Sunday, September 30, 2007

NFTN 16: Science Experiment Backfires

I mentioned doing science experiments with the kids, but I must go back and describe the one that backfired, back at the Shore: "The Impromtu Dissection."

When I was in high school, I was permitted to skip the dissection portion of biology. I had to do tapeworms, but I was able to opt out of dissecting frogs. I believe my parents advocated on my behalf, as they did when I requested to skip Sex Ed (for religious reasons).

But I did not want my personal feelings about dissection to interfere with a child's curiosity and learning experience. One day, out on the deck, Philip was catching little minnows. They were the half the size of my thumb. He would take them out of the water, and let them lay on the deck, panting for air. He did this over and over. I felt sorry for the fish, but thought, who knows, maybe this kid is a future scientist or doctor. So I tried to be encouraging. I crouched next to him and we examined the fish together. He asked a lot of questions, some which I couldn't answer. He said he wondered what it looked like on the inside. Uh oh...dissection came to my mind. I didn't know if I should cut open the fish, but thought if he was able to stand seeing them gasp for air, he could handle it.

So, trying not to grimace, I took a knife out. I told him what I could do, and asked him if he wanted me to first. He nodded eagerly. So, explaining as I went, I cut off the head of the fish. "We don't want it to suffer" I told him. Then, I sliced through the middle from the head end to the tail. Opening it up, I was just about to ask him what he thought, when he bolted upright and RUNS off the deck, yelling, "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!!!" Brian was nearby outside but hadn't been paying attention. Philip was totally agitated and said, "Daddy! She cut the fish! Cameo cut the fish up!" I don't think Philip was crying, but he was upset. Brian came over to me. Here I am, with a little steak knife in my hand. Brian looked at the fish that had been "dissected" and then he looked at me, with a terrible, "What did you do to my SON?!" look. I don't remember him saying anything. There was this glare as if I were some kind of sicko exposing the innocent to a spree-killing and he left. Philip looked at me with a strange satisfaction, as if pleased.

I remember thinking, "I don't even believe this..." but that thought crossed my mind quite often during those months.

NFTN 15: Headhunter

While Brian and Lisa were keeping me under their thumb, telling me I was young and didn't know anything when I requested payment for overtime work, they must have secretly thought I was doing a good job. Otherwise, they would not have asked me if there was someone like me from my church whom I could recommend for their friends, the Kaminoffs. This was after we were back at the house in Bedminster, in the Fall, after spending a summer at the Shore.

I heard Lisa discussing where the best househelp could be found, with a friend. They preferred young girls from the midwest or the northwest, who could be separated from their families, had a good work ethic, and who were preferably Christian. If a girl was Christian, there was a chance she was also more submissive and would tolerate mistreatment, "for Jesus".

I was an excellent nanny. I came very highly recommended to the Thebaults, with years of experience and written references. And I did not disappoint. I put everything into those kids, when I was with them, as I always did. I did not use television as a babysitter, and took them out for walks, and adventure, and played games with them. I structured activities and science experiments (the taste-test game, and the salt & pepper separation trick with a hairbrush, etc.), and I sang songs and made them laugh. We made art and we baked cookies. I played soccer with Philip, kicking a ball around and trying to keep up with him. Philip opened up to me and I listened to him talk as long as he liked.

I found out through my mother that one of my friends, Kelly, had said she'd like to try it and get away from all her boyfriends who were asking her to marry them. She was from a small town and we went to the same church; she did not want to marry young and wanted to see the East Coast. I would NOT have recommended her to a family like the Thebaults, but I figured she might have a better family to work for and she could decide. I told Brian and Lisa about Kelly and they arranged to have her speak with their friend. She got the job, sight unseen, mainly because my recommendations were valued and it was through my word-of-mouth. Kelly's family did turn out to be somewhat better. Andrea Kaminoff, her employer, was highly creative and more democratic. Not that there weren't problems, because there were, and Andrea grew increasingly difficult.

Brian flirted a bit with Kelly when I introduced her to the Thebault's. Which was interesting. Brian expressed attraction to Kelly more than he ever did with me, and when I later met the family Kelly worked for, I was the one the husband couldn't take his eyes off of. I figured it had to do with hair and body type. Both Lisa and Kelly were brunettes, and had curvaceous hips; Both Andrea and I were long-haired strawberry blonds with lean bodies and no chest. Luckily, my employer was not attracted to me and was always appropriate, as was the same for Kelly.

Kelly was very pretty, with long, curly, dark hair. She also had a soft lilting voice which seemed to enthrall most men, and she laughed easily. Kelly was also flirtaceous in her own way. It seemed she could put a spell on everyone. If a waiter asked her if she was ready to order, she would ask his opinion, and by her expressive attentiveness, had him wrapped around her finger within minutes. She had this sort of "chin resting in the palms of both hands" way of making a man feel he was the most fascinating person, and in turn, he was fascinated by her. Kelly and I shared some things in common: we had the same birthday, went to the same church, had both been Homecoming Queen at our high schools; we were also both attractive and independent and had withstood jealousies from other girls and women. Years later, after our nanny stints, Kelly went back to college and earned her degree in English Literature, which I also majored in. Our mothers both had and loved horses and we both grew up in the countryside and wanted to live in a larger city. We also both loved animals. Kelly met her future husband (whom she later divorced), who worked as a "manny" and was English, during her stay and after I changed families, and was able to go out in the evenings, we would all get together.

Having Kelly out there with me helped me to endure, and was witness to the drama.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Bear: Off-Roading in the Dirt

Hello Little Bear,

Before I forget, I kept wanting to write about this as you started doing this a few weeks ago...You save up your food in your mouth and then spit it out. I thought you were really enjoying your dinner, and you chewed, and opened for more,and more, and more...and then all of a sudden--plop, plop, plop, plop, out came your food.

This afternoon I took you to the park and we played. First on the jungle gym and then I followed you as you went exploring. You took off for the hills, my little mountain climber. We walked along the path, and ran, and then you wanted to go off-roading down dirt and rock trails that cut through sagebrush and were steep. And as I held your hand and your feet propelled you faster than ever, because it was steep, you began to laugh out loud. A couple of times your feet slid but I was still holding onto you. At the bottom, you wanted to climb back up. So you held my hand and climbed up. Over and over! Finally, I was tired, so I decided you could climb up on all fours and I would spot you from behind. So you did this a few times, and then decided to try to make it, all on your own, up this steep incline with slippery dirt and rocks, standing. You did it! I was shocked. How in the world...? You figured out how to balance and find your footing within a few tries. It was short, but it was steep. And then you began to run down without sliding. Laughing every single time. A couple of times, you purposefully slid down, on all fours, getting all dirty. You really rolled around in the dirt. You were covered.

So, since you managed to hike uphill without my help, on an uneven, rocky, and slippery path, I decided to stand back and see what else you would try. When we went downhill, it was too steep, so I held your hand. But you wanted to try it on your own. So I stood nearby and watch you. You were going to take a steep path and I didn't stop you, though I would have. You stopped yourself first, having assessed the incline. You decided to move over to one that was a little less steep. And, with one foot over the edge, a-rat-tat-tat-tat-tat, pitter-patted nimbly down the hill, to the bottom, and to the side. Not falling once. After you had both mastered going uphill all by yourself, and downhill, only THEN were you ready to move on.

That was really something to see. I wished I had a camcorder with me then.

NFTN 14: To Be Seen and Not Heard in America

In New Jersey, at least in the elite circles, product name brands should speak louder than the "help". It was a summer, in 1993, of new things which were hotly promoted, like "Snapple" (the East Coast tea version of the West Coast coffee craze), Tevas, wooden clogs, Calvin Klein, La Petite (children's clothing from France), and I've no idea what spirits were preferred as I did not drink and didn't care. The Thebault's dined on swordfish and clams, without fear of mercury contamination, and every kid had a "boogie-board". One must, of course, have the requisite sailboat if you are "anyone" at all. Roll out the mast at least once. And "Tommy, The Incredible Pinball Wizard (or whatever it was called)" was must-see Broadway fare. Vanity Fair was de rigeur for the coffetable. The labels and name brands spoke loudly. The Mercedes, and Lexus, and Volvos. The househelp, on the other hand, were not to utter a word, not to eachother, and especially, not to the guests.

I made the great mistake, at 18 years of age, of speaking to members of the Thebault's extended family who were also my age or younger, who were at Shore to visit. They were in the water, and the kids were playing near their cousins. I believe Christian (maybe a Beau?) was one and there was a girl too. They were talking about having just seen "Tommy" and raving. The kids, Philip, wanted to play near his cousins and was taking turns with them, and I guess I was supposed to just stand there and "spot" and not speak to anyone, even if they were right in front of me. I didn't know this, and inquired earnestly about the musical, as I've an interest in music. These cousins were among the rudest individuals I've had the misfortune to meet. It is very interesting, because among many who come from "Old Money" there is a certain code of conduct that CAN even include civility and good manners. Later in life, I did meet a few who were from families with money, but who at least made an attempt to be polite and who valued equality (in their own, well, still biased, endearing way). But these kids gave me short answers and looked at eachother rolling their eyes, and also flat-out ignored what I said, as if I wasn't there at all.

Lisa Thebault took me aside and told me she realized I was "young" and that I wanted to be social, but that I could not speak to the cousins and my job was to watch the kids, mute.

You see problems in the world, and in the U.S., and hear about corporate greed and the increasing divide between the rich and poor and loss of middle class; you see the rights of others trampled in favor of business, and witness measures in legislation that are shot down when it would help those who are disadvantaged, and see the massive amounts of corporate welfare dispensed by the government...And then you meet people like this and understand where it starts. It starts young. And I would wager, once these kids are out of their teens, there is no hope for a conversion or change of philosophy. They believe they are the center, and that people who work for them are absolutely inferior in every way, and should not be given ground to establish any kind of equality which might threaten their status or class. Class-climbing and social standing has no value where there is equality and the upper class have a great fear of any shift in their position. If their workers are not kept down, they cannot stay up--they are forced to stand on equal and level ground. When you work for the rich on the East Coast (which I believe is vastly different from West Coast "rich") you gain an understanding of the proletariat.

