Saturday, December 20, 2008

Reflections

It is always interesting to find out how people see me. Others' views don't often match my own. Last night at a party I was asked how long I've been married. When I replied that I'm not, the response was one of surprise with the comment "But you seem so connected." Connected? Connected is the last thing I feel right now. Most of the time I feel like I'm just wandering aimlessly, unsure of where to land or how to sit and just be.

I'm not sure what I should be connected to, but I'm starting to reconnect with myself and that's a nice feeling. Last night is a good example. Social situations in the past have been a source of some anxiety - needing to know the other people invited and absolutely requiring someone to go with. Go to a party by myself? No thank you! But I got the invite for this one earlier in the week and accepted without hesitation. I did know most of the people attending, so it wasn't a giant step outside my comfort zone, but a step nonetheless. I arrived with pumpkin dip and a bottle of wine in hand and proceeded to have a really good time. I drank, I mingled, I ate, I laughed at jokes, I told stories, I even learned some German and some sign language. I went home a happy girl, realizing that I hadn't once felt awkward not having a party date with me.

I think I've always felt pressured to have all of the answers Now. That I'm supposed to know who I am and where my life is taking me and that not knowing makes me Less Than somehow. The truth is I've never had an answer to the 5 year question. Hell, I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I do envy the people that have gotten there, the ones that seem to have it all together. Especially if they're also wearing the perfect pair of shoes with the perfect hairstyle.

I'm learning to be okay with not knowing, that I'll get there someday. It's something to be discovered, like a new martini or a really good book. And it's a bit exciting, this not knowing, because the possibilities are greater. I don't have my route mapped out, I may take a few more detours, but I'll get there. Until then, I do have some really nice shoes and even a really good hair day once in a while.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's Not Just Puppy Love

It's not just puppy love because they're not just puppies. To me, my dogs are so much more than pets. They're little children who walk on all fours, eat whatever I give them and gaze at me with complete and utter adoration. Adoration that I think I mostly don't deserve. I've been a bad mommy lately.

My little chubby, round Ruby with the googly eyes. I've noticed her collar getting a little tighter lately so I took it off the other night to see if it would expand any further. It didn't, it was as large as it will go, which means I know what Santa needs to bring now. The guilt set in when I saw that all of the hair had been rubbed off of the part of her neck covered by the latch on the collar and there was a small red, raw spot growing in the middle of it. That had to be very uncomfortable and yet she never complained. Not a whimper, not a sigh.

Remy took a trip to the vet yesterday. His ear has been smelling a bit off lately and over the weekend he started scratching it and shaking his head frequently. Monday night he would yelp when scratching. Yelp and then come bouncing over to me with his regular enthusiasm and zest.

I wasn't looking forward to going to the vet, hadn't anticipated that expense this month, and am currently broke like the rest of America. But he's my little boy, he was in pain so I bundled him up in his nicest coat and off we went. My boy was so proud to be looking so handsome and to be taking a ride that didn't have to be shared with his little sister. Little sisters can be so annoying.

The vet took one look into his ear and declared that yes, it did look very bad. She took a couple of swabs and discussed our options. Her preferred choice was to let it culture at the lab, which would tell her exactly what bacteria was present, but this alone would cost $100. The second option was to start him on a treatment that sometimes has a side effect of liver damage and requires a blood test to determine if it can even be given. Neither choice sounded great, so I was relieved when she told me they could start with a stain that would show if any bacteria was actually present and then do further testing if needed. I went with that one and we were sent back out to the waiting room.

While sitting there, an elderly couple came in. Her shoulders were shaking from crying, his hand was on her back. Neither spoke and the vet tech came quickly to get them and take them back. It was clear that they were losing someone they loved very much. I looked at my Remy, he looked at me and I was grateful to be there for only an ear infection. I know the day will come when I have a much more difficult decision to make, but not today. Thank God it's not today.

Our vet came out to tell us that there was definitely bacteria present and we were given an antibiotic along with an ointment to help with the pain. If he's not greatly improved by Monday, he will have to be sedated so that his ear can be flushed out. Keeping fingers crossed that the medicine works quickly and is all he needs.

