Things I learn from the internet.

I’m kind of full of myself. I like to think I get hit on too much. Because it bugs me how often men proposition me.

But you know what? The magic aura of white motherhood means that when I’m with my kids it pretty much doesn’t happen.

I’m reading a bunch of black women talk about the intensity of their street harassment. When they are with their kids.

Whoa. You know what? I don’t have guys lining up to give me their numbers “just in case” things go south with Noah.

Goodness. I’m getting into the privileged class in all kinds of ways.

May I pay you for your opinion?

Howdy! I hope you were sent to this blog post from Twitter or by a friend. My name is Krissy. I’m a writer. Right now I’m working on my second book. It is titled Outrunning Suicide and it is aimed at kids (roughly 12-20) who are experiencing trauma.

I’m a cis-gendered white woman. That means I have had very particular experiences of the world. I am not capable of taking off the blinders of my life and seeing the path that other people are walking.

I’m aware of this. But I’d like this book to be useful for people who aren’t cis-gendered white people.

I am queer but it has never been a problem for me. I grew up around a tolerant community and that part of my identity has never been a spot of friction. I know it has been different for other people.

If you fall into a group that is often poorly represented, is there a chance I can pay you to read this book and give me your opinion? I understand that many people in marginalized communities are often expected to work for free. I think your time and your opinion are worth something.

I would cheerfully pay $50 for the first 10 people who want to read the book and send me an email talking about the pieces that work and don’t work for them. (Have to set a cap now because my bank account is not limitless.)

I will cheerfully pay more money if I can meet up with you at some point in real life and hear what you actually have to say. There is nothing that can compare to the experience of listening to people say, “This phrasing is hurtful to me” because if you say it to my face I will not be able to forget it. When things are in writing it is hard to truly understand the emotional impact you are having on other people. In person interactions are far more valuable to me so I will pay you more for your time.

I hope that sounds reasonable. If you are interested in doing this, my email is somethingdifferent AT that gmail place.

My goal is to self publish this book in the year 2016 and start figuring out how to distribute it. I would really appreciate any help that anyone can give.

 

Thank you.

I’ll catch y’all up

Noah is here! I am much less interested in writing. Instead I am petting him and asking him to rub my back.

The trailer is fixed! This is very exciting.

Uhm… stuff. Chicago pizza is good. I like it best with more meat. However much meat you want to put on it, add some more.

My diarrhea is improving since I wised up on the corn syrup. I’m not pooping like a normal person (I compare my poop to my children and feel so much envy.) but things are improving.

We had a five minute long thunder and lightning storm with hail. Yay Chicago?

Noah flies out tomorrow. I’m glad we get to see him so much in August. We won’t see him in September.

I have some good specific points for revising Outrunning Suicide to be distinctly more inclusive. I’m excited about that.

Oh, I need to go make another post. I’ll do that. On Tuesday we drive out of here early and head to MichFest. After all these years I’m finally going.

 

Catch y’all up

Yesterday was exciting. By exciting I mean shitty. By shitty I mean full of vomiting. Oh it was fun. And violent diarrhea. The kind of sick where you have to sit on the toilet and puke in the bath tub because everything is letting go at once no matter how you feel about it.

I’m sure you all wanted to hear that.

And apparently in Illinois they don’t sell make-you-stop-puking medicine over the counter. You have to go see a doctor. With my out of state insurance and two small children when I can barely stand up. Right. Pedialyte and prayer it is.

It did stop. *phew*

And while I was sick and sick our room key stopped working. Apparently if they give you two keys, using the second key makes the first key not work and then neither works. Why in the fuck did you give me two then?!

While fixing that I discovered that the person who said we could be in this room for eight nights… lied. Saturday night we have to get out. But the front desk people tried to convince me to go somewhere else for one night and come back.

Uhm, probably not.

I’ll go somewhere more expensive with a better bath tub and a door between me and the kids. So I can have sex. Cause after two months of abstinence I’m kinda tapping the floor.

But only for three nights. Whoa we are hemorrhaging money. I’ll come clean at the end of the year when I do my accounting. For now I’m watching the balance and wincing.

I mean, it’s not like we are getting low on money. Noah is better at earning money than I am at spending it. But I want to throw it all at my mortgage, not this trip. Which makes it a matter of priorities not safety.

That’s completely fucking crazy to me. I talked to a woman who likes to travel like me. But she has been stranded several times and she had to ask family to wire her money because she had literally $300 for the trip and that didn’t go far enough.

That’s why I traveled less when I was poor. It’s terrifying. I did it. But not like this. Travel means you run into so many situations where you just simply have to have money.

The god damn axel fell off my trailer. That’s going to cost some money. But I want to camp on it for at least another 9 weeks. Minimum of 9 more weeks. (Lots of time in hotels at Disney World and we get to stay with friends a fair bit.)

I feel like I’m going to have to get a better handle on managing my pain levels before I can do the around the world trip. I may have to devote serious work to healing my body so that I can do that labor. Right now it would be wicked hard.

I’m really enjoying traveling with the kids. They make everything fun and exciting. We spend so much time laughing.

The nice man who offered to tow our trailer has been texting me lists of things to do with the kids while we are here. Today we are going to the county fair. Because that sounds fun.

I will walk slowly. It’s going to be awfully hot.

Talked to my shrink yesterday. She asked how I can work more travel into my life on a smaller scale more frequent basis because this is very energizing for me. I love meeting new people. It is easier for me to emotionally self regulate in new environments. I always feel like I’m on a timer for when people will get sick of me. My anxiety increases as time passes instead of me feeling more comfortable and secure.

This is super annoying.

I’m really hard on my friends. I’m sorry.

When I am mostly only meeting new people it’s easier to keep up a “front” of personality. I may need assistance and I know that the only way I’m going to get it is if I am pleasing. So I keep it up when I’m going from new person to new person.

It’s hard to keep that mask up though. I’m a bitter, angry person. I wish that people didn’t need me to pretend to be happy and energetic in order to deserve being treated decently. It’s like a job.

A job I will never get paid for.

But I am finding that having *no* space for letting myself relax and be more natural is causing me to do better with the kids. I don’t like that. I mean, I’m taking out most points of stress too and that makes it easier to do better with the kids. Hard to tell what causes what. All I know is I’ve been doing remarkably little screaming for me. In two months, much of which has been stressful for one reason or another… I’ve barely screamed. Only a few times. Not even weekly.

That’s doing pretty good for me. Oh my poor children. Well, I say that because it sucks to have someone scream at you at all.

At least my kids get told, “When I scream at you it is because I am angry, frustrated, and I’m out of patience. It isn’t because you deserve being screamed at. That’s me messing up and I’m sorry. You never deserve being screamed at.”

I wasn’t told that as a child. It’s at least something.

I feel really bad that sometimes Eldest Child will say, “Generationally our family is doing much better. Your mom had it bad, you had it bad, I have it pretty darn good and my kids will have it even better!”

It feels weird and awkward.

I mean… I’m glad she thinks she has it pretty darn good. That’s nice to hear. My children assure me regularly that I am nice to them.

I really really really like traveling with my kids. It is a pleasure, joy, and full of laughter. I feel so loved.

The completely non-helpful streak in Duluth is over too. *phew* I think they need breaks from responsibility. Which totally makes sense because they are four and seven.

I just need to learn how to ride the waves better without freaking out about every up and down motion. This is hard.

I learn more and get better with every year.

I love watching the kids sleep together in a puppy pile. Melts my heart.

Clear the head

My arms hurt because I’ve been typing too much. That’s kinda funny. Tonight I went out and bought a bottle of champagne and a bunch of orange juice because holy shit it has been a rough few days.

I’m not looking forward to the diarrhea. But I’m looking forward to a few hours of feeling mellow. I ain’t felt mellow in a while. This is my second alcohol since the trip started so I’m averaging 2 drinks a month on the trip. That’s pretty normal. If I have more of this bottle it’ll up my average.

We’ll see. The kids are watching the Power Puff Girls. I’m tired.

Tonight we had a caramel apple for dinner. It was covered in nuts and white chocolate and milk chocolate. I’m telling you, it’s been a fucking day.

Ok, later we had cornbread and butter. We didn’t *only* have the caramel apple.

And we had jerky. What more could you want from life?! We have blueberries and bananas. That’s some healthy shit.

Fuck fuck fuckity fuck. I’m trying not to curse with the kids. Mostly because my eldest child told me, “I don’t want to be the kind of person who swears a lot. It sounds angry and I’m really not an angry person.”

So I don’t want to model swearing just the now.

Fuck fuck fuckity fuck. Shit and motherfucker and piss and cocksucker and AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

All the fucking shit-tastic motherfucking shit I’m not supposed to say.

You have no idea how hard it is for me to not curse. But I’m doing well. I asked the kids and they said I’ve been doing surprisingly well.

I heard that “surprisingly” you little shit. I love you.

I am doing really well at not cursing in front of them. The words swirl around in my brain and I don’t say them out loud.

Hell, the kids have me working on “shut up”. I’m not even allowed to say that any more! I taught fucking high school BECAUSE I was allowed to say shut up! That was the reason! OH MY FUCKING GOD. REALLY. I CAN’T SAY FUCKING SHUT UP ANY MORE BECAUSE IT IS A BAD WORD?! OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This sucks so much. I’ve been motherfucking resisting this change SINCE I WAS FIVE YEARS OLD. I’M NOT GOING TO GOD DAMN CHANGE FOR YOU!!!!

Ok yes I will. God damnit. I will. I will only fucking curse in my god damn blog and that will be motherfucking it.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

This doesn’t feel fair. I’ll tell you.

I love you so much. I’ll move mountains for you. I’ll even stop saying shut up if it bothers you.

Because you are that important to me. You and you alone are worth this kind of effort.

But I’ll bitch about you on my blog!

I think it is hilarious (and perhaps problematic) that my kids now say, “I’m not bitching I’m just saying” because they don’t know that “bitching” is a bad word. If they knew they would yell at me to expunge it from vocabulary.

Picture me rolling around on the floor with glee because I got away with something.

Seriously, when I think about it I laugh uproariously. It’s hilarious to me. I’m an asshole.

I’m a potty mouth. I’m a potty mouth. Neiner neiner fucking neiner.

This place will be the last hold out. Here, in my blog, I get to be as motherfucking profane as I GOD DAMN WANT TO BE.

I NEED ONE PLACE.

