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.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Roller Coaster, i want off.

Somebody told me a story this morning, a very personal, painful and in some ways a beautiful story. It was a story about out-of-control emotions that had a devastating effect on judgment and had consequences for several lives. It is not my story to tell. But it reminded me of a question that i used to ask myself.

It is a question that only a person who thinks that there should be a logical answer to everything would ask. (Think geek.) I gave up on answering because i sure don't know.

I want to know what evolutionary purpose the presence of strong emotions serves. I just don't understand why we have to be so damn complicated. What possible reason could there be? Maybe it's just a byproduct of the complexity of our brains.

Someone might answer that without the lowest lows, we couldn't have the highest highs. For myself, i would trade the highest highs for life without the lowest lows. And i have a wonderful life and no reason to ever be unhappy. I also believe that many of the horrors of the world, caused by religious righteousness, jealousy and ego, would not have happened without our emotions screwing us up.

Being an atheist, i can't accept a religious explanation either, about free will.

Are we (let me personalize this by talking about myself) Am i just a whiney ass bitch? (That was a rhetorical question, so don't answer.) What about the rest of you? Are you just a bunch of whiney ass complainers too?

Well, just cut it out! As we say in our house, and as more evidence of my Monthy Python geekery, "I sentence you to hang by the neck until you cheer up."

Now i'm thinking about all the science fiction movies i've seen where the populace was drugged or propagandized somehow into sheeplike behavior. I know these are fiction but they are serving as an object lesson about the gloriousness of our good and evil natures. But really would it be so bad if some of our more out-of-control emotions were lesser?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Three things that i'm NOT sorry about.

1.) I've decided that this blog is to become an Apology Free Zone. I will never again apologize for being boring. I don't like it when other bloggers apologize for it. It engenders a rash of, "oh no you're not" comments. We vote with our time. When i become interested in someone's life, the minutia of it are not boring to me. So i won't apologize and i hope you won't either.

2.) I was intrigued by the reactions to my last post, about crushes. I don't recall reading much about this elsewhere, but everyone knew what i meant. I am always suspicious of people who say that they have never been attracted to anyone else after they were in a committed relationship. It's like those couples who say they never fight. They are either dead or liars. Either way i am not interested. It's that idealized view of LOVE that causes so much disappointment and searching. I'm not saying that anyone will do. God no. I couldn't bear to be with someone who was humorless or mean or.....many things. But maybe more understanding of just how our hearts work would be helpful.

3.) Got my car back last night. The left rear door (point of impact) won't lock. You'd think after 2.5 months that they could have gotten it right. Back to the shop. Also, the Mister went to court this morning about the accident. It looks like the guy wasn't trying to get out of the ticket, he was just looking for something called "mitigation" wherein the ticket gets deferred and then dropped if it was his first one and he doesn't get another within a year. He did get insurance 3 days after the accident. I wonder if his new insurance company knows about this. Just curious, it's not really any of my business.

Monday, October 23, 2006


I’ve been married for almost 25 years, and together for 2.5 years longer than that. When i was first married i was so young. I was younger than you might think although i was 24. I am a late bloomer. I really think that is a good thing. But i got married so young for me.

And it has not always been easy. (There’s a surprise.) But what i am thinking about today is the crushes i had after i was married, and what i do about them. Because that part of me, the part which idealizes people, did not die when i got married. Oh no, it did not. I have had maybe 5 or 6 serious crushes since i have been married.

When i was a young married, i wondered if these crushes signified the end of the marriage. How could i be so attracted to someone and still love the man i married? It was not possible. I dreamed of my crush, and woke up with my downy nether regions damp and needy. Sometimes i was moody and unpleasant while i held this secret close to me.

An aside: my moral compass did not allow me free reign even in my dreams. I would always stop before consummation. I am married. That is not right. I resented that my goddamned morality would not allow me to sleep with other men even in my dreams.

I yearned. I ached. I looked for signs about how the crush felt about me. Sometimes the feeling was returned. But i never was unfaithful. That is something that i would not do.

