Wednesday, February 28, 2007

a bigger girl

It was quite a big day, Monday.

M and I had the day to ourselves, as I'd taken the day off to spend with her after being gone for so long. We spent a bit of time with a friend and her daughter who is M's age, and they spent a few hours alternating between fighting and hugging. M noticed her friend wearing big girl underwear, as her friend is a bit farther along (or shall we say more honestly her mom is a bit farther along) in the whole toilet training situation. On the way home M said Me big girl pants? So I figured, ok then. Let's do this.

So we went shopping a bit later and M got to choose between several commercially branded selections. We sat on the floor in the aisle and debated the differences between Tinkerbell and My Pretty Pony, Hello Kitty, Dora and Elmo. It was a difficult decision and while I might have chosen differently, we ended up with My Pretty Pony and Dora. Joy abounds.

So we drive home, M holding the packages in her hands, saying show daddy? show daddy? to which I said of course baby, Daddy will be so excited. So we arrived home and M eagerly tore off the packages, pulled each pair out and laid them on the floor. Once again, we sat and explored the options, the colors. The joy continues.

It should be noted that during this entire episode we talked (I talked) liberally about the correlation between big girl pants and the big girl toilet. I did. I swear.

So M rips off her diaper and pulls on her first pair. Declines all need for BGT usage. After about 4 minutes she rips them off and tries on another. Repeat. It's smashingly adorable.

So all the while I keep mentioning the BGT, to which M replied with her new favorite (so not mine) saying No way! Along the way J got home, ooohed and aaahed appropriately, and then after hearing the no ways! when the repeating of the BGT usage was mentioned said Perhaps we should have a strategy for this before just jumping in. Ahem. Useful insight. Especially as strategies have proven useful here at Casa Talia. Like that birth control pill usage strategy we were using 3.3 years ago. I'm just saying.

So we kept celebrating the excitement of the BGP. M was in glory, exploring the non-diaper situation, the newness, the PONIES! And the whole time she was bouncing off the walls, dancing, sashaying around, she's money, our M.

One accident occurred. Whoops. M tried to deny it. Not wet, Mama, not wet! But it was wet, sweet M, and thus the need to use the BGT, sweets, so let's try again. No way!

And then the miracle. She sat on the BGT, and went. Joy on her face, mommy and daddy cheering as we all sat in our tiny bathroom. M leaps off the BGT and into my arms. High fives her daddy. She's done it. By god, she's done it.

It should be noted she wore them to daycare yesterday over her diaper so she could show her friends. Yes way!

Does a time ever arrive when it's possible to feel like you are not simply winging it?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Thoughts about what makes me think




I've noticed the Thinking Blog nods circling around and I was intrigued, especially because some of the writers I hold in very high esteem seemed to be taking part in it. And then yesterday AM, I was humbled to see a few others had selected my blog as a Thinking Blogger. Chani, Flutter, Sin. What excellent company I have the honor of keeping. You all make me think with every post.

I find this concept interesting, because on some level it's obvious. If the blogs I read didn't make me think, then why would I read them? Or they mine? But on some other level it goes much deeper. Once again, being impacted by another's writing offers the opportunity to be moved, to connect, to conspire. We allow ourselves to be touched by another's words, and that allowance makes the space between smaller. And every time it happens, the threads weave a bit tighter.
And there you have it. Community. Support. Commonality or alternate perspectives, but open minds nonetheless.
So in the meme spirit of the concept, and because Chani asked us to continue the sharing, I'd like to share five bloggers who make me think, and the reasons why.
Lucia always leaves me wanting more. Perhaps it's her courageousness or her work all over the globe that makes me salivate, or the very reasons she travels. Or perhaps it's all three.
Andrea is freakishly intelligent. More often than not I'll read her posts and I'll be overcome with wonder - how she is able to formulate her thoughts and theories in such comprehensive and reasonable ways. Simply put, she blows my mind.
Hel's honesty makes me think, and think hard. This woman has been a rare find, she lays her soul bare in a way I strive to and yet shy away from. I know she struggles to be as open as she is, and yet that makes it all the more lovely. She's raw in the best sort of way.
Emily is a poet. She's remarkable in her ability to take the mundane and make it magnificent, or the magnificent and make it feel manageable. She writes with purpose. I like that about her.
Penny is truth incarnate. She shares all of it, from the cake to the blood and guts, and her realness is what keeps me going back again and again. Penny is honest, creative, and deeply moved by this world. And she writes about it.
So there you have it. If you haven't read some of them, you should. And whenever you read things that move you, I truly hope you'll pass them along.

