Thursday, May 31, 2007

My peeps

I don't have a group of friends whom all hang out together. I suspect if you put all my friends in a room together many would wonder what i see in the others.

I like it that way. When we lived in Colorado, we did hang out with a group. It was fun, but everything was done as a group. I am really not a group person, i tried to be one, but it was an effort, and lacking in the intimacy that i need. My friends now are mostly odd people to whom i show different bits of myself.

Some of them are people that i made the snap judgement when i first met them that they were not "people like me," and then i have had the pleasure of getting to know them and realizing that, yes indeed, they are not people like me, and isn't that grand? I love it when that happens, a freindship building out from two different foundations to meet somewhere in the middle.

It's fun to slowly unwrap a person and discover the things there are to enjoy about them. (Minds out of the gutter folks!)

I sometimes do bring a few of my friends together and really enjoy that this is not a person that they would expect me to have as a friend.

Maybe i should throw a party and invite them all. Nah, most of them hate parties as much as i do.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Reason to remain childless #5,436

Drawing by Mrs. Chica of clawless.

Em got her learner's permit last Friday. The Mister or i I have taken her out driving every day since then.

We started in the large parking lot of an abandoned K-Mart. I think i got whiplash from the way she applies the brakes. After the second day of driving around light poles in the parking lot, i let her drive the 3 miles to our house.

Dear god! The child has no concept of where the edge of the car is. It was 10 of the most terrifying minutes of my life. We even had a small off-road excursion at the top of our driveway.

I feel badly unleashing this terror on other motorists.

Actually, i think she is doing reasonably well. But do you have any idea how scary it is to sit, helpless, in the passenger seat while your child, who does not know what she is doing, pilots a 2000 pound vehicle through the streets?

I will be more than happy to pass her off to the Driver's Ed people. Anyone have any Xanax?

Monday, May 28, 2007

Efficiency kitchen

A confession:

I need to learn to share.

When i cook, i am very efficient. It's all planned in my head for the timing. While the water is heating for the pasta (which we never call noodles anymore, what snobs we be), i will chop the mushrooms and throw the chicken breasts in the oven. While the pasta cooks, i will be sauteing the mushrooms and washing the spinach. You get the idea. I am parallel processing, not serial processing. So that it is all ready close to the same time.

This process, which is all in my brain, makes it hard for the Mister and i to cook together. My anal-retentive detail-oriented self gets in the way. I try and put on my mellow hat, but it's all an act, inside i am twitching to run the show.

When there is a moment of quiet, the Mister will go and sit down, while i will get on with the next thing, even washing up a few things in any cooking down time. I have the curse of seeing the whole process, from years of practice. And since cooking is okay, but not really a passion of mine (unlike eating, which is), i want to get it all done in the shortest amount of time possible.

I realize how annoying i am, and i am trying to do something about it, but it's HARD! Because i am efficient, but it's also no fun for him to cook with me.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

For the birds, and Nancy

Photo by the Mister, who has a really big lens.

Birds, watch the birds for me, asked Nancy. And i always do, but i did some more.

In a half dead tree, near a local shopping mall that i drive by nearly every day, there are two huge nests. They are the nests of Great Blue Herons. I have been watching the parents sit on those nests for weeks. Lately i have been watching as the babies, one of which you can see above, appear and grow. One nest has four babies and the other has three.

The babies are so cute and so ugly. (For reference, this one is already the size of a large housecat.) They wobble out on the ends of the tree limbs on impossibly skinny legs and flap their proto wings. I hold my breath and wait for them to plunge to their doom. But they don't.

I drove by yesterday and there were seven herons sitting in that tree. A glorious sight.

This morning, as i have the past several days as we are sleeping with the balcony door open, i was awaked by the screaming of plovers. They run, again on impossibly skinny legs, up and down the water's edge, looking for that perfect spot out in the open to hide the nest. I will take a picture of it if i can find it.

In a few weeks, after the eggs are produced, when i go down on the beach i will be treated to much screaming and a plover leading me away from the nest with the old oh-look-i-am-helpless-as-have-a-broken-wing act. I always feel like i am in an episode of Wild Kingdom.