As i grew older, i learned to deal better with these crushes. I kept them to myself. I enjoyed the hell out of them. That feeling of aliveness. I grew to understand that these feelings did not signify the end of the marriage world. I used that feeling when i made love to my husband. And as i grew, i never felt guilty about doing that, as i had when i was younger. I grew to understand that these feelings are the flush of heat of first love, not the love that i really wanted. Not the mature love that (i believe) only comes with the true understanding that the man i married is as wonderful, as base, as stupid, as giving, as selfish and as generous as i am. My crushes were as i wished they were, although i knew that was not the truth. (I knew that the truth about the crush person would reveal itself eventually, and it always did.)

But i always keep these feelings to myself. I do not want to know who my husband might think about when we make love. I do not want him to know about who i might be thinking of when i make love to him. It’s all make believe. And that’s okay with me.

I wonder how many marriages have broken up because of crushes. Tearing a marriage asunder, only to realize that this person, this perfect person, is just another human being. So do we learn from this experience, or do we move on to another soul mate? I'll bet we all know some of these "serial monogamists".

It’s been awhile since i had a crush. I think it’s because i don’t work any more. There are no men in my life, except my husband. Who knows where that will lead. I kind of miss it.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Really squashed

There have been technical problems at the house of Meno. Yesterday the internet and the phone were both out. So this family of geeks took their laptops up to the little local mall, where there is free wireless, and then blogger was out. Plus, AIM didn't work up there either. A tragedy of the highest magnitude for those of us under 16.

After much sadness and real actual tears on the part of Em about the unfairness of it all, the discovery was made that someone (!) had unplugged a cable to try and connect it to her laptop, and had plugged that cable back into the phone jack instead of the internet jack, thus disabling both. Angry words were exchanged (Em and the Mister). Scowling participants retreated to their respective sides of the house to pout.

Yes, the fun never stops.

The squash tournament wasn't very fun. See! I was right! I should never try anything new. The first person i played was a humorless woman who told me that there should be no talking on the court. This is a D/beginning level group in an intra club event. Get a grip woman. Smiling should be okay, but no. She beat me 3-1. I could have beaten her if i hadn't been so distracted and annoyed. I played a 13 year old girl the next day. She was very good. She creamed me 3-0. Then i played my regular partner, Juli, and i beat her 3-2. We had fun. And Juli did me the favor of beating the humorless woman. Thank you Juli. For my last match i played an 8 year old. That was uncomfortable. Her dad kept pulling her off the court between games to coach her. That was creepy. She beat me 3-2. Everytime i would get ahead i would start to feel bad because she was a child. I am a sucker.

Every Sunday morning Em and i go and clean cat cages for a local non-kill cat shelter. We just got back from that. The cats are so cute and sad. It breaks my heart to see them in cages. So far we have managed not to bring any of them home to join our 3 cat house, but it has been a near thing.

Boring update, but there you have it. This morning i have HSD (heavy sighing disorder). I feel that weight that is depression sitting heavy on my heart. And there's just no reason for it. I need to get outside in what may be the last sunshine of the year (you never know in the Pacific Northwest).

Thursday, October 19, 2006


I am off to do something out of character today. With the encouragement of one of my playing partners, i have entered a squash tournament at my gym. I have one match tonight, and one tomorrow night, and then two on Saturday.

I don't really enjoy competition. Well, let me be a bit more honest; i don't enjoy overt competition. I prefer to keep it covert. So covert that it's really only present in my own mind. I will not go so far as a man that the Mister and i used to know many years ago who confidently stated: "I am the least competitive person you will ever meet." A statement that wins some sort of prize for complete lack of self-awareness. We often repeat it around our house, followed by "and i'll fight anyone who says it isn't true!"

Of course, this covertness is born out of something i am familiar with, cowardice. But my going anyway is born out of something else that i am familiar with, bravery. Take that bad self image, I'm going to do it ANYWAY.

The truth is, i don't care a whole lot about winning, which i surely won't do, but i don't want to embarrass myself either. But i am willing to risk that. Because you know what? IT MIGHT EVEN BE FUN! And i weary of missing out on things just because i think i might not like it or that i might fail.

So thank you to my squash friend. Unless it's not fun, and then curses to her. (Just kidding, we'll make it fun.)


