maarmie's musings

Friday, November 30, 2012

Letter #1


Dearest Julie,

I've been thinking about you all day, missing you. Things are weird and I'm alright. Everything is crumbling and somehow there is this quiet assurance that everything will turn out for the best. Guess I'm used to the crumbling, or the eventuality of it, and everything always does turn for the better.

Opted to take a class this semester at J.C., creative writing. Excited about it too. Hope to take a class or two each semester and maybe by the time I'm retirement age I'll have an AA in something less mundane than it already is. New avenues, different doors to walk through, new people to experience, new minds to share with.

Went to Tennessee with my friend Tandy and camped with her ex's family. Kentucky and Tennessee country people - some with the ageless wisdom found in the hills and others with a Bubba mentality. Spent the entire weekend taking notes and came up with a brief descriptive narrative. I'll send a copy along. Julie, Talmage captured my interest...and my heart. Strangely enough, Tandy went back up again last weekend and Grandma sent back some little plants from her garden for me. She also told Tandy to tell me that the pothos cuttings were from Talmages grave. I didn't even discuss Talmage with her but think somehow she became aware of my fascination (compassion, empathy, feelings) for her first born. Grandma is something special. She possesses such clarity and wisdom of human nature - and acceptance thereof.

Eric suffered a small catastrophe - his car caught on fire. The fire department had to put it out, it was that bad. He's freaking now. His freedom went down the tubes. But...he has a great attitude otherwise and is grateful for what he does have. His actualization of the desire to go to school is quite a bit further off now but maybe he needs this time to grow so he can accept the responsibilities of college. All I know is that everything DOES happen for a reason and that reason will be revealed somewhere down the road.

As for me - I've learned that I'm not a master at relationships - never was and that I'll spare some poor boob, that may happen to be attracted, a great deal of pain - by travelling alone. I'm happier that way in the long run 'cause I don't compromise well and do detest putting myself in a vulnerable position with the "enemy" - effectively blocking intimacy. Don't know whether I'm not capable - or just don't want to. Either way, it's best I cruise solo.

Are you even interested in all this?

I'm just cruising along in my little brain warp, typing my feelings to you and I don't even know if there's any interest. But somehow I know if anyone understands me, it's you.

Guess I am forced to leave the life of "do as I want when I wish" and get a job. Doesn't really matter or cut into my writing time. Inspiration usually ignites about midnight. My brain is semi-comatose all day but the wee hours activate that convoluted blob. With the job of cleaning 301 (my AA building) and a part time thing, I'll be OK and still have time to wander. God Julie, I'll probably be a bag lady when I grow up.

I miss your letters, articles, and you. Are you OK? Depressed? Happy? Pensive? Is your brilliant mind engaged in anything that brings you joy? Are you and Garreth doing well? Will you share your thoughts with me? You are beautiful and dear, my dear. I love you...and still plan to come see you. Please write.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Another story

When I was six months old, my biomom, Janine, sort-of tried to kill my brother and me and herself before dropping us off at her mother's house and checking herself into the nearest mental hospital. As she told the story, her father had recently died and she was still suffering post partum with me when dad told her that he was interested in some other woman. Knowing her default mental state to begin with, I'm sure she was more than a bit off kilter at the time and pushed over the edge with all these simultaneous difficulties and traumas. So, one day, she was driving down the street with us kids in the car when she decided it would be a good idea to close her eyes, keep driving, and see what happens.

I'm not sure how long she kept up this closed-eye driving (couldn't have been long, I imagine) but the rest is history. She came to her senses and left, and we moved from Austin, Texas, to Florida when dad got out of the military. Janine says dad, at some point, attempted reconciliation. But Janine was having none of it. She was off doing god knows what and just wanted to breeze in to see Brian (and me, I guess) whenever it suited her. Brian says that he remembers always getting very upset when Janine breezed out again, and, after a while of this, dad put his foot down and said no more. If it wasn't going to be regular, it wasn't fair. Good on him.

