Maybe I’ll Think of Things Differently

At first, this blog was throwing bottled messages out into the ocean, wondering if my voice could be heard. Then it was a place to meet other parents, like-minded or not. Then it was a place to amuse people. It was a place for me to practice writing. Now I think I want it to be a scrap book of memories.

I look back and realize that I can’t come up with funny stories of the boys a year or two ago. But I can tell them all the ones I wrote about them. I can tell them first words and Penis Rules and little crazy adventures.

But now life is so hectic. Get up before the boys, get ready, get them off the computers, get them ready, help with breakfast, get to school, get freshman to learn something (ANYTHING), get home, get the boys to finish their homework, get them to eat, get them to do something (ANYTHING) other than computers, get them to bed, get the grading done, get the lunches made, get some writing done, get to bed.

That’s a lot of getting. Though that doesn’t count getting them to their practices and getting them to their clubs.

The weekends are not that much better. Now that school has started with grading to do and planning to do and homework and projects.

With Tornado E in his last year in middle school, I realize childhood is ending. Slowly. And I want to remember these moments. I desperately need to remember these moments.

And maybe I can use the blog as I did when they were toddlers. Finding the humor in their annoying antics.

And maybe one of these messages will help another parent struggling through this hectic, chaotic mess of a life.

So I’m writing for myself, even as I through the bottle into the sea.



Sometimes I worry about how the boys will feel about the blog. How will they feel about embarrassing stories of their toddlerhood. How will they feel about the private becoming public. How will they feel about The Penis Rules section.

We were sitting down for dinner when Tornado A asked for a baby story about Tornado E. I told one, and they all laughed. Then he asked for one about Tornado S. I told one, and they all laugh. Then he asked for one about him. I told one, and they all laughed.

Then Tornado S asked for one about him. And I told one, and they laughed. So Tornado E asked me a story about him, and I told one. They laughed. Then Tornado A asked for a story about him. I told one, and they all laugh.

I must have told a dozen or more stories with promises of more. So, my little tornadoes, your memories are saved online for you and all the world to read when they want.


Good luck with that.

Walking With Ghosts

Like parenthood, I greatly underestimated the commitment needed to do student teaching.  I was at school fulltime, slowly taking over the teacher’s job, doing everything required of a teacher, plus doing everything required of a student.  So the blog had to be put on the back burner.  Again.

It was so weird working at my old high school.  Every corner held a memory rising up to meet me.

That’s the parking spot J, Speedo, and I always fought over.  I won most of the time because I more dedicated to winning than 5 minutes of extra sleep.

That’s the place I would wait for my mom to pick me up before I was hold enough to drive.  It was there Speedo convinced me to be in the first play he had written.  It was there we realized a New Jersey accent was the only one I couldn’t copy.

There’s the vice principal’s office where I was called because I had “ditched school and was found on our rival’s school property.”  “What?  Did someone check ‘my’ ID?”  “Um, no.”  “Did someone check the school records to see if I was here?”  “Um, one second. (pause).  You weren’t marked absent.”  “Then I suggest you tell their security guards to check IDs next time.”  Idiots.

That was the counselor’s office.  That was were I told my first grown up that I was suicidal as I held my best friend’s hand.

That was the wall they put our class hearts for Valentine’s Day.  Each student had a heart.  Each year I stole my best friend’s heart, so she thought she had a secret admirer.  She was all so excited.

That was my chemistry teacher/swim coach’s room.  I could almost see my self standing in there with him asking him some off the wall science question.  How does Advil work?  Why do we have eyebrows?  Could you help me with number 4?  So if someone were to swallow this… what do you mean ‘don’t ask?’  Um, would you, um, if you want, if you have time, would you, um, writemycollegereferenceletter?

That’s were the potheads hung out.

Senior year, after 5th period, that’s were I passed Speedo on the stairs every day.

That’s the classroom where I got my only B in English.  Jerk.

That’s the classroom where my junior honors English teacher asked me to join the poetry club.

I always had my locker in the 300 building.

Outside that door, I helped my friend stuff his bra with tennis balls, helped him put on and adjust his bra, and straighten his wig.  “You make a lovely Lady Capulet.”  “Thanks, Fae.”  “You know, you could’ve just changed the character into a boy.”  “Where’s the fun in that?”  Ah, drama boys.

I remembered the year they took off the doors to the bathrooms.

I remembered sitting outside waiting for the bomb-sniffing dogs to finish, knowing all along it was all a prank.

There is where we sat for lunch my senior year.  7 of us.  Then 6 when I couldn’t handle the trash talk of two of the girls.  Then 5 when I was asked back after the group made the two girls leave.