And now for something completely different (Warning, i am a Monty Python Geek)

This morning, as i was hand washing my bras because the lady at Nordstoms actually GASPED when i told her that i threw them in the washing machine, i left the bathroom to head downstairs for just a few minutes.

Yes, you are correct, i got distracted. Yes, you are correct, i caused a flood. All 4 drawers in the bathroom filled up with water, then it ran down onto the floor and was out in our bedroom soaking the carpet before i wandered back upstairs again.

End result, i have clean and neat bathroom drawers, and every towel in the house is wet.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Half of what you say means nothing, and the other half means something else*

I pick Em up after school everyday about 30 minutes after school lets out, because i want to avoid the daily clusterfuck of cars right as school ends. Em tends to be about 5 minutes late, and i am usually there on time as i am an annoyingly punctual person. I can always tell when she is coming because of the clatter she makes as she runs down the hill towards the car, feet pounding and backpack bouncing. It makes me smile to hear that noise. She then jumps in the car and says "Hi Mommy!" in her cute little voice.

Today she ran down the hill, jumped into the car and burst into tears. Uh oh. "Why does she always have to be so mean?" Em wailed. A few minutes of sobbing and hugs, then she was ready to tell me about it.

Nicole was Em's best friend from the 2nd grade through the 7th. Which is a long time in girl land. But in the past few years, she has become increasingly mean to Em. Em is not as "cool" as Nicole, and that began to be apparent in 6th grade. This coolness matters mightily to Nicole, whereas Em is aware of it, but uninterested and couldn't pull it off if she was.

Nicole is not all that cool either, but she really wannabe. So she is mean. That's why they are no longer best friends, but they still hang out some and are in many of the same classes. Today Nicole, who is a pretty talented volleyball player, made fun of Em on the court for being a klutz. In front of the whole team. Em held it together until she got in the car and then lost it.

We had the conversation about mean people, about how they are mean because they are trying to improve their own standing in the herd, and they feel badly about themselves on the inside. But that conversation, while it is true, was less than satisfying to both Em and myself. Because really i just want to go and slap the bitch.

But violence is not the answer. Right! Right?

*a context free quote from The Thirteen Clocks by James Thurber

Monday, October 16, 2006

Say NaBloPoMo five times fast

I may have agreed to do something foolish, and certainly unnecessary. See that cute button over there on the side bar? The one with Yoda looking crankily over his shoulder at you? I have agreed to write at least one post every day in November. This is a spin off of the successful sit com known as NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). But this one is called NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month).

This is the brain child of Mrs. Kennedy over at Fussy. I copied the code for the button from De's blog (Hi De :)) , because i was pretty sure that she wouldn't mind, and because while i know enough about programming to make some guesses, and huge mistakes, i don't know beans about html, other than what the lettters stand for. (Did you know that Mrs. Kennedy has left comments on my blog twice now? I will never wash those posts again. She was my first, so i kind of have a soft spot for her, and she must also be a pretty nice person to leave comments for blogger wannabes.)

IN LIEU OF DIALING 1-800 I NEED A GEEK: Does anyone know of a good beginning html book? I would like to play with my template more than i already have, and to know what all those weird little angle bracket thingies mean.

Update on my car: My car is cursed. Over 2 months ago, the Mister was hit by a person who ran a stop sign . My car is still in the shop. At first it was to be done at the end of September. But, the man who was the technician had a heart attack, and selfishly needed some time off to recover. Ok, things happen. That moves the date out to Oct 6. Next, my insurance company (who is paying for all this because Mr. Pinhead, the driver of the other car, has NO INSURANCE) halted work on the car for a week because costs were going higher than the original estimate by 4k. Okay, now the end date is Oct 12. I just got a call from the body shop. The company that replaces the airbags broke the windshield whilst they were working on the car. So now it will maybe be ready on the 20th. I'll believe when i see it.

This is ceasing to be amusing (Hi amusing :)).

Update: Look, i managed to make it into a real button! I'm so proud. :)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Code of Honor

Is there a code of honor among parents? In my mind there is. Here's where it started. And after asking Em a few casual questions, i determined that this event of underage drinking and dialing occured at my brother's house, in front of my 16 year old niece.

