Sunday, April 29, 2007


Em and i had an interesting conversation on the way home the other day. I was thinking about affectations; beliefs that people hold dear about themselves so that they feel special that are not true.

I can tell you about affectations that the Mister has. I won't, but i could. (For example, he spent the first 18 months of his life in Japan, on a military base. So he fancies that he has a "natural feel" for Japanese culture and language. I feel that this is not true, and that the people that we encounter at Japanese restaurants are just indulging him because he is spending money. Em, who has taken Japanese for 6 years now, says his accent and understanding are terrible.)

There are more about the Mister that i could point out, but i really won't. So i asked Em, "What do you see as my affectations?" She couldn't really think of any that weren't true. I asked her to keep thinking.

I couldn't think of any about me either. Until today. I thought of one. But i am too embarrassed to tell you because i have indulged in that affectation here. The best i can do for you is to promise, now that i have seen the affectation, is to promise to TRY and not indulge in it again.

Can you think of any of your affectations? Leave me an anonymous comment if you like. Ask a person close to you if you can't think of any. I'll bet they know.

Friday, April 27, 2007

I'm flying Jack, er, Chuckie

photo by The Mister

Today i am using Mona's word for the day from Irrelephant. That word is cloud.

As a child in California, we lived on the base in San Diego where the many kids spent all summer running wild and unsupervised all over the hills and ravines. Whenever a large delivery was made to any house, we kids commandeered the box. We didn't give a damn what was in the box, the box itself was the real prize. We would play with the box for weeks, a fort, a puppet stage, a zoo, an ice cream stand.....

Someone or other got a mattress the summer i was 7. That's back when mattresses came in boxes (you hear that you young pups?) This boy, who's name i think i remember as Chuckie (poor kid) and i dragged this box up to the top of a hill and lay in the box staring up at the sky.

We started out naming shapes we saw in the clouds. I noticed that if i held my head so that i could only see the sky, then the clouds that were whipping by in the breeze made me feel like i was flying in that box.

You know that disoriented, but fun, feeling that you get on a roller-coaster? That's what it felt like.

"Ooooooh, Chuckie," i squealed.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

What is that cat thinking?*

Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. - Mark Twain.

To which i utter a resounding "BULLSHIT!" Violets don't really have a fragrance, and furthermore, what does this mean about the fragrance of dog shit on the heel of the one who stepped in it? Does the dog shit forgive me??? (And yes, i know those are lilacs, not violets.)


So what am i on about? I had lunch today with my mother and the Mister isn't home yet so you get to hear about it.

I am uncomfortable around my mother. I don't really trust her. I don't even like to look her in the eye. Do you know how hard it is to avoid eye contact with someone sitting across a booth from you?

At lunch, she told me that she thinks i have done a really good job being Em's mom, and that she wishes she had been as good a mom as i am. Of course my (snarky) thought was "I wish you had too."

Is there some reason now that she is almost 80 and i am almost 50 that she finally is deciding to be reflective about how she has lived her life and treated the people around her? Why now? Why involve me? Yikes!

It's just too late for me. I am too old and set in my ways to change this relationship. And i don't want to and you can't make me. See how mature i am about this? *stamps large foot* I will reflect maturely on this later, when i feel less creeped out.

*why won't she stop fussing around with that camera and let me in?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Other people fighting

This memory was dredged up from the toxic memory sludge pile by this post of Esereth's.

Here's the set-up:

Setting: Some cheap roadside motel on the way back to Seattle from Ashland Oregon.

Cast: 3 year-old Em, me, my brother, SIL, their two kids (4 and 8.)

Scene: SIL is sitting on the end of the bed in the motel room with her arms wrapped around her two kids, one kid on each side. She is in tears, raging at my brother. My brother is standing up facing them, looking puzzled. The door to the room is open to the outside. I am sitting on the curb trying to keep a 3 year old occupied and out of the fray.

Plot: My niece has a raging ear infection and a fever. Niece has had convulsions before as a result of a fever. SIL wants to take her to a local emergency room. My brother wants to wait until tomorrow so they can go to a local provider because then the visit will be covered by insurance.

Relevant background: They are not poor. They could very easily afford this emergency room expense.

Irrelevant background: We were on our way home from the Ashland Shakespeare Festival. The Mister and i were separated so he was not present. Em and i were arranging cigarette butts in the gutter.

What happened: They did not go to the emergency room. We had a very uncomfortable dinner that night. Thank god Em and i had our own room.