Monday, February 26, 2007

fear, her cold fingers around my neck

I was afraid on our trip. And I feel somewhat ashamed in admitting that fear. I go to these places to be fearless, and yet, I feared.

That we'd be ambushed on a dirt road in the car, held hostage. Shot. It may or may not have been the guns. It may or may not have been the stories of not going out after dark, of the particularly high murder rate, of the gangs.

It held me back. J wanted to explore and I would hold back. Hold backing with the banner i am a mother now, i can't go around being careless and creating an irreversible situation that M will be stuck with. But truth be told, I hid behind that. The fear, see, was more irrational than rational. And if anything, it made me feel old.

Because the reality was that amidst all the stories of danger, the warnings, the words of advice, we saw not one thing to make me fearful. Never once were we in a situation that was dangerous. Not even when we were pulled over by the police. In my mind, for those few minutes, I thought, this is it. This. is. it. But it was exactly the opposite. Friendly words exchanged, allowances for the idiocies of the gringos, and directions offered.

Fear. It's a major obstacle and motivator in my life. One that has wasted time and space and living. One I hate to admit to.

Fear, see. She gripped me on this trip, out of my element. Not all the time, but enough of the time that it felt like the old wooden yokes I saw around the necks of the oxen the farmers drove down the highways. Like the bars on the doors and windows. Like the helplessness I felt when seeing the dirt floors inside the corrugated shacks where some women raise their children, unimaginable, restricting, shameful that any child must be raised sleeping next to pigs and on a dirt floor.

It's humbling, fear. It reminds me of my vulnerability and of my responsibility.

The question is how to harness it, to use it for light instead of dark. To make it fluid rather than dusty and welded to my ribs. Because in retrospect, I missed some things. And the whole point, see, was to not miss a thing.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

home

Got home very late last night after a long drive from LA. Our reunion with M was spectacular, it's so obvious she missed us, and yet she had a wonderful time. I can't get over how different she seems....what did I miss? Longer sentences now, new words, new favorites....so much in two weeks.

I cannot wait to get back into all of your lives. It's amazing how much I missed coming and hearing how you are, what you are thinking, what you've learned and felt and made you laugh. I expect to use naptimes and bedtimes wisely (in blogger speak rather than laundry and cleaning speak) for a day or two.

I was ready to come home. I loved some of our travels, struggled with some of the others (no hot water for two weeks, anyone? those pesky guns?) and worried my way through some of it too. You always have time to learn more about yourself and your life as you are living it while on the road, long spells of quiet and lack of routine does that for me. And then home is so fierce, so normal, it's almost already easy to forget that not 24 hours ago I was still waking up under El Salvadorian skies, roosters, always roosters, encouraging the dawn.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

el canadianos

Our last stop in El Cuco and our last night in El Salvador was met with intense amusement. We stumbled upon a run down little hotel and found a family of Canadians who'd been living there for the past few weeks on holiday.

The family, desperate for english communication I believe, immediately scooped us up and rendered us kin. Grandma C was a gardener by trade, in fact, she possesses a legal license to harvest 8 pounds of marijuana (Canada rocks more and more every single day) and Grandpa C was recently retired and absolutely in love with El Salvador.

At sunset the women grabbed me for their nightly ritual. They would go down to the ocean as the sun was setting and round up a bunch of El Salvadorian children and go for a swim in the crashing waves.

How could I resist? So we all rushed into the surf, children, grandparents, adults, three countries together under one vast ocean, laughing, screaming, splashing....it was glorious. In fact, at one point after being pummeled by some waves I stood up and yelled This Is Glorious! To which Grandma C grasped me in a warm wet hug and said yes, child. yes.

And it was. Children riding on our shoulders, waves crashing, forgetting for a while that home is on the horizon, responsibilities, things that weigh on my heart. For a few moments, all was truly free.

It should more often be this way.

Friday, February 23, 2007

mas o menos

We headed up to northern El Salvador to Perquin, one of the last FMLN strongholds during the civil war. The town was tiny, bulletholes still in the walls, murals depicting struggles, glory, and hope. We arrived as the children were getting out of school and watched all of them wander past shouting Buenas! Then giggling Gringos! We've only seen a handful of white folks our entire trip, we've already grown accustomed to the lack of blending in.