I brought Remy back to work with me as it was the end of the day and I wanted to avoid making another trip home before I finished what I needed for an hour or so. This delighted him beyond words. A new place, with new smells and people crowding around lavishing attention on him? Any time he gets to be treated like the the rock star that he truly is makes his day. At my desk, he laid down next to me and received compliments on what a Good Boy he is. I was actually astounded that he was so well behaved, but I pretended that he is always like that. Remy? Oh yes, he is a Very Good Boy. He never jumps spastically, never licks uncontrollably or uninvited, never makes a peep. Wink, wink.

I am completely, ridiculously in love with my dogs. They are an endless source of comfort to me now. I ask next to nothing of them. Going potty outside and staying off the couch isn't too much to ask, is it? All they ask from me is to be allowed to snuggle, cover me in kisses and if I wouldn't mind sharing a bite of meat or cheese now and then. It's really the most uncomplicated relationship and the most rewarding. I think it's also the most unequal as they give me far more than I give them. I will never be deserving of the sheer joy with which I am greeted or the deep, deep love I see in their eyes.

So I will make the trips to the vet. Clean the dog hairs off of my clothes, my sheets, the floor. I will pay for medicine. I will pay for vaccines. I will clean up "accidents." Because it is a privilege being in their lives, an honor to be so loved and so trusted. Because it's the least I can do. Because the day will come when I can't and I will have to say goodbye.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sifting

The dust is finally starting to settle. The pieces float slowly to the floor around me. I begin to examine them now. The memories, images, conversations. The judgments, accusations, the unfinished sentences. Laughter and tears. Shame and kindness.

I feel the need to organize it all somehow. If I can put it all into little compartments with proper labels then maybe it will make sense to me. But how? Which are real, the truth, authentic? What is false and what has fooled me? What stays in my heart and what should be discarded forever?

I wonder if it matters. Sometimes I think it never did. And I wish it didn't, but it matters to me. It matters a lot.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Visions of Sugar Plums

We have arrived at the culmination of the dance year - The Nutcracker. This is D's seventh year in ballet and seventh performance. It is easy to see her progression through the other dancers, from the tiny mice to the waltzing flower she has become to the Sugar Plum Fairy she aspires to be. There are also the many hairstyles I have had to learn - who knew I was required to have hairdresser skills? The soldier bun covered by the hat was the easiest. The ringlets of the polka girls were the worst, I finally got them right for the last performance. This year I am sneaking by with the french braid, although I do wish I had practiced more with my Barbies as a kid.

Oh, yes. So many memories. Waiting each season to see what role she will get (she handled the disappointment of not getting Clara much better than I did), the gift-buying for her fellow dancers, the hours of rehearsal, the backstage dramas, the excitement of performing and the huge letdown she feels each year after the last performance. There are the tangible items too - the souvenir playbills I tuck away each year, always taking an extra copy for her. She also receives every year from me a ballerina ornament, knowing someday she will take this collection with her to hang on her own tree. I imagine her as a young adult, unwrapping and hanging them in first a small apartment and then later, sharing them with her own daughter.

I went to watch her evening performance. It is an odd sensation watching your child do something that you cannot. Where does her grace come from? Her sense of self? I spill food on myself regularly, trip and bump into objects I can see clearly. Am terrified to get up in front of a group of people, let alone move in a coordinated fashion across a stage. My child though, floats among the other dancers with a smile of utter serenity and confidence. This is her spot in the sun and I can only share in it by being an observer.

When I dropped her off for warm-ups in the afternoon I repeated the phrase I often tell her before practice, "Dance your heart out!" I usually say it as sort of a joke but this time it was through choked back tears because I knew that she would. And that someday she will dance away from me into her own life.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Signs

This news article caught my eye today. I was on my honeymoon on Maui, lying on the beach, when my then-newlywed husband informed me that he lost his wedding ring. He had just applied sunscreen and then went out for a swim in the ocean and when he got out he realized that his ring was gone. It had simply slipped off his finger without his notice. I panicked, I cried, I was completely distraught. A nice man tried to console me while my groom put on his goggles and fruitlessly searched the ocean floor for the symbol of our pledged love. I all but bit the nice man's head off in my hysteria. I feared it was a sign that we weren't meant to be together.

We are no longer married.
Maybe I should pay attention to signs more often.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Halloween Happiness

Just a quick update here, Daddy Dearest is in town so I have obligations this weekend. But I did want to mention what Halloween is like when you actually go OUT. I can't believe I've never been out on Halloween before (well, there was that one time in Santa Barbara when I ditched the blind people but I was underage so it doesn't count) and it was a Friday, I found myself free for the evening, why the hell not?