So, after thinking about it for a couple of days i called my brother. "I have a theoretical question for you" i said. "If your son was drinking at your house, would you want to know about it or would you already know about it?"

Heavy sigh from my brother. "No, i didn't know that, and yes i would want to know."

So i told him. Not about the loathsome phone message, but about the drinking. I am not naive enough to think that 19 year old kids don't or won't drink. (I did.) If my brother had said, "yes, i know, we figure it's better that he does this at home and not while out driving." I would have told him "that's cool, and makes sense." I just didn't want him NOT to know.

Why did i do that? Ultimately i came down to the question "If it was my kid would i want to be told? " And the answer is "yes". But of course, as is often the case in these things, i may have violated Em's trust.

Of course it circled back to me, through Em. I heard this shout from across the house last night, while Em was IMing with the world, including her cousins. "Mommy!! MOMMY. How could you!" So i went over to her side of the house and told why i felt that i had to it. She actually seemed to understand. Shocking. And today she isn't angry with me, which was what i was most worried about.

So to defend myself against the charges that i am leveling against myself: I would not have done this if he hadn't been in my brother's house. (The kid really needs to move out.) I would not have done it if i knew that his parent's already knew that he did this. Blah, blah, blah. I just feel badly, but i still wouldn't want to keep information from my brother and SIL. That's the fact that i keep circling back to.

They were so cute when they were little. Things are more complex now.

Do you have any stories about telling other parents? Or not? And what was your logic.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I can't count to one

I was asked to do this book meme by antonia. And so i shall.


This is really asinine, but it was that first book that Oprah wrote with her trainer guy. I read it when i was looking for some motivation to get off my ass. In it she said that you have to believe that you are worth getting out of bed at 5 am for. That was about 10 years ago, and I’ve been moving ever since. It helps me to stave off depression.

Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner. If you have not read this, please do so now. This is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read.


Is Your Mama a Llama? (Okay, I know that isn’t what this is asking, but I have read that book at least 300 times.)
This is hard because i rarely re-read books. I am trying to think of one I have re-read. Oh, I know! Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Which is truly an excellent book.


Probably the world’s biggest book of NY Times Sunday crossword puzzles. And a mechanical pencil with a big eraser.


Lamb, The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore. Warning: might be offensive to Christians.

Anything by James Thurber always makes me laugh out loud and go find someone to read bits of it to while snorting and guffawing.


The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Ann Fadiman. This is a non-fiction book about the medical cultural clash between two completely different ways of life. Sounds odds, but it is a great book.


How to Forgive and Why Should You, and What Does it Mean if You Do? No issues here. No. Not me.


Where to start? A Million Little Pieces by James Frey. I finished this piece of garbage two days before the shit hit the fan. I could tell he was full of crap even before then. What a self aggrandizing bit of rubbish.

Anything with Chicken Soup in the title.

ONE BOOK YOU ARE CURRENTLY READING (I read a lot of books at once.)

The Highest Tide by Jim Lynch. My mom gave me this book for my birthday, so I am wary of it. So far it’s okay but the plot device of the super precocious geeky 13 yo boy might prove too much for me.

The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins. A science book about evolution. Fascinating, but needs to be digested slowly.

To Darkness and to Death by Julia Spencer-Fleming. This is the fourth in a trashy mystery series that I am really enjoying.

Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire. This is a sequel to Wicked, the Oz story told from the perspective of the wicked witch of the west. Haven't read very far yet, so i don't know if i should recommend it.


The Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel. Another science book, this one is about how relationships create pathways in the brain. The Mister and I went to a seminar given by Siegel a while back. It was us and a bunch of people in the mental health industry. Again, fascinating, but I haven’t managed to read the book yet. The Mister says it’s great, but he loves clinical psychology books so what dos he know?


For Christmas a few years ago the Mister got me the 20 volume version of the Oxford English Dictionary. I use them all the time and they’re beautiful and sometimes I just like to fondle and smell them.


The Thirteen Clocks by James Thurber
For example: (come on, read it out loud)

Hark hark, the dogs do bark,
The duke is fond of kittens.
He likes to take their insides out,
And use their fur for mittens.


