Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Real New Year's Resolutions

Admit it. Resolutions are stupid. People only make them so they can sound like they're really good people and have high aspirations of being the Perfect Human. But it's such a joke. Really. How many people have really quit smoking, lost weight, gotten out of debt because of their resolutions? Not me. I do not have the body I want, I'm constantly and continuously broke. New Year's resolutions are not the magic answer to Life's problems.

I have decided that New Year's resolutions should be about something you can actually do. Or will do. Then you'll feel like you've actually accomplished something. And you can feel good about it. Like two or three years ago, I made a resolution to drink more. And you know what? I did!!! I also resolved to take better care of my skin the same year. I think that making only one or two resolutions is the key to success. Really, ten is just too many. One or two is enough for anyone. If you accomplish those two in a year, then feel free to add more the next year. Resolutions should boost your ego, not tear you down. That's what the rest of the year is about. Or having a job. Or living with a teenager. I've said this before, but I will take my ups where I can get them.

Anyhoo, I have a single resolution this year. Okay, more like one resolution with sub-resolutions. I initially resolved to learn to make Hollandaise sauce and pie crust. I've been scared of both ever since I started cooking and I realize how much I am missing out on. I've never made a cherry or apple pie because I firmly believe they can only be made with a homemade pie crust. And as much as I love and critique Eggs Benny wherever I go, I should know how to make them myself.

Yes, my resolution is about eating. Who doesn't eat? Usually people want to eat less. Understandable, but it's not really going to happen. Sure, anyone can eat less for a month or so, but we're talking about a whole year. Twelve months. 365 days. It's a long time to try to do anything less. So I'm not trying to do it less. I'm just trying to do it better. Of course when I thought about it, I realized that I could reach my goal in the first month. Or at least get a really good head start. So I expanded a bit. I am now going to tackle one food-oriented goal a month. I don't know what they all are yet. There will be twelve. I know the summer months will be spent on perfecting the art of the barbecue. I know I'll fit in creme brulee somewhere. The rest I'll post as I come up with them.

The downside is that I now realize how scant my cooking supplies are. I will say now that I will not be offended by getting any cooking gifts for the entire year. The short list - I need a tart pan, torch, crock pot, lemon zester and food processor. I'd be blissfully happy with kitchen gifts all year long, but I'm not stupid. I'll never turn down a pair of shoes. Or a new TV. I just receive graciously like that. It's just who I am.

I think this will be my best resolution ever. Who can't eat more? Who doesn't want to eat better? Better as in taste. Sometimes less is not more.

Happy New Year!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I Am a Super Genius!

Alright, maybe not totally super genius, but I’m still feeling pretty brilliant. Or at least sorta smart. Kind of smart-cookie-ish. I know, somebody will think of the obvious way before I did, but just keep it to yourself please and let me have my small moments.

I must warn you before you go any further this is not a pretty story at all. It’s really pretty gross so if you have a weak stomach at all, I suggest you stop reading now.

Still reading? Well, I warned you…...

My pretty piggy hipppopupamus princess puppy, Ruby, has a very nasty habit. (See? Dogs are gross. There’s still time to stop.) She has taken to dining on poop for breakfast on an almost daily basis. I’ve no idea if it’s her own poo or her brother’s, but it is most definitely poo. She comes to the door happily licking her little whiskered lips so I know what she’s been up too. Her skunky, stinky breath is another telltale sign that can’t be missed.

Now, poop eating is gross enough. I already want to gag. But it doesn’t stop there. Because that would of course be too easy. And life with dogs isn’t easy. No, Ruby not only eats poo, but it of course upsets her stomach and she pukes it back up. In the house. Which I then have to clean up. I am extremely lucky that I don’t have an oversensitive gag reflex or I’d probably just have to move out of my house and have it condemned.

On Sunday she spent most of the entire day throwing up. Only it wasn’t like her regular gross puke. This puke smelled like the most rotten, dead, foul thing imaginable. This was beyond gross. I banished her to her crate for the day and lit every scented candle and opened every window. It was so horrible that I didn’t know if it was just gross or a symptom of some unknown health issue she might have. I was disgusted and worried. Great combination. She seemed fine when I got home the next day, so I went ahead and chalked it all up to her just being a Very Gross Dog. And sure enough, the next morning she was back to her breakfast of shit sausage.