I don't know if it was because it was a Friday, or if it's always like this but this town was full of some of the best costumes I have ever seen. I wish I could have hit all the goings-on, there just isn't enough time in one evening. And I never say that about Bend. Here are a few of my favorite costumes -

Clockwork Orange guy
the syringe.
GEICO caveman tennis player - loved him!!
fat Geisha
Guy with the baby - costume wasn't much, but the creepy fake baby was totally cool!
Reno 911 guy - nice dancing too, dude.

And note to the ladybug who threw dirty looks at me for an hour- you're cute, blond and skinny. No reason to be a ladybitch.

Next year Halloween is on a Saturday. If I go out, I am going to have to be a little more creative than I have in the past. Thanks everyone for being so entertaining this year!!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Sleepless Nights

I haven't been sleeping well at all the past week. It appears the "homeless" don't rest so easily. During these nights there must be an hour or two at least where I do sleep because I have the most bizarre, vivid dreams. The following are some images from these dreams. Analyze all you want, but I've already reached the conclusion that I am insane. Certifiably so.

Going on a "field trip" with coworkers to some type of aquarium. I pet sting rays with enormous black eyes that jumped out of their pool to get to me.
Cardboard lockers to use for one day.
Trying to get to someone at midnight but it was already daylight so I feared I wouldn't make it in time.
A yard full of dogs I had to find homes for.
The home of my best friend in elementary school. She didn't live there anymore, but I walked in to take a look, met the new owner and thought about how much it had changed. The new owner had added a pool. In the same dream I saw the mother of my other best friend.

On another note I believe the break-up diet may finally have hit, considering I threw up my leftover Thai food last night. Goody for me.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Beached Boston

I can deny it no longer. Not after yesterday. My pretty pretty princess puppy has become a porky plump piggy puppy. She beached herself on the console between my car seats trying to get from the backseat to the front. By beached, I mean she landed on the console and couldn't move herself off of it. She wiggled and shimmied a bit and then just gave up, her girth doubled, spreading out between the seats. She looked up at me with her big, round brown eyes, and I was a bad mommy. I laughed. I couldn't help it, and I can't describe it well enough that you, the listener (or reader, if you're picky), would laugh with the same gusto that I did. I laughed until I cried. My funny little clown puppy.

It's diet time. I already bought weight loss food, and have increased our walks. I've seen a big difference in Remy, he is quite slim now. It seems that females of other species have as much trouble losing weight as their human counterparts. I'm not too hopeful that she'll make much progress before winter hits and I begin to hibernate. At least I'll have some comic relief when the weather is bringing me down.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Things I Believe

I've been thinking a lot lately about what I believe in and what I should believe in. The world in general as of late seems turned upside down so often and my own world particularly so. I suppose I want to make sense of the things I don't understand. I want to find a foundation that isn't continuously shifting underneath my feet. So I made a list. I like lists. It's my list and I don't expect everyone to agree with it, but these are the things that make sense and mean something to me. They're also not overly serious as there is enough seriousness going on lately. Finally, I should also note that just because I believe that something can happen, doesn't mean I believe it will happen to me. Obviously, at my age, being married for 50 years is out of the question. Unless there really is a fountain of youth, but I don't believe there is.

Anyway, this is My List. In no particular order.

Kids change your life and sometimes who you are.
People who don't like dogs can't be trusted.
People who don't want kids are also questionable.
True love exists.
Bad kissers aren't worth it.
Miracles happen.
It's okay to cry.
Christmas is a good time to fall in love.
Santa Claus is real.
A hug can change your day.
Watching movies on the couch all day is time well spent.
It is possible to be married for 50 years.
Reading is one of life's greatest luxuries.
Music is essential.
Fruity drinks are for wimps.
Animals have feelings. And opinions.
Some things can only be explained by the existence of evil.
Everyone should see the ocean at least once in life.
The right pair of shoes can bring joy.
Food is love.
Southern hospitality is underrated.
A man dedicated to his family is always the sexiest man in the room. Hands down.
Affection is absolutely necessary.
Writing is a gift.
Theater, concerts, dance and art are fundamental to the soul.
Photographs tell a story.
A kiss that leaves you breathless should be a daily occurrence.
Bread and cheese is a meal. A good one.
True friendship is rare and should be treasured.
Wishes do come true.
Memories fade too quickly and sometimes not quickly enough.
Disneyland is the happiest place on earth.
High school is not the best years of your life.
Hearts can literally break.
Wine is an experience.
Everything is temporary.

