the only thing i know

Judith Shakespeare, a product of far too much coffee, far too many romance novels, and an embarrassing weakness for pretty boys with guitars, is (in no particular order nor fact) a mother, a wife, a taker of pictures, a designer, a butcher, abuser of the ellipses, a baker, a candlestick maker, professional wordmakerupper, and consummate dropper of f-bombs This is her blog.

Shorn is too a word. . .

I had a different title picked out in my head for this post…

But when I sat down to type it up, I realized that I’ve already used it already.

Which totally screws up my sense of creativity, let me tell ‘ya.

So instead of dazzling you with a spiffy title and whatnot and whosit, I’m just going to go ahead and tell you that this is a post about…

[da da dum]

Peer Pressure.

Yes, dear reader, peer pressure.

Peer Pressure.

That thing of lore that *supposedly* turns the world to gateway drugs, murder, mayhem, and forn-i-ca-tion. The thing that leads us down the wrong paths, around the wrong bend, and, occasionally, in my case, on the wrong guy. That thing that makes even the best of us into mere sheep.

We’re far too sensitive.


I’ve been getting flack from the world at large about That Middle One’s hair since he turned two. With him now at six, I can’t tell you the number of times people have said,

“What a pretty little girl…”

“And what’s her name?”

“He? Oh, I thought he was a girl.”

“Little boys do not have long hair… you really should cut it.”

…all things that I’ve used to further strengthen my  “Reasons Your Mom Says That You Shouldn’t Listen to Other People” speech that I give my children at least thirty times per school year. Thesis of said speech being, of course, “The majority of people are stupid.”

(Yes. I tell my kids that people are stupid. You should totally appreciate the honesty.)

Which begs the question of why I’ve gone and done this:

Yes, I’ve gone and shorn my child. (Shorn, sheep… get it? Hehe. )

Truth be told, the kindergartners gave us all a bit of an unexpected pause with how often they brought up his long hair this past year– going so far as to push my kid in the girl’s bathroom at one point. (Thankfully, my kid’s got an awesome sense of humor and wasn’t bothered in the least by this.) And the teachers (outside of his classroom) didn’t seem to be much better, often referring to him as a “she” or “her”.

With That Middle One being OBVIOUSLY a boy in looks and stereotypical behavior, we, as a family, spent many a conversation laughing over the stupidity of them all.

So if my kid happened to look down his nose at you in a manner that clearly stated that he thought he was better than you… He was probably right.

And too mannered to call you stupid to your face.

So, again,  why did I cut his hair even though I swore I wouldn’t?

Was it the peer pressure? The grandmothers nagging my ear off? The school chums and the bathroom doors? The silly teachers without an eye in their head?


It was a stray flea that found its way to my kid’s hair sometime during his bout of rolling around in the front yard like a puppy on crack.



And quite frankly, dear reader, Judith freaked the FUCK out (profanity is fully proper under the circumstances, I assure you), loaded her kid in the car, and did not pass GO as she went straight to her sister’s house where we sat in a plastic chair on the front yard like a scene straight out of  You Might be a Redneck If... and proceeded to cut off my child’s beautiful, heretofore, sacred mane.

Paranoia… when Peer Pressure simply doesn’t cut it.

Quite literally, in this case.

Watching his shiny hair fall in huge clumps to the grass at my feet, hoping to make the best of a bad situation, I made the suggestion that an awesomely spiked  mohawk might be “just the thing”..  we could dye it blue or green or even pink… everybody would think it was cool… yada yada (Plus, I’ve always wanted a little mohawked kid or two to tote about all fashionable-like)…

To which my child promptly tilted his head, looked down his nose at me, and said,


Which, to my ears, sounded awfully a lot like,


Which to my parental pride, sounded surprisingly like a

Boo Yah.

Which in my heart said that it’s time to set my grasshopper free to wreak havoc upon the world, methinks.

First grade better watch it.

July 8, 2010

Your mother was a hamster. . .

Sorry I’ve been a neglectful sort here recently… But things stay pretty pear-shaped around here these days. I’m determined to be more thoughtful. Until I do so, however, here’s a little inspiration for your next visit to the in-laws.

And if you happen to like your in-laws (against all that is holy, of course)…

I’d be glad to give you the number to mine.

July 1, 2010

Shock me, shock me, shock me with that intuitive behavior…

“Where are you going?”

“To the back…”


“Because you keep looking at me like you want me to die.”

Humph. I guess someone ate his shredded wheat this morning.

April 12, 2010

and to conclude, they are lying knaves

When we were little girls, my mother always told us that bringing wildflowers inside the house would make us pee in the bed.

I think I was sixteen before I realized that that wasn’t at all true…

And what a deviously clever mother I had.

My children, unfortunately, are obviously much smarter than me.


April 5, 2010

As Facebook is to Old Bars Named “Fat Woody’s”


The Baby’s name was going to be Emily.

Emily Ellis Bell Shakespeare.

Totally pretentious and totally perfect…

Except for the fact that she’d probably end up in a classroom with 12 other Emilys…

And her Valentine’s Day Cards would be addressed to “Emily12“.