I’ve pretty much had it at this point. I really can’t spend the rest of her life cleaning up poop vomit and avoiding her like the plague. I thought about following her out every morning so that I can yell at her when she gets the wrong end of her body next to a pile of something undesirable. But let’s be real. When it’s freezing in the morning, me taking a step outside just isn’t happening. And then I had the Best Idea Ever. Give her actual dog food for breakfast!!!

So last night I gave the dogs half of their normal meal. Half because Ruby is enough of a hippopupamus. She doesn’t need to gain anymore weight for Pete’s sake! I think they weren’t too happy about it and then I tortured them with baths and nail trims afterwards, so I probably wasn’t their favorite person last night. Then again, I was the only person in the house so take that, dog suckas!! Anyway, I’m sure I was forgiven for the dinner slight last night because they got breakfast this morning. I swear they acted like it was the greatest thing that ever happened to them. Like Christmas came early. (You know, that would have a better impact if I was writing this in July. Okay, like it had been their lifelong dream to have breakfast. Better?) The best part of all?? No poop eating!! (Insert sound of angels singing.) Ruby went outside and returned, not licking her little puppy lips, not with vile, stinky breath, but just doing a little happy dance and wagging her entire body. She makes up greatly for not having a real tail to wag.

That’s it. Nothing that will save the world or even a single person’s life. It won’t end world hunger or change the economy. But I don’t care. It will save my carpets. And my sanity. What’s left of it, anyway. It’s my little Christmas gift to myself. Yay me!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I'm a Wordsmith Wonder.

I invented a new word today. It's awesome. Really. And very useful. No doubt you will find yourself using it in no time. Just remember where you first heard it. I insist on getting credit.

Nakedtive adverb, noun -
Having a bad feeling or embarrassment about being naked.

Let's use it in a sentence. "He left the lights on during their lovemaking despite her nakedtivity." Or I could say, "I am less nakedtive about my breasts than I am about my potbelly."

See? It's easy!

I will now begin my campaign to get nakedtive added to Webster's.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Once Upon a Time I Loved the Snow

The bitter cold and below zero temperatures last week brought back so many memories for me. It’s a little ironic that they’re really good memories, considering how much I hate the cold, but what can I say? I take the bright spots where I can get them these days.

Jenny was one of my two best friends in elementary school. She lived on Silver Tree Lane. I love that name. Her mom was a teacher and very petite. She had dark hair, styled like Dorothy Hamill’s, and very little feet. I think they were a size 5. She wore heels all the time (wedges and espadrilles that have since come back in fashion) and we would raid her closet and stumble around in her tiny heels whenever she wasn’t home. Her parents were divorced but seemed to get along really well. Her mom drove a VW bug that took us to the beach many times over several summers. She also had a boyfriend who drove an old BMW. One of those tiny, little boxy ones. (I don't know what it means that I remember their cars so well, I just do.) His name was something like Dale and he was tall and dorky and we laughed at him behind his back.

Jenny’s dad had remarried and his wife’s name was Gretchen. Gretchen’s mother was quite old and very German. I met her once or twice and she was lovely but I never understood a word she said through her thick accent. Jenny’s dad and Gretchen owned a cabin in Wrightwood, a little town tucked in the mountains high over Los Angeles. It was a second home for them but the only home of theirs that I ever visited and it remains one of my favorite places in the world.

During the summery months we’d go to the cabin and swim in the lake. I would go back to school after a weekend at the lake proudly showing off my sunburned shoulders. It was warm and beautiful and the closest I ever got to anything resembling summer camp.

However, it was the winters at the cabin that I fell in love with. Growing up in Southern California, especially as a child, snow was a treat. It often snowed in Wrightwood during the winter, being a mountain resort town. And the cabin really was more of a cabin than a house, although chalet may be a more appropriate description. There was a small, wood-paneled kitchen with a bedroom behind it that Jenny shared with her brother when I wasn’t there. The living room had a single couch, a chair and a small fireplace. Her parents slept in the loft upstairs.

