Why so shy…? or Woe, is me… Woe woe woe…

For the umpteenth time yesterday, I realized that another party I planned myself was tanking.  So, I scrapped the plans for a get together and moved on, just a little disappointed and refusing to feel heartache.

Then I posted something silly on Facebook, one of those “describe me in one word” games, and only a handful played along.

And I pour my heart into many of these blog entries only to find that, according to Word Press stats, only 4 people read them.  On average.  Sometimes it’s just one. (In my crazy defense, I mostly check those to see which kinds of posts people read most, so I know where my strengths are.  Or so I know which day or time of day people read.)

Guess I’m feeling a little sorry for myself and so I started to try to figure out why this always happens to me.

When I was 11, I invited almost all the girls in my 6th grade class to a birthday party.  Day of the party, party time comes, goes, 30 minutes later, no one is there.  I start calling my friends.  No one ever intended to come.  It was humiliating and terrible.  Girls are so mean.

Then the next year, we move from Baltimore City to Bel Air in the suburbs and I go to public school for the first time.  I clearly stick out like a sore thumb.  A group of girls befriend me suddenly.  I am elated.  It is a dream come true.  The next week, I find a note stuffed in my locker.  Written by the “ring leader”  and signed by the rest, it tells me that I’ve been a fool to think that they really would deign to be my friend.  That I am four-eyed, flat chested and fat, have dumb curly hair (bad perm- it was 1986, ok?), and wear ugly clothes and shoes.  They even drew a picture of me with a large circle for a body, and wild squiggles atop my head. I was deflated, defeated, down and out.  It was awful.  Girls are so mean.

My mother grew up in a family of six girls and one boy, and her experience with kids outside the family was fairly limited.  I think her advice to me was “they are just jealous” or “you don’t need them.”  I doubt they were jealous, but I definitely took the idea that I don’t need them to heart.

I think my belief that I don’t “need” people has led to my lack of a vibrant social life.

I have always had one or two friends, but no one really close. (With a few brilliant exceptions of course.  You know who you are.)  I find it incredibly hard to put myself out there, in real life, and let people get to know me.  And I always believe that a friend could turn on me in a moment’s notice.

Example: Once when I was home on a break during college, before I had a license, a group of friends lied to me and said they weren’t going out, even though they did, because no one wanted to come pick me up.  Gah.  Even women can be kinda mean.

I found myself last night thinking of those terrible girls in middle school and wondering if they are still friends with each other.  I wonder if they’ve ever felt lonely.  I wonder if their plans ever fell through and left them alone with no one to talk to.

And I sit here, a grown woman with a family of my own, reliving that adolescent drama every time someone cancels or ignores me or is too busy to come to my party.  And so I retreat within and remind myself I don’t need anyone and then I’m lonelier than ever.

Girls are mean.

 

 

 

Kiddie Comic Relief II

  • The girls asked for apples.  I asked them if they wanted 1 to split or if I should cut up 2.  Lala said, “Cut 2, Mommy.”  Seconds later, Loopsy came into the kitchen, very concerned, and whispered to me, “You know Lala meant that you should cut 1 apple for me and 1 apple for her, don’t you?  Not two of them for me.”  I looked into her big earnest eyes and assured her that I knew what to do.  “Okay, Mommy, I was just making sure you knew that.”  Then she skipped away.
  • The twins were eating oranges (wow, I’m sensing a theme…) They were discussing the best ways to eat an orange.  I overhear Loopsy say, “Hey, what about you suck it!”  I’m glad I was in the other room because I could not control my laughter.  She kept saying stuff about sucking it after that anyway.  I really am just touched in the head.
  • We watched Charlotte’s Web.  Lala was very disappointed that Charlotte wasn’t a people girl, she was just a spider girl.  Guess Fern didn’t make a great impression.  Loopsy was really upset that Charlotte drank the insect’s blood she caught in her web.  No mention of concern about Wilbur becoming bacon.  They really like bacon.
  • As mentioned before, Loopsy isn’t very fond of pants.  Today she told me that she likes not to wear pants because she thinks she’s pretty without them.  Where’s Dear Abby when you need her?  Dear Abby, My daughter is a 4-year-old exhibitionist….
  • 9:40 pm Sunday.  Letting the kids fall asleep when they are ready since it’s all Frankenstormaggedon.  Asked them if they are sleepy yet.  Loopsy: “Silly Mommy,  Super Heroes don’t get sleepy!”  and then she ran across the room.

