Friday, November 30, 2007

To self-censor, or, like, not

I feel strange and self conscious about that last post. Partly because I was too tired when I wrote it to give my experiences in Santa Cruz proper depth and flavor, but also because it is a strange exercise in self censorship that may have not gone far enough.

I certainly have no desire to embarrass my friends, although being friends with me has that as an inherent danger because I often put my foot in my mouth.

Were I to write a real "love note" to Santa Cruz and all that transpired there, I would hope I could do better than that bloodless, denuded post. Given the stress I am currently under, it is amazing that I post anything at all.

So now I am struggling with whether to just delete that whole post or write it off as one of my insane (and inane) ramblings and bury it under other topics and try to learn from my mistakes.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Saucy Minx Remembers

To protect the naughty, I will not say which of my occasional early lovers called me a saucy minx. I will never forget it, though. (blows kisses)

This is a photo of the lighthouse in Santa Cruz. When I was a youngster in San Jose (read:18-23 or so), I used to spend a lot of my weekends trekking in my car over the hill to see my friends that attended U.C. Santa Cruz. I was the ill-funded DeAnza student and could only dream of living dorm life, so I had to get my vicarious college thrills by driving to see them.

I had the good fortune to know a bunch of people down there, following the lame, drama-filled breakup with my then-boyfriend. I just kept going down there to hang out. There was a whole house full of guys and a couple of gals that were pretty much always up for a party of some kind. I'm not even sure I was particularly invited, but they never minded or were much surprised to find me and my gal Audrey crashing on the couch, in some phase of hangover management.

I don't mind divulging that I found a sort of love there. Not in the pulpy romantic sense, but I made a few friends, and one (I hope) lifelong boon companion. He was really tall compared to me, and had beautiful eyes and a rich, smart-ass voice. I adored hanging out and talking to him, and he always made me laugh with the kind of wit you only find in super-smart people. He indulged my occasional drunk (or sober) forays into his room at odd hours for a spoon. Often I would find myself invading his sleep, although he never complained when I slipped a half or less than half clothed body under the covers next to his. I was mad for him as much as could be expected for such a casual arrangement. My lame-ass attempts to get him to date me never damaged our friendship.

I sometimes miss those carefree days. We were all young and good-looking. We had time to do recreational drugs. We had a liquor store around the block. We had nothing to do but while away the hours. I did some of my best making out in that place, and like in some alternate universe, it didn't get weird. It wasn't some hippie free love thing or anything, but it was comfortable.

When I work out my arrangements for my afterlife, I think I will be 23 again for a while. And I'll kiss that boy while I'm at it.

Is the sippy cup half empty or half full?

Here's what I know: I am a foster mother. The whole idea that we are a flexible family is just a marketing myth propagated by Washoe County to make me their bitch. What I am is a foster parent. That is, until I am not.

A is currently making bad pretense at napping, and I am fretting. We have another visit planned with her bio-dad today, and I am dreading the fallout. After the visit on Tuesday, the first thing she did when she walked back into our house was walk right up to Tony and hit him with her tiny fist. Nice.

Her caseworker admits that the visits are not doing her any good, but even bio parents who don't work their case plans at all have rights. More rights than kids who are horribly confused by the contact. These visits are turning her world topsy turvy. She's mad, she's sad, and she doesn't have the cognitive or language skills to process it. So she cries, she screams, and she rages at any little thing that would normally roll off her back.

All I can do is watch in frustration, and accept the fact that she sometimes wants me to hold her, and sometimes doesn't want me to touch her at all, and has no way of telling me which it is. So I try to comfort her, and sometimes she curls in a ball against my body. Other times she scowls in indignation at the very idea of being offered a hug.

My tender, tender heart. Holy smokes. I already love this little girl. I'm a goner. But I am not her mother, really. She calls me mommy, and I take care of her, but I have to know my place. And right now that place is at the bottom of a legal totem pole.

Pardon me for being morose. Sleep deprivation, etc.

Maybe when she is having her visit today, I'll walk down the street and ogle my cute skater baristo and have a latte. That might cheer me up.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Writing Dilemma

The ugly truth is that I have written a bad novel. It is the result of two years of work, but it is a rambling mess with some bizarre, unmarketable plot conundrums.