We spent our days sledding on anything we could find – trash can lids, pieces of cardboard, our coats. If it was cold enough for the lake to freeze, we’d “ice skate” around the edges, knowing the middle would never freeze solidly enough. We wandered the streets admiring the Christmas decorations put up by the more permanent residents. Once we’d had enough of frozen toes and noses we’d return to the cabin to find Gretchen waiting for us with hot chocolate or buttered noodles.

At night, we slept on the pull-out couch in the living room next to the warm fire, covered by pounds of down comforters. Having to leave that warmth to go to the bathroom in the freeze during the middle of the night was like a dare and we did it as quickly as we possibly could. We’d stay up late into the night whispering and giggling under the covers, being silly as only young girls can and are. Our favorite show to watch was The Twilight Zone and her dad would bring us movies when he went into town for groceries. One of my very favorite movies is The Elephant Man. I can’t decide if this is because the movie is really that good or because I watched it snuggled under layers of feathers with my best friend, alternately horrified and delighted at the grotesque images of a deformed man.

I haven’t heard from Jenny since my first year or two of college, we lost contact after that. I miss her and think of her often. The internet is supposed to be the great reuniter of everyone on the planet but so far it hasn’t worked for me. Google refuses to reveal her whereabouts to me.

Living with cold and snow is vastly different from visiting it. I now curse the cold for freezing my doors shut, drying my skin until it cracks and keeping me holed up in whatever warm places I do manage to find. But now and then I get a glimpse or a reminder of those weekends at the cabin and the joy that the snow and frost brought me. These are memories that I will treasure always and maybe someday Jenny and I will laugh about them again over a cup of hot chocolate.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Tutus and Tantrums

Sugar and spice and everything nice. Pink hair ribbons and ballet shoes. Bonding over ice cream and passing on my love for shoes. These are the things I envisioned when my daughter was born. I did not imagine that one day she would hate me or speak to me with such venom in her voice, as if I was the Worst Person on the Face of the Planet.

So she’s 13 and hormonal. So what? I get it. I have hormones. PMS is the bane of my existence. For at least a week out of the month I wish I lived in a different body. I don’t, however, respond to every question I am asked with hatred and condescension. My daughter does. A simple request to unload the dishwasher is met with a litany of proof of how that will ruin her life. She has homework, ballet practice, a test to study for, a life to live which does not include unloading the dishwasher at that exact moment in time. How dare I be so mean and cruel as to ask her to take five minutes out of her day to do something responsible to help me? I know. Worst Parent of the Year, right here. Damn me to hell.

That’s why this past weekend came as a surprisingly refreshing relief. Nutcracker weekend is pretty much my least favorite weekend of the year. It’s filled with hours of rehearsals, playing taxi to drive her to the “theater”, gift preparation for the other girls in her group, and a very exhausted, very depressed, very let-down child at the end of it all. Saturday morning she is literally high on adrenalin and the crash on Sunday coming down from it is painful just to watch.

I expected tantrums and diva behavior. I dreaded this year more than previous years precisely because of her thirteen-ness. I tried to head it off by reminding her of how much work it is, for me too, and that we would get through it with less scars if we could be nicer to each other. By we, of course, I meant her. And she knew it. She apologized in advance saying that sometimes she just wants to cry for no reason. I said yes, I understand. Wait until you have PMS and the feeling is at least 100 times worse. We bonded. Yay for being girls.

For the most part the weekend was a success. There was one small setback. I got a glimpse of the diva monster when I dared make a suggestion of how best to shower without washing her hair. It was over quicker than usual and I was so grateful that I didn’t point out how I was right in the first place. Even though I was and an acknowledgment would have been really nice. But, you know, whatever….

