This blog is welcome to anyone and everyone, regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. Unless you don't like writing short stories or smelling bear. Or if you voted for the other guy. Also, I don't really like it when you leave up the toilet seat, so could you stop doing that? Muchas, muchas gracias.

Monday, May 15, 2006


Last night, tonight, and for the next three days, my parents are visiting from out of town. This is quite an ordeal for me, mainly because of my mother, who is the master of back-handed compliments and veiled criticisms. My father, on the other hand, is incredibly positive, supportive, and surprisingly modern in his views, considering that at one time he was a conservative Republican (no offense to any readers who are, though).

Tonight after work, then, I was supposed to meet my parents for dinner. After last night, when they met my dear Matty and my mother implied several times that I was incompetent and unnatractive, I was ready for war. (In case you think I'm making this stuff up, Matty is my witness!) But oddly enough, war didn't happen.

Tonight I learned that my father was an instant Mattyfan. Apparently, he'd like more than anything for Matty to be his new son-in-law. I reminded him that my Matty is muy gay, and that I wouldn't want Matty to be anything other than who he is, no way!

But my mother's main concern (no surprise) is that I'm too close to Matty and that when he inevitably gets snatched up by some highly fortunate guy, I will once again be alone. Why, why, why does she focus on the possibility that I will lose my friend? Why does she seem to relish this so? I understand that she's worried about me, but why does she choose to envision a future for me where I am the one left behind?

More to the point (and this, I tried to explain), why does she not focus on the idea that I am once again a happy ing, that no matter what happens in the future I have made some truly positive steps, that one doesn't unlearn that San Francisco is the ideal city to explore, which I have, all because I met Matty?

Look, I know my mother is old-fashioned. But come, now! Just because I'm not having sex with a man, does that mean that the man will lose interest in me? I don't think so! But it's devastating that my mother does. It's devastating that she has so little faith in me, the person I am. Because here: I'm a funny woman, I'm very bright, I'm stylish, I've weathered the stormiest of storms, I'm level-headed, I'm very good at everything I set out to do, and I can salsa dance!

Which, okay, I have a dear friend in Kalamazoo, my best and closest friend, Gina. And while we've been separated by many miles over the past few years, while one or both of us has been involved with some guy and have gone through periods of less-contact-than-more, we've managed to maintain this friendship that I hope will last and last (if I have anything to do with it, yes, it will). Meaning, when my house does sell, I am going to use at least some of that money to visit my friend in Kalamazoo, as she has visited me here in San Francisco.

I suppose she has good intentions, my mother. I suppose so. But sometimes it's hard to fathom.

Three more days and I don't have to worry about what I should not worry about anyway!


Blogger matty said...

Wait. Aren't we going to be killing them tomorrow?
I just about have it all planned out.

I don't get parents and I never well.

I know that your mom loves you. I can see it in her eyes. But, she almost seems intent on making you feel bad. I don't get it.

I will explain to her that it is you who are stuck with me. Friendships are much more highly prized than romantic relationships. I shared my life for over 10 years with a man who knows far less about me than you've learned in less than a year. True friends don't walk away. And, you are a true friend.

Now, back to the plan to kill the parental unit.

Hang in there, babe. I'll be with ya tomorrow.

11:03 PM

Blogger Karen Little said...

Mothers are impossible. I don't know why. It's a worldwide phenomenon... At least you've got the insight to see it's her and not you that has the problem. Good luck!

2:26 AM

Blogger purplesimon said...

There's a phrase that springs to mind: you can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but you can't wipe your friends under the couch.

And then there's: parents, who'd have 'em?

Take your pick.

And Ing, even though we've never met and have 'known' each other for a short period of time, I consider you a friend. And I'm a man. A married one. Still I don't get bored of you.

Tell your Mom that from me.

Take care hon

purplesimon out...

2:58 AM

Blogger ginab said...

Where do I live? (oh, that city on the internet, where there are lakes and it doesn't rain for six months straight.) I really want to move to NYC. hmm.

I didn't know people of the sixties were or could be old fashioned, but I suppose there's a lock and chain your mother is well aware of. If it weren't for that she'd lose her friend. Makes me want to drink.

your dad sounds cool.


PS: not sure what you mean about having a beau or two. nada poof, I want to say. men are scared, I want to add.

5:54 AM

Blogger jungle jane said...

she sounds like a mother that i know, Ing. Sadly i think they are all simply a victim of their own upbringings - and also in times far less enlightened than ours.

they hurt and the criticise and do it continually but i guess they also do what they can with the set of tools that they have.

i feel for you Ing - i have a visit to Africa coming up in a few weeks. first time in like 5 years - i am already dreading it and breaking out in palpitations at the thought for very similar reasons.

