Monday, February 23, 2015

Once Upon a Time

I’m not bragging, but this is the feedback I’ve been getting lately.

You’re so funny. You should write a book.

So many strange things have happened to you. You should write a book.

Please write a book. I’d definitely read it.

Alright already. I’ll do it.

Except I have no idea where to start.

I don’t see myself as funny. Sometimes when I write something on the blog and get comments that it was so funny, I am surprised because I wasn’t even trying to be funny. That’s odd, isn’t it?

I suppose that unusual things do happen to me. People say I am kind of a magnet for everything weird. From the outside, my life could look a bit strange, but from the inside I have trouble separating the strange from the regular. It’s just my life.

You’d definitely read it? That’s a lot of commitment on your side. That involves much more time than reading the occasional blog post. I am not convinced.

That brings us back to the first point. I do not know where to start.

Thanks to one lovely lady and Kielbasa Stories reader, I am writing some English texts for a school textbook, but that’s a different story. The author of the book sets everything up and then sends you quite specific information about what kind of texts are needed. You do your best, send them back, do some editing, and somehow all the puzzle pieces fit together, and you’ve got a book. I suspect it is a lot of work fitting all those pieces together, but I don’t see that part.

This would be all me. Yikes. That’s daunting.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Yay me!

IX15 - Top 100 International Exchange and Experience Blogs 2015

Apparently there is some blog competition and Kielbasa Stories made it into the top 100. I don't know how many blogs participated so I am not sure if I should be excited or not. It's like when my friend started bodybuilding and came in 6th at her first competition. I thought 6th place was awesome for her first time out. She came in 6th out of 6 ;)

 I suspect the whole thing is some kind of advertisement for something, but anyhow, yay me!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Talk

We have already had The Talk with our girls. Actually, several versions of the The Talk have gone under the bridge, and I imagine there are at least a dozen more (each) in front of us.
My parents weren’t big on explaining the facts of life to my sister and me. Truth be told, they weren’t big on explaining anything and subscribed to the “be seen and not heard” school of raising children. My sister was given a book explaining all the details which she later passed down to me. That meant that I got my period before I quite understood how babies were made. That doesn’t seem right. And there was no internet back then!

Lizzie got her first talk when I was pregnant with Rosie. We looked at the pictures in my pregnancy book which showed the baby’s progress inside the mother’s womb starting from the egg and the sperm all the way through the stages of birth (neither one of us like looking at that page). Lizzie and Rosie both like to look through that book even today. And as they have grown their questions have evolved. We try to answer them all. They know that the egg is in Mommy and the sperm is in Daddy. They know that babies are part Mommy and Daddy and that the egg carries Mommy’s part and the sperm is a kind of a seed that carries Daddy’s part. They know how and where the baby grows and that when no seed is planted, the protection for the baby isn’t needed and comes out (menstruation). They haven’t yet asked for the details of how the seed gets to the egg, but they know that it is called sex. They know that people have sex to make babies and even when they don’t want to have a baby because they love each other and it feels nice.

That’s the story we have reached to this point. I think it is good enough and quite sufficient for their age. They know that they are going to get breasts. Rosie has her fingers crossed for big ones. I don’t know why - I often extoll the virtues of smaller breasts. They know that they will menstruate. We talked briefly about the decision to become a mother (so we weren’t really talking about sex), and they know that becoming a mother is an option in the future but not a necessity if that is not what they wish.

