Archive for August, 2004

Babies, real and imagined…

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

This is Tre`, my darling just turned one year old nephew. He and I spend our days together while his parents work.

I love this little fellow as if he were my own child. Every day with him is wonderful, even when he’s having a rough day, like when he’s teething (two teeth to date) or sick or just clingy and refusing to allow me out of his sight.

Today was a clingy day. Hold me, love me, give me lots of kisses. When he kisses, he scrunches up his little face and purses his lips. You can not refuse him as it is just too adorable. This morning, I received approximately 100 kisses as he was in a kissy mood.

Postnap doldrums. After he woke up, I attacked with the camera. Unfortunately if I don’t use the red eye flash his little blue eyes turn demonic. He hates the flash, makes mean faces, and will growl at me when he’s fed up with it.

I don’t mind as he’s so photogenic, even when he’s tired. And, really who wouldn’t want to capture every moment of a child this beautiful.

Tre` and his bottle. He loves that damn thing. When you bring it to him, all full of milk, he claps for it.

Hell, when you enter a room he applauds. That really makes a person feel loved. I mean damn, he is so happy to see you he bounces up and down and claps.

Other cute things he does:

He dances. When the song “Save a Horse (Ride A Cowboy)” by Big and Rich comes on the television he stops in the middle of whatever he is doing goes to the tv and boogies. If I happen to play the CD (Horse of a Different Color, buy it) he looks at the TV for the video.

Tre`’s dance moves consist of bending his knees, bouncing up and down or stomping his feet. This evening he was squatting and bouncing with glee to Big and Rich and Gretchen Wilson (Here for the Party, buy it.)

I’m writing about him here for me. I want to remember some of these cute things he does in the years as he grows.

Mom has a bookshelf that has a bunch of stuffed animals which happen to be frogs on it. Now, this shelf is the perfect height for a baby. As soon as he gets here in the morning, he rampages the frogs and throws them to the floor. No matter how many times you put them up on the shelf, he knocks them down.

He doesn’t do it with malice but, with reason. Frogs belong on the floor with the rest of the toys.

Speaking of toys, he is the only 1 year old I have ever seen who will play by himself. He goes to his toybox pulls out his toys and plays. Cars race, babies are cuddled, blocks are gnawed on and examined.

He’ll sit there alone for long periods of time, then run up to me with his little arms raised for a cuddle and a kiss. He doesn’t stay in my lap for long, as soon as he’s ready he wiggles down and goes back to his play.

When he’s tired, he whines a little bit, and stumbles to you. I still rock him down, as there is nothing better on this earth than holding a tiny, sleepy baby who loves you.

There are times when he is asleep and I’m looking down at that angelic little face that I just smile. He is just a beautiful child and has such a sweet disposition.

I thank God, every day for bringing my niece, nephews, and friends’ children into my life. I love kids more than I can even explain here. I don’t have any of my own and I will never have a biological child here on earth.

I used to write about my infertility, a lot. I had numerous readers who were here mainly for that. Due to various reasons I don’t discuss it as much. It’s been 7 years since we started trying for a child. It isn’t happening.

We’re not ready, financially, or otherwise, to start the adoption process, and we may never be. At times I dream of a little girl. One with straight dark hair and a darker skin tone than my husband or I. It is always the same little girl.

Who knows if this will ever come true. For now, I love the children that are in my life, helping their parents, as I can, with them. The past 5.5 years since I became disabled have been a blessing and a curse.

The loss of my ability to work outside the home cost us a lot. Our home, our independence, just a place to call our own. But, the disability allowed me to take care of my niece, Kyrsie for several years, and now Tre`.

When Kyrsie went into daycare, it crushed me. I cried for a week. When it is time for Tre` to move on to a preschool setting, or Tony and I move, I’ll go through the same thing. He is part of my heart. I cherish every moment. Well, almost every the days when he is sick and miserable aren’t the greatest.

I know these are stolen moments, moments his parents should be having but, I am grateful to them. I get to take care of a child even though my body won’t allow me to have one of my own.