The rest of the weekend she was her little girl self that I so love. Only not so little anymore. She’s growing up. It’s odd to actually see her growth through the progression of her ballet roles. She started as a tiny mouse and even the polka girls and clowns looked so young to me. So young and silly and carefree. She’s still silly but she’s starting to lose some of her carefree spirit. I’m sad and proud at the same time. This was her first year on pointe and the first time she’s ever said she was nervous before a performance. Her first butterflies. Even when she complained that her toes felt like they were being cut from her feet, it didn’t come out as a whine. It was more of a statement of how proud she was of herself, a battle wound to be worn proudly.

As for me, I sat up a little straighter when she stepped out onto the stage. I watched her lightness on her toes and the smile on her face. I saw the young lady she is becoming and in that moment, I saw everything exactly as I had imagined it.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Rednecks and When It's Okay to Be a Complete Bitch

Dating sucks. Really sucks. Good friends do not.

My friend met a guy online and they texted for a few days. Because, apparently, texting is now the best way to get to know someone. Don’t bother calling and actually having a phone conversation for 5 to 10 minutes. Sometimes I hate technology. Anyhoo, he suggests they meet. In person - what a concept! He suggests they meet at a bar the night of the civil war game that he is going to watch with a friend. She asked me to go as backup (because who wants to meet a stranger in a bar with his buddy?) and of course I said yes. It turned out to be 45 minutes of my life that I will never get back but did inspire me to offer some advice to all of the poor souls out in the dating world.

How to make a good impression on a first date:

1. Do not be a redneck.
2. Do not imply in the first 5 minutes of meeting that your date is gay. Or, at best, a fag hag.
3. Do not be drunk.
4. Do not stubbornly and repeatedly put down your date’s college team choice. Especially when they’re not even playing at the time. What’s the point? Other than to show what a giant jackass you are.
5. Do not send texts before meeting about how much you’d really like to be in bed with your potential date. It sounds either really creepy or really insincere. Besides, it’s just tacky.
6. Do not be so drunk that you are slurring.
7. Do not repeatedly grab at your date, especially when she is sitting not facing you with her arms crossed. Learn to read body language, asshole.

How to be a good friend:

1. Always have your friend’s back.
2. Go for a pre-drink or two. It will help to calm your friend but also help to get you through 45 minutes of hell if you are buzzed. (Unless it’s freezing-ass cold outside and you immediately lose your buzz the moment you step outside.)
3. Shake the redneck’s hand with your gloves on. It sends the right message - that you think he has cooties and you don’t want them.
4. Be a total bitch to the drunk redneck.
5. Call the drunk redneck out on his inappropriate behavior/texts/questions.
6. Let it be known to the redneck that he will not be seeing your friend again. It’s worth letting him call you a few names in his head and to his friends and blaming you for not being able to call your friend again. Or text her inappropriately.
7. Get your friend out of there as soon as is humanly possible. Be the reason she has to leave if necessary. Remember, you don't give a shit what the dirty drunk redneck thinks about you. Friends come first and it is our right to be bitchy to protect them.

My work here is done. For now.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rednecks, elephants and circus mobsters

Remember going to the circus as a kid? Remember the sparkling lights and the brightly painted clowns and the beautiful, sequined lady who jumped from the back of one horse to another as they pranced in circles? Remember the trapezists floating so high in the air you thought they could really fly? Remember the brave lion tamer coaxing the big cats to stand up and leap through hoops of fire and how even the enormous elephants seemed to move with grace? Remember the scent of popcorn and cotton candy and all of the colors and laughter and how everything just seemed magical? Well, I went to the circus yesterday and it was nothing like that. Not. Even. Close.

I’ve noticed advertisements for the circus coming to town the last few years. They’ve never been very big advertisements though, and I’ve learned that, aside from Disneyland, very few things are as special and magical as I remember as a child. Then J and I saw a coupon for the circus this weekend and for some reason it sounded like a really excellent idea, something different from our usual Central Oregon weekends of walking the river trail and trying to soak up what remains of the fading summer warmth.

