South Park Episode 810 – Pre-School

Dr. Doctor: From the test results, it would appear your child was tortured by a bully. He received a massive snuggie, his underwear pulled up so high it nearly killed him. He also received two Indian sunburns on his forearms, a charlie horse on the thigh, and a second-degree titty twister. And from the damage to his head area, it appears he was also given a swirly, a colossal one. It also appears like he received a noogie, and, a Polish bike ride.
Linda: What’s that?
Dr. Doctor: We aren’t sure. We only know that… there is no cure.

[Hell’s Pass Hospital, later. The boys enter the emergency room and see it full of cots. The sixth graders are there, some injured more than others. The emergency room personnel have their hands full]

Dr. Doctor: Jesus Christ, I’ve never seen so many Indian sunburns and titty twisters in my life! [sees a nurse and motions to her] Get a cold towel on that pink belly!
Nurse 1: Doctor, we have another snuggie here
Dr. Doctor: Over there! [points to a clear area, then goes to another cot on which a sixth grader grabs his left ear in pain. A nurse is there as well] Another wet willie?
Nurse 2: Worst one yet.
Sixth Grader: It’s all [becomes incomprehensible and cries out in pain]
Dr. Doctor: Give the poor kid some morphine. [the nurse reaches for a syringe and does as told. The boys approach the cot on which the leader of the sixth graders lies]
Stan: Dude, what happened?
Sixth Grader 2: We… told him not to mess with you guys… We told him… you paid us.
Kyle: Oh, Jesus. You told him that?! [the leader suffers a cramp and groans]
Dr. Doctor: Boys, you have to let him rest. Some mean kid gave him a Texas Chili Bowl
Stan: What’s that?
Dr. Doctor: It involves Tabasco sauce, a telephone, and the anus. [the boys stiffen with fear] I don’t know what kind of kid would do this to other people; I only know that I wouldn’t ever want to be on that kid’s bad side. [walks away. The boys leave the hospital]

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The Yoga of Parenting

“I can think of little that is more engaged than parenting. There is no part where my child begins and I end. I will not know what I am doing. All moments are novel and free from attachments. This one is learning directly from your example. This one is learning directly from your practice. Just as through conception your genes (for better or worse) are passed on to your child; as they grow and develop, your karma is passed right along as they absorb, imitate and evolve. Embrace Not Knowing. Forget about the knowledge you possess or acquired before becoming a parent. Allow yourself to learn and grow. Forget about the knowledge you learned as a parent of an infant. That infant is now a toddler. Forget what you learned as a parent of a toddler. That toddler is now a child. Just forget. There are no absolute truths to parenting, only guideposts and fences. Parenting is found in life and not in knowledge from words and books. It is born through experience and our own innate nature to nurture and encourage growth. Let that nature guide your parenting.” -John Pappas (A Guide to Buddhist Parenting)

No, I’m not a Buddhist. But I do love this description of parenting so wholeheartedly that I had to share it. I have been parenting for 22 years and I sure wish I had read this back in the beginning of my journey.

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Cooking, therefore, can keep a person who tries hard sane.

“If you are careful,’ Garp wrote, ‘if you use good ingredients, and you don’t take any shortcuts, then you can usually cook something very good. Sometimes it is the only worthwhile product you can salvage from a day; what you make to eat. With writing, I find, you can have all the right ingredients, give plenty of time and care, and still get nothing. Also true of love. Cooking, therefore, can keep a person who tries hard sane.”
John Irving (The World According to Garp)

Although I don’t think I truly realized it until I read the quote above…this is why I cook. And quite possibly why I am still (somewhat, mostly) sane.

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Tabitha in My Head

I have never liked my name. Kim. It’s so guttural…monosyllabic…boring. Sure, my actual name is Kimberly but nobody has ever called me that with the exception of the Boston branch of my paternal clan. When somebody asks me my name and I reply, “Kim,” I hate the sound of it and it has never felt like me.