Capitalism thus far has been a sucessful experiment for the U.S. At first, it gave everyone a chance. Most people were starting out with the same deck of cards. That is no longer true.

Unfortunately, while the poor are pressured to use birth control and limit the children they have to two, the rich continue to breed families of six (four kids) and spread these kinds of attitudes to their children at an early age. It is also social and financial insurance, for the rich to have more children. Money begats money, begats children begats money. If one kid isn't a financial success, or mismanages the family funds, or is unable to secure a better social position through career, or marriage, there are at least 3 others to depend upon. Not to mention, 3 possibilities, if the right schools and colleges are selected, to find mates who will increase the family's net worth.

Lisa Thebault wanted Brian to go into politics. That's another excellent way to insure your assets...Be a part of the decision-making process that determines what laws and loopholes will work for the rich. Brian already WAS in politics and made contributions to the Republican party and had political friends. Lisa was oblivious to the costs of going into politics. Brian knew what it would mean--Nannygate and audits, and who knows what else. I can see where Lisa liked the idea of being the wife of a politician. She was a social climber from the start. She married into money, and if Brian got into politics, potentially, prestige and a new kind of honor that doesn't come with being the wife of a business owner would be hers: Fame.

Lisa used to have these outfits sent to the house, for her kids, which Christie liked and Philip hated. Philip wanted to wear comic T-shirts, not boring polo shirts. He was not given a choice. When Philip would play with the son of one of her servants, she fretted openly to me, saying this little boy was really not a proper companion but that Philip didn't have anyone else to play with at the house. She worried Philip would pick up bad manners or language from the kid, simply because his parents were poor and lower class. There was no evidence this little boy had either bad manners or inferior speech. It was simple class discrimination. The Prince and the Pauper would run around the house, having great fun, and it was tolerated. But there would be a day when he would no longer want to play with an "inferior". At that time, Philip wanted to ride the bus like this other little boy did. Lisa drove him to his private school.

When Lisa spent any time with the kids, she would dress them up, and then take them out for lunch. It was the only time, back at the house, that she spent time with them, and it seemed to be that she enjoyed showing them off to the public. They were sort of dolls to her. I asked her once if she thought she'd have more kids and she said, "I've always liked the number 4. I don't know, I like even numbers."

There is even more to be said, which I will continue to write, but my entrepreneurial inclinations were greatly affected by my experience with the Thebault's. It put such a bad taste in my mouth, to witness the attitudes of those with money, that I sought to distance myself from it.

I would find it fascinating to know whether there are any children from families like these, who were able to penetrate the superficiality, who were also penetrated themselves...where the self-protective shield of class, that "thick skin", was found to have a tiny flaw--a birthmark of compassion. I wonder if any child so raised, turned their back on the establishment, and what the consequences were. If anyone did, was it a quiet and personal decision, or did they speak up? More commonly, it seems, in a tragic reversal, the very child who is instructed to demean others and repress the voice of the "lower-class", is also repressed and silenced.

It is also perfectly acceptable, and therefore encouraged, in our country at large, to discriminate against class, even in employment and throughout the justice system. There is no law against it. One may not discriminate against race or disability or a variety of other things, but it is okay to discriminate against an individual or group because of class. Being upper-class is something even the government is concerned about. We are the center, we are number 1, we are the rich, we are the powerful. In the world of countries, we are upper-class. We are not "third world" or "second world", but are on top. And yet the internal tensions within the U.S. will continue to increase as the rich get richer and poor get poorer, putting the country at great risk of instability, corruption, and weakening of the internal structure.

A piece of cloth just came to mind. I see a square piece of cloth, with an enforced border. The border is strong,and thick, and made with the best material and higher thread count. But it is very, very, thin and only a border that surrounds the rest of the cloth. In the middle, it is poor material--fewer thread counts, and fragile, weak. What good is a border, if someone can punch a hole through the middle of the cloth, or make several tears, ruining the piece altogether? An American flag has now come to mind.

I certaintly didn't intend to make this a political tangent. I started writing a regular NFTN and then continued to write my thoughts as they came. You can't cut and paste on this blogger thing so I can't remove the "ideas" and my philosophies from the storytelling part of my experiences, otherwise, I would do so in an edit and will keep NFTNs free from extraneous ramblings, so they remain pure stories and accounts in and of themselves.

Bear: Development at 16 Months of Age

Hello Little Bear,

The last few days we've been getting a lot of things done and it has been a team effort. You've been very patient and helpful. You're getting two new molars and haven't wanted to eat as much. I can usually tempt you with: tomatoes, avocado, oranges, chicken, turkey, chocolate, and apples. You like regular apples better than applesauce. Oh! You also like raw eggs. The only way you'll eat your eggs is "Rocky style". Of course I am careful with selecting very high quality organic eggs and am careful with refrigeration. I think raw eggs are a great food. I used to have them in smoothies, as a kid. I tried making eggs a variety of ways, but you only want them raw.

I think you know your numbers because when I allow to press the buttons in the elevator, and ask you to please "press number ___", you go for the right one. You love pressing those buttons and how they light up. I'm thinking it's a really good way to help tots learn numbers. In elevators, where it's fun. But unfortunately, there are no high-rise buildings around here, so we only get to choose from buttons 1-5. It would be fun in the city, where you could learn and press numbers maybe from 1-20 at least.

We went to the fire station about a week ago and the firemen went on and on about how happy you were. And then the chief shone a penlight into your eyes and got within inches of your face to examine them. Anyway, you are happy! (naturally, I might add). You're a very happy, well-adjusted little boy with a TON of energy. If you "act up" it's normal...a response to needing to run around or learn something new. You are the first one, in meeting a new "friend", to give the other kid a hug.

You have a little magnetic drawing board with a stylus and hold it like with proper pen-hold, and draw, and you try to imitate drawing shapes. On this board, there are different shapes around the border and you point to them for me to name and you try to draw them. You have drawn some circles fairly well. Sort of wobbly, and sometimes more oblong-like, but with a round shape and complete.

For the last month, you've been able to figure out how to open the latches and locks of all the doors on your "Peek-a-Zoo" toy. It is a toy that is for 18+ months but I got it for you when you expressed an interest at 12 months. You reeally wanted this toy and it's been a good use of money.

Love you!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

NFTN 13: The Thebault Kids Called Me "Slave" With Their Parents' Approval

I've written more about Philip because I spent more time with him, and there's more to say about him, but, on the topic of temper tantrum, Christie Thebault gets honors...and a crown. This girl threw the biggest temper tantrum of any kid I've ever seen in my life, and for the loooongest time of any kid I've seen in my life. I remember thinking, "No one is going to want to mess with this girl when she gets older". Talk about spitfire!

One of the main reasons the Thebault's couldn't get a nanny to stay was how they treated the nanny. The second reason was that they didn't "help" the nanny in raising the kids but did things that backfired. For example: The kids got everything they wanted, when they wanted it. Lisa even laughed out loud and told others she thought it was so cute when Philip called me "slave". Where he got that, I've no idea, but he was 7 years old and his mother allowed him to call me his slave. Which really wasn't going to get the kid very far in life and was the very opposite of good manners. So, with all my kid experience and working with 1st graders, I tried to set some limitations and asked they respect those limitations. One time, at dinner, Philip wouldn't eat anything. He had about 5 different things to choose from but he wanted "ice cream". I said politely to him, that he could have ice cream, a big bowl of it even, after he ate at least "some" of his dinner. This was a reasonable request, and was for his welfare, because the kids were skinnier than all-get-out. He didn't need a big bowl of ice cream before bed, full of sugar, he needed some nutrition for his growing body.

But Philip left the table and ran to his mother upstairs. I thought, "So what. Lisa will back this up." Any normal mother would try to work with their nanny in providing some healthy limits to the kid's lives but Lisa came down, looked at me with daggers, and said coldly, "Yes Philip, you can have ice cream." So she opens the freezer door and gets him a HUGE bowl of ice cream and Philip starts eating it, looking at me with an "in-your-face" attitude and calls me his slave again. I mean, what the....? I think Lisa was trying to "show me" but why and what for? And how did she help her kid? Lisa and Brian seemed to know nothing about raising children and I assumed their private schools would be where the kids eventually learned to behave. At home, they were wild, and it wasn't the kids' fault. It was the parents fault, and all the nannies, and other parents of priviledged kids even, knew it.

Philip was older and more in-your-face. Christie actually wasn't quite as bad. She took her place in the world like a Queen, and had this little strut and swagger, and upturned toss of the head, but she was slightly less confrontational than Philip. Philip, in general, just did not seem happy, and after I got to know him better, while I couldn't stay there, I really did feel for him and care about him. He was the kind of kid who wanted a Dad to rough-and-tumble with and camp with, etc. Just a very active, outdoorsy type of boy. But sensitive. I would not be surprised, if, as an adult, Philip is sometimes melancholy. I would peg him as more of an introvert than Christie. Maybe Philip would be an (Meyers-Briggs) ISFP or ISFJ, and Christie was too young to tell, but possibly an ESTJ. Philip was definitely more of a "feeler" than Christie. I don't think either kids would be intuitives (N) as the parents were not and I didn't see this with the kids.

One day, the parents left for out-of-town, and Philip and Christie couldn't go. They were so sad and they both ran out to the Suburban and held onto it. I grabbed Philip but he was too strong for me. His own Dad could barely hold him. Philip was hysterical, crying, "Don't leave me!" and it happened about 5 times that his Dad had to bring him back to the house and both Maritza and I had to hold him.

