The Pie Baker

Fresh from the Oven

The Spectre of Sperm

To him, I was just a way to blow off steam or have some fun. What I ended up being was a receptable for his sperm and the mother of his child. He has never once laid eyes on the Pie or seen a picture of her. In fact, we have had no whatsoever communication since she was born. Today he turns a year older without knowing the most wonderful child to ever grace the planet. His loss.

This does not mean that I have forgotten about him completely. I remember that today is his birthday and that he liked to drink beer….a LOT of beer. He liked my cooking, my bed and my cable TV. I also got him a cell phone that I am still paying for. I’m pretty sure he destroyed when I sent the text message that his daughter had been born.

I see him almost every day in my daughter; her quick temper, the face she makes when shes REALLY angry and her compusion to touch my breasts….but that’s something else, I think.

I also fear eveytime we go out in my town that I will see him or run into him. I wonder when I stop for gas if he will pull up to buy beer, or if I am grocery shopping with a cart full of Gerber Little Snacks if I will see him buying beer. I often irrationally wonder if I will see him driving down the road – drinking a beer!

By some psychotic twist of ironic fate, I happen to live about a mile from his father’s house. He is known to frequent his father’s place whenever the “little woman” kicks him out or if he is just too drunk to drive home. It takes every fiber of my being to keep from turning down that street when I drive by. And I don’t know why….I really don’t want to see him, nor do I want him to see the Pie. He does not deserve the opportunity to know her or even see her. And in some deep, dark place in my heart, I think it would tarnish her – rob her of the innocence she has about him. I am constantly on alert for him so I can hide or flee if I need to.

If she ever wants to know the circumstances surrounding how she came to be, I will be as honest as is age-appropriate at the time. When she is 18, I will tell her the name of the man who helped me make her (if she asks….I won’t just wrap it up in a gift bag and toss it at her!) and she can do what she wants with the information she has. I will not bad-mouth him to her. I will not say to her that he was a loser with no job and no ambition who didn’t care if she existed because he just wanted to get drunk and get laid. Nope – I will not say that. I will not say that she is better off without him and I pray every day that she never knows what kind of man he really is. I don’t want her to think that she’s missing anything…because really, she’s not.

She’s not missing the vulgar and obscene language that would be spouted every 3 minutes, she’s not missing the violent streak that runs a mile wide in that man and she’s not missing Mommy crying every night because she settled for less that what she deserved.

But how can I let that go when he gave me the most beautiful and important gift I could ever imagine? Our one moment of fun (OK, it was a weekend) will last forever in the form of that sweet little girl. In his life, he is greedy, spoiled, self-centered and unfeeling. But in a single moment, without even knowing it, he was generous enough to place within me the absolute love of my life. He is absent from our lives, but he will always be an unseen presence.

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March 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Company We Keep…and Lose

A while back I took the plunge and registered with one of those social networking sites on the grand old internet. As a result, people I knew from high school and junior high even, starting wanting me to be their friend and exchange little tokens or play games using the site as a conduit. I had not seen – much less spoken with – a large majority of these people for 25 years or more, but I reluctantly said I would be their friend and was then inundated with information about people I barely know.

The one highlight from this whole experience was that I was able to reconnect with a couple of junior high school friends who I splintered from in high school. There was no real catalyst for the end of our friendship, it’s just that we walked different paths by the time we made it to the big time. One was increibly intelligent – so much so that she was a little weird – and the other was the most sexually aggressive 16 year-old I had ever seen, so I found myself somewhat intimidated by her. In junior high, there was a fourth who rounded out our quartet, to whom I stayed close (with the exception of a few years when I would not speak to her – but that’s another blog entirely). She became pregnant at the age of 16, so didn’t accompany us to high school.

Fast forward 26 years – and we find our heroine at an Olive Garden a couple of weeks ago sharing a bottle of wine, conversation and memories of what it was like for us as girls in the 70’s and 80’s. We had arranged to meet and catch up, and I admit I had some nervous excitement about the evening. Would I remember what they looked like? Would I have interesting anecdotes to share? Would I be able to make them laugh?

While there were obvious changes from those days of dancing to the original version of “Funky Town,” the four women around that table strangely and silently agreed to reinhabit those former selves and serve the quartet in their assigned capacity: “L” was the social director, “T” was the brainy doctor who told stories of living and working in China and “J” was still the highly sexual, yet Earthy one. Me? I was the comic relief, as always. Those were our roles and we each, I think, quietly brought them out to play before returning home to our respective responsiblities and tucking them away for the next time.

