Saturday, December 30, 2006

Childish behavior on my part

I love my sister-in-law. I really do. She is so organized and so sure that her way is the right way. She’s not more than a few years older than i am, but she seems like she’s from another, older generation.

A few years ago she went off on us about how the toilet paper should be positioned such that the paper comes off the back side. I realize that this is a hot button issue for many people, but really, is it important?

She declared that those of us who positioned the roll such that it came off the front would rue the day, because our children would hit the roll until the whole thing was on the floor. I think she opined on this for a good 5 minutes.

I don’t really care how it comes off the damned roll. I just want it to be so that i can get some paper off in the middle of the night with the lights off.

Last time i was at her house i snuck upstairs to the master bathroom and turned the roll around.

I’ll bet my brother got blamed.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

There's no place like home

Home. Safe. Loved visiting my friends. Some of my favorite people. Glad to be home.

Just a quick one to discuss some of the responses to my last post. I view the little regional prejudices that i have seen in my travels with amused affection.

When we moved to Colorado i had an imaginary dialogue in my head that was from all the other cars. "George! Look, there are pretty blinking lights on the side of that car. Wonder what those are for?" George: "Ay-yup."

I found out from my friends, who are new to the Maryland area, that there is a local prejudice against Virginians. I guess they are rude. I dunno.

In California they drive fast. You can be going 70 in a 55 zone and you will get passed so fast that you can feel the wind from the passing car.

In New York jaywalking is as common air. The cars let up for a minute, and the pedestrians will push you off the sidewalk to cross the street. I'm from the Northwest, where we all wait like sheep on the sidewalks with nary a car in sight.

Also in the Northwest we all wear raingear as the height of fashion. In NY or DC you can spot us West Coasters by our lack of make-up and our sensible shoes.

You get the idea. I find these things interesting, but despite what any of us may think, there are many local cultural differences that have no real bearing on our true character.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

In which she emerges from a haze of good food and good company

Hi all. We are still in Washington DC. We will be traveling home tomorrow, barring airport closures due to snow and other weather mishaps.

It has been a lovely time with our friends. Now i need to go home and begin my Christmas shopping. No, not for next year. I have purchased exactly 4 presents so far this year, and they were all for people here in DC. I annoyed Em by individually wrapping three pairs of socks as presents. The reason for this is that she arrived here with only the socks she was wearing. A slight packing snafu. It happens to all of us.

Two observations from being here:

We went to the National Portrait Gallery yesterday in downtown DC. It was not crowded, which was lovely. I would be standing, say, two and a half feet from a picture, and someone would come and insert themselves between me and the picture. This happened several times. I mentioned it to my friends and they said, "Welcome to the East Coast."

There are three young people in our party, 11, 15 and 16. They all want so much to be the imparter of information, to be the one who "knows" a fact, to be the center of attention. Some people lose this need as they get older, and some do not. I sometimes have to remind myself that it's okay to say "I don't know."

Friday, December 22, 2006

Bell in my belfry

From my lovely Maggie , the word for the day is bell.

I immediately thought of a woman who used to work in the same building. Starting the day after Thanksgiving, she would sport a Santa hat and wear bells on her shoes so that she would have music wherever she went. And we would have jingling bells wherever she went too. She went a lot of places.

I would be at my desk, and the ominous sound of bells would begin ringing faintly in the distance, coming closer, closer. At the sound of the clatter heads would appear around cubicle walls to see what was the matter and then pull back in like turtle heads with a disgusted shake.

By the time it was Christmas i wanted to strangle her. I would have had lots of help.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Traveling is fun!

We got up at 4:15 this morning in order to get to the airport on time. Of course i woke up at 3 and couldn't get back to sleep, but that's just me.

All the lists were crossed off and we got out of the house, only having to back down the driveway once to make sure that the garage door closed. (Sometimes it doesn't. Stop laughing, it could have been left hanging open.)

At the airport we get in the line for people who already have checked in online and have boarding passes. Right as we get to the front of the line, some lady behind the counter tells us that our flight has been cancelled and we need to go and stand in another line to reschedule for a flight that is 3 hours later.

We go and stand in that line for awhile and then another lady looks at us like we are crazy and tells us that the flight has NOT been cancelled and that we need to go back and stand in the line that we were in in the first place.

Back to the first line, and after another half an hour of line standing, we are finally able to check our bags. Sigh.

Lots of worse things could have happened, but why does it always seem that the people working the counter have the worst communication skills in the world? Do they look for people with resumes that say "unable to correctly give out information and will need to take a break if things get busy."

We were in a bit of a rush at that point, and had to scramble to get a quick breakfast at Burger King. I swear that there was some egg-like substance on my sandwich that had never seen the inside of a chicken's ass. Maybe it was polyester, maybe epoxy, who knows.

It good to be here safely and to see my friends. I can't go to sleep yet because my body thinks it's 6:45. So as the Mister snores beside me, i am typing and reading.

Cheers all.

Monday, December 18, 2006

One thing about me i wish wasn't true

I am an anxious pre-traveler. We are flying to Washington DC on Wednesday at o'fuck thirty to visit some good friends over Christmas. This has the advantage that 1) i won't be spending Christmas with my family, and 2) i don't have to do ANY Christmas shopping until we get back after Christmas. HA!

But the down side is that i get anxious before leaving for a trip. I make lists and worry about the cats and worry about the house. Got to remember to run the dishwasher and take out the food scraps and blah blah blah. Like the world will come to an end if i forget to do one of these things. Well, it might! Can't be too sure about these things.

Oh yeah, and the house needs to be locked and the furnace set on away and the cat box cleaned...See, i started up again.

Once we get to the airport i am fine, since i am no longer in charge of my destiny. i can sit back and relax and enjoy the show.

Isn't that silly?

Wonder if i should pack us an edible lunch to take on the plane. I need to buy a new book. Does Em have enough of her medicine?


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Silenced by the Force (of nature)

As you might have read, we received a little smackdown around here from nature on Thursday night. I woke up at about 1:00 in the morning to see complete and utter darkness around the entire area.

We were fine. We had no heat, but we have gas water heaters and a gas stove, so we were able to take warm showers and cook. Many of our neighbors were not so lucky.

Here are a few pictures that i took of the many, many trees that were down, all within about a mile of our house.

And here is another one:
and yet another:

And if you can stand it, one more. I'm thinking we should keep this one and advertise it as "The Drive Through Tree." Well, it works in California!

The pictures are a bit crappy, but they were taken as it was getting dark on Friday afternoon.

On Saturday morning, we got up and high-tailed it over to my brother's house in Seattle, so i could charge my toothbrush. (I have certain standards of personal hygiene that i don't care to violate.) My SIL took pity on us and invited us to stay for dinner. I think it was the BSE (Big Sad Eyes) that got to her.

We left their house about 8:00 and drove across Lake Washington to our side of the world. All lighting ceased about halfway across the bridge. There were occassional pockets of light here and there, but mostly dark.

We had to detour around a few closed roads to get home, but as we were 2 houses away, Look! We have power! Hooray! We are in the only pocket of lighted houses that i could see up and down our whole lake.

Today we are dancing naked in our heated home.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Uniform

Today i was at my volunteer job, and there was a crew of people there wrapping presents for the adopt-a-family program (bless them.)

They all left at once, it was six little old ladies. Every single one of them was wearing a holiday sweatshirt. Rudolph with a red pom-pom nose, glittery gold and silver stars, a snowman with rolling eyes, a Christmas tree with beaded ornaments, a jolly Santa with a funny red nose and the last one had a wrapped present with a real ribbon adorning the sweatshirt. They were so damned cute. I wish i had stopped them to take a picture.

I felt ill-dressed in my t-shirt and sweater.

Awww. There is a uniform when you get to be that age. I can't wait.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Now what?

I was tagged for this meme by Disgruntled Owl about a week ago. It's the 5 weird things thing. Actually i really don't think i'm weird, but i like the attention of being tagged. So here are 5 things.

