Month: January 2013

Plucked, Tucked, and Fucked

¿Rolling Stones? No, gracias

¿Rolling Stones? No, gracias (Photo credit: alvarezperea)

As a no longer young woman who doesn’t travel with the movers and shakers of society, it sometimes takes me a while to hear about trends and movements.  Last night, I saw an article on Facebook that horrified me.  So much so, I suspected it was a hoax, and googled.  Labiaplasty.  Not a hoax. A (sur)real cosmetic plastic surgery, available at a doctor’s office near you.  Heh.

Just in case you’re as behind the times as I am, labiaplasty is a surgery to trim, or completely remove, a woman’s inner labia.  Ready for the kicker?  This is a purely optional procedure.

So I ranted with my feminist FB buddies for a bit, and then kept googling.  I did find instances of women who said they chose to have the procedure done for more than aesthetic reasons, citing discomfort when running or biking.  I read about one woman who said she was tired of her lips falling out of her underwear.  Now those are lips.  Except when I continued reading, it turns out she was referring to thong underwear. What’s that, dear?  Your dental floss isn’t as comfortable as you’d like it to be?  Get off my lawn!

old lady feeding pigeons

old lady feeding pigeons (Photo credit: mvhargan)

Adult women look different from young girls, the body changes in many ways.  This surgery seems to be an effort to replicate the appearance of prepubescent girls.  As a woman, as a mother, as a sorta kinda feminist, I am appalled.  Exactly how does this fit into “first do no harm?”  Those labia aren’t like your appendix, serving no function.  They are part of your body’s natural defenses, protecting the vagina and urethra, have glands that produce secretions that kill bacteria, and I’m no gynecologist, but I’m pretty sure they help keep your urine from spraying out between the bowl and the seat.  As someone who is a designated toilet scrubber, I approve of this function.

I am naturally slim, always was.  Somehow, it’s more socially acceptable to admit to surgical body sculpting and radical diets than to say this.  We, as women, are supposed to spend our entire lives hating our images, taking ever more extreme measures to look like a continually changing physical ideal.  Men seem to be jumping on this bandwagon for themselves, can be found waiting to have their eyebrows threaded, pedicures done, chests waxed, and of course, cosmetic surgeries.

How much more can we hate ourselves?  We starve, we shave, pour hot wax and rip it off, send electric shocks through our pores, apply acid to remove layers of skin, vacuum fat, lift, tuck, stick bits of plastic on our eyeballs, we paint, we polish, tattoo, pierce, inject water, silicone, and botulism.

But after I logged off, and kept thinking, that pesky little voice in my head kept whispering.  You know the voice, the one that calls you out on your own bullshit and contradictions. Is this really so different than any other plastic surgery done for purely cosmetic reasons? I’ve never had any plastic surgery done, and I’m not likely to, but I can’t say I wouldn’t if an opportunity presented itself.  The younger, more militant me hates this.

I have what I like to think of as probiscis magnificus.  Yanno, a nose that qualifies as a shnoz.  When I was younger, the opportunity for a nose job presented itself.  Did I already hate my nose, wish it didn’t look like a mountain climbing challenge?  Yes I did.  But I  declined the offer, because it was so against my political views, my belief that each of us needs to embrace who we are, including our physical characteristics.  In other words, my shnoz is and always was a part of me, and our physical self contributes to who we become, our self image in every way.  I’d also had my nose broken twice.  It hurts like hell, and I wasn’t in a phase of life where I wanted to volunteer for pain.

At this stage in my life, though, I’m not so young, perky, or firm.  I’m in reasonably good shape, but my skin isn’t so tight.  I’ve nursed three children.  I know who I am, and understand physical changes won’t change the woman I’ve become.  So I’ve thought about it, and if I won the lottery, I might have a rhinoplasty done, and a boob lift to get the girls back to the zip code they used to reside in.  Is there a difference between these procedures and labiaplasty?  I could justify a nose job for medical reasons, the two breaks left me with scar tissue that make my nasal passages permanently stuffy and a snore that rivals an old coal train.  No justification other than vanity for a breast lift.  I think this means I don’t have the right to judge anyone else’s elective procedures.  What’s the line?

