Sunday, June 26, 2005
Fish Tales


“Oh shit!” I leapt forward, frantically trying to stop the fall of the Excedrin bottle before it –-THUD!

Too late.

My husband looked up from the kitchen table where he was talking on the phone. “Hon? You alright?”

I fished the wet Exedrin bottle out and peered into the blue mug worriedly. I was changing the water in the giant vase I use as an aquarium and had scooped our beta fish into a little mug until I could treat the water. Only I couldn’t find the stupid bottle of Start Right.

Instead I had found the Exedrin.

“Oh my god, Rich. I think I killed the fish,” I told him in a panic. “I knocked him out with the Exedrin bottle. He’s not moving!”

I poked my finger in the water. The little guy halfheartedly swished a fin, and I breathed a sigh of relief. “Wait. I think he’s okay. He’s sort of trying to swim now.”

Rich laughed. “You probably just gave the poor thing a headache, but with all the migraine medicine in there he’ll be fine.”

“Very funny,” I said with dignity.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I love betas--they have to be the hardest fish in the world to kill. Several years back my children woke me up early one morning, screaming at the top of their lungs.

“MOM!” Both children were shaking me frantically, grabbing my arms and trying to pull me out of bed. “Mom, he’s DEAD!”

These are not words that any mother particularly wants to hear—particularly at seven in the morning. I leapt out of bed and grabbed my robe, belting it around my waist as I followed them running down the hall.

“Who’s dead? What happened?” I kept asking, beginning to get a bit panicked.

The children skidded to a halt and pointed at the fish bowl on the kitchen table. Somehow it had sprung a leak during the night and the little beta lay brown, shriveled and dried up on the gravel.

Tears streamed down Brian’s face. “He’s KILT!!” he said sobbing.

Amber yanked at my sleeve. “Mom—DO something!” Her voice cracked and she began to cry. “PLEASE! He’s DEAD!”

Two miserable little faces looked up at me as if I could somehow fix this terrible thing. I simply couldn’t take it.

“He CAN’T be dead!” I told them determinedly.

Grabbing a cereal bowl I filled it with tap water and dumped the dead fish into it. Maybe I could trick them into thinking it was just asleep, and then I could replace him with a look-alike later that afternoon.

The children stared into the bowl, then up at me in astonishment.

“He’s alive!” Amber exclaimed excitedly.

Brian’s jaw dropped. “Whoa!”

Perfect. It worked, I thought to myself.

And then I saw it.

Something was moving in the bowl. The fish was definitely alive. I don’t know how or why, but the little bugger had made it.

The children were completely awestruck. Over the next week they were so well-behaved that they started to really get on my nerves. If you think misbehaving children are bad, try being around children who are determined to be angels. It's downright unnatural. Amber finally admitted to me that because I had the kind of power that could raise the dead, they were a little worried about pissing me off by being naughty.

Eventually I was able to convince them that the fish managed his revival act all by himself, and we nicknamed him “Lazarus” in honor of his great comeback.

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

Back to the current fish that I concussed with the Excedrin bottle. . .

My daughter picked this one out at Walmart when we first came to California about a year ago. Amber spent almost fifteen minutes rejecting all the brilliantly colored red, blue, green and gold betas because, of course, she wanted to choose the one she thought would have the hardest time finding a home. Even at 21, she still has that Charlie Brown Christmas Tree complex.

She handed me the container, and I inspected it doubtfully. “He looks a little sickly and sort of transparent. Wouldn’t you rather have a pretty blue one?” I looked longingly towards a purplish blue one with red fins that sat on the shelf nearby.

My daughter lifted her chin stubbornly. “No. I want this one. Nobody will buy him because he’s not as showy as the others. But he’s tough, aren’t you buddy?”

I cleared my throat. “He’s PINK, Amber! How tough can he be?”

“He IS tough, aren’t you Spike?”

“Spike?!” I repeated in disbelief. “You’re kidding, right?”

“Nope.”

“Oh come on! It makes him sound like a gay biker fish.”

“Well it’s a heck of a lot better than what you named our last one!” Amber looked at me pointedly.

“It was a perfectly good Irish name,” I replied defensively.

“Fillet O’Fish?” Amber shook her head. “It’s wrong mom. It’s just wrong.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Anyway, I finally did find the bottle of Start Right tonight and managed to rescue Spike from his mug before a cat lapped him up or a human tossed him into the dishwasher by accident. As you can see he is very content.

Maybe Amber was right, and he is a tough guy after all. Even if he IS pink.
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A Magical Evening in My Work Space
I took a leave from my blogging this week to catch up with work and take care of some things around the house. Most of my time is spent writing in this office/bedroom space. Took a few pictures tonight:



My soon-to-be-completed new modular oak desk, designed and built by Rich. I love the furniture he makes--all gorgeous grains and rounded edges. Eventually the old desk on the left will be eliminated, and the new oak desk will continue to cuve gently around to the next wall. He's also adding bottom shelves and keyboard drawers for both computers.



The rest of the room--a quiet and cosy place to work in the evenings. As you can see, I'm addicted to candlelight and books.



Of course I love fairy tales, mythology and all things magical. This funny little toad guards over the paper supplies.



Pan plays his pipes under the Bonsai tree while a baby otter sleeps at his feet. Growing up with Juno for a name naturally made me a huge fan of Greek and Roman mythology. Pan has always been a favorite--especially in his aspect of protector of children and animals.



Morrigu, the Celtic warrior goddess, and a woodsy moon candleholder of copper and Roman glass.



Quan Yin, goddess of compassion.



This beautiful rendition of The Lover's card rests on top of the wardrobe.
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Monday, June 20, 2005
The Unfairness Of Being A Boy
I poked my head around around my son's door, "Why are you still in bed, kiddo? You better get a move on or you'll be late for school!"

My six-year-old peered miserably at me from under the covers. "Momma? I don' feel so good."

I came over and sat on the side of his bed and felt his forehead. It was definitely hot. I looked down at him concerned. "Where do you not feel good, Bri Guy?"

"My head feels weird and my stomach hurts really bad," he said mournfully. He burst into tears. "I think I'm pregnant."

I tried not to laugh, but couldn't stop myself.

"What's so funny?" Brian asked offended. "It HURTS!"

I gave my son a hug, still smiling. "I'm sorry, baby. I know it does. But you're not pregnant. I think you just have a tummy ache and a fever."

My son wrinkled his brow at me. "How do you know I'm not pregnant?"

"Well, for one thing, only girls can get pregnant."

"That's not fair!" Brian said indignantly. "What if I want to have a baby?"

"One day you probably will. You'll fall in love with someone special and the two of you will decide you want to have a child together. " I tried to explain, "It takes both a man and a woman to make a baby. The man plants the baby seed in the woman's body. Then once the baby grows big enough, it comes outside of the mom's body to meet its family."

My son considered this carefully. "I really want to be a dad," he said finally. "I like little kids."