Don’t bug me about this. If ever someone tells me that I should tone down the cursing on my blog I might literally explode.

I’M DOING SO GOD DAMN WELL IN REAL LIFE. FUCK YOU ALL EVEN IF YOU NEVER THOUGHT THE THING THAT I WANT TO SAY FUCK YOU FOR.

It’s that kind of day.

I’m torn between freaking out about the broken axel and thinking positive things like, “Thank goodness it completely snapped in a parking lot!” and “Thank goodness these nice folks can make me a new axel in a week when I already planned to be here for a week!”

It’s like the universe said, “I know…. Krissy needs a cockup RIGHT NOW since she ain’t going nowhere noways. Muahahahahaha.”

FUCK YOU UNIVERSE.

But not very hard since you were so sweet as to let the axel completely go in the parking lot and not the freeway. That was awful kind of you.

I need to call the old dude! Oh shit. It’s too late at night now. I’ll call tomorrow.

Illinois is so awesome. I need to write this down before I forget.

So we were sitting in the vestibule of a Staples store trying to talk to AAA on the phone. I was on hold a lot. But outside I couldn’t hear the phone over the stupid diesel trucks that wanted to idle RIGHT NEXT TO ME and inside the store seemed a bit rude cause I was practically yelling.

Anyway, we were sitting in the vestibule, and this lady walks by. She said, “Are you all stranded? Do you need a ride home? I can help if you just need a ride.”

Whoa. I’m sitting there with my two kids and you …. just offer a ride. Wow. Thank you. That’s so kind.

I told her we were on the phone with AAA and we were not actually stranded and thank you so much for offering. That’s really kind.

Then we went out to the van to get stuff for the kids to do because we were going to have a wait in front of us. The guy sitting in a truck next to our van was real chatty. He got to talking to us. It started with, “Wow that’s a bright shirt. What does it say?” We talked for a while then the kids and I went into Starbucks to sit a spell.

After a few minutes a gentleman I didn’t recognize walked up and said, “Are you the lady with the problem?” My eyes got big and I nodded and he plopped down on the chair across from me. “Tell me about your problem. I like solving problems.”

I told him, at great length, about what was happening with the trailer. He asked me many questions. At the end he gave me his name and phone number and said if AAA couldn’t tow my trailer he and his brother (the guy in the truck) could handle moving me from point a to point b.

I almost cried. He was so nice.

Then another man stood up and waved me over to his table. When I got there he said, “This is kind of awkward but… are your kids hungry? You’ve had a really hard day and I have five grandkids and I got lucky today with a $200 repair being done for free and I told myself God doesn’t do these things by accident and I heard your story and…. Are your kids hungry?”

I told him that we weren’t hungry, we have a whole van full of food and you are the nicest thing ever.

Holy moly. I’m not sure I’ve ever had four strangers offer that much support in such a short period of time before.

I fucking love Illinois. I’m so glad we broke down here. This place is wonderful. At every hotel they’ve been really nice and sweet and offered us random bonus things because it sucks we are having so much trouble and…

I feel completely overwhelmed. Bad things happen, ok, life is like that. People can be so kind. People sometimes see you struggling and say, “Can I help?”

I’m so glad we are on this journey. Even the hard parts teach me things I want to know.

I am so grateful that mostly I can just solve problems. Throw money at the problem and it will evaporate. That’s awesome.

Thank you, Noah. This is because of you. Not because of me.

It makes me more and more and more and more passionately devoted to the idea of a basic income for all citizens. If having money can provide this much dignity and security we are pieces of shit for not giving it to all citizens as a matter of course.

I’m bringing this idea up over and over and over as I travel. Basic income. Dignity. All citizens are worthy of support.

It is kind of funny to me how many people say they have never heard of this concept before. Really?!

I miss Noah. I miss Noah so much I physically ache. I’m kinda pissed we can’t camp because I had totally figured a way to get private time for fucking and now we are in a hotel room. NOT FAIR!

There was a part of me that thought about getting two rooms right next to each other just for the secks. I decided that was a bit expensive.

I want sex. Whoa I want to get off. Like whoa. I’m getting off when Noah is here. Period.

Funny how I’m not masturbating. I tried the other day for like a minute and then stopped because it was pointless. Not happening.

I’m tired. But the kids are staying on California time. Have I mentioned how much this sucks for me? I’m letting it happen so we can maybe see fireworks at Disney World. We won’t see them without the time change advantage. My kids will stay up until “midnight” and I’ll feel like they are impressively night owls and then we’ll go home.

Yay home. I miss Wonderland.

Almost August. I miss my home. Don’t go home till the end of November. Suck it up, wench. You did this to yourself. Crazy to think I have almost four months until this journey is over. Why crazy? Because I want Noah so bad.

He’s coming in three more days! Less than that!

It’ll be ok. We don’t have another 7 week stretch without him. Yay! I want Noah. I miss Noah.

Noah helps me feel like it is ok for me to exist even though I’m problematic. I do something positive for him.

That’s a lot of why I’m confused about how rapists should be treated by society. They might do something positive for someone. How much of that matters?

I don’t know.

Life is so complicated. I feel so incompetent.

I can swear here.

I posted something on the kid blog to reflect the adventure we’re having. Then I come over here where I can say FUCK FUCK FUCKITY FUCKING FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK.

Can’t say that on the kid blog. Not kosher.

So, for those who haven’t gotten frantic texts and for those who don’t read Twitter, let me catch you up on today’s excitement.

We were driving from Milwaukee to Kankakee, which is near Chicago. We pulled off the highway into a Home Depot parking lot because I wanted some scrap lumber for a thing. Turns out they had no scrap lumber. What the fuck?

Anyway. As we are pulling into the parking lot I hear a horrifying noise and I stop and jump out and look…

The wheels are not under the bed where they are supposed to be. One is where it belongs. The other is… kind of trailing behind. Oh shit.

That’s bad. I pulled the trailer out of the main part of the road and blocked a bunch of parking spaces. That maneuver shredded my tire.

FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK

Ok. I called AAA. It took them four hours to come get us.

The kids played on the grass like the delightful wonderful children they are. I am so fucking lucky my kids are so awesome.

The tow truck driver didn’t really know what he was doing. That was… hilarious. And it’s Sunday so almost everything is closed anyway. Eventually after driving around to several shops some were closed, some turned us away cause they don’t do that kind of repair, we found a place and dropped the trailer off. It’ll be fixed in the morning. I hope.

But the bikes are locked to a post in the Home Depot parking lot because they won’t tow a trailer with anything on it. 100% of the other stuff is in the van. Which makes it kind of hard to get at anything. I’m frustrated.

I don’t know if they will be able to fix the axel. There is the distinct possibility that trailer is just dead. I do not have separate insurance on it. I do not know what I’m going to do.

I will wait till the morning and find out what my options are. I can’t make a decision right now. But I’m taking a fuck ton of medication right now. I’m wired for sound.

The first several hotels only had smoking rooms available.

When we got here, 12 hours after we left Milwaukee I looked so fucking fried the nice lady at the registration desk gave me a discount on the room because she feels bad that anyone has a day like this. Thanks. That’s really sweet of you.

On one hand… it was a stressful day. On the other hand… at worst I’m out a few thousand dollars.

And I’m not in a position where that will cripple me. And I kind of want to cry about that.

I’m not sure why I’m feeling so upset that none of these financial problems are a problem but I’m really upset. I feel like a shitty person because my problem will just slow down the rate I will pay off my house. I really want it paid off in two years. Might take three if I hemorrhage money.

That feels really bad right now and I don’t know why. I’m really tired.

Living in an ivory tower; race, privileges, and advantages.

First: I am going to reflect that people who say, “In the past women had to say no when they meant yes or they weren’t worth having” are perpetuating bullshit. Say it to someone other than me, please.

I don’t believe that I am a worthy person despite my promiscuity because I was born at the end of the 20th century. I’m worth what I would be worth no matter what. I’m offended by the (probably true fact) that if my behavior were discovered one hundred years earlier I would have been murdered to protect the “purity” of the people around me.

Awesome!

But that isn’t even what I want to talk about. I want to talk about race. I see race. As I drive across this country it is stark where people feel comfortable and where they don’t.

I counted 86 people in Duluth who looked like they had African ancestry. In almost two weeks of being out every day. In a town of 86,000 some people. I started counting on the second day when I happened to notice a large group of black teenagers standing together. Biggest grouping of black people I’ve seen since I left California. I wanted to walk over and say hi and I decided that was a bit weird.

I told my friend I would stop counting if I hit 100. Didn’t happen. So Duluth is much more diverse than many of the places we’ve been but it isn’t what I’m used to.

Milwaukee! We are staying in a historically black neighborhood. I can tell. It’s great! I haven’t counted because out of the first 15 people I saw 13 were black. I counted that high and stopped and thought, “Ok I feel good here; I like Milwaukee already.”

My childhood was so fractured. I spent time in so many places. Sometimes I was in all black neighborhoods. Sometimes I was in all Hispanic neighborhoods. Sometimes I was in all white neighborhoods. I’ve never hit an Asian enclave but not for reasons of specifically rejecting them. Just didn’t happen.

I feel most comfortable in Hispanic neighborhoods. I love the music. I love the smell of the cooking. Spanish, for me, is the language of loving mothers. The loving, considerate, caring mothers I knew were mostly Hispanic. So very loving. I spent much of my childhood crying and wishing I was born a Mexican so I’d have a mother who wanted me. I didn’t understand why my mom didn’t love me the way the other mothers loved their children.

I no longer believe that only Hispanic mothers love their children. But it was weirder and harder to shake than you’d think. Black mothers always seemed more fierce and less… gentle. They had too much shit to get done to baby your ass. Get your shit done. Of course I have known black mothers who weren’t good at mothering, but mostly I’ve known a lot of black women who are very good at passing on what they know about living in a hard world. I admire that.

I don’t especially want my children growing up in a white bubble. There are good things, yes, but lots of bad too.

The family we are staying with for two nights (we aren’t talking to them much) are incredibly involved in their church. My kids are asking me about how that works. It’s fun talking about the roots of community support and engagement that grow from religion. It’s easy to talk about why people would want it and what it does. I get the appeal of religion. I just… don’t believe.

My kids asked me if only people who aren’t white go to church. I about fell off my chair laughing. Kiddo, lots of white people go to church. Remember how we went to your friend’s first communion just a bit ago? Oh. Yeah. Ok, I guess they do.