Just kidding, I made this one up.

update: Shit, i forgot to tag anyone. I am such a loser. I would tag lazylazyme and Ms. amusing, if tagging isn't too uncool for you all.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Quick, because Project Runway is about to start

Em did tell "a few people" today about her sexual orientation. I didn't get much information about it because one of the rules of parenting is: If you act too interested, they'll clam up immediately. So i just casually asked as she was showing me her rainbow ribbon bracelet in honor of the day. I'll bet her friends just went, "well duh!". So far, a non event.

(But i did find out that her 19 yo cousin, my nephew, and a few of his moronic friends, called Em last night at midnight while drunk and asked her to send videos of her making out with her girlfriend. This pisses me off, as it did Em. But i am to pretend that i don't know this at the request of Em. Little bastard. This will be difficult though, as her GF lives over 2000 miles away. HA!)

The Mister just got a supoena in the mail because the pinhead who ran into him is contesting the two tickets that he got as a result of the accident. (One for failure to stop at a stop sign and the other for driving with no insurance.) The Mister has to testify about the accident. I am dying to know what the hell a person can contest about not having insurance.

Working on a book meme from antonia. I've never been tagged before so this is a big moment for me! Since books are of no small importance to me, i want to do this right. Gotta go now.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I met my friend Kim in group therapy. We really liked each other, but one of the rules of group therapy is no meeting outside the group. This is in order not to form bonds and opinions outside the group. I agree with this rule too.

So, lo and behold, we both got cured on the same night, and after our last session, we went out for a drink. This experience gives us an interesting insight into the other person's psyche. I still see Kim on a regular basis, although it has been five years since the "cure" (A miracle i tell ya) .

Last week we met downtown and did a progressive dinner through the restaurants in Pikes Place Market. And there may have been wine involved as well, i'm not sayin'. We had a blast and got caught up on the latest family shenanegins.

Have you ever been in group therapy? I started in this group after the Mister and i were back together after almost a year of separation. Group therapy is much different than individual or couple's therapy. You have 5 other people there to give their perspective on your shit. Plus the therapist to make sure that no one kills anyone else. Sometimes the people will not listen to you, and everyone else because they can't or won't. This is so frustrating. There was one guy there who would come out and dump this stinking pile of shit into the middle of the room, and then spend the rest of the session telling you why it wasn't shit and didn't stink. As an example, he once told us this story of a girlfriend of his who forced his 12 year old son to eat way more that he wanted. And then he denied that it was abuse. It was hard not to strangle him, but i really liked him and i wanted him to "get it". Nope, not happening.

This group is where i learned that denial pushes one of my buttons. A good thing to think about in group is why the things that drive you mad, drive you mad. Group is not for everyone, we had people who would join for 2 weeks and then bail out after deciding that it was too honest. They were looking for a support group rather than a therapy group. And a few other people joined, and then sat there for several months not saying much, then said goodbye with a "i've learned so much about myself". Bah.

But it was a valuable experience. It taught me how to listen and ask questions. While the questionee is clarifying the situation to you, they are often clarifying it for themselves as well. It's a great thing to see. I miss going to group, but i don't miss the $180 a month i paid for it. And i got Kim out of it.

Monday, October 09, 2006

I'm too dull to think of a title

This Wednesday is National Coming Out Day. Em told me last week that she is thinking of coming out at school, as bisexual.

I admire her for being brave enough to consider doing this, but i have a few issues with it. I think she would be doing it for the wrong reasons.

I don't think she really is bisexual. Although i totally get that this is not my discovery, it's hers. She is 15, and a very young 15 at that. She has a girlfriend, who lives on the other side of the country. Which is a very safe place for her girlfriend to be. They communicate mostly through text messages and IMs.

Her group of internet friends are a literary geeky group of girls, most of whom think they are bisexual. It's very in right now, in this group anyway. I really understand the connection that girls around this age have to one another, they are each other's emotional world, because the boys are pretty "icky" still. The first time i seriously had a crush on someone, at 17, it was a woman. But for me, it was all emotional. I was too young and immature to think about the physical. Which is what i see with Em and her girlfriend. She still gets all "ick, gross!" about sex.