Lately I have not liked myself very much either. Identity crisis, midlife crisis, spiritual transformational crisis, whatever kinda crisis I am having has put me at great odds with myself. And as I have struggled and struggled like a caterpillar trying to beat its way out of its cocoon to fly in new beauty…I have felt that Kim is a fraud. She is not really me. Not the way I want to be.

This morning I woke up with a wonderful thought. Instead of trying to “fix” Kim, I just won’t be Kim anymore! I will be Tabitha. Tabitha is my joyful, confident, outgoing, fun-loving alter-ego. Maybe I will start introducing myself as “Tabitha” when somebody asks my name. Maybe when I start saying terrible things to myself, I will remember that I am not Kim anymore and SHE is the one who does that sort of thing. I am now Tabitha and she is a positive thinker! Only positive self-talk runs through Tabitha’s head. Perhaps I will create an Alter Ego Day on Facebook and ask everybody to change their Facebook name to that of their Alter Ego.

Slight problem. I have a 3 year old who knows my name is Kim. “You name is Kim, Momma,” she occasionally likes to remind me. Since she is nearly always attached to my side, I am fairly certain that she would correct me at once if I attempted to introduce myself as Tabitha, or anything other than Kim for that matter. Would this cause the person to whom I am introducing myself to wonder if I were:

a. crazy

b. somebody who has kidnapped my child in a custody battle and assumed a new identity

c. in a witness protection program

Maybe this requires more thought. But in the meantime, I will be Tabitha in my head.

Today I spent the whole day as Tabitha. I wore khakis. Kim never wears khakis because she thinks they emphasize her large thighs. Tabitha went to the doctor today. Kim went to the doctor last week and cried in the lobby and left before they called her back. Tabitha drove by a Presbyterian church on the way home. Kim has been looking at it, into it, about it for some time. Kim even pulled into the parking lot the other day but wouldn’t go in. Tabitha swerved through the traffic light and pulled into the church parking lot and WENT IN.

She talked to a nice lady who was working in the office. The lady had a severe expression and was not overtly friendly. This would have made Kim feel that she had done something WRONG or offensive to the church lady. But Tabitha just said, “That is a beautiful pink dress you are wearing…it is very Springy on such a cold Winter day!” And the church lady beamed and became talkative and ingratiating and showed Tabitha all around the church and introduced her to the pastor. The pastor asked, “Well what brings you here? What are you looking for in a church home?” and, under the waiting gaze of everyone in the office, Tabitha replied, “Do you have a moment to talk?” Kim was not even in the building after that! Tabitha was blessed with a long conversation with somebody who understood what Kim was going through and encouraged her and told her many things she needed to hear even though Tabitha already knew them.

The rest of the day fell into place in just the most easy way. Kim would have become overwhelmed and depressed and fallen asleep on the couch. But Tabitha made Shiloh take a nap, spiffied up the house, threw some laundry in, started some chili in old crocky and then made herself a coffee and put her feet up! Then, when Shiloh woke up cranky and crying and didn’t waaaaant to go to the art stuuuuudio, Tabitha didn’t get discouraged or upset. She got Shiloh ready and in the car in no time. Before she knew it, she arrived at Imagine and went inside. She was friendly, she joined in conversations, she believed she had something to contribute and she DID. She made 2 new friends. Tabitha did. In one day. Then she went home to find that she had been invited to a “Hip Mama Playdate” by another Mama that she really admires and respects. Kim was sure this was a mistake…maybe it was supposed to say “Big Hips Mama Playdate”? But Tabitha just shoved her aside and RSVP’d YES and went on as though it were nothing out of the ordinary!

The rest of the evening as Tabitha went much the same. She relaxed. She breathed. She did. She was. She flowed through life and life flowed through her. And everyone around her felt the benefit of it.

Shiloh is standing in front of Tabitha now, blowing bubbles from a princess bottle. She is also wearing a bright pink, glittery, sequined Minnie Mouse dress with red Olivia slippers and pink shoes over the tops of those. And she says, “Today was a good day,” with a Cheshire cat smile on her face.

