Eclectic Muddlehood

How's this for a perplexing beginning? I am a great many things, but none of them are me. At least not in my entirety. This is the little corner where I attempt to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts as I muddle through being a wife, a mother and a woman... among other things.

Location: Virginia, United States

Here, in no particular order, is a short list of my parts from the mundane to the pretentious, some or all of which may surface in future attempts to work on the whole: wife, mother, doula, childbirth educator, writer, yoga student, homeschooler, amature organic gardner, kitchen witch, all-around foodie, spiritual truth-seeker, daughter, clutter-bug, complusive list maker, bibliophile, homemaker, friend, homebirth/natural birth advocate, impulse shopper, wine snob, knitter, artist, lover, sensuist, and email junkie (There may be more later, but that's it for now.)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Preview of Coming Attractions

Mostly as a motivational tool and reminder for myself, here is a short list of things I really want to write about in the near future.

1. Money- I loathe the way we deal with the topic of money in our culture. Those who have it feel guilty around those who don't. Those who don't feel self-conscious around those who do. And since we aren't permitted to actually discuss money, we all spend our lives feeling both guilty and self-conscious as we tiptoe around the subject with each other.

2. Iraq- Today I heard a news reporter state that an unnamed military source told her Iraq will disintegrate into civil war. This isn't really news. What was different is that he told her he didn't think this was a bad thing. He pointed out the fact that America, itself, had to fight a civil war to cement our chosen system of government and way of life. Perhaps it really is none of our business how the Iraqi people choose to sort themselves out over there.

3. The Latest in Reality TV- Turns out women are lining up across the country to audition for a spot on America's Hottest Mom, a new reality show being funded by the manufacturer of a minimally invasive cosmetic surgery product. Instead of buying traditional ad time, they funded this show instead. Contestants will have the "opportunity" to receive the treatment during the show. There are just so many things I want to comment about on this topic, that it really will have to wait for a full entry.

4. ACOG's Statement on Out of Hospital Birth- The bottom line is that they stated that, in their opinion, the evidence is inconclusive so they are going to choose to continue to oppose out-of-hospital birth options. Funny, but they used the same justification (inconclusive evidence) to justify supporting non-medically indicated elective cesareans as a birth option for women. Interesting that the options that would cause them to lose clients (and said clients' money) is opposed due to lack of supporting evidence, but the option that increases their per birth earnings is supported due to lack of evidence.

(Oh, and Emmitt... I just wanted to say: You rock on with your bad self!)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Discriminatory Practices of the County Parking Police

Despite the rain today, I packed up my three small children and headed to the polls to do my civic duty and fulfill my responsibility to vote. After I wrangled all of them into their car seats and slid behind the wheel, I noticed a small damp envelop stuck under my left windshield wiper. I got back out of the car to grab it only to discover a $35 parking ticket with yesterday's date for an expired state inspection sticker. Yes, my inspection sticker is expired. By seven days. But let me take a minute to share why this seriously enrages me.

First, here's the back story on why the car wasn't inspected yet. Several months ago when I was still pregnant, a young woman in her late teens or early twenties managed to rip out the driver's side headlight of our new parked minivan with the steel bumper of her daddy's gigantic super SUV while I was inside the grocery store. We opted to wait to fix the damage until after the babies were born so we wouldn't be without the only vehicle that could hold all three car seats when the babies were just born. We finally got all of the insurance paperwork sorted out last month and the car went into the shop last week. We just got it back on Friday night. Because it was the headlight that was damaged, we couldn't pass inspection until it was fixed. Now, I know in theory, we should have had it inspected this weekend, but we ran out of time getting other household chores on the never-ending to do list done instead like repairing water-damaged dry wall and fixing the broken kitchen sink.

I am not upset about the ticket itself. Our sticker is indeed expired. What upsets me is the fact that my vehicle was ticketed while it was parked in my assigned parking space, in front of my townhouse at 11:56am. I find this highly discriminatory for two reasons. First, I believe this practice discriminates against at-home parents. Those who work a full time job and don't make the same sacrifices our family does to allow me to stay home with our children don't have their cars parked at home at that time of day. Only the handful of work-at-home and stay-at-home parents on our street have the misfortune of having their vehicles vulnerable during daytime hours. Second, I believe this is discriminatory based on our financial status. Those families in our subdivision who can afford to pay upwards of a half million dollars for a single family home and therefore a garage and driveway to park their vehicles in are not targeted as their cars are on private property. However, because the only home in this area that we could afford was a townhome without a garage or driveway, we are vulnerable even when our vehicles are parked in our assigned spaces on a privately owned and maintained street directly in front of our homes.