1.) When i can’t sleep in the middle of the night i listen to my British friends on the BBC on my bedside radio. I like getting news that’s not so US of A centered. In fact, i cringe when i hear something like “Today there was a plane crash in Uarebatsistan. Two hundred fifty seven people are dead, including two Americans.” What about the other 255 people? Hello? Are we Americans the only ones that matter? It sounds so arrogant to me.

2.) I think that killing yourself can be a viable option. I also think that it is a right that you give up when you have children. I have learned not to tell this to anyone, especially mental health professionals, but i still think it’s true.

3.) I can almost not bear to touch my mother. It gives me a physical reaction like having someone brush a cat’s hair the wrong way. I give her the A-frame hug when we meet, and then stay as far away as possible.

4.) When i am out walking or hiking (which is a lot like walking, except with better shoes) i am much more likely to say hi to the dogs that i meet than the humans. I like dogs.

5.) The only bones i have ever broken were my foot. I broke them falling up the stairs at 5 in the morning while carrying a cat. No, i was not drunk. That sucked as it was my left foot, and my car has a manual transmission. I ended up trading cars with a friend for 6 weeks while i wore that fucking boot. Be nice to people on crutches y’all. It bites the green burrito. (No cat was harmed in the breaking of these bones.)

Because this can be a crazy time of year, I am going to do this as a self-tag. In other words, please tag yourself if you would like.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Lunch story the second

The same week i had lunch with the 11 still hungry women, i also went to lunch with another woman i know. At least this woman eats, but there was another problem.

I stopped by her house to pick her up. A minute or so after i got there she comes storming out the door and the first thing she says is, “I am so pissed at my kid right now i could strangle her.”

Um, hello?

“Oh no,” i say, “What’s wrong.”

Long angry story about lack of cat food, responsibility, whose cat is it anyway, she doesn’t have time to get cat food, etc, etc. I listen politely. I’ve been pissed at Em, i know how it goes, although she is pretty vehement.

I helpfully suggest that she call her husband Joe, and ask him to pick up cat food at the store on his way home. “Good idea,” she says and calls him from the car. His response; “Can’t you do it?” Angry words follow and she calls him an asshole and hangs up on him. While sitting in the car next to me.

The really sad, or maybe amusing thing is that she’s not even embarrassed. And i know her well enough by now to know that this is just their standard operating procedure. (For reference, when i call the Mister and ask him to get something on his way home, his response is “sure.”)

Okay, so now what do we talk about? I pick a safe subject.

“I like your glasses,” i say, “are they new?”

“They are. But Joe was mad at me for spending the money.” (They have PLENTY of money.) More reasons why Joe is an asshole are detailed for my enjoyment.

Um, next topic?

As i was driving home i thought about the Mister and how much i appreciate our relationship. A good lesson on how not to behave.

At least she paid for lunch.

Monday, December 11, 2006

One Moon Unit

Here is a good story to tell your child if she ever accuses you of embarrassing her.

"Oh yeah?" you can say, "listen to this!"

When i was 10 or 11, my mother showed her naked ass to my entire girl scout troop. While i was there.

Top that!

Here's the scoop. My mother was at the height of her weight at that point in her life. Which means that she was probably 100 lbs (45 kgs for my friends who are wise enough to live somewhere the metric system is in use) overweight. She had recently fallen down the stairs and landed on her arse. She had a HUGE bruise as a result. It was probably 12 inches (30 centimeters) in diameter.

She was convinced that the ever changing status of this Rorschach test of a bruise was a fascination to all. The entire troop, maybe 15 girls (no conversion necessary), was on a "campout" in some old lodge building in Virginia. After a night of singing around the flashlight and doing skits, my mother decided that the perfect way to ensure that sweet dreams were had by all was to bare her biggest asset to the crowd so they too could enjoy the current purple fading to greenish hue of her backside.

So she mooned the entire troop, me included.

I remember getting all hot and then wanting to disappear that instant into the ether.

Now it's a great story to tell Em if she ever says i'm embarrassing.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A late wedding present

A wedding present for Jen, and many many others. Congratulations

I know there are things that are much more important to humans, but, how we treat those in our care says a lot about us.

I cannot abide mistreatment of animals. This includes ignoring them and not meeting their basic needs for companionship as well as outright abuse.

You do not get a pet unless you are committed to taking care of that pet for its life. They do not understand when you are not interested anymore. They do not understand when you do not have time for them. They do not get it when you are too busy.

I love dogs. I LOVE dogs. I do not have a dog because i do not have the time to devote to a dog. Dogs are pack animals. They need to be where you are and to be doing what you are doing.

I love cats. We have three of them. Em and i clean cat cages at a shelter every Sunday morning. It’s all i can do not to bring more of them home every week. The kittens are no problem, as they will get adopted right away. It’s the 10 year old cat who is shy that i worry about. The one who has been in that same cage for the past 3 weeks. The one who was surrendered because her owners moved to a new apartment that didn’t allow pets. How could they do that? To take a pet that has been part of their house for 10 years and dump her. It makes me sick.

You all know what to do already, because you would never be so callous with an animal in your care. But, get your animals neutered. Get them microchipped. And love them.

The other place i volunteer does counseling for kids from 6 to 20 years of age. The kids who are thrust into foster care are much like the cats in the cages. The cages are bigger and many kids are well taken care of, but they are as puzzled and frightened as the cats are about why they are in this cage. It really tears me apart to talk with these kids. So many of them are hopeful about getting back together with a parent. From what i can see, some of the parents care more about themselves, and the alcohol or drugs or the latest boyfriend.

These kids are as abandoned as the cats.
And as with the cats, i show them what kindness and affection i can when we are together. But what they really need i do not have to give them.

Friday, December 08, 2006

madness meme

I was tagged for this meme by liv at madness, madness i say .

In my case it’s a mother-daughter meme. I am to tell you 5 things about me and 5 things about Em that you don’t know.

I crochet and embroider (not very well). I don’t like to sew on a machine. This surprises many people who know me although i don’t know why.
2.) I have arranged my life so that i have lots of time to do nothing. I get to spend a few hours alone on most days, and i thrive on it. I don’t know how people work 40+ hours a week and still have time to do anything else, even though i did it for years.
3.) I am a wiggly sleeper. The Mister tries to snuggle with me but after a few minutes he gives up and moves to the other side of the bed because i have already turned over 3 times and sighed heavily 5 times.
4.) Most of my life before i had Em, i assumed that i would not have children because the world sucks and it’s no place for an adult, much less a child. In an act of complete selfishness, i had one anyway. I am not sorry, at least not for me.
5.) Politics bore me. I feel badly about saying that, but it’s true.

1.) Em has had a blanket since she was born. His name is Lammie. She still sleeps with Lammie and will come down in the morning wearing him on her head or as a skirt.
2.) Before Em was born, she was scraped on her head with the amniotic hook thing. She had to have 10 stitches right away. I think the doctor was trying to carve her initials on Em’s head.
3.) She is completely crazy about cats. Her first word at nine months was “kee-caa” while she was looking at a little plaster statue of a cat. I felt like Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan in the water scene. Communication! She hasn’t shut up since.
4.) Em can touch type about 120 wpm on a keyboard without looking, and she can type almost as fast without looking on her phone.
5.) On her very first day of school, she looked at me and said “It’s easy to make friends isn’t it mommy?” It broke my heart. I nearly decided to home school her at that point, even though i am completely unsuited for that, both academically and temperamentally.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Lunch story the first

What is it with women anyway?

I went to lunch with a group of 11 woman today. Why is it that woman feel they have to hide the fact that they actually eat in front of each other?

"Oh, i'll just have the small cup of soup."

"Just the side salad please, with vinegar."

"Just water. Oh, and may i have a lemon slice for that?"

Believe me when i tell you that some of these women obviously eat SOMETHING other than lettuce and soup.