Then he and Christie got into one of very few physical fights. They didn't fight that much really. But they got into it, and Christie went wild and started after Philip, biting, swinging, swatting, and pulling hair. So I told Christie calmly that she could not do this and had to take a time-out in her room. She didn't want a time-out (obviously). I put her in her room, and closed the door. I have NEVER in my life seen any kid as wild and ferocious as Christie was. At first, I was so shocked, I had to try not to laugh. She would manage to get the door open, even with my trying to hold it shut. The girl was only 4 so it was an adrenaline-fueled power I'd no experience with. It was as if suddenly she was 4 times stronger than usual. Seeing this helped me understand those stories about someone lifting a car off of an injured person, in a fit of adrenaline. Christie was SCREAMING at the top of her lungs, and when I caught glimpses of her, her hair was wild and stringy, blond hair all over the place, and her face red and eyes bright blue. The crazy part, is she didn't stop. She kept screaming and then she started taking running leaps at the door and threw her entire body against the door to get out. I told her through the door she needed to calm down and take her time-out and the longer she did this, the less time there would be to play. She was absolutely livid. I was afraid she would bite me she was so out-of-it. This was Christie's reaction to maybe the very first reinforcement of boundaries and a normal time-out. It lasted for at least 30 minutes. Finally, Christie quit and began to cry and then I went in and talked to her, gave her a hug, explaining what she had done wrong and that she couldn't hurt people, and then I gave her a choice: "Do you want to make cookies now? Or paint seashells?" Christie loved to make cookies and she chose to do this.

I tried to establish normal boundaries while Lisa was at home, but Lisa and Brian didn't get it. They allowed their kids to run wild, and maybe out of guilt for not being there for them, didn't enforce rules or a code of conduct. Lisa was with the kids more for a couple of months at the Shore, but then back at the house, as soon as they were back, Lisa left the kids behind again, all day, with the nanny and housekeeper. She filled her planner with trips to NYC, lunch dates, the salon, charity functions, and athletic classes. The kids saw Lisa for a couple of hours during the day, in the morning when she made them french toast, and later in the day. Brian only saw them at night right before bed, and on weekends.

So I think the lack of parenting was mainly from guilt because of neglect. They tried to make up for not spending time with the kids by allowing them to run wild. Then again, some things were just unspeakable, such as Lisa's amusement that her kids called me "slave". I truly felt, in my experience with the Thebaults, that I knew a bit what it was like to be a Black slave back-when. You can bet if slavery were legal, the Thebaults would have an entourage of slaves and would treat them even worse than they treated me. They treated ME like a slave, and called me one. When I left the Thebault's house, they owed me at least $600-1,000 in backpay. I never got it of course. They tried to tell me my overtime was paid for when I took my "lunch".

After I broke down in tears about the kids being neglected and how Philip was sad, when I told Lisa I was leaving, maybe things changed. Maybe she realized they needed her more. I told her they did. Anyone could have told her that.

The kids were wild, but the ones who needed spanking were Lisa and Brian. If they did not have private schools to reinforce manners and boundaries, these kids would be on the street or in jail.

I know that after I was out of my parents house, and ONLY then, was I able to see why my parents did what they did. I could see, more clearly, the good things my parents did and the bad things or selfish things they did too. I thought about their actions and words. I wonder if the Thebault kids ever will or if bad beginnings are erased from the memories in a self-protective wash, with the desire to believe those you love have always put you first. It's funny, because most of the families back East who have nannies, have them when the kids are young, and often, do not include them in photos of the family. It's almost like the mother or parents want the nanny to raise the kids and do all the hard work but don't want documentation of this, or their kids to remember.

When we were back in Bedminster, not only did I have the kids from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., I also babysat all but 2 weeknights and every Saturday night. The parents did their own thing.

Monday, September 24, 2007

NFTN 12: Houseguests

The Thebault's had several houseguests. I have no idea who they were but all were Republican and they wore the same thing. Once, they were all going out to dinner and Lisa came down in a dress. Brian told her to put something else on and pointed to what the other woman was wearing before she saw. So Lisa went back upstairs and put on a tailored, black dress. Brian was wearing the exact same thing as the other guy: a pink oxford shirt and beige khakis. I said, innocently, "Is there a dress code?" and Brian blushed and said, "Cameo..." as if I were being sarcastic.

Maritza filled me in on the status of houseguests. She knew when it was someone the Thebault's really liked, because Lisa would make them breakfast in the morning. One couple didn't please Lisa and Maritza was all excited about it, pointing out, "She left them cereal and DOUGHNUTS!" Which meant Lisa really didn't like them much.

And that was funny, because those guests happened to be my favorites. The man actually talked to me. His girlfriend didn't, and kept a distance, eyeing me with slight jealousy. But the man, who was supposed to be some huge big-wig politician in D.C., I liked. He was down-to-earth and wouldn't even put up with the Thebault bs. He and his girlfriend liked to read. So the Thebault's read out on the deck with their guests. For days. I've never seen Lisa do so much reading all at once. Finally, the Thebault's had had enough. They said they wanted to take their guests, with the kids, on a trip back to Bedminster to show them the house.

The kids threw such monstrous temper tantrums and were so out-of-control, the man, I think his name was Bill, put his foot down. One minute the suburban was driving away and the next minute, Bill was coming back into the house. He told them all to go without him! So he sat on the couch and turned on a John Wayne movie and began talking to me. He said, "Those kids are spoiled brats!!! They need a good spanking!" and went on about how out-of-control they were and how did I do it. He looked at me with sympathy and yet was not condescending. I almost felt he and I were more alike than the entire lot. I didn't know what to say so didn't say much but I had a good feeling about this guy. I remember we chatted about John Wayne movies: ones we'd seen, ones we liked, and how we were introduced to them.

After that, the next morning, those guests got the doughnuts and Lisa slept in.

NFTN 11: The Bloody Chicken

In my application to be a nanny, I listed all my domestic skills and did not omit anything muy importante--facts like: "I've cooked all kinds of food before except meat." I just wanted to give fair disclosure. My mother cooked the meat in our house and I saw her wrestle with the bloody chicken and cut pieces and cook it, but never did anything myself.

One day, after 2 months at the Shore, we were back in Bedminster in the old house, and Lisa told me she wanted me to cook a chicken. She pointed out instructions she'd left behind on the counter. They were idiot instructions. She had drawn a picture of the oven knob--"1. Turn knob to 375 degrees"; 2. Take chicken out of refrigerator; 3. Put chicken in oven." For all the detail she left behind, she didn't tell me how long to cook it. I didn't know anything about cooking meat. But I knew how to operate an oven, excuse me.

So I took the bloody chicken out of the fridge, and put it on the rack in the oven. Burger King style. I didn't know I was supposed to keep it in the pan, and she just said to put the chicken in the oven. I must have been thinking BBQ because nothing seemed odd to me, until smoke began to pour out from the oven. I panicked. I was 18, and far away from home, and too terrified to open the oven. I called my mother. "Mom!" I said, "Lisa told me to cook a chicken and now there's smoke coming out of the oven and I don't know what to do!" My mom asked me how long it had been in there. I told her not very long, maybe 10 minutes. All of a sudden, Lisa came home while my mother was still on the phone with me. Looking back, she probably had been listening in or my calls were taped (knowing how it is in the nanny business). Lisa said, "What is going on?!" and went right to the oven and opened the door. Smoke escaped and cleared and Lisa gasped, "You put the chicken in the oven without the pan?!" I said to my mother, "Mom, I've got to go." Lisa said, "You could have started a grease fire!"

Grease fire? What was that? I said, in my defense, "I didn't know you need a pan--I told you I've never cooked meat before!" Lisa looked at me. She looked at me with the suspicion that I was trying to burn their house down in revenge for the way she treated her "slaves". Later she was mad about something else, but admitted I had written in my contract/application that I'd never cooked meat before. I was exonnerated. Sort of.

I really had thought that was the way one cooks a chicken. All the flame-broiled commercials of meat on a rack is what did it. I didn't know how to do laundry either, but that came up with my next family.

Bear: On Marriage (Personal)

Hello Little Bear,

At some point you may read things I write, when you're older, and really wonder what I think and when I'm joking and serious. For some of that, you can look to the Key. But I thought I would take a minute, after the last post, and point out it is 90% joking and only a little bit truth in seriousness.

Am I messy? Yes. Do I think our society has issues with messiness? Yes. And with the role of women in marriage? Yes. Am I not married because I'm a slob? No. :) I've stated before and state again, I can honestly say I never met anyone who inspired me enough to think of it, to the point that I couldn't forget about it. When I dated, I dated with marriage in mind, which is why I was celibate such a long time. But I never, ever, met anyone I wanted to marry. When I was younger, there were a few "offers" or whatever but I was not interested. I kept thinking something better would come along but it, or he, never did. After a certain event happened when I was 24, I didn't think seriously about marriage anymore. I didn't care. And there is not one person or man I look back on and think, "If only..." I have no regrets. Which is great because in the future, if I DO meet someone special and I also happen to be special to them, I can honestly tell them my heart is not with anyone else and never has been. So, although things happen in life, and my intentions to "wait" for the right one were good, at this point I can only say my heart is and has been free and reserved. I've never allowed myself to love anyone that much, or could.

Your grandparents thought I was too picky. His butt was too big; he was too stingy; he was a player; he was vain; he only cared about money and making money; etc. But the thing is, little things don't bother you when you're in love, and I just never was in love. I had some crushes, for sure, but I never felt I was in love. However, I did "love" and care about some people. It was just never the whole package.