Nancy, for more bird stories, go here and here. They are short, i promise.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

But i don't understand, and neither do you.

I had one of those weird things happen to me today, one of those things that makes you feel like you need to go home and take a shower.

I was at the Driver's License place (a cauldron of diversity) with Em, getting her a learner's permit (OH MY GOD!) and i ran into this woman that i know from a committee at Em's school. I don't really like this woman, but in an incidental way, not an active loathing way.

We chatted vacantly for a few minutes. Then she leans over in a conspiratorial way and tells me that when she first came in to the office that that man over there (an office employee) was not even speaking English, not one word.

"Okay," i think, "and your point is?"

"I think that people should learn English if they are going to drive in this country," she declares. And then, and this is the icky part, she leans over towards me in that we-white-people-understand-each-other sort of way and whispers "I know that's not politically correct, but that just how i am."

You know what, i think that yes, people who move here would have an easier time if they learned English. But i also know that i have no frame of reference for being so economically or politically oppressed that i felt like i had no choice but to leave my homeland. I have never been asked to learn another language, and culture. So this white person does not understand.

I don't know the answer, but i know enough to know that i don't know enough to make blanket statements about what other people need to do.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Brotherly love

These are my two boys, who are brothers, taking a little snooze:

I have two older brothers. They are such different people.

One is an extroverted salesman type who is very sure about his opinions. The other is an introverted geek, who has excellent analytical skills.

One was athletic as a child, playing baseball and tennis and basketball, but had trouble learning to read. The other was only mildly good at swimming, but was in the Math Club and the Chess Club and played clarinet in the school's marching band.

I believe that one of them would have been diagnosed as ADHD if he were a child now, while the other might have been seen as depressed.

While they are polite to one another at the few family gatherings that we have, they are essentially estranged.

It's sad because they are both good people.

They are 3 years apart in age. One of the things that i see now, that i didn't see then, was that my parents encouraged them to compete with one another, although their talents obviously lay in completely different areas. My oldest brother talks about this now and helps me to understand what it must have been like for them.

I just want to knock my middle brother on the head sometimes. It seems that he is holding on to his past resentments. He of course would argue with that statement, but that's what i see. Sibling relationships can be very complex, so i just watch from the outside and wish that it were different.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Ranting, pure and simple

Why, oh why, do people who drive big SUVs and mini-vans insist upon parking them in the COMPACT spots? When there are plenty of full-sized spots available, only 20 feet further from the mall. I got news for you lady, your Range Rover is not a compact car! (And no she didn't have any mitigating factors such as little kids or crutches.)

I have resisted a lot of technology as it came along. I was never going to get an answering machine or a cell phone. But i caved, and i like them. But i just hate those ear attachment phone blue tooth thingies. I can see using one in the car, but when people walk down the street yakking away to themselves, i can't tell if they are crazy or on the phone. I see people trying to remain on the phone while going through the grocery check-out line. How rude! Is your call really that important?

It's open window season for the car. I don't want to hear your Puff Daddy (or whatever his name is this year) or your Metallica. Turn down the music. If i can feel it, it's too loud.

And furthermore, don't leave your freakin' grocery car in the middle of a parking spot you lazy ass! At least take it to the gathering spot for carts.

All of these things happened to me today. And i know it sounds like i am in a bad mood, i actually think it's all pretty funny. But sometimes a rant just feels GOOD! Ya know?

meno-showing every one of her cranky old years.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Credit where credit is due

Something has changed here, you may have noticed. And it's all because TTQ (which i understand stands for Temper Tantrum Queen) offered to make a new template for me.

This forced me to accept the blogger upgrade to a new template and to figure out how to use it. Of course it is very easy, as long as you know how. Ain't that always the way?
So thank you so much TTQ. I really like the new look, and now i know enough to mess with it myself. Scary huh?


We hosted my parents for dinner last night as today is the old bat's my mother's birthday.

All went well, i made a roast chicken with lemons stuffed up its ass and coated with rosemary from my garden. The person who needed to feel cared about felt cared about. My dad drank prodigiously. Em came down from her room and was charming when necessary. All the usual stuff.