I knew this was going to happen before i went so i was ready to look like a pig. I ordered an appetizer of bread and olives, and out of 6 women, i was the only one who ate any. Although the woman next to me was having a hard time not drooling on the bread. And then (gasp!) i ordered, and then ATE a FULL SIZED salad, complete with cheese and croutons.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006


This last Sunday, the Mister and i drove 5 teenage girls to see Panic! at the Disco.

If you don't know who or what this is, it's because you have no teenager to help you develop your musical tastes. It's a band, complete with lead male singer of ambiguous sexuality wearing more eye liner than Dr. Frankenfurter.

The girls were a riot. The whole way up they were chattering happily. The whole way back, they screamed and squealed at each other. Not a one of them listened, they just talked, all 5 at once.

"He's so cute!"

"I know, right!"

"I almost caught the drumstick!"

"I know, right!"

"I could hardly breathe!"

"I know, right!"

This was the first time that i let Em go to a concert without me. (We saw Green Day (another band complete with lead male singer of ambiguous sexuality wearing more eye liner than Dr. Frankenfurter) last year at the same venue. It was great.) I was nervous about letting her go, but it was time. The girls spent some time on the floor trying to get close to the front and now Em knows what i was worried about. Groping, fighting, moshing, screaming, elbowing, crowd surfing. They got out of there and went to sit on the sides.

I remember my first concert, i was 13 and it was Creedence Clearwater Revival. My mother probably thought that a going to a concert meant like going to see the Nutcracker ballet. Ha!

I was a very naive 13 year old and i was shocked at what i saw. Dope smoking was done openly. (I had never seen that before.) People were flailing around doing what i had to assume was supposed to be dancing. In short, it was a typical rock concert from that era.

Your first concert experience?

Monday, December 04, 2006

She goes running for the shelter of her mothers little helper.

I went to the doctor today. Nothing is wrong, i had thought it was time for my yearly fill-up-my-love-cup-with-KY exam. But no, the insurance company won’t let me get my exam until after exactly one year has elapsed since my last exam. Not 11.5 months, not 11 months and 29 days. One year.

The only reason i’m kinda pissed is because i shaved my legs and did some weed whacking for the event.

So the doctor and i just sat and chatted. She didn’t even want to peek at the temple of my womanhood. All tidied up and no place to go. I feel rejected. Maybe i’ll take advantage of it later tonight.

She asked about menopause symptoms, like hot flashes. Which yes, i get during the week that i am off the birth control pills, so i can enjoy them AND cramps at the same time.

But this is America, and there is a pill for everything. I was told that as soon as i get off the BC pills i can start hormone therapy if i so wish. I was surprised as both my mother and grandmother have had breast cancer. But she explained it all in a way that made sense (which of course i can’t recall exactly.) Lower doses, different drugs, shorter time frame, etc.

The pioneer woman in me says “screw that.” I can take a few moments of warmth at night. For a few years. And some sleeplessness. And a mustache. And a dry gulch.

But should i? Should i accept all that modern medicine has to offer so that i never experience any discomfort? If i am anxious, should i just take a pill? If i can’t sleep should i take another pill?

Full disclosure: I do have sleeping pills that i take when i am traveling. I can NOT sleep in strange places and after a night or two of that i am nauseous and dizzy and a raging whiny ass bitch. So i take my pills and i am a happy traveler.

So why should i be hesitant to accept medication for a natural life process if it can help? It just feels wrong. Maybe i’ll be singing a different tune in a few years. "THE DRUGS, GIVE THEM TO ME NOW!"

Saturday, December 02, 2006

A miracle has occurred

(Just playing with the macro option on my camera.)

Here's some news that will hopefully inspire some of you who are parents to younger children.

The biggest bone of contention in this house has always been Em's access to the internet. There have been tears, screaming, threats, personal insults and never-ending drama over this one issue.

As a parent, you get the crap scared out of you by the newspaper and radio and school. I didn't want Em to end up as the sex slave of a 43 year old white man she met in some chat room, so we have always limited her internet access.

The Mister is a total geek, so he bought a router and then wrote a program that allows us to set her hours of access every day. It has been wonderful to have. But there was always the begging and scheming and cheating by Em in order to scrounge more time.

She has settled down about this in the past year and really accepted that we are doing what we feel is best for her, even if we don't always understand the importance of the internet to her social life. So currently, she gets 3 hours a day on school days, and 4 to midnight on weekends.

Yesterday she sat down with me and calmly, logically, unemotionally yet passionately argued that she is old enough now to control her own internet life. She didn't scream, she didn't tell me she hates me. She did tell me how she feels about us controlling this very important resource for her. She feels like a little girl and wants some freedom. She feels embarrassed when she has to tell her friends that she has to go because her time is up. She told me that she can be trusted. She told me what she spends her time doing when she is on-line. She doesn't understand why midnight is the witching hour for me. She does extremely well in school with no attention or nagging from me.

I listened carefully. I told her that i would think about it and talk it over with the Mister (which is really a formality as he will pretty much give her whatever she wants.) I explained that sometimes for me it's easier to keep doing what we have been doing without really considering her changing maturity level. I praised her for her thoughtful argument that was done without her losing control of her temper. I was impressed.

Where did this child come from?

As a result, she now has internet access from 8 am until midnight every day. I still see no reason why a young girl needs to be on-line after midnight, and i ain't budging on that.

It was really exciting to see and hear. And today Em is quite proud of herself. At breakfast, when we told her the good news she said, "It looks like i actually am gaining some maturity for real, huh?" And then she giggled.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Back to your regularly scheduled nonsense.

I’m not going to do a post today.

Because i don’t have to in order to fulfill some quixotic promise that i made to myself and no one else cares about.

But there are chores that have been left undone. I have several blogs that i need to add to my sidebar and a few to remove. I want my sidebar to reflect blogs that i actually read, and not some “friends” list. Hopefully it’s a constantly evolving entity. But at this point, i haven’t added several places that i found and now read often. Maybe tomorrow. Or else i’ll go hiking.

But for this day i want to be with my family and catch up on my reading.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

What's in store

I hate grocery shopping. I hate it so much that i do it every day. Pretty stupid huh? I make a list for that night's dinner and then i plan and execute a surgical stike on the store. It used to be that i planned and shopped for a whole week, but then our plans would change and food would get wasted.

The Mister likes to go to the store and stand around looking at the stuff in each aisle and ponder its usefulness. I have learned that it's best if we avoid shopping together because i am so impatient. I try hard to hide it, but sometimes it bursts through.

I try and think of my shopping habits as "European" in that i buy fresh ingredients every day, but really i'm just trying to spend as little time as possible absorbing the negative ions given off by the flourescent lighting in the store.

Of course it's fun to go to the store when i'm looking for pig uteri, but how often can i work that into a meal?

Yesterday i was at the store rushing around in my usual fashion, when this elderly lady on crutches (and pushing a cart) very sweetly asks me to get dog food off the high shelf for her. I did get it for her and then i couldn't just leave her there struggling with the cart and the crutches so i stayed by her side and helped her finish her shopping. I was on crutches once and now i really feel for anyone i see with them. Always hold doors open for people on crutches, it's a bitch to open a door and try to get through before the door smashes you in the ass and sends you sprawling. (Yes, i know this from personal experience.)

So much for my 30 second trip to the grocery store, but i did earn my good citizenship merit badge for the day, which i sorely need because my uniform sash is looking a little barren lately.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

With the help of a good bra.

Do you think this is an appropriate T-shirt for a 49 year old woman to wear?

Absolutely! Me too!

(From the musical Wicked in case you were wondering.)


I recently reconnected with a woman i knew many many years ago. We worked together at a strange swing shift job when i was 19 through 24. She is only a year older than i am, but to me she was so sophisticated and knew so much more than i about fashion and men and the world. She had just broken up with a woman, and was now dating men. How exotic!