I went through a period, after some trauma, where I didn't know what I was doing. Quite literally. I wasn't safe and didn't even know it. Then I had you. Everything changed. You have brought me back to myself, to the girl I used to be, but better and wiser. I am again quite celibate and happy to be so, and yet I'm not at all interested in something serious. If I were to date someone though, in the future, although now I've no interest, it would be with marriage in mind. Especially with you, I could see myself dating "old style", the way I used to date when I was younger, with nothing physical involved, and not being serious, but I have always valued my independence, and my time, and if you were to meet someone I was with, it would have to be someone I felt serious about. I feel very happy in my life now, with just you, and I hope you don't miss not having a Dad.

But I wouldn't, couldn't, marry someone just so you had a Dad, and I've never compromised. Maybe I've never been the right person either. I was waiting for the right one, and never met him, but maybe too, I was never the right one. I am who I am and I don't try as hard to impress men as most of my girlfriends have or I've observed. There is a game they play, and it works, but I've never been into that game. I feel too, that if I pretended to be a little more or less than I am, and went after a guy that way, if we ended up together, it would fall apart in the long run, because it wasn't really me to begin with.

I've never been jealous. Well, very rarely. But I think it must be because I never cared enough to be jealous, because when you really do care, jealousy seems to be natural and even healthy. I was always okay with letting someone go, that I may have liked short-term in a crush. Whether the guy took leave, or I did, I had never invested anything emotionally.

I've had only one sincere romantic betrayal (cheating) and that was in high school and messed up in all kinds of ways. I don't think I was even jealous then, just hurt. I still remember how it felt when I found out and what I did. I went for a run through an orchard. It was in Oregon, and it was cold, and raining, and I ran through the nearby filbert orchards. At that time, I lived with your grandpa and grandma Garrett, in Wilsonville/Sherwood in horse/orchard countryside. So I ran through the orchards and then through horse pasture, soggy and not even crying. I couldn't cry. It was a rending feeling--an ache too deep for tears. I wasn't in love with the person, and never was, but it hurt my feelings because, really, it was how it made me feel about myself--devalued. It didn't have anything to do with him, just my own sadness that someone who had said he thought I was so special, lied to me, and obviously cared nothing at all about promises. I forgave him though, because it wasn't his fault--he was a kid and didn't have the same standards or religious beliefs I did so what could I expect?

The only other time I felt anything far worse, was after being counseled by clergy and betrayal after a situation, of trust. That is the most shocking thing that has ever happened to me. One priest counseled me strictly as a friend and I adored him. He was homely, and there was nothing to it, but I thought we had a special connection. I valued everything he said and did whatever he told me do. He gave me blessings and benedictions and advice, and later I found out he was dishonest and would later lie about me. The other clergy involved in my life at that time, was even worse. He involved himself in my life, asking for my phone number and address after we met and I asked him religious questions. I was very, very naive. I was celibate at that time in my life, only 24 almost 25 (I believe), but had had one situation of violence in my life when I was 24. It didn't affect me any longer, but I was still recovering, and I felt I could trust these two monks, with, even, my life. I divulged everything, and wanted help in understanding their religion as I was on the cusp of a conversion and wanted to know why some things were the way they were. I didn't understand so I felt if I could clear up my understanding, I could convert in good faith. But, this monk, who was also a professor, took advantage of my naiviete and vulnerable position. He slowly went from giving religious instruction to making romantic suggestions. I was confused. I remember thinking to myself, "What is this I feel? admiration? love?" I thought maybe it was love but was confused because when I tried to test it, but allowing myself to imagine once, to test this, kissing him, I recoiled at the idea. I didn't find him physically attractive to me at all and could not imagine kissing him. So I was confused, but he continued to come onto me. I was so absolutely out-of-it, I eventually began sobbing and telling the priest I talked to, about everything. And then, it all came down on me. The two guys I had trusted and loved, and even gave flowers to (I gave my fathers flowers when he did something I appreciated because my Dad liked nature and I figured even men need flowers in their lives!) turned on me and, out of fear and self-protection, called in attorneys and police, and, believing a lawsuit was coming against them (after I told them a Catholic lawyer I'd talked to said I was being "exploited"), they became my worst enemies. To this day. Their supporters believed nothing I said, and only concerned themselves with defending their church. The steps they took to insure their own "salvation of reputation" were extreme and cruel. At the right time, I will unfold the story of what happened. But after this, my trust of men was pretty much damaged for good. I was such an emotional wreck after what they did to me, and especially after what they're lawyers did to me, I found myself in unsafe situations, with people I later discovered were never friends to begin with, who had only the intention to hurt me and cause me distress. My life pretty much changed dramatically because of this situation. Even the violent situation that came one year before this, did not affect me much, because the person involved had never pretended to be my counselor and I did not have a daily communication, and spiritual conversation, with them. It is easy for me to write off people that didn't mean that much to me, or who I didn't know very well, or especially, whom I didn't expect much from (ie, not having the same standards perhaps, because they were not a christian). It was much more shocking to try to digest cruelty and fraud, by those who had pretended to love you and used the name of God. After they did what they did, I could no longer trust anyone. I tried, but I still found myself being too trusting and not being shrewd or wise to the ways of the world. I thought too, if those clergy could do what they did, how could I trust anyone? These guys had been, I thought, self-sacrificial, pious, monks. If THEY would do me harm...?

Then I had you. I'm so glad you're a boy. I was proud to have you and even now I thank Jesus every day for you. I hope hard times are not ahead for us, because years before you were born, I had a dream that a brown haired boy was leading me up a mountain...a very poignant dream, and now that I've had you, I realize you look like that boy. The good part, is in that dream, you were 9-11 years old and you were very happy. I'll tell you about it later. But, I have prayed for you for a long time, before you were even conceived, and I worked as a nanny, just so I could practice for being a mom, because I wanted to be the best mom I could be for you. So I'm very fulfilled, now, having you in my life. And your sweetness and hugs...I'm proud to see you're the first to go up to another child and give them a big hug. I think it speaks well of our bond and ability to share affection and pass that onto others (I DON'T, except with you, but you do! ;)). I'm very proud of you.

At this point in life, I don't feel I am missing anything. All my thoughts are about you. I don't wish for friends for myself--if I think about friends, I think about you and friends for you. And when I think about men, I wish there was a Dad for you because he would just think you are so special! However, even our earthly parents can let us down, and I have felt close to God at times of trial, and God is there for you. I believe God is real, but many "christians", or most, I've found to be fake. And I dislike hypocrisy so we don't go to church. No one is perfect, but being in church reminds me of what happened with those monks. I can honestly say there wasn't a time I wasn't more earnest, innocent, and seeking God and trying to do the right thing in my life. It was all thrown back in my face. So we do not go. Even Protestants read the Willamette Week article about me, or other things, and make gross assumptions about me, without asking me any questions about it or getting my side of the story. The WW article wasn't even close to truth, in any part of it. It was and is the most defamatory story I've ever read, that a paper got away with and a reporter who was Catholic wrote it vindictively for her church. Some women have disliked me, just out of jealousy, because I was pretty, or smart, and suddenly, it was another big excuse to hate me: the idea that I did something scandalous or was trying to bring down their church or clergy. The only ones who understood were Catholics who had been abused, sexually or emotionally, themselves.

So anyway, despite what people say, or want to think, you will know I would tell you the truth, and this is it. You don't ever need to feel sorry for your mom that I'm not married, because I had choices, and just didn't like any of them. And I'm not one to marry for convenience, or money, or culture. I would have to feel a soulmate bond, or at least have similar values, attraction, and friendship. It's never been there. And while I used to be sad about it, for a short time between 22-24 years of age, I don't feel bad about anything now. I don't think it's even possible now anyway, because no matter how I try, I can't get out from under the slander and crap that's been said and done to me and the false things that were built against me. But while it used to bother me greatly, now it's something I'm dealing with in this blog, for your sake more than anything, and maybe down the road in many years, I will meet, and be, the right person.

YOU are the right person for me right now!!!

Love you sweetie,


Me: Coming Out of the Closet as The Slob Herself

Before writing my next NFTN, I want to write about housekeeping. Clean vs. clutter. Is "Cleanliness is next to Godliness" true? It seems, for the majority of America, save artists, some musicians, and inventors, this is the right belief. It may also be assumed that housekeeping is simply a set of skills to be learned and incorporated into ones life--as if there is no biological determinant involved. I BEG TO DIFFER!

You see, I don't think anyone has ever accused me of being a neat-freak before. I am a woman, and there is an assumption that women are neater than men. I do not believe this is true. I believe more women try to be neat, simply because our culture dictates women will do the housekeeping, and men will marry a good housekeeper.

I've known of two other women who are as "messy" as I am. I don't mean unsanitary or discusting really, but a little more the slob. Wait, I get to include my aunt, so that makes 3 women. My aunt is married, but to a Mexican man who tolerated the mess that comes with 7 kids, a flock of parrots flying free of cages, and the shopping impulse that gathered clothes when the wheels rolled. I love my aunt, maybe mainly because she is the only one in my family like me. We understand eachother. Why "clean" when there are such better things to do with ones time? My aunt is a professional and works in the legal field, and at home, she is a slob. One of the women I nannied for, the Catholic-Italian, she was an attorney, and a slob, but a conservative slob--not really bona fide. The other two women I mentioned, have everything going for them, except the first impression they give when men come to see them at their house. One look, and I, The Slob Herself, said to myself, "Ahah! This is why she isn't married!"

The woman slob has fabric everywhere. Men may have more beer cans lying around, and dirty underwear. I daresay we women slobs pick up the underwear (most of the time, because we wear them more than once before doing laundry and need to have them handy in a drawer) but leave the rest of our wardrobe off-hanger, where it's easy to grab at a moments notice. Clothes, bedclothes, quilts...And it seems there are always cats involved. The spinster slob usually has cats. So the cat rolls around the materials and sheds its fur and leaves everything with a furry film that no feather duster will cure.