Which would totally screw with my unoriginal sense of unoriginality.

And we just couldn’t have that.

(For the record, I was all for calling her Ellis. Otherpeoplewhowillnotbenamed pitched a hissy and wouldn’t give an inch– no matter how many times I explained favorite book and pseudonyms and women authors and countless Gawddammit, I’ll be pushing this monster out of my delicate bits while you’ll no doubt be eating Burger King and chatting on the phone as if there’s not a little thing like a HUMAN BEING coming out of my vagina and when is your vasectomy appointment again…s.)

So I named her after Elvis.

And refuse to pass by any editions of  Wuthering Heights not currently gracing my bookshelves.

I picked this one up today… The cover art is by Ruben Toledo, and it seems as if he has done an entire collection of classics for Penguin.

I’m totally in love…

And am determined to PACE myself in the spending of all of my money in order to get them all.

But then…

Determination isn’t at all original, now is it?

March 26, 2010

Desperately Seeking Mommy

I need a mother, methinks.

Not any run of the mill type mother though… more along the lines of the scheduling, uber-organized, “I’ve had a slew of children and could do this with my eyes closed and my hands tied to the doorknob with old shoestrings”  type of mother who would have no problem taking me in hand and teaching me how to sleep as normal people do.



It seems as if my body has decided to finally push me off that rocky ledge of sanity that I’ve been precariously balanced at the edge of for years by forgetting how to sleep.

Yes, dear reader, I’ve forgotten how to sleep.

And if the random bouts of woolgathering and inappropriate daydreams about purple rainstorms, Chuck Bass, and Jesus are any indication, I’m fairly certain that it’s making me CRAZY. (Dude- I can totally hear what you’re thinking right now… and, frankly, it hurts my feelings. A lot.)

Random fact: Alot is a town and nagar panchayat in the Ratlam district of Madhya Pradesh, India. A lot is the amount of times that I’ve managed to set my kitchen on fire by boiling water.

Granted, I’ve always been the  night owl… Needing a bit of peace from the roar of the maddening crowd that is my progeny (plus the man) (and the cat) (oh and the little dog that grew three feet and fifty pounds in a week too), the quiet found in that lovely space between midnight and 3 a.m. has always been a haven of sorts.

Now, however, thanks to a bout of asinine flu that put me severely behind on work and various other obligations that have me, well, obligated, that lovely space of three hours has become a hectic gap of four or five.

By the time that I am finished with whatever project it is that I set out to accomplish, I am, of course, too wired for sleep…

So I read.

A book.

A book that I can’t put down until I am finished- regardless if I’ve already read it a dozen times before. (Dude? Can still hear you over here.)

Which puts me just about the time that the kids need to be up and readied for school- the time that is supposed to mark the beginning of my day and the beginning of this obviously vicious circle of purple rains, Chuck Basses, and Jesuses (Jesi?)…

Which isn’t at all as fun as it sounds, believe it or not. (Although I won’t argue its potential.)

And since I can’t tightly swaddle and hold myself down in order to force a bit of much needed rest as easily as one might hope…

I need a mother, methinks.

One who could handle the situation with her eyes closed and her hands tied to the doorknob with old shoestrings.

One who has a slew of children and has seen this all before.

One who would tell me to quit all of this infernal whining, put down the damn book, close my eyes and go to gawddamned sleep already.

One who…




March 24, 2010

Pocket Buddha Says, “Peace.”

Pocket Buddha Says,

Days go by so very quickly when I have so very much to do.

Straight-up and bedraggled, my hair is starting to look like the hair of a crazy cat woman.

Very telling, that.

Must find time for flat iron before someone sees me. A little mascara wouldn’t hurt either.

I worry about the wrinkles in their clothes and the scuff marks on their shoes, what they ate for dinner…

Fiber counts and sugar highs

Too much television. Too little math.

Homework took three hours last night, and there are dishes in the sink, and I still need to work.

Bills. Bills. Bills.

I worry about the rent, about the electricity, about the various ends and outs of it being just me.

The ends and outs of choosing some sort of man-child who doesn’t worry about those sorts of things, who thinks that responsibility is an island off the coast of Africa.

Who leaves things like worry and bills to me.

Who never takes me anywhere…

Especially not to Africa.

“I’ll take myself,” I say, “just as soon as these bills are paid.”

Just as soon as the clothes are ironed.

Just as soon as dinner is made, and the dishes are done, and I feed the dog…

“The dog loves me more,” I explain, “because I feed him first thing in the morning and don’t force him to entertain an empty belly whilst waiting upon the whims of man-children.”

I sympathize with his plight.

Very telling, that.

Deep breaths are hard to come by…

Especially when you forget to breathe.

Pocket Buddha says, “Peace.”

And I do my damnedest to listen.

February 19, 2010

I and love and you…

I and Love and You

February 14, 2010

1.©2010 by Courtney Hebert as Judith Shakespeare.
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3.Blog title courtesy of Oscar Wilde, pseudonym Virginia Woolf, design JudithShakes.