In my dream world, I’m a Mom of 3. 2 girls, 1 little boy. The above mentioned little girl, 1 who is pale and red haired, and a little boy who remains foggy. In my dreams, I’m not sitting here writing about my lack of children, but, holding my own. I’m rocking my little baby in a nursery decorated in bright colors with stars stenciled to the walls.

In my dream world, I’m not disabled. I never started down this path. But, if my dream world were to come true, I wouldn’t have spent all these years with Kyrsie and Tre`.

And, I’m not sure I could give that up. They are real and here and I can hug them and kiss them. They are known quantities.

My dream children are just that, dreams.

Finishing up JournalCon…

Sunday, August 29th, 2004

First of before I even get into this entry. If you are one of those fundamentalist wierdos who feels the need to tell others how to live thier lives? Go away. Don’t leave a comment, don’t email me, don’t fucking bug me. Especially when you write on your site about how God will give you gills to swim, then they turn into lungs on land. I believe in God but, if he really wanted to help me I wouldn’t be disabled, broke, and unable to actually see a doctor to help me.

Be gone with you, you zealot.

Ahem, as I was saying. Part OnePart TwoPictures

After the end of the first session we met up with a bunch from The Usual Suspects for lunch. A couple blocks away from the Helix was this small, rundown looking restaurant called Ila Bella (or something similar.) Now, Tony and I are not all that adventerous when it comes to food. We had never eaten at an Ethiopian restaurant before.

Nor, did we know what to expect. Well, I knew about the eating with your fingers bit. The menu went into great detail about each dish. Which is a good thing as I was worried about my allergies (Even though, Karen had checked them out, I’m a worrier, it is my nature and really I can’t help it.) It wasn’t until the ride home on Sunday that I realized obviously Ethiopian food wouldn’t involve seafood or mushrooms. I mean, duh, in a country that has had massive years of drought, where the hell would it come from?

Hey, I never said I was the brightest crayon in the box. I ate lamb something or other and we talked with those close to us. The lamb? Oh my, just thinking about it makes me want to drive to DC to eat that one dish again and again. It was just fabulous.

I had to leave the group to prepare for my panel with Jen, Weetabix, and Mo. Now, these three women are rock stars. I couldn’t have asked for a better group to work with. I mean, hell, I did ask them. But, really they carried the panel. I don’t think any of the JournalCon committee actually made it into the panel, which is a disappointment as I was hoping for their feedback. Everyone there seemed to enjoy the panel and the mimosas, which I heard were good but, I do not do champagne so I left them for everyone else.

Mo, Jen, and Weetabix, I need your addresses as I would like to send you all something to thank you. I thought the committee would do that but, who knows? Email me.

The rest of the day was a blur. The sex panel was interesting, we had a little while to relax before dinner but, not nearly long enough. We met up with 3WAers at RFD. RFD has their address wrong on their website but, the cab driver found it for us. Even though he overcharged us, it was worth it. (You think he could tell we were tourists? Duh).

After dinner came the cab ride from hell. Now, this driver was seemingly nice, but, dude when you have to turn the wheel half way around, constantly, to just keep the damn car going straight? You need to get your steering fixed. On top of that he proceeded to cut off every car in sight and drive about 20 miles an hour above the speed limit.

Now, I’m a control freak, I do not like to ride with others driving in the first place, that nearly sent me over the edge. I maintained, we got to where Karaoke (yes, the infamous Karanoke) was supposed to be held.

Here is where things went to shit. Now, I had constantly reminded people that things had to be accessible. I’m a gimp. I’m on a cane or in a wheelchair. That’s my life. I know this and I also know that most people never even think about that unless it is part of their life.

Well, I knew from when the initial discussion for this year’s JournalCon came up that I would be in attendance and that so would others who have mobility issues at times.

The bar we were at? Not only inacessible but, it had a large flight of stairs up to it. I came so close to just bursting into tears. And, really as I’m sitting here now, they are burning the back of my eyes.

All this time, all the money, all the anticipation and another fucking obstacle thrown in my path. The Helix was barely accessible, without Tony I would have been in a world of hurt. There was no way he could carry my big ass up that many stairs.

