July 12, 2003

It can't be that hard.

It has to be within reach now. I know it, because today I listened to some kid's waterproof pool radio, complete with a waterproof speaker that hangs down under the water and lets you hear the music better Under than Above water. Cost=$8.00.

So whare are the waterproof laptops? I told a couple of the other parents there, if they can make one of these radios that floats on top of the water--complete with the cool hot-yellow casing so familiar in waterproof devices--then why not a waterproof laptop, complete with foam floatation around the edges, even a coffee holder, and of course a wicked anti-glare screen. Heck, I'd take a whole floatable desk while I'm at it. Or a swim up and type station. Either/or. I'm not fussy.

Right now when I bring my laptop to the pool (no connection--I'm still a tethered girl) I have to plug into an extension cord in the bathroom and sit in a shady spot so as not to melt neither me nor my laptop into a squishy heap while I work mostly in MS Word. But boy, the work I could do if I could plop my little floaty laptop in the water with me. If I had one, I could spend all day in the pool. Every waking minute. And I would.

I'm not saying we should ruin the aesthetics of pool leisure. I don't want to turn the pool into an office, another place to dissociate from what's going on around us and focus on things of the mind, rather than the body and spirit. I don't think I'm really suggesting we go that far.

But, but, but, but... come deadline time, I sure would like to have me one.

The only ones I could find on google were military-grade laptops, which I'm assuming are a fortune. They're meant more for covert operations than for sun and fun.

Anyone know of anything on the market? If anyone will, it's bloggers.

July 11, 2003

JennaAudio 2 - listen at your own risk.

i don't suggest you listen to this at full volume. This is evening with Jenna who has discovered the joys of audio blogging. There is a chilling shriek that could blow your speakers when the cat knocks down the gate in the dining room. If you can get past the thrill of it all, and if you haven't had four cups of coffee today, it's all kinda cute. Daddy should listen. I am happy to report it's 11 p.m. and she is asleep. That is progress. Especially after a nightmare of giant sea turtles grabbing at her toes.

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AudioJenna 1 - Debut

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July 10, 2003

Real pre-blog bloggers

Fuck Emerson.

If we are to make exceptions for the technology not yet being in place when tracing blogging's origins, which I don't entirely agree we should do, then lets look for voices that live a road or two off the beaten path, huh?

Why don't I entirely agree that anyone before blogging can be classified as a blogger? Because blogging is new. Story telling is old. Linkage and networks matter and make blogging different. New. That's why I think you can't plug old round pegs into new square holes.

Voice, however, is another matter. Voice, perhaps, is older than we are. What was there before us? Sound. And if you believe in God, then Voice. So if you look into the origins of blogging through voice, then I'm with you. But through American literature? I say zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

So, if we allow for early journaling as voice to fit into the genesis of blogging, then I say Griff was more our blog grandpa than Emerson and the likes of his abrasively-introspective man-heroes of American literature.

Blogging is bottom up. Blogging is the sound of the quieter voices wired with mega amps of power.

Blogging is a Navy combat artist painting and writing from a World War II destroyer ship in 1941.

Griff along with his work of art and journaling have been brought to the net by grandson Gordon Coale at Grey Matter. An artist and I think a gifted story teller born in 1890, Griff's chronicle of the war in pictures and words are moving, compelling, and something I've just begun to explore. I'm so jazzed by what I hear and see:

October 23rd, 1941

A black night. The dim shapes of the officers with their binoculars peering through the small round ports of the wheel house. Men with head-phones. The dark loom of the watch on the bridge wings. All hands at their stations, competent, alert. "She is up and down, Sir." The slight throb of the powerful engines, and we lean gray wolves steal stealthily out in single file to the secret meeting with the oncoming almost helpless flock. The black loom of the hills of Newfoundland diminish into the obscurity of the night. "Secure anchors for sea." And with the first roll of the northern ocean, we feel that sensitive, live movement known only to men who have been in "Tin Cans", the Navy's nickname for destroyers.

That, my friends, is a voice I'd put on my blogroll any day of the week.

That is a blogger armed with simply a paint brush and a pen. And voice.

And a grandson who gets it.

when all else fails, go get your war on.

I hadn't seen june's edition.

Knock knock.
Who's there?
Syria who?
Seriously, would someone please tackle Donald Rumsfeld and lock his ass up until our Countries-Destroyed-to-Countries-Rebuilt ratio is closer to '1'?

You have to love this thing called the Internet, dontcha?
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I hadn't seen this...