"I know you do." I smoothed back the hair from his forehead. "I'm going to run into the kitchen to get you some water and some medicine. I'll be right back, okay?"

After dutifully taking his Tylenol and sipping some water from a flex straw, Brian lay snuggled into his pillow while I tucked him in.

"You know what, Momma?" he said sleepily.

"What?"

"I've decided that when I get big, I'm going to donate all my toys to charity."

"Wow," I looked down at my son, surprised. "Well that's really generous of you, Brian."

He was quiet for a moment.

"Momma?"

"Hmmm?"

"What does 'donate' mean?"

I laughed. "What do you think it means?"

He thought for a moment. "To give away to somebody?"

"That's right."

We sat together in companionable silence.

"Momma?"

"Yes?"

"I'm not going to be big for a long time, am I?" Brian asked worriedly

"Nope," I kissed his nose. "Not for a very long time."

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I was putting on makeup in the bathroom and, as usual, both kids were underfoot. Amber was testing out a lip gloss, and Brian was standing on the toilet watching me line my eyes.

"Momma, when will I get stomach puffs?"

"What?" I was baffled.

"Stomach puffs," he repeated, patiently. "When will I get them?"

Amber stared at her brother. "Did you say 'stomach puffs'?"

"Uhuh. You and momma have them, and I wanted to know when I'm gonna get them."

My daughter and I looked down at our stomachs and then at each other.

"Do you mean 'bellybutton' Brian?" I offered tentatively.

He looked disgusted. "No! I HAVE a bellybutton. I meant STOMACH PUFFS!"

I gave up. "I'm sorry honey, but I have no idea what you're talking about. Can you show me?"

My son reached up and patted me on the chest. "These."

Amber cracked up laughing. "Those aren't stomach puffs, silly. Those are boobs."

I shook my head, smiling. "Actually they're called breasts, Bri. And it's something that girls get when they start growing into young women."

"Another thing that's just for girls?" Brian was disgusted.

"'Fraid so."

Amber giggled.
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Friday, June 17, 2005
Lists of Five Things
Five Things that scare me:

1. Clowns. (And thank you, Stephen Speilberg, for that lovely scene in Poltergeist)

2. Restaurants that serve weird foods like bull testicles, tongue, or anything with a face.

3. Talking dolls (no matter what they say they always sound evil)

4. Heights (although I've occasionally enjoyed being put on a pedestal)

5. The alarming number of parents I see who don't parent their kids or bother to teach them respect for themselves and others.


Five Things that make me laugh:

1. My husband Rich's imitation of Arnold Schwartzeneggar screwing Donald Duck

2. Guide dogs who pass gas in an elevator full of people just as the doors close

3. Peeling off strips of a clear facial mask and convincing my son I am actually losing large layers of skin

4. The time Torie's boyfriend worked on her car with his buddies. For weeks after that, whenever she made a right hand turn her horn would blast.

5. Writing "Wash Me" with a ball point pen just above my best friend's pubic area right before they wheel her in for surgery


Five Things I love:

1. Losing myself in a good book while soaking in a hot, fragrant bath.

2. Playing devil's advocate

3. Writing or doing anything creative or artistic

4. Playing a multiball bonus in a pinball game

5. Hanging out on the beach, making sand sculptures and looking for beach glass


Five Things I hate:

1. Mean-spirited and artificial people

2. Censorship, homophobia, racism and general intolerance.

3. Rectal thermometers

4. One-size-fits-all pantyhose

5. Crowds


Five Things I don't understand:

1. Myself

2. How exactly an alka seltzer can be used as a sexual aide (long story)

3. Where my G-spot is

4. The Cadbury Bunny

5. Canadian men


Five things I can't do:

1. Gymnastics (At least not intentionally. Scrabbling madly to regain my balance, while impressive, doesn't really count)

2. Watch the Ferrangis on Star Trek (something about the way they move skeeves me out)

3. Keep my sneakers tied (even when I baby-knot them)

4. Find my keys

5. Keep plants alive (when relatives visit, I go out and buy new plants to place around the house just to impress them into thinking I have a "green thumb")


Five things on my desk:

1. The most recent Harry Potter book I'm rereading. (I have this excellent theory that Snape was actually instrumental in saving Harry from Voldemort's attack when he was an infant.)

2. A can of Diet Coke

3. Sheets of tutorial exercises I'm writing for the software company I work for.

4. A goddess statue of a woman with a lion and a moon glow crystal ball.

5. A candle.


Five negative facts about me:

1. I set all my clocks ahead at least 15-30 minutes to trick myself into being on time

2. I once fooled my kid into thinking a doggie treat was a hunk of bacon. I know--bad mom--but you had to be there to appreciate it.

3. I used to give my kids giant pixie sticks to eat before I sent them to visit my ex-husband. The resulting sugar rush was something truly beautiful to behold.

4. My house might look spotless, but you take your life in your hands if you try to open the hall closet.

5. Too often any attempts I make at--ahem!--self-pleasure, usually end with me falling asleep before anything interesting happens.


If any of you wants to try your hand at one or more of the Lists of Five Things, let me know so I can see your responses.
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The Verdict
I was washing the last of the dishes when my eleven-year-old daughter came into the room. Opening the fridge, she poured herself a glass of iced tea and sat down next to her brother who was drawing at the kitchen table.

"Mom? Can I talk to you for a minute?"

"Sure," I rinsed out a juice glass and placed it in the drainboard. "What's up?" I asked drying my hands on a towel.

"I was wondering if I could get a raise in my allowance."

Brian's head shot up at this, and he immediately jumped in. "I want more allowance too!"

Amber glared at him. "I asked first."

"So what?" Brian was mad. "It's not fair for you to get a raise if I don't."

"It is too!"

"Is not!"

"I'm older than you!"

"It doesn't matter!"

"Whoa, you two. Hey . . . hey . . . HEY!!!!!" I shouted over them. Both children looked at me. "I don't want to hear any fighting, understand?"

"But MOM--"

"You can't just let her---"

"ENOUGH!" I yelled. "Nobody is going to convince me of anything by screaming and pitching a fit. Understand?"

Both children nodded, still glaring across the table at each other.

"Good. Now then. Let's calm down for a minute and let me figure out a way to settle this." I took a deep breath and looked from one to the other of them. "You both want a raise in your allowance, and yet I don't see any reason I should help either one of you."

Two voices immediately rose up in protest. I held up my hand.

"Let me finish. You can't just walk up to somebody and start making demands like that . First you need to explain why you feel you deserve a raise. What have you done to earn it? What other responsibilities are you willing to take on in exchange for it? Stuff like that. It is your job to convince me that what you're asking is fair and reasonable."

I thought for a minute. "Here's what I think we should do. Let's turn the living room into a courtroom. Each of you will be a lawyer, and I will be the judge. It's up to you to prepare your cases and present them to me so that I can make a fair ruling."