So, Janine disappeared from our lives both physically and in every other way imaginable. I don't know how kids know these things, but they seem to know what they can talk about with their parents and family members and what they can't. Maybe this "knowing" comes from before they have conscious memories. Maybe when I was 4, or something, I tried to talk about mom or ask about mom and was resoundly rebuked. Maybe my conscious self doesn't remember this but some part of me does and that's why I knew not to bring her up. It was never outright stated, but we all just knew that dad hated mom. Mom was this shadowy, messed up figure who was not to be spoken of. I knew absolutely nothing about her, not even what she looked like, until I found a wedding photograph at my grandma's house. I just sat and stared at the smiling blonde stranger in that photo for ages, wondering who she was, why she had left, where she had gone, what she was doing. But I didn't dwell on it for long. That's just the way things were.

When I was 16, she called out of the blue on Thanksgiving Day. Dad, stepmom, and I had just gotten back from wherever we were (Brooksville with grandma?) and the phone rang. I answered it and was stunned to hear, "Julie. It's me, Janine."

My eyes must have gone wide as saucers and all I could think of to do was ask her to hold on, lay down the receiver, and run to find my parents. They were just standing there near their bedroom looking all posed and awkward, so I'm guessing she had cleared this whole enounter with dad beforehand. Would have been nice, I think, to not have sprung it on me like this. But when was anything ever done appropriately or sensitively in our house?

So I went back to the phone after dad seemed at a loss over how to behave or what to say, and Janine and I awkwardly chatted for a few minutes and set up a time to meet.

I'm not sure how many times we met up initially. Quite a few, I think. I don't really remember what we talked about, but I remember having wildly mixed emotions and being really confused about the situation. I know now that I had a lot of anger towards her and that a lot of internal sadness was involved in being around her. She was pleasant and open and willing to talk about anything, but that was certainly nothing I was used to. I wish I had made better use of her willingness to share and her incredible candor and honesty than I did, but I didn't really know how to have conversations then, and I wasn't really aware of my feelings or how to relate to people in general.

The contact was sporadic after awhile, but it was obvious that I was very much like her from the start. She liked to write. I like to write. She loved to read. I love to read. She was an open book. I am an open book. She wore her heart on her sleeve. I wear my heart on my sleeve. She was very emotional. I am very emotional. She valued honesty and truth and justice and creativity and kindness and beauty and wisdom. I value honesty and truth and justice and creativity and kindness and beauty and wisdom. She loved theatre and art and nature and science and animals and poetry and music. I love theatre and art and nature and science and animals and poetry and music. She was sensitive. I am sensitive. She had a twisted sense of humour. I have a twisted sense of humour. She liked to thumb her nose at authority. I like to thumb my nose at authority. She was drawn to interesting and varied people. I am drawn to interesting and varied people. She was accepting and open and tolerant. I am accepting and open and tolerant. We were the same height, had the same hair colouring, were the same size, and, on the index fingers of all our four hands, the fingernails curve slightly inward at the end.

Suddenly, I didn't feel like such a weirdo in this life anymore, like I had been adopted or mistakenly dropped out of nowhere, an aberration. There, standing in front of me, in the flesh. This was where I had come from.

(to be continued)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Excuse me while I bite your fucking head off

Excuse me if I'm in a bit of a shit mood right now, but I used up all the hot water for Elliot's bath and now I can't have a shower, and Elliot has spent the last 20 minutes having a fucking tantrum at my feet because I wouldn't help her pick up and put away the pieces from a small puzzle she was working on.