The citation states that I have five calendar days to resolve this issue and that I may contest it in County District Court. Even though I may still have to pay the $35, I am seriously contemplating loading all three children in the car to brave the rain again tomorrow just to exercise my civic right to speak my mind about what I deem an unfair practice that targets less affluent at-home parents. That is, after I take the car to get inspected first.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

My Recruiter Lied to Me

I just had to laugh at the shocking expose story on the evening news last night. In truth I nearly choked on my green papaya salad as the reporter woefully relayed the results of an undercover investigation into the dubious practices of Army recruiters as if this was something new. There is a reason that there is a cadence we use to sing on early morning physical training runs that begins jauntily with "My recruiter lied to me..." Recruiters have been bending reality to suck in young, under-educated kids for ages. I heard story after story from my troops as to how they ended up driving trucks in central Texas when they were promised other things like a few years of a cushy desk job and no chance of deployment in exchange for all the college tuition money they could possible imagine. I thought then and still do now that the Army is taking the wrong approach to recruiting. Instead of lying, cheating and begging poor kids in one-horse towns, saying "Oh please wont you join up, look what we'll give you!" they should be taking the approach that has proved so successful for the Marine Corps over the years, saying "You really think you're good enough to join us? Prove it!" The most frustrating part of the news story for me however, was not the manipulations of truths emanating from the recruiters themselves, but their commanding officer hanging them out to dry on national television. Back in my father's day, a commanding officer to responsibility for everything his command did or failed to do. End of story. And here was this officer acting appalled at his own recruiters' behavior assuring the reporter this must be the exception and not the rule among his soldiers. Amazing that the three recruiters the reporter sent his undercover students into just happened to be the three liars in this officer's outfit. Why do these recruiters manipulate the truth so adamantly and effectively? Because they are trained to do so by their superiors and then pressured intensely to make recruiting goals no matter what, no excuses. They will continue to do so as long as their command climate remains the same. I doubt this news story will have much effect of the Army's recruiting practices, but I can hope it will help potential recruits be a little bit smart when wheeling and dealing with their futures.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Still Healing

It has been almost 19 weeks since their birth and although life improves weekly, there is still a great deal of healing that must take place. The edges of my scar have started aching in the morning after each grueling night of what a fellow twin mother refers to as rotisserie nursing. Staring in the mirror after a stolen shower, I notice for the first time that it is off center and curves up more at one side than the other. My scar smirks at me. Mocking me. You just couldn't do it, could you? she viciously teases. You actually thought you could birth them at home, she laughs. I try to take the approach I have come to find helpful when processing difficult life challenges. I look for the lesson. What am I to learn from having followed this path? How can I use this experience to better myself? Or how can I use this experience to help others? But my deep secret is that no beautiful or even constructive answers come to these questions. Instead my mind is filled with thoughts that shock my heart and make my soul weep. In my darker moments I think that I was punished for my pride or that I failed my body or that my body failed me. Sometimes, when all of my children are crying at the same time, I ask why did I have to have twins or why did I have to have any more children at all. Maybe if there had only been one baby I wouldn't have had to have a cesarean and traumatized myself and all three of my children in the process. If I hadn't had any more children I definitely would not have been through that experience. This is where the guilt sets in because I love my children and I can't believe that I sometimes wish they were not here. I feel guilty about so many things; disappearing on my eldest in the middle of the night to go to the hospital and not coming back for three days, coming home barely able to function much less able to pay any attention to her, not being able to nurse my hungry, angry newborn daughter for over an hour after her birth, watching my severely sleep deprived husband yell at his three day old son to stop crying because he was so hungry and my milk wasn't in yet, giving both of my new babies formula for three days... My mind could go on like this for hours and hours. And it does. Usually at night after the children are finally asleep. I stretch out in my bed and obsess myself to sleep. I long for the days when instead of mocking me, my scar smiles wistfully as we both sigh with contentment at the lives lived and the lessons learned because of us. Until then I'm still healing.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Word About Emmitt Smith

Normally I waste as little mental effort as possible on professional football players, but as I indulge myself in my weekly dose of Dancing With the Stars I feel compelled to say a few words about my favorite contestant, Emmitt Smith. Most of the moronic imbeciles mouthing off on national television calling themselves "professional" athletes are nothing more than overpaid brain-dead thugs. This does not seem to be the case with Mr. Smith. He is clean, polished, poised, polite, and articulate. He also seems to be a genuine gentleman who places a strong emphasis on the importance of family, supporting his wife and children in their various endeavors. All in all, I have been very impressed with what a classy guy he has been on this show. He is a professional in every sense of the word. His performance is almost the complete antithesis of the terribly painful waste of time that Master P's participation was last season. Perhaps when he hangs up his dancing shoes, he could open a charm school for today's lackluster football players. The ghetto-fabulous likes of Terrel Ownes, Ray Lewis, Ricky Williams and many others could use a few lessons in what it really takes to be a professional.