The kids were completely intrigued. I could see their minds going a mile a minute as they tried to figure out what they would say.

"There is just one condition," I continued. "In order for this to work, you both have to agree to accept the final decision of the judge. No arguing or fighting or pitching tantrums. Agreed?"

Amber nodded. "Agreed."

Brian hesitated then added, "Me too."

"Okay then. Go prepare your cases. Court will convene in--" I looked up at the clock--"half an hour."

Both children ran from the room, nearly knocking my friend Marty off his feet as he came in the back door. "What was THAT about?" he asked puzzled.

I smiled. "Have you ever thought about being a bailiff?. . . "

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

"Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye. The Wright family court is now in session. The honorable Judge Juno is presiding."

Solemnly I entered the room, wearing a sheet the kids had cloaked over my shoulders, and took a seat on the couch. Someone had brought in my wooden meat tenderizer mallet from the kitchen, and I whacked it three times on the coffee table. "Thank you Bailiff Marty. You may all be seated," I said grandly.

The two lawyers sat on the floor behind low stools they were using as makeshift tables.

The bailiff stepped forward and instructed counsel to raise their right hands. "Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you God?"

"I do" Amber said earnestly.

"Me too. I mean--I do," Brian said hastily.

"Who will go first?" I asked.

Amber jumped to her feet. "I will your Honor."

"Your name please?"

"Amber Wright," she replied, pulling a stack of papers from a briefcase beneath her table. "And if it please the court, I have prepared a statement that I would like to read."

Brian looked in dismay at the impressive sheaf of papers then to his own empty table. He raised his hand. "Your Honor, can I be excused for a minute?"

Amber turned to him exasperated. "I'm TRYING to read a statement here."

"But I forgot to bring a pencil and paper."

"You should have thought of that before," she told him unsympathetically.

"PLEEEEEEASE your Honor?" Brian begged me, his little face close to tears.

Amber handed him a piece of paper and a pencil. "Here, take this. Jeez. NOW can I continue?"

Her brother nodded.

"Thank you. Now, as I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, I have a statement I would like to read." Amber cleared her throat. "Your Honor, for the past year both the defendant--my brother over here--and I have received a five dollar a week allowance. In exchange for that allowance we help out around the house and make sure our rooms are picked up. However I feel that because I am older than the defendant, and frequently have to help BABYSIT him, that I deserve a raise."

"That's not fair!" Brian burst out. "You can't--"

"MR. WRIGHT!" I said firmly. "There will be no outbursts in this courtroom. Do you understand? You will have the opportunity to say what you want to say when you give your own statement in just a moment. Are we clear on this?"

He nodded miserably.

"Good." I nodded at the plaintiff. "Please continue."

"As I was saying, since I am the oldest I have more responsibilities. For example, I walk to the store to pick up grocery stuff or to the library to bring back books and videos. And a lot of times now I end up babysitting the defendant when you're not home, which isn't always easy because he's a pain in the butt and won't behave." She looked pointedly at her brother, who was quietly wiggling in frustration.

"Those are all good arguments," I told the plaintiff. "I do have a couple of questions for you though."

"Yes, your Honor?"

"You mentioned that part of your responsibilities included cleaning your room and helping around the house. Is that correct?"

The plaintiff knew where this was going. "Yes your Honor."

"Would you agree that I have had to ask you a number of times this past week to pick up your room or put away messes that you left out?"

Brian grinned triumphantly.

"Yes your Honor," Amber admitted reluctantly. "But I promise to try harder to work on those things if you give me a raise."

Her brother slumped against the table, head in his hands.

"I see. One more thing. Although you pointed out many of your responsibilities, you haven't mentioned why you need more allowance money. Have your expenses changed?"

The plaintiff nodded. "Sometimes I need more money when I am out with friends and everyone is getting an ice cream or something. And I know you think it's silly to spend money on designer clothes, but maybe I can make up the difference with my allowance if I really want something."

"Those are all good points, and I will take them into consideration."

"Thank you your Honor."Amber took her seat again.

"Now then does the defendant have a statement?"

Brian stood miserably. "It's not fair," he said close to tears. The bailiff walked over and whispered in his ear. The defendant brightened hopefully. "I'd like to consult with my colleague, your Honor."

I looked at the clock. "I'll call a five minute recess then."

Bailiff Marty and the defendant scooted out the door. There was much urgent whispering and giggling from the hallway as the two planned their case.

Five minutes later court was again in session.

Brian made his way up to the front of the courtroom. "My name is Brian Wright, your Honor. And I would like to ask you for more allowance. Just because I'm younger than Amber doesn't mean I don't work as hard as she does. I don't think it's fair to give more money to somebody just because they're older. If I had more allowance I could pay for my ninja turtles by myself and not have to ask you for money. And I could buy ice cream. And I would even buy you an ice cream too Momma--I mean your Honor."

He paused and looked at Bailiff Marty who nodded encouragingly. "If you will give me more allowance I can help you by taking out the trash or doing other jobs for you. I will even" he swallowed hard, "try to behave better when Amber babysits me." The defendant looked up at me with a little tear in the corner of his eye and his voice shook. "Just 'cause I'm little doesn't mean I can't do stuff. Please give me more allowance. PLEASE?"

"Thank you for your statement, Mr. Wright. Now please go sit down next to your colleague."

Brian ran back to the table and sat in his colleague's lap.

"You both have presented very good cases and given me a lot to think about. I'm going to take a quick, ten minute recess to deliberate. Then Bailiff Marty will call you back in, and I will tell you my decision. Court is adjourned."

Bailiff Marty led the plaintiff and the defendant out of the room and closed the door behind them. He grinned. "That was impressive!"

"Wasn't it though? And they really did do a pretty good job at explaining their positions. The District Attorney did a school visit with Amber's class last week, and she's totally taken with the idea of practicing law now. She's good, isn't she?" I laughed. "What happened with Brian and you in the hallway?"

"Poor little guy. He was all upset and crying because he thought his sister gave such a good argument he didn't have a chance. That babysitting thing really got to him too. I helped him come up with some ideas on things he could do in order to get more allowance and just basically gave him a little encouragement."

I smiled. "Thanks."

"No problem. So what is the Judge going to decide to do?"

"Oh I have a few ideas," I said mysteriously. "Why don't you go gather up the counselors and tell them I have a verdict for them."

. . . . . . .



"I would like to say first of all that the two of you presented very strong cases. So strong, in fact it was very difficult for me to come to a decision. But I do have a verdict for you." I turned to Amber. "Will the plaintiff please stand?"

"Ms. Wright, you made some excellent points about your need for spending money increasing now that you're older. And the fact that you are depended upon to babysit your brother when necessary is an important consideration. Therefore I am increasing your allowance from $5 to $15 a week."

Amber's face lit up, and she jumped in the air out of sheer happiness. "Thank you, your Honor," she said smiling.