With the morning’s light

I wake to the usual sounds.

Tony snoring softly beside me.  Elise and June giggling quietly in their bedroom across the hall.

I roll over and reach on my nightstand for my cell phone.  I check the time.  8:26.  I’m still exhausted.

What time did I go to bed?  I can’t recall.

My head pounds as if I’m headed for a hang over.  But that can’t be.  Not after only one glass of wine-

Wine.

I sit straight up, my head swimming as my equilibrium shifts.  Her.

Her red hair, the smear of my blood on her pale lips.  The wicked gleam in those icy blue eyes.

That WAS a dream, right?

My shaky hand reaches to my neck, my quivering fingers brush the tender bruised, sticky skin there.

A scream sticks in my throat when I see the black-red stains on my fingertips.

Nausea gnashes through the pit of my stomach and I rush to the powder room, making it to the commode just in time.

“Mommy?”  Elise whines, worriedly.

I kick the door shut behind me between retches.

“One sec!” I manage to groan just before my stomach empties the last remnants of yesterday’s dinner.

I sink to the floor and lean against the wall between the sink and the toilet.

How is this possible?

I must still be dreaming.

“You okay, Mama?” June says tearfully, jiggling the doorknob.

Thank goodness I never got around to taking off those kiddie proof doorknob locks.

“Mommy’s okay, baby girl.  Just one more minute.  Go play with Sissy.”

“Okay…” she sniffles, still unsure, but walks away.

I sigh in relief and attempt to gather the strength to stand up.  Deep breaths, Anne, deep breaths.  In and out.

Gross.  The stench from the toilet fills my nostrils.  I reach up and flush.

Crap!  Was this flusher always so loud?  My ears buzz with the near-deafening churns and swirls, sucks and glugs.  It finally stops and I realize I’d had my hands clenched over my ears.

Wait…  I don’t hear the fan.  The fan always goes on with the lights.  Lights.  I…  I never turned on the switch.

How the fuck have I been able to see in a windowless room, in the dark??

I can see everything, even the spider web in the corner behind the trash bin.  The print on the Prevention magazine on the little shelf.  I can even read the directions on the can of Lysol.  All in the sliver of light coming in from under the door.

Fascinated, but frightened, I slowly stand and wait out the dizziness and the threat of more nausea.  Once the sickness subsides, I carefully turn and face the mirror that covers most of the wall.  I keep my eyes down, focused on my feet, on the old linoleum that is years past its replacement date.

If I see anything other than me and the shelf behind me, I don’t think my psyche can take it.  I’m not sure my mind hasn’t fractured already.

Here goes nothing.  I look up.

The shelf and the magazine and air freshener and…

Me.

I’m awfully pale, my eyes are puffy and bloodshot, my hair is atrocious, and my neck is smeared in blood.  But, it’s just me.

I reach for the towel to my left and turn on the faucet.  I quickly turn it lower because of the absurd volume of the water.  Even the sound of the slow trickle running down the drain is maddening.  I wet the towel and shut the damn thing off.

The terry cloth scrapes like sandpaper and reeks like mildew and fabric softener, but I need to get the blood off, so I do my best to ignore it.  After wiping, rinsing, wiping again, the bite is cleaned.  I turn on the light, finally, to examine it closer.

My eyes water and burn as the lights come on, bright as the noontime sun, and I screw them shut.  I work on ignoring the grinding whir of the fan, work on adjusting my retinas to the light shining pink and hot through my closed lids.  I focus, modulate, and slowly open my eyes.