But, I refused to give in. By using my arms and my good leg, I made it up stairs. I hurt, good God, it hurt so fucking bad. I’m stupid though and refused to show how much pain I was in. I collapsed into my chair and just looked at Tony. He knew I was hurting but, also knew how much this weekend meant to me.

I had a couple drinks, talked to a few people but, really I was done for. I was trying to enjoy myself but, I hurt, the music was too loud, the bartender was just fucking bitchy, the alcohol was bad (hello, I drink cheap vodka, the vodka at this bar tasted like rubbing alcohol), there was no karaoke, and I knew that to escape this place I had to go back down the stairs.

Again, on my arms and my good leg, I hobbled back down the stairs, collapsed in my chair and we went back to our room. A couple people had given me their room numbers but, I just couldn’t do it. I was tired, I hurt, and I just wanted to be left alone.

And, now I really feel like shit as I really do like Kalamity, Russiagirl, and Booger but, the bar situation just sucked. If you are ever planning on hosting JournalCon, or hell anything like this, please go to the places you have talked to, make sure they are accessible. Don’t take their word for it. This is the second internet gathering (RABcon was the first, fucking hotel owners that lie) I have gone to, where the organizers have been lied to about accessiblity. In fact, this is the reason, I haven’t met more people that from online. I can’t take the chance of driving for a couple hours than not being able to actually get into the joint. JournalCon was the last time I’m risking something like that. If it is not accessible I will not go in, fuck it, I’ll go back to the hotel and party with others.

Okay, I’m down with the whining. Sunday morning was good, I attended the invited readings, read an old entry of mine (that you can find here), listened to some other wonderful entries, then went to the parenting in the online world panel. Rob, Erin, and Whitney did a hell of a job on their panel but, I felt odd as the only nonparent there. And, I had to miss the redesign panel so, I didn’t get a koozie, that really makes me sad as, I just adore Coleen.

After the panels were done, everyone was wandering off, I got to talk to Kat for a few more minutes as we waited for our lunch group to get it together. Kat has the sweetest voice and she’s just really incredibly nice. Not to mention how gorgeous she is. Eventually our group got it together and we wandered the streets of DC looking for a place to eat lunch.

We stumbled into the Filibuster grill where we got the worst service, a clueless waiter, and a staff that took 30 minutes to figure out how to split our check up. But, I got to meet several people that I had been wanting to meet. The list is up over here.

Following lunch, we got the hell out of dodge, heading home to VA in a round about manner due to bad directions (again, the evil mapquest) and 95 being like a parking lot.

Would I go to JournalCon, again? Yep. Other than the bar, I enjoyed myself. And, the people I got to talk to at the bar (Sassy, Sockgirlie, Chickie, Shmuel, etc. etc.) made it worthwhile. What would I do differently?

– Panels aren’t the end all, be all. Next time, I will spend more time talking to people less time at panels.

– Room parties. Fuck the bar, I’m getting a suite and drinking with as many people as I can fit in my room (or taking people up on the offer to go to their rooms.)

– No more Mapquest. They fucking suck.

– If it isn’t accessible, it isn’t worth it.

– Sleeping pills, take some.

– The people are what makes the weekend worthwhile.

Further JournalCon blathering…

Saturday, August 28th, 2004

The first Journalcon entry is here. The pictures are linked from that entry.

Okay, where was I? The ride in, check, meeting the first people, check. Headache from hell, well, that is where we’ll start.

The heat, I fucking hate it. It doesn’t matter that I have lived in Virginia for the past 21 years, I don’t like it. And, it was hot Friday. On our drive up it was between 94 and 98 degrees and humid as hell.

Our van doesn’t have air conditioning, oh, it did but it died not long after we bought the van. We got settled in the van right at noon and headed out. Tony and I never do things the simple way, we had several stops to make. I needed cigarettes (hello, VA much cheaper than MD or DC), we needed sodas and food as we didn’t have time to eat at home.

Adding in all the stops plus how Mapquest has no fucking clue about actually getting you places, well, I was done for. I was hot, sweaty, and starting to get a heat induced migraine. After a few minutes, Tony pushed my big ass upstairs through the tiny, padded (yes, padded) funkily lit, loud musiced elevator and I stripped down to try and cool off.

