Posterity Post # 1

30 07 2008

These are little snippets of my life that I do not want to forget. At the same time, I can’t always parlay each of these little vignettes into a full blown post, so I’m just going to jot down a few lines while the words, the moments, are still fresh in my memory. That way, when I forget, I’ll have this blog, and you dear readers, to remind me about the time…

We decided to take a walk over to a big, interesting statue in a park near our house, with the intention of reading the little plaque that would explain what exactly the statue was and why it was there. We told Neener and Roo that we were walking to the stature to read what was written on it, to see what we could learn, and off we went.As it turned out, there was no plaque. But there was indeed something written on the statue. Scrawled in poorly painted black graffiti letters on one side, the words “Dog Shit Park.” Neener reads, absorbs, and mutters to herself, “Dog shit park. We learned this is called dog shit park.” So now, I wait in eager anticipation of the day when she asks to go there again.

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Neener needed her finger nails cut. Manicure time, as I like to call it, making it sound fancier and much more appealing than it is. But this time, she resisted.

“I think I need my nails long,” she tells me.

“Why?” I ask, waiting for an answer that involves nail polish, being a young lady, or other such fanciness.

“Long finger nails make it easier for me to pick the boogers out of my nose.”

Very fancy indeed.





Don’t Call Me Mommy

27 07 2008

The other day, the Globe and Mail, with its well-manicured, heirloom jewelery laden finger planted firmly on the dull pulse of guffawing babyboomers nationwide, published this little blurb in its Social Studies section, under the title Word Watch:

Mommybloggers: Mothers who start online journals about their lives. A handful, Carrie Kirby writes in the San Francisco Chronicle, have taken blogging from a sanity-saving hobby to a career, and many others are collecting at least a little extra income through their blogs. A few have even landed book deals.

Which got me thinking, Christ I hate the word Mommy. Almost as much as I hate the Globe and Mail. Now, that’s not to say that I don’t still read it, but the reason why I’m forced to do so is a post for another day. Nor to say that my kids don’t call me Mommy. They do, and I’m completely okay with that. And I regularly refer to myself as Mommy when I’m talking to them. As in, “Roo, Mommy told you not to lick the peanut butter off the birdfeeder. Or “Neener, Mommy thinks it’s a better idea carry that harmonica in your pocket, instead of down the back of your underwear.” Or “Ok Squiggles, Mommy needs her boob back. Now.” But, I never refer to myself as a Mommy outside of the context of speaking directly to my kids. Ever. Why? Ummm, have you ever met women who do that? Women who giggle and chirp out phrases like “What do I do? Oh, I’m just a Mommy!” Or “Being a Mommy makes me feel soooo complete!” Or “Hey, why don’t you come to my house for a Mommy spa and scrapbooking sleepover this weekend! It’ll be just us Mommies!” And there’s not even a trace of sarcasm in their voices, or a glint of ‘wink-wink nudge-nudge we’re actually gonna do tequila shots and moon the neighbours’ in their eyes. But you just know that deep down inside, that woman who goes around calling herself a Mommy is actually a seething ball of rage. That her kids were the accidental byproduct of a dark broom closet and a bottle of lemon gin. That when she blathers on about how she loves to pamper her husband, she is actually talking about the fight they had last night during which she biffed a shitty diaper at his head. And just like you, the thought of a Mommy spa and scrapbooking sleepover weekend is enough to make her brain liquefy and drip out her ears. But Mommy is sanitized. Sugar coated. Diminutive. Non-threatening. Mommy is nice and cute and sweet, and not a force to reckoned with because she is too busy buffing the floor and making sure no one sees her dirty laundry. Figuratively or literally. Mommy can be patted on the head and told ‘There, there dear.’ In short, Mommy is just not me. The patronizing bastard who tries to pat me on the head is bound to get an arm bitten off.