Feeling lucky? So do what Mac says here. I haven't run into this one before. Made my morning. Oh wait, it's afternoon now.

work n sun n wind n taste

Up late last night finishing work on a client web site (among other things). Up early to take Jenna to summer camp. Up and Up, seems to be the way of July.

Jenna was all jazzed about trying the new McGriddle at McDonalds--jazzed enough that we got out of the house before 10. Peppy and happy, she's wanted to taste this thing since it came out. I've been avoiding it, but decided today was as good a day as any, especially since she did so well at her swim lessons yesterday.

It's a wierd little idea, that McGriddle. She liked it. I tasted it and wondered what all that sweet pancake taste was doing mixed in with salty bacon and eggs--it's the kind of mixture I'd rather experience in my stomach than on my tongue. But the logo looks just super on the top of that pancake bread. And from the back seat, I heard, "Mmmmmmmmm!"

Home now with a killer headache from not enough sleep, guzzling coffee, and waiting for the sun to come out so I can go welcome it.

Yesterday for the first time I laid out in the sun topless on our deck. George, did you just fall off your chair? I made sure I was invisible to the peripheral world, I'll have you know. I put towels on the rails of the deck, tucked the lounge chair behind the patio set, laid down face to the sun, and undressed for the sky.

I didn't let myself worry about being "seen." One neighbor back in rehab, the other at work, the backyard neighbors painstakingly blocked from view by the towels, the deck became my own private beach. Instead of thinking about reasons why I shouldn't be nearly naked on my own deck, I thought about the sun and the way it feels to unfamiliar skin.

Healing. The smack of heat against tender, white skin. And the breeze. I didn't think about the breeze...

Sometimes when I was 17 and living at home, I'd swim topless in our pool. Only when no one was home. Only when there was no chance of my parents rolling into the driveway. I would have been woefully shamed or celebrated (no telling which) to an unbearable degree of discomfort had my little escapades been discovered.

What I remember about swimming that way at 17 is the wind, the water, and the intensity of touch so strong that it melds with taste. Skin feelings so strong you can taste them. Like that. Cool boyant water lifting and celebrating my flesh, feeling just like wild cherry popsicles taste. Slurp.

Yesterday, I laid in the sun that way for a half-hour. I was careful not to get too much sun too fast, just enough to soften the line between a deep brown tan and bleach white skin. For a minute or two, I was 17 again, swimming next to naked in our family pool.

I'm not sure I'll make a habit out of my backyard deck tanning, but it was, well, really............. nice.

Holy Halley!

Some caring and sharing going on at the Super Nova Conference, where Liz got to ride with Halley in an ambulance after Halley gracefully leaped a tall building (or short fence) in a single bound right onto the spiked heel of her upside-down shoe. OUCH!! Seems like everyone's okay. Holy Halley--never a dull moment.

Blogger question for Thursday

How many bloggers have you talked to by phone, how many more than once, indicate the number of bloggers you regularly speak to if you have regular blogger friends? How many bloggers do you talk to more than you do real-world friends?

How many bloggers have you met--people you knew first from blogging?

My answers....

By Phone:

Have spoken to 10 bloggers by phone. An additional 3 on IM. I speak to 5 regularly. I speak to 3 more frequently than I do real-world friends.

In Person:

Haven't met a darn one of you yet.

July 09, 2003

my head is exploding, thanks to g. lawley

I told him I'd post his email for public consumption, so here it is. It's too strange, actually, for me to reply to tonight, since I have to go be a good parent now, but maybe later... For the record, this is written by someone who doesn't blog, which I agreed to post if he emailed it to me, and I think his, well, revulsion with weblogging is maybe part of the misunderstanding.

Maybe it's not possible to understand what it's like to lay it out day after day, sometimes in seconds, sometimes in lifetimes, post after post, and how that makes us---yes---care about one another in a way that does NOT exist exactly the same way in any other online forum. That's just the facts, Jack.

What Gerald reads into one post he reads that way because he's not here like bloggers are here, has not been on this journey. And it's not the same as the New Age chat room or forum--trust me on that.

So, I guess I request that those who come here either read me like a reader (I love readers), or read me like a blogger (I love bloggers), but don't read me like a reader who is trying to be a blogger but doesn't want to be because he doesn't like blogging. That's just fucked up.

There are some unwritten rules of households here, one of which is: Don't come here and shit on me unless you have someplace I can go do likewise. And yes, Gerald, you did shit on me with your rudeness.