That was the spot I gave up chase and let AK run across the quad fearing that I would catch him and do something horrible to him.  He apparently forgotten my reputation when he suggested I go out to his car, so he could pop my cherry.  I rose slowly from my seat.  My best friend whispered, “She’s going to kill him.”  “If I catch you AK, I will make sure you can’t use your dick for a week.  If I can’t and I see you gain, I will rip it off,” I whispered.  He took off running, and I followed.  I never saw him again.

During an assembly, I scanned the faces imagining seeing my high school friends and I acting like high schoolers.

As I followed my class out to their spot to wait out the fire drill, I looked over to the softball field where a younger version of myself stood talking with my friend, nearly ignoring the softball game from the outfield.  There was a good solid crack of the bat.  Paying half attention to the batter, I turned to my friend, “Excuse me for a moment.”  I looked up and took a step forward with my mitt and hand in the air.  Rejudging the distance, I took three steps back and caught the fly.  With a jump step, I launched the ball straight for home plate where the other team’s runner thought he could steal home because the outfield held all the lousy players.  The ball went straight and hard without a bounce.  The catcher caught it and tagged the runner out.  The P.E. teacher, standing on the pitcher’s mound, gawked at me.  We hustled in to take our places in the line up.  “R——, where’d you learn that?” called the P.E. teacher as I jogged by.  I smirked.  “Ten seasons of fast-pitch softball.”

One windy afternoon, I walked out to my car later than usual.  The parking lot was empty.  I looked over and saw where a friend and I stood on a cement parking bumper.  We held our hands above our heads, pretending to be on a roller coaster.  Ah drama girls.

I’m just glad I never had to go into The Little Theater, where I’m sure the shadows and ghosts would be the thickest.

The Birth of a Tyrant

More years ago than I remember . . . .

I entered the class room with the All American Boy.  It was a small class room because it was a small class, and that what’s nice about going to a small private school.  It was held in one of the original buildings dated before the 1900s, and the floors creaked.  It was an upper division creative writing class, which is to say, it was everyone’s favorite.  Well except one.

The AAB was finishing his story as we sat down, and I bantered back.  We had a creative writing professor who once told the class that he liked listening to AAB and I talk because we were naturals at dialogue like watching Seinfeld.  The business major walked in, a minute late.  This wasn’t his favorite class; he told us on the first day of class he took it to learn to write better.  Unfortunately the cream of the creative writing crop all took the same class.  Accidentally together.  I just had the luck to join them.

Business Major: (smiling) Hi, Fae!

Me: (smiling) Hi, Business Major!  How’s it going?

Business Major: (sitting at the far end of the circle) Good.  What’s up?

Me: The sky.

The Business Major chuckled and then dug into his bag, taking his attention from me.

AAB: (lowering his voice) Stop it.  He’s not your type.

Me: (matching his voice) I don’t know what you mean.  Besides any guy who thinks I’m a writing genius is my type.  (I smiled.)

AAB: (rolled his eyes) I don’t remember you being so shallow.  But he’s not your type.  He’s a business major.

Me: Your point being?

AAB: You hate capitalism.  You don’t believe in business men.  As though they’re Santa.

Me: I don’t hate capitalism.  I think it needs some repairs.

AAB: You bite your thumb whenever you pass the Adam Smith bust. 

Me: He was a jackass.  Look at the quote they put on his bust!

AAB: Exactly.  And *he* chose that business school to get a degree from.  He is not your type.

Me: Pssht.  I-

The Writer: It’s been 10 minutes.  Marty’s a PhD.  We have to wait another five.

I looked at the clock.  Bummer.  I returned to banter with AAB.

Four minutes later, Drug Dealer Boy (The college best friend swore that the guy was one, and during one conversation with him, I found out he was.) hurried into the room.

DDB: Marty is outside talking to the Dean.  He says start without him.

We all looked at each other.  I looked around the room at Cat and Lyria, both writers with a cutting sense of humor in their writing.  The Writer sat with a stack of papers in front of him, and I always loved his work, even if it was post-modern.  Drug Dealer Boy took his seat next to The Torture Artist (so named because AAB and I made fun of him for having to write everything on an old typewriter “because it’s more real.”  Pssht.) who had a stack of papers next to him.  The Business Major smiled at me when I caught his eye.  I smiled back.  Then silence settled in the classroom.  Awkward silence.

Well, hell.  I love this class.  If no one was going to speak, then I will.

Me: Any one do any cultural events?

Marty required us to attend one cultural event a week because he believed writers had to be among the people to be good writers.  He envied the countries who used to send their artists and writers off to other countries to do their craft and be among the people.  Many of the professors felt the same.  Most grad students had to give their orals at one of the bars around the town because if you can’t have a beer and discuss your writer than you didn’t learn enough.  Marty’s sense of cultural event was wide, including a good bar, a sporting event, a movie as well as poetry readings, art galleries and such.