The defendant collapsed, sobbing in Bailiff Marty's arms. I winked at the Bailiff.

"Would the defendant please step forward?"

Sniffling and rubbing his eyes, Brian walked up to the front of the court.

"Mr. Wright, you too presented many very good points in your case. Amber will receive a higher allowance than you because she has more responsibilities and expenses than you do because of her age. However, since you seem so willing to work hard and to improve your behavior with your sister when she is babysitting, I think that you too deserve a reward. I am increasing your allowance from $5 to $10 a week."

Brian looked up, stunned, then gave a wild whoop and threw himself on Marty.

I rapped the mallet three times on the coffee table and smiled.

"Court is now adjourned."

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Looking Glass Houses Has A New Look!
Cat over at Blog-Togs was kind enough to put the time and energy into giving the old place a new look with a writer's theme. Thanks so much for all your hard work Cat!

Feel like dressing up your blog and helping out a charity at the same time? Visit the Blog-Togs folks at
http://www.blogtogs.blogspot.com/ They do some amazing work.
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Thursday, June 16, 2005
The Other Side of The Brian Debate
Thank you guys for your comments in my last post. I really am very lucky that I have smart kids who aren't afraid to debate their old mom--even on her pet topics!

In all fairness to Brian, I do have to mention one quick little story. When he was a little guy in fourth grade, he was a journalist for the school newspaper. The editor asked him to write a story on Christopher Columbus for the upcoming holiday edition.

Brian threw himself headlong into his research, going outside the accepted school texts to find answers. His article entitled "Christopher Columbus--Friend or Foe" presented not only the common facts taught in school, but also outlined the atrocities the man committed and his attempts to enslave the Native Americans.

The editor rejected his article. He said that although he knew it was factual and well-researched, the school did not want to print a story that would ruin Columbus Day for the kids. The children would find it too confusing. Brian was stunned--and you can just imagine my reaction! It was all my kid could do to prevent me from storming into the school, writing a letter to the local newspaper, etc. Because I love my son though, I held back and just let him process it in his own way.

I think that's why this last paper of his threw me for a loop--although I'm beginning to suspect that Brian has adopted my habit of playing devil's advocate with the issues. I have a habit of arguing a point with the kids then, once they concede, arguing the opposing side. Confusing, yes, but it makes them think! They used to say they learned more about a subject during a 15 minute debate with me than they did in a week of classes.

Anyway, here's to glorious debates, stubborn moms and kids who think!
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The Problem With Huck Finn
"Mom, can you proofread my paper for me? " Brian asked from the doorway.

I pulled a colored pencil from behind my ear and shaded in a section of the portrait I was experimenting with at my desk. "Uh huh. " I leaned forward to inspect my work. "Just bring it in to me, and I'll look it over."

My son hesitated. "JUST proofread it, okay? Don't go changing anything else."

I looked up at him suspiciously. "Why would I change anything else?"

Brian hedged. "You may not agree with some of my arguments."

"Oh really?" Now I was curious. "And what exactly is your paper about?"

" . . . Censorship," he said hesitantly.

"You wrote a PRO-CENSORSHIP paper?" I exploded. "Are you kidding me?"

My son shook his head. "See, I knew this would happen. Just read it, okay?"

Brian reached across my desk and downloaded his paper to my computer screen. I stared incredulously at the title: Censorship, The View You Haven't Heard.

"Please tell me you're kidding."

Brian just grinned.

Sighing, I leaned back in my chair and started reading. His basic premise was that if a book is required reading for middle school students, then minute changes could be made to remove profanity and sexually explicit material without damaging the integrity of the text. As an example, he referred to the "N" word in Huckleberry Finn.

"You want to change Huck Finn? Are you nuts?" I was beside myself.

"It's an offensive word, mom," he insisted. "Shouldn't I, as a parent, have the right to deem what's appropriate for my own child to read?"

"You just can't go around removing words from an author's text!" I shouted. "It changes the meaning! God!" I began pacing the room. "Books like Huckleberry Finn or Uncle Tom's Cabin dealt with a particular period of our history. By all means have a class discussion about why such language isn't appropriate today, but don't chop up a classic work of literature to try to make it more bland and digestible!"

Brian stood his ground. "All I'm saying is that the parents should have some say as to the appropriateness of the material their kids are forced to read."

"And that's exactly where the whole concept of censorship falls apart! How exactly do they determine what's appropriate? And what happens to us as a society when we are spoon fed an "appropriate" vision of the world? Writing and art are supposed to move people--to shake them up, make them think, provoke some sort of reaction. If you don't agree with something in a book, then use that as an opportunity to talk to your child about the issue. Don't just suppress it like it doesn't exist." I paused, taking a deep breath. "I really can't believe we're even having this conversation."

Amber walked in the room and looked from me to her brother. "What's going on, you two?"

I folded my arms over my chest. "Your brother thinks it's okay to censor books."

"No way!" She turned to her brother. "What books do you want to censor?"

"I'm just saying that I think parents should have the right to choose what's appropriate when it comes to required school reading," Brian explained patiently.

I cleared my throat pointedly. "He wants to edit the "N" word from Huckleberry Finn."

Amber laughed. "Are you nuts?" she asked him. "What are you going to change it to?
'Black Man'? Jeez, Bri."

Thank God one of my kids got it.

"It's like those weird translations in a foreign film," she continued thoughtfully. "You know. The guy will be screaming something like 'dammit, my leg's been blown off!' and the subtitle says 'my goodness, I've lost a lower appendage.' It just doesn't make sense anymore."

Brian argued his point. "I still say that if the school is going to force required reading on the kids, the parents should have the right to insist that offensive parts be removed. Or alternatively, teachers and parents should work together to come up with more appropriate titles."

He continued. "People who are anti-censorship always insist that if you change one word you change the whole book. Then they point to Bradbury's Fahrenheit 452 and start preaching about the coming of the apocalypse and the loss of first amendment rights. It's just not that extreme. Stuff like that would never be allowed to happen."

I stared at him."I can't believe you just said that."

"Okay, okay," my son laughed. "I'll stop. Did you proof the paper?"

"Yes. The spelling and grammar are fine, but I were your teacher I'd flunk you."

He protested. "Hey! You can't flunk me just for disagreeing with you!"

"I wouldn't flunk you for disagreeing with me. I'd flunk you for not being able to support your argument. Your position falls apart when it comes to deciding what is 'appropriate.' Who decides this and how? Who's to say whether a painting is art or pornography? Or if a book is important and worthwhile or dangerous and offensive?"

Brian thought for a minute. "Give it here then. I'll try tweaking it a little."

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

My son came home with his paper today. He was the only kid in his class to get a 100.

I'm seriously thinking of going into his room with a black marker and crossing out sections of the different books on his shelf.

After all, as a concerned parent, I wouldn't want any of those titles to give him inappropriate ideas.
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Wednesday, June 15, 2005
The Question


It was Thanksgiving.