Maybe I should take some rude liberties with what's going on in his life, as he did with mine, but I'll refrain. Mostly because I like his wife, who is a blogger. But the from the comment and the advice--I was trying to be funny, by the way--I do think Gerald has the ability to be a judgmental prick. Oh crap, let's just call it what it is: passive aggressive. But that's as far as I'll go.

So here goes, for those who are interested in hearing where G. Lawley was coming from in his comment to my "summertime" post... I thank him for taking the time to set the record straight.

Anyone want to take the time to answer--especially the "trite" comment thing--have at it. Just for the record, mostly we debate these things across blogs---that is one of those unwritten rules. No pain, no gain. That's another.

I'll try to add links in the appropriate places later... duty calls.

P.S. I'm NOT a single mom; I just play one on TV.


I wrote my reply originally in a comment box on your blog. When I went to post it it told me there was a 2500 character limit and that my reply was somewhere in the 9000s (I can't remember the exact number. It was written for public consumption, but not having a blog (or wanting one) and not having access to anything else but email to get the word out, I did what I could.

I have no problem with you posting it in your journal space - it is just that your comments section would not take it. Was that unclear from my post?

Anyway, here follows the post. Blog the hell out of it if you care to. Please post the above comments as well as they answer your intimation that I was trying to be secret with my answer. BTW, can you increase the number of characters that your comments section will accept or do you truly only want short, trite replies to your posts?


Ignoring for the time being all the personal attacks, I wonder if there is room here for a discussion that might help this single mom better cope with her current situation. I have read her posts, as well as George's, and I get it that there are literally hundreds of reasons that this is a difficult situation. I will be presumptuous and assume that these are not
being offered as excuses for not being able to deal with the issues mentioned in the original post. Therefore I will move forward.

I made the statement, "All the problems you have expressed in your post have their solutions in your actions, not the child's." I also gave a suggestion for helping the child get to sleep earlier. George informed me that this had been tried. I had no way of knowing that. Most certainly the suggestion I gave was not meant to be taken as "this is the only thing that will work". I have others, but I will not cut that cookie again.

The tenor of the replies to my comment seem to indicate that I don't have a clue as far as child raising. It was even assumed that I had never had children and that I was a school teacher (and that this was a bad thing because of previous bad experiences with teachers especially those who were mothers). So, for the sake of discussion let's say that all that is absolutely true and that my statements were absolutely false.

So now I have to modify, "All the problems you have expressed in your post have their solutions in your actions, not the child's" to read, "All the problems you have expressed in your post have their solutions in your child's actions, not your own." Does anyone really believe this?

A lot of a child's behavioral patterns are created unconsciously and in very tiny steps. The increments can be so tiny as to escape our attention until a threshold has been reached and we are appalled at what the child "has become". You provided a case in point with the telephone call/picnic basket incident.

When you made the deal with her before the call, you let her know this was very important to you. You expressed exactly what behavior you expected from her during this time. That is good. Yet when she violated that deal, what happened? She was rewarded with a picnic basket. Did she know in advance that this would be the outcome? Most likely, but if not, she certainly knows it now.

I am relatively sure (because I do not believe you to be a malevolent parent) she was disciplined after the fact and that she now understands that such behavior is unacceptable. So now she has conflicting messages and she processes these in a way she best understands at her age - I can perform the behavior and get rewarded with what I really want, but I will have to be talked to about it afterward. What, exactly, is the deterrent to re performing the behavior? I certainly don't have the answer for you in your case, because if I did it would be "cookie cutter". But I present it as my own personal viewpoint, based on my own experience, as a jumping off point for thought and discussion of the problems of child rearing.

You have a lot of sympathetic friends in this forum (I realize I am not one of them). No doubt many of them have confronted the same issues in the past and will have some suggestions that may help you. So far, none of them have
taken the time from beating up on me to make even one suggestion. Perhaps you don't want any. Perhaps you feel you can do this by yourself and it is nobody else's business (but that can't be true, can it? You did you publically journal it). From the description of your life I get from you and George it would seem to me (but only to me) that a bit of help would be welcomed. Is there some reason no one else had suggestions for getting a child to go to bed earlier?

I realize that my tone was what put everyone off. To all of you it probably crossed the border into rudeness, and upon rereading it I even think it did. But given the responses to it, rudeness seems to be the order of the day among this group. Still, I apologize for the tone.

But I think the content of what I suggested is true. And now that you and George have given me a deeper look into your troubled lives I have a hunch that what I wrote about needing to let the child know you are the parent and that if they cannot, of their own accord, exhibit decent behavior, then you will decide what is proper and implement it in an age appropriate way.