At any rate, most of the female slobs never marry. I wonder why. WHY?! Because it's evidence that our entire society is still wrapped up in the idea that women should be the clean Holly Homebodies and men are the providers. Most men are looking for the two-in-one package: housekeeper + sex goddess. If you get sex with a knock-out, yeah, that's nice, but man, if that knock-out CLEANS too, then you sit back and relax. I don't even think cooking is a big deal anymore. ANYONE can order take-out. But you can't get housekeeping unless you pay for it, and there are two ways to seal the deal: Buy a maid service, or marry a suitable woman. The suitable woman is the better return on the money. There is a song called, "A Man Needs a Maid". And how.

So where does that leave female slobs? Well, you either fake it if you want to impress someone enough for the marriage package, or you succumb to your inborn tendencies, mourn your losses, and move on by congratulating yourself that you are no man's slave and your house is a heap-o-fun-and-funk.

This is NOT "a choice". I demand scientists find the "messy" gene, because it is there and we slobs are minorities and suffer from discrimination on a daily basis. A choice. HAH! I've wondered why I was different from the time I was a young girl. "Cameo! CLEAN YOU ROOM!" was my mother's mantra. When forced to do it ("stay in there until it's clean!) I would make every effort to get the job done. While my brother was busy doing a superficial sweep and throwing things in his closet and under the bed, I was dragging everything OUT from under my bed, and my drawers, and my closets, and I would put everything in a gigantic heap in the middle of the floor. A mountain. My father helped excavate the objects under my bed once and he found a banana peel, a wizened grape branch with raisins on it, and a million pens. I wanted to do a thorough job--from beginning to end. So first I reorganized drawers, and redecorated my room. I would move all my furniture around. There was still a mountain on my floor. So then I would sit there and "Oh! Wow! I forgot about this book!" and start reading until my mother opened my door to find me lying across the mountain with one arm behind my head, leg swinging over my knee, and another hand holding the book above my head. "This is a PIGSTYE" she would say. And accuse me of not cleaning. My brother was done the day before.

Then my mother decided to teach me how to be clean. "Pick up as you go along" she would say. She did this in the kitchen: Crack an egg, throw eggshell away. Wipe up egg whites from counter. Pour in flour. When there are a few dishes in the sink, wash them.

My style of making cookies: Crack an egg. Leave eggshell on the counter for experiment later. Leave eggwhites (why clean now when it will just get messier? why waste energy?). Pour in flour. When there are a few dishes in the sink, leave them (I'll do laaater).

I don't think it's laziness. My aunt and I have excellent work ethics. When I worked as a nanny or at business, I did not shirk my duties. Nor did my aunt. But both I and my aunt tend not to "pick up as you go along" because, to us, it's a waste of time. It also disrupts our "flow" of whatever we're doing. If we're cooking, we want to cook. Not clean, cook, clean, cook, clean.

I was different from everyone in my family. My parents knew I was this way from an early age and they raised me and my brother the same. My father picked his clothes out for work the night before and hung them neatly over a rack. My mother cleaned as she went along (though she wasn't anal). And my brother did the "quick clean". I finally had to employ the Quick Clean, just to impress my parents enough to let me out of my room. But I didn't like doing it that way. It felt dishonest. I KNEW it wasn't really clean, and now that I'd shoved everything out of sight, I couldn't FIND anything!

So, feeling so unique and different, I wondered if I had been adopted. And then I went to my aunt's house a few times. No. I was related...Maybe I was my aunt's daughter and she gave me away because she'd had too many born out of wedlock? No. I realized I was not adopted, and there had to be a gene. I looked to my grandparents. Grandpa was a bigger packrat than anyone in the family. Maybe it came from him. The scottish side? Are Scots slobs? I got the red hair, and what other recessive trait from the Scots? My untidy manner? I could also curl my tongue and double-roll it as well. Maybe I was just one big genetic oddball.

When I grew up, I threw guys off-guard. I LOOKED like a "clean" person. I certaintly cleaned myself, had good grooming, and I was very pretty, some thought. No one thinks a pretty woman is a slob. It's sort of counter-intuitive. If God made her beautiful she must also be neat. God's gift to man. Eve. The lawyer I worked for, well, she had a photo of herself when she was young, and she looked like a pin-up. But she was also a slob. Personally, I think her boobs offset her messy ways. Her husband was probably blinded by them. Me, I was flat and messy. Most men don't want to live with that for the rest of their lives. There are better bargains on the market. Oh, and I had a brain too, and was sort of an activist type, so, a definite nix on that one. The best bounty for marriage is a C-cup who cleans and keeps her mouth shut unless she's laughing at your jokes. And, if she's going to clean house for you, she deserve an allowance for keeping herself up as well. The modern man, of course, is not so old-fashioned. He is savvy enough to know the best "deal" is a wife who earns her own keep by working too. There is nothing better than the dual-income, neat-freak, sex-machine marriage.

Some men seemed genuninely shocked by my habits. There was the officer who came into our house when I and my roommate reported a robbery at our first apartment. I still remember the officer, "(Gasp)...Did THEY do this?!" he said, sweeping his hand throughout the apartment. He thought the robbers had trashed our place. No, we told him. My roommate was mortified at the dresser drawers hanging open, but it was only the first few weeks of our adventure as The Odd Couple. She had been my best friend all throughout high school but she was anal-neat and I was "carefree" and creative. She would run the vaccuum-cleaner when I was composing songs on the guitar. She also lined the toilet seat with toilet paper in our own house. Other men didn't ask me out after they saw what the inside of my car looked like. I think some men walk you to your car just to get a look ("is she worth dinner, or...hmmm....NOT").

I even had men try to find out if I was neat in other ways, "You're probably really neat, aren't you?" or something like that. I wouldn't respond. Mmmmmm.

Sometimes, I would get an urge to clean. When I did, I did it right. I would clean the oven with a toothbrush. Or polish the chrome on the tub and sink handles. Or make a toilet look department store (or wherever toilets come from) new. And then my roommate would accuse me of being "Bipolar" and in the middle of a manic cycle. Just because I was doing something out of character.

I have assumed I'm this way because I'm also creative. I had an older friend long ago call me, "The consummate artist". I like to paint with oils, to play guitar and sing, to look at art and nature, to read...and I come up with ideas and inventions. Maybe the messy gene goes along with a certain personality. I know how to organize, and I know how to clean. But I don't want to do it and am not compelled to doing it as most people are. Now that I have a son, I sometimes make more of an effort. But it's still hard and it's inborn.

Unfortunately, being messy is charming and quirky when you're young and beautiful, or very rich. If you're poor and say you don't want to let someone in the house because "it's a mess", you get questions like: "Is there food in the fridge for the KID?!"

Yes, idiot. There is "food in the fridge for the kid". If a mother standing in front of a $500,000 home says she doesn't want to have people over because her house "is a mess", it's disarming and sweet. If a mother standing in front of trailor in a trailor park says the same thing, it's grounds for a search warrant.

So there is discrimination against slobs, and especially slobs who are poor. It has nothing to do with not being raised with proper skills or manners or being lazy. It at least partially very biological and genetic and crosses all cultures and socioeconomic lines. It's just that the rich slobs can afford to hire a maid and an attendant to wash and clean out their car.

I've tried. It takes far too much energy to fight it. I'm coming out of the closet, because everyone already knows anyway, (and I need more closet space for my other crap), and I'm PROUD to say, "Yes, I'm a Slob". If that makes me unmarriageable, among the other items on a "things to look out for when considering a spouse" list, I am saved from the ball-and-chain of the broom.

I've had some people suggest marrying someone neater than you are is the key. Tell me how that one works. Most men expect women to pick up, even if they are neat themselves. No guy wants to pick up after his wife, unless it's a "Victoria's Secret" magazine lying around on the floor. And anal people do not live well with slobs or vice versa. Been there, done that, with my friend, who is a woman and neat, and it practically ruined our friendship. She was in tears and I never knew what the problem was. She kept trying to say, "I need some order. I have to have beautiful surroundings..." and I'm fine with looking out my window at nature for beauty.
I thought I was easy to live with, but I'm not, because I'm not anal.

Sometimes, I am prejudiced against the anal folks. Like the mother I spoke with not long ago, who said, with a manicured hand to her breast, " I KNOW what you mean about DAYCARE." She said this with a nasal emphasis on "daycare". I had just told her I didn't want to put my son there because of personal reservations, but that I would watch someone else's kids short-term in my own house. I said, "What are your reasons for not choosing daycare?" I wondered if she and I had something in common. She said, "Some of those places...ohhh!!!
and she shuddered. Her father-in-law cut interjected proudly, "Marianne keeps an IMMACULATE house." He went on and on and she was almost faint trying to describe the horrors of what might be on the toys her children touched at a daycare. I was struck senseless. Silenced altogether. I had thought she might say something about the psychological effects long separations of child from mother, or neglect issues, or possible abuse scares, which is what I worry about. But to her, the biggest cause for concern was cleanliness. I wrote on my list of things to-do: "Do not have the so-and-sos over for dinner! EVER!" What would she think of my house? I suddenly noticed a smudge on my son's cheek. Does she let her kids play in the dirt and make mud pies or is that "icky"?

There are pros and cons to being a slob. Or being neat. The benefits my son enjoys, from having me as his mother, is that I never, ever, get mad or yell if he spills his milk, or scold him for knocking something over or tracking dirt in. I don't get into a tizzy when his diaper leaks and the sheets need changing, or at the idea that the mattress may be ruined, even with a mattress pad. I don't run to him and force everything out of his mouth, or hand, simply because it might be dirty. If it's a choking hazard, that's one thing. Dirty, and germs, well, there's some science that suggests kids raised in cluttered homes have less asthma and allergies. I am happy to allow my son to experiment, to get paint all over himself and his clothes and hands and the floor, to see what the effects are. I am okay with his throwing food from the table to see the effects of gravity. I don't mind when he dumps the kitty food out of the kitty's dish onto the floor and tries to put it back, or when he plays outside and squishes berries that stain between his fingers or mashes rotton fruit under his shoes.