We meandered up to the guerrilla memorial and museum, a three room tin shack memorializing the struggle of the peasants against the government. We were shamed as we walked the halls, seeing the US weapons, the tales of bombs and artillery given to their government by ours to stop the uprising, a righteous uprising aimed at bringing equality to the people, the poor, the coffee farmers and cattle herders.

I found myself with tears in my eyes, seeing the photos of the children, of the slogans for peace and an end to poverty, and the signs begging the US to stay out of their country. A man our age walked up, limping on a bad leg, and in broken english and a bit more spanish explained how he was 15 when it happened, a bomb dropped on his village, and he was hurt, and his brothers and sisters were killed. We were both teenagers then, in 1983, and I spent those years lip synching to Prince while he learned to use a gun to kill, to protect, to fight. To bury his siblings. We were both teenagers then.

Reagan, he says. Reagan didn't help. I don't know how to convey the deep shame and sadness I feel in my limited spanish, so all I say is Lo siento, amigo. Mucho, mucho lo siento. And then Reagan is an asshole. J starts to interrupt, but the man nods his head, says Si, yo se, es bien. We watched then as some children came running by, his daughter, tres anos, throws her arms around him.

And there weren't many words after that.

PS. Am trying to visit. I can't figure out how to make the freaking spanish keyboard make the (at) sign I need to to leave a comment at some of your spots (MamaTulip, Flutter, Kiki, HI!). I'll be back home soon and things will be back to normal.

But before I do, you'll get one more story about El Salvador. The hammock beckons.

Buenas Noches, Amigos

Sunday, February 18, 2007

suchitoto

We headed east yesterday and found ourselves in this magical little colonial town nestled in the mountains. Cobblestone streets, a gothic and enormous church anchoring the center of town. Children chase pigeons, mamas chase their children, and papusas are being cooked in the streets.

I think of all I've seen so far, I am most enchanted with this tiny spot.

We'll stay for another night before heading farther east to a few towns J wants to explore. We also decided to cut the trip short by two days.....I've overestimated the amount of time I want to be away from M, a comforting and surprising experience all at once.

My heart beats slower here without her. I see her face in the faces of the children and I am wistful and joyful all at once. One in particular caught my heart last night, and I ended up giving her the bracelet I had got for M, knowing I can easily pick up another and the squeal of joy from the little guapita was richer and more beautiful than I'd thought possible.

I have entered more fully into motherhood on this trip - as strange as it sounds, the evolution continues even across the continent and in broken spanish, it beats strong and fierce, pulling me north.

Buenos Tardes, amigos.

Friday, February 16, 2007

the mellower side of an AK-47

Everyone here seems to have a gun. A big gun. On the side of the road, driving in the back of a car, when you stop and ask for directions....there is a gun. I´ve watched men twirl them around like batons, gesture wildly in laughter, arms raised...welcome and open and greeting Los Gringos with one arm holding a gun.

It´s an accessory that takes a bit of getting used to.

We´ve managed to cover a lot of the country - had an incredible night at a coffee plantation/orchid nursery where the coffee was sweet and dark. Nights on empty beaches with no one in site but small children barefoot and gathering dried fish from the tops of corregated roof tops.

It does and does not remind me of Guatemala, of Belize. It does and does not feel like Mexico, with the cowboy hats and the horses. We´ve seen very few foreigners here, it´s not yet a spot perhaps on the top of vacation lists. And the country is just waking up to the revenue of tourism, guesthouses are being built, commercialism expanding.

It´s been 15 years since the end of the civil war. And the guerrilla movement in El Salvador, the FMLA, has become one of the few to be recognized as a legitimate political party. It´s hard to understand what all of that means in a week, but it´s fascinating and scary all at the same time.

Tomorrow our friends leave and J and I will be on our own for the rest of our trip. It´s been sweet so far - long nights of cards and beer, laughing and storytelling. I feel like it´s been forever and also that we´ve just arrived.

No destination past tonight, so we need to decide how to spend the last week of our trip. I miss M, but from the emails home I´ve learned she´s been to both Disneyland and the wild animal park, so I am guessing Her Highness is near impossible right about now and I´ll be happy to let her unwind for a few more days before her own reality settles back in.