We waited for someone to take the reins and begin the class.  A class full of natural leaders and writers, who loved the class, and we all just sat there, staring, waiting.  Oh. F it.

Me: I went to Disneyland this last weekend.

Cat: Don’t you always?

Me: (I stuck out my tongue) Yes, but it’s still a cultural event.  But if you want more, I saw The New Movie this weekend.

The Writer: Me too.  Opening night?

He used to be a film major, and I hung out with film majors.

Me: Of course.  The Block.  10 o’clock showing.

The Writer: The Block.  9:35.  I liked the dialogue.  Intelligent, quick.

Me: Me too.

DDB: I went to a poetry reading at Beyond Braroque.

Business Major: That place was cool.  I went with Fae and AAB a few weeks ago.  Who read?

A few more comments, and then the silence began again.  We waited again for someone to start the class.  F it.

Me: Ok.  Who’s got stories?

The Writer: (He smiled at me.)  I do.

He passed around his story and began to read as we listened and took notes.

Half way through, Marty entered the room.

Marty: Oh, good!  You started!

Me: Yes, Martin.  We did.  If you would please take a seat, The Writer is in the middle of reading his story.

Marty gave me a smile that conveyed his thoughts, which were, “Stop being a smart ass, Miss _________.”  I returned it with a sweet, innocent smile.

Ryan finished reading.  We all turned to our professor who stared back at us.  A beat.  Another beat.

Marty: Go ahead.  I always wanted to see how a class would ruin without a professor. 

Me: So you want us to do your job, while; you still get paid.

Marty: Yes.  I think it would an interesting experiment.  Go on.

A beat.  Everyone looked at me.  I sighed.  I launched into my critique of The Writer’s work.  He nodded, listening to me.  The others in the class followed my lead.  When we were done discussing the piece and Marty had his say, I called for the next story.


At the next class, I walked in with AAB, telling him a story.  We were laughing and bantering back and forth when we noticed the room had gone silent.  It was time for class to begin.  Marty sat there at his usual seat at the foot of the circle in front of the white board and near the door, waiting.  We all waited for someone to speak.  It only took a an awkward beat.

Me: Ok.  Who has a cultural event?

I looked around waiting for someone else to lead the conversation.  Another awkward beat.  Fine.

Me: Ok. Who has a story?

AAB: I do.

He handed them out and then read his story.  A natural beat followed his story, and I began the discussion critiquing his work.  Then another story and more discussion followed.

The next class began, and I didn’t wait for the awkward beat to descend on us.  I launched the class into the cultural event discussion and then I moved us on to reading stories.  This time I had a story, and I’ll be damned if I was going to waste the time.

Class ended.

Marty: Fae, you’re doing a good job.

The Writer: She’s a regular tyrant.

Me: Any time you want to step in.

The Writer: Uh, no.  You’re doing fine. 

AAB: But you’re still a tyrant.

Me: Fine.  I’m a tyrant. 

Cat: And a damn good one.

AAB: She has lots of experience.

Me: That’s me.  Fae _____: Tyrant.  Actually.  I like that.  (Using my hands like I was spreading out the words.)  Fae ________: Tyrant.  You know, I’m going to make business cards.

AAB: House of Insanity business cards?

Me: We already have a phone line and a business stamp!  And I just sto- found a lab coat.

AAB: Come on, Tyrant.  Let’s catch the cafeteria before it closes.

He gave me a gently shove towards the door.

The Writer: I’ll walk with you guys.  As long as it’s ok with the Tyrant.

We walked out the door.

Me: You may walk with us.  I should get a crown!

AAB: Tyrants don’t have crowns. 

Me: Says who?

AAB: They have military uniforms.

Me: I have fairy wings!

The Writer: Fairy wings?

AAB: You haven’t seen her running around the quad with fairy wings on?

The Writer: I thought it was a joke.

Me: Hi Myron!

The boys: Hi Professor!

Myron: Good evening, Fae, boys.  Stay out of trouble.

Me: Maybe I should get a theme song.

AAB: See what you started?

The Writer: We’ll wait her out.  If we all start calling her Tyrant for the semester, she’ll get tired of it.

AAB: Wanna bet?


Santa, Baby.

We took Tornado E when he was five months old.  There was no line.  My mom insisted.  That’s why we went.

The next year we were given tickets to a Christmas train ride with a Santa visit that was only for OC Girl Scouts.  A neighbor gave them to us because her troop organized it.  How could we disappoint her daughter who loved Tornado E?

The year after we nearly got away without one Santa visit.  But as we walked through one of the neighborhoods where every house is strewed with lights and people walk around looking at the huge electric bills, we spotted a “real” Santa sitting in one of the yards with some young, cute (I’m married with two kids, not dead) Marines collecting Toys for Tots.