My boyfriend Michael's parents had invited us over for dinner and, naturally, I was eager to make a good impression. His family were staunch Catholics, and his mother had a particular fascination with Virgin Mary sightings. In a shameless effort to win brownie points, I bought her some books on the subject and made sure I casually mentioned how I had wanted to be a nun when I was little. It seemed to be going well. While his mother basted the turkey, I slipped outside for a bit of fresh air.

"There you are," I felt Michael's arms around me as he nuzzled my neck. "All this nun talk is making me hot."

"You," I told him with dignity, "are a pervert and are going straight to hell."

He laughed and, turning me around, kissed me long and hard. "I can't help it. You make me crazy. Want to sneak off to the bathroom for a quickie?"

"No, I do not." I said reproachfully. "I'm trying to make a good impression here. The last thing I want to do is make your mom think I'm corrupting her son. Besides, I need to check on the kids."

"Actually the kids are doing great. Last time I looked, Amber was teaching my cousin Ned a card trick. "

"Well just don't let her talk him into a game of poker. She pretty much took her entire third grade class for their lunch money last week. I think she's figured out how to count cards."

"Smart girl," he laughed.

. . . . . . . . . . .

Back in the kitchen, I was helping Michael's mother and sister prepare vegetables for the side dishes. As I was rinsing the carrots in the sink, my six-year-old son wandered into the kitchen and tugged at my shirt.

"Mommy?"

"Yes baby?" I smiled.

Brian looked up at me earnestly. "What's a prostitute?"

Silence.

I furtively looked at Michael's mom who stood frozen in astonishment over a partially dissected green pepper. Every adult in the room was staring at me in dead silence, waiting to see how I would handle the situation.

Now I've always tried to be fairly frank and open with my kids when it comes to questions about sex. I figured if they were old enough to ask, they were old enough to be told. Although Brian's timing couldn't have been worse, I didn't see a graceful way out of this one.

I knelt down so that I was eye level with my son and took a deep breath. "Well honey, a prostitute is a woman who has sex with men for money."

Ohhhhh," he said, his face brightening. "Like a hooker."

Satisfied, Brian trotted out of the room.

Michael's mom was looking at me disapprovingly, obviously wondering what sort of household I raised my children in.

I couldn't help it. I sat down on the floor and laughed until tears ran down my face.

When you desperately want to make a good impression, leave it to a child to keep it real!
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Sunday, June 12, 2005
Holy Domestic Disturbance Batman!


"Guess what exciting thing just happened to me?" Torie asked, a grin in her voice.

I looked suspiciously at the speakerphone. "I'm almost afraid to ask."

My best friend laughed. "Oh, it's nothing like that. I had to call the cops tonight, and the officer just left the house."

Torie always does this to me. She'll burst out with some outrageous statement to get my attention, then slowly piece together the story behind it.

"Okay, I'll bite," I told her. "Why were the police at your place?"

"Because I had a bat in the house."

"A bat? The black fuzzy kind?

"Uh huh," Torie replied. "Matt found it in the living room and came upstairs to get me. We tried just about everything to capture it, but couldn't do it. Not that Matt was all that much help. He was so freaked out that he kept hiding behind the door."

Her son Matt is a sweet, shy teenage boy who has an endearing, absent-minded professor sort of way about him. I could easily see why he would find the idea of a furry mammal with sharp teeth flying around the room rather alarming.

"Poor kid."

Torie sighed. "Honestly Juno, the way Matt was acting you would think the Mafia was after him or something. Anyway, I couldn't catch the darn thing, and I was starting to get worried about the dog or cat trying to mess with it and getting a nasty surprise. So I called 911."

"And they actually came?" I asked incredulously.

"Yup. Fast too. I hardly had time to hang up the phone before the officer was in the driveway. I went outside to meet him, and he asked what the problem was. For some reason he seemed to think it was a domestic disturbance call."

I considered. "Well, I guess that's one way of looking at it."

Torie continued, "When I explained the situation to him, he thought it was pretty funny. He kept shaking his head and saying 'A bat call? A bat call?' Said he couldn't wait to tell his lieutenant about this one."

"So did he have something on him to catch it with?" I asked her.

"He used this big tupperware thing that I store cake in. The bat finally decided to hang upside down from the tapestry over my fireplace. The cop put the cover part over the bat, slide the plate under it, and took it outside. Said it was the most exciting thing that had happened to him all night."

I laughed. I imagined it beat the hell out of monitoring the speed traps that her area of town is known for.

"Anyway," Torie went on, "I said 'Thanks Batman' which got him laughing again. He actually got a huge kick out of the whole thing. He said the guys at the station would have a ball with all this--he'd be known as Officer Batman Bentley."

"How old was he?" I was curious.

"Mmmmmm. About forty or so. Sort of average looking. Really nice guy. When he came into the house he commented on how clean and pretty it was. He told me he didn't blame the bat for wanting to hang out in such a nice place."

"Sooooooo. . . " I prompted her. "Did you check for a wedding ring?"

"Yup. Definitely married. He talked about his wife too. He figured she'd love the whole Batman angle."

"It would have been a such great way to meet someone." I sighed regretfully. "Funny, handsome guy in uniform rescues woman from potentially dangerous small mammal. It has all the makings of a great romance."

"True," Torie admitted. "Too bad all the good ones are taken."

"Yeah," I told her. "Maybe next time you should go for Robin."

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Friday, June 10, 2005
Five Things That I Miss From My Childhood


I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later no matter how far I try to duck under the radar. I've been tagged by Spirit of Owl. Ahem! Just be forewarned that I shall repay the favor in my own time and in my own way when you least expect it. . .

Five things that I miss from my childhood :

1. Fireflies.

My sister and I used to sit on the steps in the early evening, waiting for twilight when the fireflies would come out. The scent of fresh cut grass, the singing crickets and tree frogs, the blossoming dogwoods and azaleas, and the golden blinking of the first firefly of the night--that's what I remember most. We were goddesses, dressed in gowns of rose petals and irridescent raindrops, laughing and chasing the lightening bugs, carefully placing them in our fairy lanterns. Afterwards we would lay on the grass, counting to see who had caught the most. Being polite children, we always thanked them for playing with us and released them into the night so they could return to the Moon Mother.




2. Rain Dancing

As a child I was fascinated by storms and loved the heavy stillness just before a downpour. It would grow very quiet outside and the sky would take on a purplish grey color. Then the wind would start to blow, and the trees begin to sway wildly. And finally the rain would spill down.

My sister and I would put on our swimsuits and dash out in the rain and dance around until some adult would eventually start worrying about us catching colds or being struck by lightening and make us come inside. I had read somewhere that lightening loved people with red hair and that redhaired witches made powerful weather mages. This, of course, pleased me to no end, and I would stretch out my arms and try to call the lightening to me. Sometimes it would crack down very close, sending my sister and I jumping backwards into the carport, shivering in nervous exhilaration.