That was funny.

Someone on line said something that made me think really hard. Privileges are things you are born with. You can’t change them. Things you earn after you are here are advantages.

I was born white. In this place and in this time that means I’m given certain structural support and acceptance. I’m not trailed in stores. People will assume I’m the victim in an altercation with someone of color. I’m more likely to be thought “honest” than someone who isn’t white. (Despite the fact that white people are huge fucking liars. Oh my god.)

It is fascinating to think of my life since 18 as being one long series of advantages rather than privileges.

I wasn’t born with the accident settlement, but it changed my fate. So it isn’t a born privilege but it is an advantage I earned through violent attack? Man that’s how I get lots of my friggin advantages. Assault the shit out of me. I’ll make you pay.

Only.. that’s bullshit. Mostly I shut my stupid mouth and walk away and I don’t make people pay. I go home and cry and cut on myself and hate me for being so stupid I let that happen again.

I don’t know how to talk about the advantages very well. I’m trying to get better. We frequently offer to pay for things for folks. We asked to take my friend’s family out to dinner in Duluth and she was clearly not sure. She hemmed and hawed and talked about how expensive it was and how hard it was and…

I said, “Sweetie I feel weird saying this but I grew up starving and now I’m rich and I can pay to let others eat. It makes me feel very good about myself that I’m in a position now where I can feed other people, please let me have that feeling.”

She looked at me for a long minute, evaluating, then said yes. We had a great time! Oh and the food was so good. The Smokehouse in Duluth makes ridiculously good meat. And the tapenade… drool.

When I walk through upper class white neighborhoods I feel afraid. I feel like someone will set a dog or the police on me at any second. When I walk through a lower class white neighborhood I feel tense. I feel like someone could be looking for a territorial fight at any minute. Lots of bullshit posturing. This wouldn’t be a big deal only I don’t walk away from a dick contests. I’m going to win, motherfucker, because mine is bigger.

When I am in black or Hispanic neighborhoods… I feel comfortable. I can say “Hello!” to everyone and smile and they will probably smile and wave back. It will smell like the best food ever as you walk down the street. People will be playing and interacting in public like they aren’t ashamed to be seen existing.

I feel much less anxiety.

I spend a lot of time thinking that if I ever move I’d like to move to a historically black or Hispanic area but then I’m a piece of shit gentrifier.

So complicated.

Most of what I initially liked about my neighborhood is that it feels like the United Nations. Lots of us are outside just living in front of our neighbors. I like it.

Communities that want to have people living outside right next to each other are ok with interventions. If you see a kid doing something they ought not be doing… you comment. Period. Everyone does. They jump on my kids like white on rice and I smile benevolently and nod, “That’s RIGHT!” Listen to that woman. She knows what she’s talking about.

I like messy community involvement. I’ve already “stood alone” for most of my life. I’m good.

This is uncomfortable to talk about because all racial concepts are loaded in this country. Probably in the whole world, but I live in the US.  I don’t know what to do about the fact that my presence would pollute the environment I wish to be in. Most folks in historically black neighborhoods don’t want bitches like me moving in.

I’m not trying to co-opt your culture. I try like fuck to not appropriate. But there are things I want to emulate and I want desperately to believe I am doing it in a respectful way. Not sure I am. That bothers me.

I grew up reading books centering the Black experience. Those mothers are who I liked and respected. I don’t think I’m black. I don’t think that is a decision I can make. Black isn’t a religion. I can’t convert.

But I can choose my words and tone to try and be respectful in the ways I’ve heard people hit respectful along with very forcefully effective. Damn I admire that.

I hope beyond hope that I’m not just mocking AAVE (African American Vernacular English); I’m sincerely not trying to be disrespectful.

Where is sharing respectful? Where is stealing disrespectful?

I have a hard time with this because adopting white culture is ok across the board. I have a hard time with this because that means everyone gets to be more rude and demanding and self-absorbed.

Maybe white culture shouldn’t be the one we pick as the one to shoot for? Just sayin’?

White culture is shit at community engagement. I believe this is partially related to capitalism. Whites have traditionally lived in areas where they don’t have to work in large groups for the basics of survival so they distrust and dislike groups.

If you look at the living conditions in Africa and South America… group cooperation was more useful.

For white people we aren’t big on group cooperation. We are big on one asshole getting an idea then buying slaves and forcing the slaves to do what that one asshole wants. And that asshole could be male or female. Everyone sucks. Yay!

That’s not the same thing.

I’m tired of the idea of bootstrapping. I’ve never seen a bootstrapper who didn’t have some systematic support.

LIKE THAT ASSHOLE THOREAU AND HIS GOD DAMN DONUTS. AND HIS FUCKING LAUNDRY.

“I wish to live simply. And let my mama take care of me forever.”

Yeah, that sounds like a white guy. Fuck everything.

He was considered one of the leaders of thought! He is to be emulated! I WANT A FUCKING MOMMY TO TAKE CARE OF ME FOREVER TOO, MOTHERFUCKER.

When we drove up in front of the AirBnB place Eldest Child said: “I don’t think that house is the one we are looking for because the guy standing outside is white and we aren’t staying with a white family, right?”

I said, “You need to stop pointing out race when we are looking at the same person. You can say, “That guy doesn’t look the people in the picture we saw” and I’ll agree and you won’t be classifying everyone by their race.”

She wanted more explanation about that. I said, “Mostly if you are looking at groups of white people you don’t feel the need to point out they are white. Yes, this time it was a white guy. But mostly humans do that. White people are people and then other races are black people or brown people or or. It’s not ok. People are people. That’s a dude regardless of race. Unless race is a necessary part of the conversation like, “I was assaulted and the police are looking for the person ok I’ll mention the race of the person.”

Peoples personality and appealingness and behavior have nothing to do with their race.

I feel scared that I make people feel uncomfortable because I am comfortable in other cultures. My anxiety levels go down.

I don’t fear I’m about to be assaulted in mixed race groups. Just in groups of white people. I’ve only ever been assaulted by white men. I know there are non-white rapists (come on here) but they are very unlikely to target me so it’s a non-existent threat to me. As long as there are no white men around I can relax.

White men usually make sure I know that they think I’m less than them. It happens in a remarkably diverse group of settings. Pisses guys off when I won’t let them win. “Start telling me how bad ass and tough you are. I’ll tell whatever stories I have to until we prove that my dick is twice the size of yours, motherfucker.”

I am starting to notice that I have lived an extraordinary life. My stories are endless. Let me freak you out.

I was not worried about dying for many years. I made a lot of choices that were stupid and could have killed me because I wouldn’t consider it a bad thing anyway. I’ve got some intense fucking stories.

Mostly I try to leave them out of daily life because they bother people. But when I want to, I have ’em.

My kids were asking me yesterday if they would grow up to be rich. I said, “Well you are privileged enough to start out life with parents who are good at amassing money and conserving wealth. Statistically, if you pay attention to your parents, you will end up rich. We have skills that are making us rich. If you copy those skills you will probably do well. Most people who are poor have poor parents and they just don’t know how to do differently. But sometimes kids of rich parents have no money sense and they are always broke. It’ll be up to you.”

They both promised to listen to me about money. I’m not sure that is the point either.

Advantages are things you get for yourself. I was privileged enough to go through basically competent schools. I earned the advantage of my college education. It was paid for by the accident, but I did the work. I wasn’t born with the privilege of a trust fund, but I’ve managed one very well once I had the advantage of access to one.

That’s an interesting nuance to think about. I’m going to be puzzling that one over a lot.

I want to make the world better. I want people to be treated better. But what does that even mean?

I’m not sure. I want everyone to have the same feeling of peace and happiness when they walk through neighborhoods of people who don’t look like them. I want everyone to see a black man and smile and assume they are still safe.

I want black women to be paid what they are worth.

I want latinx women to be paid what they are worth.

I want trans* folks of every persuasion to be allowed to have jobs where they are respected and admired. Because there is something to admire in just about every human.

But I don’t know how to get there.

I tell my kids that you can’t look at someone and tell what kind of life they’ve had. Be careful how you ask people where they are from because exterior tells you little. “How long have you lived here?” is better than “Where are you from?” It means people can smile and say, “All my life” without deflecting the idea that they don’t belong here.

We all belong here and we all don’t belong here. It’s complicated.

Help people feel like they belong here on this planet. That’s what I want to do.

How do you get to know people without having them feel used or exploited? How do you have reciprocal relationships?

I don’t know.

I assume, with every person I meet, that there is something I could do for them. Maybe it is helping them weed their front yard. Maybe it is carrying heavy boxes. Maybe it is making food. Maybe…

I can do things that make life better. I have mad skillz, yo.

But I no longer need much help so I don’t ask for as much.

A nice young man helped me push the trailer up the driveway yesterday. He saw me struggling and offered. Thanks! That was super useful. I can get it but it is hard and wears me out. It was so kind.

I have to ask for that kind of help in white neighborhoods. I have to go bang on doors and intrude on peoples lives and say, “Will you please help me?” I do it because I’m assertive as fuck and when I need help I’ll ask anyone. When I broke my arm and I was living alone I wandered through the apartment complex looking for someone to open my jar of spaghetti sauce. I’m totally cool with taking my needs to anyone who is there.

I didn’t ask yesterday. He walked over and offered. That’s why I feel more comfortable in black neighborhoods. You are expected to offer help. That’s just how it is done. Which is why I offer so much help. Because I expect that it should be that way. That’s the world I want to live in.

Many years ago I was reading about an archeologist who moved to South America with his family. He thought it was weird that the natives, as they settled in, would come to visit and start doing work. Preparing the local foods was a many-step, time intense process. If locals saw that you were in progress they’d start helping without even asking. It needs to be done and isn’t done yet.

I want to live in a world like that. So.Bad.

I help neighbors with projects all the time. Because I want to. Because I like being able to help. Because I have layers of privileges and advantages and I can.

Kids up.

FEELINGS

I’m an idiot. This isn’t serious. I’ll get over it. But I’ve been thinking about it for a day now and having feelings and whining to myself and maybe if I type it I will stop fucking whining. (Ha. Ha. Ha.)

I feel whiny as fuck that I regularly try to get Noah to watch movies with me and he won’t but he’s going to go do that with friends while I’m gone.

I’m a baby.

I know this isn’t a big deal. I’m not like… actually jealous but I feel whiny.