Description unavailable

Description unavailable (Photo credit: *Bitch Cakes*)

Freezing In a Puddle of Sweat

Frozen Hydrant

Frozen Hydrant (Photo credit: FlySi)

It’s freezing in the Northeast this week. Specifically, it’s freezing here in the city.  Seeing as how it’s January, not a surprise, but that doesn’t make it any more pleasant.  This is the time of year when Mrs Fringe wakes up and says a prayer of thanks to the inventor of long underwear, quickly followed by a daydream about Bora Bora.

Layer up, take the dogs for a walk, come back home and work intricate algebraic equations trying to determine how many layers it makes sense to remove when I have to go back out to take Flower Child to school in 30 minutes.

Shouldn’t be too much of a problem, right?  Put on 50 layers and stop whining.  Come on over to my apartment, sit down, I’ll make you a cup of coffee and you’ll defrost in no time.  In fact, you’ll defrost so quickly your fingers and toes will experience a lovely burning tingle before you register you aren’t numb anymore.  Then your nose will plug and buzz from the dry heat being pumped up at outrageous levels through the radiators.  You’ll start to shift uncomfortably on the couch, as beads of sweat pop up, try to roll freely down your lumps and bumps, but instead get trapped by the aforementioned long underwear.   We’ll engage in some witty repartee.

You’ll say, “Holy shit! It’s hot in here.”

I’ll agree, try to explain that these tall buildings send a tremendous amount of heat in the winter in order for the heat to reach the top floors; and to make life bearable for the senior citizens who live on those top floors, with their thin skin, all alone in their four bedroom apartments.  “Would you like me to open the terrace door a little wider for some fresh air?”

Three minutes will pass, you’ll be on the couch doing what looks like the pee dance once more, look miserably at the open terrace door when the sweat under your bra line freezes the wire to your skin, and wonder if it would be unreasonable to ask me to close it a little.

Two more minutes will pass, you’ll mumble something, unable to think of and verbalize a coherent excuse in your stupor, then you’ll stumble out the door.

I will do what looks like a happy dance when the door closes, but is actually a contortionist act, removing several layers.  Cooler, and gives me access to scratch, scratch, scratch at my skin, the dryness from the indoor heat leaves me itching like a 3 year old with chicken pox.  I decide it’s just as reasonable to scratch off the top 8 layers of skin as it is to take off the top 8 layers of cold weather gear.

News Flash--Heat Bad for Productivity

News Flash–Heat Bad for Productivity (Photo credit: moria)

Oh yeah, now I’m feeling comfortable.  I make a cup of tea, dance around in my long johns because it’s silly, and then have a productive hour or two where I write.  Time to layer up and walk the dogs again.  The cold air in the lobby feels great by the time I get off the elevator.  Sadly, standing outside in 11 degree temps while the dogs sniff around, not so great.  Bring the dogs back up, take off layers, half an hour or so to putter, or clean, make a shopping list or call in med refills.  Put layers on, go to the grocery store. Come home, top few layers off, put groceries away.

Layers on, walk to the school to pick up Flower Child.  Grateful for the fur hat I got from my mother.  Yes, yes, fur is bad, it isn’t politically correct, but it is warm. Arrive at school, wonder if my fingers are in fact frostbitten.  Get the girl, walk to the train station, look enviously at the lady hailing a cab in a full length mink. Go down the steps, wait for train on the 500 degree platform.  Get home to the 87 degree apartment, rip off layers from myself and the girl.  Make her hot chocolate and assess if her temperature is coming back up to her normal range within a reasonable time frame.  Do what needs to be done, homework, dinner prep, etc.