An aside about me. I have a fairly rigid moral code, about some things. You don't sleep with someone other than your spouse, unless you both agree to it. (Open marriage is a choice i have seen, but never have i seen it be successful in the long run. I don't think the human heart works that way and i know mine doesn't.) You don't sleep with someone else's spouse even if you aren't married. Oh, murder is bad too.

So J and i were friends back then. But over the years as i moved around the country we lost touch. So when we met up again after almost 20 years it was a real pleasure to see her. We went and did a few things together. She is still quite beautiful and single. Last time we went out she had just come back from vacation at one of those Club Med places for single people. She told me that she had fallen in love three times, and gotten her heart broken three times. All this in three weeks.

Turns out that two of these men were married. I asked her if they went to these places to have vacation affairs and she said, "Oh no, they aren't the kind of men to do that."


A few other things she talked about disturbed me also. Such as "borrowing" her dead dad's car because she needed it more that the other siblings.

I didn't want to admit it to myself when we first met up again, but for her, nothing has changed. I so admired her as cool and fashionable when i was younger. (As you can see by today's picture, fashionable and i are not on speaking terms.)

I am pretty judgmental sometimes. This is one of those times. I won't be seeing her again.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Snow Day

Em’s school was closed today. A fact we learned last night at about 10:15. There was much whooping. There is no actual snow on the ground here, but in some of the higher areas there is lots. Plus in this part of the country, we can’t handle any amount of snow with grace, it’s such a rarity.

I lived in Virginia as a child. I still remember that feeling of lying in bed listening to the radio early in the morning after snow had fallen. “Oh please, oh please, oh please.” Praying to hear the name of my school on the radio.

The happiness of learning that our school was closed is comparable to few other joys. We always said that we would go back to sleep after we heard the good news, but we were too happy.

My brothers and i would bound around in our pajamas until all the chores demanded by my exasperated mother were done, and all the snow clothes could be located.

There were:
Neighbor children to meet up with.
Snow forts to build.
Snowball fights to have.
Snow men and women to be made, and once, a snow horse.
Snow ice cream to be made and eaten
(this was when we didn’t know, or care, how filthy snow really is.)
Sledding to be done.
Tunnels to be engineered, if the snow was deep enough.

We would play outside until we were wet and exhausted. Then all us kids would pile into someone’s house and strip off our wet pants, gloves, hats and jackets. These would go immediately into the dryer while we drank hot chocolate in our long undies. As soon as the clothes were dry, off we’d head back into the snow.

Bliss. We had stolen a day from the usual oppression.

Monday, November 27, 2006

When i rule the world, addendum

This post was inspired by watching and listening to my two doofus* nephews (18 and 19 years old) at Thanksgiving.

Legal ages for things are all cocked up in this country (heh, heh, she said cock).

21 for drinking,
18 for dying, (I am referring to military service here)
18 for voting,
18 (sometimes) for being charged as an adult,
16 (some places)for sex,
16 for driving.

Let me be the first to say that i don’t know the answers. But:

21 might be old enough to drink,
18 is too young to die,
18 is okay to vote,
18 is okay (sometimes) to be charged as an adult,
16 is too young for sex (if you get tired of the same old thing, switch hands,)
16 is too young to be driving.

Then again:

How old is old enough to drink? For some people, never.
How old is old enough to die? No snappy comment on this one.
How old is old enough for sex. I say AT LEAST 18, for me it was older.
How old is old enough for driving. I say 18 again.

Again, these are completely arbitrary, because not everyone is the same. (It’s true!) And will go into effect as soon as i appoint myself supreme ruler.

*and i mean that in the nicest way.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


As is my way, i read a post over at lu's blog, and that started me thinking.

When i got married, i somehow became responsible for the milestone celebrations in not only my family, but in the Mister's too. It was me who stressed over getting his parents and sister a Christmas present, and sending them birthday cards. It was me who reminded the Mister to call his mother on Mother's Day and her birthday. I wasn't very good at it though, and over the years i know that his mother blamed me for the fact that the Mister didn't contact her very often.

It's an older fashioned view of the family responsibilities, that it's the woman's responsibility to take on that job. I don't blame the Mister or his mother, because it was me who accepted that role in the first place.

Skip to several years later, the Mister and i are in couple's counseling and this issue comes up, that his mother resents me for the lack of contact. The counselor asked the Mister if he wanted to take on the responsibility for taking care of his family. He said that yes, he would do that.

It was a huge relief for me. And as i predicted to myself, what happened is that he never contacted his mother after that, ever, unless she called him first. I still remembered when it was her birthday, but i didn't say anything or remind him to call her.

As you might have guessed, there are issues between the mister and his mother. At this time, they have spoken twice in the past year, and they got into a fight last time and she pretty much hung up on him.

I know she still blames me, at least in part, for this. I know because the Mister once told me that his mother wondered why i hated her. I don't hate her, he does. What i do blame the Mister for, is he let me take the rap for his lack of interest.

She's getting very old now, and it's sad that they have no contact. Every so often the Mister will sigh, and say "I should call my mother." "Yep," i reply, and then nothing happens. He doesn't want to contact her. I have learned to stay the hell out of it, because it's not about me, whatever his mother may think. It's probably easier for her to blame me than to think about what really might be going on. That's ok, i can take it.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Curse! Part III

The Mister and i went to see Casino Royale this afternoon. It was pretty fun, but i couldn't help but giggle at some of the over-the-top-ness.

But, the curse is still active! THEY came and sat right behind us after the movie had started, after i had begun to think we has escaped from THEIR clutches. They chatted happily;

"Oh, it's dynamite!"

Gasp "Oh no!"

"I think that's the bad guy!"

It went on and on. But you will be proud of me, as i didn't throw a napkin at them, or take their picture and threaten to post it on my imaginary website. Although i was tempted. I just leaned over and whispered to the Mister "Let's move." So we changed seats and all was quiet.

Maybe i am growing up.


Friday, November 24, 2006

Past humiliations

First off, Thanksgiving was fine, no fights, no one got drunk and fell over a chair, the turkey didn't end up on the floor. Dullsville.

The constant rain, along with seeing my family yesterday reminded me of something.

When we were growing up, my parents were in no way rich, but we were not starving either. But my mom is so damn cheap that she sometimes humiliated me.

When i was 11, i went off for two weeks to girl scout camp. As with all these camps they send you a list of stuff that you will need to bring with you. On that list was, of course, rain boots. I can still hear my mother saying (shrill voice here) "I'm not going to buy you rain boots just to have you grow out of them in two months."

So over my tearful objections, she sent me to camp with two big plastic bags and two rubber bands. I prayed that it would not rain those two weeks. Of course, i was not that lucky. I refused to wear the bags though, saying that i had forgotten to bring boots. One of the counselors called my parents to see if they could bring me some boots. Uh oh.

So i was forced to put the dreaded bags over my already soaked feet. Instead of braving it out with a ha ha isn't this funny attitude, i retreated into sullen angry preteeness with a vengeance.

Now i wish i had a picture, but at the time i thought i was going to die of humiliation. I think about the vision i must have made, a very big 11 year old with huge feet, wearing clear plastic bags tied over her boots, with her lower lip sticking out 2 inches from pouting. It must have been a sight.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Poor poor pitiful me

In order to break with the tradition of the day and prove to you that i am an ornery woman. Here is a list of ten things that i have to complain about;

1. It's raining. It’s been raining forever. Or at least for a month. (Better for watering those flowers in the spring.)
2. I have tennis elbow, and i don’t even play tennis. (I play squash, and the elbow would get better if i stopped using a mouse so much.)
3. There’s cat hair all over my sweater. (I got some kitty love earlier.)
4. I have to peel and cut up 27 potatoes in a few minutes. (Mmmmm, hand mashed mashed potatoes. Yummy.)
5. Ummm, let’s see. The cleaning lady didn’t come today because it’s a holiday. (Poor, poor me.)
6. I’m not very good at complaining. (That’s bad, right?)
7. It’s hard to think of ten things. (That is too a complaint!)
8. My family and i are all healthy. (How am i supposed to complain about that?)
10. This list was too difficult.

