What? Your mom didn't draw pictures of sex parts for you when she gave you The Talk on that cold, November afternoon in 1978? Weird.

Think back to when your mom had The Talk with you. Hopefully your mom, or someone, had The Talk with you. If not, email me, I can maybe help. If you don't know what The Talk is, go to bed, it's way past your bedtime.

I'm going to talk about the time my own mother had "The Talk" with me. There are three things you need to know about this encounter:

1. It was waaay too late. I grew up in a trailer court AND went to summer camp.
2. She drew pictures. Vivid, vivid pictures.
3. Don't ever draw pictures when/if you have The Talk with your own daughter/neice/granddaughter, etc. Unless you want your daughter to someday write about it on her blog.

It was a cold and rainy sunday afternoon in November, if memory serves me right. I was sketching Holly Hobby on my brand new sketch/watercolor pad, and the year was 1978. Nearly every girl in 1978 was obsessed with: Holly Hobby, Laura Ingalls, Gunne Sax or a combination of the three. In fact, I'm hanging out in my pink and white Gunne Sax prairie dress right now.
Jealous much?


Anyway, there I was, 11 years old and happily drawing Holly Hobby. I didn't ask for what came next, I didn't expect it, and years of expensive therapy have yet to erase it from my fragile psyche.

Mom: "Sweetie! Come out to the kitchen, will you? Oh, and bring your drawing pad with you."

That's right. I supplied the materials for my own traumatization.

Me: "Ok mom!"

We sat down at the kitchen table, and my mom asked, "Honey, do you know about how babies are made?"

Ok, this was a loaded question. If I answered yes then I would be in trouble for knowing stuff I shouldn't. However, if I answered no, then I was going to get The Talk. Lose-Lose. Crap. I rolled the mental dice and came up with...

 Me: Um....do you?

Sometimes it's savvy to answer a question with a question. In this case, it was not, because my mom apparently then felt the need to prove that yes, she did know how babies were made.

Mom grabbed my pad of drawing paper and took the pencil from my limp hand. She quickly began sketching and no amount of "whatcha doing there mom?" convinced her to show me what she was drawing. Finally, she set my pencil down and triumphantly showed me this:
Ta-DA!!

That's right. My mother drew a wanker. With hair. Oh, but she wasn't finished. Before I could swallow the vomit rising in my throat, my mom snatched back the pad of paper and drew this masterpiece:
My mom apparently attended the Georgia O'Keefe school of drawing sex parts

My jaw dropped in shock. My mother had just, in my mind, shown me pornography. I rapidly sorted through the list of appropriate responses in my mind. I came up with: "Ohhh! It's a bomb pop!",  "Is it a sea anemone?" and even, "That's a flower, right?"


I could tell she was carefully watching me for signs of completely oblivious to what can only be If I had to describe what I experienced that day in terms of food, she had just served me a fresh discomfort and embarassment salad, tossed with trauma dressing and sprinkled with a handful of dissociation croutons.

She gave me a few minutes to gather my thoughts labeled the penis and vagina as "exhibit A" and "exhibit B". She explained how they fit together like pieces of a puzzle. She told me what came out of "exhibit A" (ewww). Then she drew a picture of this substance:
Best. Easter. Egg. Hunt. Ever.

She explained that there could be only one winner in the race to the egg, which probably accounted for the confused and/or pissed off looks of the losing sperm.

By this time, I was mentally covering my ears and rocking back and forth.

I don't really recall what she said after she drew the pictures of the sperm. Honest. I think my mind was in lockdown. GIGO. Garbage In, Garbage Out, in Cobol terms.

The next thing I remember was my mother, looking extremely proud of herself, tearing off the pieces of drawing paper with the porn drawn on them. She told me I could keep them. As if!!! The first time she went to the bathroom, I crumpled them up and threw them in the garbage.

The next day at the bus stop, I told Kristine what had gone down the night before. Her eyes lit up, and her only comment was:

"Did you bring the pictures?"

"Ugghh! NO! I DID NOT BRING THE PICTURES OF THE SEX PARTS THAT MY MOTHER DREW FOR ME LAST NIGHT!"

to be honest, my mother did a bang-up (no pun intended) job of teaching me the birds and the bees. She was just a few years too late. So, mom's out there? Yeah, talk to your daughters before they know too much to be embarassed, and before they go to summer camp. Personally, I had the talk with my daughter when she was 9, and it was so cool. She was old enough to understand, but too young to know to be embarassed.