It is unfair to your business/ livelihood to have to have a misbehaving child running around while you are trying to work. That is why when you walk into a PR firm in downtown Atlanta you do not find a day care center in the center of the room. It is also unfair to your daughter to not have your attention when you are home with her. I am not pointing a finger here, I am stating the obvious, something you already know all too well. And I realize there might be multitudinous reasons why you think it has to be that way even though you hate it to death. But there are things you can do. I know some (but can't write them here as they would be "cookie cutter") your friends and relatives know some and there are scads of books with scads of suggestions - not answers - suggestions.

Even if you come back at me and say "I have tried all those, I have read all the books and nothing works. This is a special case and nothing is geared toward my situation", I refuse to believe that you have the only child on earth who cannot respond to anything that will solve your problem. That child is a genius (I believe they all have super intelligence) and
creative and highly-spirited and freedom-loving and all the rest of it. But there is a way to solve your problems. And I fully realize you are working on it every minute of every day.

If I lived near you I would offer a play date three days a week, at my house, with my two boys, ages 6 and 9 (to whom I have been a stay-at-home dad since the day the nine year old was born). That would give you some breathing room to get some work done without the distractions. That, in turn, might free you of some of the tensions that seemed to have built up in you, that your daughter perceives ever so clearly, and is learning (as she must) how to use all that to her advantage. That in turn might make the time you spend with her more fulfilling to her (at an unconscious level)
and thus she might be less given to behavior that seeks your attention in a negative way.

That is what I would do given what I am hearing you say, because I KNOW the feelings that are overwhelming you - and then some. I have tried to do part-time database programming and consulting for non-profit and for profit organizations as well as adjunct faculty teaching and teaching gifted kids in our BOCES organization while the boys are running around picking fights with each other and demanding my attention as long as I have it elsewhere.

Then add to that the trials and tribulations of being 52 years old and dealing with those energy levels and the added uncertainty of being someone who always worked to support a family and has now moved into the extremely unknown territory of full-time care giver, not knowing if I will go under or not (this is my second family - I have 26 and 24 year old daughters from a first marriage in which I had to work two 40 hour a week jobs one of which was the ever stressful firefighter/paramedic - come to think of it now, that was a 48 hour a week job. And I could certainly give you just as
many adverse aspects of my situation then as you have given me about yours, but for the sake of brevity, I will refrain) .

George, you said, "I need to vent on someone who represents the things that I dispise (sic) like prejudgement. Nothing personal..."

Vent on me all you want - it ain't me you are angry with. If you truly despise people who prejudge, then I can understand some of your anger at yourself. As you said, without knowing me, you still made this judgement: "that you have never had children or you don't understand variables in personalities, you cookie cutter". (As Rod Stewart sang in ' Every Picture Tells A Story ' - "Look how wrong you can be").

And then this, "I do feel guilty about not being at home." And, "...but according to an American court of law (and my ex-wife) the children don't need a father EXCEPT for financial purposes".

If the anger I am sensing here isn't really there, then I don't want you to vent on me anymore. But if it is the source of much of your anger, then bring it on - if it helps you (as you say it is " ...my daily therapy of shaming someone") and in turn helps your daughter, then I am here for you.

And Shelly, you wrote, "What I can't figure out about you, -g, is why you're hanging around the webloggers when, from this and other comments you've made, you obviously don't care much for any of us? "

That is presumptuous on your part. I don't know any of you enough to not care for you. I only know what you put out in PUBLIC. Weblogs are public space. I have been hanging around in virtual public spaces for a long time. I enjoy it. I have met many friends (whom I value greatly) over the years and even met my wife that way. I never realized you had to "care much" for someone to comment on what they write in public and even ASK for comments on. If you only want comments you agree with, say so up front - not on the backend. I understand you can turn off comments in some of the software.

Observer, you wrote, "Liz needs to give g a little poke... "

Liz has been at Supernova since Monday and won't return until Thursday at which time I would like to give her one as well. It has to be a little one, that's all I got.

July 08, 2003

Oh, I get it. Summer is chaos.

I'm assuming, being a first-time mom of a five year old, that I have learned something important the last few weeks, something that will serve me well the next decade: that summer is meant to be chaos.

Schedules out the window--I fought so hard to get her on one, you know. No real plan. Is it sunny? Okay, let me finish my work and we'll spend six hours at the pool (when I should be home finding more work). Is it rainy? Okay, how about summer camp today. Is it partly cloudy with a chance of thunderstorms? Let's ride the scooter or bike for a while, or drive over to Big Lots and find a treat. Is it breezy? Let's take you and your friend to the playground.