Unimaginable

Yesterday at work we were notified of a tragedy that happened to a family member of our Big Boss. It has since been reported on KTVZ.

I can't imagine going through this experience in any way. Not as a parent, not as a spouse, not as a victim. It is horrific that evil like this exists in the world. At the very least let it serve as a reminder that life is short. Hug your loved ones a little tighter today. And help if you can.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Homeless

That’s how I feel lately. Sure, I live in a house, I’m not actually out on the street. But it’s really just a building, a shelter from the elements, a place to put my Stuff. It doesn’t feel like Home, even with all of my Stuff. Even with D. Even with the dogs. Because D isn’t always there and there are still a couple of people missing from the equation.


When I was in Portland for a conference last week, I was suddenly hit with feeling homesick. Being hit is exactly what it feels like too. It’s not just a little emotion, or a distant longing. It’s a physical, near-tangible feeling, as if someone dropped a coat of sadness on me and I can’t take it off. I sat for a few minutes wondering where it came from. I wasn’t alone, I was with people. I was even having fun. At first I thought maybe it was because I couldn’t completely be myself. I was with coworkers and my boss and, even though we were in a relaxed setting and not talking business, there’s still a level of professionalism to maintain.


After I got back to my hotel room, I realized that what I was and am missing is a home base. A place where people wait for me, where I’m missed. A place that wraps me in comfort and love, like a favorite, well-worn blanket the moment I step in the door. That is what home is to me, a place filled with people to love and be loved by.


Now when I have “guests” there is a level of formality and awkward politeness. It makes me uneasy, the absence of familiarity. Families don’t play host to each other. Families just are.


Tonight I’ll return to my house. It needs to be cleaned and dinner needs to be made. The dogs need to be fed. There are plenty of domestic chores to perform and take up my time. I will hug D when I arrive and again at bedtime. I can pretend it feels like home for a few minutes, especially for D, but I know I’m not really there yet.


Until then it feels like I’m just drifting, waiting for a place to land.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sushi, a Skeleton and Crazy People

D and I went to Seattle this weekend. It was a trip that I planned after L and I told her we were separating. Her little heart broke right in front of us to I wanted to give her something to look forward to. We haven't talked much about how she feels once we moved, she has seemed her usual cheerful self. When I asked her on the drive up if she misses the boys she said she does and that she is "a lot sad" on the weekends when we would have our pizza/movie nights. Yeah. I have holes in some of my days like that. It also seems my little bugaboo has developed her own coping mechanisms. She kept commenting that she could now push all of the elevator buttons and didn't have to share the backseat or any part of the hotel room with The Boy. When I asked "But don't you have fun going places with him?" she replied, "Yes. That's why I have to think of reasons to be happy he's not here." I do that too. I can order whatever pizza I want now but it's not quite the same.

So we filled our weekend with food, walking, more food, and more walking. We saw quite a few homeless crazy people which D was really disturbed by. They were her reason for deciding that she wouldn't like to live in Seattle. I guess I can't blame her. One poor man was lying twisted and unconscious on the sidewalk in the middle of the day. I'm still not sure he wasn't dead. Yikes.

We started Friday night at Wasabi Bistro for sushi. We ordered too much food because it all sounded so good and it was delicious. We couldn't eat half of it and then lamented the fact that there was no refrigerator in our room. Wasted sushi? That's a crime. D would have gladly eaten it for breakfast the next day. There's no such thing as breakfast food, anything will do.

Saturday we were off to the dollhouse miniature show. Never having gone before, I wasn't sure what to expect but I was silly-excited about it. It wasn't as big as I expected and I wish there were more completed dollhouse displays, but it was really cool. And quite overwhelming for a beginner such as myself. There were tiny teddy bears, tiny plants, teeny tiny cookies and cakes, teensy boxes of band aids and toilet paper, dolls, dresses, working lamps, dishes and quilts. And I do mean tiny. My back was sore from bending down to examine the teeny tiny, teensy weensy, itty bitty cereal boxes and bags of dog food. Anything you might find in your house was there in miniature form.