3. Being An Artist

The soft chalky feel of pastels, the roughness of charcoal, the misty flow of watercolors, and the smudgy smoothness of pencils--drawing always made me feel fierce and dreamy and passionately alive. Whenever I sat down to create something, the rest of the world simply melted away leaving only pure imagination and sensation. I was never satisfied with anything I actually produced because it never matched what I saw in my mind. But the process of creating had me hooked.

I used to pretend that I would one day be an amazing artist and hop trains from town to town with just my sketchbook and a little suitcase. I would stay for a while in each place, working small odd jobs and drawing the people I met, astonishing them with my talent. Inevitably someone would fall in love with me, and we would have a brief but intense romance before I sadly had to move on again. Dramatic little thing, wasn't I? Anyway I miss that feeling of losing myself in something beautiful and being perfectly in the moment.




4. Living The Magic

After we lost our mom, my sister and I shared a private, magical world that no one could touch. We were goddesses who looked after ladybugs and caterpillars, mermaids who sang starfish back to life, and high-spirited horses that could fun faster and fly higher than any mortal. We feasted on acorns, chestnuts, and blackberries and drank honey from honeysuckle blossoms. We were friends with the King of Cats, the White Owl, and the ancient Oak People who lived in our yard. If a breeze caught up a whirlwind of autumn leaves, we knew it was a Sylph playing with us. We called on Pixies to help us with our housework and left offerings of walnut shells filled with peanut butter or honey for the Faerie Folk. Iris and I found we could wake up in each other's dreams at night, and we learned how to sleepy travel together to other realms.

I miss the freedom of trusting the imagination and being open to the unexpected. I forget sometimes how worlds open up for people who aren't afraid, even if just for a moment, to look and believe. For me, the best part of being a child looking at the most ordinary and seeing the extraordinary.



5. My Parents

My mom died when I was five, and my dad when I was nine. She was 41 and he was 60 when I was born. It amazes me how much I still miss them, even as an adult. Admittedly my memories are fragile--I had them for such a short time that they are like paper dolls with little substance to flesh them out. I have to rely on photos and my father's paintings and the memories of my older sister to make them real.

My father I remember the best because he was with me longest. I can close my eyes and almost feel his hand in mine as we walk along the railroad track together, gathering armfuls of Queen Anne's Lace. Or see myself working beside him on my own little easel while he paints. My mother is harder--only the sensation of being held and touched--and even that is almost gone now.

Recently one of my cousins from my father's side of the family found me on the internet and has been sending me emails and wonderful old pictures of my father, grandmother and great-grandmother. It's been such a bittersweet experience. Sometimes I'm jealous of her memories and the deep sense of family and connectedness that she has. And yet I love her for sharing it with me now. So conflicting. Last week, this cousin saw a photo I had taken of myself standing in the wind, and she gave me a gift. She told me I look like my mother.

And it made me realize that even if my memories fade away, my parents left me a legacy to know them by. All I have to do is gaze into the looking glass to see.



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Thursday, June 09, 2005
Peeps: Not Just For Easter Anymore













Juno plays with food.

Here's few photos from our family Peep collection. Posted by Hello
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Wednesday, June 08, 2005
The Bad Man

"Momma, momma!" I was trying to pick out a new tie for my husband when my little boy came barreling up the aisle. He threw himself against my legs and held on tightly.

"Honey, what happened? What's wrong?"

He pointed over to the right where a distinguished looking elderly gentleman was quickly making his way across the store towards us. "That man. He's a bad man, momma. He tried to . . ." Brian broke off in mid-sentence and hid behind my skirt.

As the man drew closer, I could see he was a store clerk. "I'm so sorry, miss. I believe there's been a misunderstanding." He eyed my son worriedly.

Bewildered, I looked from my child to the elderly clerk. "What in the world is going on?"

"That's a fine young boy you have there. I was just having a little conversation with him, and I think he must have misunderstood my intentions."

"I did not!" Brian yelled indignantly, peering around my leg. "He tried to take my money!"

"What?" The old man appeared genuinely startled.

My son nodded emphatically. "You tried to take my money! You told me to give you five!"

I couldn't help it. I burst out laughing.

Brian stared at me as if I had lost my mind. The poor man stood mortified, stunned that his innocent attempt at hipness with a toddler had taken a such terrible and unexpected turn. Then he too started laughing.

I wiped my eyes and tried hard to gain my composure. "Sweetheart, when somebody says 'give me five' they aren't asking you for money. It's just a figure of speech. "

My son looked puzzled.

The old man squatted down and smiled at him in relief. "Your mother's right. It's a way of saying hi to someone. Only instead of shaking hands, you kind of slap your hands together like this." He demonstrated. "Now you try."

Shyly Brian slapped the man's palm.

"Good job!"

. . . . . . . . . . . .

"Momma?" Brian asked thoughtfully as we left the store. "You know how you're always telling me that it's bad to hit people?"

I had a feeling I knew what was coming. "Yes."

"Isn't this giving five stuff like hitting?"

I considered this. "Well, I guess you could look at it that way. Except you're not really hurting the other person. It's more like you're both agreeing to play with each other."

Brian grinned, and I realized I had just handed my kid a whopper of a loophole he could use the next time he and his sister starting getting into it. Great. I decided to clam up before I made it worse.

He shook his head. "Grownups are funny." he laughed.
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Tuesday, June 07, 2005
Don't Mess With Miss Kitty!


I think it is a very bad idea for parents to give weird nicknames to things.

I really do. It's just way too confusing for a child and can necessitate years of therapy when they reach adulthood.

My sister and I grew up in the south with an aunt who would go to extreme lengths to avoid calling certain intimate things by their correct name. If you were a lady, it just wasn't done. Since my sister and I were so sheltered, we naturally never thought to question this until many years later.

Case in Point: For some reason we still don't quite understand, our aunt used to refer to a woman's private area as a "posse".

I cannot begin to tell you how disturbing it was for us to watch those old spaghetti westerns on TV. When the sheriff would tell a group of grizzled cowboys to "round up a posse" to help him catch the bad guys, Iris and I would watch with saucer eyes. You can imagine what we thought was going to come hopping around the corner of the local saloon!

We were firmly convinced that Miss Kitty was the most powerful person on Gunsmoke.

Therapy. Years of therapy.

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Monday, June 06, 2005
Who Knew?
"Mmmmm?"

It was the middle of the night and someone was shaking my shoulder. Opening one eye, I saw my four-year-old son standing next to my bed, stark naked, with a serious look on his face.

"Momma?" he sounded unhappy.

"What is it, Bri?"

"The people in my penis are making muscles," he complained. "They're trying to make me into a muscle man."

Glancing down I could see what he meant. His little flag was definitely at half mast.

"How many people are in there?" I asked curiously

"Two, " he answered without hesitation. "And they won't leave me alone and let me sleep."