I knew i could do it! (Did you notice that i skipped #9?)

Off to start the potatoes, potahtoes.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Scenes from Thanksgivings past

Setting: 23 years ago, at the Mister’s parents.
Cast: The Mister & me, bitchy drama queen SIL and her Danish BF and his cute, blond, Danish au pair girl and the Mister’s parents.
Scene: BF and au pair are in the living room speaking Danish together. The Mister and his dad are also in the living room where he is listening to his dad lecture about economics (zzzzzz). SIL and MIL and I are in the kitchen drinking Manhattans. The SIL is staring out the kitchen window, big fat lugubrious tears streaming slowly down her face. SIL is so jealous of BF and au pair that she cannot stand it.

Setting: 16 years ago, at home.
Cast: The Mister and me, and a 4 day old Em.
Scene: Em is wrapped in a little quilt sleeping on the couch. The Mister and i are still in the Oh-My-God-there’s-a-tiny-person here-and-now-what-do-we-do stage. We had made no plans for the day. The Mister went to the grocery store that morning and bought a turkey breast and some more already prepared food. We spent the day alone, alternately eating and staring at the tiny person we had created in awe and fear.

Setting: Two years ago, at our house.
Cast: My entire family; mom, dad, 2 brothers and wives, 3 nephews, 2 nieces, and the three of us.
Scene: In an effort to make my dad feel like the family patriarch, i asked him to carve the turkey. He managed to cut himself with the razor-sharp carving knife and bleed all over the bird. I had to wrestle the knife away from him and send him off for triage. My SIL got into a fit of giggles over this saying “No good deed goes unpunished.”

I wonder what this year will bring.

Happy Thanksgiving to those of you who are celebrating that day tomorrow, and to the rest of you, have a great Thursday.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


His ears

Thank you all so much for your birthday wishes for Em, and the compliments for me. The lucky thing for us is that Em is a lot like me, personality-wise. (This summer she went to a camp and took the Myers-Briggs personality test. "What letters are you?" i asked. "INFP." Guess who else has the exact same letters.) And i know how someone like me likes to be treated. If she was a girly-girl i would be lost.

My other strength is that i know how to apologize. After i cool off for a while.

I had birthday cake for breakfast.

Now, on the other end of the spectrum; I am taking my mom to a lecture tonight by Frank McCourt, the guy who wrote Angelas Ashes and 'Tis, and some other book too. I had tickets and the Mister isn't interested, and i know she likes him and it was 2 months ago that i asked her, and that seemed like forever, and now it's here. We are going to dinner first. What will we talk about? Well, there's always a martini (or two) to lubricate the interaction. And then there's Thanksgiving. But there will be more people there to dilute the mom dose.

This morning the plumber left our house and we have a new water heater and are minus $2,200.00. This after we spent $18k this summer with the same company to install a new water line to the house. I should have been a plumber or i'm going to have to start shagging one.


Monday, November 20, 2006

You have been warned; mushy stuff ahead.

Today my baby girl is 16.

She will never read this, and she already knows it because i tell her, but i want to tell you.

Em is a quirky, funny, sarcastic, and most surprising to me, happy person. She and i get along surprisingly well, (but i am still her mother) and she gets my sense of humor.

She and i both have the habit of breaking into song with the least provocation. After which the Mister will say, “You are in trouble Em, it’s clearly a hereditary trait.” (It's better when she does it because her singing is nice. Mine, not so much.)

She has always taken care of her own school work. I don’t pay any attention to her homework, projects or tests. And she does very well, so i don’t need to. No one paid any attention to me when i was in school either, but i did not do well for a long time.

This summer, she went on a trip for a few days to Ashland, OR, to the Shakespeare festival. We went to the Oregon coast for the same few days, so we stopped at a greasy hamburger place on I-5 in order to meet the other family and take Em home from there. She was eager to come with us, which surprised me, as she was with her best friend. We were all very silly on the way home. We got stuck in traffic and so i was threatening to open my car window and offer the driver next to us $5 if he would sell us the bobble-headed moose from off his dashboard. Em actually sighed with relief and said that she had had a good time on her trip, but that NO ONE WAS SILLY the entire time. She needed a silly fix. I can still crack her up with my imitation of a bobble-headed moose.

She gives me books to read. “Here mommy, i think you’d like this.”

She makes me CD mixes of her favorite songs with written explanations of why the songs are special to her. The explanations are 3-4 pages long. I read it all and listen to the songs.

Who would have thought that that pissed off blue-handed and blue-footed baby born 16 years ago would turn into such a great person?

My body has given birth to a friend. (I warned you!)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Young, blue

I have been depressed in my life. I am not now, but i experience it as weight, heaviness pushing down on my center.

The times i have taken medication for depression have been when something happened outside me that caused me to become unable to cope, unable to sleep, unable to eat. But most of the time i am fairly happy. I manage my depressive nature with exercise. If i don't do anything for a few days, i feel the dark starting to creep in under my cognitive door, like the poison gas in a Batman episode.

This seems to be fairly common knowledge now, but some element of depression is hereditary. I believe this because the first time i remember being depressed i was 9 years old. It lasted for about three months. I stopped reading. I stopped laughing. I became less animated. There was no cause for it that i can remember, it just came in one day and sat on me.

My parents sat me down after a month or two of this and had a talk with me. Something i loathed. What child wants to hear, "Meno, we need to talk about your behavior." That alone was enough to send me into spasms of self-conscious squirming and escape fantasies.

The pep talk i was given was something along the lines of "I sentence you to hang by the neck until you cheer up." (Yes, it's Monty Python again.) My parents were displeased with me for bumming out the rest of the family. And of course, i was ashamed.

I didn't remember this episode until my mother reminded me of it a while ago. "Remember that time in 4th grade that you were such a pill for a while?"

I look for signs of depression in Em, but i have never seen any. How odd, a happy person. Maybe it skips a generation.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

a brush with freedom

I learned from Josephine over at Carbon Press that it’s a blogging no-no to write about your dreams. So, being the ornery person that i am, i say to hell with that.

Although i will admit that my eyes glaze over when someone wants to tell me about their dream. So i am not going to tell you about any dream, just about the impression that i was left with afterwards.

I dreamed the other night about bald eagles. One that was some kind of, not pet exactly, but one tame enough to fly to me. And wouldn’t that be cool? Anyway, dream went on, bald eagle flew around, blah, blah. But when i woke up afterwards, i swear could still feel the brush of his wings on my face.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Across the Great Divide

I started thinking about this after reading a post by my wondrous cyberfriend Maggie at Mind Moss. There was also another post that i read this week with a similar theme, but i don’t want to link to it as the writer was being very indirect about the issue and may not appreciate the attention. It had to do with mental distance between two people. Two people who are in a committed relationship. In both of these posts, the women were concerned and unhappy about the distance. One of them called it estrangement.

This has happened between the Mister and i. We would get caught up in our lives and i would realize that it had been a week….two weeks… since we said anything to each other beyond “Good morning”, “Good night”, “Pass the salt” and “Please stop on your way home and get some sour cream.”

Or it’s one of those times where the Mister is working really hard at his job, the job that ate his life, and i am trying to be the invisible background support, demanding none of his precious attention. I don’t want to be just another time sink for him, another person to be managed and calmed. But god damn it i get lonesome and i miss him. I come to resent the life-eating job. Where are his priorities, i wonder.

I am always the first one to “crack”. The first one to protest the chasm widening between us. I wonder if i never said anything, if the chasm would just continue to widen until we couldn’t see each other any more. Sometimes i am tempted to just let it go, because honestly, some days it’s easier to just float along and ignore each other.

But in the end, i always make a fuss. Because this marriage is too important to me to let it slide quietly into the ocean with nary a bubble to note its passage.

But does the fact that it’s always me mean that i am the only one who cares? Or that i am the more sensitive one? Or that i am the caretaker of the relationship? Isn’t that a job that should be shared?