What, out of two conference rooms of this tiny merchandise, did I choose to purchase? Not what I thought I would. It was overwhelming and I couldn't think of what my as-yet-unfinished house would need. A plate of cookies for the table? A painting for the wall? A cat curled up on the bed? Nothing was quite special enough. And then I saw her. A skeleton. She wore a black evening gown, her hair upswept, cigarette holder in hand, tiny little bony fingernails painted red, diamond earrings attached to her skull. The nice lady at the booth informed me that this was Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffany's. Holly Golightly as a skeleton? How could I not have brought her home? She's too wonderful. She won't go in a dollhouse, I decided she will have her own roombox, most likely made from a pumpkin. D and I have already planned our trip to Michael's to purchase any accessories she might require. Our next weekend together will be a "crafty" one.

After my treasure find it was off to Pike Place. We watched the fish get thrown around, smelled the huge flower bouquets, ate crab pizza and shopped until we dropped. We also ran into two of the cutest Boston Terriers - one black, one brown. Two is definitely enough for me, but if I ever came across a brown one to adopt, I think my little family would have to grow to three. Of course we had to stop and visit and get the puppy kisses that we were missing from our own. They were more than happy to oblige too - the black one was typically Boston-exuberant as he bruised my lip when he jumped up to reach me. Assaulted by a Boston. I couldn't really complain.

Dinner was at McCormick and Schmick's on the Lake Union Harbor. We dined on calamari, salmon and halibut in a mushroom cream sauce while choosing which yacht we would like to take out for a spin. Of course I'll buy a better one when I win the lottery.

Saturday night was the experience of The Phantom of the Opera. D has been in love with the movie for several months so this was the real reason for our weekend trip. Unfortunately, our seats were in the very back but that was the only drawback. The Paramount Theater is gorgeous, I've never seen anything like it - elaborately carved walls, chandeliers hanging from the ceiling - it's like going back in time. And it was the perfect setting for the Phantom. I had never seen it before, not the play or the movie. It was everything that everyone said it would be. Definitely worth the drive and the encounters with crazy homeless people and even the $60 I paid to park everywhere we went.

Sunday morning we visited the Space Needle, whose elevator reminds me of the glass elevator in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Luckily, our elevator ride stopped after 41 seconds and we didn't go crashing through the ceiling to fly over the city. We were very fortunate to have clear, blue skies and could see for miles and miles. In fact, we were told that the view of Mt. Baker is something they get only 60 days a year.

After our safe descent back to solid ground we decided we'd had enough adventures for one weekend and it was time to head home. We made a couple of pit stops for frappuccinos and tacos and a brief visit to Ikea to purchase the Audrey Hepburn print I have been coveting for the last three months. She is now hanging happily over my bed. We got our fill of puppy kisses from our own bouncing Bostons, each forced ourselves to do our homework like good girls and then it was off to bed, exhausted but happy. Happily planning our next trip!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Boston Bitch Party

Last night was my first get-together with other Bostons and their owners. I think it was a little short notice for some as we ended up with two humans and three dogs, plus me and my two beasts. I knew it would be a little unorganized to start with and dogs aren't always predictable so it was actually nice to start with a smaller group.

Lulu was the first to arrive, along with her brother Tank, but their mom was a little worried that he might be aggressive and left him in the car at first. Lulu is like a tiny gazelle, thin with long legs and skittish with dogs she doesn't know. That's okay, it's a lady's right to be choosy. Ruby takes this right of choice to extremes, however. She made it perfectly clear in no uncertain terms that Lulu was not welcome in her house, in her yard, around her brother, around her mom, around me or anywhere else on the planet. I knew she was a bitch. I didn't know that she's a Bitch. She was exiled to her crate, where through the open window I could hear her growling, whining and snorting her displeasure over the trespasser in her kingdom.

Remy was a perfect gentleman, as I knew he would be. Even with all of his excitement at having a guest and someone new to play with, he knew to take it easy with Miss Lulu. He bounced, he jumped, he barked "Let's play!" but always backed off if he got snapped at. His sensitive behavior was enough encouragement to give Tank a try at playing. Tank was not interested in playing for several minutes. His mission was to sniff every inch of the yard, showing his appreciation for certain spots by peeing on them. Remy's job at this point was to follow Tank around the yard, sniffing his butt and re-peeing over said spots.

Frank Sinatra arrived during the Pee Session. Frank is adorable. He turned out to be the oldest of the group, having just had his fourth birthday, and also the smallest. He is compact, wonderfully smushy-faced and can throw some dirty looks like I've never seen a dog do before. Especially when he's looking in the house and wondering why there is no doggy door like he has at his house. It was enough to shame me. Really.