Oh look, it’s time to walk another dog.  Layers back on, trek to pick up the dog,  walk along the edge of the park.  I eye the dog, and ponder how I would look in a mutt coat.  Is there enough for a hood?  This hat isn’t a really good fur, and doesn’t sit too snug, so the frigid air is wrapping an ace bandage of dried sweat from the overly hot apartment around my head.  Time to walk home.  By now my brain is frozen, and I’m hallucinating a polar bear.  You know the sweet, sad one from the Central Park Zoo, lives on Prozac? I’m ready to disembowel said polar bear with the daggers that are my icicle fingers, and drape myself head to toe with the still steaming skin.

English: A male polar bear

English: A male polar bear (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Go home, do the evening thing, alternate sweating with standing shivering on the terrace, unwilling to strip down to the long johns yet, because I still have to walk my dogs for the night. Dog poop is super easy to pick up when it comes out already frozen.

I Hate You! But I Need You.

Sun en face

Sun en face (Photo credit: Forsetius)

Early morning.  I have a complicated relationship with my alarm clock–not so affectionately known as the egg–and sunrise.  I am not an early riser by nature, but I’ve learned to be.  Much as I love my bed, I am not and never was someone who could jump out of it and be out the door in twenty minutes.  I need my coffee, I need to sit in peace before I start the day.  And then I need more coffee.

This trait is  one of very few things about my life and myself that hasn’t changed with time and circumstance.

When I was younger and lived by myself, I was one of those people who needed two alarm clocks; one by the bed, and one across the room that would ring after I had hit the snooze on the one by the bed three or four times.  Between years long issues with insomnia and a work schedule that was very inconsistent,  I needed both of them.  Let me just say, the ability to sleep through multiple alarms combined with being neurotically prompt can make for some very unpleasant mornings.

During the week, I get up between 5 and 5:30AM.  Weekends, it depends how stressful the week has been.  The more stress, the more I stick to the weekday schedule, even if the laptop tells me it’s Sunday.

old alarm clock

old alarm clock (Photo credit: K. Yasuhara)

Husband thinks I’m crazy, because technically, I could get another hour to an hour and a half of sleep each day.  (To be fair, there are many reasons Husband thinks I’m nuts, but I’m comfortable writing about this one).  I need time to myself, by myself.  Does this make me a selfish person?  Maybe it does, but I still need it.  Am I bleary eyed and exhausted long before I can go to bed each night?  Yup, but I’d rather have the time alone than the extra sleep.  Trust me, I’d be a whole lot crazier without this time.

Added bonus, the jackhammers haven’t started that early in the day.  You know, the background music of the city that never ever ends.

You would think that by this point I’m a morning person, but I’m not.  I do like sitting on the balcony and watching the sky get pink as the sun rises.

Are you a morning person? Night person?  My favorite shift to work was a swing shift, either 4-midnight five days a week or noon-10 four days a week.  What about yourself hasn’t changed, through marital status, careers, parental status, etc?

I’d like to tell you I use this time to pray or meditate or contemplate the meaning of life, or even bond with the dogs, but I don’t.  I use it to just sit quietly, make and drink my coffee, zone out, and enjoy the peace.  I stare into the tank and watch for the pink streaked wrasse to wake up–he starts cruising, hunting for pods between the corals as soon as the sky lightens.  Sometimes I surf Facebook, but I don’t post at that hour.  I used to use that time to write, but it’s never successful as a long term writing plan, because then I’m missing that me time.  It is the only time of day when I can, somewhat consistently, get the living room to myself.  Five people on different schedules and a small space, you have to be creative.

And willing to sacrifice sleep.

Live on coffee and flowers

Live on coffee and flowers (Photo credit: thomasheylen)

Thank you, Walt

This photo depicts Walter Elias Disney's star ...

This photo depicts Walter Elias Disney’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ok, I admit it.  I was a tad overambitious when mapping out my writing plan for the weekend.  A three day weekend! While I am getting back in the habit, and I’m pleased with the progress I’m making, I don’t have the stamina I once did.  A really good writing day leaves me fried the following day.  So…I didn’t get a whole lot of words down yesterday.  I did, however, hammer out some plot points that had been nagging at me, so that counts as something. And I made enough dinner to have leftovers for tonight.