Teenage girls have a strong need to feel unique. Actually, i think most of us would like to think we are special in some way, but really, we are all special, which makes few of us really special. Did that make any sense?

It also feels like it will be done as a dare. She and another girl are only going to do it if the other one does. One good thing is that i am not worried about her safety at her school. It is a safe and accepting environment, otherwise i would argue very strongly with Em about doing this.

Bottom line is, i wish she wouldn't label herself. I don't think she knows yet.

So i told her how i felt about the labeling, kissed her on the head and said that i support her whatever she decides. It should be interesting to see what happens.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Parenting as a competitive sport

When our kids are “good”, do we get the credit? When our kids are “bad” do we take the blame? I think the answer is yes, but i don’t think that’s the right answer.

I started thinking about this after reading a post over at Mrs. Cleaver's about her daughter.

I used to hate it when my mom said (use kind of a high pitched voice here) “If i’m so awful how come you all turned out so well?” A therapist i used to see gave me this answer, “It’s a testament to the strength and resiliency of your children.” After i used that line on my mom a few times, she doesn’t say that anymore.

But if we all turned out so well (and really, my sibs and i are pretty ok) and she doesn’t get the credit, i can’t really take the credit for Em either. And actually i have always been uncomfortable when someone says, “It’s because you are such a great mother”. I mean, maybe i AM, but she’s a great kid, and so it’s been easy. (NOTE: I didn’t say perfect, i said easy.)

I don't deny that there are things that parents can do that are blatantly, utterly, horrifyingly, criminally wrong. I am not talking about that sort of unforgivable behavior, i am talking about being a loving, accepting parent who tries to teach the kids we have in our care what they need to know to become good people. We love them and do our best. And then we let them go.

As far back as Em’s birth, the sport was on:
“What was her APGAR score? Oh, only 7, Christopher’s was 9.” (yes, someone said this to me)
“Kristin was potty trained at 18 months.”
“Hanna’s first word was antidisestablishmentarianism.” (ok, kidding, i never heard that but you get my drift.)
“Toby got admitted to every pre-school we applied to. How will we ever decide?”

There is a difference between talking things over with other parents, which can be extremely helpful, and bragging. It’s subtle, but i know it when i hear it.

The latest thing, now that Em is in High School, is SAT scores. When parents ask me what Em got, i lie and say i don’t know, because 1.) it’s HER news to share, and 2.) they will either be smug or unhappy, and 3.) it’s none of their damn business.

I don't want Em to live as a testament to my awesomeness. Because she gets the credit if she is a great person, as she would get the blame for being as ass.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Insomnia Rant

I have never been very good at sleeping. I have trouble going to sleep in strange places, if someone is staying at my house, if the Mister is traveling, if i am upset or worried, if i am sick, if Em is sick. The list goes on. And many nights when i can fall asleep, i wake up at 1:30 in the morning and can't go back to sleep for a long time.

I have drugs to help me fall asleep when i am traveling, otherwise i am a nauseous, exhausted mess while on vacation. But i won't take the drugs at home, else i would be doing it way too much.

I will often turn on my little nightstand radio, tuned to the BBC, to give me something to listen to and think about other than my thoughts. But lately, the news is so consistently depressing that it just gives me new things to worry about.

The things i can find to fuss and worry about in the middle of are many and varied. And often, when viewed in the harsh light of the morning, completely ridiculous. I wish i knew what advantage my mind thinks there is to keeping me awake and anxious. I wish i knew why i am like this and what i could do to stop it.

Last night, as the Mister was snoring (gently) beside me, i worried about the cat that was outside. I wondered when the cat that was inside, sleeping happily at my feet and snoring (even more gently), was going to wake up and start whining to go outside. I worried about the plumbing project that is currently tearing up my yard. I worried about the funny spot on my leg being another skin cancer lesion. I worried about whether the woman who cleans my house would be able to find a place to park with all the plumbing trucks. Maybe i should call her in the morning, I worried if i would remember to call her in the morning. Etc, etc, ad nauseum....

What an ass. I know i am supposed to get up and do something else for a while. But it's COLD out there in the house. Maybe i should just knock back a few shots of whiskey. If we had any in the house, and if that wasn't just a different drug.


