Wednesday, September 27, 2006

My Own Private Insanity

I have this recurring dream where it's the end of the term and I haven't been to class, haven't cracked open a book and I have to take the final exam. Most of the time I don't even know where the class is. It's terrifying in the utter feeling of inadequacy it gives me. I'm an idiot and I have no one to blame but myself. I didn't have this dream while in school, only in the years after I graduated. I venture to guess that if I had dreamt this while in school I would have dropped out from sheer paranoia that I would eventually fail.

Last week, as I shared with you, I started taking a class. Being the spinster that I am, I did the preliminary drive-by to make sure I knew where I was going. I don't think now, though, that this can be attributed only to my age, but to this recurring freak nightmare, as I was haunted in my waking state while walking to the first class. I had a sudden sensation of panic that this wasn't the first day of class but the last day and I was not prepared.

Does this constitute a break from reality or is it a sign that I'm not sleeping enough? My concern is that I've been crazy before and once that line is crossed, it's so easy to slip across again. More like a crime-scene tape than a locked gate.

At any rate, maybe I've made you feel better about yourselves today. I would feel slightly more adequate if so.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Times They Are a Changin'

Yes I'm Old Part 1 -

I am finally doing something I've wanted to do for the past 14 years. And, yes, having 14 years available to want to do something makes one old. I am finally taking a photography class. Why I waited so long I don't know. No money? No time? -Insert excuse familiar to you here.- But now I'm doing it. It's great. I went to the college bookstore yesterday. It's only been 14 years since I've bought a book for a class. So what? So what that there were little boys there with their mommies to buy books for them? I'm a grown up. I bought my own book. With my debit card, because there's actually money in my account. I stood in line for almost an hour listening to Beavis and Butthead talk about their experiences over the past week. And, yes, I realize that Beavis and Butthead date me as well. I'm old, I'm learning to accept it.

But that's not the thing that really knocked my socks off. I went to class. Being the old woman that I am, I perused the location earlier in the day to make sure I knew where I was going. Pioneer Hall. Check. It's an almost 3 hour lab class. Cool. I remember those. Vaguely. But I don't remember this - a computer at the desk? A computer at every desk? And the prof has put his class syllabus online? What?? I'm online during class?? The young girls in the class are checking their e-mail and looking up their Myspace like they're in their living rooms. The last computer class I took in college had something to do with DOS and a floppy disk! I'm now being instructed by the professor on the finer points of Google. WHAT????

Yes I'm Old Part 2 -

XM Radio. Modern invention, no? NO!! I have spent my evening reminiscing over Van Halen, Pet Shop Boys, Scritti Politti (anyone who remembers them gets bonus points!), and many other 80's unmentionables. It is a very sad statement when I can say "20 years ago". My God, I listened to Jump (by Van Halen for you whipper snappers) in 8th grade!! For pete's sake, that was 24 years ago!! Almost a quarter of a century. And I thought the quarter century birthday was hard!! Oh please!!

This is how f-ing old I am - my parents took me to a taping of Good Times before Janet's Big Boob Exposure. I saw George Michael in concert before his "memorable" arrest. Eddie Van Halen still had all of his teeth. And the theme to Desperate Housewives? Written by the one and only Danny Elfman of Oingo Boingo fame. Listened to them in 5th grade. That was 26 years ago.
Alright, enough of the countdowns. I accept it. I'm an old nerd. Stuck in the 80's, whatever. Thank goodness that modern technology has kept up with us old farts. I can fill my Ipod with Duran Duran, Journey, Sheena Easton and Phil Collins to my heart's content.

Anyone remember Bruce Willis' pathetic attempt at recording artist history? What about Eddie Murphy? Yes, it's my party, I party all the time!!! Incredibly, or maybe not so incredibly, you can find that on You Tube. What's that little story about history repeating itself?

Okay, so the benefit of being over 21 is that I can legally drown my sorrows. And I can afford the good booze. Old age has to come with some benefit!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Popularity Contest

Oh, dear reader, legion of fan! I promised you glamour and excitement and I am failing miserably. If only you could see how glamourous and fabulous I look every day, you would not feel so neglected. Yes, I know. I only amuse myself.

