Monday, October 3, 2011

On Holding On


So the girl has pink eye. Hahaha! (Madwomen's caw. Yet again.) Is it Karma? Is this family in some mad swirl of karmic misfortune? This, after not too long ago being rushed to the hospital with a bad infection that had crept from her little toe to nearly her knee—completely unnoticed by me until she came home with a fever and pointed to the red line worming its way up her left leg. Truly, it's become a comedy of ails.

And I'm beginning to question my mothering skills.

I scramble eggs, steam vegetables and slice watermelon. I do whatever it takes to not lose my cool, to refrain from admonishing myself, to quell frustration over yet another setback and delay. Another day in which I'll get even less done.

Yes. It's minor. Keep it in perspective. Just another trip to the doctor's office. A Monday out of school. On the bright side, I imagine we've by now met our health insurance deductible.

This morning, on Blogger analyticsof which I rarely visit as it doesn't tell me anything other than referring sites or urls or keyword searchesI found under "searched keywords": girls with pulled up school skirts.

I've experienced chills several times over the last few months, but gazing at this, I froze. The search pointed to a photo, from last year, of my daughter in her school skirt. What was I thinking? And I was writing (more than a year ago, and poorly so) about  tailors and uniforms!

I question the wisdom of ever writing about my children. I rationalize by telling myself that Lulu is my daughter's nickname. Not her real name. Not even close to her real name. Lulu. As in Lucy. As in Luuuucy, you've got some 'splaining to do! (This, I kid you not, was a vocal warm up favored by my former voice coach, but it happens to be the perfect catchphrase for my daughterespecially when I take it up a few octaves.) Oh, Luuuucy, what do you have to say for yourself?

Keyword activity it not limited to perverts. Would-be writers Google quite a bit, too. Especially those with a certain weakness in the apology letters department.  To wit:

1) sorry handwritten;
2) apology letter for boyfriend;
3) sweet apology letters to him; and,
4) letter of apology to a sister in law.

Come on people, if you cannot compose an original, heartfelt apology letter to your beloved (well, maybe your sister-in-law is not a beloved, in which case you oughtn't bother) you ought to rethink the relationship. Actually, your beloved ought to rethink the relationship. If only the beloved knew. The would-be-writer-offenders are ultimately directed to this post. I wonder if they might try my son's approach.

Where was I going with this? Oh, I know, I was about to fall apart. I was want for a rant. And a caw. In the grand scope (of which I've seen many lately) of things pink eye is nothing, yes, yes. It's a day of missed school. It's gel in the eye. It's a nudge to get that new pair of specs for the girl—ones she can actually see from. (Yet more evidence of mother's neglect!) Contacts won't do for days. It's finding my twelve-year-old daughter in her room, head buried in TIME magazine, reading "Playing Favorites Never mind what your parents told you. They had a favorite child and if you have kids, so do you. Why it's hardwired into all of us."  It's Lu wryly smiling and asking: Do you have a favorite, Ma? It's me responding:  Well darlin', yes I do. (Her eyes widen.) I have a favorite son. And I have a favorite daughter. Lu, again: Oh Ma, that's a good answer. That's the best answer ever. Come over here, that deserves a big hug.

We've learned to put a lot on hold during the past few months. It's really not so bad. But I tell you this, if the U.S. draft is reinstated, that'll be the final straw. I'll be hightailing it to Canada.  I'll get a little apartment in Montreal and my son will attend McGill University. Let 'em try finding us. We'll be on hold.


  1. Oh, dear, Dear!

    Relating too instantaneously: 1) Yesterday's google searches for mature came from places that can't be found on Google maps. This always weirds me out hugely. We must NEVER look at Google Analytics!

    And 2) It was all I could do, after seeing the McKeon article on the draft and following it up with a quote from our SC Rep (R) Tim Scott in support of "putting that on the table," not to write a screaming headline: Tim Scott Wants To Draft Your Grandson!!!!!

    I'm a little reactive at the moment. You could be easily forgiven just now for being the same.

  2. Dear Tired Jayne, who’d a thunk that pink eye would tip your scale? Scary huh? It’s just a sign that life has been kicking your butt and you’ve become a bit jumpy. As they say in my home town, “You’ve had so many rights you’re screaming for a left!

    I remember one time my five year old son came into the house and stated, “Ma, I think I broke my arm.” We were late for swimming lessons and I was busy dressing my daughter. I didn’t even bother looking at him, stuffing my daughter’s arm into her jacket I crowed back at him, “If you broke your arm you’d know it!” I then went to usher them both out the door and noticed that my son’s lips were turning blue. He was in shock because he broke his arm clear through at the elbow and it was just sort of dangling there. A week in the hospital, in traction, and three surgeries later he was allowed to come home. The Dr. told me that my son’s arm might never grow because it had broken on a grow plate. I prayed daily for his arm to grow…and it did.