"Well that's not very nice." I thought for a minute. "Why don't you tell them that it's sleep time now, and that they need to behave themselves and let you rest?"

Brian looked doubtful. "I don't think they're gonna listen."

"Yes they will. Just tell them that if they're good boys, you'll take them swimming tomorrow."

My son smiled. "I like swimming."

"I know."

I watched while he explained the situation to 'the boys'. "So what do they think?" I asked.

"They say okay."

"Good." I climbed out from under the sheets and took his hand. "Let's go get your pajama bottoms back on and get you to bed."

Five minutes later, my son had his spiderman jammies on again and was tucked neatly under the covers. I kissed his forehead. "Night sweetheart."

"G'Night," he giggled. "Sleep tight. Don't let the bunny bugs bite."

I switched off the light and walked to the door.

"Momma?" Brian called.

I turned around. "Yes?"

"Thanks."

"No problem. Now get some rest."

Going back to my room, I snuggled under the sheets smiling to myself.

Little men. . .

Now that would explain a lot!
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Sunday, June 05, 2005
I'll Be Watching You
"Are either one of you organ donors?" My son asked from the back seat of the car.

My husband and I looked at each other."Yes," I said. "No," he said, simultaneously.

We all laughed. It was typical for me and Rich to have completely opposite world views. It's what keeps our marriage interesting.

"I figured as much," my son grinned. “I don’t know how you two ever got together.”

I turned around in the front seat. "Seriously though, anything of mine that could be useful to anyone, I want donated."

"You mean organs like your heart or lungs or something?" Brian raised an eyebrow at me.

"Or my corneas or anything else."

"Your CORNEAS?" my son was clearly disturbed by this bit of news.

He looked at Rich, who shrugged. "I've given up on trying to talk sense to her about this stuff."

"But her CORNEAS?" he asked again in disbelief.

"Sure," I told him. "They do cornea transplants all the time."

Brian sat back against the seat and shook his head. "That's just wrong, mom."

"What do you mean?" I asked puzzled.

"Well, first of all, “ he said earnestly, “they've done studies with transplant patients where sometimes the memories of the donor transfer to the person receiving the organ. It's freaky. Vegetarians start craving chicken nuggets, lumberjacks start wearing pink, weird stuff like that."

I nodded. "I know. I read those studies too, Bri. What was that author’s name again? Pearsall, I think it was. But its not like I'm a serial killer or have any bizarre traits to pass on or anything."

My husband cleared his throat but didn't say a word. I shot him a look.

"On top of that," Brian continued. "The whole idea is freaky. I mean what if I ended up dating a girl and found out that you had donated your corneas to her? " He shuddered. "We would be doing something, and suddenly I'd look at her and see your eyes looking back at me. It's just wrong."

I laughed. "Let me get this straight. You don't want me to donate any body parts because you're afraid they will go to a girl that you may someday end up dating?"

"Uh huh. Especially the eye thing."

I batted my eyes at my son. "Hey there, big boy."

"MOM!" Brian yelled, disgusted.

My husband cracked up. He loves it when I tease someone else for a change.

"It's kind of interesting actually," I turned the idea around in my head. "Say, for instance, she asked you to pick up some towels you left on the bathroom floor. You just wouldn't know, would you? Is that her being tidy, or me nagging you from the grave? And in terms of sex---"

"STOP!" Rich and Brian shouted at the same time.

I looked at them innocently. "I was just saying. . . "
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Saturday, June 04, 2005
Do These Pants Make My Butt Look Big?

I couldn't resist snapping this photo yesterday.

Just think. Some Japanese businessperson thought this great toy was the cutting edge of American culture.

Coming soon to a Dollar Store near you. Posted by Hello
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Juno Gets a New Name
"Honey?" I said in the darkness.

"Mmmmm?" My husband was stroking my arm in that soft feathery way that drives me crazy.

"I've been thinking . . ."

"Yeeeeeees?" I could hear his smile.

"I've been thinking that I want to change my name."

He grew suddenly still. "You mean you want to go back to your maiden name?"

Rich is very traditional and old fashioned that way. He never did like the idea of a woman keeping her maiden name after she married.

"No, I want to change my first name. I've picked out an Indian name I like better."

Rich groaned and rolled onto his back. "Sheesh," he said, mildly exasperated "Why am I not surprised?"

I propped myself up on one elbow and looked down at him. "Seriously. If I changed my name, would you call me by my Indian name?"

Silence.

"Never mind then." I punched my pillow and curled back up on my side of the bed.

"Okay," he sighed heavily. "Fine. What Indian name do you want?"

"Wind and Fire Woman." I answered promptly.

"Wind and Fire Woman?" His voice rose in disbelief.

"Yes." I paused, then added generously, "But you can call me Running Fart for short."

There was a moment of stunned silence while I tried to smother my giggles.

Rich whacked me with his pillow. "I can't believe you sometimes!" He burst out laughing. "You totally had me going with that! You're like a bad child."

I grinned at him mischievously. "Had you worried there for a minute, didn't I?"

"Uh huh."

I ruffled his hair and gave him a kiss. "That what I love about you, you know. You really would have called me by my 'Indian name' just to make me happy."

"You know," he said, making a grab for me, "I really think Running Fart needs to be taught a lesson."

Of course, that's what Running Fart was hoping for all along.
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Friday, June 03, 2005
It Does What?
"I love you baby," Rich nuzzled me awake.

"Mmmmm," I snuggled closer, not wanting to open my eyes. I have a sort of arrangement with the world that if I don't open my eyes, it's technically not morning, and I don't have to get up.

He kissed me on the ear.

"I made a mistake last night," I mumbled sleepily.

"You did?" I could hear the smile in his voice. "What did you do?"

"It was really late so I was tired. I washed my face, then used this blue stuff that you put on cotton balls that takes off any residue. Except that I forgot that I had rearranged the medicine cabinet." I sighed. "It turns out I rubbed my face down with Listerine."

Laughing, Rich sniffed my face.

"Do I smell minty fresh?" I yawned, grabbing his arm and pulling it around my waist.

"You smell great baby," he squeezed me tight, still grinning.

"I figured it was okay--it's mostly alcohol anyway." I rubbed my face with one hand. "I think it actually got rid of that pimple thingy on my cheek."

He inspected my cheek. "You know, I think you're right."

"Cool." I said, tucking this away for future reference. "I may have hit upon one of those model secrets or something. Like using hemmoroid cream on puffy eyes."

"You put hemmoroid creme on your eyes?" My husband looked startled. "Never mind, I don't want to know." He gave me a deep kiss then stood up. "I have to get going babe."

"'Kay, 'kay." I yawned again. "Love you."

"Love you too. See you tonight."

At the door he turned around to look at me thoughtfully.

"Hemmoroid creme?"

"Uh huh."

He hesitated. "The egg in the bathroom?" he asked.