This is really an old issue for us, in a way, because at this point in our lives, there are two of us seeking closeness, so i am not alone. But the memories are there. And i do wonder what would have happened if i had not bothered to shout and cry until the chasm filled with my noise and tears.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

In which i am wrong (or hasty) III

I realize after all your comments, that, as is my way, i was too hasty yesterday with my motivation rant.

Here’s where that came from. Before i retired, i worked for a large discount warehouse company based in the northwest. It was a great company to work for, but as with any place, there were issues.

All the worker bees were paid the same, with no thought given to their contribution. And it was impossible to get fired. I believe that you could have stabbed your manager in the lunchroom over the salad bar in full view of 150 people, and you wouldn’t get fired. You’d get time off with pay and psychological help for which the company would pay.

There were many people who took advantage of this system and they were, as i called them, the secretly retired or RIP (Retired in Place). It was frustrating as a manager, because there’s just no way to motivate these people, despite tossing around big words like synergy and empowerment. (I came to hate those words.)

Then of course children in school are another matter, especially young children. We just can’t give up on them. The teachers among you reminded me of that.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Motivate me. Just musing.

I used to be a manager of people. My management style was to be honest with the people who worked for me and also try really really hard to genuinely like them all (and 19 times out of 20, i could like the person.) Because i believe that people who like you will work hard for you. I supported them, they supported me.

This is called managing down, as opposed to managing up, which means supporting those above you over those below you. I hated working for this type as they would sell you out in a heartbeat.

The big push at work was “How do we motivate people?” I think this is the wrong question. You can de-motivate people, but true motivation comes from within. I do a good job because i need to do so for my own self respect, my own ethics if you will.

But a slacker will be a slacker, and big errors were made in trying to motivate these people and it having the effect of pissing off the motivated because the slackers were getting special attention.

I started thinking about this because we just got back from parent-teacher conferences at Em’s school. Em is very self-motivated at school and all the teachers had nice things to say about her. I talk to other parents and some of them tell me of their struggles to motivate their kids and ask how we do it. I never know what to say because we don’t do anything.

I don’t think it’s the job of one person to motivate another. And from what i have experienced, it doesn’t work anyway.

Your experiences?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Promise fulfilled

Ok, i did it. I did my homework assigned to me by myself in this post. I think i will even l give myself an "A" for having it in early. (I am an easy grader.)

I joined (no laughing at me) a quilting group made up of moms from Em's school. I don't know beans about quilting and long talks about fabric and design bore me, but i do like to embroider, so i will do some sort of project wherein that is the major part. And who knows, maybe as i learn beans about quilting, i will like it better.

I accomplished this by purposely stopping a mom i know in the office of the school just to say hi. And we chatted for quite a while and then she invited me to join this group. Me. In a group. I will start going next week.

Here is a picture of the swim ladder at the end of our dock. As you may have heard in the news, it's been raining a bit 'round these parts.

Monday, November 13, 2006

And what do you say to that?

This story was told to me by a woman i worked with at a bank.

She walked into the living room of her house and found her 5 year old boy watching TV and playing with himself, as boys will do.

“Jeremy honey,” she says calmly and acceptingly, ”don’t play with yourself in the living room.”

“Why not,” he shot back, “Daddy does.”

Sunday, November 12, 2006

I really need to stop picking on my mom. Maybe later.

My mother called a few weeks ago and invited us to dinner at their house on the weekend. I wasn’t home so she left a message on the answering machine.

At the invitation this feeling of incredible dread came over me. I avoided calling her back for a few days while i thought about it. In those days, i came to the realization that one of the main reasons that i dread going over there is because they are so nasty to each other. Or more specifically, my mother is nasty to my father and he occasionally retaliates.

We all know couples who fight in front of us. I don’t think i’ve ever talked to anyone who enjoys being around these people. It’s uncomfortable, and it’s difficult for me to watch someone i love (my dad) being treated like shit.

I know that the relationship between my parents is not really any of my business and for some reason, unknown to me, it must somehow work for them. But it affects me such that i don’t want to be around them.

So i called my parents and got them both on the phone and told them that i didn’t like spending time with them because of the way they treat each other. Told them it made me really uncomfortable to be around them and it was sad because i didn’t want to see them. Said that i wasn’t going to come and visit unless they cut it out.

My dad’s response was to thank me for calling and letting them know, and that he thought it was neat of me to tell them. He said that they would try and watch it. My mom’s response was to say that she didn’t think they fought that much.

The call ended like this:

Dad: “I love you”
Me: “I love you too”
Mom: “Ummm, yeah.”

After i hung up i cried and bit, and then had a good laugh at my mom’s expense. The woman is almost 80, and she just isn’t going to change, ever. But now i have given them notice, and if they (she) is nasty, then i can and will ask her to knock that crap off.

They were both on their best behavior when we went over for dinner.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

A wee bit o' ranting

rant the first- I didn't want to do this, but i am going to have to put word verification on my comments. I hate word verification because i suck at getting them right, but not as much as i hate the comment spam that i have been busy deleting.

What kind of sick people are behind comment spam? I think they are evil. And really, does anyone ever go to a site after a spam comment saying that they can make extra money? If they do they are as stupid as the spammers are evil.

I hate them all, i wish them ill.

rant the second- I don't require much from my friends, but i do need them to be reliable. You know, to be on time most days.

I have one friend who is always late. I play squash with her and every morning she is about 10 minutes late. I am an annoyingly punctual person, so i get to warm up by myself for the first 10 minutes. And she doesn't even bother to apologize anymore.

In January of this year, she made a resolution to be on time, and miracle of miracles, for two months she did it. Which proves that it's under her control. But she soon slipped back into her old ways.

I think that chronic lateness is arrogant and disrespectful.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Ten things (because 100 would take me until next week)

Usually these types of posts are titled “Ten Weird Things” but none of these things are that weird. At least i don’t think so.

1.) I am a complete and utter baby about the dentist. I hate going. I hate them fiddling with my teeth. It’s about all i can do to keep from slapping their hands away as they approach me. I’ve been know to cry after a teeth cleaning. But that was a long time ago, really.

2.) I like to bring home pretty leaves in the fall. I can’t resist picking them up and bringing them into the house, where they wither up and become fodder for the vacuum cleaner.

3.) I can’t tell right from left without thinking about it each and every time. I’ll tell the Mister to “Turn left here. No, NO the OTHER left!” Now i use “your way” or “my way” in the car to avoid this embarrassing lack of knowledge.

4.) Whenever i walk, i cross two of the fingers on my right hand. This is a totally unconscious habit. When i notice that i am doing it, i uncross my fingers, but it feels weird.

5.) I live in the heart of latte land, yet i don’t drink coffee. I often get a shocked reaction, “YOU DON’T DRINK COFFEE?” accompanied by a look of complete incomprehension. I love the way coffee smells, and i love coffee ice cream or candy, but to me coffee tastes nasty.

6.) I have many freckles. I grew up in the era when sunscreen was either zinc oxide, or non-existent. We used to lie in the sun with baby oil smeared all over our pale bodies. I think baby oil is SPF minus 5. My mother used to try and convince me that my spots were angel kisses. It didn’t work, but i like them now.

7.) I can’t sleep with any part of my body hanging over the side of the bed. I think about those stupid ghost stories from slumber parties and i can almost feel a deranged man licking my fingers or toes.

8.) I am a dreadful typist. I use one finger on my left hand, and three on my right hand. This is because i don’t have independent movement of the fingers on my left hand due to a tragic childhood accident involving a fishbowl and a laundry sink, followed by five hours of surgery, two weeks in the hospital and six months of physical therapy. The only upside is that due to the surgery my lifeline on my left hand goes halfway to my elbow. I’m going to be one old bat.

The Mister and Em both type fast enough to ignite the keyboard. They cannot bear to watch my labored pecking. “Let me do that,” Em says, and then grabs the keyboard away from me. I make lots of typos. Forgive me.

