Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cheater Pants

There are rules to all games. Some rules come in the box with the game. Some rules are found online. Some rules are found in my head.

I'm playing words with friends, aka scrabble, with several friends. I started out okay, beating several of them. Since then, I've had my ass handed to me in the middle of words I don't know several times.

Okay, folks, here are the rules. Dictionaries are for cheater pants. Yes, there, it's in writing. You don't need a dictionary. You either know the word or you don't. You can guess. You can swear. You can try words that you would think it won't accept (it took sext but not jiz - yeah I know it's spelled wrong but I was hoping it wouldn't notice). But you can't look up words that start with an O hoping to find something that will work with the tiles you have. That's cheating.

So there you go.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

What is art?

A visit to the Hirshhorn Museum this weekend has me thinking about this. And thinking about an argument I had with someone years ago about what constitutes art.

In my world, art is something that someone creates for a specific purpose. That purpose may never be known but it's there. It should cause a reaction in you. You like it, you love it, you hate, you don't understand it - something.

Before I continue on, two things should be known: 1) I'm an art school drop out and 2) I'm the family archivist. I document everything. Both of these facts probably cloud my judgement a bit.

The Hirshhorn is full of weird things. There was a 60 minute video of Niagara Falls. It consisted of nothing more than the water falling over the falls. Yawn. What makes that art? There was another video of something that I'm not sure how to describe. It sort of looked like a city view with weird lights, sounds and other graphic images moving around on it. I thought it was cool but not necessarily art. I might be changing my mind, though, as I've thought about it several times since seeing it.

The yarn hanging display annoyed me. It looked like vertical pick up sticks. And it did absolutely nothing for me except cause me to wonder why the museum spends its money on things like that.

The argument I had with someone was about my photos, few of which I'd call art. I document my life because I'm a doom and gloom kind of person. I think if I die today, what will my kids know and remember about me. They will certainly know the importance of a camera in my life. No question there. But will they remember the rest? Will they remember how I see things in a way that is often different from the mainstream? That's what I want to document. I have pictures of everyone who is important to me - regardless of the reason. I take pictures of almost every place I go because I want my kids to know what I enjoyed doing. Sometimes the pictures are artsy. Sometimes they're not. I never take a picture with the idea that I want it hanging on someone's wall. I do want to make sure a memory is created forever when I click the shutter. There's a difference in intention.

Some pictures I take can be called art, though they weren't taken for that purpose. I have some of those posted at Red Bubble. You can see the ones I like at

I will continue to take pictures all the time. I might even let one or two go up on my wall.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

Father's day for someone who grew up without a dad is a weird day. I had a friend (acquaintance, really) in high school who was horrified that I had no idea when father's day was. I knew it was in June - I did have a grandfather at that time. But I couldn't then and still can't tell you if it's the first, third or whatever Sunday in June.

I always thought my mother should get both Mother's Day and Father's Day - she was both to me. But I had a brother that grew up with both parents, so that would've been weird.

I, for one - and yes, I'm a mom, would be very happy to get rid of mother's day (which is usually a less than stellar day for me) and father's day. Maybe just one day of recognizing the person(s) who influenced your life. For me, that would be my 8th grade science teacher (who was probably the most paternal figure in my life), my mom and a few family friends who tried to steer me away from the trouble I was drawn to.

So happy day to the people who influenced my life and taught me right from wrong. The list is long but includes some odd people who would never guess they had an influence on me:

Mr. Righter, who taught me in 7th and 8th grade and saved me in my senior year by letting me teach his class,

The man who owned The Smuggler Shop in Ocean City, who took the time to listen to me and always supported what my mom said,

Mr. Aiken, who was the closest thing to a dad I had.

Mr. Miller, who tried his best to teach me how to garden (and now I wish I had paid more attention).

and the others I won't mention today.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


There's a lot going on in my head today but I can't get my head together enough to write about any of it. Welcome to my life.