After dinner as i was listening to the Mister converse with my parents, i was looking at my mother's hands. Those are the hands that mine will look just like in 30 years.

I am beginning to feel at peace with the fact that although i look like my mother in the outside, i do not look like her on the inside.

Friday, May 18, 2007

The cost of ignorance is fear.

Today, for your reading pleasure, i am going to tell you about my cervix. You lucky people.

But what i am really going to tell you about is ignorance, and the fear it caused me.

When i got my first period, it lasted for two weeks because of the drugs i had been taking. I decided after that first time, that pads were revolting and uncomfortable and that i was going to use tampons. I had been secretly looking at the illustrations in my mother's tampon boxes for a while to try and figure out what to put where.

But first, i had to find my inside part. I had never located the actual opening, just messed around with the outside bits. When my next period started, i determinedly got into the shower to find the secret passage by feeling around with my fingers and finding the source of the blood.

Eureka! There it is! Oh my god! There's this big lump in there too, up at the top. I have cancer, i am going to die, and me so young too.

Of course it never occurred to me to ask my mother. I just waited around for the end.

It's kind of funny now, and it made a great story to tell Em to convince her that she could ask about anything, no matter how weird, but i was really needlessly afraid for a long time.


Today's post is brought to you by Mona, who usually gives us a word for the day, but today gave us the topic of Reproduction because her boy child just started learning about it all in school and came home with questions.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

She can be bought*

*or how peace was restored to the house by goldfish.

Em spent over an hour yesterday afternoon alternately yelling at me and crying. I must have repeated "i am not going to change my mind," at least 50 times. Finally she gave up and went away.

Dinner was a bit tense, with a few glares directed at Worst Mommy. Folks, if looks could kill......

After dinner, Em declared that she would forgive me for some goldfish crackers. (What she actually said was that she would pretend to forgive me. I can live with that.)

The Mister, who was not as tired of it all as i was, recognized a face-saving device when he saw one. So he volunteered to go off to the store and procure the desired goldfish.

A one gallon box of goldfish and all is well.

And again, i truly appreciate all the support. You guys are easy to talk to, and so smart. :)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Code RED*

*The chance for drama is extremely HIGH! Beware.

First, thank you all so, so very much for your comments and support. Of course you were all correct. I have told Em that she will not be going to DC.

Drama, Tears, Yelling, "I hate you"s, etc. I am the wicked witch of the West, the meanest mother alive. She is barely speaking to me. It's ok, i can take it.


A few more details; I have met these other parents. We visted DC last July, had dinner with them at their house, spent some time. I would NEVER have even considered sending Em if i didn't know them. No way, no how. The husband was nice, but the wife/mother talked me into a coma. I think my ears were bleeding when we left. Not that this has anything to do with my decision.

I did offer alternatives, none of which were acceptable to Em. GF can visit us. GF can tell her parents. As a few of you noted, it would be the mark of a mature relationship for GF to come clean with her parents. But if she cannot, then that's her decision. I respect it, as i hope she can respect my decision. (FAT CHANCE!)

I just will not tolerate helping another child deceive her parents. That's the bottom line. I will not cross that line.

It's going to be a long few weeks.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Drama alert level = Orange

Em is under a lot of stress right now. ACTs, SATs, APs, a veritable alphabet soup of anxiety.

And she wants to fly across the country by herself to visit her girlfriend in DC for 5 days. I am unsure about this, not so much from the aspect of can she handle it, but from the aspect that her girlfriend's mother isn't fully aware of the so-called romantic interest these two profess.

(Note my use of several mitigating words here, like so-called and profess.)

I still don't know what my decision will be. If you want to offer an opinion, here are some facts; Em will be paying for the ticket herself, she promises me that they will not be having sex (you will have to take my word for it that i believe her), it will be a non-stop flight, i have spoken to GF's mother and she is happy to have Em visit, she is 16 and so on......Bleh.

Update: patches comment reminds me of another important detail, GF claims that her mother would throw her out of the house if she is "exposed". While i wonder if this is true, i can't really expose the child and then have it be true.