So naturally, the term Mommyblogger makes me paw the ground and snort flames. In this article, Carrie Kirby talks about how an overwhelming majority of the top blogs are written by men, despite the fact that blogging is an activity pretty evenly split among men and women. Why is that? I think a lot of it has to do with what women tend to write about. We don’t often write about important things like sports, or video games, or political commentary, or porn. We tend to write about insignificant stuff. Like trying to birth and raise the next generation in a world where sports and video games and political blowhards are dictating what kind of porn we should watch. So, most women’s writing falls into the category of Mommyblogs, it seems. And maybe that’s the problem, the term mommyblog. It smacks of condescension. Of patriarchy. Like that because the focus of your writing is your experience as a mother, it need not be taken seriously, because, well, you’re just a Mommy. This little online journal about your Mommy life is just your sanity-saving Mommy hobby. The modern equivalent of making macramé plant hangers, or going to tupperware parties. Nevermind the fact that, as Carrie Kirby points out, many so-called Mommybloggers are foul-mouthed, smart ass guttersnipes like myself. And some of us are even writers, not just Mommies looking for a place to gush about lil’ Jacob’s first poop on the big boy toilet, or how a warm bubble bath can wash away all your troubles, or how fulfilling it is to be just a Mommy. Mommyblog writers can be patted on the head, given a few bucks a month for having cleaning product and diet pill ads on her blog so all her Mommy friends will see them, and told ‘There, there, dear Mommyblogger. You just keep writing in your little online journal so you don’t accidentally go crazy and think you might someday be a real writer. Or try to bite my arm off.’

Semantics bitchfest and quasi-feminist haranguing aside, I realize that there really isn’t a better option in the lexicon. So, much like the movements to take back words like bitch and cunt and turn them into symbols of power and strength, maybe ‘Mommybloggers’ like me need to stick our tongues in our cheeks and embrace the term that would otherwise attempt to soften and dismiss us. Maybe we need to highlight the irony of calling professional, gritty, talented female blog writers, whose topic of expertise happens to be motherhood, by such an unprofessional, cutesy, mindless name. Maybe we should encourage cutesy mindless names for all types of blogs. Businessy Whizznessy Blogs. Sporty Guy Blogs. Polly Wolly Tickle Commentary Blogs. Or maybe it’s enough for me to take a personal stand on it. Unless I’ve given birth to you, or unless you plan on offering me one whore of a pile of money for the right to publish my writing, don’t refer to me as a Mommy anything. Ever. I’ve got a foul mouth full of sharp teeth, and I’m not afraid to use them.





Every Day is Tacky Day!

24 07 2008

Ever since Neener and Roo were old enough to shriek ‘you’re not the boss of me’ about three years old, I have been too guilty and exhausted to fight with them about letting them pick out their own outfits. Apparently, this is good for them because it gives them a false sense of control over their lives, and helps curtail my obsessive nagging develop their decision making abilities. This was a very difficult thing for me to do because, as I believe I’ve mentioned before, I am a control freak a little particular about some things. When they were little, I relished my job as the boss of them Mom the Chief Wardrobe Consultant. Their clothes were not particularly fancy or expensive, but under my watch, they were at least well co-ordinated. Both individually, and as a pair. I will admit that on occasion, I couldn’t resist dressing Neener and Roo the same. What else can you do when people are suckers for the cloned baby look keep giving you gifts of identical outfits? Or when you need to make it blatantly obvious that you’re the mother of twins so that people might feel sorry for you cut you some slack, and not give you as many dirty looks when you your kids start screaming in the eye gougingly slow line up in Zellers. But most of the time, I tried to demonstrate that I was coherent enough to get them both decently dressed their individual personalities in the clothes I picked out for them. But once they started putting together their own great big fashion don’ts outfits, it became apparent that my selections had overlooked a huge part of their individual personalities : the insane circus clown creative part.

At first, it was just Neener who dressed like a big nut job embraced the chance to take creative liberties with her clothing. Long sleeved blue and yellow striped shirt? Check. Layered with red ‘Kids Belong in a Zoo’ t-shirt? Check. Pink and purple floral print pants? Check. Two pairs of underwear? One underneath and one over top of pink and and purple floral print pants? Oh hell yes! Meanwhile, Roo, who struggled with some sensory issues, making choices, and the gross motor control needed to get herself dressed, would still let me help her just go for whatever was easy. A plain t-shirt and plain leggings. A no-frills dress. Or a tutu from the costume box, over the pajamas she wore to bed on days when I didn’t have the ambition to attempt leaving the house. But now that she’s finally fed up with my vaguely tasteful influence able to do the whole dressing thing more independently, Roo is also happily letting her own freak flag fly sense of style emerge. With a red and black plaid skirt, rainbow striped tights, a hot pink t-shirt, and of course, a tiara. And these days, along with ensuring that they look anything but identical, it’s all about the accessories for both girls. Plastic crowns, copious beads, bracelets, butterfly wings, multiple pony tails, barettes, rubber boots and DIY crayola marker tattoos for Roo. Multiple headbands worn in multiple directions, capes, purses, a red fleece Elmer Fudd hat, and odd shoes on the wrong feet for Neener. Leave it to my kids to take the typical, and now apparently trendy clash fashion of the five year old set to a whole new level of weirdness.