    The point is that my son needed me and I blew him off. The guilt meter still registers high when I think about it.

    Anyway, I’ll stop yammering on, but only if you promise to be kind to yourself and try catching your breath.

    A footnote here…I used to ask my mother who her favorite kid was and she would say, “Whichever one I’m with.” I liked it so much I use on my three now;)

  3. hmm, you prompted me to go look at the keyword searches to my blog. the weirdest one was "hand wash arsehole" which i swear has never ever been written by me in my blog.

    what you wrote about the apology letters had me laughing!

    there's no tea party in canada, so it's got that going for it, canada does. :)

  4. Oh, gosh, I know those days interrupted, destroyed really, but doc visits. My son's foot swelled up from an allergic reaction to a bee sting he hadn't mentioned, so that was our last visit...though I remember when he cut his little toe and I was tempted to ignore it, the emergency room said toe cuts can cause the worst infections.I guess now I see why! Hang in there.

  5. I love your madwoman's caw...hahaha!

    Hang in there!

  6. Sorry, I laughed at your post even though I think it was meant to be serious?

    Just had a look at the GA for my blog and I have a search “working class mans bulge.” It’s very scary how the internet works don’t you think; a post title could so easily get you into so much trouble.

    I always stick to nick names when talking about other people (especially children), and I’m sure that’s OK.

    The bit about the sorry letters to a “sister in law” is priceless. How many people have been rude to sister in laws for that keyword phrase to come up like that?

    And as for your mothering skills, no need to worry. We all let things get past us at some stage (take our eye off the ball). It certainly doesn’t make you a bad mother.

  7. Nance- I'd really been out of the loop. I read the draft news on your recent post. I was so shaken I couldn't leave a comment!

    Your headline is fantastic. Write, write!

    You know, the analytics is more evidence of just how disturbed some people are. It's rather scary what goes on in the dark side of cyberspace. I hope our national security, our law enforcement officials, troll often, and thoroughly.

  8. Leah- It doesn't take much these days, does it?! And yes, I'd be happy for that left!

    Boy, can I ever relate to that scenario with your son. Because we often have to prioritize on the fly, things fall through the crack. Things that are cracked themselves! So glad everything turned out well for your son. (Jeez, do you ever know how to pray.) I would have held that guilt for a long time, too.

    "Whichever one I'm with." Love that! I may have to steal it. ;)

  9. id- Ha! That's funny! Come on now, which of those words have been used in your post and how were the ordered? Fess up, girl! ;)

    Sometimes it's the comments that get the hits. Oh my, I didn't ever leave a comment using the term arsehole now did I? ;)

  10. Sandra- Mothers all too often have to choose those things to which to give attention and those to plop on the back burner.

    I like to imagine that if we wait it out long enough, it will go away. Ha! (Denial is such a convenient defense mechanism.) And if the kid doesn't return with another complaint, then we can safely assume all is well. Doesn't always work so well, though!

  11. Loree- It's a very effective release!
    :D (And then there's the bird dance, too. Wait, just how crazy do I want people to think I am? Ok, I'm going to go for a loooong walk.)

  12. Maybe it was a Catholic school principal searching for poor and good (Lu's) examples of skirt lengths to support his position on uniform policy to the student body ;) Well, here's to a better day, week, month, season! I think we need to take a walk with that umbrella soon . . .

  13. Dicky- I'm so glad you laughed! For the record, I don't take myself all that seriously. And humor is what keeps us sane in difficult times. Heck, humor is what keeps us sane during any times. Personally, humor and writing keep me sane. If I were to write an entirely humorless, hopeless post then I know I'd be in deep trouble. Time to call the professionals.

    Now, I wonder what one was trying to glean from the interwebs by searching “working class mans bulge.” Was he/she looking for photos? Advice? Does a working class man's bulge differ from a nobleman's bulge or the Bourgeois bulge? Hmm... ;)

  14. Linda- Haha! Focus group at school last night (where were you??)--we discussed the very same thing! Enforce that dress code, would ya, now??

    Hey, I'll walk without the umbrella. I don't care. Let's get a little crazy. ;)

  15. Ever notice how if you say anything about cutting defense spending the hawks all lose their shit. We outspend the next six largest militaries combined and are afraid of our own shadows because our intelligence community was so big it missed the obvious some ten years ago...

    i have two sons and if they re-institute the draft i will give this country the flying V sign as i head to Costa Rica, a country that eliminated their military in favor of health care and education for all... and the surfing's pretty good too.