Excedrin, Cherry Coke, and ice on my head stamped the headache down enough for me to foray back downstairs for a while. We hit the outdoor lounge area, which on hindsight probably wasn’t a good idea as it was still hot and humid.

Out there is where I meet Chickie and her darling daughter, Chicklet. Now, kids adore Tony for some reason. Where ever Chickie and baby were, we could watch her turn to watch Tony and smile at him.

A couple other people approached us and they all seemed nice, but, honestly, I was feeling so bad that I couldn’t concentrate on much of anything. We ordered a turkey club, devoured that between the two of us, and I got to meet Doogie, who no longer actually has a journal so, I can’t even link him.

He was wearing a shirt that declared something about fucking your mom and that’s pretty much all I can remember. After paying our tab (2.75 for an 8 oz glass of Coke, y’all. Half of the glass was ice, too. And people wonder why I brought soda and a cooler with us? That’s fucking highway robbery.)

I wanted to watch Matthew perform and by then we were late. Tony squished my chair through the door, which would be the theme for the weekend, my chair barely fit through the doors, the halls were narrow and we had to angle it around. Unfortunately we were kind of stuck right inside the door, with Tony having to stand behind me.

TheMatthewShow was worth it, though. He is funny and has a great voice. With the rooms being small it had that intimate, club feel. I wanted to get the CD he had with him but, as soon as he was done we got the hell out of everyone’s way.

Back outside, which was just a pain, I had to be lowered down a gimp lift, then outside and up the ramp that had a big ass plant in the middle of it. By the time the weekend was over, that plant was not in good shape but, it was that or remove all the furniture from the lounge to get through that way.

Yeah, the Hotel Helix while claiming to be handicap accessible, isn’t entirely. If Tony hadn’t been with me, I would have spent must of the weekend in my room.

Eventually, my headache, our tiredness, and lack of food (one sandwich does not fill two people) pushed us towards our room. A couple different groups had invited us for dinner but, damn pizza, nice cold AC and quiet was just too tempting.

We ordered a pizza from a local place ate dinner and tried to settle in for the night.

Oh, Tony slept but, I could not fall asleep to save my life. I read two books, a magazine and watched some of the Olympics before I finally crashed. By 3AM, I was wide awake, again. And, I stayed that way.

I ended up spending 3 – 6 AM reading, then ironing, as we both had clothes that couldn’t be worn in public until I took an iron to them.

Now, the shower’s at the Helix had pitiful water pressure. Adding the fact that my poor hair is used to soft water and the water at the hotel was hard as hell, made my hair look like a gigantic brillo pad that had been up on a 3 day acid trip.

I got dressed, convinced Tony to get moving and we headed to the hospitality room for breakfast.

Pastries and juice, cigarette smoked, and Tony planted me in the one room, where I remained until lunch time. The opening panel was an icebreaker where I bunch of us introduced ourselves. The second was on professional writing.

And, really, I’m going to stop here for a little while as I’m even boring myself.

Friday, August 27th, 2004

Since Nance is adamant that I update more often and really you can’t dissappoint her as she is too damn funny on the phone, here I am.

(If you’re looking for the first Journalcon entry go here.)

Yesterday I spent at least two hours jabbering with Nance on the phone. She’s right, she does talk fast and is a Yankee. Even with being from PA instead of NY she sounded like home, in fact her accent reminded me so much of my family members (who live in Western NY) that it made me want to hop in the car and drive to Niagara Falls.

Tre was asleep or on my lap or being wrangled by his uncle during our conversation. Let me tell you that is a good baby. He woke up sad from his nap, I’m guessing he had a nightmare although, what do babies have nightmares about? Bottles that are empty? No soft laps? A missing luvey?

Especially the kids in this family. We spoil them, we do. If they want something and it won’t a) hurt them b) hurt someone else or c) cost a fortune, they pretty much get it. I mean, damn, you’re only a small kid for a short period of time. Why do they need to know abou deprivation? If they end up with the luck the rest of us have, they’ll know about it soon enough.