I used to have hope for my deformed brain child, but I engaged the assistance of a developmental editor earlier in the year who basically told me in the end to scrap it down to the first chapter and start over, telling a totally different kind of story.

That really bruised my ego, but I think the failures of that project had more to do with a flawed premise than a lack of writing ability.

So I am going to the San Francisco Writers' Conference in February. Originally, I was going to shop my edited novel for agents and publishers. Now that that manuscript lines the bottom of my file cabinet, if not the round file, I need to finish a draft on one of my other projects to make the most of this opportunity.

Here are my options:

1. Vampire novel: It is about halfway done, but I am a little conflicted about my originally planned ending, so I feel a bit adrift.

2. Romance novella: This is a May-December erotica romance (with the older partner being a 36 year old woman, the younger an 18 year old man/boy) that I started writing for fun. It is totally inappropriate and blasphemous and socially unacceptable. It is a little more than half done, but I have a fairly good sense of where it is going, story-wise.

3. I could compile some of my best poetry and try to sell some of that.

4. Enjoy my trip to San Francisco and quit fooling myself that I could ever sell my art.

I can't do anything until I get done with finals in mid-December, but then I have until mid-February to work on things, at least while "A" is napping. I have chosen to not take any classes next semester, since I have a lot of wrangling to do with learning to be a parent. I need to not be worrying about term papers and crap.

Any thoughts? What would you like to read more of? Should I just serialize my stuff on this blog and say the hell with it?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Instant crush-just add coffee

On Sunday evening, my gal-pal E and I went to coffee at a local, non-chain java joint. We both are under tons of stress, so it seemed only fitting for us to consume more caffeine. As tired as I was, I was feeling buoyed by getting out of the house for a bit.

I went to order my coffee (the usual, a sugar-free hazelnut latte) and the boy taking my order had a riveting set of blue eyes, pale skin and dark hair. Even with the scruffy young man's beard and knit cap, he was stunning. His eyes/hair/skin tone combo is my current favorite.

So I turn to E before I can even order my drink and say out loud as I point to him. "Isn't he super cute? Don't you just want to pinch him?"

She laughed at me and replied "Pinch him where, exactly?"

I refrained from saying where I would pinch him, and he thanked me for the compliment. He had the perfect blend of embarrassment and pleasure on his face. While he made our coffees, we chatted about the fact that I am turning 39 next week, and he was only 23. He was relating how discouraged by whatever lack of progress he was making as a skateboarder, and how a guy in his forties had assured him that he still made progress in his thirties. I agreed, and told him that I had experienced a world of growth and confidence since I was 23. Mind you, I was never hotter physically than when I was 23, but that can only take you so far.

E and I went to and outside table despite the chill in the air because all the inside ones were full, and I wobbled a little on the step, sending a small dollop of foam onto the sleeve of my jacket. I went back in for a napkin. The napkins were set up next to the espresso machine. When he saw me come back in alone, he had an interesting look on his face. I have been married for a long time, but I still recognize it. It was the "oh, is she coming to give me her phone number?" look.

I got flustered and stammered. "I just need a napkin." He smiled at me, but after that he didn't meet my gaze. I kept stealing glances, though.

How lame of a cougar did I come off as? I used to make fun of my mother for being into younger men, but recently I have begun to see the appeal. Not that I would ever be so stupid to neglect my wonderful husband, but younger people are so nice to look at.

I *heart* the cute skater baristo. God, I am such a dork.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Haircut Misadventure

Ok dude, this is so messed up.

As a foster parent to "A", I am not permitted to change her hairstyle in any way without her bio-parents' permission. But they want her bangs cut, so I am obliged to keep up with regular trimming of her bangs. Mind you, I have to take parenting direction on this issue from people who can't stay out of jail long enough to parent her.

A's former foster mother, let's call her "R", used to cut her bangs herself, and reported to me that A had no problems with haircuts and held very still for them.