There's another blog I like by a friend of mine, Alissa. Her blog, Have Stroller, Will Travel, makes me think. Sometimes it makes me feel normal - that I'm not the only one dealing with weird parenting issues. Plus I get to win fun things sometimes. She wrote the other day about accidents she had while growing up. That got me thinking.

I have scars. Right now, when I think of my scars they're mostly the kind on the inside. But I have plenty on the outside.

I'm pretty sure CPS watched my family for a while. I broke both wrists within three months of each other. The first was in gym class in 6th grade. I tripped and fell and surprise, it was broken. Then at tennis lessons in NJ, I tripped again and broke the other arm. mother was not happy with me. At all.

There are the weird ones. I have had stitches in the same place (my chin) twice, about 7 years apart. I put a safety pin in my eye (hence, no contacts for me) and a knitting needle through my leg. Neither of those was fun at all! Apparently I'm above the age when most people get their appendixes out yet that happened last summer - and those scars are on top of part of my c-section and previous laparoscopy surgeries from long ago.

I was a fire bug for a while when I was young. I have plenty of scars on my legs from when I would melt things and forget that I was wearing shorts. Yeah, I was a pyro but not too bright. I still have claw marks on my hand from where a jealous girl got pissy with me when the cute boy on the neighborhood walked me home and not her.

These scars are easy to deal with. It's the ones you can't see that are harder. But those are fading, too.

I have kids who are doomed to be accident prone. The local ER knows me well already. The cycle continues.....

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Magical Thinking

I've been giving the topic of magical thinking a lot of thought. It keeps coming up in my world.

I've always been a believer of signs. I think people come into my life for a reason. I think things happen to me for a reason. I don't always know the reason but I believe there is one. Or I used to.

I grew up Christian (and have Jewish blood in me, a thing of curiosity most of my life) and being told that things happen for a reason - that my prayers are answered even if sometimes the answer is no. Sometimes I'm not meant to know the reason but there is something behind everything. Okay.....

Then I started to doubt things. The doubt started a while ago but I pushed it to the side. I didn't want to doubt what was ingrained in me as truth. But as much as I wanted to push it aside, the doubt remained.

I took a class in Judaism. That was interesting. I re-evaluated what I grew up with. I thought a lot about things. It didn't make sense. I'm supposed to be learning things in these weird situations I'm in. Everything happens for a reason, right?

Then someone explain to me why the most important and influential men in my life all tell me I'm practicing magical thinking? I have several people telling me the same thing (one leaves a small margin of possibility to there being something else out there open). For someone who believes in signs, this is very confusing. Are they telling me the truth? Are they a test sent to challenge my faith? What is my faith? None of it works for me.

I'll accept that it might be magical thinking. But that thinking gets me through things like facing the hell my kids' grandmother is about to face in yet another battle with cancer. That thinking makes me say thank you and appreciate the good things and people in my life. That thinking has gotten me through the hardest year of my life by knowing I am not given what I can't handle. Then again, I realize I was not "given" the situation I'm in now. I don't think there's a god up there saying "Judi, it's your time to get divorced" or face mortality or anything else. I don't think it happens like that.

What is the result of this magical thinking? I'm no more sure or doubtful of an existence of something greater than us than I was before. I am very appreciative of the people in my life. I think about what I have to learn from them. I'm more confident because I'm SURE I can handle it all. Is that bad? Is that magical? I don't think so.

If this is a test, I'm failing. Or maybe not. Maybe, just maybe, the point of it all is to make me think instead of going through my life in the mindless, all-accepting way I was before. I found a song that makes me laugh. It's two songs, really. The first, the monkey song, is about the "ridiculous" theory of evolution. The second (keep listening past the monkey song) is "the ecumenical movement". I had to ask what that meant and it turns out it means me. I'm good with it. A guy I knew once called me a "cafeteria Christian". I'll take that. The truth is I have no clue. I don't know the answer. And really, neither does anyone else. Except maybe John Edward but that's a discussion for a different day.