Besides that, a crying baby makes me sad. Children shouldn’t have to cry. An infant crying and being ignored makes me see red and want to strangle a parent. Hello, they’re tiny, they have no other way of communicating. If they’re crying they need something. Even if it’s just to be held.

Before you proclaim “We’ll you don’t know shit, you aren’t a parent.” Yeah, fuck you. I spent more time with kids than the average parent does. I know that sometimes babies just cry and cry, seemingly for no reason. I still don’t believe you should just leave them there to bellow.

There are kids that need to be held constantly. Sure, it sucks ass at times. I know, my niece, Kyrsie was a needy baby. She still is. If she’s alone for too long she gets upset. Tre, on the other hand, plays by himself, a lot. He comes by for cuddles, then gets back down and goes to his toys.

Different kids, different needs. When Kyrsie was tiny and needed to be held, I held her. There were times I went to the bathroom with her in my arms as she went scream if she was set down. I would go for long periods of time not eating or drinking as it was too difficult to do anything with her.

But, you know what? I was the grownup, it’s a lot easier for me to deal with some discomfort. A baby doesn’t know that the pain in their tummy will pass. A baby doesn’t understand that it takes a couple minutes to fix a bottle. All a baby knows is I hurt, I’m hungry, I’m wet, I’m lonely, I need warmth, or cuddles or just to feel the up and down rhythym of someone’s breathing.

I’ll never understand people who let little ones cry it out. I don’t. Babies need attention, babies need love. It breaks my heart to hear a baby cry and no one answer it. How any parent can let their child cry him/herself sick (and I have seen that) is beyond me.

Journalcon – part one

Tuesday, August 24th, 2004

Friday August 20th –

We got a late start, we always do. There is no chance of Tony and I ever leaving the house on time. None, not even a tiny little bit of one.

So, about noon or so, we’re pulling out. The van is loaded with 2 suitcases, 1 duffel bag, 1 cooler, Tony and I. It’s fucking hot. 94 degrees as we’re leaving the Beach. Our van? Has no air conditioning. None, the fucker died last year not long after we bought it.

Now, those of you who I met are wondering why we didn’t get the hotel until 4PM when it should have taken us less than 2 hours? Well, we did have a couple stops to make but, really what it boils down to is Mapquest being the devil.

The directions started off fine, for the part we actually knew. We got to Maryland, up 301, to RT 5 with no problem. It was the next turn that fucked us up. We spent over an hour trying to figure out which fucking road we should actually be on.

By that point it was 98 degrees outside. We’ve been driving for 2.5 hours and should be at the hotel. I planned on lounge sitting to watch people come in. Little did we know that what should have been another 35-40 minutes would take us 1.5 more hours.

Fucking Mapquest sent us to the wrong part of DC. Now, imagine two people who live outside a little bitty town that just got its first traffic light a few years ago. Then through those two people into DC with the fucking street system from hell.

Not only were we in DC but, we were hot and tired by now, since neither of us had much sleep. Plus we were driving through some of the worst sections of the city looking like complete rubes. How we made it to the Helix without being mugged, robbed, or just pointed and laughed at is beyond me.

Eventually we lucked out and ran into a road that we had on our directions, and then in the distance a sparkling jewel appeared. Shining for all to see its wonder. The damn road sign that said “Rhode Island.” I almost peed I was so damn happy.

We pulled in and Tony went to check us in. No problems other than we were supposed to have a King bed and didn’t. He wheeled me inside to the Lounge and I just sat there in the midst of a panic attack.

Y’all, I was freaking out. Then Pineapple approached me. Now, I’m hot, sweaty, covered in half a bottle of water as I was so hot I had to do something. My hair is a mess and I’m trying not to hyperventilate. Pineapple made me feel comfortable, introduced me to a few other people (whom I squeaked hello to, I was really nervous and contrary to how I acted, scared to death) then helped me go register.

Once I was registered, I talked to Kalamity and booger for a few and slowly but surely, more and more people came up to me.

You know what, on with the squee, after that’s done I’ll write the long detailed thingy out.