That means the only chore that had to get done today was making the week’s gumbo for the dogs.  No, no, don’t look over at the laundry pile.  All the stars aligned, I had the breakfast in the house that Flower Child actually wanted to eat, and plenty of milk for coffee.  And then, when I sat down to write, and Flower Child wilted, exhausted from being awake for 30 minutes, we found Mary Poppins was playing on the Disney channel.  After Mary Poppins came Lady and the Tramp, and after Lady and the Tramp came Hercules, and after Hercules came Alice in Wonderland, and now Aladdin is on.  Hear that?  It’s the blissful sigh of a productive writing day, gumbo made and cooling, the girl happily snuggled on the couch with Little Incredibly Dumb Dog watching movies, Big Senile Dog snoring to provide the background music.

I’m a Disney fan.  Not politically correct, but true.  I like most of their movies, and have truly happy memories of vacations at Disney World with Husband and the fringelings when they were younger and we had enough money to take a vacation every other year.  Sure, there’s also the memory of having to go to the first aid station with Nerd Child when he was an infant, and one of Husband’s chest hairs got wrapped around his eyeball in a way that required medical attention.  I think that was the same stay when I got heat stroke our first day there, between 8000% humidity and nursing.  But the next morning, I was on Dumbo with Man Child, what could be bad?

I’d like to think I’ll be able to write a little more after Flower Child goes to bed, but I doubt it.  On the other hand, I’ve got an overwhelming urge to listen to Grace Slick.  Any day that ends with Jefferson Airplane is a good one.


And the Winner Is…


Bingo! (Photo credit: jadensmommy)

Hey Artist, Got a Dollar?

Submitted to the Reader’s Choice blog 5 minutes ago.  Thanks to all who played along and cast a vote! I have wonderful friends, both online and off.

It’s 7PM on Friday of a three day weekend, woo hoo!  I’m getting ready to meet Fatigue for Friday Night Madness in a little while, and I am more than ready.  Ready to go be a grown up for an hour, and ready to happydance. Don’t worry, kids!  I’ll limit my dance to a squirm in my seat, it’s so upsetting to the 20 somethings when they see a middle aged woman get excited.  I’m lowering my cholesterol through exercise–and then I’ll raise it back up with an order of nachos.   I know there’s a pint of beer waiting for me, I hope it doesn’t go flat before I get there.  I’m certain it won’t be warm, because it’s about 2 degrees here in New York tonight.

Why am I happy?  Because today, for the first time in a long time, I felt my rhythm while I was writing.  Not just tweaking, editing, revising, not just forcing my butt to stay still and write, but really felt it. This WIP is a romance, but the setting was one I originally conceived of a few years back for a magic(al) realism short story.  I’m going to try to graft the two seeds, growing them into something new for me.  Will it work?  I’m really not sure, but I’m very, very excited, in that way that only a woman who likes to play with characters inside her head can be.


WTF? (Photo credit: mayhem)

Not So Shiny Anymore

broke in boots

broke in boots (Photo credit: patricia kranenberg)

Getting comfy, some scratches, some stretching, a few dings to make it homey.  Yup, this is my 100th post.  Happy Centennial to Mrs Fringe!

I was wondering what I would to to celebrate my 100th, and Diana, of  Talk to Diana, completely came through in her Wednesday post.  She wrote about this excellent neato-groovy-cool WordPress site, Reader’s Choice.  Wordpress bloggers can nominate their favorite post (yes, favorite post from their own blog) and have it featured, reaching a larger audience.  How cool is that?  I like this idea.  I enjoy blogging, and I love obsessing over my stats, watching my audience grow and having new people join the regulars in the comments section.

So, that’s what I’m going to do to celebrate my pigheaded sticktoitiveness.  Also, my poetic license with the English language.

Does Reader’s Choice really have a wide reaching audience? I have no clue, but that’s okay.