The year after that I was too busy with Christmas and the debating over moving to worry about Santa.  My uncle dressed up as Santa for the Christmas Eve party.  My dear, brave, social Tornado E ran for cover, too scared to come out.  Maybe not going to see Santa was a good thing.

Last year we just never got around to it.  I’m such an awesome parent.  My uncle dressed up as Santa again.  This time he bribed my boys over with presents.  Once they noticed he had bells on his buckle, they liked him well enough.  Tornado E showed his own Santa costume.

A couple of weeks ago, one of the kindergartners told Tornado E about the mall Santa.  And I was doomed.  Luckily one of the mothers came to my aid and asked if I wanted to go together.  After many dropped plans due to sickness, we went today.  While I was on time (HOLY CRAP!), she ran late, which was fine.  The kids danced around with each other, glad to be together, trying to get a glimpse of Santa.  After making their Christmas wishes, releasing snow into the air, and testing the naughty-or-nice machine (they came out nice which just means Santa is as forgiving as God), they saw Santa.  My boys just stood there.  As a helped lifted Tornado S onto Santa’s lap, I whispered, “Tell Santa what you want.”  My shy Tornado S launched into a monologue of toddler-accented list of toys.  Then it was Tornado E’s turn, who asked for a Pillow Pet and Blizzard maker.  Tornado A didn’t know what to think as he stared at Santa.  The picture came out nice, and then we added the other two kids.  It took 45 minutes.  And I was thankful that Tornado A was a happy baby without a morning nap.  Oh, and that there was no incidents to mark this as the last year we could visit Santa at the mall.

Then again, maybe that would have been a good thing.

A Childhood Memory

The first wedding I ever attended I was three.  I was also the flower girl.  My dad’s younger sister was getting married to a really sweet and fun man.  I was excited because I was the flower girl.

My mom made my dress.  It was long to my feet, but it didn’t twirl.  It was white with tiny pink rose buds.  Around my waist were two thin pink ribbons.  I was adorable with blue eyes and curled blonde hair.

But I was barely three.  After I had done my duty, I was to walk back to my mom who was suppose to be sitting on the side waiting for me.  She wasn’t there.  Some usher had moved her.  But I knew what I was suppose to do, and I saw my mom raise her hand so I could find her.  As I started down the stairs, a firm hand pressed on my shoulder.  I looked up at the face of my youngest aunt who sternly shook her head.  I pointed to my mom, and my aunt shook her head.

So I stood there.  Bored.  Oh so bored.  Grown-ups talk to much.  I never stood for so long.  I sat.  Then I laid down.  Then I decided I wanted to see my new shiny black shoes.  Hey, my feet look like they’re walking on the ceiling.  I wonder what it would be like walking on the ceiling. 

Everyone at church watched as two Mary Jane-d feet kicked in the air, just high enough for everyone to notice.

That is the part none of my little cousins forget to tell.  They tell it with glee, especially to The Husband, especially when I brought him home for the first time.

Hey, I was three.  I was adorable.  And I can still wrestle you all to the ground.

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Just another evening

They looked so sweet banging together matchbox cars and making a loud ruckus that not all the shushing in the world could keep quiet.  But I only glanced up in between words from the game on my phone.  Mat, head, sad, man, bed.  Oh, look, I got honey.  I’m pretty pathetic for a writer and a holder of a bachelor degree in English.  Then the murmur of how those loud boys should leave the room because she can’t hear anything, which might have more to do with her seventy-four year old ears than the loudness of the boys.  It seemed unfair to me because where would they go.  They want to go outside, but they can’t go alone because there’s an ungated pool out there and Evan still had a minor issue with dogs even if this one had one foot in the grave and the other on the banana peel, which meant she worried more about that than playing with some puppies, even if they played her favorite game of soccer.  Go ask your-.

What am I doing?  I’m their mother.  They’re my boys.  They will only be this age once, and one day they won’t ask me to play with them.  They won’t want me to play with them.  How will I feel then?  How will i feel when I look back and see that a stupid video game was more important?  What will they remember?  Today they want ME to play with them.  They want ME to go outside with them.  Besides don’t I need to lose a few pounds, get some fresh air, teach them to kick a ball correctly because I forgot to sign them up for sports class again.

Come on, guys.  Grab the ball.  Put on your shoes.  We have rosebuds to gather as we may.

We danced outside, chasing the ball, kicking the ball, dodging the ball.  We ran, jumped, hopped, walked.  I tackled Evan to give Sean a chance, teaching him to take turns as I tickled him without mercy.  I taught them to ring around a rosey and to find shapes in the clouds.  They figured out it was hilarious to watch Mommy try to get a ball out of a pool without a net. 

I didn’t care if I missed my game or that no one else joined us.  They were my boys, and I wouldn’t miss this for the world.

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