I see that my skin seems even paler in the light, almost blue.  The area around the twin pinpricks is pink though, ironically healthier than the rest of me.  I probe there with my fingers, and they are also noticeably warmer.  Odd.  What happened?  What is happening?  What will happen?

I can hear the girls whispering in their rooms.  I know they are waiting for me.  I don’t have time for this existential crisis.

Besides, any answer I need can only come from Courtney.  Can only come after sunset.  I’ll wait.

She better fucking show up.

“Moooommmyyy!!!”  This time it’s Elise jiggling the doorknob.  It sounds like cogs and springs of a giant machine banging together.  This is going to be a long day.

“Here I come, babu!” I say and hope I got the volume right.  It’s like I’m an alien and this is my first day on Earth.  My mind is definitely fractured.

But what’s a Mommy to do?  There’s work to be done.

Fucking vampire bullshit.  I give my pitiful reflection a determined and fiery grin.  I got this.

I force pass the stench of old tissues and baby wipes in the trash bin as I bury the bloody hand towel under old refuse.

I’m going to have to get used to ignoring everything if I’m going to get through this day.

I check myself once more in the mirror.  I look retched, but I probably won’t scare the kids now.  The two tiny wounds can easily be explained away.

I flick off that infernal light and fan and open the powder room door.

“Who wants waffles?”

Now Read This

Today’s gratitude is for good books.  Well-written, spell-binding, page turners that remind me with every movement of my bookmark that I love to read.

There are three general kinds of books that I like to read.

Books that teach me.

I could’ve just called these non-fiction, but, really I don’t think of myself as a fan of non-fiction per se.  I don’t go to the library and peruse the non-fiction shelves for a book to call out to me.  But, if I’m in a quandary, or on a mission, I often lean on the non-fiction catalog at BCPL to give me guidance.  Diet/nutrition books.  Books on spirituality or meditation.  Books on the art of writing.  Books about child-rearing or marriage.  At this point, I am in the middle of reading 3 non-fiction books.  I pick them up when I’m feeling studious.  And I feel they make me a better person.

Books that inspire me.

Every time I pick up a new Anne Rice book, I’m inspired.  Same with Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Audrey Niffenegger.  I feel a kinship with them as a fellow author, and I aspire to the success and world-wide readership they enjoy.  I read them and think, wow…  That’s how you craft a story.  That’s how you make us care about the characters, see ourselves in them, hope the best or worst for them.  That’s how you build a world.  I just started reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  I’m still at the very beginning, but I’m swept in.  I relate to the characters, I can see where they live, I want to know more.  And I think, “Yes.  THIS.  I want to write like this.”

Then there are the books that I read and think, “Wow.  Great story.  Wonderful concept.  But… I could tell it better.”  Holy smokes, I’m full of myself, Peeps.  Gah.  Anyway, I won’t list those here, because that’s just rude and unfair.  But these authors, these books are important too.  There are jillions of readers out there, and there is something for everyone.  And that is awesome.

Books that simply sweep me away.

Some books are simply damn good entertainment.  They are quick reads, not bogged down with a lot of gingerbread, like my Grandma would say.  Books like Laurel K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series, or the Twilight Saga, or the Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom books by Julie Kenner.  I used to be very into Danielle Steele when I was in high school, and now and then I’ll pick up a Nora Roberts book when I want some romance or maybe an Emily Giffin.  When I am in the mood for scary, and I don’t have the patience to read Stephen King, I’ll pick up Dean Koontz.  His book What the Night Knows was one of the scariest books I’ve ever read.  I had to hide it from myself.  No joke.  And for a while there, I was reading a J.D. Robb book a week.  I just adore Eve Dallas.  I will probably go get one of those when I finish Gone Girl.

 

So, thank you publishers.  Thank you libraries and Barnes & Noble.  Thank you Mrs Kadar, my kindergarten teacher.  Thank you Big Bird & Friends.  Thank you Electric Company.  Thank you Mom for reading to me, and being a reader yourself.