Peace out.

13 Reasons The Brady Bunch Had It Better Than Me

The Brady Bunch was my favorite show when I was little, for many reasons:

1.  They had a huge house, no part of the house was on wheels and none of the children were ever asked to run the lot-rent check up to the office.

2.  They had a live-in maid. That meant they were rich, and being rich meant they might adopt me. Of course, I would still visit my parents on weekends and I'd probably bring them some of the porkchops and applesauce that Alice had made.

3.  They had a sliding door that lead to the backyard.

4.  They had a backyard.

5.  There were 3 boys and 3 girls.*

6.  All of the boys had dark hair and all of the girls had blonde hair. I became anxious when Marcia's hair started getting darker in season 4.*

7.  Each child had a step-sibling that was their exact age.*

8.  They had family meetings and the kids actually had a say in how the family was run. Their parents never said stuff like, it's my way or the highway and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

9. Alice always wrote the meals on the chalkboard in the kitchen. There were no nasty surprises at dinner. Like your mom sneaking sliced turnips in with the fried potatoes, and then telling you that if you could tell the difference, you didn't have to eat them. Then when you could tell the difference because turnips, when held up to the light, have veins in them, your mom lied and said no, that's a potato and made you eat it anyway.

10. They had a laundry room. That meant nobody had to be forced to go on weekly trips to the laundromat, where your mom got mad if you and your best friend had races with the rickety metal carts and accidentally bashed them into some dryers and then the girl at the counter told on you and your best friend because you decided to pass the time by having a belching contest. And then your mom made you throw out your sodas, even though you weren't done with them yet.

11. Alice always gave them a snack after school, and it was usually cookies and milk. Nobody had to go to the creepy neighbor's house after school and watch religious programming until their mom came home from work because they were too young to be trusted with a housekey.

12. Nobody ever got spanked in The Brady Bunch. The parents just sat the child down and explained how disappointed they were and then gave them a reasonable consequence. No child in The Brady Bunch was ever made to wear their mom's old glasses from high school as a punishment for faking their vision test in the 3rd grade because she wanted glasses, and the parents never said stuff like, if i ever catch you [fill in the blank] again, i'm going to knock you into the middle of next week or you're cruisin' for a bruisin'.

13. Mr. Brady never asked the kids to pull his finger. Not once.

*due to my obsessiveness, matching-but-not-completely-matching was paramount to me. For example, Marcia could be matched to her sisters due to gender and hair color, but she could also be matched to Greg due to age. Greg could be matched with his siblings as being one of the children, but he could also be matched with Mr. Brady because they both slept with Carol, only Greg did it in real life and Mr. Brady pretended.

Ways My Son Tricks Me Into Doing Sh*t For Him. He's So Sneaky.

Zach: "Mama, will you read this book about cats to me?"

Me: "No. We have to get you to Boy Scouts."

Zach: "Pleeeeezee???"

Meanwhile, I'm busily unloading the dishwasher, sweeping the floor and setting the timer on the coffee machine....

Me: "NO! We have to go. NOW!"

Zach: "PLEEEEEEEEEZZZZZZE???????!!!!! READ ME THIS COOL BOOK ABOUT CATS!!!!?????"

Me: "STOP IT! We have to drive you to Boy Scouts! I don't have time to read a book about about cats!!"

Satisfied that Zach finally understands, I bag up the garbage, wipe off the stove and set out the breakfast dishes for tomorrow.....

Silence......

Zach: "Ok. Mama?"

Me: "What?"

Zach: "What does n-o-c-t-u-r-n-a-l spell?"

Me: "Nocturnal."

Zach: "Thanks. What does p-l-a-y-i-n-g spell?"

Me: "Playing."

Zach: "Thanks."

More silence......

Zach: "What does f-e-l-i-n-e spell?"

Me: "Feli.....WAIT A MINUTE!!! Are you having me read that freaking cat book to you???"

Zach: "......."

Me: "You are!! You TOTALLY ARE!!!"