I may be a slob, but I'm also very loving, very science-minded and open-minded, and frankly, if I were a kid, I'd rather have me as a mom just the way I am rather than neater and more uptight; if I were a kid, I would go for the mom who is a slob. If I were a man...I'd go for the neat freak...umm, except where the bedroom is concerned. Neat Freak doesn't seem like they'd be very much fun.

I had to add (this is one loooooooong post!), I discriminate when it comes to clean or neat, but the other way around. If I met a guy and he invited me to his place and it was totally clean, I would write him off, right away. I would just know it could never go anywhere...I'm not looking for a fling, and know long-term wouldn't last--not necessarily because he would be a problem, but I know I'd be a problem for HIM, eventually. If he was an absolute slob, to the 1st degree, and worse than me, I couldn't do that either. There is such a thing as health hazard and filth or stacks of trash is no good. As for employment, I know I started figuring out the nanny thing, on how to pick an employer, and I took a good look at their house. If they were very neat, I passed. If there was some clutter, I felt it would be a better match.

If I had the money, would I have a housekeeper? Probably. And I would pay her or him very, very, well to keep them!

I love that movie, by-the-way, "The Odd Couple" with Walter Matheau and Jack Lemming (Lemon? whatever). First time I saw it I laughed all the way through. That was me and my former bestfriend from high school, to a "T". I was throwing spagetti on the fridge or wall to see if it would stick (if it was "done") and she was rewashing my dishes with steel wool and bleach.

Bear: Why Sit When You Can Stand?

Hello Little Bear,

A couple of weeks ago you stood on your chair. Now I can't get you to sit down! You stand up in your highchair, on all the chairs in the house, and couch. Now, when you wake up in the morning, well, for the last 3 days, instead of sitting up, you stand up! I'll hear your "I'm awake! and where are Yoooouuuuu mama?" cry and go in and you're standing on the bed. I came over to the bed, and you jump into my arms with a smile. And then you're off to find and hug your Kitty-Cat.

You climb up everything using stomach muscles and your arms, and then you want to stand and not sit down. You are able to get into EVERYTHING now. NOTHING is safe. So now, I cannot even trust putting things up high out of reach. They have to be up very, very, high.

I let you stand on chairs sometimes, with my supervision. It's fun for you. Once, I watched you stand on your chair, and climb onto the table to reach a jar of "no-nos" that I had put out of the way. And then you once moved a chair over to the counter, closer to the cupboards so you could reach the counter and reach things.

I always watch you, but the other day I added to our first-aid kit, just to be safe. I added Ipecac and band-aids, ispropyl alchohol, sterile cotton, and needles. I had to take a wood sliver out of your hand a few weeks ago after you fell outside while running in bark chips at a playground. I don't really like bark chips. Why are these used in playgrounds so often?

You're eating an apple and playing with Kitty right now. You like to pick out your own windfalls from the orchard. You get a little smile when you pick one up and bite into it and it's sweet. All this good food just lying around outside for you to choose from! Sometimes you get one bite in and then I take the apple to wash it or rub it across my denim jeans and give it back to you.

Love you,
I'm going to write a new NFTN later today when you're napping.

NFTN 10: Maritza

While I was out dating lifeguards, shopping, and running into other people's cars (more on that later), Maritza, the housekeeper, was housebound. Maritza did not have a car to drive and was hours away from her husband who stayed back at the house. I felt sorry for her, as she retired to her small room to watch TV every night and missed her husband. So I invited Maritza to go out with me. I had the suburban to drive and we went to the boardwalk, to a small carnival with fortune-tellers, and walked around. I think we went to the movies once or twice too, until Lisa Thebault stepped in and forbade me from taking Maritza out with me and told both of us that we were not allowed to socialize or speak to one another. I couldn't believe it. Sometimes I thought Lisa was the worst of the Thebault pair, but then Brian come in for reinforcement. Once though, Lisa had started asking me to frenchbraid her hair for her, as I'd done a number of times, and Brian asked Lisa if she was going to tip me and Lisa got mad and said no. I was Lisa's servant and she took what she could get. By the time I knew Lisa, she had removed herself from her humble beginnings. She remarked once to me (why me?) that So-and-so "really knows how to handle her help" and I found out she was taking tips. Basically, the idea is to so degrade another human being that they forget they have "certain unalienable rights". If I mentioned needing notice before babysitting I was harassed and told I was naive and young and didn't know what a "nanny" position was really about.

When I took Maritza out once, she pulled me into a fortune tellers tent. I didn't want to go, because of religious reasons, but Maritza begged me. So I went as it was kind of "her" night out. The fortune teller took one look at me and said I'd be married within 5 years and to use birth control because "You are highly fertile!". I laughed because this woman didn't realize I was also "highly celibate!" Nothing she said about me came true. But she told Maritza she'd have a baby within a year. Maritza then told me she and her husband tried for 7 years and couldn't conceive. However, she conceived within one year after the trip to the fortuneteller, and after I had already left the Thebault's, she called me to tell me. But then, of course, the Thebault's fired her for being pregnant. Philip enjoyed her company at times and liked helping her with her work so I was sad for him.

Maritza had long black wavy hair. It was beautiful. Thick, shiny, and pitch black. She was shorter with a good figure and an okay face--sort of long, but nice smile. She worked fast and was vivacious and loved to talk. For the Thebaults' to tell her she couldn't talk...well, you may as well muzzle a cat.

Maritza was peeved that I didn't help with laundry as the former au pair had, but I had specifically requested a nanny position, not nanny-slash-housekeeping. I told the agency from the start that I didn't want to do "light housekeeping". I hate housekeeping. Anyone who has seen my car or house knows.

Freddy, her husband, was very quiet. I don't remember him saying anything. He worked as the gardener. Philip once said he wanted to be a gardener, like Freddy, and his parents laughed. I could see Philip had a love for nature, though, and it didn't surprise me. Maritza told me Philip loved his German au pair because she took him on long walks out in the woods every day. He loved this. I have a photo of Philip and Christie out in their garden in their overalls, and Philip is pulling out a flower to look at it more closely.

Maritza and Freddy lived in a guesthouse on the property. Lisa once had a yardsale and Maritza bought some items from her. I was a little sad, because I didn't want to see Maritza buying their cast-offs, but Maritza liked what she bought. Lisa gave me a bunch of old dresses from her working days with Brian. I looked at them and told Lisa her style had changed. Lisa lingered to ask how. I told her these dresses were sort of innocent and girlish, with the puffed sleeves and tiny flower prints and flowing skirts, and that now her style was much more tailored. She said I was right. It was inevitable. I wore one of the dresses once but felt odd, wondering if I was wearing a dress that Brian remembered Lisa in, when he first fell in love with her. I wondered, too, if she wanted him to remember.

Maritza made quasadillas at the house, which I ate. She mainly snacked as she worked--I don't recall a time Maritza actually sat down to eat. She was always working. It was harder for her to work when the kids wanted to imitate and watch, but Maritza accomodated them, singing songs to them, and telling Philip, "That's right! Good job!" when he helped her with the dust pan or broom. Christie mainly tagged along at times. I tried to distract them so Maritza could work, but that's part of the charm of childhood--menial work looks like fun and interests kids.

I cooked for the kids and picked up after them, and put their laundry away, but anything I did was strictly child-related, which suited me.

I could not have lasted as long as I did if Maritza had not been there. She was fun, and a gossip, and full of spirit and fire. She invited me to her house and to meet her extended family after they were kicked out by the Thebaults. They lived in a tiny, tiny, shack in the Far Hills or maybe it was Short Hills. It was a very small apartment shared by multiple family members. On the East Coast, the constrast of the monied and the poor is stark. It is like the Caribbean, where you will see a huge mansion or estate, with a large gate, just a mile away from the poorest barrio where the happier people live, despite their circumstances.

Asphalt Plant Update/Civil Rights

A woman from the EPA called me about Basin Asphalt. Funny thing, because what Ecology told her is different from what they told me. They told ME that the "bags blew" on a Friday and were replaced the very next day. In fact, according to the EPA, who asked about it, the bag replacement did not happen the next day, which is WHY I was still feeling nauseous when I called Ecology. The bags were not replaced until Tuesday, Sept. 11, which was the day I called or the day AFTER I called (I think I called Monday). So my sniffer was right.

Lately I haven't noticed fumes at all. I think they're slowing down for the winter. But I think someone should still look into the fact that one or both were running at night, when they didn't have permits, and that when the "bags blew" they waited to replace them and continued to run in the meantime, endangering my and the plant employees health (and anyone else who works nearby!)

I have an interest in these kinds of things so I'll be keeping my ears open. I've a strong interest in consumer rights, public interest matters, and the safety/health/life quality of regular citizens, as opposed to big companies and corporate crime and negligence.

I noticed, a lot of guys in big construction type trucks wave at me now when they pass by (don't worry! I don't reveal the names of the innocent!). I don't know for sure why, but it's nice.

Pretty soon, I want to write about Labor & Industry claims and what a difficult decision it is for workers to apply for L&I when they're injured on the job. Many times, the person who files for L&I doesn't get the best raise. They have whistleblower protection laws for employees of the government, but what about others? Are there laws to protect those who make an L&I claim, to prevent an employer from taking that "claim" out of the person's paycheck, so-to-speak?

One good thing I noticed recently--I'm seeing more translators for Spanish speaking folks! At the Social and Health Services counter, it appears they know have a FT translator available at the front counter, which they didn't have 3 weeks ago. This is new!