Again, connection is spotty - I´ve tried to visit but can´t get to where I want to go. I´ll try again next time we are in a spot that has a connection. It´s good and also strange how much some of you are in my thoughts. I am also still waiting for another bit of news from home, news that still hasn´t come so is ever present on my mind, and once it´s decided, I´ll know if I am swinging to the north or the south, but for now, we´ll play it loose under a lovely thatched roof for one more night, and try to stay in just this moment.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

el salvador es muy bueno

Yes, we are still alive....

It seems like it´s been forever since I´ve written, or read any of your lovely writing. Truth be told, this is the first moment I´ve had access to a computer. And given the spottiness of the connection I am not sure I´ll be able to do much visiting quite yet.

El Salvador....wow. What a wonderful little country. We´ve been staying in villages and in off the beaten path guesthouses and have seen ruins and churches and cities and beaches and volcanos. In fact, I fell down on a volcano hike today and am quite whiney about it, but we´ve remedied that by finding some cabanas on the eastern coast and will make merry tonight and tomorrow.

This has been a terrific trip so far. Every person we´ve encountered has been so lovely, the places and towns and architecture all sad and inspiring and broken and perfect all at the same time.

Lucia, I´ve had (a few) pupusas in your honor, and I´ve toasted you all under El Salvadorian skies. I haven´t had much chance to find access so far, so we´ll see where we end up next week and how much better a job I can do of keeping in touch.

If you´ve ever considered this a vacation spot, think harder. It´s a little secret. More Canadians here...in fact I met a woman from Toronto and it was all I could do not to say DO YOU KNOW MAD? CRAZY MUM? But thankfully, I restrained.

Missing you even though I can´t do much visiting just yet.

But even here, you are with me. I love this great big world of ours.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

January Just Posts

Just Post Jan 2007

It's nearly impossible to describe how beautiful our second Just Post Roundtable is. A mixture of old and new voices, singing about children, our planet, compassion, love, and perception. This many voices in one place can only mean one thing:

We Are Powerful Beyond Comprehension. Just Imagine What We Can Do.

And it keeps growing. Andrea and Kim of The Whole Mom have been shifting their webzine's focus towards moms who are active in social justice issues, and starting with the March re-launch you'll see the Social Justice Roundtable and all of our posts on social justice featured there, too. It's an honor, sisters.

Before we get into the Just Posts, I wanted to speak for a moment about AIDS in South Africa. It's been on my mind a lot recently, and the crisis and statistics are heartbreaking.

Did you know:
On average, 600 people die from AIDS each day in South Africa
21.5% of the entire South African population is living with HIV. This is among the highest infection rates in the world
The HIV prevalence rate among pregnant women is currently estimated at 27.9% nationally and 27.1% in the Eastern Cape
250 babies are born HIV positive each day
The provincial unemployment rate is 32%
Because of the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, the average life expectancy in South Africa is expected to drop to 36.5 years by 2010. It was 68.5 years before AIDS. 2010 is three years away.

Think for a moment about what that means. The average life expectancy has been cut nearly in half. Children in South Africa today will grow up without knowing their families, their history, their culture. It's more than a disease, it's an erosion of a culture. And the burden is left on the children. Everybody's children. Our children.

Imagine if you were the oldest person you know.

We can do more to help. Donating money to good organizations goes a long way to provide medications to keep people symptom free. Nutrition is just as critical. I could go on and on but there are many other places you can look to see how you can get involved. There is so much more to say about this, and what I've written doesn't even come close to doing it justice. I will post more about this when I return from my trip.

And without further ado - The January Just Posts:

Alice at And She Wrote with How many more reasons do we need to take our oil dependency seriously?
Andrea at Garden of Nna Mmoy with but what do we do
Beck at Frog and Toad are Still Friends with Genius and her November post that sets the context, Lost Children
BubandPie with a follow-up to her wedding post, I Would Hate to Have Your Job
Chani at Thailand Gal with Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery
Collecting Tokens with Opportunities
Emmie at Better Make Mine a Double with Setting My Sights a Little Wider Than the Road
Karen at Troll Baby with And Guilt begat Pride
Kerry at Crunchy Carpets with Can the World be Fixed?
Jill at Not So Sage Wisdom with Imperfect Activism
KC at Where's My Cape with The n ACH person
Mimi at Mimi on the Breach with Why I Love My Job
Mother-Woman with Riviera
Mouse at the Mouse's Nest who has started a series called Global Warming Wednesdays. You can read a month's worth here, here, here, and here.
Susanne at Creative Mother Thinking with Handicapped

Nominators: Thank you for not only writing about Social Justice, but for pointing out others who are as well. The village grows. All are welcome.