And that's how Zach got me to read a book to him without reading a book to him.

Cheating Isn't Nice, Artie-Fartie. Or, I Was SUCH A B*tch In Kindergarten.

Place: Neil A. Armstrong-Oakview Grade School
Time: November, Circa 1972
Grade: Kindergarten
Attitude: Snarky

Coloring, the alphabet and connect-the-dots. Three of my favorite childhood pastimes. Know what my favorite childhood pastime was NOT?

Sharing my hard work with a tall, skinny, western-belt-buckle-wearing, ignorant redhead named Artie-Fartie.

In all fairness, his parents didn't name him Artie-Fartie. We did. The Kindergarteners.

Mrs. Welch (Who was a total B*TCH) had given us a morning assignment. Connect the dots using our ABC's, then turn it in. Easy enough, I rocked at Language Arts.

Ooooh! It's an ELEPHANT! Cool.

I turned it in and got my gold star. When I returned to my seat at the table (next to Artie-Fartie), I couldn't help but notice that he was stuck on letter.....B. That's right. He didn't know what came next.

As I was coloring a worksheet, I heard Artie-Fartie make a noise at me.

Psssttt!

I ignored him. Choosing a pink crayon, I continued working on my circus zebra.

Psssssssttttt!

I set my crayon down and looked at him.

"What?"

"What comes after B?"

This gave me pause for thought. I had done my work. I had turned it in as instructed and I had gotten my gold star. Now Artie-Fartie wanted to ride my coattails to Gold Star Glory, without doing the work!

F*ck that.

Looking around surreptitiously and seeing that nobody was watching, I leaned in and whispered.....

"L"

Artie-Fartie eagerly connected B to L and then looked at me expectantly.

Oh, this was too easy.

"F"

And on it went. According to Artie-Fartie's connect the dot puzzle, O followed S. Which followed P. Which followed Z.

And so on.

Nothing can compare to the sneaky, snarky, gleefully AWESOME feeling I had.  Except for Artie-Fartie's f*cked up picture.

It looked like this:

Artie-Fartie's Effed Up Elephant


He looked at his effed-up elephant doubtfully.

"Are you sure?"

Fighting to keep from laughing, I nodded vigorously.

"Yours looked like this?"

"Yep. And I got a gold star."

That sealed the deal. I mean, who doesn't want a gold star?

Except.....when Artie-Fartie turned his work in, Mrs. Welch looked at him incredulously, wrote a huge letter F (which comes after E) on his paper and sent him to the corner.

He turned to look at me accusingly. I shrugged my shoulders, and then turned away.

Picking up my pink crayon, I continued to work on my circus zebra.
______________________________________________________

This week's assignment was, when meeting someone for the first time, describing a scene from your life that would help show the person your true self.






The Time Stupid Cousin Stanley Almost Got Me Gored By A Crazed Bull While Visiting Abraham Lincoln's Cabin In New Salem

Yeah, so when I was about 7 or 9, my cousin Stanley came to visit us from California. He was about 30 and wore coke-bottle glasses and a backpack most of the time. Even inside the house. I'm pretty sure he was some kind of hippie. He didn't have long hair or anything, but there was just something about Cousin Stanley that screamed "I color outside the lines", if you know what I mean. He wore shorts with striped tube socks pulled up to his knees and he was fairly socially innept. And that's coming from someone who is remembering this from a 6 year old's perspective. Or 8. Whatever.

Oh, and he also wore his Minolta camera around his neck a lot, and the camera strap was embroidered with flowers and stuff. Here's my best recollection of Cousin Stanley:


So anyway, Cousin Stanley was my grandma Josephine's nephew and he stayed at their house during his visit that summer. My grandparents, wanting to show Stanley some of what Illinois had to offer, drove him down to New Salem, which is where Abraham Lincoln lived for about 6 years, if you didn't already know. I must have been visiting my grandparents that week, because I was there too, along with both of my Aunts.

When we got there, we all split up for some reason, and I was assigned to Cousin Stanley's care. As he and I walked through the villiage, he began snapping photos of everything. The log cabin, the schoolhouse, the blacksmith shop and both general stores. I could tell he didn't get out much.

Then he saw the covered wagon.