So last night, and this morning, Em has had meltdowns that ended with her sobbing and carrying on for a few hours. I can be sympathetic up to a point and then i just have to get away from her as she is being ridiculous. She can't stand for me not to witness every last sob and shout and will follow me around.

This afternoon she finally calmed down, took a nap, i made her a cup of tea and she has apologized. But i am exhausted, and frankly, annoyed. When will these little displays end? Is it too late to send her off to military school?

Friday, May 11, 2007

Warm rain

1.) When Em was about 6 years old, still young enough to think many things are wondrous, i got her all happy and shiny-eyed by taking her on a very special "rain walk." We donned raincoats and shorts and tevas, took our umbrellas and splashed our way around the neighborhood, jumping in every puddle and ditch. She still remembers this, ten years later.

2.) Before Em, in Colorado, on a warm rainy day up by Rampart Reservoir, the Mister and i were hiking along a secluded path, looking at the columbines and enjoying the fresh air. I started to get this idea. And as i thought about this idea, which i was sure the Mister would like, i began to get, like the rain, wet. A few minutes later, we hiked near a big rock, with a nice private space on the other side. He did like my idea. Raindrops on my breasts, on his back, sliding down from his hair to my face. Sipping rain.

Update: I realize that i forgot to credit Mona for the Friday word, "rain." Hi Mona. :)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Guns and me.

We didn't have guns in the house growing up. My only experience with guns came from watching my grandmother get drunk and wave her shotguns around saying, "You aren't afraid of guns are you?" She was a champion skeet shooter, avid bird hunter, expert frog gigger and prodigious gin drinker. A standard meal at their house was pheasant with the extra challenge of bird shot scattered throughout the carcass. Her house was decorated with pictures of men on horses hunting foxes with their sporting dogs.

When i was 12, i spent a long hot dusty summer with my aunt, uncle and three cousins on a ranch somewhere. (Not too good at details, like where the hell was i. Who cared?) The entertainment was somewhat limited, but as imaginative kids, we always found something to do.

That summer, at the ranch, there were guns. There were also squirrels and blue jays, both of which were considered vermin. Four bored kids, somel 22 caliber rifles, live targets and the approval/disinterest of the adults. Wonder what we would do?

My cousins were going to teach me to shoot, and we were going to make a serious dent in the local vermin. Sounded like a good time to me. Off we went, guns in hand.

My cousin Steve, was an ace shot. He could peg a squirrel from quite a distance, and nail a blue jay out of a tree. I began to try my hand at the shooting, this was exciting!

Of course i couldn't hit anything for much of the morning, but we were out there having a blast, literally, and Steve's body count was climbing. 23 squirrels and 14 blue jays so far. My shots were coming closer to the intended targets too. Yeah!

After lunch we went back out to continue the vermin carnage. I took careful aim at a squirrel on the ground, running to get back into the trees. BAM! Look, i hit him! Whoo hoo! We ran up to get a closer look. I had hit him in the hindquarters and he was desperately trying to climb up the dirt hillside using only his front paws, with blood running out of his hip. Something inside me turned upside down when i saw him there like that.

I shot him in the head, gave the gun back to my cousin and ran back to the ranch, alone. No tears, just a feeling that i had done a terrible wrong and there would be punishment.

I don't believe i have shot a gun since. I try to think that squirrel died to teach me something, but i just feel guilty for inflicting pain and fear on another creature. I can still see him, trying so hard to get away from us with no working back legs.

Steve came home with the ranch record body count for blue jays that day, 27.

V for Vendetta*

I am all about the revenge, yes i am, especially against family members and giant corporations who screw up and then don't do anything to make it right.

So, because Dollar Rent-A-Car upset Suebob and left her stranded alone at an airport very late at night, i am linking to Suebob's post about their suckiness.

THAT Dollar!

*an excellent movie by the way.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Guess which one is me...

Today i had my first experience in meeting people that i know but have never laid eyes upon. Nancy Dancehall is here in Seattle visiting with her friend Schmoopie. I met the two of them, along with Schmoopie's neighbor Laura (Lora, Lara, i didn't think to ask for a correct spelling, silly me!) for lunch at the Pikes Place Market.