Bad at Her Bad Mother
BubandPie
Collecting Tokens
Jen at One Plus Two
Jessica at Oh the Joys
Jill at Not So Sage Wisdom
KC at where's my cape
Mama Tulip
Under the Mad Hat

Thank you everyone for lifting your voices higher, for speaking the truth, and for standing tall together on the side of good. I will be toasting you all under El Salvadorian skies.

And don't forget to check out what Mad talked about over at the other end of the table.

Friday, February 09, 2007

new friends and the open road

Just Posts will be up tomorrow, but if you are hungry for an appetizer in the Just Post tradition, you should go here and read Hel's latest post titled "I dream a better future".

Hel and I found each other on accident a few months ago - and I've been all the richer for it. She's the real deal, friends. She speaks her heart. Go see for yourself.

Here's to you, Hel, to your bravery, and your deeply rooted soul.

PS.
Am winding up work and preparing to load M into the car for a 7 hour drive. And there's no drinking and driving anymore, so we actually have to do this sober. Can we give Nyquil to a baby if we use a smaller dosage? Kidding. I promise.

May the spirits guide us.

Come back tomorrow for the January Just Posts.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

con mucho gusto

We are leaving tomorrow. But first we must earn our passage to El Salvador, so before we hop on that red-eye we get to drive 7 hours to drop off and acclimate M. So our trip starts a few days early, with child depositing and family arranging and a late night dinner with friends we never see. And oh yeah, we've still got to pack.

Excitement, see, it's building.

And then on Sunday we'll head out, our backpacks and a lonely planet between us. We've been shameful this trip - we've spent no time deciding where we want to go - we've gotten as far as deciding to head to the bus station after getting off the plane, but where to go from there?

Lucia mentions beaches. You can bet my happy ass will be sitting on one. I hear there are volcanic rocks and lots of hiking. People with guns. Homemade tortillas and bits of silver. We'll figure it out as we go.

We have no expectations beyond getting through customs. J says we'll sort it out on the flight down, but I think we'll be sleeping. There will be time enough once we get there.

But before we do any of that we'll stop at the nearest spot and have an ice cold beer and breath it in. El Salvador.

El Salvador. Be kind to us. We'll tread lightly but am expecting we'll run into a few walls along the way. Gringos, we know. Lo siento, amigos.

Just Posts are coming. And then I'll blog from the road as soon as I find an internet cafe. And after I have that beer.

Too bad you all can't come. We'd have a grand time playing poker and drinking cheap beer late into the night.

El Salvador, my sweet. We'll be seeing you.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

timing is everything

Wow. You should know I read and re-read all of your comments and felt so much better. If for nothing else, to know I am not alone and there is a place I can go and say these things and have them received in this way.

Invaluable. Thank you.

And then, the ever so lovely De said: I'm not responsible for another person's emotions, even when I am responsible for everything else about that person, including helping her understand and appropriately demonstrate her emotions.

And fireworks went off. This is exactly my problem. I FEEL responsible. And what a concept, De, to back down off that box and take a breather. I can't make everyone happy. All I can do is keep showing up. And lean on others when I need to.

I've had a whirlwind couple of days. Something I want so very much is brewing, but I think it'll take another week or so to sort itself out and it will either be the most amazing thing I've ever experienced in my life, or life will go on as usual.

And in a week, I'll be sitting in an El Salvadorian cafe drinking an ice cold beer and most likely missing M. The blessing and the curse of having your heart walk around outside of your body. It hurts when it's not there. No matter how many irregular heartbeats it causes.

Ironic, that.

Monday, February 05, 2007

I'll have some cheese with that whine

When I read Mad's post last night I wanted to cry. I, too, am sometimes filled with anger - anger that there is not one moment to myself. Anger that although there are two parents in this household, M only and ever wants one of us. My name (my mother name) is screeched and called and hollered and whined and thrown on the ground and kicked and screamed.

I have nowhere to go. I can't escape it, even for a few moments as it's constant and exhausting and it's all I can do at the end of the day not to sink into exhaustion and weep onto my pillow, from the ending and the altogether too quickly returning of it all.