Her tantrums really get to me. I mean really, really. So much so that I feel like pushing her down or smacking her face or locking her out of the house. Instead, I usually move from room to room in a misguided attempt to temporarily rid myself of her. I say "misguided" because all she does is move from room to room with me. None of the doors have locks on them. Except the bathroom door. And I locked myself in. And she went back downstairs to sob alone. Only I felt guilty that she was crying. That she was alone and crying. And I knew she needed a wee. So I went back downstairs and gave her a hug and chaperoned her back upstairs so she could do a wee. Yes, you read that right. Chaperone. You see, Elliot is afraid to be in any room in the house by herself. If I'm in the kitchen, she's in the kitchen. If I'm in the lounge, she's in the lounge. If I'm upstairs in the toilet, she's upstairs in the toilet. If I move on to my bedroom, she either follows me there or commands loudly that I remain in the toilet until she is finished taking a dump.

Now that I'm more than a bit miffed, I'm going to rant on about a couple of things that really piss me off. One: When I invite someone to do something by text and never hear back from them. Two: When people speak to their children in that high, whiny, singsong voice that leads one to believe that either the child or the parent has some sort of major learning difficulty. You know the one. Oh, Timmy! You are such a good boy! Yes you are! Such a good boy! You need a poo poo? You do? You need a poo poo? Are you going to do a poo poo on the potty? On the potty? Yes, you are! You ARE going to do a poo poo on the potty. Not in your pants. NO! Doing poo poos in your pants is for babies! And you're a big boy, aren't you? Yes. Yes, you are. Such a big, big, big, big boy!!!!!!!

All done in this super loud, super high-pitched voice, all of the syllables dragged out to the nth degree while looking around the room to see who is witnessing their super-attentive parenting that will undoubtedly only garner them the award of most super fabulously annoying parent of the decade.

Ungrateful bastard

About two years ago, I wrote my dad a letter asking him to pay off my student loan. C* had been gone for awhile by that time, and my American bank account was almost empty. At the time, I still owed just over $5,000, and I knew that getting that debt out of the way would make my life much easier and give me one less of a multitude of things to worry about.

Considering the long and illustrious careers of my dad and his wife, $5,000 would have been nothing to them. I'm sure they wouldn't have even missed it. In fact, I bet they could afford to buy me a car or put a down payment on a house for me - two things that would greatly increase the quality of life for me and for Elliot - without much effort or sacrifice.

I wrote a letter because I was too chickenshit to ask on the phone. I got a letter back a few weeks later telling me that, since they are retired, they won't be giving me any money. They didn't even offer to pay off some of it. In the letter, which was short and stiffly worded and could have been written to a complete stranger, my dad wrote that noone ever helped him and that I could do it on my own. He also said that he knows I can have a good life and that I need to take it one step at a time. Um...ok. Thanks for all the great advice and general motivational platitudes.

Putting aside that dad has yet to give me any useful advice on being a single parent (I asked him once who looked after me and brother when we were very young and he replied "You were in daycare, I guess"), I take great exception to the statement that noone ever helped him. That is so not true, and it offends me to the core that he would write this. I know he thinks women are silly and stupid, but it just so happens that he would've been up an even bigger creek in his life had a whole army of women not stepped in to help him.

First, his mother - my grandma. A woman who always acted as a surrogate mother to me and who let him live in her house rent-free with his children, stepchildren, and wife number 3 and who took my brother and me for nearly the entirety of the three-month summer holidays until we were old enough to stay on our own. She is the only one I can remember from childhood who actually took an interest in me and seemed to actually enjoy planning outings and activities for us and spending time with and talking to us. She has a lot of faults, but I love my grandmother dearly. If he doesn't see and appreciate how much she helped him then he's blinder and more ignorant than I thought.

Second, my biomom's sister(s). My biomom has two sisters, and, after biomom left, I was told by my brother that at least one of the sisters stepped forward to watch us. My brother told me that when the time came for her to stop watching us, she felt like her own children were going away. That's how close she was to us at the time.