As I drove home that night, I wondered why we had lost touch in the first place. What chasm had been so great that we went our separate ways and didn’t bother to keep in touch for over 25 years? Two of us went to college and the other two started familes early and are now grandmothers! What wonderful times we could have shared during those years, but the best I can come up with is that we had to be on our own in order to know how good we could be together. It’s integral to growing up.

Outside of my father, those women have known me the longest duration of time about 3/4 of my life. Even friends to whom I am incredibly close now – and have known for over 15 years – don’t know about the dances we attended and how it took us hours to get ready. They don’t know about the secrets we told each other or the nicknames we had for each other. And what’s funny is – they are the only friends my 80 year old father remembers me having! Although there were more to come, those were my starter friends – the ones who taught me what it means to be a friend, to need a friend and to keep the really good ones…no matter how long it is before you see them again.

March 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Toddlers, Tiaras and Tantrums

I have, on at least 2 occasions, been subjected to the horror that is the TLC show “Toddlers and Tiaras.” My stomach churns at the sight of little girls – some still in diapers – glammed and painted up and made to strut their tiny stuff for judges. I will admit to watching with rapt attention as pre-pubescent girls have their legs shaved, their eyebrows waxed, spray tanned, teeth whitened, hair teased to within an inch of its life and are taught to bounce and flirt for the judges.

However, I am stunned at the number of women who enter their daughters into these pageants with the hope of someday winning Miss America. Most of them are washed up pageant rejects themselves who never made it past the Little Miss Cow Catcher title when she was 8 and who wants to impose her dreams upon her daughter…or grandaughter. Others are those who were never quite “pretty” enough for pageants and she thinks her daughter is beautiful despite the dull dishwater hair, the wide nose and the love handles spilling out over the bottom of her swimsuit. Because it’s what on the inside that really matters, right! Well, in this case, only if your insides are gorgeous!

I was gobsmacked (I love that word) at the sight of a 4 year old girl with some ridiculously spelled name in Kentucky that repeatedly told her own father to “shut up.” I suppose that she could be called what some people refer eupemistically to as “precocious,” but in reality, the girl should be called a spoiled brat. Her mother spends hundreds of dollars on dresses, custom outfits, professional hair and make-up and coaching for her daughter to ultimately be encouraged in that behavior.

One mother interviewed on the show said she wouldn’t do it if her daughter, Paisley Saint Cloudybottom, or something else equally precious, no longer wanted to participate in pageants. But a few segments later, Mom is shown struggling with the littlest Cloudybottom to get her dressed and shod. Little Paisley apparently didn’t want to go on stage, she wanted to relax and read a book! (God love little Paisley Saint Cloudybottom!) The mom eventually had to wrestle the girl into her dress and shoes and drag her out onto and around the stage. Imagine that beautiful sight! It makes me throw up in my mouth a little just thinking about it!

Another specimen in this trainwreck was little Story (seriously people, I think we’re taking this whole “a noun is a person, place or thing” deal a bit too far…but I digess. Little story is 6 years old and is a seasoned veteran of pageants, having started in the 0-24 month category of a local Tiny Miss Apple Cheeks or something. Don’t get me started on that! As we join Story in her prepration for the big day, we see her undergoing teeth whitening – what teeth she does have – and getting her hair jacked to Jesus with the addition of “wiglets.” I haven’t heard that term since the 1960s when my mom employed them for special occaisions or Eastern Star meetings! Her mother and grandmother were her coaches who drilled her to stand up straight, smile, and twirl, side-step, do-se-do and make kissy-pouty faces for the judges. On pageant day, this truly adorable little girl was transformed into a plastic-looking dolly that spun and twirled and looked as if she had overdosed on Xanax! I actually found myself getting teary at the sight of what she had turned into.

I think pageants such as these should be stopped. Nothing good can come from this! I’d be interested to know if any of the recent past Miss America’s started out in the Itty-Bitty Doll Baby Pageants. My bet? Not one. And we all know what happened to Jon Benet Ramsey! I’m just sayin…..

March 13, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Styrofoam Blizzard of ’09

My father has quite the penchant for purchasing new and exciting merchandise advertised in 30 minute blocks on television. One of his favorites is some space-age contraption that can cook a side of beef in about 45 minutes…or some such silly claim. The original is about the size of a bread machine and supposedly cooks with convection and highly focused brain waves of aliens to “cook” the meat…whatever. There are other items he proudly displays on his kitchen counter, but that’s an entirely different subject!