So far the girls come to us when they want to know something. We’ve even had a small accident with internet pornography. Lizzie was playing a computer game at her friend’s house something like old school Pac Man but the character is a school boy who has to go to the bathroom at school. There are all kinds of obstacles such as the teacher, bookshelves, other kids, and one annoying girl. If you run into that girl, the boy in the game pees on her. Such fun, right? I was cooking dinner and Lizzie was at the computer searching Google for that game. Some pretty interesting stuff comes up when you put “boy pees on girl” into your search engine, even when you use a filter. I quickly switched it off, but took the opportunity to discuss with Lizzie was we saw. She asked, “Do people like to do that?”. I said that apparently some people do. Lizzie replied that she didn’t think that would be nice. I agreed. End of story. We never did find that game, but we did find a really stupid game called “Kick the Principal” which involves kicking the school principal in his desk chair and sending him spinning into outer space.
Last year, my friend told me that her son had asked her about oral sex. Actually he asked her about the euphemism for a blow job in Polish which is translated to “making ice cream”. (You scream! I scream! We all scream for ice cream!) He was about 11 years old at the time and was aware that it had something to do with sex – and he asked his mother. I gave her a big bravo because at that age, my parents are the last people I would have asked about sex.
“What did you tell him?” I asked.
“Nothing,” she replied. “He’s too young and what if he asked if I do that with his father?”
“You tell him that it is private business between Mom and Dad. Don’t you think you should tell him what it is? He came to you first,” I argued.
“I know, he was checking it on the computer.”
“So tell him. Do you not ever want him to have ice cream in the future?”
And after that the conversation went all to hell. Because as it seems, some people think “making ice cream” is a perversion and some parents do not want their children to have healthy sex lives in the future. My girls are far, far away from sex but step by step, year by year, my goal for them is to have a healthy adult life which will, gasp, include sex.
It’s important to me that my children go out in the world able to make their own decisions armed with information and support from their parents. Maybe an 11-year-old is kind of young to talk about oral sex, but if your kid is asking maybe it isn’t too young at all. I try to use the real words for things and adjust my explanation as they get older. I ask them to explain it back to me to check how much they got. I don’t want them to be teenagers and not understand how their bodies work. I remember back to my days as a high school teacher in the States when I had to explain how babies were made to a 16-year-old student. That’s not part of the history curriculum, but I could see she was worried about something. She hadn’t got her period for a couple of months and was worried that she might die. Yes, die – that’s what she said. When she confirmed that she was sexually active, I told her that she might be pregnant, not dying. She knew nothing about sperm or eggs and thought love was the key element to making babies. The fact that she loved her boyfriend but “he don’t love me” was for her enough to protect her from pregnancy. I did my best to explain how it really works. “But my grandmother said that when two people love each other…”
Did you get The Talk from your parents? How different was your talk from the one you’re planning to have with your own kids?
Oh, and how to explain the whole bj situation to an 11-year-old if he is asking?

Saturday, February 7, 2015


I am an atheist. In the popular nomenclature I am referred to as a non-believer.

I really don't like that name, non-believer. I believe in things, lots of things. 

I have also been pitied and prayed for because of my "empty life". As I look around the room at my little family this Saturday morning, my life could not feel any fuller.

I believe in love.
I believe in the family unit.
I believe that vaccines work.
I believe in real food.
I believe you were born that way.
I believe in myself, except on the days I don't.
I believe in making the world a better place.
I believe in re-using and recycling.
I believe in cleaning your plate.
I don't believe in karma.
I don't believe everything happens for a reason.
I don't believe everything people say, anymore.
I don't believe the hype.
I don't believe in big pharma.
I don't believe in soul mates.
I don't believe in god.
I don't believe in the power of prayer.
I don't believe the conspiracy theories, except the ones that I do.
I don't believe that drafts make you sick.
I don't believe that might makes right.

The list goes on. What do you believe in?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

I finally got the answer

It’s not the answer I wanted, but it is the answer that will make me stop asking the question.

What question?

Are you going to visit us?

Over the years, I have asked that question a lot. Maybe I am a glutton for punishment. Maybe I am just hopeful.

My father always answered - Not now. Next year. I have to think about it. It’s too cold. It’s too hot. I can’t sit in the plane like that. (he was a pilot with an active pilot’s license)  I can’t go without your mother.

My response was - You’re not going to live forever.

I guess it is true.I am always right.

My mother always answered - Maybe later. When the weather gets better. Next year. I don’t know. I’m too old. I can’t sit in the plane. I’ll think about it.

I’m a parent. I know what “I’ll think about it” means. It means no. But I kept asking, hoping to hear a different answer. Something that would convince me that my parents really couldn’t visit us, not that they just didn’t want to visit us. That they didn’t want to see us or their grandchildren, see how we live, where their grandchildren go to school. It was just too awful. I had to keep asking because there had to be a reason.

My mother said that after she gets all the formalities of my father’s death taken care of, she just needs a short change of scenery. I invited her here complete with an offer to go there and fly back with her here.

Her answer, “It’s just not worth it”. No, not that it is not worth it for me to fly there just to fly back with her. No, no. “It is not worth it to be uncomfortable on the plane,” is the full answer. Too bad the “it” is us, her daughter, her grandchildren. We are not worth it. That’s a fact. I got my answer.