It was behind a split-rail fence and there was no gate or entrance into this area. There might even have been a sign that said something like, "Stay Out! Danger! We Mean It!", but that didn't deter Cousin Stanley. This was an opportunity for a PHOTO OP! So Cousin Stanley glanced around quickly and, seeing nobody looking, he quickly scooped me up and deposited me on the other side of the fence. I recall telling Cousin Stanley that I didn't want to be inside the fence, but he shushed me. "Go stand by that covered wagon!" he said excitedly, readying his Minolta. I looked around uncertainly but did as I was told because I was a child and that's what young children do. They do as they're told. I wandered cautiously toward the covered wagon and I remember thinking that it was very strange that nobody else had thought to climb the fence so they could get a better view of the covered wagon.

That's because there was a bull in the fenced-in area:

That's right. A large, black, horned, pissed-off and apparently very territorial BULL. In a closed space. With me. A child. Who ran very slowly. And tended to freeze when panicked. And who was wearing her favorite red cape. Ok, I made up that last part about the cape. But still.

 The bull was about 20 feet from me and as we made eye contact he started pawing the ground and snorting. Can I just say that I have never been so EFFING SCARED SH*TLESS IN MY ENTIRE LIFE?????  I very softly said, "Cousin Staaaaanleeeeyyy.....??"  Cousin Stanly, in the meantime, was furiously snapping pictures of the standoff between the bull and me. Then I heard my grandmother shouting at me, "RUN!! RUN NOW!!!!"

That did it. I unfroze and sprinted toward my grandma, gasping and crying at the same time, with the bull in hot pursuit. I made it to the fence and someone picked me up, I'm not sure who. What I do know is that my grandma was more pissed than I'd ever seen her, even more pissed than when I killed the Easter Bunny AND her baby chicks combined, and she gave Cousin Stanley a verbal beating. Then he lost his childcare privileges and I stayed with my grandparents for the rest of the time. I refused to speak to him or look at him for the rest of his visit.

And that's how I remember stupid Cousin Stanley.

The Room At The End Of The Hall



This week's prompt: Think of a room from your past.  It can be any type of room at all.
 

Take a mental picture of that room.

What happened there?  What is it like?  What is the atmosphere there?  What are the smells, the sounds, the sights?  How does it feel?


---------------------------------

I stood at the end of the hallway, on the other side of the cheap, hollow wooden door, my heart pounding in my throat. My mouth was dry, my palms were damp and my ears were ringing from running up 3 flights of stairs. I automatically smoothed the khaki skirt from Eddie Bauer that I'd gotten at 90% off, because my size was always the last to sell. Just leave. Turn around and get out now my brain instructed me, but instead I took a deep breath and knocked. The door opened and there she stood, smiling at me with that phony smile people have when they're just going through the motions. I wasn't fooled. I looked at her and I could tell she thought I was wrong. I also knew she wanted to take it away from me. My obsession, my strength, the thing that set me apart from anyone who couldn't say no, thank you. The thing that made me special and powerful and in control, no matter what else was happening in my life.

Refusing to make eye contact, I crossed my arms in front of me and walked across the room to sit where she motioned. Looking her over critically, I saw long, messy blond hair and a fussy, navy blue suit with gold sailor buttons and epaulets on the shoulders, close-toed navy pumps to match. She had to be joking. As she sat in her chair I couldn't help noticing her wide hips, thick calves and the way her suit jacket strained at the buttons. I noted the beginnings of a double chin and I knew just from looking at her that she had no self control whatsoever. I, on the other hand, was spare, self-controlled, self-contained, minimal.

On the windowsill next to her desk was a calculator, a set of calipers and an apple. On the wall opposite her desk was a poster of the food pyramid. The walls were painted institutional avocado green and the furniture was brown, ugly and cheap. Magnets in the shape of fruits and vegetables were stuck to the side of her metal desk. In the corner of the room I saw a white metal physician beam scale and my eyes automatically did a search and find. I found what I'd been looking for and I suddenly felt such a jolt of searing jealousy and intense hatred that I couldn't breath.

"The person in here before me weighed 84 lbs?" Bitch, bitch, bitch I thought. Three times, because odd numbers made good things happen to me.