My opinion: I think they should have gone to the emergency room. I love my brother, but in this case he was being a real ass. If any parent is that worried about their child, EVEN IF THEY ARE BEING SILLY, go. It's worth it to spend the money so that the one parent is relieved. If it had been me i would have said "I'm going, do you want to come or not?"

So, and this is back to Esereth's point, which parent wins out in cases like this, where there is a sharp disagreement about child rearing?

Monday, April 23, 2007

I am just plain mean

Saturday night we went to the house of two really nice people and had dinner. These were not people that i know, although i have met them once before. The Mister and i had a great meal, good wine and pleasant conversation.

Of course, i can't let it go at just that. I feel badly about that, but these are my real thoughts.

The man mentioned at least 5 times how expensive the bottle of wine that we had with dinner was. Not the actual price, just how expensive it was. (Don't tell, but i liked the first bottle we had better.)

These two people are really nice. And really earnest. Call me a bitch (i do) but i like a little bit of irony/sarcasm/satire with my conversation. The woman, while she was showing me her crystals, said "I am really into energy." (And really who isn't? But what does that mean? I did ask her to tell me about it, but the answer was vague enough that i don't remember it. )

There were many compliments about physical traits of the Mister and i. You can guess which one for me. For the Mister it was hair. The Mister has really nice hair, and what that means at his age (49) is that he HAS hair. The Mister and i talked on the way home about these comments and why it's okay to talk about some things and not others, and why it made me, in retrospect, very slightly uncomfortable. I believe it's because it felt obsequious.

I feel badly that i can't just go over and have a nice dinner without thinking my mean thoughts. I don't do this with everyone, but i am sensitive to odd nuances. Do you do this too? Or am i just plain mean?

Friday, April 20, 2007

It must have been a really great party

because Brown Cat still has the lampshade on his head.

Last week there was a mighty battle. Brown Cat and Grey Cat fought like demons to keep the cat next door from invading our territory. I don't know the exact outcome, but Grey Cat has a new notch in his ear, and Brown Cat, who i thought had escaped unscathed, had a large abscess on his side lanced open this afternoon and now has a hat worthy of the queen (What? Have you seen her hats?) and two tubes sticking out of his side, a la Frankenstein, or Frankenfurter.

I don't know if the invader was hurt, but from the aftermath here, she either looks like she came in third in an axe battle, or she totally owned my cats.

{An amusing aside, when i went to pick up Brown Cat at the vet's, i frightened the vet, who had only seen me sitting down up until that point. "My God," she said, taking a step back, "how tall are you?"}

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Try a little tenderness

Writing here is a thing that cannot be dashed off. I must have the time to savor the process. If i am in a hurry, i can’t express myself correctly.

A thing about me that comes out here, on this blog, that rarely comes out in the rest of my life is my tenderness.

I am funny. I am smart. I am cynical. Everyone knows these things about me. It’s obvious.

But i am tender too. Here, where my stiff upper lip can’t be seen, the smart-ass comment can’t be flipped out rapidly, i let my tender side come out.

I was at dinner tonight with one of my favorite people and she, who is very, very much like me, told me a tender story about a friend that she helped nurse through the final stage of AIDS.

I told her my theory about tenderness. Because this was a tender story (she showed me the ring that she wears from him, although he died over 12 years ago.) It all started with a story about body piercings. Whatever, it can start anywhere.

My friend is a Myers-Briggs semi-expert. She said that there are traits that are dominant, and that as we age, and no longer give such a fuck about what people think of us, our less dominant traits can emerge (Did i get this right Kim?)

I am a tender person. And i don't care who knows it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


I was driving to the gym this morning listening to NPR. It's full of news about the massacre in Virginia. This makes me so sick at heart and i was thinking about how am i going to be able to send Em off to college? I was a little teary-eyed, but not too teary as i was driving. How inconceivably awful we humans can be.

The car ahead of me slammed to a halt for no apparent reason. I stopped too, having no choice. Then the car traveling the opposite way stopped as well. I still didn't see any reason for stopping. After sitting there for about 30 seconds, wondering what the hell is going on, a small duck appeared walking, slowly, from in front of the car ahead of me. She proceeded, seemingly unperturbed, across the road while we all sat there and waited patiently. How incredibly wonderful we humans can be.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Gratuitous critter report

This beast:

brought me this: (it's about the size of my thumb.)
And this beast:

brought me this:
And this beast has a terrible haircut, but it's her fault as she won't hold still.