Third, his various wives. Dad has been married four times, in total, and, from what I hear, wives number 2 and 3 were pretty much psycho. I don't know if they did more harm than good, but I know they at least worked and presumably contributed to the family finances. Wife number 4 has been around since I was 7 and, while she caused mostly only headaches where interpersonal relations with the kids were concerned, she earned a decent salary as a bank manager and contributed well to overall family finances. Considering the supposition that money seems to be the only thing dad cares about, you would think he would consider this as someone helping him along the way. I mean, even my stepmother herself snarled at me one day that I wouldn't have a roof over my head or food in my mouth if it weren't for her. Though she was a nasty bitch for even saying it, she may have been right.

Fourth, my brother. My brother is 3 years and 8 months older than me. He was 4 when biomom left, and, after that time, he remembers changing my diapers and generally taking care of me. Grandma told me that Brian probably took more care of me than dad did. I asked her where dad was during all this time, and she said says she didn't know but that she stepped in so much not for my dad's sake but for the sake of us kids. I know my dad was working like a beast and going to college at night at the same time - a move that paid off very handsomely for him in the long run. Plus, it must take a lot of effort to meet, woo, marry, and divorce several different women in a short amount of time. He proved that he could work hard and dedicate himself to things that would presumably improve his financial and personal circumstances. My question is why he never put as much effort into being a loving and devoted father to us kids.

Lastly, he should be thanking my brother and me for being relatively hassle free and for looking after ourselves so much of the time without burning the house down. I swear, we were on our own so often that we could have gotten up to way more shit than we did. We got up to some hijinks, to be sure, but, all things considered, we were pretty good (that he knows of).

So, in conclusion, my dad had help from everyone under the sun when it came to being a single father. That he either doesn't remember this or doesn't value it enough to NOT say that he never had help from anyone speaks volumes in support of the person I know him to be.

To avoid being an ungrateful bastard myself, I want to express gratitude to C* for being a loving and devoted father to Elliot. Every week, he faithfully has Elliot two nights and pays child support. Without these things, my life would be much harder than it is, and Elliot would be much worse off for not having a father. I also want to express gratitude to all the wonderful women who have looked after my daughter so well while I'm at work and to my friend, Jane, who has helped me out in a pinch. Last, but not least, I owe the Scottish government a lot for the benefits I get which allow me to have a decent quality of life while working part time as a single parent. Without all this help, Elliot and I would surely not have a roof over our heads or food in our mouths.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving?

I didn't really do much for Thanksgiving this year. Last year, I did the whole turkey, mashed potato, cornbread thing with a few added British extras like roasted carrots and potatoes and Yorkshire puddings. The menu this year included baked salmon and rice. Not exciting, but nice, nonetheless.

Tomorrow, Elliot and I are going to Simpson's Garden Centre to meet a few other fellow Americans for lunch as a belated Thanksgiving event. Santa Claus is touching down in a helicopter around half 10, so I said we'd be there around 11 or half past.

What? Doesn't Elliot want to see Santa arrive in his chopper? No. I already told her Santa doesn't exist. Doesn't exist, you say? But, of course he does! He's the physical embodiment of charity and giving and blah, blah, blah. Hm. Don't think so.

I don't know why everyone protects the "existence" of Santa Claus as if it were some kind of worldwide imperative and why people get so upset to hear that a parent has told her child that Santa doesn't exist. It's not like I told her that monsters hide under her bed and are waiting for her to go to sleep so they can rip out her throat and play volleyball with her still-beating heart. Oh, wait. I did that, too. My bad!

I'm a shitty mum.

I'm horrible.


Seriously, people are so protective of the Santa lie. The only thing I can think of is they feel horribly guilty for propagating the bullshit all the while trampling over the dignity of their children and taking advantage of their children's trust. They never bothered to figure out that this is, in fact, what they are doing by admonishing their children to believe in fictional characters in the first place. I swear to Christ, some people are just so used to parenting in a sheeplike fashion, no thought at all put into it. Well, MY parents did it and THEIR parents did it and my UNCLES did it to their kids, they say, so I do it to mine!