9.) I can’t count.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

In which i am wrong, II

Reading the comments to yesterday’s post started me thinking. (ALERT THE MEDIA!) You all make such valuable and thoughtful comments. And i am thinking that one of the reasons that we all listen so carefully to each another is because we can’t see each other and make judgments based on what we see. What do you think?

One blogger that i read regularly and admire posted a picture recently. She is really quite beautiful. I was taken aback. She is not someone that i would normally feel comfortable talking with because, why would she want to talk to me? Assumption: She is pretty and young; therefore she has lots of friends. She won’t be interested in anything i have to offer. And i am wrong. I know this because of her blog. She's sometimes lonely and struggling with the same issues that i have or do struggle with. And i have things to learn from people too. People who don’t necessarily look like “people that i would talk with.”

One of you (sorry, i can’t remember who) recently talked about camaraderie in the women’s locker room. I think there are some similarities between that situation and the internet. There are fewer of the trappings (clothes, makeup, jewelry) that allow us to make snap judgments about each other.

And once we get to know each other, without the extraneous noise, we find that we have lots in common and actually like one another. After that the other stuff isn’t so important. Kind of like falling in love with a pen pal.

I wonder how many people i don’t talk to around here because of stupid assumptions on my part. Need to think about that i do. (Yoda speak.)

I assign myself the homework of talking to someone this week with whom i normally would not talk. (My inner introvert is going “Oh, shit!”)

I’ll report back.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I am beautiful

The Mister and i watched Ladies in Lavender the other night. The movie was pretty good, as in it held our (notoriously short) attention. It had Maggie Smith and Judi Dench in it, so the acting was spectacular.

As i was watching these two ladies, i was thinking about how beautiful they are. Not the young and dewy beauty of the young and dewy beautiful, but an interesting lined beauty that sparks with their individual personalities. It felt good to see their beauty as i watch my own face soften and grow lined. If i can see their beauty, surely i can see my own.

The face i see in the mirror is changing into that of my mother, with some differences of course, but we do look much alike. Although it’s hard for me to see, my mother is a nice looking woman. (And i will not add “for her age”, even though i did.) Why then, do i have to fight the feeling of horror when i catch a glimpse of myself?

Part of it has to do with not wanting to believe that i am like my mother in any way, even this superficial one, the other part is the fear of old age, illness and death.

But i want to die knowing that i am beautiful, and so i shall.


Re: The election last night. Whew! I am glad that it's over and that it is safe to watch TV and go to my mailbox again. And yes, i voted.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

How they do it, Part II

(This picture has nothing to do with anything. I just liked the colors.)

How do the Mister and i keep the love alive after all the many many many looooong years? Or, more realistically, how do we keep from killing each other. Here’s a tip.

The Mister has a car problem. He likes to buy them and then drive them around in circles really really fast. This costs money, sometimes lots of money. That used to piss me off.

Now, at the suggestion of a couple’s therapist that we used to see, we each have our own mad money account. We started with $500 each. The spending of this money is with full disclosure and no comment from the other spouse. At the end of 6 months, we reimburse the same amount to each account, in order to bring the account with the least money back up to $500.

He always has $0 left, and i usually haven’t spent any.

The end result of this is that i have an account with lots of money in it. (I am a saver, so this makes me happy.) And the Mister has……um…..lots of good memories.

Now when he wants to spend some money on his little problem, i say “That’s great honey, i’ll transfer some money into our accounts.”

No more pissed-offedness.

We paid someone $130 an hour for this advice, which i am dispensing to you for free. That’s what friends are for.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The old man is snoring

Today it's raining rains when it rains really really hard. I took this out my window because no way am i going out there.


Last Sunday morning i went to pick Em up after she had spent the night with a friend. I was in a hurry, so before i left the house, i toasted my bagel and slapped some cream cheese and jam on it and ran out the door with my breakfast in my hand.

I met the other mom at a local store that was half way between our two houses. This mom is always really put together. She has waist length curly black hair that probably takes her at least 45 minutes to style every morning, and lots of expertly applied make up. Her clothes aren’t just the jeans and sweaters that i wear. Hers are all those beautiful things that either must be hand washed or dry cleaned. (If i buy clothes like this, i wear them once, and then they sit in the pile to be hand washed or dry cleaned for the next 9 months. So i don’t buy them anymore.)

When i arrived at the store i spent a few minutes chatting politely with Mrs. PutTogether. After i hopped back in the car, i glanced into the visor mirror, and yes, there it was. A booger sized blob of blackberry jam on my chin. Em wondered if i had gone crazy when i started laughing. When she saw my chin, we both had a good giggle.

But i think it was kind of mean of her not to say anything. You would have told me wouldn't you? After you finished laughing at me i mean.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Two things i maybe should have taught my daughter

1.) To clean her room. When i was growing up, my mother would send me to my room and tell me not to come out until it was clean. Hence i spent many hours filled with bitter resentment locked in my room. (Time that i could have spent cleaning, but the enormity of the task facing me felt too overwhelming, plus it was more fun to pout than to clean.) I swore that i would never force any child of mine to clean her room. And i pretty much haven’t. I just tell her to keep the door shut and bring down the dirty dishes once a week or so. But how she can live like that is beyond me.

Last week a plumber came to our house to fix something in Em’s shower that was leaking. I warned him that the room would be hideous before we went upstairs. When he saw the mess he said “How many girls live in here?”

2.) Table manners. The fight over table manner when i was a child made meals a battleground. There were constant criticisms. “Get your elbows off the table. Sit up straight. Don’t butter your bread in the air." (wtf?) "Chew with your mouth closed. Put your knife down before you take a bite.” Plus the occasional jab in the back with a fork if we were caught slouching. The end result is that i know how to have nice table manners if needed, but that meals were not relaxing or enjoyable. Family time my ass! So i chose the easy way out and didn't make a big deal out of it.

As a result, Em sometimes eats as if she were raised by wolves. (Yes, i realize what that says about me, Arooooo.) I worry that she will be criticized for it. I try and correct her now, but my manners are ingrained, for her they take an act of will to remember. Plus you all know how much fun it is to correct a teenager.

Are table manners out of fashion? Am i just a fussy old crank? (The second question is rhetorical, i already know the answer to that one.)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The results are in....

First off, thank you to all who guessed. I had a great time reading your comments. I was tempted to leave this up for another day, but that would be pandering. Not that i'm above pandering.

The Numbers:
9.5 people guessed #1 (the half person is Sanjay, who couldn't make up his mind.)
3 people guessed #2
5 people guessed #3
5 people guessed #4
6.5 people guessed #5

Turns out you people are pretty smart. #1 is the lie. Although my best friend did swallow a straight pin and had surgery and spent a week in the hospital. It was an accident, and i had nothing to do with it. I think she was sewing and was holding a pin in her mouth, and something happened, and oopsie.

#2 is totally true. I named her Mavis Cannister and she was half black, a quarter native american and a quarter hispanic. The first line of one of the poems i wrote went "I fly high below the earth." I reported that she had been hit by a garbage truck when she was 26. My teacher's comment, after i read "her" poems to the class was, "Too bad she died before she had a chance to express herself."

#3 happened when i was 15 and was spending the summer with another family. They had let about 6 of us out with a car. It was beyond stupid and gloriously fun.

#4 read all about it
here . I wrote about it, but that was before anyone read my blog.

#5 is true. I was angry, but scared and broke. So i walked to a shitty little pawn shop in Lake City and watched the guy do a test on the ring to see if it was really gold. We had paid a little less than $200 for the two rings 11 years ago. I probably got ripped off. But i was so depressed that i didn' t really care. It also had the Mister's name and our wedding date engraved on the inside, so it wasn't really fit for resale.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Lying liar

Everything i say is a lie. (Picture exploding computers from old Star Trek episodes.)

I was tagged for this meme by Cat from Princess in Galoshes.