This morning there was a deer wandering up and down our beach. (No pictures, i wasn't quick enough.) I have never seen a deer here before, only the tracks. She looked lost, but maybe that's because deer just look stupid. I wish i spoke deer so i could ask.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Welcome to the Sahara baby

I went to the doctor yesterday, for my yearly exam. Yeah, that exam. She felt me up and poked around. Everything is fine and where it should be.

However, i am 49 and getting hot flashes so.....menopause is a-coming down the track. Oh boy. The doctor mentioned a few things to be looking out for in the coming years. One thing she mentioned was Personal Dryness.

Personal Dryness???? (Wouldn't that be a good name for a band?)

I had to try really hard to look serious. I love the euphemistic nature of this affliction. It sound like something you would hear mentioned in hushed tones on a late night commercial. What other indignities lie in my future. "I can hardly wait," she said dryly.

I wonder if men of a certain age get a warning about Personal Softness?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Group of Earnest Women

This morning i went to Em's school's parent-teacher monthly meeting. I go because i am the treasurer, a job that everyone is afraid of so they are grateful that you will do it and you don't have to interact with people very much. Did you get all that?

As the meeting is concluding, on time, a rare event (people do love to hear themselves talk), an Earnest Woman, representing a group of Earnest Women, gets up and presents an idea for a "pledge" for the parents to sign next year. This pledge states that the signing parents will not support any activity that involves alcohol, that the parents will always call other parents to find out if the kids are really going to be where they said they were and that the parents will always be at home if there are other kids at their house.

And so the questions began:
Is it legally binding? (Don't know)
Will we know which parents signed this pledge and which didn't? (Yes)
Are there liability issues? (Don't know)
Why should i have to stay home with my 16 year old and her best friend? That's not practical. (Um, we hadn't thought of that)
Isn't this kind of Big Brother-ish? (The Earnest Women don't think so)
What about parents who are divorced and one signs and the other doesn't? (This caused head-spinning for the Earnest Woman)
Some parents think it's okay to give alcohol to their own kids at home. (A gasp from the Earnest Woman)

And so on. This went on for a full 15 minutes before i feigned a heart attack and snuck out the side door.

I am in no way minimizing the issue that alcohol can be in high school. The place at which i volunteer cleans up some of the aftermath of teenage drinking. But i don't believe that parents signing a pledge is going to do a damn bit of good. It's sweet that they were so earnest and all, but what planet do these ladies live on what makes them think this will help?

My problem is that i totally lack the patience to sit and listen to sweet, but useless ideas. I did enough of that when i worked.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Update, no biggie

I told the Mister last night that i have a blog and that i've had one for almost a year. His response was "That's cool. You should show it to me sometime."

I explained that i didn't trash talk him here, or refer to him as "that fucking asshole" or anything like that, but that really, it's all bathos and pathos here. So, i told him that no, i would rather he didn't read it as it would make me self-conscious.

I talked a bit about how much fun i am having. And, as i suspected, he is happy and supportive. Although i know he would like to read what i have written, it's not a big deal to him. We'll see if it comes up again.

<3 (- a sideways heart)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

We IM each other across the house, an actual conversation

em says:
em says:
But I said I would, so.
meno says:
yes, you may go, if you want
meno says:
but you can also say no
em says:
How do I say no? XD I already told her I could go.
meno says:
are mimi's parents going to pick you up? and when
em says:

meno says:
yes my own true love?
em says:
That would have been the original question. XD
em says:
meno says:
i see that. They can pick you up at whatever time they need to to get there when they want to.
em says:
;_____; I don't wanna go. Save me.
meno says:
you feel bad, your teeth hurt, you have your period, with cramps. Your cat is sick, your dad has been arrested for tax fraud. You have gas.
em says:
*cracks up*
meno says:
i could go on
em says:
O rly.
meno says:
yep. You need to wash your hair, trim your pubes, organize your sock drawer
em says:
meno says:
you might have fun. I just need to know when you'll be home so i can call the police 5 minutes after you are late.
em says:
You're horrible.
meno says:
's true
meno says:
but you like me
em says:
I do.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Neither a planner nor a slacker be.

This post is brought to you by........Alcohol!

I saw a great bumper sticker the other day: Instant Asshole, Just Add Alcohol.


I am not a planner. For the most part, my life has just happened. Well, except for Em. She was planned. I never wanted to be able feel any resentment towards her because she was an "accident."

The thing i find kind of odd, is that i don't care. I don't want to plan my life. I find planning BORING. (This was a definite deficit when i was a manager of an accounting department.) I contrast this with my SIL who is always making lists of "where i want to be in 5 years." I don't want to think about where i want to be in 5 years. Still alive is good enough for me.