I’ll get over it. It’s not a problem. It’s not a bad thing. I don’t want him sitting at home by himself and if this is what he can get together with people to do I get being stuck with a less-than-your-preference activity.

But I still feel whiny that I want to share my cultural references with him so we can talk about them and he really doesn’t care.

So I’m going to be a whiny bitch over here for a while. Hopefully this will be the one and only mention of it.

(I DON’T WANT HIM TO CANCEL. THAT’S NOT MY POINT. I just document all my whiny shit so that in the future I can see that I felt that way.)

(I’m not mad at Pam or A. either. It’s not their fault Noah won’t movies with me.)

Just…

feelings.

Doesn’t help that I feel physically bad.

My body hates me.

This one will be all gross and stuff. Like I do.

I stayed in Duluth long enough to get back to solid poop. That was very exciting after weeks of diarrhea. It wasn’t like, “normal poop” but it was formed and I was satisfied with that. Well, today it is back to full on liquid. I hurt. My belly is clenching and churning and HURTS.

This on top of my neck, arms, and back hurting like a motherfucker. I’m driving along crying because it hurts. Which is not so fun.

Headache. I’ve had a headache for days. I kind of want to just chop it off.

Right now I’m guessing that part of this is the heat cycling. My body is flipping the fuck out. I hurt and hurt and hurt.

But the AirBnB hosts have WiFi that the iPad can pick up (haven’t been able to use Netflix since Grandpa’s house) so the kids think this place is dandy.

Ugh. I feel like I should go do something fun. But I want to puke.

Problematic people.

First, a quickie question answered. Buddhist vegetarianism (in my ignorant and probably incorrect understanding) is when it is rude to refuse a dish that has been prepared with meat in it but you don’t eat the meat. Like if your friend makes spaghetti with meatballs and serves you meatballs you just eat the rest of the sauce and noodles. If someone gives you chicken chow mein you eat everything but the chicken. But touching meat doesn’t make things off limits. That’s my understanding.

So my friend’s kid eats soup and rice made with chicken stock but he won’t eat any flesh; that’s what I mean.

Back to what I want to blog about. Problematic people. I’m going to give a hair of back story for context. My kids and I like Taylor Swift’s music. We don’t mostly follow her career or life. Part of what I like about TS’s music is that it is appropriate to listen to with kids. Much of my music is graphic sexually or involves a ton of swearing and I don’t let my kids listen to that. Excuse the expression, but TS is whitewashed and safe.

There is another singer out there named Nicki Minaj. I don’t listen to her all that much. Most of her music… isn’t stuff I want my kids repeating yet. Once my kids hit puberty and can understand why people sing about sex I won’t care. I like her music. But just like I don’t play many P!nk songs in front of my kids I don’t play much Nicki Minaj. I also don’t play songs like, “It’s Hard Out Here For A Bitch” or “It Gets Better”. My kids don’t need to hear about how they can grow up to swim through a pussy vault like Scrooge Fucking McDuck just  yet.

Wait a few years.

So, Nicki posted on Twitter about her feelings about the video awards that somebody or other is doing. I really don’t pay attention. But I noticed that a singer I like was talking about her feelings about her position in a system that isn’t very equal to folks like her.

If it isn’t obvious already, Nicki is black.

So Taylor read what Nicki wrote, took it personally, and then there were dozens of pieces of writing produced for gossip bullshit magazines and websites talking about them having a fight.

Because a black woman talked about her feelings publicly and a white woman jumped up and acted like she was a victim.

That bothers the fuck out of me.

Ok, yes, Taylor has since apologized.

It’s all bullshit. None of this relates to me. This isn’t my problem. Except I was watching it happen in real time and I mentioned it to my 7 year old. She said, “Does this mean we should stop listening to Taylor’s music?”

Oh man. She told me to ask Twitter. I did. Some of my awesome friends had a little discussion with me. My friend’s husband pointed out that it really depends on how much you can separate the work of art from the artist.

I’m kinda shitty at that. I don’t watch Woody Allen movies. I will never watch Bill Cosby again.

But they are rapists. Is being a rapist worse than being a casual racist?

Oh man complicated.

As someone who has committed rape who is married to someone who has committed rape… why do I get to jump on that high horse? Why is that such a harsh line for me? Why am I acting like racism (especially the kind that isn’t THE PROBLEM–when we have cops regularly killing black citizens, Taylor Swift isn’t THE PROBLEM she is just a tiny cog in the system) is a bigger deal than rape?

I don’t know. But I kind of am. I’m not sure if it is because the Black Lives Matter stuff is coming to a head and it is a huge part of my awareness. I don’t know if it is because it is easier to get mad at women for stupid shit.

It is annoying that Taylor was pissy about a woman possibly creating issues between women when her music this year is about her feud with another woman. Get the fuck over yourself.

Should we refuse to listen to all Taylor Swift music from here on out? I don’t think I’ll do that.

I will continue to listen to the song Mean in full awareness of the layers of problems. Taylor isn’t the weaker man any more. She was weaker at one point in time. But from here on out in Taylor’s life there are very few people who have less structural power than her. She’s on the cover of magazines as one of the most influential people alive. She doesn’t get to act like the under dog any more. But no one ever wants to give up on that self perception.

I listen to that song to remind myself that I’m not the under dog any more either. From here on out… I’m the more powerful person in many if not most interactions.

That’s hard to internalize and really believe. I’m just a piece of white trash… right?

No. Not really. I’m a rich bitch. I’m privileged as fuck.

At this point in time and forever more in the future I have to be more careful with my words. I’m not the kid any more. I’m not the victim any more. If I attack people… I’m the bully. I don’t get to think that I’m the victim now.

That’s fucking complicated. That relates to the home school group and the throat kick shit.

Even if something bad happened to me… I’m not a victim any more. Not really.

That part of my life is over. I could still be victimized, but it will take more effort at this point.

I feel like an asshole because I don’t want to give up this one damn song. I don’t want to give up the reminder to myself.

I need to be careful. Or I’m going to end up being the one who is mean and all alone. I’m not sure that is what Taylor intended folks in my position to get from it.

Taylor needs to be careful that she doesn’t become the bully. The half assed apology she gave to Nicki is not enough.

Not once you have that kind of power. Just like I don’t get to pretend I don’t have power at this point.

I haven’t researched every musician I like. I’m sure many of them are racist shitbags. Should I punish the shit out of Taylor because she was dumb enough to fuck up where I could see it? That’s what it kind of feels like.

I worry about treating some people really harshly for having an opinion I don’t like and giving other people a complete pass just because I’m ignorant of them having the same problematic opinion.

In the end, I’m a problematic person. Not as much as Bill Cosby, say, but I also haven’t done as much good for the world as that man has done.

How do you figure out the balance?

*thud*

This weekend was active. I don’t know how my friend can do that on the weekend then go work all day. I’m crispy fried tired.

Maybe this is related to my shrink telling me that in her opinion I will never be able to hold a full time job again?

I have stock going. We are having soup for dinner. Buddhist vegetarian soup. Which is to say, made with meat stock but with no meat in it because that is the level of “vegetarian” the house keeps to.

Everyone gets to be different. No, they aren’t Buddhist. But I first heard about “meat products are fine but not the flesh” from a friend who was describing her parents, who are Buddhist.

In my head this is now a thing. There’s vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians, Buddhist vegetarians, and omnivores.

And I’m totally cool with going with people to where they are. I just need to be told. So I’m making Buddhist vegetarian soup.

I’m not sure why I feel so flattened. I feel like I got hit with a brick. Being in the sun too much? We did go out three separate times this weekend. We were outside playing in the water/hanging out near the park for at least 10 hours split up over two days and three outings.

Break!

The feelings, they burn in my belly.

I am really struggling with the fact that I can’t wake up and medicate because I’m never sure when or if I’m driving. That’s feeling really overwhelming right now. I’m crispy fried because of the emotional bouncing. It’s getting really hard. At home I create more of a baseline. On the road I don’t have a baseline. I’m taking medication to make sure I sleep every night (or else we would be aborting and going home) but the days are hard.

I’ve been diagnosed with multiple anxiety disorders. It is entirely reasonable that I feel so anxious I want to puke most of the time. It sucks, but it makes sense.

I feel like, if I lived in Duluth and could invite these folks over to my house so they could see my rules in action… we could get along like a house on fire and spend lots of time together. I think if the kids could experience the different sets of rules as a comparison, things would get easier.

I’m a bombastic person. When I am constantly, only, trying to meld into someone else’s rules (when I don’t really know what they are and I’m guessing and trying to not be too offensive) it’s hard. I am hard to deal with when I’m trying to gentle down to other people fast without really knowing the parameters of what is ok.

Different people have different boundaries. It’s hard figuring out. Some people don’t mind the fact that we suddenly shriek loudly in the middle of a game. Other people flip out and act like we are monsters who just burned their house down. Some people don’t care that I swear, some people spend their entire time near me giving me dirty looks and letting me know that they don’t approve.

It’s hard to guess what people will be like.

So we’ve been doing a lot of adapting and that’s super stressful and hard. We’re doing pretty darn well, I think, but my central nervous system is acting like I’ve been dancing on a telephone wire for a few days. I’m getting those bbbzzzzzzt jolts in my chest and I feel jumpy and twitchy and discombobulated.

I am grateful beyond the ability of words to convey that I am being given this opportunity. My wonderful friends are opening their homes and their kind hearts to me. It is stressful because I believe everyone in the world should hate me and want me to die. My friends are being wonderful to me. I am not complaining about my friends.

(I am complaining a little about my friend’s kids screaming “Go away” so many times. But they are kids. I have a “kids are being kids and that’s annoying” complaint about the kids. We’re negotiating and it’s going way better.)

Frankly, after I had some chats with the boys about, “If you want to get what you want to get… let’s find some different words and tactics. I can help you actually get what you want instead of just screaming and pissing everyone off.”

Kids like it when you teach them how to manipulate. Muahahaha.

I told my friend that I didn’t think her kids would like me if I stayed around here long term because they are very impatient and demanding when they talk to her and if I heard it a lot I would start working on them. “That’s not how you talk to your mother. She is not your employee. Try again.” She laughed and said she would love it and she thinks that they would long-term benefit and learn to see the value in me.

Heh.