It was about this time that Tank started to relax and play with Remy. Most of his play consisted of barking, growling and humping Remy's face, all of which seemed to embarrass his mom to no end. I am used to Remy being face-humped by Ruby so that didn't phase me but I did start to wonder if there's something about him that attracts face-humpers. Frank wasn't really interested in any of this, he wanted to play with the toys in the yard and that made Lulu unhappy and caused her to be sent to time-out in Mom's truck. Remy and Tank continued their odd, borderline sex play. When D came home Frank adopted her lap as his place to sit and contented himself there for most of the rest of the evening.

After Tank and Lulu said their goodbyes, Frank's dad said he'd like to meet Ruby. We decided it might be best to let the two of them try meeting without the distraction of Remy. She did better than I thought, although she tried a couple of times to make him believe she'd kill him. Such viciousness coming out of that 20 pound body! So unladylike. So unbecoming of a princess. Frank returned to the safety of D's lap and Ruby took out her frustrations on the nearest pine cone.

All in all, I think it was a successful evening. Remy was happy to have guests and earn the title of Best Dog for the evening and Ruby was happy to see them go and endured the title of Bitchy Bitch. I'm sure next time they'll do better. It's not always easy to make new friends and I suppose dogs are no exception.

And once in a while it's okay to be a Bitchy Bitch.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

It is the best of times, it is the worst of times...

These are odd times right now. In some ways, they are the very best and it's hard to explain that to anyone. There seems to be this expectation from people that L and I are at each other's throats and miserable every minute. That isn't the case for the majority of the time. I definitely have my meltdown moments and those are hard to get through. Sunday was one of those days. Packing and separating our belongings seemed to suddenly make it all too real and final and by the end of the day I just lost it. I cried until I couldn't breathe anymore. I cried until I threw up. Until my eyes were virtually swollen shut. I looked pretty the next day, let me tell you.

But then there are the lazy float days and the evenings by the fire and my birthday and I'm surprised to find that we somehow feel closer than before. It's as if I'm falling in love with him for real for the first time, rediscovering who he is. This seems cruelly unfair, given the circumstances, but at the same time I am so grateful to have this experience.

I know there are more crying days ahead. Seeing the house finally empty and those first nights alone are the ones that I dread the most. Somehow, though, these latest special moments help reaffirm that this is what is best for us. That we are on the right path. Wherever it may lead us.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Unraveling

I hesitate to let this out yet, to make public something so personal to me. I know the questions will come though, and I don't have the mindset right now to deal with them directly. Instead I'll spill the pieces of my heartbreak into the vast regions of cyberspace, in the hope that my words will filter into smaller bytes, reduced to the smallest electrical current that a fly wouldn't feel, much less my heart.

Last week L and I made a decision. He'd probably say that I made it and, in the interest of self preservation, I suppose I did. We are going our separate ways. I won't speak for him or disclose information he may consider private and, as much as I want to blame him so that I have someone to be angry with, I can't. It just turns out to be an impossible situation. What I want isn't what he needs so it's time to let go. It just hurts. A lot.

There are those few peaceful seconds between sleeping and waking before I feel the clutch of my heart and lose my breath and realize nothing will be the same again. My stomach remains knotted throughout the day. I want to cry until there's nothing left, as if the tears could wash away any and all memory. Alternately, I'd like to be drunk every day, blissfully, numbingly intoxicated, until one day I wake up to a different life. I have the luxury of neither.

My mind is filled with eight years of happy memories, all of the things I will miss. Sure there were bad times, quite a few and some of them were just Ugly. I choose not to define our relationship that way, knowing there is a reason we lasted eight years. I won't miss those bad times, but I will miss our trips out of town, bread and cheese and wine nights, playing cards, holidays and being with someone who can always make me laugh and always knows when to hold me. I will miss being a family, the one thing I value most in life. The loss is overwhelming, no wonder I can't breathe.

I know I will be alright. I hear my mom's voice in my head over and over - "Everything happens for a reason." Throw in any other tired old cliche here you'd like. They're cliche because they're true. My heart just isn't listening right now.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

"I think my heart chose this for me..."

My daughter is 12 today. My Lovebug, Stinkbug, Bugabooga. I always feel a little melancholy on her birthday, looking back at how she's changed over the years, how she's grown. The time gets longer, the changes more dramatic.