In any event, he recently upgraded his “Flavorwave Turbo Oven Cooker Thingamajigg” and decided I needed his cast off. He carefully and lovingly packed in a box with large chunks of styrofoam to protect it from the possibility of any undue jostling while in transit to my little home. And, after a week of riding in the trunk of my car like a kidnap victim, I allowed it to enter my kitchen. Without giving it one thought…not one…I dropped the styrofoam pieces on the living room floor and removed the various components from the box. Keep in mind that I have a highly inquisitive and active toddler living with me. Here’s where it gets good….I took the oven imposter to the kitchen to assemble and clean up…took about 8-10 minutes. Upon my return to the living room, my eyes did one of those Tex Avery cartoon “AH-OO-GAH” things as they surveyed the tiny bits of styrofoam covering the furniture, walls and floor. The foam pieces has suffered a terrible demise at the hands of my darling daughter their tiny spirits were strewn about my living room. Because of the temperate weather, we had opened the windows and front doors, so at this point every light breeze and hearty gust caused the styrofoam corpses to rise and dance their haunting reel. The following words entered my head: “Don’t shake the baby”. It’s good to have that rational side step in during situations such as these…that’s all I’m sayin’.

So, I busted out the vacuum and attempted to suck up all the slivers but soon discovered that those little buggers have no substance, so they just float and fly about like that feather in Forest Gump. Oh, and all this time, my adorable child ran about the living room covered in those sticky, insubstantial bits and felt the compulsion to roll on everything in her path….like a puppy marking its territory! At one point, I actually told her to go stand outside in the yard. As she stood there, looking at me with confused, storm-colored eyes, the bits flew from her in a way the looked not unlike reverse camera work in a movie. So I made her stay out there until I managed to get the bulk of the mess cleaned up.

The remaining hour and a half was spent with duct tape folded over an old Swiffer pole jabbed and stabbed under the sofa, the rocking chair and the table to collect the itty bitty, teeny tiny bits of hell so I could banish them from our small, but clean, home. Now, I need to schedule an appointment with someone to address the Pie’s anger issues toward styrofoam.

March 9, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The World According to Me

Almost once every hour or so, I find myself annoyed by some particular nuisance or other. Could be a person, an event, a sound, a situation…whatever. In any event, I always think to myself: “If I was in charge, things would be vastly different.” What follows is a mere sampling of thoughts, ideas and philosophies. My own personal “isms”. In no particular order.

1. When you stop a total stranger on the street to ask for directions or for the time, always say “Thank You.” That person stopped what they were doing – talking with a friend, thinking about dinner, counting their steps – to answer you. The least they deserve is a “thank you.”

2. If you are on a cell phone, for God’s sake, finish your call BEFORE you get into an elevator! The cramped quarters are uncomfortable enough without having to hear both sides of a conversation about the “weekly numbers” or that rash that just won’t clear up. And if you don’t hang up – I will silently pray you will lose the connection when you get in the elevator. Serves you right.

3. An equal number of each color should go into each bag of Skittles. My favorite happens to purple (grape), but damned if there are only about 5 in a whole bag! I think I smell a discrimation lawsuit cooking!

4. ALL cars should come equipped with a phone and the license plate should show the phone number. That way, you could call and offer directions to a driver who continually changes lanes, inquire if the driver who swerving all over the road needs medical attention or if he just hammered, and advise the banger that there are fingers sticking out of the trunk and you just saw a cop a little ways back. Of course, some idiot would probably find some outrageous way to misuse this techonolgy and then it would have to be regulated….like cold medicine, paint thinner and cigarettes.

5. Seatbelts and helmets should be OPTIONAL! If a person wants to drive without restraints or protection, that should be their decision; likewise, a person who wants to can wear helmets and seatbelts. In reality, I sit right on the fence….there are times when I don’t want to wear it – if I’m just going around the corner to get gas, or if my pants are already a little tight, I don’t want something else squeezing me (unless it has a hairy chest and a deep voice)! Other times, I insist on it – particularly if I am in a lot of traffic and when the baby is in the car. After a notably scary car wreck a few years ago, I tend to wear a seatbelt almost all the time now. But helmets? Those crazy apes know the dangers and still some don’t wear helmets. I say OK – let’s call it the modern version of “Survival of the Fittest.” If you’re dumb enough to not wear seat belts or helmets, then you probably deserve to get yourself smeared all over the pavement.