So, I’ve bit my tongue so hard it bled, and cuffed my own hands behind my back learned to back off. Yes, my kids look downright silly sometimes. But here’s a newsflash: My kids are downright silly. They’re kids. They’re supposed to be. I put my serious reservations about mixing plaids and pokadots with Elmer Fudd hats pride aside, and let my kids dress however they feel happy and comfortable, even if it triggers seizures in anyone with a modicum of fashion sense who is sensitive to seeing 5 different patterns and 16 colours sharing the space on one butt waggling child. But since I’ve elected to let my kids get as creative as their little wacky little hearts desire, I now can’t help but notice parents who are clearly much bigger control freaks than me who just can’t quit being their child’s Chief Wardrobe Consultant. And honestly, I’m not sure how or why they continue do it once their kids are old enough to do it on their own. Maybe they give their kids a few tasteful outfit options rather than letting them loose in the closet. Maybe they only fill that closet with classic mix and match pieces in chic colours like Boring navy blue, Green’s Snooty Cousin khaki, Little Miss Prissy Pants pastel pink, and Don’t You Dare Get Dirty white. Or maybe they spend chunks of time with their child, probably right from infancy, instilling the importance and principles of dressing like a proper little adult, instead of doing utterly unimportant and childish things like drawing on their legs with markers. Or digging in the dirt. Or trying to figure out which tutu goes best with a pair of satin pajama pants and a frog toque.

Last year at school, Neener and Roo came home with a note from their junior kindergarten teacher announcing that they’d be dressing up for tacky day. Naturally, my kids needed to know that tacky had nothing to do with getting jabbed by tacks what tacky meant before they’d agree to go along with it, and so I explained that tacky meant wearing crazy clothes that didn’t match. To which Neener replied ” Oh. Well, every day is tacky day at our house.” And so it is. And I’m starting to be almost insanely proud of rather enjoy it. I know that in ten years time, I’ll long for the days when my biggest objection to their choice of outfit was that their striped shirt and flowered pants didn’t exactly go with the four head bands. And someday, Neener and Roo might each end up a lot like me: a plain, black clothes kind of girl, with little desire to draw much attention to wardrobe. But, like me, their closets may still harbour a secret stash of crazy, creative accessories. A blinged to the brim turquoise belt. Shiny silver tango shoes. A drawer full of odd socks. So for now, I’m content to let every day be tacky day for Neener and Roo. At least Squiggles will have no choice but to humour me need me to pick out her clothes for a couple more years. That is, until Neener and Roo’s start passing on their clashin’ fashion advice to their baby sister, and the red fleece Elmer Fudd hat and the rainbow striped tights become hand-me-downs. And until Squiggles figures out how to put on her own clothes and shriek ‘you’re not the boss of me.’






Jog Jog Jiggy Jog

16 07 2008

Ten years ago, there were three things I never could have pictured myself doing: Having kids (I convinced myself that I was ‘too selfish’ to be a mother); quitting smoking (oh how I loved my cigarettes); and running (unless I was being chased. Which happened more than I care to remember.) Clearly, the last decade has brought sweeping, previously unimaginable changes. I quit smoking almost seven years ago, have mothered my formerly selfish self to smithereens for the past five years, and just the other day I went for my very first run.

Well, technically not my very first. At the ripe old age of four I was an avid pretend runner. I wore hot pink terry cloth shorts and sang my little heart out as I trotted around our yard. Jog jog jiggy jog/ jog jog jiggy jog /jog jog jiggy jog/ all day long. Turned out I liked singing the song far more than I liked the actual jog jog jiggy jogging. And then there was high school gym class. But that was not so much running as it was my feet being dragged along by my teenage-hormone addled brain, attempting to propel me closer to guys with cute asses (oh how I loved cute asses.) As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not exactly the athletic type. Or the co-ordinated type. Or even the remotely physically competent type.

And technically, what I’m doing is not quite running. Yet. It’s more like short bursts of my signature short-legged, run-like trot interspersed with longer bursts of my signature short-legged, walk-like butt waggle. With awkward clenched-fisted arm flops, and a grimace of thinly veiled discomfort thrown in for effect. What I’m actually doing is called the Couch To 5 K program. It’s designed to ease non-runners into the wonderful world of running, allowing for the gradual improvement of stamina, speed and form. And that’s what I’m after here: a better form. My foray into running was inspired by the trauma of seeing some recent photographs of myself. The kind that make you pause as your scroll through the pictures on your camera, and think ‘Whoah, who’s thunder thighs are thosoohmigod, THAT’S ME! DELETE! DELETE! DELETE!’ Unless of course, the pictures are on someone else’s camera, in which case all you can do is cry. Or kick that person in the shins and take their camera before they go and splash your fat ass all over facebook. And just as those photos revealed too clearly that my healthy eating habits were not doing the trick in getting my pre-Squiggles body back, I received the extra inspiration I needed to start exercising again. It arrived in my email inbox in the form of my weekly Bliss Note, which just happened to be about the joys of running. It came just in the nick of time, before I did something really stupid. Like try to take up extreme BMX trick mountain biking.

My first run around the neighbourhood went something like this:

5 minute brisk walk- No problem.

1 minute jog – Not much problem.

2 minute brisk walk – No problem except that my pants keep falling down. (Mental note: Get new running pants.)

1 minute jog – No problem except that I need a drink of water but forgot my bottle at home.

3 minute brisk walk back home to get water bottle. Neener and Roo are thoroughly impressed by my profuse sweating and water glugging abilities.

1 minute jog – I notice several crows circling overhead and become very concerned that they know something I don’t. Like they can smell the sweet stench of soon-to-be carrion in my novice jogger perspiration.

2 minute brisk walk – No problem except I am now very paranoid about the crows who seem to be following me. So, like a good paranoid lunatic, I caw at them until they leave me alone.

1 minute jog – Getting….a little…tired. Wonder if maybe the crows were trying to offer me a lift back home, and kick myself for rejecting the offer.

2 minute walk – Small svelte woman, obviously a real runner, zips past me. Jealousy of her cute ass propels me forward. (Oh, how I’d love a cute ass.)

1 minute jog – I worry that it looks like I’m chasing the small, svelte woman running in front of me, and that people passing by may start yelling to her “Look out, there’s a big girl chasing you! And she looks hungry!”

5 minute brisk walk – I am hungry. And tired. And still alive no thanks to my loose pants or the crows. Better quit while I’m ahead.

All in all, it wasn’t too bad. Made me feel pretty damn proud of myself, actually. But the best part came when I arrived home to see Neener doing laps on the lawn. When she saw me, she shouted a little breathlessly “Mommy! Look! I’m out running just like you!” And sure enough she was. Falling down pants, awkwardly flopping arms, face screwed up in a funny grimace and all. Suddenly I got a bit of a second wind. So Neener and I ran around on the lawn and sang our favourite jog jog jiggy jogging song together. And now I can’t wait to do it again.





Postcard from Autism Land #3

14 07 2008

The other day, Mr. and I came across some video clips of Neener and Roo when they were seven months old. The same age as Squiggles now. Seeing those videos affected me very deeply, and in ways I had not anticipated. Of course there was the warm fuzzy nostalgia of seeing my firstborns back when they were relatively new, giggling and wiggling around. And naturally, it got me thinking about those early days. About how there were two babies in my inexperienced 26 year old hands. About how there were twice the diapers, twice the feedings, and half the sleep that we are now experiencing with Squiggles. It dawned on me that having twin babies must have been really hard, which is something I rarely stop to acknowledge. If I’d thought about how tough it was at the time, I could have quickly become overwhelmed and depressed. Lucky for me, I did not have the luxury of time to feel sorry for myself. I had two giggling, wiggling babies who needed me to put my hair up in a ponytail on top of my head and scurry around on my hands and knees, barking and sniffing, in a game we called Fluppy Dog. I had forgotten all about Fluppy Dog until I saw those videos.

The unexpected thing that dawned on me was that those videos were from the ‘Before Time.’ They were made about two months before we knew we were looking at a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy for Roo, and long before we knew anything about Autism. Like most people, Autism was just an abstract concept to us. It was this thief-in-the-night type thing that went around snatching little boys, turning them into all-rock, no-talk hollow shells of children with crucial pieces missing from their puzzling lives, while their devastated parents could only hunt for a cause and a cure for this ‘disease.’ We were essentially ignorant of all things Autistic, save for the few half-truths and misguided metaphors we’d picked up from the odd bits of media coverage. Autism was not something we had to think or worry about back then. Which is probably a good thing since we already had our hands and minds full. But almost immediately, I felt a pang of envy watching that younger, more naive me playing and singing with my babies. I was gloriously unaware that raising those babies would be complicated by the many bumps and detours in Autism Land. Carefree compared to the me of today. Seeing the bliss in my own past ignorance made tears well up in my eyes.

Then, as I watched these little vignettes of Neener and Roo at seven months old, I couldn’t help but look for signs that might have hinted at the road ahead. Especially since doctors and researchers now think they can spot early indicators of autism by six months of age. Of course, there were many things that we, and the many doctors we dealt with, missed along the way. But they only seem obvious in retrospect. Roo lagged a bit in her gross and fine motor skills. And she had some quirks: A serious aversion to certain sounds, and any kind of talking toys; spells of staring off into space; selective hearing and odd eye contact; no fear of unfamiliar faces or places. And even as a baby, there was always something different about her vocalizations, her cooing, and her speech development, compared to Neener’s. Something I could never quite put my finger on, and ultimately didn’t worry about because all the professionals I spoke to and the books I consulted told me not to. From the time she was two months old, Roo was on medication for grand-mal seizures, so much of her odd behaviour was chalked up to her daily dose of phenobarbital. And she never exhibited any of those big red flags that the handy little autism awareness checklists and pamphlets in the paediatrician’s office tell you to look for. Those same handy checklists and pamphlets also happened to lead my cousin to spend a few thousand dollars in speech therapy, and many nights in worried tears over the development of her very un-autistic son. Meanwhile, my actually-autistic daughter slipped beneath the radar for years because no one knew or thought to look beyond the narrow parameters of a checklist, and the even narrower assumptions of how an autistic child looks and acts.

I also wondered if we would have done anything differently if we’d known about Roo’s autism when she was a baby. Probably. Would it have been better for her and for us? Maybe not. As much as I understand the benefit and logic of early intervention, I think for us, there could have been such a thing as too-early intervention. Knowing too much too soon could have quickly and permanently tipped my careful balance between stress and bliss too far in the wrong direction. Granted, I do wish we’d realized it was autism we were dealing with – and not just a defiant, disobedient child – a little earlier than we did. I might have been more patient and more understanding with Roo in those million little moments when it just seemed like she was being a spoiled brat, and trying to push my buttons. But then again, if we’d known any sooner, it might have influenced our decision to have another baby. I was almost two months pregnant with Squiggles when we got the first official inkling that Roo was autistic, and the actual diagnosis came a week before Squiggles was born. I can’t say for sure that we’d have done things very differently, but I tend to believe that the Universe unfolds as it does, when it does, for a reason. At least, my Universe does.

Even though it’s been a while since I’ve written a postcard from Autism Land, my regular posts – not to mention the day-to-day life of the Blister family – always have the threads of life on the autism spectrum woven throughout. Sometimes it’s stuff we can laugh at. Like the immense and loudly expressed joy Mr. and I felt when Roo was able to restrain herself from eating old stepped-on french fries from the floor of MacDonalds after only three verbal warnings. God, that was a great day! And other times, it’s anything but funny. The busyness of the last few weeks, and the sheer effort Roo makes just to hold herself together in so many contexts, has been catching up with us lately. We’ve had to extinguish multiple meltdowns, try to decipher many bouts of frustrated echolalia, and be vigilant in looking out for her safety when she has trouble doing it for herself. It is clear that even though we’ve moved half way across the country, we are still passport carrying citizens of Autism Land, just as we were back when those videos were made. Even though we didn’t know it then.

I still don’t have the luxury of time to dwell on the difficulties of our circumstances, or to sit around feeling sorry for myself or for Roo. She’s the same smiling, laughing, loving child she was in those videos, just older and a little more complicated. I’m older and perhaps more complicated too. But I’m also wiser. Wise enough to be glad that I didn’t know then what I know now. Wise enough to trust that my Universe has unfolded as it should. And wise enough to know when it’s time to stop analyzing old home movies, put Autism Land to the back of my mind, and go play a little game called Fluppy Dog with my three beautiful giggling, wiggling little girls.





A Day At The Beach. Literally.

12 07 2008

Today we spent a few hours on the beach. Not just any beach. The ocean. Crisp, clear, salt water waves crashing onto miles and miles of hot, golden sand.

Neener and Roo and I splashed in the water, and beheld the awe inspiring power of the waves, the tide, and the vastness of the Atlantic. Mr. played football, and Squiggles napped on the shore. I could become a surfer girl beach bum in a heartbeat. You never know, I just might. At least for this summer.