Angeline is cute and funny and makes pretty heart magnets. And she rode a long way with Molly Tenyu to get to Journalcon. Angeline also makes the best purses. She made a kick ass one for Mo, that had it not said MoPie on it, would have come home with me. Molly is brash and outspoken and for some reason small children latch onto her.

Sassy has the best socks and lighter ever. Plus, she’s sweet and nice and can way get her drink on.

Mo, what can I say about Mo that no one else has. Hmm, she’s just wonderful and rocked as a panel moderator. And she has two parakeets that will peck your eyes out.

Weetabix is the round, curvy sex goddess she claims to be. She dresses so cute and is so smart and funny. Weet also told me the real name of the Hoochie Mama store as, I so need a pink purse like hers. She kicks ass as a fellow panelist.

TranceJen. I don’t even know where to begin. Smart with a raary voice. And she can party like no one else. If you see the picture of us on her page, I was the one about to vomit which is why I was looking like that. Sitting in front of a roomful of people is scary.

Coleend is beautful inside and out. I want her to live here so, I can see her all the time. She is intelligent, friendly and just a wonderful person.

KarenD has to be the friendliest woman on the planet. Always smiling, always offering help and she had the cutest swag. Quilted magnets that she made herself. KarenD also introduced us to Ethiopian food which I am now in love with.

Chickie is Mom to a beautiful little girl. On top of that she is a lawyer, and smart, and cute, and funny and I want her to live here.

Pineapple rocks. She introduced herself to me immediately and helped me to dive right into things.

Pratt of Blog of Pratt, hee. Cute and funny and lover of bunnies. I have one of his CDs and you don’t.

Minarae is just beautiful and smiley and nice and wonderful and I wish I would have been able to spend more time with her. She picked on me at the opening session and got me past my initial nerves of actually speaking aloud. Go to her site and help her save the boobies!

Columbine. Now, I didn’t get to talk to him much but he spoke on one panel and was at the lunch with the other Suspects. Smart as a whip and hot as hell, as well. His wife? Cute as the dickens, even though I don’t think I spoke two words to her.

LisaNH Another person I talked to for only a few minutes. I really like Lisa. She was on the panel with Columbine and Kythryne. It was great and open and they served wine.

Erin. I’ve been reading Erin forever then lost her link. I refound her through the JournalCon site and I’m so glad. Her and Whitney (they’re sisters) are so nice and did a great job with the parenting panel.

Whitney Hey, what can I say, she’s sweet and wellspoken and has the cutest nickname for her child.

Kiffer I can not find her link but, she is just bubbly. We got to the 3WA dinner late and she welcomed us right in.

Lucy Rhombus has a smile that will just knock you over. And a wonderful book that I won at her panel.

Juliekins is hot. Oh, she tries to hide it online but, she just sizzles. Plus she is smart and funny and grabbed her boobs at dinner.

lisarock. Holy shit, if you have never met her you must. She fucking rules.

cosmiccrayola. A wonderful woman who is forever on my links list, now.

bozoette Smart, funny, great writer, she has a book out, go to her site and buy it.




The above three, the committee. I didn’t get to talk to any of them for too long but, the time I did was great. Overworked but, always smiling.

kismet is pretty and tall and so nice. And she eats scary raw meat.

Meg has cool fucking hair and the sweetest voice. Plus she makes doggie treats that my big dog loves.

Kat is beyond gorgeous. Everytime I saw her she was nice as hell and always had something to say. You all should read her.

Chiara. Okay, Chiara did a read at the invited readings that was so well done and funny, she needs to come here and read me bedtime stories. Except I would be too enthralled to sleep.

Stef has a secret wild woman side that she hides well online. I love her. Her hair is so long and pretty that it makes me want it.

Amandapage has a great accent and was incredibly nice. Although she did try to poison me with a Musk Stick. Just remember TimTams=good Muskanything=evil.

And, I know I left people out but, damn there were a lot of us. I can already think of a few (like Jessi) but, I will have more to say later. Now, onto the pictures. There are 7 pages of them. I have more somewhere but, I need to upload this before I am beat to death by Nance.

Also, I have pens and stickers left. If you want one, email me and I will send them to you.