Here is my latest story then, in all of its doggy dishiness. I created a profile for Sir Rembrandt on If you haven't discovered the insane fun that is Dogster, it's like Myspace for dogs. Only it's better because it's dogs with cute little stories of how they met their families and without the annoying songs that people like to attach to their Myspace so that, when you forget that your speakers are turned up, you have a small heart attack. Really, those of you who do this need to cease and disist immediately. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

Anyway, I digress!! Rembrandt. On Dogster. In the first 3 hours he had 4 friends! And we were being selective. After all, we can't lower ourselves to be acquainted with crazy "dogs" such as the Princesses Flu Flu and Shu Shu. I mean, really. By the end of the weekend Remy had 7 friends. And turned down two other requests because we just can't associate with Shitzus. I admit, we were a little over the top with the power. Popularity can do that to you. At least, it works that way for dogs. Remy is really only attracted to bigger dogs anyway. I don't think he realizes that he's not an actual Big Dog.

But then, isn't that typical of the male species? Wanting what they can't have?

Monday, September 11, 2006

A Split Second

I don't have a personal story about today, no touching anecdote to share with you. What I can share, I believe, is the sadness that remains with us 5 years later. Coming on the heels of Katrina's anniversary, the sorrow feels overwhelming.

I think I am feeling particularly melancholy because a friend's son was involved in a car accident this past weekend. Looking at the picture of his totalled car I'm amazed that the kid is alive.

Last week I saw an accident with a bicyclist, it looked like it had just happened. The bicyclist was lying face down on the asphalt and there were several people trying to move him/her but each time one of them yelled "No!" My daughter, who was in the car with me, got a tearful lecture about why I tell her to always wear a helmet, why I always remind her to look both ways.

The only tiny morsel of wisdom that I have to offer you is to hold your loved ones a little bit closer. Remember to say please and thank you and appreciate what small offerings of love are given to you.

Because you see, in a split second your life can change. The life you knew is gone and irrevocably replaced by one you don't recognize and might not want. And then the small tokens of love and memories will mean more than ever.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Mid-life Drama

This year's birthday was a hard one. I won't tell you why, because that would require me to tell you how old I actually am. Let's just say I'm not checking the 25-34 box on surveys anymore. It does make me stop and think though. And compare the haves with the have-nots.

You know, there are times that there is nothing more I crave than the normalcies of daily life. The routine is somehow safe and comforting. The chores of motherhood give me purpose and definition. I've now seen my daughter in four performances of The Nutcracker. Every year it's the same. It's a children's ballet, there aren't any spectacular leaps or spins, no gravity-defying moves. Yet every year my heart leaps and spins when my precious child appears on that stage. I have to hold my breath lest a tear escape and succumb to gravity. These are the moments I live for. I know this to be my Truth.

And yet, there are days like today, when I want to get in a car alone and drive and drive and drive. When I want to scream at my precious child because she's not listening. She can't do her homework without being reminded six times. When I want to cover my ears and walk away because she's going on incessantly about some story that isn't funny because 'you had to be there'. And you also 10 and find stupid things like that funny to you. When the last thing I want to do is make a dinner that nobody will care to eat. When there's not enough money in my account to pay all the bills. Days like today I want to take a bohemian sabbatical from my life. A vacation from the school schedule, the ballet rehearsals, the dinner-making, toilet-cleaning, grocery-buying, bill-paying monotony that is my Life.

Is this a mid-life crisis?

I think about travelling the world and pretending to be someone else. Someone far more interesting and complex, with actual dimensions. Someone who doesn't know what a Wal-Mart is or who has to decide which is the better price for chicken. Who has all day to explore museums and stroll through gardens pontificating on the beauty of one perfect rose without a second thought to the lunches that need to be made or the laundry that is waiting to be folded. Someone more glamorous and less hurried and on edge.

Then again, there are times when I want nothing more but more of this. As I said, I'm getting older. I always knew I wanted another child. Unfortunately opportunity hasn't been knocking at my door and already I'm beginning to feel the first twinges of regret. When my daughter was a baby I would sit literally for hours holding her, trying to memorize exactly how the weight of her small body felt on my chest. What her soft breath smelled like and how the tiny wrinkles of her hand creased on my arm. I had never been in love like that before nor have I since. Of course I love her endlessly now, but now it is complicated by the seperateness of her being, the fact that she has (God forbid!) her own personality. Back then she was mine, I was hers and in those miraculous moments there was noone else in the world. I want to experience that again. One more time.

I'm not naive enough to think that it would be the same now as it was then. My pace was slower then. I could afford hours to sit and take it all in. Now there is an older child, a job, more people in my house, more bills that need paying. I know that I'm not as patient as I was then because time is now a luxury. I know it would be different the second time around. I know that because I'm different.

In the end I know that I won't drive and drive endlessly to glorious museums and sunsets, tempting as it may be. Because my truth still lives in those first steps, first tastes, the moment that glorious child steps out onto the stage of life and I am there waiting, holding my breath, my heart leaping and spinning.
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