We dug holes in the sand. We wrote on rocks with hunks of charcoal from bygone bonfires. We played with piles of seaweed. We ignored the dusting of sand on our snacks and ate ’em anyway. I took pictures of my babies on the very same beach where Mr. and I had our wedding pictures done almost 7 years ago. It was a beautiful day. The kind of day that could only happen here and now. The kind of day that finally made me feel at home in this place.

So I’ll forget about the fact that we need to drive most everywhere to get anywhere. We can also drive to the beach. I’ll forget about not having that job I thought I needed. It’s much easier to be a surfer girl beach bum when you are working as a freelance writer. And I’ll forget about the fact that I have no friends here. I have my family. And I have the ocean. What more could I ask for?





Home is Where My Hummus Is

10 07 2008

It would be a significant understatement to say that I am not a great traveler. And I don’t just mean big long vacations to far away places. Any kind of travel. Week long descents into hell trips, overnight excursions, even traveling to someone else’s house for food that I did not prepare and is therefore subject to suspicion supper is tough for me. I hate driving and I hate flying. I hate hotels and I hate pull-out couches. I hate suitcases and I hate not having access to everything I own at any given moment. I am, in fact, a terrible traveler because I am, in fact, a giant control freak.

In the past week, the Blister family has hit the road on three consecutive afternoons to travel to three red meat o ramas barbeques. Then we drove four hours to spend a night at the Mr.’s mom’s house, followed by another night at the Mr.’s mom’s family’s lovely lakeside cottage, then another five hours on the road to get home. We’ve been surrounded by family, friends, food and lots and lots of booze fun for days, and although I had a fine time everywhere we went, and feel spiritually recharged, physically, I feel like there’s an angry, spoon wielding troll trying to dig his way out of my innards crap. I can appreciate the good parts of traveling – the people, the places, the new experiences that become cherished memories – but I can’t ignore the parts that make me detest being away from home for any length of time. My spastic colon and sciatic hip body just won’t let me. Too many days without my crazy hippie health freak usual diet of boneless skinless chicken breast, whole grains, chick peas, veggies and berries, and too many nights sleeping without my obsessively constructed cozily arranged nest of pillows makes for one bitchy Blister some considerable discomfort.

No doubt, some of my traveling discomfort is also born of stress. The kind of stress that most of you lucky bastards people who don’t have Squiggles the Dictator, Professor Neener, and Roo the Rock Eating Volcano Girl three children under the age of six can not even fathom. It takes an inordinate amount of time and space to pack up all the things we need for even the most basic day trip. The Blister Sisters have a rider explicitly stating that they require a fully loaded ipod with 50% Little People songs and 50% alternative rock, a dvd player with at least 3 Baby Einsteins to pick from, a dozen books including 4 from the Captain Underpants collection, two magnadoodles, a bag of assorted plush, musical and teething toys, and snacks (including but not limited to bottled water, cherry juice, peeled oranges, organic blueberries, marbled cheese strings, and smarties with all the brown ones removed) are easily entertained when we’re on the road, but the military precision with which we execute our travel plans inevitably takes its toll. Usually on my digestive system in the form of constipation, and on my nerves in the form of a relentlessly twitching eyeball. I’m Domestic Blister, and not the Well-Heeled Traveler for a reason, you see.

What it all boils down to is that my body is used to my bed, my food, and my bathroom. Even if my mind is enamored with the thought of running far far away to some exotic locale, possibly alone picturesque scenery, breaking away from routines, and family adventures, the fact remains that any extended deviation from the comforts of home causes my body to rebel. And travel is just one big pain in the ass deviation. So, I’ll be spending the next few weeks firmly planted at home, where I can hide from the life-on-the-road buffet of red meat and white bread, safe within the pureed garbonzo bean goodness of hummus and carrot sticks. Where each night my pillow nest waits for me and my sciatica to climb in at the crack of 9 pm a reasonable hour. Where my eyeball only twitches for half hour intervals, and if I’m going to be constipated, at least it’s on my own time and my own toilet. For the next few weeks, if anybody wants to pry this old barnacle from her rock, they’d better make me us a pretty sweet offer. Like the position of head chef, a king sized memory foam bed, and a private en suite bathroom stocked with laxatives and eye-twitch stopping pills. In the meantime, I’ll be making myself at home in the only place I truly can: My newly beloved Blisterdome. And you’re all welcome to visit. I’ve got a big tub o’ hummus waiting in the fridge.