AND, I noticed a translator at the Wenatchee police department for someone making a report. It's hard enough to make a police report that goes anywhere--imagine if you only know Spanish and have to put your statement in writing in English? A lot of immigrant workers don't know how to write besides--some needed to support their familys when they were still kids, and left school to work in orchards and fields. I just automatically think everyone can write, but while there are Americans who never learn to write, even within our school system, there are also people who were forced to make a choice: go to school and starve or beg others for food, or go to work as a child. In Mexico, maybe the laws have changed, but for a long time, there was no such thing as laws against child labor. People really needed to have their children working and the government allowed this rather than universally provide for all the children. If I were Mexican, I would move to the U.S., simply because I would know it's better for my kids. Even if I had to slave in orchards all least THEY wouldn't. Which makes me wonder why the Catholic church doesn't focus more of their "charities" in Mexico where people really need it, rather than the U.S. Hmmmm...Maybe the payback isn't as good. I guess it could be harder to receive recognition from monied folks in Mexico than it is in the U.S., and donations.

Recently there was an article about immigration laws and how it's harder for immigrants to work in orchards and there is a shortage. I realize some immigrants depend upon this work, but then again, in a weird way it reminds me of the Old South, complaining about not having enough workers for their cotton fields if and when slaves won independence.

As for the immigrants, as long as they're not legit, they can be easily exploited. Like my friend, and fellow houseworker, Maritza, was. What happened to amounts to human trafficking, by the very definition of the term.

This post is all over the place, but I had a few thoughts I wanted to write down. Onto the NFTN!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Wenatchee: Discrimination Against Disabilities

Kind of funny, this town. Right about the time I asserted discrimination and violation of Americans with Disabilities at a courthouse, which had to do with treatment and prejudice mainly, I noticed sudden attempts to "fix" things at the courthouse such as the fact that some doors did not have handicapped access, etc. I've been here 2 years and there was never sufficient access. I didn't require it myself, but I noticed that all of a sudden this courthouse is scrambling to get things up to code.

I wonder why.

Will have to address this issue later, however, I can attest, in the last couple of days I've called a couple of places asserting disabilities--called government places, and realized, as I'd had NO idea before, how completely strong the discrimination is towards those with disabilities. It is as if those claiming disability have a choice and are resented for not being what may be perceived as "Non-productive" or a hassle. When I have politely tried out the "disability" request for accomodation, in a couple of ways, and to different places, the response is always negative. The requests are either denied, pushed aside, and/or someone gets angry and resentful.

Look at THIS document (link posted above).

Bear: Hugs

This morning I was so tired I brewed half a pot of hot water. I added half and half to my cup and poured it into my cup. It was water. So then I thought the coffee maker was broken, until I looked under the lid where the filters go and saw it had no coffee grounds.

Last night I stayed up later than usual with you. You weren't tired so we did some evening shopping and I let you look at toys. You wanted all the talking elmo dolls. Forget "Up-up Elmo". You wanted "Singing Pizza Elmo". I played the singing pizza song over and over for you and then you remained fascinated when it was with you in the cart. That pizza jingle is actually very tasteful and musical. Some of the music recordings for kids on toys are terrible--the people singing have bad voices or the sound is mechanical or robotic.

But then I put it back and wanted down to run around the store and when I wouldn't let you you were mad. You are a very fast runner now and if I set you down, you're at the other end of the store in one minute. Sometimes I let you run around, but last night we had to go home because we were tired. I can barely hold you when you throw a temper tantrum.

When we were at grandparents you wanted to wrestle and you would run at me, and take a leap into my arms, with your nose on my nose, and eyes looking at me. Then you'd laugh. You were coming up behind me and clambering up my back when I was sitting, until I tickled you.

I wonder if, when boys are men, they go for contact sports because they don't get enough hugs. Or, if, because they may not get as much physical affection when they're older, some sports serve as a way to get hands-on contact in an acceptable way.

You get a lot of hugs sweetie! And you give lots of hugs too. When we got home after being away all day, you went straight to your Kitty-Cat and gave her a big body hug, saying in a high voice, "Kiiikee!"

Love you,

Friday, September 21, 2007

Coming Around The Corner, Last Lap

I always wonder when the hourglass will be turned on its head. Or when things will get turned around. When mountains will become valleys and the low places lifted up.

And then I speak with someone who might make a difference. Beginning today. Today I spoke with this person and they asked me to send them some information. I could tell right from the start that they are serious, about business, and interested in what is going on. A somewhat high official but not a lawyer or anyone of that sort. Yet someone with clout, experience, and an open mind. Very to-the-point and articulate I might add.

I have little reason to think it will go anywhere because everything gets shot down. Someone tries to get ahead of my message and influence or prejudice the party first. There is a chance that this time someone is going to listen. They seemed to understand what I was talking about. In this situation, I get the chance to make a first impression and I'm going to know this person over the head with all the facts. If someone influences opinion after that, there's nothing I can do.

One new advantage I have, in navigating through the mess, is that I am a mother. In studies, mother rats completed tasks faster, made it through mazes more quickly and worked faster and smarter. They also survived longer and swam longer than non-mother female rats, when placed in a well of water. I'll have to find the study again, but in women, human females, the same is true. New brain synapses fire as well and make more connections. Mothers have to be survivors for their young.

Woodpeckers & Endangered Wildlife

I've seen two different kinds of woodpeckers near the house, by the front door. One is brown with a red head, and the other is black with white splotches on the top of its wings that are visible when it's flying away.

There is a round hole above the doorframe, made for a nest.

I also know of an almost extinct species of animal on the property that the Federal Government is interested in. But, since the government has killed them off each time they've been taken into captivity, we don't give them up. They're safer here.

Bear: That's What Little Boys Are Made Of!

Hello Little Bear,

You're watching a short documentary for preschoolers called "There Goes a Train". We don't have Saturday cartoons--we have movies.

You know how to put movies in, take them out, fast-forward and rewind, and stop. Have I written about this before? I have let you play with the buttons from the start, because that's how you learn. I'm not worried about things getting "screwed up".

Yesterday we went to the park and you wanted to play with a little girl so you pulled her hair. Ooops. And again, and again. You did it with a smile on your face. I knew you were just being friendly but she turned and looked at you with a pained expression like, "Oww. What are you doing to me?!" and then she looked at me with an expression of, "Do you see what he's doing?" I saved her hair a few times and told her you didn't understand it hurt and it was your way of being friendly. Then you went up to the other little boy and were trying to be friendly and hit him on the back. He looked at you. And ran away. I think it's kind of funny because you're only 1 1/2 and you're pulling hair and slapping backs already. But I felt a little sad too because you had a lonely look on your face, a little sad, when they rejected your offers of friendship. You did play more with the little girl though and had fun.

I can tell you already feel self-conscious because you would interact with the kids and when you looked at me and saw me watching, you stopped and became shy. That is exactly how I was with my parents, for some reason. I didn't like being in the spotlight. When I was a little older, 5 or 6, we went to a church that had the kids come forward for a special sermonette, in front of all the adults in church and I HATED that. I didn't like being on stage for all the adults and always begged my parents to let me sit with them.

Yesterday we went shopping for kitty litter box and food, and passed a Halloween display. I tried to rush you by because there was a scary large statute of a green man who talked and moved and then lifted his severed head and neck from his chest, up into the air and said ghoulish things. I thought you'd be scared, but you wanted to go back. So I let you. You couldn't tear youself away. You were not scared at all. You were fascinated and went: "room-rooom!" You knew it a machine! I thought that was interesting. I allowed you at least 10 minutes to watch that thing, and kept wondering who, passing by, saw this and was thinking how horrible it was that I was showing you horror images. Anyway, you knew it was fake. What are you going to be for Halloween this year?!

Also, after our swim last time, I took you to a playcenter with a bunch of toys. You went right for the cars, trucks, and tractors, out of everything in the room. There were all kinds of toys, but you wanted wheels.

Right now you're not watching the movie and are moving beads on a wire toy, with sound effects.

You are SUCH a BOY!

Love you

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Bear: First Tears for Kitty

Hello Little Bear,

This morning you woke up and I was next to you. You looked at me and smiled and then you perked up, sat up straight, and turned to look for Kitty at the foot of the bed, where you have found her for the last week upon waking.

But she wasn't there! I had taken her out of the room because I was on the computer earlier before going back to bed to sleep with you. I didn't want her to sit on your head or cozy up to you and wake you up when I wasn't there.

When you saw Kitty was not there, waiting for you at the foot of the bed, you began to sob. You weren't mad and it wasn't a temper tantrum. Your face dissolved into a really sad expression and you looked at me and started to cry. I said, "Oh! Honey, it's okay! The kitty is still here! She's just in the other room...Hang on, I'll get her." I brought her in and you instantly smiled again and gave the Kitty a hug and hustled down off of the bed so you play with her.

Usually you only cry if you wake up and I'M not there next to you (if I'm up already), but this time, it was all about the Kitty-Cat. It was so sweet!

I said to myself then, (grumble, grumble), I guess the Kitty gets to stay. I have some minor reservations--1. She does seem to be clingy, 2. She sneezes a lot and I want a healthy cat to begin with so I'm going to have to find out what her shots were and if her sneezing is from that Upper Respiratory thing cats get, 3. I hate kitty litter boxes, and 4. She has been trying to catch, eat, or mangle Prince Harry and I think Prince Harry is a little concerned. I put him up higher when I saw Kitty flicking her tail, with three paws balanced on the rim of the fishbowl, and one paw poised to plunge into the water and hook her prey.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Bear: Kitty-Cat Love

Hello Little Bear,

You love the kitty and the kitty loves you! Last night though, I had a dream about a psychotic clingy kitty that wouldn't let us go. Doesn't mean anything...I know it's just my subconscious because this cat tries to sleep on your head or my head at night and drives me nuts. So tonight I finally had to gently hit its head to keep it at the foot of the bed. I kept picking it up and putting it at the foot of the bed, and she'd climb right back. So, sadly, I had to pat her nose to get the message across. I cannot have a kitty sleeping on your head and it wakes you up!

Otherwise, this kitty is still a keeper. No more mice! I was no threat, the mice knew, but kitty WAS. I think she scared them off.