I have never been more in love with anyone than I was with that child the minute she was born. It wasn't an easy birth either. She wasn't ready to be born and fought it for 52 hours. It was exhausting and at one point I was ready to agree with her and postpone it, if only to get a few hours of sleep. Sleep now, have baby another day. And then there she was - this miraculous, wondrous, tiny little creature. I would have cried had there been any amount of moisture left in my body with which to create a tear or two. She cried for both of us, although she really meant it as a complaint at being pushed out into the brightness of the outside world.

I couldn't get enough of her. When we were home, I placed her gently in her crib, with the chosen Winnie the Pooh blankets to soften her slumber. That lasted all of two minutes. I couldn't stand to have her in another room, away from me. It might as well have been another planet, that distance from her bedroom to the living room. So out she came, back into my arms, only so I could look at her for hours at a time. I was completely and utterly smitten.

It's not like I have grown less in love with her as she's grown. It's more like my love has had to accommodate itself to fit the person she is becoming. She's a lot like me, which has its good and bad points. I find that the things that I don't like in myself I abhor in her. Our likenesses cause us to clash, much in the way that like ends of a magnet will repel each other. Sometimes the pod is too close for the comfort of the two peas trying to exist in it.

I thought she would never learn to walk, which was actually okay with me at the time. When she did start standing and walking, she would never just fall on her bottom when she started to topple. No, my stubborn little child would fight to hold on until the very end, keeping her back straight so that she always landed flat and on the back of her head. I didn't want to be one of those moms that always ran to their crying child. She's a girl and I'm very conscious of the feeling that she needs to be tougher than a little teardrop to make it in the world. So she cried the first few times, figured out that wouldn't get her anywhere, and then got up and started over again.

Some of these lessons have backfired as she now fights to the end for everything with me. She has gotten to be quite adept at negotiating. This must work better on her father, sometimes dads can be easy that way. I can't blame her for trying though. I'd be so proud of her if only she would use this skill for good and not her own evil desires.

And now I feel like we have entered the Milestone years. Elementary school has come and gone. Middle school and every frightening thing that entails has started. She got braces last fall. I have glimpses of the beginnings of hormones with eye rolls and heavy sighs. Her good grades didn't come as easy this year as social activities took prevalence over being a "good girl." It seemed easier when I only had to worry about her falling on her head. The fall now is so much farther and potentially so much more painful, for both of us.

I sometimes forget how much fun she is, which breaks my heart every time I think that. Yesterday was a good day. We went to Portland to get her feet fitted for her first pair of pointe shoes. As she stood at the bar on the tips of her toes in her little dancer pose, the muscles in her legs trembling, I was surprised to find a tear had escaped and was slipping down my cheek. I forget sometimes too, how much pride I take in her achievements. She was absolutely glowing all day, gazing lovingly at her silky pink shoes.

Afterwards, we went to lunch to celebrate. She decided to try the snow crab legs, which isn't a surprise as her tastes lean towards the more expensive end of the menu. Corn dogs? Grilled cheese? No thank you. But steak, salmon, sushi or calamari she will eat any day of the week. She learns how to crack open the shells to find the sweet, tender crab meat inside. Some people find this process too laborious and not worth it. Not my daughter. As she's cracking the last leg she says, "I think my heart chose this for me because it knew I would like it." Why yes, my little epicurean apprentice, some foods do feed our hearts and souls as well as our stomachs. My heart and my stomach both were full on the drive home.

So on this, your 12th birthday, my darling, loving, exasperating, frustrating, silly child, I don't think I could have said it better than that. I think that my heart chose you for me because it knew I would love you.

Happy Birthday.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Yo Momma!

I must share this precious gem of a blog with you. Pure genius.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

On behalf of Bob Barker...

I took my little Ruby Tuesday in to be spayed today. She's 16 months old and I meant to have it done sooner, but I'm a bad mom. She has now been through two heats which makes her untouchable and unlovable to everyone but me and a virtual prisoner in her crate for two weeks plus. It makes her a very sad panda.

I was nervous dropping her off this morning. Yes, it's routine, but it's still surgery. I spared no expense - yes, do the blood work and physical beforehand. Yes, do the catheter. Whatever makes it easier and safer for her. Nothing is too good for my Pretty Pretty Princess Puppy.