Kiddie Comic Relief

I’ve decided that I’ll post some comedic gems from the mouths of my babes here on my blog on random occasions…

Today’s:

Loopsy has a habit of taking her underpants all the way off when she uses the potty.

And then proceeds to run around bare-assed until I wrangle her to put them back on.

Today I said, “Loopsy, you just can’t run around with your tushy hanging out in the breeze!”

She stopped in her tracks and asked, “What breeze, Mommy?”

*sigh*

 

The other night we got into a deep discussion about Heaven and the mechanics of how people get there, when do they go, how do they watch over us from there, etc, etc.  Here are a few key notes:

  • Angels must have really long telescopes so that they can watch us from Heaven.
  • Angels probably sleep all day, and then wake up at night to watch us.  (this was due to the night-time prayer “Now I lay me down to sleep” which includes the line “May he watch me through the night and wake me with the morning’s light’)
  • Before I go to Heaven, I am required to be a grandma.
  • Their grandma is only a little bit old, but not really old.

Stay tuned for more…

 

Observations by Scroogy Mommy

girls christmas 2011

Loopsy and Lala loving it up!

  • When the kids both get super cuddly and affectionate and tell me they love me, my first thought is “Aw!  I love this!  How sweet!”  Followed by my second thoughts of “Wait, am I dying?  Do they know something I don’t know?” or “What did they break this time?”
  • Playdoh is amazingly easy to get out of clothing in the wash, but nearly impossible to get out of carpet.
  • Hearing your own habitually used words and phrases repeated is super cute when it’s “The thing is…” or “As a matter of fact…” and super embarrassing when it’s “That witch across the street…”
  • When my girl says that she wants to be a doctor when she grows up, then follows that up with, “Maybe I’ll be a mommy instead.” My usual response is that she can be both.  But then I realize that there is no easy answer to career vs family.  Enter Mommy Guilt Zone #453… .  *sigh*
  • African Dwarf Frogs are really cool little pets and getting an aquarium is like getting a tattoo…  You can’t stop at just one.  Hubby wants mini-catfish now.  Whatever those are.
  • I really want a tattoo.

 

Bumps in the night

“Coming to bed soon, babe?”  He asks me, as he stands behind me at my desk.  His warm, warm hands caress my head, my neck, shoulders.  His strong fingers stroke the sides of my throat before he rests his palms on my shoulders.

“Ummm…”  I reply as I continue to type, to finish that one thought. I take my hands off the keyboard and place them over his.  Looking up and back at him, I smile, “Feels good, sweetie.”

“It’s supposed to.”  He smiles tiredly.  “See you upstairs?”

“After I finish this scene.  I’m in the thick of it now.”

He sighs.  “Sure, sure.  Not too late, okay?  It’s your turn to get up with the kids tomorrow.”

“I know, I know.  I’ll be up within the hour.”  I tilt my head up to his, and kiss him softly, “It’s your sleep-in Saturday.”

“Mmm-hmm…  Yeah, right.  Little Miss Writes-a-lot.  Goodnight.”  He gives me another quick peck on the lips and then heads upstairs.  “Make sure the doors are locked and the alarm is set…”  He calls down.

“Will do.”  I call up.

I listen until the creaks from the floor above go quiet, and I’m finally alone with my work.  The house is dark except for the glow of my screen, quiet except for the tapping of my fingers on the keyboard.

Ten minutes later, twenty, thirty, maybe, I sit up straight, shake out my hands, and crack my knuckles.  Done for the night.

I sigh contentedly and click the save icon.  While the program shuts down, I’m stretching my back, and thinking longingly of my blanket and pillows waiting for me upstairs.

I see something, a flash of movement behind me reflected in the monitor screen.

My heart skips a beat.

I spin, jerkily, in my seat.

Nothing but the darkened kitchen behind me.

The window shade is open.  Must’ve been a bird or something outside.

Yeah, must’ve.  My heart resumes its normal rhythm.

I click on shut down, and gather up my cell phone and wine glass and head to the kitchen.

I hear the tink-tink-tink Tink tones of my PC going off.