I told her that lots of kids have strong feelings about me. I’m a polarizing figure. They can love or hate me. Sometimes both at the same time. It’s funny when kids can’t stay away from me because they are so drawn to me but most of what they want to do is hit me or slam things into my shins. Little bastards. We work it out.

Sometimes I wonder if those kids like that I will sit there and discuss boundaries with them verbally in great detail. “If you smack me this hard it feels like a love tap. If you smack me as hard as you did the first time it feels like you are saying you don’t like me and I’m going to get up and leave the room. Don’t do that to me again.” Kid goes back to give me 34,721 love taps.

Whatever.

I don’t know about other people but I’ve always had a bitch of a time figuring out how hard I should or shouldn’t touch people. Folks vary so much. Some people if you touch them gently they don’t notice. They will ignore you and go on with their day. You need to Get Their Attention with a firmness that would be a major boundary violation for someone else. It’s fucking complicated. The line between “Getting your attention” and “assault” is razor thin and you have to dance on top of it sometimes.

I think it is a lot of the reason I needed to hit people so much when I was a kid. I needed to have the experience of finding out that some people barely flinch when punched and some people are on the floor sobbing when you flick them with your finger.

We all get to be different. We all get to have our own experiences of living in our bodies. But I get why it is hard to talk about concepts like assault and rape. There isn’t a standard WAY TO KNOW about these issues because people vary.

If I were kicked in the course of a martial arts class… I would not feel assaulted. If I am kicked in the middle of what is supposed to be not-that-rough-play… it feels like assault.

Context is important.

So many of these things are about individual viewer judgment. I cannot count how many people have presumed to tell me that I haven’t been raped I just made bad decisions.

I’m the one who knows I *did not want* that to happen to me. You thinking that I should have magically found a way to fight harder in order to make it “count” as rape is… irrelevant.

Learning how to fight people off of your body is not an instinct everyone is born with. I’ve had to fight and struggle to learn very hard over many years to defend myself. I didn’t when I was a little kid. I just went limp and let it happen.

I don’t want to be that any more and I want my kids to never be like that.

So it’s my fault I just let it happen. It’s my fault I didn’t risk greater injury so that someone else would feel ok about calling what happened to me rape. I didn’t earn their regard.

I didn’t earn the right to call being kicked in the throat an assault. I would have had to be a perfect victim. I am not. I’m a complicated bitch. I would have had to… I don’t know… been kicked by someone who wasn’t white before people would have been willing to listen.

When I hear white women tell me they are afraid of men of color I snort in derision. I’ve never had a man who was not white touch me nor insult me nor assault me. I mean, I’ve been verbally approached but when I said no with a torrent of swear words they turned away with their hands thrown up. I don’t look like a target to them.

Just to white men.

My kids and the kids who had been screaming “go away” actually got along very well yesterday. I think this is mostly because I was a fascist and I managed to talk my friend into telling her kids to stay off the screens. We play nicely when folks aren’t screaming “Go AWAY” while playing a violent video game where they don’t want to be distracted. If we can’t game together in a friendly way then stop gaming. Go play instead.

I’m going to have to get to a point where I let my kids deal with the fact that if they want to be gamers they are going to have to learn how to deal with hundreds, nay thousands of fucking men and boys who are going to scream at them to go away. This is the softball early version.

This is why I don’t play fucking video games. Too many boys and men have screamed at me like this. It’s not a fucking fun sounding hobby any more. Sounds like a nightmare. I can get to the point of liking something only to have people of a different gender scream hysterically that I have to just GET OUT NOW.

I have huge triggers around this. I wish my fucking daughter didn’t want to be a fucking gamer. UGHGUGHGHGHFGHGHADfoihaweifkjhds;gfh;eovwaekln

AND I’M UN-FUCKING-MEDICATED AS I DEAL WITH THIS GAMER ASS HOLE BULLSHIT

Some day I will have to get over my brothers. Hopefully before my friend’s mother in law does. Holy crap.

In one place we visited we had tacos for dinner. Mother in law *shoved* everyone out of the way to fix a huge heaping plate of taco fillings, then she grabbed a big stack of taco shells and retreated into a corner. There was enough on her plate to feed my family of four at home. “When I was a kid I learned to eat tacos this way because otherwise my brothers didn’t let me have any.”

Aren’t you in your late 60’s? You know how you literally never leave the house because you are agoraphobic? There is some possibility you don’t need to eat like you are doing physical exercise in the Alaskan wilderness any more. You live in a big city and you never leave your house. You probably don’t need to rush to take four peoples worth of food and then eat it as fast as you can swallow.

Hopefully I will get to a healthier relative place than that with video games. I’m not nasty about my kids playing. I’m nasty about it turning into a nasty fight. If there is a lot of “go away” screaming I’m going to get really nasty.

Why are people so damn nasty to everyone? Why in the hell can’t we ask for things without being a complete asshole?

Oh man. Oh shit. The kids nailed me on something. I was talking to the two boys here about tone and shut up and what it means and how it is demeaning and “shut up” is something that is only supposed to be said by someone with power to someone they have power over and that’s a lot of why it is demeaning–it isn’t supposed to be used between equals. It doesn’t work. My darling children turned to me and said, “If it is demeaning you have to stop saying that to us. That’s not ok.”

Shit. I need to stop defining things for them.

First: I WISH I HADN’T PROPERLY EXPLAINED DEMEANING. Then I wish they would let me demean them just a little bit with the odd shut up. Kids say no. We are breaking up with that term.

THIS IS THE CONFORMITY I HAVE REFUSED FOR THIRTY FUCKING YEARS OF PEOPLE TRYING TO CLEAN UP MY POTTY MOUTH. YOU PEOPLE ANNOY THE CRAP OUT OF ME.

But I said I’d try. Eldest said she would be calling me on every slip and reminding me that it is not ok to demean them.

I love that child so much my heart soars. I look forward to knowing you as an adult my precious.

My kids have my fierce requirement to be respected… without all the breakage that makes me brittle underneath. It’s really nice to be around.

Eldest child told me she thought she was “bad” for coming and misrepresenting what the other grown up meant about leaving soon. I said, “Well–I wouldn’t call it bad. I would say it was annoying or irritating or selfish. I wouldn’t say bad. Let’s talk about “bad”. How about if you tell me a few things you think are bad then I’ll tell you a few things I think are bad.”

Every single example she gave me I told her, “Nope that’s annoying. Nope, that’s irritating. Nope, that’s selfish.” She finally said, “If being bad doesn’t mean being annoying or irritating or selfish, what does it mean?”

I said, “Remember how we were at the lake earlier and everyone was having fun throwing rocks?”

“Yeah.”

“Remember how once or twice you threw a little bit to close to someone and M and I both freaked out and said THROW AWAY FROM PEOPLE!?!”

“Yeah.”

Ok, let’s say… oldest boy from that family was being a jerk-face. People do that some time. Let’s say he did something you really didn’t like. If you picked up a rock and threw it at his head… THAT WOULD BE BAD. It could cause a concussion. It could cause him to drown and die. You don’t get to make choices that risk other peoples lives. THAT’S BAD. If I asked you to get out of the swimming hole and wait on the side while I went to the bathroom and instead of waiting you took off and went down the river because you want to see where the river meets with Lake Superior… that would be BAD right now because you are too little. Your body could easily be swept into the current and you could die. We wouldn’t be able to find you and save you. That would be BAD. If you did that when you were 16 and you had more body mass and more awareness of how to keep yourself safe… I’d be annoyed if you didn’t tell me in advance. It wouldn’t be bad.”

“Bad is about risking your life or someone else’s life because you just don’t care enough to treat life like it matters. Bad is not about being a little irritating or a little selfish or a little annoying. Those things are part of being human and people learning how to live with one another’s differences.”

“Many of the things that annoy me now, I will get used to and in the future I won’t feel annoyed. I feel annoyed now because I’m adjusting to a new person–I have to adjust to you every day because you change so fast–and that’s work. More work feels annoying. That doesn’t mean you should stop changing! It means I get to feel annoyed for a while and that’s ok.”

“I love you. I love that you have so much agency and strength and you want to go out and have impact on the world. Sometimes you are going to frustrate the shit out of me because you doing what you know to be right will not be the most convenient thing for me. That doesn’t mean you should change! It means I need to adjust. Adjusting can be a messy process.”

“I’m trying to have patience with you and sometimes I fail. That’s what me being impatient and fussy is about. It’s about me failing to have something I need to have. It’s not your fault and I’m not mad at you for being more than I can handle sometimes. I *want* you to be more than I can handle. But that means sometimes I’ll feel annoyed.”

“Me having feelings does NOT mean that you all of a sudden “are” something because of my fleeting feelings. You are who and what you are. You are not about me. My feelings are about me, not you. Your feelings are about you and not me. You want me to approve of you 100% of the time, so you feel kind of bad when I don’t. Sweet pea, you have to adjust to that too. You need to stop needing to have anyone approve of you 100%. It’s not going to happen in life. You still need to do what is right for you. Haters gonna hate. You need to be you.”

“And we’ve talked a lot about being selfish, right? You have to be a certain level of selfish or you will die. If you are too selfish then people don’t want to be around you. Selfish isn’t bad. Selfish is mandatory for survival. But sometimes you forget that an issue isn’t truly about survival and you are a little more selfish than strictly required and that’s annoying. It’s not BAD. It’s annoying. We all have to calibrate honey. Better to occasionally be a little too selfish because that’s annoying than to be not selfish enough… cause then your body and soul will get sick. It needs balance baby.”

Kiddo snuggled up to me with the biggest, warmest eyes and said, “I love you so much. I’m really glad I get you as my mom.”

I am so glad I get you as my child. Your kindness and generosity of spirit blow me away day by day.

Youngest child wanted to take care of me yesterday. This meant sitting in my lap and singing to me until I didn’t feel angry any more. It worked. I’m not sure I’ve had many times in my entire life when I have calmed down from feeling angry so fast. It was loving and sweet and wonderful and I am so grateful I get to know these people. I feel so loved and blessed. I don’t deserve them but I have them anyway and no one is going to take them from me. Mine.

I’m having feelings about push/pull. But you know what? People are worth figuring it out. The four kids watched All Dogs Go To Heaven together last night (on VHS–a first for my kids) and my friend and I had a wonderful grown up conversation. I really enjoy her company. She’s a delightful, well educated, insightful woman.

And it helps that she is hawt, hawt, hawt. It’s always kind of my friends to be so very easy on the eyes. Sigh.