After all, these boots were made for walking. But I’m asking for my Fringelings’ help.  It’s only fair, because this post is as much a celebration of my Fringie followers as it is Mrs Fringe.  Thank you!!   I’m going to list a handful of what I think are my favorites, and I’m asking you to help me decide by casting a vote. Or nominate one you think I overlooked.  You can do that here in the comments section, by commenting on Mrs Fringe’s Facebook page, or Tweet @MrsFringe–I’m not sure how to link to Twitter, you can go through the little Twitter symbol on the left side of the page here.  If you haven’t already signed to follow me on Twitter, or liked me on Facebook, it’s a perfect opportunity.  I reserve the right to change my mind, go with the post that gets the most votes, or the reader who presents the most convincing argument.  I had a harder time than expected, choosing which ones to post.  Obviously I’m too in love with the sound of my own voice.

In no particular order, all posts were chosen for one of three reasons; a) I liked how it came out, b) I had fun writing it, or c) I remembered the title:

Once Upon A Time

Is It Trash Day

Hey Artist, Got A Dollar

And, Have An Orgasm

Maiden, Mother, Crone

Is It Appropriate to Mourn A Glass Box

Blogging With A Scarlet B


Telephone operators, 1952

Telephone operators, 1952 (Photo credit: Seattle Municipal Archives)

Time heals all wounds, time is money, time is the longest distance between two places, time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils.  Huh. Google quotes about time, and the pages go on and on.  Everyone has something to say about time. Don’t waste it! Use it wisely! It’s relative!  It’s a nebulous concept, distorting our already biased perceptions.

I’ve been poking around the writers’ forum.  The other day, I tripped over my old username, which I hadn’t been able to remember when I rejoined, so I had created  a new one.  In keeping with the interests of procrastination, once I found it I ran a search for posts by the old name. The internetz, no such thing as gone for good.

Found a thread discussing looking for an agent, I had posted about receiving a request for a “full” based on a partial manuscript sent, the following day I posted about having received a request for a partial based on pages sent with a query.  If you’re reading and you aren’t a writer of fiction, let me tell you, that’s a wild with joy and nerves skip around the apartment until you notice the kids are in a frightened huddle in the corner worthy couple of days.  Another member posted on the thread saying I was someone to watch.  Quite a compliment.  The funny part?  Not only don’t I remember posting any of that, I don’t remember the compliment, or the happy dance I’m sure I stomped out for at least a week.

If I had come across the post in some other way without noticing the username, I would have stopped and studied the signature, following any links to see if this person was now published, with a novel(s) available on the market.  Talk about a disconnect.

I don’t wish I could go back to that time period, there were many other crappy things happening in my life that I don’t care to relive.  Hey, you don’t achieve this trajectory of downward mobility if you’re skipping through the daisies each day.  But I do wish I could sift the sands of that time period, find the grains that represent the writing me, and just put those grains in my pockets, so when I’m frustrated I could touch them, roll them between my fingers and against my cheek, to remind myself of the possibilities.

Lakota storyteller: painting.

Lakota storyteller: painting. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




Elegance coral 2

Elegance coral 2 (Photo credit: afagen)

No, this isn’t the type of elegance I’m talking about today, but this is one hot coral.  I haven’t been having much success with LPS coral in my little tank, so I won’t add it to my wish list just yet.  Yeah, I’m pretty weird, thinking about elegance this was what popped to the forefront of my mind.  But I chose this particular photo because it has that little asterina star on the glass.  Those things seem so cute.  But the truth is if you see one in your tank, you’ve likely got dozens, and they breed faster than a bunny on speed.  Then you have a nuisance that will irritate pricey and prized corals.

I think that’s me.  When it comes to style, I have to make an effort, which I often don’t.  Come on, how long should I take to get dressed and do my hair to drop the girl off at school and come home to clean the bathroom, or go out to dogwalk?  But sometimes I do.  It’s fun and it feels good, nothing says “I can do this” more than a kick ass pair of shoes with the right outfit.  So when I do make the effort, sometimes I hit it, and sometimes I don’t, but even when I do, it’s never perfect.  There will be one little something that tips the scales from I’m rocking it to oh shit, I’m still carrying my dog walking bag.  Which then leads me to notice the dog hair I didn’t get off my skirt, the smudge of mascara under my right eye, the eek! of questioning if I used deodorant under both arms.