Scrape, swoosh.

I turn on my heels back towards my desk.

Just the darkening computer and my usually messy menagerie of books, scraps of paper, phone chargers, and a couple of jar candles.

I pause for a beat before going to the sink to deposit my empty glass.  It catches the edge of a dirty spoon abandoned in the deep porcelain basin and tips over with a clank.

My whole body starts at the seemingly loud sound in my quiet, sleeping house.

I shake my head and smile.  This is what I get for trying to write a horror novel, I think to myself.  Still, I turn on every light on the way to the bathroom, feeling quite ridiculous nonetheless.

I continue to feel silly as I pull off my sweat pants and tee-shirt, toss them in the laundry basket, and pull my nightshirt from the hook on the door- all while avoiding looking in the mirror.  To test my bravery, I turn towards the bathroom vanity, and watch myself pull on my jammies in the mirror.  Reflection all normal, see?  Just me, the shower curtain, and the towel rack.

Scrape, shuffle, taptaptap.

The sound is coming from the other side of the closed door.

I go still, eyes locked on the door, but the sound doesn’t repeat.

I convince myself it was the wind outside or the house settling.  I take a few deep breaths, give my reflection a crooked smile, and continue my night time routine.

Teeth brushed and flossed, eyes slathered in wrinkle cream, and still rubbing the excess hand lotion on my dry elbows, I am walking towards the staircase, shutting off lights as I go.

Shuffle, scrape, shuffle.  Sigh.

I see its shadow cast across the floor, in the moonlight coming through the kitchen window.

I stop in the doorway.  Frozen in place.  One foot on the cold tile of the kitchen floor, one on the dining room carpet.  My eyes still adjusting in the dark, I still clearly see the shadow moving, a figure coming closer to where I stand.  I cannot lift my head up, I will not.

My skin has gone cold, tingly, alive and aware.  Danger.  I feel my heart pounding in my throat, hear it in my ears.  My mouth goes dry.  The shadow comes closer.  I have to look up, I know this, but I can’t move a muscle.  I am stone.

It’s so close now that all there is is shadow before me on the tiles.  So close that I should hear its breath, but I don’t.

“Look.”  She speaks.

I’ve begun to tremble, my entire self vibrating with tension.  With concentrated effort, I stiffly lift my head, my eyes meet hers.  Shocking blue.  Wine red hair.  Skin so pale, translucent.  The breath I didn’t even realize I was holding comes out in shaky puffs.

“You…”  I exhale and now my breath has quickened to shattering gasps.

“Me.”

A wide wicked smile parts her pale, full lips to reveal glistening fangs.

The last sensation I feel before darkness pulls me under is the burning,  piercing pricks on my throat.

Thanks Internet!

Today I am thankful for the internet.

Because it…

… Provides me with multitudes of entertainment choices- music, movies, TV shows, games, horoscopes, social media

… Allows for contact with the outside world while I’m stuck at home

… Presents me with news about politics, the environment, nutrition, fashion, makeup, gossip, sports, etc.

… Gives me a chance to communicate in the best way I know how (the written word)

… Shows me time and time again, that I’m not a freak, that I’m not the only one, that there is a community

 

My Vampire could kick your Honor Student’s Butt

One of my must DVR shows is The Vampire Diaries on The CW.  Based very loosely on the novels of the same name by L.J. Smith, the show follows a group of teenagers -some are vampires (Caroline, Stefan, Damon), there are a couple of werewolf/vampire hybrids (Klaus & Tyler), a witch (Bonnie), a boy who can see ghosts (Jeremy), and the human girl who binds them all, Elena.  (I left out plain old human Matt, but, really, I don’t get why he’s still in Mystic Falls.  His parents and sister are gone, and the town is over run with supernaturals with whom he really doesn’t fit in, so…  Move on, Matt.  Move on.)