Ahem. Not that I’m looking.

Ahem.

I’m being good.

I miss you Noah. Abstinence sucks. I can’t even masturbate. I don’t have enough privacy. THIS SUCKS. Eleven more days until I see Noah. And even when I see Noah I have no idea how we are going to make this happen.

Maybe I should go to a hardware store and get some lumber pieces so I can take everything out of the back of the van and put it on little risers under the side of the tent. Hmmmmm. Then I could have SOME horizontal space with a modicum of privacy. Won’t be fancy but I’ve fucked in smaller cars.

I’m thinking about you Noah. I’ll find a way. I’m climbing the walls.

This is the kind of problem I like solving.

Totally want a power strip. If I had a power strip I could put the plug in fridge under the awning and in places where I have an extension cord I could run my computer and the fridge. Like fancy.

I’m not sure what we are doing today. Probably more swimming. Even though everyone but me and my youngest burned a little yesterday. (We were napping in the shade. Like smart people.)

Maybe we’ll wait until a little later in the day and I’ll unload the back of the van and we can go to the farther sandy beach where you can have a bonfire and we can go/stay late enough for dinner. That might be fun. Apparently her family is into fire. I told her that if she and her kids are willing to build a fire my kids would be ecstatic because… I don’t do fires. We’ve been mostly camping for almost six weeks and not one fire to date. She looked shocked. She asked me why not. I said, “My brother self immolated. I’m just not real into fire.”

She agreed that it made sense. Oh good. But I don’t refuse to let my kids near fire…. I just want a responsible adult who is comfortable nearby.

Ha, yesterday at one point my eldest came in and said, “Her eldest (kid said name I’m not doing so) just hit me and I’m not sure why.”

“Well, was it an attempt to be playful?”

“I’m not sure. But it hurt.”

“Maybe you should go ask him, “Did you mean that whack to be playful? Because it didn’t feel playful–it hurt.”

So she did. Verbatim.

He said, “It didn’t hurt. I only did this.” and he did it again. And again my eldest said “OW!”

He looked surprised.

I said, “Well, different people are differently sensitive. My eldest has always had an extremely tender head. Brushing involves crying. She hates having people gently stroke her hair because it feels too intense… it may be that you were trying to be gentle and you didn’t know that you have to be even more gentle than that with her head. She really doesn’t like pressure.”

He looked a bit surprised. But then said, “Oh. Ok I can adjust to that.”

I said, “Yay!” My eldest hugged him. He looked… perplexed.

We are so funny.

Things improved after I got my head out of my ass. I’m telling you, ALL OF THIS WOULD BE EASIER IF I WAS STONED.

I am having a lot of fun here. My children continue to be the center of my world and I am so grateful for them. They make me feel so much joy and love. I feel appreciated. I feel valued.

I don’t feel like my kids are biologically dependent on me so ok fine we are together. I feel like my kids like me.

That doesn’t always happen. I’m very lucky.

Said to kiddo.

Oh! Last night youngest child stayed up to talk to me because he’s been having big feelings. He’s very sad about all the “shut up” screaming. He cried a lot as we talked about it. So we lay in bed and strategized how to handle it. Kiddo wants to initiate a conversation at breakfast today.

“I would really like it if you would play with us instead of your computer while we are here. We are leaving very soon and we fight a lot when you focus on the computer. Will you please play with me? I really like Lego’s and I notice you have a lot of them.”

We worked for a while before kiddo found phrasing he liked. I didn’t come up with most of it. I just gave feedback on bossiness vs asking. “Well if you say he HAS to do this… he might get his back up. How can we phrase it so it sounds like a polite request.” Kid says, “Good point. Let me try again.”

I love my kids. I love my kids. I love my kids.

Ok, now we are all up.

I’m happy about this.

Ok, so I need to stop doing the “all the rage I feel towards men is focused on a particular little boy” thing. Which means I need to find a way of personalizing each kid… one at a time. Oh god.

So I asked the eldest son to come downstairs while I moved laundry around. I said, “I’m having a real problem with your tone of voice and it seems like maybe you aren’t enjoying mine either. Can we negotiate?”

We had a great chat. He expressed extreme frustration with my kids and I gave him several paths for dealing with us without ever screaming, “Shut up or get out” at us. I said, “We are all contrary assholes. Have you noticed how when you tell us to shut up we get louder?”

“Yeah.”

“Yeah. We’re like that. Would you like tips on a way to quiet us down that will actually work?”

“Yeah. That would be nice.”

“I can do that!”

So we talked about how to talk to us. We talked about when and how to ask for interventions. I expressed extreme desire to help him defend his space when that is appropriate. I said, “If you come and get me before you are pissed off and frustrated then you never have to get frustrated or pissed off. My kids can be very rude. If they are in your space in a way that doesn’t work for you, come get me and we’ll work it out. You don’t have to put up with people violating your boundaries… but this isn’t how to communicate your boundaries. Let’s talk about stuff.”

He said that sounded really great. He’d like help defending his boundaries. He tried to tell me, “That’s just how people talk to each other here. Everyone is like that.”

I said, “Well then you get to have the wonderful, magical experience of having people visit you from far away who have different boundaries and you get to adapt and learn how to treat us. It’s good for your character.”

He kind of stammered a bit and looked confused. When we walked back upstairs mom was doing that, “Uh huh you got told and I’m going to pretend I wasn’t listening to every word” thing.It was cute.

Then I stayed awake way too long strategizing how I want to talk to a few people about a few other things. I’ll need to initiate a conversation about closure when I get back to the bay area. That’s going to be festive and fun.

I am glad I don’t have to do it soon.

The kids continue to make me feel like I’m doing something worthy with my life and time. I love them so much.

Think I’m good.

After three phone calls, an hour on their website, and a password reset… I think we are good for Disney World. Turns out I was dumb and I missed a night in between Orlando and Vero Beach. Hm. Not sure how I’m going to handle that. Also, I hadn’t double booked things… I just went back and forth with my original reservations and I have too many emails in my inbox. Oh. That’s better than I thought I did.

I have so many awesome options.

You know what fucking rocks? My life. I’m an emotional, hysterical whiner… but I can throw money at problems and have fun. I am so ridiculously lucky.

 

Can’t sleep (crud)

Hoo boy. I’m tired. I’m having big feelings. I’m not able to sleep because of racing thoughts. Maybe a dump will help. I am not happy about the fact that I have adjusted to waking up at 4am Minnesota time given that we didn’t go to sleep till 10pm.

Last night I had lots of big feelings. My friend invited us to go with her to a craft night. I’m sorry we didn’t just stay in our tent. The four kids (my two and my friend’s two) were the only ones there and they had to stay in the basement because it was raining heavily and the kids were too whiny to stay outside.

The problem was the 10 year old got in front of a tv and started uhm… well he spent the whole time yelling at the other kids to shut up or leave the room because he wanted to “watch his show”. That was not appropriate for my 4 year old because it was scaring the crap out of my kid.

I was pretty pissy. I was so pissy that when the other kids started being even snottier I got my kids together and left and we went and had fucking ice cream. Even after we ate pie because you know what? If a ten year old spends that much god damn time telling me to shut up so he can watch tv I want ice cream to help keep me from screaming at him.

It worked.

I did spend a lot of time intervening. “This is not your house and you do not get to make the rules. Stop telling the other kids to leave. It is not your place to tell them to leave the only room they are allowed to be in.”

But I couldn’t leave the room or join in adult conversation because I had to mediate the ten year old yelling at every one. I said, “This is not your house. Stop it” dozens of times. I told the kid he had to put the remote control down on the table because it is not his and he does not get to have a death grip on it the whole time because other people get to have choices.

He absolutely refused to compromise so the other kids could watch what they wanted. He just threw a tantrum that he wanted to watch the one show he has been wanting to watch.

I was uhm, not impressed.

I went and got mom when the younger boy kept jumping on the other adult in the room and would not stop when he was told no over and over. The other adult kept turning to the 10 year old brother and saying, “Handle this.” Uhm, no. There is only an 18 month difference in their ages. That’s not appropriate. I went and got mom and said the kid wouldn’t stop throwing his whole body on someones neck when they say no. She dealt with it. Yay!

The tv thing wasn’t a problem but I won’t be working hard to make sure my kids can stay in contact with these kids. If they do the work, whatever, but I’m not going to push continued contact.

I don’t feel like this is going so swimmingly well that I need to try hard for a permanent relationship. It’s fine for a week. Then we can move on.

I’m going to keep contact with my friend. I like her as much as I thought I would. She’s really sweet and wonderful. I hope I get to see her again someday.

But by the time I do her kids will probably be grown and that’ll be fine. They will move on with their lives. They will move on to people who don’t mind them acting entitled to full control and silence around the tv. Psh.

I got sick of that shit when I was in elementary school.

It’s not like it was a big deal. But I’m thinking about it and I’d rather be sleeping. We have to manage to get along with these kids for another five or so days. I find that I like monitoring conversations between the kids because I’m intervening more than I usually do with my kids interactions. These boys have a very strong reality distortion field and their reality does not match mine. So I’m arguing hard and firmly and immediately when they tell my kids how it is.

“That’s one point of view all right. There are lots of people who think that is absolutely wrong though.”

I get the impression these boys are not at all used to be challenged, let alone by a woman. I’m getting some looks that would set me on fire if I weren’t 75% water.

Helps me deal with the cold.

I wasn’t that sad about missing the adult discussion last night. I listened in for the first 15 minutes before I went downstairs to moderate. The whole group got to listen to one woman discussing the convoluted route by which a rooster is being passed around her family. Ok. Obviously it was a fascinating story to the others because they asked a lot of follow up questions. This story went on and on. Ok. I can go moderate children instead.

It’s not that I’m anti-chicken. I just… don’t care that much about the migratory path of specific birds through other peoples families. I’m shallow.

Apparently folks are getting salmonella because they are spending too much time hugging their backyard chickens. I find this… kind of hilarious. It’s mostly white people getting it. The comments I read were, “That’s because black people barely hug their dogs and aren’t going to be dumb enough to hug backyard chickens.” I laughed at that. Yeah, I know a lot of people who hug their chickens. I don’t get it. They are barnyard animals who carry diseases humans don’t want to get. Where is your sense of self-preservation?!

People confuse me.