This lack of planning has worked out pretty well for me. I have gotten jobs, like my last one, through happy accidents of fate. I have never taken an accounting class in my life, and i ended up as the manager of an accounting department. Which either proves that i am brilliant, or that accounting isn't that hard. I know which one my money is on.

Right now my life is sort of a blur of wasted time and meaninglessness. And i am happy. I don't need to contribute anything of significance to this world. I will not write a best seller. I will not cure cancer (although i wish i knew how).

I will raise a fine child and putter around in my corner of the world doing silly little things.

Are you a planner? Are you planning to do anything BIG? Are you okay with it if you don't?

This space intentionally left blank.

(I told you that alcohol was involved.)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Can i just beat her a little?

I am exhausted. Em had two full-blown temper tantrums yesterday. I thought this was the exclusive territory of toddlers. The tantrum performance has changed from when she was a toddler, but the basic crying, yelling and make wild leaps of logic have not.

The good news is that i did not beat her. Not even a tiny bit. Although i tell you that one good whack would have felt REALLY GOOD! I remained calm, externally. It was all because i asked her to clean her room this week and the deadline has come and gone, and been extended once, with no results. So, as promised, i turned off her internet access. See what a beast i am?

This morning, as we were heading off to our gig cleaning cat cages, she asked me "What can i do to make it up to you?" She can tell that i am not really feeling all that kindly towards her right now and she is ashamed of herself too. I told her that she can make it up by never having another tantrum. I also told her that i need a time out from her, not that i don't love her, but i don't want to be around her right now.

Usually we meet the Mister for lunch after shoveling cat poop. Not today. The Mister and i took a lovely walk in the spring sunshine instead.


I am about to tell the Mister that i have a blog and have had one for almost a year. And that no, he can't read it. I am to go off and meet some other bloggers soon and one thing i won't do is lie about where i am and who i am with. My guess is that he will be very excited and happy for me. He is a great cheerleader and thinks more of me than i think of myself. I appreciate that. But he still can't read it.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

In which i am questioned

I asked for 5 questions from Jen and here they are, along with my attempts at answers. That Jen, she is no pushover. Not a "What's your favorite color?" among these.

1. You've decided to run for president. Who would you choose as your VP, and why?

Ignoring the fact that i could never be president because i inhaled, my first thought was Colin Powell but he would have to grow some balls first. But then, because i haven't the chance of a pickpocket in a nudist colony of getting elected, i think i will go with Al Franken, because he would keep us laughing.

2. If you suddenly found yourself homeless and had no money or friends for to find a safe place to sleep, where would you go for the night, and why?

I have this nightmare sometimes..... I have no freaking idea. None whatsoever. I wouldn't go downtown because it's dangerous, even though that's where the shelters are. I would probably hide somewhere in a neighborhood that was familiar, so i would feel safer. From my volunteer work, i know that the YMCA near our house offers temporary housing, except on Wednesdays (is that insane?). So i hope it's not Wednesday.

3. The place you want to see most in the world, but don't think you'll ever manage to travel to?

There is nowhere in this world that i want to go that i don't think i'll ever manage to get to. I have the optimism that if i really want to go anywhere, i will. The Mister and i are looking forward to being able to travel more when Em hies herself off to college.

4. If you had one "do-over", what would it be, if anything?

I wouldn't have gotten married so young. I should have spent some time trying to be on my own after college, instead of marrying right away. I would have known that i can take care of myself instead of having to learn it 12 years later. But learn it i did. I don't regret anything from my marriage now, either Em or The Mister, but i wish i had gone about it differently.

5. If you could break bread with anyone (still alive) in the world today, who would it be? And who else would you invite to the meal?

What? No dead people at dinner? I guess they aren't very good at conversation and they smell bad. (You know, i think i sat next to a dead person last week at one of The Mister's work events.)

But i digress, i would like to have dinner with Marjane Satrapi, the author of the graphic novel Persepolis and other books. She grew up in Tehran and her parents sent her away when she was 14 for her own safety. How interesting would that be?

As for who else i would invite, it would be you. Come on, it'll be fun!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Thinking of you....

Urban-urchin has asked me to tell you about 5 blogs that make me think, other than hers i mean.

I have been chewing on this for a few days and i am finding it stressful. All of the blogs i read make me think in some ways. It turns out that i like blogs that are more subtle with the making me think. That way it doesn't seem like work. I am also uncomfortable singling out only 5 blogs. I currently have almost 80 blogs in my google reader. Some will stay there forever, some i am merely sampling.