Lisa glanced over at the scale and frowned. She zeroed the scale out and returned to her chair. "You don't miss much, do you?" she said, and then she started talking to me. I began to make a mental list of all of the foods I would not allow myself to have. This served two purposes. It blocked out the sound of her voice, but it also organized my thoughts, it reminded me that I was stronger than she was. She wasn't going to break me.

"So, you will find that we take a multi-discipline approach to treatment, and we believe in.....butter, cheese, cream, chocolate, mayonnaise, cake, pie, cookies, pasta, salad dressing....my supervisor Kim and our nutritionist Ruth will assist with....pizza, beer, fried chicken, stuffing, ice cream, peanut butter, chocolate milk, bratwurst...weekly group every Wednesday night, where you will learn about...eggs, bacon, cheeseburgers, steak, casseroles, potato soup...a disease, not about willpower when it comes to...donuts, french fries, cheesecake, beans, potato chips...do you have any questions?"

 "How long does it last? When do I get out?"

Lisa opened her mouth to speak, but just then a knock came at the door. She glanced at her watch and called out, "Come in!"

The door opened and an orderly walked in, carrying two trays. The combined odors of meatloaf, mashed potatoes and green beans assaulted my senses, I could feel the blood leaving my face. I saw a huge piece of chocolate cake covered in thick frosting and I automatically made a circle around my left wrist with my right thumb and index finger. In the extra space I could fit 2 pencils. I was still me. 

"I'm not eating that", I spoke automatically.

"You will when you're ready", she replied calmly, unfolding her napkin and placing it in her lap. Then she smiled, "Welcome to treatment."

Not speaking, I stared past her, watching the cherry blossoms drift to the pavement below.

What I Did To Get My Son Out Of Bed This Morning

In addition to his ADHD and obsessive personality, my 7-year-old son also hates getting up in the morning. Absolutely despises it. I have tried everything to transition him from peaceful slumber to the harsh realities of it's-6am-get-up-get-dressed-and-eat-your-breakfast-and-please-stop-shooting-your-nerf-gun-at-your-sister-and-DONTYOUDARE-throw-that-tennis-ball-at-me!!!

I have tried bribing him with various breakfast treats. Eh. Threats make him hide under the covers and even his sister's offers of getting to pet her pet guinea pig have been met with refusals. I have greeted him in the morning with a cup of milk and his medication, I've sang to him, tickled him and yelled at him. Nothing worked. Until this morning, that is.

He was hiding under his covers as usual, and whining about how much he hates school (I totally agree) when I decided to stop fighting and I just climbed into his bed next to him. Now my son is a confirmed snuggler. Nothing makes him happier than cuddling. Unless he's playing the Wii while cuddling. He stopped fighting and snuggled. It was so sweet, and I thought it might make the transition to getting out of bed easier. Then, he did something.

He stuck his face in my armpit and took a big whiff. *aaahhhhhh* His eyes lit up and he said, "Mama!! Your armpits smell awesome!! *takes another big whiff*

He apparently likes the smell of Secret Flawless Renewal:

Ok, so I was a little freaked at first, because 1) my son was huffing my armpits and 2) he loved it. Have you ever seen Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet?
Your armpits! They smell.....WONDERFUL!

Yeah. But I got over it pretty fast, because I suddenly realized Zach had handed me a bargaining chip. So I hopped out of his bunk bed and made my way towards his closet. He immediately covered his head with the blankets again, it was like watching a sea anemone retreat into itself in self-defense.

I got his school clothes together and took a deep breath. Time to see if "Operation Sniff-Your-Pitts" would work.

"Come on Zach, time to get dressed."

"NO!"

*sigh*

"If you get up and get dressed, I'll....let you sniff my armpits!"

His head slowly came out of the blankets, and his eyes widened in what can only be described as disbelief and joy.

"REALLY???"

What? Did I hear correctly? Was this going to work?

I shrugged nonchalantly, "Sure, but you have to get dressed first. Including your socks."

He got dressed pretty quickly, and sure, he tried to sneak a few sniffs but I kept my arms tight to my sides.

Finally, he was dressed. Time to pay up. Sighing to myself and taking mental notes for the blog I would surely have to write about this, I rolled my eyes and lifted my right arm. He ran over, stuck his nose in my armpit again and took a deep breath.

AAAHHHHHHHH........