Fine. You go ahead and lie to them and rape and pillage their trust. It's up to you what you do with and to your kid. I'm not telling you not to. But the way I see it, you made the mistake. Get over it. I didn't. Get over that, too. I haven't derided you for your decision (until now), so leave me the fuck alone about mine.

In other news, as of 4:30 pm eastern standard time yesterday, the parents still hadn't bothered returning my brother's phone call from the day before asking if they were doing anything with grandma for Thanksgiving. In recent years, the parents and brother and sister-in-law would make the annual pilgrimage to Cracker Barrel, grandma's favourite restaurant, for some good Turkey Day fun. Brian wanted to know if they were doing it again this year. My parents didn't call back Wednesday. And, upon checking all his various phones in the time between visiting in-laws and visiting biomom's side of the family, he found that they had not phoned him back yet as of 4:30 on Thanksgiving Day. I'm wondering if they ever ended up contacting him at all.

Update: As of 5 p.m. on Nov. 29, the parents still have not called my brother back about getting together on Thanksgiving. This is all the more rude and insulting considering that my brother went to their house a few weeks ago and helped them set up some sort of GPS system. I think it's really fucking disgusting that they continue calling him to help them with all sorts of technical problems (mobile phone, computer, GPS) and they don't treat him with much dignity or respect beyond that. And when he does finally talk to them, it seems like stepmom blames HIM for their lack of communication. They really are warped in every possible way. I hope they aren't surprised if he decides not to take care of them in their old age. But he probably will - no matter how they treat him. He's the good son. And that's what good sons do.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


At counsellor number one this morning (yes, I have two!), I was talking about my parents (what's new?) and my blog, blah, blah, blah. I haven't seen this counsellor in a couple of months, so I was giving him a general update on my mood, what's going on in my life, my thoughts, and things that are currently bothering me or are on my mind.

We started talking specifically about my father and about the relationship we've had (or haven't had) since I moved out of the house and how it has changed (and not changed) since I was a child and after I grew up, moved out, moved on, got married, and had a child of my own.

It comes as no surprise that my father and I haven't had that great of a relationship in a very, very long time, if ever. When I was a child, dad was a god to me. The sun rose and set on him, and he could do no wrong. So it follows that when there are nasty things he's saying and doing or nice things that go unsaid or undone, it is all how it should be. It's the right way. It's just how things are done. It's what I deserve.

Then I grew beyond his view of things and started to have my own ideas. I started thinking that maybe he wasn't right. That the way he did things - things he said and things he didn't say or didn't do - wasn't necessarily the right way, just the way things were done in OUR family. That maybe he wasn't the great guy I had once thought. I started sometimes registering my upset at his hurtful words, at his inability to be there for either my brother or I in any meaningful way, and he couldn't deal. Instead of just sitting there and taking his barbed words like I did when I was a child or in my teens and twenties, I started sometimes objecting to his behaviour. Every time I did that, he would just tell me he was never talking to me again, and then he would hang up on me. Time went on and on with us sometimes speaking (briefly and superficially) but mostly not.

The last overtly hurtful thing my dad said to me was right after I told him I was pregnant and getting married. Right after I told him, he asked if I was going to register at the Salvation Army thrift shop and proceeded to snigger and guffaw at his hilariously snarky comment as only he can do. I'm not sure exactly what he meant by that, but it smacked of him thinking I'm some kind of scumbag. In any event, I didn't (and don't) see it as a very appropriate or thoughtful thing to say when your only daughter announces she's getting married. But I didn't say anything about it at the time. Like when I was a child, a deep sense of something close to shame washed over me. I felt like a child again, hurt and confused. Wanting love and acceptance but getting kicked in the teeth. I just sat there and let him be him that day but retaliated later by completely ignoring both of them at the wedding. And I mean completely. I didn't even want them there.