Oh i did nod and feel for you in every word of this post...and damn that knife can sure cut deep...

6:55 AM

Blogger ginab said...

by the way, my psuedo-mom-by-force (my mom's sister) get's off on ridiculing her sister. So, I need to ask: is your mom an only child or is she the oldest?

and did you know i live up so many stairs no one aged beyond sixty-one can manage saying hello?

-smarty pants

8:28 AM

Blogger digitic said...

Well, ummm ... you could always start having sex with women or maybe a small rodent or two. Would that give your mom something else to focus on?

Maybe I should take her for a good martini walk-about. I know of a place that makes fantastic martinis that would make any curmudgeon happy and carefree.

Just remember that, in general, parents are good to have around. With mine being gone gives me some cred in this dept.

Oh! I know! you could ask her *repeatedly* if she's signed up for Medicare Part D yet (the new Medicare Rx plan that will soon be bankrupting the nation).

"Mom! Did you get your Part D yet?"
"Mom! Did you get your Part D yet?"
"Mom! Did you get your Part D yet?"
"Mom! Did you get your Part D yet?"
"Mom! Did you get your Part D yet?"
"Maaaaa! You listening?"

4:03 PM

Blogger wallycrawler said...

You can add : attractive , compassionate , smart and a great friend . Good friends are hard to come by in this life . Mom is old school ya can't change that . She is what she is . She's the only person that can change that . Matt is a funny , loving friend . I know that by just reading your blogs . If she can't see that , she misses out .

5:01 PM

Blogger Me said...

Well, your dad sounds like an absolute dear. Mothers are just plain strange and that's all there is to it. Don't try to figure out why. Your mom and mine should go for tea. Tea laced with strychnine. Sorry, I just got off the phone with mine and the bile is rising.

5:10 PM

Blogger josh williams said...

My mother was at odds with her mother.I grew up living with my grandparents part of the time in the summers , great memories but I always remember my mom and her mom at odds.I think its the natural order of things.Moms and daughters are going to be at odds...I am, at this moment rubbing two lucky coins together to bring you luck...It works! Shit I dropped a coin, wait...its on my! Got it! You will have the strength to transcend the mother daughter conflict, the coins told me so...

8:01 PM

Blogger AndyW said...

My wife has similar issues with her mother. As a man I don't think I will ever be able to comprehend the mother daughter relationship.

6:54 AM

Blogger sage said...

My parents just left after a 4 day drop in--it's always bittersweet-as I see more and more evidence of them getting older.

Sometime over the past ten years, my my mom stopped checking my frig for beer and cabinets for booze, and lecturing me about the evils.... Of course, that was a couple decades after she should have stopped checking and lecturing.

10:31 AM

Blogger Labbie said...

You lost me at "Republicans"... But mostly because I am. :p

Parents are like the people we work with, we don't get to pick them, but we don't have to stick around... For a while we do, though.

Okay. I've got nothing.

7:18 PM

Blogger matty said...

Did you toss them over the edge of the ferry or did you spare the parental unit?

" is a cabaret, old chum."

9:06 PM

Blogger ing said...


Well, tomorrow has passed, and I'm afraid that your plan worked just a little too well. Sometimes when a certain type of person loves another to an extent that's just plain extreme, they sort of compensate by behaving destructively and spitefully because they realize that love for another can diminish the self -- it's hate as a form of self-preservation. And it's completely nuts.

Me too, though, on friendship. Thanks for so neatly disposing of the evidence. Alcatraz will never be the same.



Lordy, it's nice to hear that this is universal and not particular. . . The nature of hardship is such that our difficulties seem so incredibly unique! Still, though, and as I explained to Matty, it is a woman's duty to raise strong and confident daughters. Undue criticism and put-downs don't inspire confidence.


More later! I have endured my parents tonight, and tomorrow morning will be another day. I have had a few drinks and am ready now for bed. See you tomorrow, after my date! (I'll both reply and tell all. . .)

11:11 PM

Blogger Karen Little said...

Woo-hoo! Janey's coming back to Africa! We better crack out the traditional dress and pepare a cow to kill for the celebration!

10:06 AM

Blogger Movin'on said...

My Parents are on their way to visit tomorrow. I hate it when they do. I do love both of them, but not together. I can handle my mum d=staying for a couple of days, or my dad, but not both of them at the same time, and not for more than a couple of days. My Mum doesn't have that put down hang up - in fact it's the opposite - she thinks I am going to rule the world some day - and the pressure that puts on me is just as bad because I think I am letting her down with each mediocre day I live....

10:08 AM

Blogger ing said...


Thank you!

But I think I'll take a long break from my mother. I want to continue to believe that I can be happy regardless of whether or not a man is in love with me. And that friendship can endure. And that I am valued by others.