  16. Kono- From International Living: "Statistics from the World Health Organization frequently place Costa Rica in the top country rankings in the world for long life expectancy. Arguably, one reason for this is the slower pace of living in Costa Rica. And, of course, the healthy, fresh, non-preservative-laden foods found there, and the welcoming tropical climate. Costa Rica just seems to be a healthy place to live."

    Although CR has a slightly higher poverty rate, if you match the above with the comparatively low cost of good health care and real estate, low crime rate (as compared to other Latin American countries, and even less, I've read, than the the U.S.) and a decent educational system, Costa Rica looks like the idyllic refuge.

    And from Wiki: "Costa Rica has consistently been among the top Latin American countries in the Human Development Index, ranked 62nd in the world in 2010, and is cited by the UNDP as one of the countries that have attained much higher human development than other countries at the same income levels. The country is ranked third in the world, and first among the Americas, in terms of the 2010 Environmental Performance Index."

    That's mighty impressive.

    Central America is not a place I've ever desired to go, never mind live. Looks like I'm going to have to rethink that. ;)

    ("Afraid of our own shadows." Like children--often how I feel about our government in general.)

  17. You think YOU'VE got scary google lookups?
    No kidding, and I have NO idea how this got them to my blog...
    "I'll just take a $$#% on the keyboard"
    Dude. What in the world???

    But on another note...hang in there, Jayne. You are obviously a great mom, we can tell by the way your words veritably ooze love when you talk about them.

  18. Sorry you've been having woes. And yes, pinkeye is small in the whole scheme of things but sometimes things just add up. I hope life settles for you shortly. And as horrible as the draft would be, Montreal is a great city.. my home town.

  19. Now I'm feeling inadequate. Clearly I write too timidly, and/or about subjects too timid, to get any really fascinating (alarming, hilarious, just-plain-huh?) queries.

    Google Analytics overwhelms me. It's in the realm of things I'd prefer to pay someone else to figure out and summarize for me. Which spells trouble for me should some hypothetical publisher ever seek to involve me in self-promotion. ("Who, him? He's CLUELESS!")

    As for the other stuff... The Missus's job involves, in part, the reading of copious amounts of verbiage from court transcripts: cases which resulted in convictions for crimes (often capital crimes) for which DNA evidence is available. You can guess what sorts of crimes those might be: nasty crimes, however else they could be described.

    So she's already predisposed to think about godawful things in the real world.

    Add to that, that her favorite late-night TV viewing is Criminal Minds. Which takes care of the fictional world, too.

    Point being: she tends to see (and to want to prepare for) danger and disaster everywhere. My own point of view is either more optimistic or more fatalistic, or perhaps more philosophical, or maybe just BS :), depending on your point of view: (a) what are the real odds of something going horribly horribly wrong? and (b) even if it DOES, how can you possibly live by worrying about and planning for every possible thing which may go horribly horribly wrong?

  20. DB- You think that search was by a gamer?

    Smart calling your son Little DB. We can't help but write about our muses I guess, but discretion is always best. My son is older and a big guy now (6' 1"!), so I don't worry about him as much as my daughter. And his name's just too cool to swap for a nickname. I don't know, though, given these search terms, maybe I ought to do a lot of editing. ;)

  21. Hilary- Montreal is a great city! I may seek asylum up there draft or not. In those empty-nest years, I'd summer in Montreal and winter in... hmm... southern France? Aix en Provence? Or the Riviera?! Yeah, keep dreaming, right?

  22. JES- Excuse me, but "timid" is not a descriptor for your style of writing. Clearly, you have missed some of the more titillating queries. I mean, is there anything you haven't covered?

    The Missus is involved in noble work. (A shame about Davis.) I can imagine the downy hair of her arms often standing on end. I've never been a proponent of the death penalty. Too many innocents have fallen victim to it.

    I understand her predisposition, too. Coming from a legal background, have worked on some nasty civil cases, I see liability everywhere. (Except for my daughter's little toe. Sheesh, how'd I miss that one?!)

    I don't know, John, what are the odds? I think odds are pretty good that things go wrong. Horribly wrong may be a bit different, though. True, we can't plan for such a thing. Nor should we worry about it happening (oh, but what runs through this mother's mind)--too much stress!