After lunch, which we chattered through like several magpies, we wandered around the market and i bought a ginger snap the size of a small dinner plate (gotta have my after lunch cookie or i might start twitching.)

Today is one of those days in Seattle for which the word "glorious" was invented. We took the water taxi over to West Seattle and back just for the boat ride. More wandering, and then we fell, tired, into a local coffee shop where Schmoopie's husband, Stucco, arrived.

So, enough of the travelogue crap, "WHAT WAS IT LIKE?" you want to know.

I had a really great time. There was a level of comfort there because of knowing things about one another that made conversation easy and fun. I did not feel awkward even for a minute. Nancy has a lovely husky voice, kind of like Kathleen Turner, and Schmoopie has a gift for making people feel at ease. There was lots of laughing.

Nancy consults a fortune teller at the market. What did she say? I cannot reveal the secrets of The Fortune Teller!

I can't tell you how the others felt, that is their news, but it answered my question about whether this internets-getting-to-know-you gives you a true feel for personalities. It does. I hope to see them all again.

Just to give you an idea of my size, here is my hand holding a grande strawberry latte drink.
Now i am really hopped up for Blogher, where i will be rooming with Maggie and Missus. Chica.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

An Important Date!

Hooray Hooray
For the 8th of May,
Outdoor Sex
Begins Today!

Celebrate as you will.....

(Hmm, the Mister is out of town. I wonder if any of the neighbors would help me out?)

Monday, May 07, 2007

Attack of the ABC Meme, Part II

O: Oranges or Apples? Oranges are good for hot summer days, with the juice dripping down my chin and arm and causing gnats to stick. Apples are a much more civilized fruit and can be eaten at work. Also much better in pies than oranges. But i like orange juice better than apple juice. So i won't pick one and you can't make me.

P: Phobias/Fears? I am pretty silly about spiders, and scream like train brakes when i have to squish one.

Q: Favorite Quote: Strange how much you have to know before you know how little you know.- Unknown. He's as dumb as a bag of hammers.- Reid Fleming, World's Toughest Milkman.

R: Reasons to Smile: Tons. Happy kid, healthy family, cats who like to snuggle, cookies (there she goes with the cookies again), regular sex, brains, all my own teeth, not dead yet, and on and on.

S: Season? Summer. Some of my favorite moments come when sitting in the shade with a breeze, reading a book and sipping wine coolers ice tea.

T: Tags: Mrs. Chili and Luckyzmom. (You didn't think i was going to tag anyone did you?)

U: Unknown fact about me: Some facts about me are unknown for a reason.

V: Vegetarian or Oppressor of Animals: Omnivore. Oppressor of animals and vegetables alike.

W: Worst Habit? Reading blogs.

X: X-rays or Ultrasound. I've had both. My tits get both x-rayed and ultrasounded with startling regularity. I think the doctor is just a pervert.

Y: Your Favorite Foods: Sushi, salad, Indian, Mexican, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, live, dead. Basically anything except bell peppers, and they don't like me either.

Z: Zodiac? Virgo. Although to tell you how much i think that's worth, i don't even know Em's sign.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

ABC Meme, Part I

I was tagged for this meme by AC of Sonnets of the Hermit. (Isn't that a great name?) Being lazy, i am going to stretch it out for two posts, as i don't feel like answering all those questions right now.

A: Attached or Single?: I don't have a conjoined twin, so single........ Ok ok, attached, for a hell of a long time.

B: Best Friend: I can't say that i really have a Best Friend. I have friends, some i like better than others. I have my walking friend, my squash friend, my husband friend, my cute male friend, my daughter friend, my friend who calls himself "my gay friend", my go-to-things-downtown with friend, and so on.

C: Cake or Pie? What a dumb question. Yes, cake AND pie. Ice cream is essential. Vanilla, no funny flavors with cake or pie.

D: Drink of Choice? Red Wine, green tea and fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice. (Not all together.)

E: Essential Item: Laptop and wireless. Plus a cat sleeping beside me as i type and read.