6. If you were not born in the United States, but came here for education, OK – stay until school is done, then GO THE HELL HOME! If you decide to stay in this country and get a job, fine, but FIRST – get a social security number! Working illegals cost the country billions of dollars every year. And in the meantime, do everything you can to become a citizen of the USA. If you have no intention of becoming a citizen, then GO THE HELL HOME! And another thing…this nation was founded on a belief in God – says so on all our money – so if you don’t like our God, GO THE HELL HOME! I get so tired of minorities and ethnic groups getting so much free government assistance when there are people who need help who don’t belong to those factions who struggle every day to make ends meet. Meanwhile, the Salvadoran hoochie that cleans my office building wears Juicy Coture sweats and drives a new Lincoln Navigator….WTF?

7. Don’t tell someone they are going to Hell if they are not a Christian. Seriously? On any given day, I can name at least one thing I have done that day to warrant going to Hell that has nothing to do with whether I believe in God – which I do, BTW. If you profess to be a Christian, then show it in your actions, words and deeds. Don’t browbeat someone because they happen to have a difference perspective…because a few minutes after you take your last breath, you don’t want to find yourself sitting next to that person, now do you?

OK – carry on….to be continued….

March 6, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Continuing Education

As a middle aged first-time mom, I have gained perspective on a number of things and discovered that any hope of ever being completely dry again is long gone. Additionally, my motherhood is of a singular nature, so there is no one to watch the baby while I go to the bathroom or play with her while I catch just another 5 minutes of sleep.

The man who helped me make my Pie left in the 5th month of my pregnancy and never looked back. We were not married – in fact had not been dating for very long – when I discovered I was pregnant, and he had another family that he didn’t pay much attention to anyway, so I knew he was not in for the long haul. I struggle financially every day, but I know that his absence is the best thing for both me and my daughter.

People are bound to say, “What’s the matter with you? A 40 year old woman not using birth control?” Well, I had not used birth control for years and never got pregnant, and I also endured some issues with fibroids as well, so I never imagined that getting pregnant was even an option. He had a damaged testicle from an unfortunate lawn mower accident, and wasn’t sure he was fertile anymore, so in the grand scheme of things, we thought we were in the clear. However, as in the math world, two negatives made a positive…on the pee stick, and I was faced with a decision.

I had never really wanted to have children – didn’t feel the biological clock ticking – and felt I was satisfied with my life without motherhood. Knowing I would not have a partner to help raise the child made me panic so I made an appointment at a clinic to have the pregnancy terminated. I made him go with me to the clinic, so he could get some idea of what I was about to do. I felt he needed to take some sort of responsibility for the situation. Upon my examination, they determined that I was almost 14 weeks pregnant – about 2 weeks past the “first trimester” stage where the procedure was relatively simple. I would have to return for the two-day procedure which was apparently more painful and a little more complicated. I was also shown an ultrasound of a little wad of something living inside my belly and decided immediately that I would not see the inside of that clinic again.

So a few months later, I gave birth to a beautiful and healthy baby girl that changed my life in the most wonderful way. I never knew I could love so profoundly; never knew that a cry could shatter my heart or that a laugh could melt it. That’s just a few of the things I’ve learned in my old age!

March 2, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Middle Ages

I think I now know why it’s called “Middle Age” – I am stuck in the middle between my wonderful daughter and my elderly father. Nearly forty years separates my father and I and over forty years separates me and my daughter, So that’s me – the one in the middle!

I was talking with one of my best friends a while back and we were discussing the varied benefits of reading glasses. She wears contacts on a regular basis, but she still has some trouble with small print. I haven’t been able to read anything less that 12 point fonts for months! So we naturally gravitated to glasses – which we both hate – and then the possibility of getting those little rope things to hang them around our necks for when we don’t need them. How is that for young and stylish? She said “we always knew it would happen – we’re growing old together”. Well, yeah – I knew it would happen, but I just didn’t think it would be when we’re both so young!

My Dad is 80 and enjoys his time with his grandaughter, but I wonder sometimes if she will have a chance to know him as her Grandpa. She seems to really get a kick out him – at 22 months, it’s hard to tell – and I want her to be able to tell stories about her Grandpa who loved her so much. I grew up without Grandfathers, and I feel in some small way that I missed out on something. I don’t know what, but it was always a niggling little thing at the back of my mind – when people spoke of their grandfathers, I had no frame of reference.

I wish he was the kind, soft-spoken, gentle grandfather that keeps hard candies in his cardigan pocket, but he is gruff, grumpy and somewhat of a curmudgeon. He expects adult behavior from my little girl and she is simply ill-equipped to provide that. She’s still a baby for heaven’s sake!

I am stuck in the middle between caring for a toddler and caring for an elderly father. So the situation is fraught with uncertainty. Where should my loyalties lie? How can I better manage my time and energy? When can I get a nap?

March 2, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment