Sunday, July 30, 2006

Something is fishy

The summer after my second year of college i was living at my parent's and so was my brother, Tim. Even though he had graduated, he was having a tough time with his plans for world domination through real estate sales and had returned home to save money. My parents were gone most of that summer, so it was just the two of us. I don't remember what we would fight about, but it was always something. I couldn't have my boyfriend over, but he could have his girlfriend(s) spend the night. I couldn't play music or have friends over. His friends could show up at the house even if he wasn't there. He used to even hit me, and he was fuckin' 22 years old. Nothing i could do about it as he had me by 50 pounds and 8 inches. I have never felt that much rage towards anyone. I fucking HATED him.

I ached for REVENGE. I needed revenge. I spent inordinate amouts of time thinking up creative and bloody scenarios. I didn't really want to do something that would cause an injury. (Well, maybe a small injury, but nothing permanent.) So i finally settled on this:

I went to the grocery store and bought a whole trout. Yeah, a dead fish. A friend and i drove over to my parent's house in the middle of the night. (I was back at the dorms by then.) I knew he never locked his car, so i took the fish, lifted up the back seat, and stuffed it underneath. Then we high-tailed it out of there.

About a week later, i was at my parent's house visiting, and i see Tim heading out to the car with buckets and towels.

"Someone put a dead fish in Tim's car," my mother tells me. She had a look on her face like she knew who had done it, but i was not confessing to anything. Tim would have hurt me. He eventually had to sell the car, in the winter while it was cold. HA HA HA.

That was so childish, but hey, i WAS only 20. My oldest brother loves this story. I still don't know if Tim knows. I wonder if he would still hurt me.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Rat Breath

I am typing this with a cat in my lap. A cat who brought me a dead rodent this morning. Nothing says i love you like a dead rat, that's for sure.

The lion sleeps now, but woe unto any rodent, bunny, bird or snake that crosses his path tonight.

Last summer he brought me a very small bunny that was still quite lively, despite missing a large patch of hair off it's tiny fuzzy butt. I threw the cat into the bathroom and cornered the bunny with a dish towel. I called Em down to look at this, the cutest of all potential kills. She took one look and squealed, "Oh his name is Timothy. Can we keep him?"

But no, i took Timothy outside and left him in peace under a bush. And kept Mr. Murderer in the house until Timothy could recover and hop off.

This morning the offering was not so cute and quite dead. I can't really feel too badly about a dead mole. Maybe i can rent Darth Kitty out for mole removal service. Time to make him earn his keep. I can hardly keep him in catnip.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Tattoo you

Em is 15, and her best friend just turned 18. To celebrate, the friend got her belly button pierced and is going to be getting a tattoo this Saturday. I will be driving Em over so she can hold friend's hand during the inking. Friend's mother is not happy. Em hasn't tried to talk friend out of it, but she thinks she may be making a mistake. My daughter is so damn practical.

I am not anti-tattoo. I have a tattoo. I might even post a picture of it someday. But i got my tattoo when i was 44, and Em was 12. I hid it from her for a while, but eventually she saw it. (It's on my lower right belly.) She was kind of intrigued so i told her that when she is 30, she can do whatever she wants, but that much before that she should be very very careful, as a tattoo is forever (pretty much). I asked her what she would have gotten as a tattoo if i had let her get one at 10. She thought about it for a minute and answered with a sheepish look that she would have gotten Pikachu. (Pokemon!) That really made the point about how tastes change throughout life.

I used to work i a department with about 17 other people, and of the 9 of us who had tattoos, 7 had some regrets about it, the design, or the placement, or getting one at all.

Do you have any regrets?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Fee fi fo fum, i smell a baby

Last night a friend and i went to see Dar Williams and Shawn Colvin at the Woodland Park Zoo. No, they weren't an exhibit. Every summer the zoo has a series of wonderful low key concerts. We all sit on blankets on a big lawn and eat the picnic food that we legally brought in and drink the wine that we snuck in in poly bottles.

These women can really sing. A secret of mine is that nearly everyday i regret that i can't sing. No false modesty here, i cannot sing. Small children are frightened when i try.

At the concert, there was a group of lesbians sitting in front of us with a couple of very young children. One of them, although he was a boy, looked like Em when she was a baby. Skin so pale it looked like the underside of a fish. Little wisps of pale blonde hair. (Em was basically bald until she was two.) I got this craving to pick up this little boy and smell him. Mmmmm. Baby. But i wasn't sure his parents would understand. I was nostalgic for Em as a baby, which is unusual as i so enjoy her now. I even wanted to come home and smell her, but she spent last night at a friend's house. Won't she be suprised when i go to pick her up and start sniffing her neck?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Tin Grin

Having a 15 year old daughter makes me think back and remember what it was like being 15. Here's something that i had forgotten about and just remembered yesterday.

I wanted to be someone who i was not. I wanted to be cute and little, i wanted to be cool, not clueless. I wanted to be thought of as deep and quiet. I thought that i talked too much and much of what i said was stupid. (Which of course it was, i was deeply socially inept.)

So what was my solution? I wadded up a ball of tin foil and put it in my mouth to remind me to shut up. I actually walked around for three or four days like that. I had to push this tin ball to the side of my mouth to talk. I must have looked and sounded like a complete idiot. After no one noticed the new, deeper me, after four whole days, i abandoned the effort. At least i didn't choke on it.

I shake my head and laugh a bit when i think of this. I hope my problem solving skills have improved over the years. I also need to remember to tell Em this story. She will look at me and say, "Poor mommy, what a wierdo".

Monday, July 24, 2006

Reproducing advice

After i had Em, one of the first things that my mother said to me was, "You can't just have one you know."

"HA! Watch me", i thought.

But this comment was repeated over and over by people who should have just shut up (and who typically had more than one child). "It's not fair to the child to be the only one." "She will grow up to be selfish." "Your family won't be complete with only one baby."

Now i love Em completely and utterly. And i might have had another child. But the timing just didn't work. My husband and i were separated for a almost a year about the time i might have been thinking about reproducing again. And i didn't want to have another baby when we weren't as solid as all that. And getting solid took about 5 years of hard work and wondering if it was all worth it. (A subject for another post.) That was 12 years ago.

Now i am too old, at least mentally, and my husband has been snipped. So it ain't happening. OK?

Representing the other side, i have a friend who sometimes says stupid things. She once told me that she only had one child because she was an only child and she knew that being an only child was best. Normally i let the stupid things pass, but not this one. I turned to her at the next elliptical machine and said, "Do you really believe there is no value in having siblings? And how would you know?"

I have two brothers, and one of them is a friend as well, and the other would always be there for me if i needed him. That's a pretty nice thing.

So, as in all of life, there are advantages and disadvantages to both being an only child and having siblings. I do wonder why do people try so hard to convince us that what they did is the right way.

Object lesson

I woke up Sunday morning and turned on my computer to read the gossip on IMDB and look at blogs, which is what i do in the morning whilst i fondle my cup of tea.

The dreaded "Blue Screen of Death" appeared. At my puzzled "WTF?", my husband, who is the knower of all things geek, got out of bed to see what the problem was.

Dead. Kaput. Catostrophic hard drive failure.

Have i backed anything up? Umm, no i am an idiot, and he never told me to. All my pictures, all my e-mail (i begin to see the advantages of a web based system), all my excel files with the finances of Em's school's parent association, of which i am the treasurer, all my Word files.

Shit shit shit shit.

So i packed up the useless piece of crap this morning and sent it off to a data recovery service to see if they could do anything for me and how much blackmail money they will charge me to do it.

I always think that computers will work. And if they don't, my husband can always fix it. I also still believe in the tooth fairy and that life is fair.

The only good news is that the computer has 72 days left on the warranty. Take THAT Dell!

Oh, and y'all go and back up your stuff, i want to be an object lesson for you.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Nerd girl talks about fashion

When i was between 7th and 8th grade my family moved across the country from Virginia to Seattle. I was 12 at the time and a real pre-adolescent mess. Tall, skinny, questionable fashion sense and personal hygiene skills, self-conscious and with ugly military issue glasses.

It was a culture shock to move to the rowdy place that was my new school from Virginia, where people were (at least i thought so) polite.

In Virginia, there was a dress code and girls weren't allowed to wear pants to school, ever. Which is really fucking stupid in the middle of winter when there's a snowstorm and we are all waiting at the bus stop freezing our girly asses off. Sometimes we would wear pants under our dresses, but we had to take them off before getting on the bus. There was always this very amusing little strip tease as we spotted the bus coming and had to struggle to get the pants off over the shoes before it arrived.

Anyway, my first day of school in Seattle was the first day that the dress code had been abolished. I was amazed at the ripped jeans, short skirts and T-shirts. (I was a pretty prissy little thing back then.) Also someone grabbed my non-existent tit in the crowded hallway. It was terrifying.

After school that day, my mother came to pick me up and take me clothes shopping. I found this absolutely lovely pair of slightly too short pants with a fetching pattern of green and purple flowers on a light yellow background. Yum. I was cool.

I wore them the next day and some girl came up to me and said: "Those sure are some high-water pants."

My reply: "I don't know what brand they are."

I get a laugh out of this now, after i finish cringing.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

In a mood today

Before i retired, now about a year and a half ago, i worried about what i would do with myself. I liked working, and i liked being around people. As an intovert, i tend to isolate myself. I worried that i would go through a time of depression before i got this new life sorted out.

I think i am a bit strange, not like most other women, and it's difficult to find people to realte to. It seems that the experience of feeling separate isn't uncommon, but where are you all?

I swear too much. I am an athiest, so religion is out as a community. I don't care very much about fashion and my nails and that kind of thing. I don't like to shop very much, nothing ever fits me anyway, since i am so tall. I am easily bored. I like and need to spend time alone, but not all of the time. I am keenly aware of the absurdity of many things in life, and i like to point them out. This is not always appreciated. I am annoyingly punctual, and i think other people should be as considerate of me.

When i lived in Colorado for a while, i hung out with a group of women with whom i really didn't have much in common. They all liked to talk about interior design and children. When i became pregnant, they all insisted that i had to pick a theme for the baby's room and decorate it. I tried to act interested, because i was lonely, but i really didn't care, and i didn't think the baby would either.

I went to princess house crystal parties and other you-can-be-my-friend, now-let-me-sell-you-something events. Ugh. I squealed about the clothes at baby showers. But i was pretending. Do you ever find yourself looking around to see how other people are acting to see what you should be doing?

So, upon retiring, i never did get depressed. I found some things to do, some volunteering that gives me the office environment that i like for a few hours a week. I play squash and go to biking classes and have lunch with friends. (I've become a lady who lunches!) During the school year I spend time driving Em back and forth to school. I felt really pretty good about my life. I have no need to accomplish anything spectacular. I am happy having a happy child and keeping busy.

But lately, i am finding myself feeling lonely and bored. My husband is working long hours and even when he is home he is on the computer, working. I guess i want someone to talk too, that i don't have to pay $150.00 an hour to listen. (Not that i haven't been there, done that.)

Guess it's time to do something to fix this huh?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Now i'm a graphic designer!

I am walking this year with my daugher, my niece and a friend in the Breast Cancer 3-Day fundraising walk. We will be walking for three days in a row, 20 miles a day. I did this three years ago, right after my mother was diagnosed (she's fine, minus a boob and a half, but fine) and swore i would never do it again, but then my kid wanted to walk, and so here i am. We have really been having fun doing the training walks together and my daughter (I think i'll call her Em going forward. "My daughter" is too hard for me to type repeatedly.) tells me all kinds of things that i might not normally hear.

The most fun part for me is designing a T-shirt. Here is the front:

For anyone who wants to know what i look like, I am the tall purple one.

And here is the back:

Walking Down Mammary Lane is our team name. That was my idea. Those pink things on the ms are supposed to be nipples. Hey, i was working with Word using Draw. It's the best i could do.

I am going to print these on the color printer using this cool iron-on paper and put them on light purple tank tops for the whole team.

The whole event is really pretty fun. Lots of boob jokes and silly hats. Our walk is at the end of August.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


I was at the gym this morning, in the locker room. It's a big place and i often overhear other women's conversations. Today i heard one woman talking about her latest yeast infection. Well, okay, that happens. Then i hear this:

"Oh my god, the stuff coming out is like cottage cheese."

DEAR GOD WOMAN, i didn't need to know that. THERE ARE OTHER PEOPLE IN HERE. Ewwww. Overshare.

To date, this is the grossest thing i have heard/seen in the locker room. This beats the saggy tits lady who stands naked in the mirror room doing her hair for 20 minutes. I mean, saggy tits are a fact of life, but i don't need to have them in full view, reflected in 7 mirrors.

Monday, July 17, 2006

My World View

I am not religious. Or to put it more bluntly, i am an athiest. I don't believe in any supreme being guiding my life. Sometimes i wish i did, because some things would be easier, but i just don't. Religion makes no sense to me.

Having said that, i don't usually feel any animosity towards religious people, just for being religious. I think of religion as being similar to art, i believe that it stems from the deep well of creativity and the need to know and be known that humans possess.

I don't often volunteer information about my non-religious state. I resent that many people equate atheism with immorality. I had someone ask me once why i would bother to behave morally if there was no reason for it (their words). No reason beyond basic human decency. In truth, i have a pretty rigid moral code.

Why this came up today is that i have one friend (and i use the term friend in a casual sense) who always tries to engage me in religious argument. She did it today and i finally said "
Is there ANYTHING that i could say to you that would cause you to give up your religion?"

Somewhat horrified, "No, of course not."

"Well, there's nothing you can say to be to convince me the other way either, so please stop trying."

Sigh. Now she is angry and hurt.

Julia Sweeney came to town recently and did a show with Ira Glass (I am an NPR junkie). It detailed her journey from Catholicism to atheism. It was so much more intelligent and scholarly that i would ever be able to come up with. If you ever get the chance, you should check it out. Also highly recommend her movie "God said HA!". You can Netflix it.

Before i go, i do want to say that yes, i do believe in spirituality, however you would like to manifest it. Yoga, meditation, exercise, family, etc.....

Sunday, July 16, 2006

And she shall have music wherever she goes

Yesterday i went to something called MedFest over in Seattle. It's like a street fair except it's dedicated to belly dancing. I had a friend who was in her first performace ever, so i went to provide moral support. She did well, and it was more fun than i expected.

It's fun to see women with normal bodies dancing:

And standing around chatting:

There were lots of booths that were selling belly dancing attire and bling. I didn't by the jeweled bra, but i did get this. It has little bells on it.

I met two friends there, gay men who are a couple. They had to leave soon after the performance because they were overcome by the estrogen fumes. One of them called it MensesFest. Cowards.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

True Beauty for the Detail Oriented

Look at my shelves! My God, aren’t they fabulous? I got tired of those little moths flying out of my cupboards every time I opened the door, and of finding their maggots in my rice. One time I missed one and found a maggot floating in my soup. Lost my appetite (a VERY RARE event). They especially like cornmeal and wheat flour. No more you little fuckers!

I went to one of those storage stores. The kind of store that makes me go into convulsions of happiness thinking about how much better my life would be if only everything I owned was nestled inside the perfect container. I behave this way at office supply stores too. Heaven!

I spent at least $200 on these cool airtight watertight impregnable food fortresses. Everything edible is now safely locked away from the voracious wildlife. I feel an unbelievable sense of completeness as a woman. Yes. It’s pathetic, but let me bask in the warm glow of organization for a little while.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Love is not silent.

Here's a story that will tell you something about my family of origin:

One day, when my daughter was 5, she was sitting up on the kitchen counter next to me while i was doing somesuch or other. She turns to me and says "Mommy, when i get older will you stop telling me you love me?"

Me (wondering where the hell that question came from): "No honey, I'll never stop telling you that i love you. "

Her: "How come Grams and Bo don't tell you they love you?" (These are my parents, her grandparents.)

Me (realizing that we had just come from visiting them, and that this child is observing EVERYTHING): "They never did honey."

Her: "That's sad."

I still feel sad (i think for me) when i think about that conversation. And i tell my daughter i love her at least once a day.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


I admit it, I am a fool for my cats. But really, aren't those the cutest toes ever?

Monumental Disrespect

Just got back from Washington DC. I spent five days there with husband while daughter stayed with her girlfriend. And i do mean girlfriend. Since they are 15 and 16 years old, at this point it means holding hands. She has a group of friends from the internet, a bunch of literary geeky girls, all of whom proudly think they are bisexual. I think it's kind of in right now to be bisexual. It remains to be seen what their eventual discoveries will be. I just tell my daughter not to label herself, because at 15, she really doesn't know what she is. And believe it or not, she actually listened to me.

These two had never met in person before this trip. So GF(girlfriend) met us at our hotel the first day, where her mother had dropped her off a while before we got there. Then we took them back up to GF's house to make sure her parents weren't 25 year old guys with lots of photographic equipment for making "home movies". It all seemed okay, so after chatting with them a bit, we left daughter there.

I may have more to say on this later, but to all you parents of young children, you'll be dealing with situations you NEVER expected.

Back to DC. You can't swing a dead cat in that town without hitting a monument. It was starting to feel a bit absurd to me when i saw a monument to a guy who built one of the monuments. That took it over the top. We love our monuments. Spent tons of time just walking around. That's my favorite way to see a town.

Took the metro in from up north a bit and ate some great Italian food. We timed it well on the day the World Cup was played by eating lunch at a French place and then dinner at Italian. I always judge the success of a vacation by the quality of the food i ate. I love to eat.

Oh, and only one person asked me how tall i was while i was there. It was a slow week!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Venus and Mars are alright tonight.

When my daughter reached puberty, a polite euphemism for menstruation, we had a ceremony. I am not religious, so no bat mitvahs or communions for us. But I thought it would be fun and memorable to mark the occasion in some way.

So, along with her cousin, who reached puberty about the same time, and my sister-in-law (cousin’s mother) we created a ceremony. We went out to dinner and ate ravioli w/red sauce. Red wine was consumed by the adults. We came home and made a fire on the beach and drank cranberry juice. Sister-in-law gave the two girls blood stone bracelets. Part of an essay by Gloria Steinem was read. “If men menstruated, pads and tampons would be covered by insurance.” Much giggling and silliness ensued.

Mars, the red planet, was very bright that night. Bright enough to leave a reddish path (how appropriate) of light across the water so the two girls went skinny dipping by planetlight.

Sometimes it's hard to connect with teenage girls (Hot News Flash that). But the girls, who had been a reluctant at first (several eye rolls worth) and the moms all had a blast.

The two of them will always remember that night. Maybe they will even continue with their daughters someday. I hope so. It was a special event.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Queen of Indirect

My dad is going to be 80 in September. So about 6 months ago (my mom has the hyperactive planning gene that she passed on to me) my mom asked if she could have a party for my dad at our house, as it is bigger than hers. Absolutely, i said. That would be fine, i said. Happy to help, i said.

So, 4 months go by and nothing else has been said. MY hyperactive planning gene is beginning to awaken. So i call my mom and ask her some questions. Like "Are you going to have it catered? What time of day," etc.....

Her answer: "Oh, whatever you want."

So it looks like the original question she asked in her mind was "I want you to have a party for your dad on his birthday, Okay?"

I should have known. This is a classic example of my mom's indirectness.

Went to lunch with my oldest brother soon after this and had a good laugh. He offered to help me do the planning and the party. I love my brother.