F: Favorite Color: Aubergine, Tangerine, Periwinkle, Mauve, Fuligin. Mostly i just like to say these, especially aubergine, and the last one isn't even a real color.

G: Gummi Bears or Worms: Bears, i like to "bite they tiny heads off, nibble on they tiny feet."* When i worked we used them as voodoo bears and would skewer them to bulletin boards with straight pins.

H: Hometown: My father was in the military, so i never know how to answer this question. Born in California, but i have lived in and out of Seattle since i was 12. So that's got to be it.

I: Indulgence: Cookies. Everyday after lunch i begin the hunt for a cookie. Almost any kind except peanut butter, which is odd, as i like peanut butter, just not the cookies.

J: January or February? I would name a pet January way before i'd name one February.

K: Kids: 1, daughter, 16, literary geek. Once named a cell phone Ishmael so she could say "Call me on Ishmael."

L: Life is Incomplete Without: (Corny Alert) Someone to share things with.

M: Marriage Date: February 20, 1982. It's an odd date but i was ADAMANT about not getting married on Valentines Day.

N: Number of Siblings: 2 older brothers. I blame the fact that i eat really fast on this. In our house, she who hesitated, went hungry.

*a quote from a B. Kliban book.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Own it

Let's see if i can describe this succinctly.

I was talking with a woman i know. Kind of a friend, certainly someone with who i am friendly. She was telling me a story about how some other mother had interferred in some high school social situation and had hurt my friend's daughter's feelings. Certainly not intentionally, but thoughtlessly.

At the end of the conversation, after telling me that she knew that other mother had not been being mean, she said, "My husband's comment was 'What the hell was that idiot (other mother) thinking?'"

Something about this struck me as odd, so i have been navel-gazing about it for a few hours, and i realize that this is not the first time that my friend has used her husband as a proxy for her real feelings.

I am going to guess that she does this in order to preserve her image of herself as a nice person who doesn't talk smack about other people.

For god's sake woman, own your own crap! It's like a mirror of "Wait 'til your father gets home;" Daddy as heavy; The man as the repository of anything even vaguely hostile. Bah.

I don't need no man to be hostile for me, i can do it on my own. :)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

How rude!

This time of year i see all the pine trees giving me the finger. Am i insecure? I can't walk by one of them without seeing the universal sign for "fuck off."

Now i see them everywhere. Tell me you can see them too.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

See, i do exist.

A few....well...a very few, have asked me to post a photo of myself. Here it is. I look pretty good for almost 50 huh?
I think this picture is from first grade. My mother has mis-labeled it on the back as if i were 10 years old at the time, but this is NOT the picture of a 10 year old.
Look at those California induced freckles. Look at that plastic headband. My eyebrows are still about this thick. The funny thing about that is that of the Mister, Em and me, i have the bushiest eyebrows. We refer to ourselves as "eyebrow-impaired."
This picture hurts me to look at. I looked so innocent. I was so innocent. This was the little girl who would squeal over clouds flying by, who would dig a hole in the side of a sandy cliff and put a tiny pillow in the hole so that a mouse could sleep there.
This is the little girl who was too trusting of a neighbor boy, and whose parents did not take good enough care of her.
This is the little girl who would climb up on the roof of the house with a book and some mashed potato flakes in a paper cup and spend dreamy hours alone there.
This is the little girl who was encouraged to make fun of her older brother.
This is the little girl who worried over what disaster would next befall her.
This is the little girl who grew up, way up, and became a strong, interesting woman, with many insecurities, who lives a good life anyway.
update: I think all you commenters are right, as was my mother. I was 9 in this photo, not 6.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The parenting blues

Sometimes it's hard to be a woman parent.

Remember when the hurts of the world could be fixed with a popsicle, a hug and a pokemon bandaid? It's not so easy anymore. The world is bigger now and doesn't begin and end with mommy or daddy. Drat!

I don't always know what to do. It's much more complicated with friends and school and money and homework and the computer all.

The same amount of love is still there, but the walls that it builds are not high enough to keep the rest of the world out.