"Hair," I told him, "makes it bouncy and shiny."

"And the Milk of Magnesia?"

"Face mask."

"Those two round pink stones?"

"Ummmmm." I wriggled uncomfortably. "Girl thing. Can't tell you about that one."

There are just some things a woman just has to keep secret.
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Thursday, June 02, 2005
What I REALLY Want to Know . . .
It's my birthday today, so I'm giving myself a writing break. I thought I'd try something a little different for this post instead.

Have you ever met someone you really liked and wanted to see if they were good relationship material? Or have you ever wondered how well you really know your partner? Or maybe you're just hanging with friends and need some good discussion topics.

A while back I made up a list of questions that I kept handy for exactly these sorts of situations. I figured I'd share them and see if anybody finds them useful. If you feel moved to answer any of them I'd love to hear what you come up with!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


When you wake up in the morning, your first thought is:
- Must. . . hit. . . snooze alarm. . .
- Bathroom run!!!!!
- I wonder if she's as horny as I am right now?
- Drool puddle on the pillow again--yuck!


You have a flat tire. Do you. . .
- Call AAA
- Grab the lug wrench and pull out the spare tire
- Realize with a sinking feeling in your gut that that WAS the spare tire that just blew
- Perch on the car and try to look cute so someone will stop to help


How do you feel about doing laundry?
- Groan, Can there be a chore any more BORING?
- Yum, nothing smells nicer than clean fresh sheets
- Yeah baby! I never miss a chance to straddle the washer during the spin cycle!


How best would you describe your kissing style?
- Slow and lingering
- Hungry and passionate
- Hunt and peck
- Vampiric


When finding myself in a room full of strangers I:
- Hide in the corner
- Give a friendly hello and introduce myself
- Am the life of the party
- Sneak out the back door


Finish this sentence. I dance like:
- Fred Astair
- John Travolta
- A baby elephant
- Lurch
- Cher



We have a free afternoon together. Would you prefer to:
- Go to a museum
- Take a drive with no particular destination in mind
- Go antiquing or explore a flea market
- Take in a great movie
- Hang out around the house and relax together
- Have wild monkey sex


What qualities are most important to you in a partner?

What is your best trait? Your worst fault?

If you could have dinner with three famous people in history, who would you choose and why?

The world is going to end at midnight. How would you choose to spend your final day?

Who is your worst enemy? Why?

What superhuman power would you most like to have? Invisibility, super strength, flying, or the ability to read minds?

If you could shapeshift into any animal at will, what animal would you choose to be?

Your best friend's significant other hits on you at a party. Do you tell him/her?

How do you feel about public displays of affection? How do you feel about public displays of affection between gay couples?

My dog eats your shoe? How do you react?

Tell me something about yourself that no one knows. I'm writing a book on a serial killer. Would you let me stalk you and force you into compromising positions to help me in my research?

Your birthday--event to be ignored or celebrated?

If you were a candy bar what kind would you be? Why?

Who is your favorite fictional character? Why?

What is your favorite color? Favorite season? Favorite time of day?

Do you sleep on the left or right side of the bed?

Do you sleep in jammies or in the buff?


After sex, which partner should sleep on the wet spot? (Think carefully on this one)

Do you leave the toilet seat up or down? Have you ever had the seat smack down on your winkie?

How do you handle disagreements with your partner? Walk away? Talk it out? Lose your temper but then make up quickly? Hold a grudge? Ignore the problem?

What is the most romantic thing you have ever done for a woman?

What's the most romantic thing a woman has ever done for you?

Do you believe in magic? If so how would you define it? Can I have a lock of your hair?

Remote control--channel surfer or stayer-putter?

Eating with your fingers--good or bad? Me feeding you grapes with my mouth--good or bad?

What is your favorite guilty pleasure that won't grow hair on your palms?

Favorite movie monster: vampire, werewolf, Frankenstein, mummy, or King Kong? Why?

Boxers or briefs? White or colors?

How would your ex girlfriends describe you?

Finish this sentence: I would never ______________________.

What bad habits of other people make you crazy?

What food can't you do without? What food would you NEVER eat?
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Wednesday, June 01, 2005
Spanking


"Sorry I missed you on Paltalk last night," I told my sister Iris. "I was out grocery shopping."

"No problem. I was having computer problems anyway. I went over to the help rooms but no one would help me. Too busy. So I decided to go talk to this Dominatrix instead."

"A Dominatrix?" I laughed.

"It made sense to me. I mean, after all, she was a Dominatrix. You know. . . strong, female, in control and all that. I figured she'd know what to do."

I love this about my sister. She's the sort of person who goes to Niagara Falls and ends up having tea with an 80-year-old artist who weaves clothing from hair shed by his dog.

"So did she help you?" I asked curiously.

"No," Iris sighed. "I don't think she quite knew what to make of me. She wasn't really even into spanking. Can you believe it?"

I shook my head. "I never really understood that whole spanking thing myself."

I've pretty much dedicated my life to avoiding all forms of violence against my butt.

"Still," my sister insisted. "You'd think it would be part of her job description. And then the foot fetish guy came in so I left."

"The foot fetish guy?"

"Don't ask."

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I never did like the whole idea of spanking--probably because I was always being singled out for one.

My first grade teacher was an Evil Midget named Mrs. Hooker (I know you guys think I make this stuff up so I've attached our class picture as proof). At least twice a week that woman turned me over her knee and swatted me with a wooden paddle for talking in class.

Because that's what they did back in the 60s. Scary.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Sometimes adults would try to trick us into mistaking a spanking device for a toy. Remember the bolo paddle? It was a plastic or wooden paddle with a little red rubber ball attached to it by a long rubber band. The idea was to try to bounce the ball off the paddle. This worked great until the ball came off--which it always did--after about 15 minutes of hard play.

The first time our aunt used a broken bolo paddle on our behinds, my sister and I vowed to never let her get her hands on one again.

We took to burying them whenever they broke.

At last count, we had about thrity paddles buried in our backyard.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

A friend of mine once tried to explain to me about a Zen meditation technique she practiced.

"You sit facing the wall, your back straight in proper sitting posture, and try to clear your mind of all thought. If you become tired, or distracted, or begin to slouch, the Master strikes you on the shoulder with a stick to bring you back into focus."

"Ohhhhhh," I said, suddenly comprehending. "Now I know what you mean. I used to practice that all the time."

My friend look puzzled. "You did?"

I nodded sagely. "Yes. Only we called it 'punishment'."
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Memories and musings shared by Juno
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I'm a 40-something writer, artist, and Jill-of-All-Trades. For me, magic is looking at the ordinary and seeing the extraordinary. My writing tends to take me to unexpected places--not so surprising when I think about it. I had an unusual growing up and have always chosen the offbeat over the "safe". I prefer interesting people over beautiful ones, and I am fascinated by people's stories. What I love most about life is its glorious imperfections and fantastic plot twists.

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