Is it midnight? Well then it must be time for you to go to SLEEP, Jenna!

SLEEP so that I can do that WORK I was talking to you about. You know, the work that makes it possible for us to go to Big Lots. No work, no Big Lots.

Today was the worst mom-daughter day so far this summer. She was on half a night's sleep after refusing to give into sleep last night until nearly 1 a.m. Then up at 9. That's not enough sleep for a five year old. That means guaranteed crankiness, guaranteed clinginess. And no work for the weary.

I had a 2:00 client call, and she was here, so naturally we went head to head battling for an hour before the call about how she needed to be quiet, just for 15 minutes, just for 15 seconds, just for a nanosecond. She made it through that call, barely, after two time outs and a hushed okay by me to take the picnic basket of food (meant for the pool) up to her room to keep her quiet so I could take notes.

Then, an unscheduled client call after my 2:00 threw her for a loop. This was not in our deal. No way. This meant that she was off the good behavior wagon and could crank up her toy electric guitar and follow me around with it as I tried to escape with the cordless phone and a tiny bit of my professionalism in tact.

"That's my daughter--sorry... summertime and all."

Shooting glaring looks at a kid who's off on summer break doesn't work. They smile back at you. In cohoots with summer itself. HA HA mom--I don't have to do anything I don't want to do because it's summer and you can't make me.

Shit, I'm ready for Fall.

This is the first night Jenna has been to sleep before 10 in a month. It's the first time I've had any chunk of time to think at night. So naturally, I spend it blogging about what it's like to NOT have that time.

And all the while, in the back of my mind, I'm thinking about my one and only little sweet baby starting official school in just five weeks and it blows my mind. How could this be? I still don't believe I can't just squeeze her back inside of me. Surely there must be some mistake. I'm living a dream that moves in time without me.

Maybe next year I'll be looking forward to summer chaos, time to ramble around and just generally not care about anything.

Maybe next summer. If I make it through this one.

oh mexico

Tom's latest post, a reflection on the largeness of our culture and the absurtity it heaps upon us in our havings and wantings, is a great read.

And who could resist? Not me:

Way down here you need a reason to move
Feel a fool running your stateside games
Lose your load, leave your mind behind, Baby James

Oh, Mexico
It sounds so simple I just got to go
The sun's so hot I forgot to go home
Guess I'll have to go now

"Americano" got the sleepy eye
But his body's still shaking like a live wire
Sleepy "Senorita" with the eyes on fire

Oh, Mexico
It sounds so sweet with the sun sinking low
Moon's so bright like to light up the night
Make everything all right

Baby's hungry and the money's all gone
The folks back home don't want to talk on the phone
She gets a long letter, sends back a postcard; times are hard

Oh, down in Mexico
I never really been so I don't really know
Oh, Mexico
I guess I'll have to go

Oh, Mexico
I never really been but I'd sure like to go
Oh, Mexico
I guess I'll have to go now

Talkin' down in Mexico

-Mexico, James Taylor

July 07, 2003

mailing the dead

I was thinking just now, and I don't know why, except that I was paying bills online, and maybe that had something to do with it, me and my legacy of account numbers, I was thinking about how much mail came for my father, and for how long, after he died.

I was eleven and the mail would still come. A piece here, a piece there, falling through the cracks and into our mailbox. Me hoping for a package from the American Quarter Horse Association, and instead finding an envelope addressed to Alphonse Dimino, 217 Somershire Drive, our new address, our home without him, after leaving the farm he made for us and relocating to a small house in the suburbs.

Sifting through envelopes, looking for my name, must be something for me, about horses, stickers should be coming, or even the hot air balloon pattern I ordered from the back of one of my teen magazines. And then: Alphonse Dimino. Huh? Why. Why did they have to remind me, surprise me, his death surprising me a thousand times or more, years without end.

Surprise! Your dad is still dead!

Thank you. You shouldn't have. Really.

One day, a rare day of me mentioning "him," I said, Mom, why does he still get mail?

She said, Sometimes you get on a list--they don't know; they just send it.

The surprise of the unexpected, the I-should-know-better, like a lightning bolt to my heart.

And still, it's like that, every time you let me down.

July 06, 2003

Deconstructing the Male in relation to Other Males (and females)

Jonathon Mays reveals the thought pattern of men who are homophobic. In doing so, he sort of sums up malehood in all its glory--alphamalehood even. hee hee.