I escape to work, I drop M off after a thousand heartaches: wrong socks, mommie! me no like bananas, no way I wear that coat. I breathe a deep sigh, I sit for a moment, and then careen off to the other demanding child, the one that rears it's head and raises it's voice and bites at my ankle all day long.

And then I race at warp speed back to pick up M in time (must be on time) and take yet another deep breath before heading in and gathering her sweetness up in my arms and starting all over.

It wasn't always like this. My sweet and agreeable and happy little girl has been recently replaced with a whining, screaming, kicking child. This started weeks ago before she got sick, (a sick by the way, that is on the mend, thank you for your kind thoughts). On a dime, these things occur. While chopping vegetables for dinner, while washing dishes, while on the phone. These things occur. A pint sized typhoon whirls herself around the kitchen and throws herself on the floor in hysterics. I step over her with a glass of wine. Depending on the day, I am amused, others, I want to put my hand through a wall.

I know it's a phase. A sweet, normal (yet to whom?) and amusing phase that causes my home unhappiness. It's not fun at Casa Talia. It's not fun when it is like this.

My name is Jen. I am fascinated by how the fabric and rhetoric of our society slowly erodes communities. I love to make guacamole and eat it with a bag of salty chips and a cold Dos Equis in a green bottle. I love to sit alone all day and read. I can listen to Joni Mitchell till my ears fall off. I love claw foot tubs and far away places. I fantasize. I dream. And I sometimes feel like my voice has been silenced.

I am not looking for sympathy. But I am looking for a bit of advice. Is it simply a game of waiting out the whining/temper/general ick till the next phase happens? Or better, how do you talk to a child who is crying every 5 minutes? How do you engage with her so she can always know she is loved while at the same time, discouraging this behavior?

And while you are at it, perhaps we can solve global hunger and someone can explain to me how a fax machine really works.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

sick

I haven't been around much in the past couple days. M has been sick. And I have something so supremely important to do tomorrow that it's all I can do not to panic because I need her well enough so I can leave her tomorrow, while in very capable hands, without her mum.

Healing vibes, all. I miss checking in on all of you so I hope to be back knocking on your doors later on today.

Oh, and hey there: our second Just Post Roundtable is in a mere six days. If you have a post of yours or one you've appreciated that was written by someone else, please send them my way (to girlplustwo (at) yahoo(dot) com) by February 8th and I'll send you the button.

We'll link all posts and anyone who refers one (or more) in our Just Post Roundtable on the 10th. If this is new to you, please feel free to check it out here.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Not that sort of mutant

People like to give their old stuff to shelters. It's often a blessing, sometimes it's a pain in the ass (who needs that old bag of kitty litter, yo?) and sometimes it's a whole other situation altogether.

A few years ago I was running a housing program for thirty or so families. We had a general community center where staff offices, meeting rooms, and child care spaces were all located. Most days were chaotic, kids wandering in your office and ripping things off your walls while you are trying to finish a budget, or run screaming up and down the halls in wild abandon. It's actually pretty freaking cute.

We were having one of those days and needed a few minutes of quiet to work with a few mothers so we herded all of their kids (ones of the toddler variety), into the child care room thinking we'd put in a video and keep them occupied for 2 or 4 minutes.

A church group had just dropped off a giant cardboard box of used kid videos. There must have been 30 or 40 tapes in the box so I reached in and grabbed one - and I'll never forget the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles written on the label. Let's just ignore that as a previously childless person I chose TMNT to show to toddlers.

So I sit them all down and pop in the video and run out of the room to grab something. About 30 seconds later I returned to 5-6 toddlers gazing in amazement to what some might call hot bi-racial sex action with a very studly looking man with vanilla ice-esque hair on top of a rather lovely and bendable young woman.

In other words: HOLY SHIT.

I remember diving at the VCR, pulling the plug from the TV, and having a near nervous breakdown. The kids looked at me and said "What's that man doing? More show! More show!"

More show, indeed. I should have charged admission. Thanks Church People.

So after having to tell each of their moms exactly what happened (and thankfully, they were much less upset than I was imagining) we spent the rest of the day screening every single other tape. And incidentally, every other tape in that gigantic box was reflective of the label it proclaimed.

This is a long way of saying that when it comes to donations you can trust no one.

Especially not those wiley church people.