure in state status for college (since Buzz Kill lives with his mother to this day) and Buzz Kill would get out of paying child support for the next three years.

When Buzz Kill used Velvet on Thursday to deliver the news he was on his way over, it may have made me angrier than if he'd have told me himself, but the tactic showed Velvet exactly how his father operates. Velvet now thinks his father is a lying, whiny bitch which is a problem they'll have to resolve without my help. That's what happens when a man blatantly, shamelessly uses his son to agitate his ex-wife.

I suppose seeing your parents for the fools they are is all part of becoming an adult. Fortunately, Velvet has always been well aware of my faults. This particular episode was infinitely more intense than any we've experienced, though. We held hands and cried together a lot over the last couple of days, but we've reached a higher understanding. While I will continue to watch my language when talking about his father, at least I don't have to shield Velvet from certain realities.

Meanwhile, that little girl who thought it was so sexy that Velvet plays Dungeons & Dragons has captured Velvet's complete attention. He'd rather hang out with her than play D&D with the guys. I may never know exactly what transpired while I was in Texas, but she made him some outstanding chocolate cupcakes for his birthday which counts for a lot in my book.

When I first discovered six amazing chocolate cupcakes in my refrigerator, I didn't eat any because I wasn't sure how they wound up in my refrigerator. They could have had Buzz Kill's cooties on them. When Velvet told me who made them, I wasted no time. I'd been crying so hard from thinking I'd lost my son forever that my eyelids had turned inside out. No better cure for that than homemade chocolate cupcakes with snow caps on top.

Now that I think about it, Granny died with chocolate frosting on her lips from my own birthday cake. I love that story. And I loved the frosting on those yummy cup cakes my son's first girlfriend made for him. Velvet and I ate some of those cup cakes yesterday once the storm had passed. We piled up on the sofa together to watch two of our favorite movies - Star Trek IV and Stardust. I didn't mention granny's dead birthday to Velvet, but to me, it was like that chocolate frosting was a message from my Granny, saying everything was going to be just fine. Like chocolate frosting is the glue that binds us together as a family.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Velvet's Birthday

Velvet is now officially 18 years old. Within months, he will be leaving for college. Maybe near by, maybe far away - but going somewhere, nevertheless.

At the moment, he's out to dinner with his father and grandmother. Even though I know it's irrational, I'm feeling excluded. The birthday weekend has gone exactly as planned. He had a few friends over on Friday night. Most left when the Dungeons & Dragons game began in earnest sometime after midnight. Two die-hard friends slept over because they were engrossed in the game. By noon, Velvet had started his homework. By 4:00, a different group of friends came over for a serious D&D game that lasted until 6:00 today with a brief recess for sleep from 6:00 - 11:00AM. I made him get up to eat cake.

Before and After

It was a small but festive occasion with very close friends from the Hippy Dippy Quaker Camp. Most likely, Velvet's father was feeling excluded.

Being divorced is a drag. We'd still be married if Buzz Kill hadn't let the apartment go into foreclosure so many times. The only way I could take over the mortgage and protect the property was to get separated. For over a year, Buzz Kill refused to fill out the financial paperwork necessary to separate in NY State. I finally had to file for divorce so that the court would require him to submit the paperwork. Then he lied, and the court sent in an independent accountant to determine how much money Buzz Kill was hiding in his business. That's when things got ugly.

In the end, divorcing was the right thing to do. We may not be together as a family, but at least our home is safe. It's still a drag, though.

When Velvet was blowing out his candles, it would have been nice to share a proud moment with his father. That can't happen, and I'm already dreading Freshman Orientation. If Velvet goes to college in Syracuse and I take him up to school, it's going to be a long, lonely drive back to the city - unless Buzz Kill decides to come along which could be worse. Certainly people who are still married when their kids leave home are just as filled with isolation, anger and resentment as Buzz Kill and I are. Not all marriages are happy, but I wish things were different.

I'm not saying that Buzz Kill is having fun at dinner because Vagina Dentata is there, and going out to dinner with Vagina Dentata is excruciating. I'm afraid that Buzz Kill has brought his girl friend to this family occasion, and that makes me feel like there is a substitute mother at the party.

The worst is having to be mature around Velvet when I'm feeling irrationally disliked, replaced and all together shunned by people I don't even want to be around in the first place. It's more difficult to be mature when I'm exhausted - which makes me teary - because the dang kids kept woke me up every two hours during both nights of the D&D Marathon. They were well behaved and within normal parameters. It's just that when you live in an 1100 square foot apartment, there is no escape from ordinary noises like laughter, doors opening and shutting and toilets flushing. I'm too damn old to be waking up every two hours all night for two nights in a row.

Despite our failings, Buzz Kill and I must have done a few things right because Velvet has turned out fine.

I'm trying to hang on to that feeling of accomplishment right now. There was one very bright spot in an otherwise rough week when the Mad Priest over at Of Course I Could Be Wrong put me on his prayer list. They were having a rough week too, filled with personal loss, but he took the time to ask for prayers of thanksgiving in my behalf after reading what I said about getting out of the Looney Bin (Stonerdate 3.29.09). Imagine folks all around the world thanking G*d for Trish. Even if you don't believe in G*d, it's pretty amazing to consider.