    I wish I had a more fatalistic/philosophical approach--Whatever will be will be--but I'm on the defense often--what can be done to prevent so and so... Sometimes I get too far ahead of myself. I can see an accident in almost everything! Isn't that awful? I need a good head shrinker. ;)

  23. Stephen- Working on that! Time to bury myself in a good book. ;)

  24. pink eye.....ewwww...sounds positively dreadful...even though its not that bad...
    ugh GA....i had some colourful ones like 'going down on nadia in the parking lot' (?????????) Nance weirds me the firetruck out...
    anyway i adored this post...imagining you cawing.
    btw can you get pinkeye just covering all bases....;)

  25. I really dig the Caribbean and Latin America, i'm heading to Costa Rica in Feb., might just toss the passport in the garbage and not come back, at the least it will be an easy way for the boyos to become bi-lingual.

  26. Dan- Oh my! I'm sure it must be very humorous to peruse your analytics.

    I wonder if searchers are often disappointed by where they're directed at my site. I hope the pervert was!

    So many viruses out there. That weirds me out. I don't think pink eye has gone viral yet here on the interwebs, but you never know!

  27. Kono- Perfect time of year to head to Latin America. Couldn't blame you for making it permanent. I'll bet the boyos would love that. Just be sure you still write from there.

    Wow, that'd be a pretty sweet place to blog from. Way different from the Burgh, eh? ;)

  28. well, following in the path of what seems like EVERYONE before me, I looked at my keyword searches and somebody was searching "Sperm wench" ((((shudder)))

  29. Oh, my. I get a lot of "Bryce Daniels" and "author" searches, which I am very happy about. No weird stuff. Yet.

    What worries me is the research I do in my writing. I am a thriller writer, and I search a lot of forensics sites and try to find creative ways to kill or maim people. YIKES. It would be enough to put me away for years, if it weren't for the novel.

    Hey, thank you so much for your kind comment on my blog. I really do appreciate it!

  30. Hang in there sweet Jayne and don't fear the random.

  31. I have tow boys, so what shold I answer to that question? I have a favorite older boy and a favorite little boy?

    Cold As Heaven

  32. I think one would be lucky to be allowed to live in a Country as humane as Canada.

  33. Sorry, I meant to come back here and kept putting it off, and all of a sudden it was DAYS later. Damn clock.

    ...odds are pretty good that things go wrong

    Now just wait a dang moment, young lady. That is NOT on the Rx pad for people seeking piece of mind! Shortly after I first visited here, I commented to the effect that this seemed a great place to find solace. Don't you dare take that away from me. "Things are likely to go wrong" sets off all sorts of alarms in my head. :)

    Blogging about (apparently) everything is really no way to build an audience. Or apparently to stimulate sustained curiosity. I pay for the Sitemeter option which lets me track which pages were opened, in which order, so I can almost hear the thoughts of 99.9% of the visitors to my place: So this place will answer my question about X, eh...? Okay, I read that post, not bad, not bad, I wonder what he's got to say next... Whoa! Holy Matilda, I don't care about THAT!!! *poof*

  34. I had a mantra while the kids were growing up. This is only temporary. This is only temporary.

  35. Nessa- That is funny! I wonder in what context the query was made... Oh Lordy my mind is having a ball (no pun intended) with this. ;)

  36. Bryce- I hear you. One has to wonder what other people are thinking when they see your keywords! It's an argument for spending more time in the library. ;)

  37. Munk- Hanging! Que sera, eh? I am working on that. ;)

  38. Cold- Ha! Yes, exactly! I like that. Phew, I'm glad I don't have more than two kids. It could get really complicated.

    Come to think of it, a boy is less likely to ask the question. At least mine--now he is very Que Sera. ;)

  39. Laoch- Canada has a lot going for it. Its health system might be a bit tricky, but its various provinces have so much to offer.

    Do you know that its college student, at least in Quebec, pay a mere fraction of what we pay for tuition? A distant cousin of mine is an Engineering student at Sherbrooke University and pays less than $3,000/yr!

  40. JES- So glad you returned to not only address me as a young lady (do young ladies wield AARP cards?), but to remind that, as of late, I've been channeling too much Mary Gaitskill. Time to get back to my intended mission.

    Did I say everything? OK, well, what I really meant is that your vast list of categories and subcategories contains just about everything that interests me, and sustain curiosity. And I've not foraged from that list nearly enough, but I do know many of the keywords that would take me to some very interesting places over at RAMH.

    Now you've got me thinking about those dreaded "About Me" and "About SS" pages--the ones that I've pulled...

  41. My unemployed nephew is despondent; unemployed and living with friends and unable to find work, his application to join the military was REJECTED. After all, in this economy, the military can pick from the best of the unemployed and can afford to turn the rest away. The one's who are lucky enough to get in are happy to even have a job. Whether they will live long enough to get retirement benefits is so far off their radar...