Taking Flower Child to school this morning, I saw a young woman running for the bus.  Tall, slim, and cute, she was wearing clunky wooden heeled sandals, and a too long nightgown looking brown maxi-dress, with a faux-fur gray sweater on top.  Oy. On my way back home, I saw another woman running across the street for a cab.  Black suit, ivory turtleneck underneath, and black patent leather stilleto pumps.  I was more than impressed by how well she was able to run, though I’m guessing it produced more jiggle than she generally shoots for.

The Patent Leather Kid

The Patent Leather Kid (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What made one work and the other not? I don’t know.  One thing I love about the city is that women never seem to be limited by what’s “in.”  Personal style is encouraged, influenced by many factors, and expressed through textures, lengths, fabrics, and accessories.   Fun to watch, and a bonus in that it makes coming up with the beginning of a character sketch pretty easy.

I’m not talking about the women who are so stunning it doesn’t matter what they are or are not wearing. It’s the women who have whatever the it factor is that allows them to look like the definition of fabulousity no matter what their age, style or dress size is. The difference between wtf -is-she-wearing and wow-I-wish-I-could-pull-that-off.

Is it studying old episodes of What Not To Wear?  Reading fashion magazines? Being the victor when battling for that dress at the annual Barney’s sale?

I don’t think so.  I honestly think it comes from within.  Part of it being a good eye, knowing what lines will work with your lines, and much of it is confidence.

I have a neighbor who always looks elegant.  And when I say always, I mean even when staking a claim for the most efficient dryer in the laundry room.  She isn’t young, she isn’t particularly tall, she isn’t slim. But she is always styling.


Lautrec the tattooed woman 1894

Lautrec the tattooed woman 1894 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On the High Wire

high wire 1

high wire 1 (Photo credit: _gee_)

That’s Mrs Fringe.  You can wave, but I won’t wave back, or I’ll surely lose my balance before I’m at the halfway point.

I’m just going to ramble on a bit this evening.  Every time I sat down to post today, the phone rang or Flower Child needed help, so whatever ideas I had for a coherent post are gone.  I am sending out apologies to my fellow bloggers.  Adding a daily fiction writing block to my schedule, in addition to blogging and those other couple of things I do has me working hard on my time management skills, and I need to catch up on what everyone else has been doing.

I’ve felt like I’m up on a high wire for quite a while now, but with my new commitment to, umm…what was that again?  Oh yeah, me.  And writing…it’s a little different, because I’m trying to add in a bit of style and stay upright, not just hanging on with my pinkies.  I think starting to blog was me opening my eyes.  I’ve yet to look down.  In case you’re wondering, standing up feels great, but it’s a whole lot harder than keeping my act limited to not letting go.

Vwoop.  That’s the sound of another safety net being whisked away.  Man Child leaves on Monday morning to start an internship.  I’ve been trying to get as much done as possible this weekend while I’ve still got him here.  Groceries, dry goods, and the best pizza in the neighborhood, because they don’t deliver.  Shocking, isn’t it?  A NY pizza place that doesn’t deliver.  I’d be fine if the guys on the next block with the tasteless, rubbery cheese pizza didn’t deliver.  Protip: If you come to visit and want really good NY pizza, go to Brooklyn.

I did have an excellent adventure yesterday morning.  Can you guess?Can You Guess?

How about now?

How about now?

Grand Central Station.  I haven’t been there in eons, but I went yesterday, and had the pleasure of meeting Caitlin Kelly, of the Broadside Blog. For the record, she is every bit as smart, sophisticated, and lovely in person as she seems to be on her blog.  I had a blast.  We got to know each other a bit, and spent a while talking about writing, ideas, life, and careers.  I walked away feeling energized.  Yup, Mrs Fringe being a grown up woman.

Flower Child was home sick from school, but Man Child was able to postpone his plans and babysit.  Thank you! Even the rain held off, so I was able to wear my favorite boots.  Why are my favorite winter boots suede?  Because they’re awesome, I can’t believe you needed to ask.