Since then, dad has either been eerily uncommunicative or has had only brief and superficial conversations with me. I can't be sure why as he would never tell me, so I can only suppose that maybe he realises he always (and I mean always) says the exact wrong thing to me and he's trying to avoid any strife. Maybe he doesn't feel free to talk to me like I'm an idiot anymore so he doesn't want to talk to me at all. Maybe he feels like he's been caught out now that I have a child and potentially understand what real love is between a parent and a child. That I understand and can fully see now how parents who love their child should be. Maybe he realises or fears that I now see how his own feelings toward me have always been so deficient and stunted and ringed with disdain. Maybe he is once and for all truly afraid or remorseful or ashamed? Maybe he can't bear these feelings so he responds by not responding?

Or maybe he just doesn't give a flying fuck and has finally convinced himself somehow that I never was worth any of it from the beginning, after all, and that losing me (and his granddaughter) is no real loss, anyway.

Maybe it's a combination of all or some of the above. But one thing is for sure: I will never, ever know for certain.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

More dreams

I dreamt last night that I was being fired from a job from which I was actually fired, a public relations agency in Tallahassee, all over again - a dream I have on a periodic basis. In the dreams, I am ultimately rehired and then sit there for the rest of the dream in a panic worried and wondering if I've got what it takes to keep working there and not just be fired all over again - and again - and again - and again. I'm so tired of this dream. One: it feels so real every time I dream it. Two: The actual firing from this place was over-the-top traumatic and resulted in therapy, antidepressants, and a PTSD diagnosis. For anyone who has never had PTSD, I don't recommend it. It's not fun.

The other night, I dreamt that C* and I were breaking up all over again, this just on the eve of me turning in my application for legal aid that will cover the cost of our divorce. I'm just wanting this whole mess to be over, for me and C* to finally be once and for all completely over. Like most other things in my life, marriage was one complete and utter disappointment, a mistake I am most unlikely to ever repeat.

I can confidently say that I have absolutely no plans of future marriage or of even ever being in a romantic relationship again. I have come to realise that I'm just not cut out for it, and my expectations are just really, really out of this stratosphere these days. Considering these expectations and going on past experience, I don't see myself ever liking someone else enough to want them around ALL THE TIME - hogging the remote, expecting me to clean up their messes, taking time and attention away from my daughter, demanding that I put up with their shoddy treatment. It's just not in me anymore. I simply don't have the energy.

That said, my life will be simpler but perhaps more lonely and certainly filled with considerable financial strains and hardships. Ah, well. What's a girl to do?

Monday, November 12, 2012


Last night, I had bad dreams.

That's nothing new or unusual. I have been having bad dreams my entire life. Sometimes, I wake up crying or talking, finishing the sentence in my dream as I'm waking up. Most times, I wake up with a deep feeling of unhappiness or dread. I'm not sure why I have bad dreams. Perhaps they are just my mind's way of playing out the negative thoughts that run through my head at various times throughout the day, of playing out the crushing disappointments, frustrations, and abandonment that I revisit and revisit and revisit.

Last night's dreams involve people being nasty to me. I can't go into details as I don't remember any, but some of it involved K****, and it had something to do with rejection.

I was just rereading old posts from 2007 and came across this one. It is making me very sad. I had forgotten that my dad laughed at me when I crapped out on my LSAT and then told me he was never talking to me again and hung up on me after I told him I didn't like him laughing at me. Interesting that some people think they can treat other people any way they want to but the other person isn't allowed to say anything about it. I guess it has to do with his perceived power and dominence over me. It's also pretty clear that there's a serious lack of love, regard, or respect for me as well.

I was telling a friend earlier that I know I just need to forget about my parents completely. But how do I do that? Can someone tell me how?

Saturday, November 03, 2012

96 bottles of beer on the wall...

So I get this text message last night from CF replying to a text I had sent him a week ago asking how he was doing. CF and I have kept in touch sporadically through infrequent texts and contact on Facebook. Mostly, a million annoying pokes from CF on Facebook. We have only ever met in person once and have only talked on the phone three times or so since then. I met him on Plenty of Fish, a dating site that, considering the vast array of mouthbreathers who can't even spell or have one original thought, should be renamed Plenty of Fucktards.