I tell my kids not to touch birds in general because many birds carry diseases humans don’t want to get. Not because they are doing anything wrong, just because cross contamination is a real problem.

I guess other people don’t worry about such things. Fair enough.

You know? I don’t worry about a lot of things that other people worry about. Like walking around barefoot. I shouldn’t judge people hugging their chickens. But they are getting salmonella. It’s kind of a problem.

Ok, I’m going to judge. Sorry.

But I grew up hating chickens because I had some fly at me when I was little. I’m used to backyard chickens being mean little bastards who need to be kicked away from you. I don’t do this when I visit my friends houses, of course. But that’s what I grew up seeing. It is odd to me sometimes when I see just how humane my friends are to their backyard chickens. I’ve seen some chickens recently who live better than I did for most of my childhood.

It’s kind of intense.

Lots of feelings.

I was talking to a woman born and raised in Alaska. A white woman. It came up over the course of conversation that I am interested in research about sexual assault. I mentioned that I read that rape is at a 100% rate in Alaska and the woman shook her head furiously. I amended and said, “I apologize. The research I was reading was specifically aimed at Native women.” “Oh of course. White women don’t get even looked at wrong or whoever does the looking will get shot. Native women get raped all the time because that’s just their culture and you can’t change the men.”

I felt violently ill. I mean, I know that such situations exist and have for most of history. White women will be protected at all costs and non-white women just… well… what are they here for anyway, right?

I felt so ill.

I know that people behave that way. I don’t often end up in spaces where people are willing to just flat say it out loud. I’ve been feeling awful since this conversation happened. I am so angry that white women will present this as being “just how it is” as if it is ok. It’s fine to rape brown women but white women are sacrosanct.

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck you.

I’m white trash. I’m the rape-able kind of white girl. So I’m not real ok with the idea that it’s ok to throw some women under the bus as long as the good kind of white girls are protected. FUCK YOU.

It’s not that all white girls would be protected. It’s that they will protect the girls who have families who are willing to go shoot people in defense of them.

You know what? I’d be protected if I said a brown man raped me. I’ve only been raped by white men. That’s not worth making a fuss over.

That makes me sick and angry and I hate the whole fucking universe. Because that is how it works. I would be worth defending against brown men. Just not white men. THAT’S NOT GOD DAMN OK.

I am in my feelings.

I am so tired of seeing evidence that if white men are involved the other people involved in a problem are just not that important. The way Dylan Roof (the piece of shit terrorist who shot nine people in a church) was arrested and taken to Burger King in a bullet proof vest on his way to prison makes me fucking sick.

It makes me wish I believed in just bombing the fuck out of every police station in America. But I don’t and I won’t be doing so. (I’m not threatening anyone here.) I kind of wish I had the resolve to do it but I really don’t.

I know innocent people would be hurt and I have enough bad karma, thanks.

The police arrested Sandra Bland for not signaling a turn properly. Then they beat her head on concrete. Then they claim she committed suicide instead of going back to her life and her brand new dream job.

I am very angry at the police in my country. Fine, this was a Texas police force that is already known to be racist and problematic… WHY IS THIS OK IN MY FUCKING COUNTRY?

This is not the home of the free or the brave. This is the home of racist pieces of shit who like to think white people are superior. We aren’t.

And then there are some other people who live here too, of course.

If black women cannot go about their daily lives without assault or harassment this isn’t a free country.

As long as we tell every Muslim in existence that must personally work against Muslim extremists or all Muslims are evil…. where are the white Christians showing up to prove that Dylan Roof does not represent them?

Where?

Ok, there are white people protesting. There are white people working for justice. But not nearly as many as are working to perpetuate a racist, unequal system. And that blows.

I don’t want the status quo. I want things to change.

“That’s just the way it is.”

Well, that’s just the way people like you have made it and you want it to stay that way. It’s not exactly like that in all places through all points in history. So that doesn’t mean it must stay this way. It can change. It was made this way. We can make it another way.

I was reading something written about the perception of race. A woman did some research, small scale, asking people about their racial experiences. Apparently the white people involved just… didn’t really answer some of the questions because they couldn’t understand the question. White people usually do not become aware of their race, they become aware that other people are different from them. White people become aware there are non-white people. They don’t become aware that they are white. Whereas for people of other races, they have a process of discovering that they are “different”.

Because white isn’t different it’s just “normal”, right?

For me, I spent many of my formative years in neighborhoods where I was… the only white child. I grew up having people tell me that I wasn’t welcome to share the food that was being freely passed back and forth in the cafeteria because, “White people can’t handle spice.” I knew I was different and wrong very young. Being white wasn’t good.

I think I knew that I was white and that it was a bad thing before I moved to Oklahoma so that means I figured it out before I was seven. I knew that people like me weren’t good. I didn’t know what it meant. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do wrong, but I knew.

I was always very aware of the kids in the back of the classroom muttering about all the dead white men and how “they weren’t so great”. I heard that more than I heard the teachers telling me how great the Founding Fathers were.

I’ve never believed in white superiority to the best of my knowledge. I found out about slavery in America hand in hand with, “The white people couldn’t get the work done so they had to steal people who *could* do the work.” White people aren’t necessarily that good at getting shit done, but we are real good at subjugating people who can get work done. And the whole time the white overseer is sitting on his lazy ass screaming about how people aren’t working hard enough. Yeah, I know how it works.

When I got into third grade I became obsessed with books about social justice. I wouldn’t have described them that way when I was a kid. I would have said, “I like reading about people who have suffered terribly.” Mildred D. Taylor was one of my saving graces. Her books were wildly influential on me. I read a lot of Holocaust survivor stories.

I needed to hear that there were people who had it worse than me. I feel guilty for that now. But I was being beaten and raped periodically by a variety of men. I needed to believe that someone had survived worse than me so that I could keep getting up.

I’m still here so I’m not that mad at myself.

I am perfectly aware that there are bigger problems in the world than one kid being snotty about having control of a remote control. But when that is the problem right in front of you, well, you have to start somewhere. If you want the world to be different you don’t walk past problems and leave them for someone else. You know that no one else cares enough to solve the problem. You do it or it won’t get done.

I didn’t change the kid. But I did present one solid brick wall of boundaries so he can know that such things do exist. No, you don’t get to bully everyone out of the room. No.

I’m also having big, explodey, bouncing feelings because someone I love very much and I feel very codependent with is having problems with someone else in their life. I know a lot of people who are complicated and layered. They have special needs. People with special needs are willing to tolerate my long list of special needs. I feel big feelings when folks start trying to say my folks with special needs have to start Behaving How I Want Right Now.

We can’t just jump through that hoop you put in front of us. Nope. That won’t work. We can’t. Notice the label we came with that says, “Hi, I’ve learned some areas where I struggle and they are _______ and _____ and _____ so that thing you just decided I MUST DO…. I can’t. No, really.”

And sometimes people are snotty about it. And decide we must jump through that hoop or else.

I pick “or else”, mother fucker.

You know what? The pizza for dinner wasn’t worth the aggravation of fighting over the tv last night. I wish we had stayed in the tent. After a marathon day at the children’s museum… Oy.

I want to go along and do what other people want. Then I come against glitches and then I really don’t want to do what other people want. Like, I’m not going to keep my kids silent so you can watch a show that is too scary for them. Uhm, no. There are literally hundreds of options you are discarding because you want ONE THING and everyone else is suggesting lots of things and you are being the sticky wicket here.

It’s not a big deal. But it’s the thing that happened less than 12 hours ago and I’m thinking about it. It’s a microcosm of a macro problem.

I am not giving in.

If you act entitled my answer is no you can’t have your way. I really don’t give a flying fucking shit that you don’t get to watch Netflix every day and you feel bitter about that. Waa waa fucking waaaaaaaa.

It’s not the kid and it’s not this event. I’m feeling… I don’t know.

I need to get off Twitter for a few days. I’m making myself crazy.

I am irritable as fuck. That’s what is going on. And the worst thing to happen to me in days was a ten year old having a God complex about a remote control.

I really don’t get to bitch about my current life. I’m in a great damn spot.

Heck, outside of the internet stuff I’m getting along ok with my friend’s kids. But I’m fierce about the way they are being snotty about some things. Nope. Holding the line.

I don’t care that I’m a guest. You don’t get to walk on my four year old.

If my kid isn’t allowed to leave the room. You aren’t allowed to scare my child.

Mama Bear. Rawr.

It’s becoming a real problem that the kid is so tall. The kid is taller than most six year olds we deal with… at four.

I guess this kid is getting height from my father’s family. They told me I’m a midget the one time I was in a large group of women from the family.

Folks don’t treat people how they need to be treated based on age, they treat them how tall they are. It’s awful.

Just like people treat people based on their race not their personality.

Just like people treat people based on their perceived gender not on the basis of their experienced gender.

I’m outside my bubble. I’m not in a place where people think like me. I’m noticing over and over.

I’m feeling awkward about how much shit I’m posting on Twitter. Pieces of it are because I want to tell Noah and I’m weird about not sending him hundreds of emails. I will litter the internet with things I want him to read but he has to chase him down. Flooding his inbox is… I don’t know…. rude?

I’m annoying as fuck.

Oh man. I’ve been outbursting on Twitter again. Like I do.

I think I know why I’m as emotionally flooded as I am and I need to chill the fuck out. I’m acting like this little boy is my current proxy for The Man.

Whoa.

Knock it the fuck off there, lady. He’s just a little boy. Who is acting… just like his father. (According to mom.) He’s doing what he is being taught. He’s still just a little boy.

If you want to change people being a man hating feminazi won’t get you very far.

And the other thing that is bothering me is something weird and stupid. I’m having feelings about hair and other peoples feelings and I need to get the fuck over that one. Good grief.

Oy. I’m being kinda dumb right now. But hopefully I can get my dumb over before 7am.

And now I figured out that I was kind of an idiot about some reservation stuff with Disney and I’ve messed up the log in. I have to wait until 8am this time zone to call them. Ok. I’ll get that sorted.

Man I make a lot of mistakes. Once I talk to someone on the phone and get the account stuff all situated then I can do all the other fixing online by myself without bothering someone. I think. I hope.

Oh good grief.

Blathering

Today on Twitter folks are going to be mourning yet another black woman killed by police. This time her name is Sandra Bland and she was killed in Texas. So I’m not going to be over there being neurotic and self involved. So I’ll blather here instead.