When Barney's "I Love You; You Love Me" song comes on, you give her a hug and a kiss. She makes you laugh out loud when she chases you or bats at your feet or hands. A dog would be better though. Kitty chased you once and lost interest. A dog wouldn't lose interest. And a dog would better absorb your hand-holds and tugs. I wish you had a big dog. Maybe later. That would be ideal though. For now, I can tell Kitty makes you happy and is a sort of playmate. You play alone better if Kitty is with you. She relieves your boredom. And even after all the ear pulling and tugging and throwing and holds, she rubs against your legs and goes to you with a purr.

My Mother's Personal ESP or Intuition: Dream About a Baby

I thought I'd add my mother in on my topic of Personal ESP, Premonition, and Intuition. It has happened to my mother too, but I don't think as often and she only gave me one example. When she told me, it was like hearing a family secret. My mother never told me about any experience she had until one day I revealed a long list of my experiences and asked her what she thought about them. She told me the same thing had happened to her, and gave an example of a dream she once had:

My mother had a dream that an old friend of hers had a baby that died. It was a particularly poignant dream. It reminded my mother that she had not talked to that friend for years, since she had moved to a new area. So she called her up. Her friend broke into tears when my mother asked her how she was doing...Because, this friend told her, her baby had just died a couple days ago.

My mother told me she didn't know what the dream was for. She thought it was odd, as she had not even known her friend was pregnant, before the baby was born, but felt what could she do about it? It hadn't been a dream where she could warn her friend first. It was a dream about something that happened after the fact. My mother thought maybe God had given her the dream so she would call her friend and comfort her. My mother wasn't even very close to this friend, but she and my father had also lost a baby, 3 days after he was born, and had a lot of empathy for those going through the same thing.

This is the only example my mother gave me of this kind of thing happening, but she said it happened to her more than once, and usually after an event occured and not before. So it's not really premonition but more of a special hindsight.

Is this kind of gift inherited?! And if so, why? My mother was, if anything, embarressed to tell me about her experiences and had kept them a secret from others. I'd like to hear about others who have these experiences on a regular basis. May have to do a google search.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Personal ESP, Intuition, and Premonition

I'm only going to list a couple of examples right now. From a couple of experiences when this was new to me.

I do not practice or engage in any kind fortune-telling, astrology, cards, or readings. Of course, with my religious upbringing, anything of the sort was black magic or occult and opposed in the Bible. Later, in religious circles there was a lot of talk about certain intuitive powers coming from an accepted source: God. Dreams, premonitions, foretelling...these things could come from either good or bad sources. But it was accepted that God does gift some people with occasional insights that are miraculous or extraordinary. When I was younger, I never heard about this kind of thing. My parents didn't talk about it, and I never heard about it in church. But when I was in high school, a couple of times, I had insights that I didn't know how to explain. And throughout my life, not at will, but at various times, it happens. However, I always seem to find out what the meaning was after-the-fact.

A couple of examples from high school:

1. I didn't know why, but the idea occured to me that a certain girl wanted to marry my then-boyfriend, and thought they would. I didn't know her at all and never talked to her. I never saw her talking to my boyfriend either and he didn't talk about her. I knew she had been his girlfriend before me, but that had been a year ago. I wasn't jealous at all. It was clear to everyone that this guy was head-over-heels for me and he wrote poetry about and for me and called me whenever he was out of town at a sports game. His friends used to tell me they'd never seen anyone more "whipped" and I guess his own best friend realized it when he saw him reading a Bible (of all things!) because of my religious convictions. So there was no explanation for the thought I had, that she thought they would marry. But I told my boyfriend about it. He laughed and said it was funny because he never talked to her, not for a long time at least. A couple days later he called me back with a shaky voice. He said the weirdest thing had happened. His former girlfriend had called him, out of the blue, and said she thought they were going to get married. Her words were an exact quotation of what I had said to him. He said he didn't know what I had but whatever it was, was weird. He mentioned ESP.

2. Another thing was that I had a dream about him and his girlfriend after me, and when he told me it meant something that had already happened with him and her.

3. Without anyone telling me, I KNEW when he had been out with another girl, and when I'd tell him I knew, he couldn't deny it.

Now the last thing is more common. I think there IS such a thing as women's intuition. But the other things were different. It's happened to me since then, many, many, times. Sometimes I get information or ideas come to my mind that I later find out are true or an event that has already happened or is going to happen. I sometimes get a hunch or a strange feeling about things too and try to follow my instincts.

I used to ignore my intuition, until I realized many times, it was trying to tell me something--sometimes a warning...And then I began to listen and pay attention and probably jump to conclusions at times. But often I'm right. I find I'd rather be wrong sometimes than ignore a potentially important clue or message. What I've experienced has covered many topics and experiences, people, and forms of message. I believe it is a gift from God. I am unable to manipulate it or force it. It comes without warning although sometimes after I've prayed to God to show me something. I don't hear "voices" or see things...I get ideas or dreams and then they play themselves out. Many times I see something that has happened after it has already occured. It's difficult to describe without details, but I'm only leaving a couple of examples for now.

As for knowing this girl thought she was going to marry my then-boyfriend...Did it matter? No. It didn't mean anything to me, and had no purpose, I felt. I mean, what do you do with that? Nothing. I didn't care whether she thought that or not. But it was the beginning of an awareness that I would continue to have these experiences throughout my life.

Wendy Seltzer: The Chiling Effect

I am excited about a couple of things (other than my son). I came across a link to "thechillingeffect" which is a site and organization that helps people with free speech issues online. I wrote to the founder and she wrote back. I'm not publishing what she wrote, because I DO keep some things private, but she was very helpful, taking the time to respond immediately, and to give me a couple of suggestions that really are good ideas. I was looking up the link and then found her own webpage, where she lists this site and all her other ventures. THIS is what law school is for. I so rarely meet lawyers using their talents for good, who are top of their class and yet work for public interest, and they are few and far between. But when I catch a small glimpse of them, I feel encouraged. Just encouraged about society in general. Anyone interested in free speech matters, pro or con, should check her out. I hope she is rewarded well for her work: I haven't looked closely at the rest of her work, but the Chilling Effect project is genius. It lists and archives all cease-and-desist letters to authors of blogs or websites.

The only other lawyer I've read about or met so far in life who has been inspiring in any way is Randy Shaw. I need to look him up and his link. He wrote a book called something like "The Activist's Handbook" and he's a lawyer who is public interest, very smart, and founded a non-profit that helps renters in landowner-renter disputes. He's from California, or, based in California. I read his book and called him and left a message thanking him for his book and saying how I appreciated it and he called me back!!! I got so bogged down with personal crap that I never returned his call, but I always meant to and kept his message on my answering machine for months, as a reminder to call him. Never did. But, another very rare lawyer using talents for good.

My Blog is BACK! Publishing Questions and Intuition

Well I am slightly encouraged to find my blog is back in the public search. Not twice as before, or in the same higher relevance (which I believe it should be) but at least it's back and shows on the same first page when someone types in my name, which is very important.

I was thinking, I need to check out the whole legal rights, publishing rights thing.

I believe I read that by using a blog host, you are being "published" by your host and they can claim publishing rights and use your material later, without permissions. I think so, but not positive. If true, what may also be true is that perhaps they can control what you later want to publish in book form?

If I later want to edit portions of my blog and write a book, can Google control any of this? Can they refuse to allow someone else to publish, or can they claim monies? Can they edit my materials?

If my blog is not just owned by me, but also by Google, I'm wondering how it may affect publishing rights to my story later. You know what I mean?

If Google is good to me, and vice versa, I have no problem giving some of my publishing rights to them. I really have never in my life been all about money, although I do have a thing about being fair. If I later wish to publish and receive any kind of monies, well, if someone else were getting rich off of my story, I wouldn't think that is fair. I don't have a problem sharing some of the proceeds, but I would obviously want most for me and my son since it's my story and I would be doing all the labor in writing it down.

Will have to look into this. Always have to think about the future, and I haven't completely lost my business sense.

I omitted some medical info in one recent post because I had written about it, in anger and distress, when I believed what I wrote was only viewed by me and no one else. So I was venting. But I don't think it's a good idea to get into my medical records online, at least not yet, not until I've better explained what has been going on and have a chance to tell more of my story. At the right time, I don't have a problem sharing more info, because it may help others and will give better insight, but right now there's not enough context.

And, as for thinking perhaps I saw Raul Bujanda recently, it very well may NOT have been, and I would think it brazen if it were, BUT I have had a very strange intuitive feeling that he's been over here in this area recently or even now. I don't know how to explain it and I may be wrong, but sometimes I'm right. Something is going on in Cashmere, WA. I don't know how to explain it, but I think there is some sort of investigation taking place in Cashmere. Or there are at least people who know me going there, who don't want me to know. Almost every time I go to Cashmere to visit my grandparents, I pass men driving trucks (usually trucks) who make a point of covering their faces with their arms when they pass me. It is NOT my imagination, and I HAVE been right about things I've "sensed" in the past. In fact, the priest who counseled me for a year, when I worked as a volunteer at an Abbey library, said to me once, "You are highly intuitive" and I've had weird things happen before, like dreams about people and told them, and then have had people tell me it fit a situation that happened to them. I'll write more about the actual things I've "sensed" before and how I found out it was true, in time. A few examples go back to high school, where a boyfriend of mine said to me: "I don't know what you have (ESP or what) but it's weird". I would tell him about things I thought were going to happen or dreams I had, that actually happened later. So, sometimes I'm way off base, but I try to trust my intuition because more often than not, I've been right about things.

I think, to avoid sounding "mystical", or nuts, I will describe some actual examples of what I'm talking about in my next post. And then I'm moving on to another NFTN and getting back on track with my "story". And, of course, I need to find out about the whole publishing thing and legalities.

Finally, thank you Google, for putting my blog back up.