My mother has no idea that I maintain this blog!


I just called you, but alas. . . hope you're out somewhere, having fun. I have a date tonight. Dunno if it will be fun, but it will involve a Bass Ale at my favorite tavern.

As for the lock and chain: yes, that's the awful point. I just don't understand how she can be so smug about the whole thing.

My dad tries, though I've noticed that he tends to hold bitter grudges against people. I hope I'm never, ever that unforgiving. It's a form of deep fear, I think, and I don't have a clue what one of my parents would do without the other; they seem to have built this fortress of two.



Maybe, but then again, I don't know. . . Are we making excuses for very bad behavior? Times have changed, but I can't believe that compassion and kindness are contemporary notions.

If the set of tools our mothers have includes a knife or two, these should be taken confiscated forever.



My mother's an only child, and my father is older than his sister by fourteen years. The two of them ridicule me, my brother, and each other. They do it much more when there are other people around. It's as if they're trying to create alliances with people outsider the family circle -- maybe it's a form of socializing?

My father told a kind of enlightening story today. When he was in college, he had an acquaintance who was making a sculpture for his art class. This young man had hand collected many, many pieces of beach glass, which he glued together into a beautiful piece. He spent about a month putting it together.

The night before the piece was due, the guy decided to wash off his sculpture in the bathtub. Unfortunately, he'd used water-soluble glue, and the whole thing fell apart. The guy was distraut.

My father thought the whole thing was hilarious and I guess he and his friends laughed at the guy for weeks.

My mother, too, takes great pleasure in other peoples' misfortunes. Especially those of her friends' children.



A small rodent? I'm telling PETA!

I'm afraid it'd take a lot of martinis, but that might do the trick, dear Digi.

And I'm glad that my parents are alive, but the less they're around, the better I feel. More often than not they don't offer help so much as they order me to be successful. The great thing about San Francisco -- it's too expensive for my parents to live here, so they'll never move. Meaning, I'm here to stay.

I'll ask her about Part D, though, I will.



Thanks! And you make a point -- she might not be able to see that. It makes me so sad that she can't, though! It makes me question what we might have in common, me and my mother. Because deep friendship is fundamental to me. It's one of my core values.



Strichnine! You're a genius! Let's have a tea party, right away!



The coins do not lie. I will try harder. . . Meaning, I will speak up more often when my mom hurts my feelings. I think this is the only way to get through this.



I wonder if any men out there have this thing with their mothers? I do get the feeling that old-fashioned mothers tend to have much less faith in their daughters than they do in their sons. But this just perpetuates something I absolutely despise about our society.



Yes, my mother saw a cigarette burn on my car seat and promptly pointed it out, saying, "Looks like you accidentally dropped your cigarette." This really pissed me off for some reason, I guess because the burn was there when I got the car and was left by the previous owner. I think it was her tone of voice; she was sort of jeering at me. Oddly, she noticed the burn the last time she visited me, and she pointed it out then, too, and assumed that I had caused it.

My mother is a heavy drinker. I do not say a word to her about this.



A Latino Republican? Ooooookaaaaaay. . .

I'm afraid I can't just quit my parents like I could a job. My only recourse is to kill them.



Okay, if all that is going to happen, I'll meet you in Africa! Let's kidnap Jane and prevent her mother from saying a damn thing. Because you and I know that if Jane was our daughter, we'd be so damn proud! No shit!



My mom used to think the same thing of me, that I would run the world. She changed her tune completely last year, when I chose not to marry my then-boyfriend. For some reason, that choice made her lose confidence in me (despite that I'm sure she would agree with my decision). I just don't think she believes I can do a thing on my own.

4:21 PM

Blogger lryicsgrl said...

Ok, here I am. Weighing in for La Madre.
She is the one who is afraid. Your hurt, is her pain.
It is her deepest desire, it seems to me, that you NOT be ALONE, so she is almost baiting you, wants YOU to CONVINCE her otherwise. If you could hand her a guarantee that you will never, ever be hurt again, I bet her lips would be buttoned. Opened only to tell you the wonderful things she feels about you. Until then, she feels pressured to have you make her feel secure, about, get this, YOUR life. Seems to me, she is having a hell of a time with this. It's the way we each have that negative voice inside us, which btw comes from our parents, no joke. Anyway, her negative voice speaks out loud to you, and round and round we go, where it stops....HERE!
Hold Mommy's hand, look her straight in the eyes. Tell her you are, yes, single, and yes happy! Say to her, in a loving way, "do not fret Mother dear, you've done a great job with me, I promise, girl scouts honor, that I am HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY. And when I get sad, it is temporary and I know I will survive" And then, tell your Dad, that you thank the heavens above that he is your Dad.
And, be sure Ing, that the voice inside your head is your Father's voice. Let your Mother leave a message at the BEEEEEEEP!