I know that I can't even DRAW a straight line, so the idea of cutting the bangs of a wriggly 2 1/2 year old seemed a recipe for blinding my child. I can just see that conversation with her caseworker. "Um, yeah. You know that kid you removed from a neglectful home and gave to me for safe-keeping? Yeah, funny thing. She decided she wanted to be a pirate, so I made it so she can wear an eye patch for life. Cool, huh? I'm going to go for the peg-leg and hook-hand next." Thus, I elected to take her to the haircut place where Tony (my husband) gets his haircuts.

I warned the lady that I had no idea how A would react to getting a professional haircut. As I feared, A cried and thrashed around in my lap while the hairdresser attempted to cut her bangs. While it was still damp it looked fine, so I thanked them for their patience, paid and left.

Well, when it dried, I noticed that her bangs are TOTALLY crooked! Like, OH MY GOD crooked. Like "I could have done it better myself" crooked.

We have a visit with her bio-dad tomorrow. He likes to examine her appearance thoroughly and pick me apart if her nails are too long. He is going to have a field day with her hair.

I could try to straighten the line of her bangs by trimming the other side, but I am worried I am just going to make it worse. Tony is going to try. He at least can draw a straight line. His "daddy-fu" is strong.

Still, I actually have to call her case worker and report that I was a bad mommy and obtained a bad haircut for a child in my care, as if it wasn't embarrassing enough. I can't do like other parents and just put a hat on her until it grows out. I can't even blame it on her and say she did it to herself with the safety scissors.

Oh, and who the fuck decided it was a good idea to give a sucker to a girl with long hair who has just gotten a haircut? I now have to wash out the sticky sucker-drool out of the tendrils that fall into her face every freaking time she had a lookie-loo at the sucker. When I took the sucker away in the parking lot (so she wouldn't choke on it in the car seat) she had a nice, sugar-induced tantrum that caused a guy in the next car to give me one of THOSE looks. You know the look. The one that sums up my entire parenting and finds it lacking. He doesn't know she has only been living with me for 2 weeks. He just sees the out of control 2 minutes of a toddler who he then assumes is always like that, which isn't the case. I just became the poster child for birth control, and I have never given birth.


Next stop, beauty supply for hair-cutting scissors and office supply for a protractor. Time to learn some new skills.

Welcome to my inner dialog!

I would say inner monologue, but we all know that I am too much of a multi-tasker for that.

I decided to start this blog with the dragon off of the Welsh flag. This is a nod to both my family heritage and my hopes that this little guy will watch my back while I write whatever I choose to post here. I might just use this space to get out all the cuss words I can no longer vocalize now that I am a parent.

Good, Lord. I miss saying FUCK. I miss saying it loud. I miss combining it with other cuss words in long, looping strings of profanity. Now that I have a toddler in my house (my foster-to-hopefully-adopt daughter, hereafter known as "A"), I feel like a raging hypocrite when I admonish her not to use the only cuss word she knows. She picked up the word "dammit" at her last foster home, and even says it in context when she does things like dropping her cheerios on the floor.

It is hard not to laugh, really.

It is really funny how as soon as I get her put to bed, I elect to watch the raunchiest, most violent, and most adult television I can get my hands on. The last thing I want is to become an Uber-Mommy, and so I feel I must inoculate myself against the viral earworms put forth from interminable viewings of the "Elmo's Potty Time" DVD. I get those damn
songs from the Wiggles stuck in my head, and it makes me totally mental. That shit will kill more brain cells than all the tequila I drank in my twenties.

Expect random musings here. I wouldn't dare give my blog a theme, because I know I would never be able to adhere to it.

Some likely topics:
1. My experiences with the foster care system as a new parent of a toddler.
2. The occasional artistic outburst. I write poetry and prose when I can, so I'll post that stuff sometimes, or general artistic perspectives.
3. My inappropriate crushes on various celebrities and random people in my sphere of contact.
4. The Boy Wizard, and my squee fangirl obsession with Daniel Radcliffe. See comment about inappropriateness in #3 above.
5. Random rants about shit that bugs me.

Unlikely topics:
1. Fashion: I'm hopeless
2. Celebrity gossip, unless of course it is a celebrity I have an inappropriate crush on.
3. Tech gear.
4. Car parts.
5. Politics: Well. maybe sometimes. See random rants about shit that bugs me.

I'm a total attention whore, so, like, post comments and stuff. I mean, shit.