TVD, as it will heretofore be called, was a show I initially hesitated about watching.  I’d been burned by one too many vampire shows since the end of my beloved Buffy and Angel series.  Moonlight?  Dumb.  But Bestie and (even) her husband was watching, so I dove in.  I actually read the books first and was not impressed.  The show turned out to be an epic surprise.  I loved it.  Damon’s bad-boy charm and quippy one-liners filled the void left by Spike.  Stefan was all broody, romantic, and soulful, like Angel, and even had a crazy evil alter-ego to boot.  Bonnie was a more tragic and less whimsical version of Willow.  And Tyler, well, no offense to the adorable Seth Green, but Oz wasn’t nearly as easy on the eyes, Peeps.  Caroline, probably one of the most underrated characters on the show, is a wonderful mix of both Cordelia and Harmony.  This story world even had its own Giles.  Alas, poor Alaric…  But even though I love the program, something is missing.  Yes, there is no Buffy.  Strong, fierce, badass, quirky, lethally talented with a variety of sharp objects, Buffy.

I had a similar conversation one night at Bestie’s house.  We had watched one of the Twilights that weekend, and also an episode of TVD.  We may have even watched True Blood.  We were on a vampire spree.  One of us lamented about the female heroine’s lack of, um, heroism.

I said, “They should come out with a movie or book or show with a chick vampire who kicks ass.”

Bestie said, “Yeah.  Hey, you should write it!”

“I totally should.”  I paused, thinking it over, “I think I totally could.”

“You definitely could.”

Thus began my ongoing personal saga of writing a vampire novel.  The main character becomes a vampire.  Her name is Courtney.  She rocks.  😀

Watching the most recent episode of TVD, (Spoiler Alert), I am reminded again of the lack of badassery in the latest crop of vampiresses-to-be.  Neither Bella nor Elena give this transition its just desserts.

Elena is just newly a vampire, thanks to being forced off the road by a true bad ass vampiress, Rebekah.  Well, ol’ Becks was just trying to finally rid the world of the most insecure and distressed damsel this side of Forks, WA.  She didn’t know that Elena had been dosed with a little vampire blood to cure her of a bad head injury or some such nonsense.  So, she died with the blood in her system, and accidentally became undead.  Something everyone was so so careful that she’d never turn out to be.  Oh wells.  But did Elena embrace The Dark Gift?  Did she revel in the fact that she was no longer so fragile and weak, so powerless against her enemies?  That she could finally, really do something to protect herself and the people she loves?  No…  she was all wishy-washy and “oh woe, woe… whatever shall I do?” as usual.

If Courtney was in Elena’s shoes, she’d have fed off of Jeremy or Matt or some other nearby mortal as soon as she came to.  Then she’d have kissed both Stefan and Damon full on the mouths and hightailed it to wherever Rebekah was holed up for an epic final showdown.  She might even have donned a kick ass pair of boots.  She seems like a boots kinda gal.

Bella, differs from Elena mostly in one fact.  Elena never wanted immortality.  Bella begged for it.  But like her Mystic Falls counterpart, Miss Swan is the weak link in her group of supernaturals.  She’s constantly in danger, and therefore putting the lives of everyone she knows and loves in jeopardy.  And doing nothing really except whining about it.  C’mon, Bells…  Edward is not the only vampire in the world.  You really want The Dark Gift, I guarantee you could find at least one shimmering Cold One to bestow it upon you.  Then Edward wouldn’t have been wracked with guilt about it, his family wouldn’t risk going against his wishes, Jake & the rest of the Wolf Pack would have one less reason to hate the Cullens, and you’d be less vulnerable to all the baddies who for some reason are constantly after you.

Courtney would probably ignore the Forks coven altogether because they are generally wasting all the awesomeness that comes with being a vampire and that’s just lazy.  They certainly don’t seem to have a full grasp on how different they are from humans, how their existence is a miracle and a curse.  They just lack dimension.  Courtney would be bored.

As you can see Peeps, I’m fired up about my little labor of love.  I’ll perhaps share more with you about Courtney and her story on Fiction Fridays.

But, until then…  Stay Thirsty My Friends.  (I am just so lame)