7:54 PM

Blogger lryicsgrl said...

oops, ing, I just read your comments, here, about your let them both leave a message.
You are you Ing, born of you! You are not destined to become anyone keep on listening to your own voice.
Erm, who the fack do I think I am, anyway??? ha ha!

much warmth to you....

7:59 PM

Blogger Karen Little said...

Yeah - don't your and Jane's moms know that you're actually supoer-popular mini-celebs? They should be prouder than Lynne Spears - at least their daughters have talent and aren't breeding with rednecks! Sheesh...

1:26 AM

Blogger ticharu said...

My Mom is exactly the same. She doesn't understand me, never has and never will, but it's OK. She's her own person, she follows her path, I am part of her life but there will never be the closeness of a friendship there. It's the love of a parent, very real, but the parameters are hers and I just say 'yes Mom' and go about my business.

5:30 AM

Blogger ginab said...

Especially those of her friends' children.

I'm so crappy with family lines, the above read and reread to me like mathematics (which I'm worse at solving). Art probably turned penises raisin-like, for your dad and his roommates. I always connect envy to organs. So does Bergman, and wow Scenes from a Marriage. When the truth comes out, hold on to the sides of the futon.

My father was a whole other piece of warrior magic. If he'd had a voodoo doll of me he'd 'ave rammed it with pins. He hated everybody. I'm not real fond of people, but no where's near on the scale. But at least I'm alright to end the circle. My kid might end up like the grand daddy, given my aversions. round and round we would grow like mother's ass.

I really need to write. I'd give my arm, too, to drink some booze and smoke cigs with you. Oh well. there's work and crap to pick up.

5:59 AM

Blogger Le Chitelier said...

ARGH!! I believe you about your mother. I do. I know many mom's who are like that. I'm just glad that you are able to still see what a wonderful person you are and not fall into the trap of believing that you are all those horrible things that she implies you are. Thank goodness! A lot of people would fall into that trap I mentioned :(
It is truly very difficult to deal with family whom you inherently love but then they are having such a bad effect on you... kudo's to you for standing your ground!!

10:32 PM

Blogger Labbie said...

Yeah, well... I'm a McCain Republican and a Lieberman Democrat at the same time.

5:50 PM

Blogger ing said...


I knew you'd weigh in on Mom's side, which is just fine with me. Perhaps it's true that my mom needs me to reassure her that everything will be okay, but it's difficult because I feel as though I'm the one who needs reassurance, that a neat place to get that would be from a parent, and, well. . .

Anyway, I do sort of understand why my mother behaves the way she does, but I wish she'd be my friend and supporter more often.



Oops -- I may have messed up on the part about not breeding with rednecks, though. I can't help it. . . rednecks are so breed-worthy. (I can't speak for Jane, though -- she may or may not be redneck-free.)

And thanks!


We both know, I think, that she has plenty to be proud of. I guess in my case, I have a very hard time shrugging this stuff off. It becomes so very large.



Me too, on every single thing in your final paragraph. More time to write: wouldn't that be a treat?


le chit:

That's the worst part -- I still feel very attached to them, and it's this big trap. The last thing I want to do is to hurt anyone.



Oh, a McCain Republican. That's different, isn't it?

10:05 PM

Blogger jungle jane said...

i don't think my mum is capable of being proud of me - it takes wayyyy to much energy being critical to have any space left for pride!

1:00 AM

Blogger lryicsgrl said...

Everything WILL be okay!
You are brilliant, beautiful, with great abs, and good friends in your corner.

This reassurance brought to you by a parent!


7:57 AM

Blogger Labbie said...

Yeah, it's a little different... I think. I'm pro-choice, anti-big government, lower taxes, free trade, fight poverty, end global warming, capitalistic, give me a gun (but make me wait a lifetime to get it), and let gay people get married (they throw the best wedding parties)... Like I said, different.

8:42 AM

Blogger matty said...

Hey! Where's that mystery blog?!!?!?

...and my email???

where is my Ing????

8:03 PM

Blogger matty said...

Still on for Wednesday after work???

8:04 PM

Blogger Le Chitelier said...

I know exactly what you mean about feeling trapped and not wanting to hurt other people's feelings... sad world.

5:34 PM

Blogger Bubbly Theater said...

She's being the classic mum eh. Mothers always romble about ... or better they're hatching their evil plans of "how it should be perfect and everything - thehehe and a louder evil laughter!"

My mum's going to tell me always whether a man fits to me or not. Ain't that ridiculous.

Best remedy: show your mum something she wouldn't even expect u to. like e.g. something very shocking (leave your goodie drawer(s) open) or impress her with übercompetence.

3:00 AM


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