I've made a list of 5 things I've done in my life, one of which is a lie. You get to guess which one is the lie. Please leave your guesses in the comments. I will reveal the truth in a day or so.

1.) I convinced my best friend in the 5th grade to swallow a straight pin. She had to have emergency surgery to remove it, and spent a week in the hospital.

2.) When asked to report on an obscure ethnic poet in the 11th grade, i made up the poet, her life story, and the poems. I got an “A”.
3.) I broke into the pool of a Rotary Club in San Francisco in the middle of the night and went skinny dipping.

4.) I put a whole dead fish underneath the back seat of my brother’s car because i was so angry with him. He had to sell the car.
5.) I sold my first wedding ring to a pawn shop for $11. I told everyone that i had thrown it into a lake.

I am tagging Marsha at Family Adventures and De over at Sober Briquette.

Update: Thanks so much to those of you who sent good thoughts. My friend's father's surgery went well. He should be home in a few days.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Tender spot

A fellow blogger, of whom i am quite fond, had a baby a few days ago. Isn’t that the most exciting thing ever? Go and read all about it and tell her and her sweetie congratulations for her beautiful baby girl.

It reminded me of a visit by my OB-GYN to my hospital room about 18 hours after i had given birth to Em.

My holy temple of womanhood had been violated in OH SO MANY ways. I was stitched and stretched and if i had been brave enough to look i think i would have resembled raw meatloaf down there. Putting ice on my privates is something i normally avoid, but in this case, ice was my friend.

So i was sitting in my hospital bed, attempting to figure out how to hold this baby whilst she ate, with an ice pack on my nethers and diapers on both me and the baby. (Luckily for me, Em took one gander at my breasts and they were her friends. She knew exactly what to do, which just left me to figure out what to do with her body while it was attached to mine.)

My Dr. comes into the room and says something like “I need to talk to you about birth control.”

And i replied, in all seriousness, that it “was not a problem as nothing, NOTHING, was ever going to touch that part of my body again. Trust me, it’s a non-issue.”

She laughed like i was kidding, and said “In the unlikely event that you do ever have sex again, remember that breast feeding is not effective birth control.”

“Whatever,” i said.

I think maybe it was the wrong time to bring it up.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Love Needs a Heart

A friend of mine’s father is going to be having a triple bypass operation tomorrow. My dad had a quintuple bypass about 4 years ago, and so i told her about it.

I offered, as a favor to my father, to sit with my mother at the hospital while he was in surgery. My mother talks lots already, and even more when she is nervous, so i fully expected my ears to be bleeding by the end of the day. But i knew that this is what i could do to help my dad, and i was happy to be able to do it.

I got to the hospital as they were prepping my dad. I got a chance to hug him and talk with the doctor a bit. It was sad to see my father looking so small in that white and blue ass-flapping gown, with tubes going hither and yon to places that i didn’t really want to think about on my father.

One of my dad’s tennis buddies showed up while we were waiting for the operation to end. He has had this procedure himself, and he wanted to make sure that we understood and were prepared for what dad would look like in the recovery room. I cannot even tell you what a comfort it was to have him be there and give us an example of what the end result could be.

Eventually we were called into the recovery room. I can tell you honestly that i was prepared for what i would see, but i was not prepared for how it would feel. I’m not sure there is a way to prepare for that.

They make a point of waking up the patient after surgery. My dad was awake, but barely. He said, “Did you get the name?”

Mom and i are all “Oh shit, he’s had a stroke” (which is one of the dangers of this operation). Dad continues. “The truck that hit me.” That’s when i knew that he was trying to be funny, and that my dad was still in there, somewhere. He went back to sleep but i was smiling.

The nurse had told us to talk to him even if he was asleep, that it seems to help patients to hear familiar voices. My mom turned to me in a panic “What should i say to him?”
“Tell him the surgery went well. Tell him he looks good. Tell him that he’s going to be okay. Tell him that you love him and that you’ll be back to see him soon,” for fuck’s sake. I would chalk this up to being nervous, but that’s typical of my mom.

My father has done well, and continues to do very well. Good luck to your dad too my friend.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Old news, sweet news

I was reminded of this story by an e-mail that one of you sent me.

I have a thing about honor. I will not tell secrets. I’m not saying that i don’t gossip. I’m not a saint. But if you tell me something in confidence, wild horses couldn’t drag it from me. Even if i come to hate you later. It just isn't right.

Here’s a story. Many, many, many years ago, i worked as a teller in a bank that was kind of out in the boonies. I had lived in Seattle much of my life, so some of the things out there seemed kind of hick to me. Like the one woman at the bank who always talked about her concealed weapons permit.

One day an extremely cute young man, Sam, came to work in the branch as the assistant manager. He was from Seattle too. We were conversing in the break room one day soon after his arrival. It turned out that we knew some of the same people. He told me that he was an acquaintance of the brother of a woman i knew. This brother is a flaming fag, the kind who only under duress deigns to associate with straight people because there is no chance that he will get fucked. He is an asshole.

So i knew right away that Sam was gay. (This is almost 25 years ago, and thank god things have changed since then, a bit.) Which was fine with me. I have a reverse prejudice about gay people. I tend to think they are better and nicer than straight people. It’s as logically valid as any prejudice.

There was an uncomfortable silence in the room after Sam told me he was a friend of Mike’s. Had i been older than i was, i would have just said, “Oh, you must be gay.” I knew that to tell the folks who worked with me at the bank would have made Sam’s life difficult. They would not have accepted him.

But i never said anything. I feel badly that Sam sweated bullets, waiting for me to tell. Waiting for us all to snicker at him. But these people all got to know Sam as a person before they figured it out. By then they liked him and so it was okay.

We talked about it a few years later, and he could not believe that i had never said anything, just for the entertainment value of being the center of attention for a few minutes.

Confession: Sam was one of my crushes. And i knew he was gay. But i happen to know that he loved me too. The night before i moved halfway across the country with the Mister he kissed my neck and told me so.

Epilogue: Within the past 6 months, i ran into Sam, and his long time partner Thomas. They were still together, and the Mister and i were still together too after 25 year. Amazing. And he was still cute as hell.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The wee hours

I am not a morning person. I do not spring out of bed with a song in my heart and a smile on my face. Back when i had my choice in the matter, i would stay up until 2 or 3 in the morning, and sleep in until 10 or 11. That's my natural rhythm.

I loved the middle of the night. It was quiet and it was my own time, and there was no one in the house with whom i had to share it. When i lived with my parents, it was the time that i could quietly read, listen to odd radio shows and sneak food from the kitchen. In college, i would walk by myself (stupid, i know now) to the all night store and buy soup or a rice krispie treat. If i passed anyone, we would eye each other, but there was no need or desire for any greetings.

Last night, about 2 in the morning, i heard Em's door open, the sound of her radio playing softly, and then her feet coming down the stairs, followed by some rustling around in the kitchen. This morning the leftover pizza that i made for dinner last night is gone.

I think she too is enjoying the peaceful solitude.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Friday sigh

I just called the Mister at work and said, "it's sad when a woman has to drink by herself." It's about 5:30 on this Friday evening and it's time for him to come home. He works many long hours.

There is something about Friday night that is unlike any other. Even on Saturday, the bittersweet breath of Sunday, which comes before Monday, can be felt on the back of my neck. But on Friday, it can all be done tomorrow, or later, or never. The weekend of time stretches out to infinity, on Friday night.

And this is an especially nice Friday night as we have nowhere to go, nothing to do, and no reason to get up in the morning. Bliss. I am making a beef stew, cutting up the vegetables between reading blogs and adding them at the appropriate time so they don't over cook. The house smells like garlic and chicken stock. Three cats are sleeping nearby, alert for any sign of activity that indicates that food might be imminent. The last light of this cool October night is reflecting off the lake and into the house.

Ah, the garage door is opening. Time to open the wine.

I wish you all newspapers and the hot drink of your choice in bed tomorrow morning.