Apparently we should go swimming tomorrow and Monday. Those are going to be the only two days that the weather is above 80 and I want it above 80 before I go swimming. I don’t go swimming when it is 70 or I end up with so much pain I can barely move. My joints are *not doing well* with the weather. The nights are only dropping down to 60 and I wake up feeling stiff and painful and I can barely move.

I walked into the house this morning and my friend giggled about my warm footie pajamas. I said, “What you don’t know is I have a full set of long johns on under this.” Her eyes bugged out. Yeah. I’m from California. I don’t do cold.

The longer I’m out of California the more I appreciate the weather. My friend keeps talking about how sometimes it feels really nice and balmy to have the weather creep up to 0. Shoot me now.

In South Dakota, apparently it doesn’t snow that much and when it does it melts within a day or two. I’m telling you, Noah, South Dakota sounds better by the minute. What with that whole west coast falling off into the ocean or getting buried under a tsunami thing.

You didn’t see that cheerful article? You should. Ok, in this article the bay area isn’t going to be hit that bad. BUT THEN YOU GET DOWN TO THE OTHER FAULTS. I’m sorry, if the Seattle area fault flips out that bad, I don’t think California’s faults will be all “This is a great time to be chill.” No! This is terrifying!

Then I read an article about Black Twitter. It was fascinating and sad to me. The part that makes me sad is, am I destined to poison things if I touch them? Is that what being white means? If I look at something that other people who are not like do or like or whatever… am I making it less good by standing near it?

Like over the last few days there has been some kerfluffle over how white girls shouldn’t style baby hairs around their face because supposedly white girls have to cut hairs to make them look like that and that’s just dumb. Uhm… I have constant new hair starting. I have those damn baby hairs. I can’t put my hair up without a halo of the fuckers. But apparently if I put gel on my hair to make them do something other than puff into a halo… I’m appropriating.

This is why I identify as white trash. Most of the things white culture does or recommends doesn’t work for me (yeah, straight hair styles don’t work) but if I do things like people who have hair more like mine, I’m an appropriating bitch.

Maybe eventually I’ll just keep my head shaved full time. I’m sure that would offend someone else.

When white people sit around and talk about their childhoods I rarely have much to compare unless someone came from deep poverty. Even then I usually have more in common with black people who talk about deep poverty. But that’s a problem for everyone. No one wants me in their group. Which is why I consider myself trash. Pretty much everyone thinks the way to deal with square pegs like me is to just throw them away because they don’t fit.

But yup, I’ve got a shit ton of white privilege. And I know it.

It’s complicated. My white privilege functions only as long as I can keep my fucking mouth shut. As soon as I start talking peoples opinion of me steadily drops…

Which is my own damn fault. I know. Culture is a funny thing. Behavior is a funny thing. There is a video on youtube I like, it talks about code switching for culture and language.  

On one hand my life would be easier if I stopped talking about my history of violence and poverty. But then, if I stopped talking about who I am and the experiences I’ve actually had, people would start to assume I was *like them* when I’m not. Then they start having expectations I can’t meet.

Kind of like people thinking I could have a civilized negotiation in email about something highly emotional. Uhm, yeah, no. I can’t. Doesn’t mean I think that no one should. I think it is a skill I should Probably Work On. But quite frankly managing my moods with the kids is more important and that’s where I put my energy.

Today is a storm day. We aren’t doing much. We’ve been doing chores every day since we got to Duluth. It’s ok that I’m not rushing around doing shit. We have five more days here. A rest day will do us some good. Now my eldest is back to sitting next to me pressuring me to give up my computer.

Oh man. This part sucks.

Random weird thing.

The further I get from California, the more Spanish I am speaking to the children. It’s not a conscious “language learning” thing I’m just… speaking Spanish. Which is a little weird. The further I get from my home the more Spanish feels like the language of my home and speaking it is more intimate.

I don’t know. I’m not sure what is going on. It’s not fully conscious. These are phrases and expressions I have always used with them but at home they are occasional. Now it is just how I’m talking to them.

Weird.

Sleeping cold in Minnesota

Eldest child woke up to tell me that she was warm as toast all night long. Then she went back to sleep. Braggart. I was cold. Cold enough to wake up multiple times and have to burrow into the blanket to breathe a hot air cave so I can go back to sleep cold.

Wench.

All of our sleeping bags and the big heavy blanket from Tay are at the dry cleaners. Apparently here in Duluth it takes seven days to clean blankets. We don’t get any of our bedding back until the night before we leave. This is gonna be cold.

It’s supposed to rain approximately every other day we are here. That’s strangely fun for the drought stricken Californians. We spend a lot of time dancing in the rain.

Today we are on our own entirely. I’m strangely ok with that. We will eat through some of our perishable food and that makes me happy. I’m more than a little weird about food.

I stopped there to yank the kids out of bed and throw them in the van. We were almost late to our oil change appointment. Whoops. We made it.

We went to the park. We went on a cruise around Lake Superior and learned a lot of the history of this area. That was fun. We mailed three boxes home to Noah full of books. The passenger seat is still entirely buried in books I’ve bought on this trip. Oh boy. Guess we’ll never pick up a hitch hiker.

We found out that youngest is too young for the Boys and Girls Club so I don’t get baby sitting services in Duluth. Lots of crying over that disappointment.

Big sister was so awesome. “If they won’t let you stay, I’m not staying! It’s the Gibbs Girls against the world! Uhm I mean the Gibbs Kids.”

It was… hilarious and wonderful.

We are having a hard time transitioning with pronouns. Because youngest keeps slipping and going back and forth with self-references. Today I said, “Kid I’ll call you whatever you want but you have to pick something.”

The boy name seems to be fading. Oh goodness. Says the name Calli is too awesome to ditch. But still insisting on boy pronouns.

I asked, when we were walking into the Boys and Girls Club what the kiddo wanted me to say if the folks asked about gender. I said, “Do you want me to say you are a boy or do you want me to keep my mouth shut.” Kid said, “Keep your mouth shut. If they want to know they can ask me.”

I love you.

Then I saw the 6 year old requirement and it all went to crap. Oh well.

Both kids said, “You let us lie about age for the horse ride! Why not this?!”

My response: I was there the whole time on the ride. If there was a problem I would be able to handle it. Dropping you off somewhere that you have to take care of yourself is different. They want you to be older for lots of reasons.

I feel a little bad about lying for the horseback ride. But it went fine so not that bad.

Over the next few days we will be going on a train ride around the area, to the Children’s Museum, the Aquarium, swimming in Lake Superior, and we will try several local-only restaurants. We’ve played at one of the biggest parks in the area and know of three more we should try.

Oh, we had a thing at the park. A little boy had a hard time negotiating. He was much smaller than youngest kid, so I assume he was only three. I don’t know exactly how things got started but eventually the boy was throwing the rubber tire bits at my kids and yelling that my kids were the meanest, nastiest kids EVER.

Eldest child came to get me. She said, “Is it ok if you come stand over where we are playing? We are having a problem with the kid and his mom is kinda helping but I think it would be a good idea for you to be close by.”

leaped up from my bench. Sure! Yes! That’s why I’m here!

The little boy followed us to the swings, sat next to us and proceeded to start haranguing us about how my kids were the NASTIEST, MEANEST, STUPIDEST KIDS EVER.

I turned to him and said, “If you have a problem with us, walk away and stop yelling at us. You do not need to stand there and be nasty.”

He looked a little shocked. Soon his mom walked over and was apologetic. She was very directive. She told him to stay away from us if he couldn’t play nice. She pulled him away to chat.

He came back a little while later to apologize for throwing things. His mom looked kind of horrified and tense at first. I told her that my kids weren’t angels and my kids were probably antagonizing him too. She looked relieved that I wasn’t angry. She said, “No kids are angels. They all need help.” I agreed emphatically and we both laughed.

Then the boy was still a bit aggressive again and I prompted my youngest to say, “If you throw things at me I won’t want to play with you. If you want to play with me you have to ask nicely.” Kid said it, the boy agreed, and happy play went on.

Learning to negotiate is hard. It’s complicated. I know kids are going to fuck up and they need to be forgiven. I know that.

But that apology made all the difference.

If his mother had been defensive or snotty or aggressive… I would have stomped off with many nasty things to say. But that’s not what happened. The mom didn’t say “It’s all your fault”. (Not even to my kid.) She said, “Oh man I’m sorry this happened.”

I can respect that. Little kids will do shit you don’t like. Accept it, apologize, try to move on.

I feel very ok about how it worked out.

I’m looking forward to not hanging with my friend tonight. I may end up sitting in the van by myself for a while. Just to be alone.

I like my friend! I’m super glad to be here! I’ve been on the road for 36 days. I’m tired. I finally started bleeding today. 37 days between cycles this time. That’s too long. It means my extra fun crazy period of time before bleeding stretches on longer and longer.

Oh, on the cruise today there was a whole group of people from a 50th high school reunion. One of them asked eldest child my name. Kid said my name. Everyone nearby said, “What?! Your mom is crazy?!”

I laughed and said, yes I am crazy. But she said my name is Krissy. I got some weird looks.

I’m having fun. I’m glad we are doing this. Going home will be so nice. I miss the pictures on the wall. I feel like I’m forgetting.

But you know what is super rad? My friends are coming through. I’m getting comments, SMSs, emails, letters, cards, phone calls…

I wanted to pull the threads taut and see which held. I’m seeing. I feel so very grateful for the friends I have and the life I lead. I do not deserve any of you. Thank you for being my friend.

Food inventory

Mostly for my sake.

Carbs:

  • pancake mix
  • loaf of bread
  • corn chips
  • granola
  • Cheerios
  • chocolate cereal
  • graham crackers
  • ramen (lots)
  • chicken noodle soup

Fat:

  • ghee
  • butter
  • olive oil

Condiments: (All of these are home made by someone. Some from a small farm on the way.)

  • maple syrup
  • spicy mustard
  • ketchup
  • cherry butter
  • apple cider jelly
  • apple butter bbq sauce
  • apple/cherry jam
  • mayo

Protein:

  • peanut butter
  • cheese
  • canned chicken
  • yogurt
  • refried beans
  • spreadable cheese
  • summer sausage

Fruit/veg:

  • tomato/red pepper soup
  • salad
  • potatoes
  • apples
  • salsa
  • guacamole
  • olives
  • pickles
  • carrots

Other:

  • tea
  • hot chocolate
  • sugar
  • milk