The vet called twice. The first time she started off saying how cute little Ruby is, to which I responded with an unapologetic "I know." I mean, Duh. Anyone can see that. Of course now I realize she was just softening the blow of telling me that she needed two teeth pulled, baby teeth that hadn't come out on their own. Yes, yes, whatever my princess needs.

The second call was to tell me that surgery went well, but that her uterus and one of her ovaries was extremely larger than normal, most likely infected. She mentioned something about a pyometra, some condition that could possibly kill her if she was permitted to go into another heat. It's a little unsettling when your vet repeats "I'm so glad you brought her in when you did." I promptly looked up pyometra when I got back to the office (this link describes the condition fairly graphically - click at your own risk.) I cannot describe to you the depths of my mommy guilt now.

Oh, and remember the "no expenses spared"? Oh yes, one tooth pulled, one spay, one x-ray, one microchip, one catheter, one physical exam, one IV, two prescriptions and $476 later..... Pretty Pretty Princess Puppy indeed!

The moral of the story, boys and girls? "Help control the pet population; have your pet spayed or neutered." Good old Bob.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

¿Dónde está el baño?

As a woman, I spend much of my time in the restroom and always like to know where to find the closest, cleanest toilet. When I was pregnant, I was frequenting the ladies' room so often I could map out every one in town as well as along any route to Portland, including Washington Square.

Now, notice I said I like to find the 'cleanest.' This isn't always easy and there is a wide variety of hygienic standards, ranging across the board from gas station grossness to the posh powder room with rows of perfumes and the lady who sits there all day waiting to turn on the faucet for you. Personally, those are my least favorite. Knowing there's someone out there listening to me pee and then treating me like an invalid when I'm done. I can't look her in the eye, but that somehow makes me feel like an elitist old hag. And do I tip because she did something I'm perfectly capable of doing for myself? It's just uncomfortable all over the place for me.

Now, sometimes the restroom stereotype doesn't always hold true. Take, for example, the gas station we rolled into on our last trip to Victoria, somewhere in Washington. It was around 4 a.m. and the prospect of using a gas station restroom at that time wasn't exactly appealing. However, such a pleasant surprise awaited us. Clean! A lovely, burning scented candle! Pretty pictures! Bible verses on the mirror? On second thought.....

And then there are the places that one would expect much from only to be sorely disappointed. One restaurant in town, which shall remain nameless (just think of the place with notoriously bad service - aka snotty waiters), graced me with one of my worst experiences ever. It was a wine-tasting night out for the girls. Lovely evening - wine, cheese, chocolate. When we were done, of course a trip to the ladies' room was in order. The restroom, unfortunately, was out of order. Really out of order. The floor was flooded, the guilty toilet filled to the rim. We had to skip that one. I walked to my car in the cold, dreaming of my nice, warm, dry bathroom at home.

Finally, there is the Spoon. I am not a fan of the Spoon. Recently my girlfriends and I went to High Tides for lunch. A bottle of wine, some Thai soup, luxury on a Friday! Until I needed to use the restroom. With the key. Hanging on a spoon. Non-gender specific. I somehow don't feel clean carrying around the Spoon. Just because I wash my hands afterward and use a paper towel to open the door doesn't mean everyone else does. And the spoon negates any handwashing because who knows who had it before you? Yeah, not a fan.

Restaurants, please take notice. You are being judged on the quality of your restrooms. Please clean them. Make them smell pretty. And please, I beg of you. Eliminate the Spoon.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Simple Request

I'm not antisocial and I'm not a hermit. I'm just not a fan of the spontaneous drop-by. I don't think it's so much to ask that someone call before they come over. Please, people. I'm giving you fair warning now - I won't answer the door if you just show up unannounced.

It's social etiquette, really. I might not have makeup on or have my hair done or don't feel like putting on my bra. If I'm not getting dressed to see people, I don't want to be seen by you at my front door. I might be in the middle of making dinner, which I don't want to have to let sit and get cold and dry because you have bad timing and don't observe normal dinner hours. I might be having a really bad day and don't feel like having to be unexpectedly cordial. I might be in the middle of a really great movie, or a much needed nap or yelling at my kid or having sex. It is my house, after all. And it's very rude to stand outside my door, ringing my doorbell multiple times because you hear my dogs barking and see my car outside. It's presumptuous to think that I'm going to drop whatever I'm doing because you want to insert yourself into my day.

So please. Heed my simple request. I appreciate the thought, but call first.
 
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