Tabitha in my head smiles, too.

Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog.

Oh and I should say, when you read this post, if you read this post, read it in the voice of Jo Carol Pierce because that’s how I thought it. As a side note, if you have never listened to Bad Girls Upset By the Truth, (in its entirety, alone so you can really pay attention and think about it), you should.

By the way, Kim is trying to keep Tabitha from pushing the Publish button. But Tabitha won’t let her.

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What Makes Me Happy – A Beginning

Taking pictures…it’s how I experience life. Even when I don’t have my camera in my hands, I still see everything in frames. I wish I had a bionic eye so I could capture every thing I’ve wanted to capture. Being the photographer allows me to overcome my shyness; it gives me a socially acceptable reason to get up in there where it’s intimate. I guess photographers are voyeurs in a way.  I’m also fascinated by how the soul will always out itself in a photograph. You really can’t hide it for too many frames. You can see a person’s whole life in their eyes if you get the right shot…I love that.

Being creative.  Another way I can escape my constant inner voice.  “There’s always a reason…to feel not good enough and it’s hard at the end of the day.” (Sarah McLachlan) My voice follows me all day long and tells me I should be doing more, better, and faster. When I lose myself in creativity my voice shuts up. My whole being is engaged in what I am doing. I am surprised by what I can create and sometimes don’t even remember how I created it.

Spending time with my family.  Although I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the size, chaos, and mess of hosting family get togethers…they always leave me feeling energized and amazed at how we can come together and enjoy the best of each other and support, encourage, console, and love each other. Feeling connected to so many people in so many ways is a great comfort.

Listening to podcasts that help me learn more about humanity, nature, philosophies, and life. Listening to funny podcasts that make me really laugh. They give me something new to think about and help me stretch my beliefs.

Being out in nature. Hiking, walking, jogging, biking, or just exploring. On the land or water. Looking at birds, trees, flowers, animals and everything in nature is when I can truly glimpse the creativity, imagination, and humor of my creator.

Organizing, decluttering, rearranging, making my home life more functional. Making life simpler.

Cooking, trying new recipes or favorite old recipes. Having something homemade in the refrigerator or on the counter makes me feel good.

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Shiloh and Tallulah

Playing on the deck on a cool Fall evening.

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Love is the Best Medicine

Family.LifeI have spent the past two days literally swirling in the love of my family. My family is so soft, loud, chaotic, peaceful, deep and shallow, glorious and gross…all wrapped up in one.  To steal an analogy from a sermon at UUFF, we are not a melting pot where everybody’s differences swirl together and melt away into one palatable soup. We are a savory stew whose unique ingredients complement and contrast each other to create something really divine. How did I get to be so lucky? To have so many who love me so much? There were many years of loneliness and isolation in my life. I longed for something…the perfect husband, the perfect children, the perfect life. Not what I had and not what I eventually ended up with…but now I believe what I have is so much more perfect for me. I need the chaos, cacophony and complexity of my life and my repurposed, unconventional family.

Yesterday, 8.9.10, was my 45th birthday.

In optimistic terms, my life is probably nosing up to the halfway mark. It has been a painful year, both physically (being diagnosed with Lyme Disease, Psoriasis, Psoriatic Arthritis, and SI Joint Dysfunction all in the previous 12 months) and emotionally (2 miscarriages, all my children but the baby leaving the nest, awakening to the realization that I never will be able to squeeze my brain into the box of Christianity). But it certainly helps that I have this giant family to give me courage, wipe my tears, stoke my anger, challenge my thinking, make me feel like its all worth it, it will always be worth it even in the moments when it really feels like it might not be.

Nobody can make me laugh like these people can. Nobody can take me to the depths of despair like these people can. A large family is like tickle torture. You laugh so hard you cry and after a while you realize you’re just crying. But blessed is the person who has so many people who care enough to tickle and torture you…and that is me.

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