So, in no particular order:

patches at clawless~balless: This one is ostensibly written by a cat. A cat with keen powers of observation and a wicked sense of humor. Oh, and the cat is an excellent artist too.

joan of arf :The last time i cried in earnest while reading a post was a few days ago while looking at a picture of a puppy on her blog who had been thrown out of a moving car. Joan does dog rescue, and she's often funny too, just not this time.

maggie at mind moss: Maggie is a friend whom i have never met. She is a poet and a writer and is able to express herself such that i really get her. Kind of an every woman with eloquence.

esereth at to throw away a button: Esereth exposes herself to us through her writing. She asks questions and tells stories that sometimes make me smile and sometimes let me feel the despair she feels. No subject is off limits. I respect that.

biscotti at diary of a panhedonist: I started reading this blog a long time ago while hitting next blog button in the tool bar. I don't even know if i like this woman, and i get the feeling that she wouldn't care. Her writing is brutally, devastatingly, overwhelmingly honest. She's also the only blogger that i truly feel writes solely for herself. I am in awe of her. She wrote a post about a month ago that i am still thinking about concerning finding a home snuggling with the body of a loved one. It's not what you are thinking either.

You know there are many more. I left off the obvious ones of Jen and Chani and amusing and de and josephine and bob, who gently reminds me to not be such a sexist and .... Sorry, i am all linked out.

You see how it is? All the blogs i read provide something to me, as i am not shy about quitting reading if it feels like a chore.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Ms. Iceberg Meets Mr. Titanic

I can see the inevitability of the coming collision, but i am helpless to stop it.

Are you ever with two other people whom you know and love and you can see the conversation heading right off into a fight? And if you say anything, you will become the deer in the headlight instead of the other two?


Em has just returned from a 5 day tour of east coast colleges. She is tired and quite nervous thinking about college and all that it implies; applications, SAT scores, moving away, roommates. We are at a restaurant awaiting our pizza, the night before she gets her braces (another worry).

The Mister is all excited for her and wants to talk about colleges. He has missed her. I also think that he wishes he had had all the support and encouragement that Em is getting, and wants to make sure that she really feels his support.

She chatters about colleges for a little bit and then heaves a weary sigh and says she is tired of talking about it. She rests her head on my shoulder in the restaurant.

The Mister lets it go for a minute, and then says, "You know, you really should think about applying to ABC and XYZ colleges too."

Em: Ummm.

Meno, (thinking "DANGER WILL ROBINSON, DANGER!") Oh look, i think that's our pizza.

The Mister: I mean, you'll never know unless you try. And depending on your SAT scores...yadda, yadda...

Meno: (OH SHIT! I need some semifore flags to indicate that the danger alert level is RED.)

Em, (exploding) LEAVE ME ALONE! I don't want to TALK ABOUT COLLEGE RIGHT NOW.

The Mister: ???? (angry and puzzled.)

Meno: Sigh.


This is just an example. And i know that the Mister can see Em and i doing this same thing at times. It's much easier to see from the outside.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

A story with a happy ending

When i was 11, my best friend Connie and i found a baby robin on the ground at the bottom of our Tulip Poplar tree. Not too baby, but she could not fly. (I have no idea if the robin was a girl, but for the sake of simplicity i will call her a girl.)

I carried her inside the house and cradled her in my hands while Connie prepared a shoe box nest for her. Shredded kleenex and a few leaves to make her feel at home.

I named her Terry Lynn, as that was my idolized oldest brother's girlfriend's name. I thought it was the most beautiful name in the world and i declared my intention to name my first baby girl Terry Lynn.

Terry Lynn, Terry Lynn. See how it rolls off the tongue?

We showed Terry Lynn to my mother and asked her what we should feed her. "It will not live," she declared. Then looking at our hopeful little faces she relented, "Try little bits of cat food." Connie's father gave us an eye dropper from their hamster's equipment for water.

Terry Lynn spent that night in my room, peeping and pooping and gobbling cat food. Connie and i carried her around the neighborhood in the morning to show all the other kids.

We kept her for about two weeks. She began to flutter around my room a bit. Connie and i presented her with piles of worm stocked dirt to dig through so she could learn how to take care of her own food supply. We dug the worms out of the manure pile at the stable where Connie's sister had a horse. (Now that's love.) She would cock her head to one side and listen and then dive into the dirt and pull out a fat wiggler. Yummy!

Terry Lynn got stronger with flying so a few days later we took her outside. At first she hopped around on the ground. (A bad idea for a bird.) But then she heard some robins in the trees and off she flew. Connie and i cried and watched her until we couldn't tell which robin was her anymore.