So, in case you don't remember, CF has a fiancee who lives in England. They travel quite often to see each other and keep in touch a bit on Facebook as well, where they post strange public proclamations of undying love and show off their tattoos of the others' name. Last time I was on the phone with him, we talked briefly about meeting up again sometime in person but have not talked since, and, supposedly, his fiancee had seemed supportive of he and I meeting up in person for a catchup.

So, this text. I sent him an innocent text just asking how he was doing and I get this text back a week later saying things were fantastic because his fiancee had been in town for the week. Then he tells me not to text him anymore but to keep in touch only on Facebook to "keep things on an even keel" at his house regarding his fiancee. He said he wouldn't like her receiving texts from her male Facebook friends, and he ended the text with a cheeky grin emoticon!

The cheeky grin did not lessen the sting but somehow enhanced it. So completely clueless. How does someone send a text saying "I don't want to be real-life friends with you anymore" and then end it with a cheeky grin?

OK. I can't even comprehend this right now.

OK. I will now attempt to deconstruct.

As best as I can figure out, this text means one of two things:

1.  He's full of shit. His fiancee isn't or wouldn't be angry about the text but, for whatever reason, he has decided he just wants inane comments or pokes from me on Facebook; or

2.  His relationship is completely insecure and filled with jealousy and unrealistic/controlling demands. In that case, I don't think my text is his biggest problem.

My first instinct was to get mad and to be hurt. CF and I had been more than Facebook friends, I thought. We have talked about really personal things on the phone and shared all our problems with each other. The last conversation we had on the phone had been really good.

I immediately wrote out a text in response asking him if he was kidding. Deleted that. I thought about writing another text asking him if he was crazy. I thought about writing another text telling him that he needs to get some trust in his relationship. I thought about writing another text saying that he should just be honest and tell me he doesn't want to be friends with me anymore. But I never wrote out another reply, and I will not be sending him one.

The only reason for replying would be to somehow try and bolster my wounded ego. But he and his cheeky grin have shown me what he thinks of me in the end, and some people just aren't worth the effort. One good thing about Facebook: The "delete" button is just so easy to use.

Now, I have one less bottle of beer.

Friday, November 02, 2012


Halloween was one of the holidays we celebrated as a family when my brother and I were young. I used to love going out door to door that one time of year, my parents standing at the road and my brother and I traipsing from doorway to doorway in pursuit of massive amounts of treats.

Need I say here that my parents are highly regimented, both in their behaviours and in their choice of activities. If something isn't planned two months in advance, it doesn't happen. And I grew up with my parents doing and saying the same things every night from the time I can remember until I moved out of the house. Special occasions - holidays - were out of the norm, exotic...different. It wasn't just come home from school, eat an apple, watch TV, parents get home and drink a glass of iced tea and change into their home clothes and make and eat dinner before switching off for the night in front of the TV. Halloween nights involved my brother and I in their evenings, the four of us together doing something, and I savour the memories.

I was a hobo for Halloween one year, but I don't remember any other costumes. I don't remember any of my brother's costumes, either, except for the one he wore when he was 16 or so and going out on his own with friends in a ninja outfit with nunchucks and prowling around people's gardens only to have the cops called on him and be forced to call my dad from the police station. But that was a different time altogether.

On these nights, when we were young, when we lived at the apartment complex near Tampa Bay, there were millions of kids out scouring the streets on Halloween nights. And every Halloween that we went prowling, every door opened, and every person gave yummy treats. My brother and I were focussed on the other kids, the next door, the next treat, so we didn't have great family conversation on these nights. But it was nice to all go out together, our parents waiting by the street for us to return. To be having their attention for a good part of the evening. And on to the next door. And the next.