I miss that too brief period in my life when I was actively involved with writers groups, attending conferences and taking myself seriously in a way that resulted in a lot of fun. Hence my high wire routine.  It’s definitely harder than it once was (hell, getting up from the floor is harder than it once was), but I’m doing it.

Cuddling With that Late Night Booty Call: Want

Deutsch: Irische Hard Shoes, auch Hornpipe Sho...

Deutsch: Irische Hard Shoes, auch Hornpipe Shoes oder Jig Shoes genannt. Jig Shoes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

*Warning: Defensive post ahead.

Yesterday afternoon, I walked past a favorite shoe store, recently renovated so the ambiance matches the price points.  In the window was an absolute wantwantwant Pas de Rouge shoe.  So much so, I took a picture with a phone, posted it to my personal Facebook wall, and had fun with friends dreaming about $400 shoes.  (for some reason I can’t transfer pics from my phone to this blog, sorry) Fun? Yes. Silly? Absolutely. But there’s something about a sole full of awesomeness that some roundheels like myself can’t deny.  Resist, sure, but not deny.

But here’s what I’m thinking about today. We’re expected to deny our wants.  As women, certainly as women with children, we’re supposed to forget about our pesky little wants, dreams, and desires, at least until all children our grown and gone.  I’m not talking about ridiculously expensive shoes, but the other stuff.  Like writing, or painting, or photography (except of our children), or going back to school, or a vacation that isn’t educational.  Even hobbies are relegated to after the kids are asleep.  You know what?  After the kids are grown and gone is a long, long time.  Add in a special needs child and multiply this by eleventy billion.

A newborn child crying.

A newborn child crying. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It doesn’t seem so long at first, when they’re babies, toddlers, and young children, and your days meld together with feeding and changing, soothing and crooning.  Hell, just looking at this photo makes my boobs tingle, preparing for a non existent milk letdown, and it’s been years since I nursed.

My belief that children come first is strong.  Most of us deny ourselves a lot of wants, put off needs, because the kids come first.  It’s what our biology and our society dictates; in my opinion this is as it should be.  I know it isn’t just women who put certain wants off until the kids are grown, most of us, male and female, are on limited budgets, and many of us have to either give up or put dreams aside until the immediate responsibilities are fewer. Being last is okay, as long as I’m still in the race.

But since I began blogging about my newly rediscovered determination to get back to a regular writing and submitting schedule, more than a couple of my female followers have made reference (both on and off the blog) to wanting to do X, and waiting to do X until the kids are gone.   Feel free to jump in and tell me you’ve heard otherwise, I’ve never heard a man say he’s waiting to investigate and pursue a hobby until the kids are gone.  When I read the stories of writers who have been successful after having children, but before the kids are gone, they’re a little different. Both male and female showed tremendous drive, dedication, and passion.  The men talk about coming home from their day jobs, locking themselves in whatever little nook they can carve out for themselves in their home, and writing.  Women talk about coming home from their day jobs, supervising homework, making dinner, doing the bedtime thing, and then going to whatever nook they’ve carved out for themselves. Or, if they were SAHMs, writing during naps and loads of laundry. And of course, eating all those bon bons. Who needs sleep, right?

I don’t know about you, but when I sleep and dream, it isn’t about juicy younger men or my formerly perky parts. It’s about space and time for myself that isn’t shrouded in guilt.

English: A photograph of an engraving in The W...

English: A photograph of an engraving in The Writings of Charles Dickens volume 4, Oliver Twist, titled “Oliver at Mrs. Maylie’s Door”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think it’s valid, sensible, and important to recognize the difference between wants and needs, and then further breakdown to prioritize these needs and wants. What I don’t get is why this is supposed to equal no wants or dreams.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I recognize that I live in this spoiled American society and I am a spoiled American.  I don’t have a McMansion and don’t want one.  I also don’t want to live in a hut, with just enough grains of rice to keep me going, foraged Pepsi bottles strapped to my feet with woven grass.   I hear those are terrible for dog walking.