Stupid joke, and one of my favorites:
Did you know that there is a support group for the families of people who talk too much? It's called On and On Anon.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Shit happens. Shit has happened.

I am sitting in a Tullys right now, because yesterday, at 1:20 pm, the crew of men who were outside my house, on the first day of a $17k, two week plumbing project to repair a leaking line, cut our phone and cable line. Yes they did.

I could have gone to Starbucks, of which there are two in this particular shopping mall, in case someone might have a latte attack and need to get to a Starbucks in a hurry, but i refuse to pay for internet access. Wonder how that pay for access thing is working out for Starbucks?

You'll want to know that the brand of ass-gaskets here at Tullys are called Saf-T-Gard. No where near as fun as Rest Assured, and spelling impaired as well.

Yesterday, before the phone access was cut at my house, i received a call from Enterprise Car Rentals informing me that the rental car i am driving (and have been driving for over two months, ever since the Mister was hit by an uninsured motorist who ran a stop sign) now has a bill totalling over $1,800, of which my insurance company will only be paying $765. After i finished choking, I told them i'd call them back.

Long phone call made short, my insurance company will be paying as the rules are different for uninsured motorist's claims. Daniel, my adjustor, who is a dumb as a bag of hammers, told me that he would call Enterprise and inform them that all is covered.

About an hour later i received a call back from the guy at Enterprise telling me congratulations, and that he is so impressed with me because he has never seen an insurance company respond so quickly. I could hear other people clapping and cheering in the background. So the day was a success, as i am now the darling of the car rental office.

There are 6 people besides me in this Tullys, at 1 o'clock in the afternoon. Four of them have on logo shirts from a large software company based in Redmond. There must be a geek nest nearby, and why aren't they at work? Also, a quick fashion tip: Socks with sandals and shorts are not ok.

I was going to post about something else today, and i will in a day or so, but the bottom line is that some shit has happened, but it's all small stuff and it's all ok.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Utter foolishness

Today we are going to do a craft project that will save you lots of money on Halloween decorations.
You will need:

1.) ass gaskets stolen from any public bathroom. (The brand name for these is "REST ASSURED" I am not joking.)
2.) scissors
3.) marking pen

Separate the round hole part from the rest and fold the rest in half.

Cut the rest part into the shape of ghost hands. Unfold. Draw some eyes on the round part. Go find another pen because this one is dry. Be careful that the pen doesn't "bleed" onto anything when you draw.

Draw a mouth and some eyebrows. And there you have it:
Suitable for taping in the windows so the neighbors will know how creative and cool you are. And all for free. Feel free to get creative with face and hands. Martha Stewart has nothing on me.

And or course, i cannot finish without telling you that this post was inspired by Antonia's cat's ass elephant.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


I am not very good at giving or receiving compliments.

When i receive a compliment, my first impulse is to explain in great detail to the complimentor why, exactly, they are wrong. And that is a really sucky reaction, designed to annoy the complimentor and ensure that they don't make THAT mistake again.

I don't do this out of false modesty. I feel realistic about myself and my abilities and talents. I am not the best in the world at anything, nor the worst. There are billions of us in the world (and we keep reproducing) so how many of us can be the best at anything?

Maybe i can hear my mother's voice in my head. She did not compliment me, and one of her frequent comments was "Are you fishing for a compliment?" One must never in any way appear to be asking for a compliment.

Giving compliments is also difficult for me. I spend time trying to talk myself out of it. They'll think i'm trying to suck up, they won't believe me, they've heard it before, i might annoy them. Will the recipient understand that i really mean it? I want to give more, but i don't want to be perceived as insincere. (As an aside, if you watch Project Runway, wasn't that scene where Vincent sucks up to the French designer AWFUL. I was squirming just watching it.)

This, annoying even to me, little exercise in self-consciousness has got to stop. I will practice giving compliments as i think them, and not concern myself with the reaction, over which i have no control. I will also just say "thank you" when i receive a compliment, and then SHUT UP.

To begin: I think you are some great readers and writers and i enjoy the conversations we have more than you know. I really mean that. I do!

(God, i am having a hard time leaving that last sentence up. What if you think i am pandering? See how i operate. Augghhh.)