What a joke. It’s called Circus Gatti and their website calls them a “traditional 3 ring circus.” Granted, there were three “rings” and a “ringmaster” but that’s about where the similarities end. Remember the big top? There were no tents of any kind. Everything was set up out in the dirt where they do the rodeo during the county fair. No fancy spot lights, just the afternoon sun. It was hard to know what I was supposed to be looking at. Something actually going on in one of the rings or the trucks and trailers sitting back in the field? Or maybe all the activity going on under the one curtain set up in the middle. Really, none of it was that interesting anyway.

And the show itself? There was a single clown and he wasn’t even wearing makeup. So basically, he was just some bozo in a really bad outfit acting like he was mute. There was no trapeze. There were a couple of rings hanging from some rope that two women sort of spun around on and hung upside down from. It was no Cirque du Soleil, that’s for sure. A couple of guys wobbled up some rope to what I assume was the tight rope. One of them wasn’t too bad, he did some little hops and fancy steps, but nothing that took my breath away. The other guy was a little chubby and fell a couple of times. Not to the ground, which would have pretty much made my day, instead he ended up catching himself and trying to save face while he wiped his sweaty face with the sleeve of his shirt. Greasy. Gross.

The animals were most disappointing. There were some miniature horses that were cute but underwhelming and looked more bored with themselves than I was. The dogs were pretty cute, but I always think dogs are cute. Seriously, all my dogs have to do is open their eyes in the morning and I think they’re the greatest things in the entire world. I’m secretly amused by their farts and burps (except for the really smelly ones, but those are the silent ones anyway. Silent but deadly. I think it’s their motto.). These circus dogs were more talented than my shedding angels. They jumped over little hurdles and each other! They danced a conga line! They rode a pony! The itsy bitsy, teeny weeny Chihuahua climbed a ladder and leaped a good three feet into the trainer’s arms! Oh, yes. There is nothing left for Cesar Millan to teach these canines.

I thought all of these embarrassing little acts were leading to something. Something Big. Like a Lion. Or a Tiger. Or a Bear. Oh, my! Nope. Not even a monkey. The only big animals were the poor elephants that shuffled in sadly only to be ridden by dozens of bratty little kids who behaved worse than monkeys. Really, it was quite the scene of animal cruelty. I had to keep the tears at bay by imagining the elephant losing her freaking mind and running around stomping obnoxious children and trampling their stupid inbred parents before running off into the sunset. Seriously, nothing would have given me more joy at that moment.

Let’s not forget the music! It was like being at a really bad nightclub. Except for the slow songs that sounded like really bad porn. You know, the kind that tries to be romantic as the camera zooms in on untamed 70’s bush? Yes. It was that bad. The juggler at least tried. Sort of. If by trying you think it makes sense to throw flashy silver pins and balls to techno music, then he completely outdid himself.

This circus was totally ghetto. I didn’t want to run away with it, I wanted to run away FROM it.

Now we come to the crowd that this craptastic spectacle drew. This is where we find the real entertainment. It was an extravaganza of redneck marvels, an endless parade of white trash surprise, literally a feast for the eyes! I don’t know if I can do these people justice, but I’ll try.

We’ll start with Toothless Grandma. Her face looked like one of those shrunken apple heads they sell at craft fairs. Her outfit was simply stunning – black shirt, black pants, black high-top Reeboks all tied together with a gold lamè belt. She further accessorized this haute couture with – please stop to picture and appreciate this fully – not ONLY her key ring hanging from a belt loop, but a HOT PINK Bic lighter hanging RIGHT NEXT to it!! I really didn’t think it could get more fantastic than this, but she did it. The toothless wonder bought AND ate a plate of nachos. Nachos, people! Yes sir, she gummed those babies right before my very eyes.

Next, we come to Chester the Molester. In the living flesh. Baggy Wranglers covering his scrawny ass, long sleeved, oversized brown shirt most likely hiding all the candy he uses to lure his innocent little victims, and sporting stringy, greasy hair with the crème de la crème – a side part pattern of baldness. Yes, the part in his hair was balding and it was nicely sunburned. I watched him follow the screaming little brats as they formed the line for the elephant ride, obviously trying to pick the weakest one apart from the rest of the pack. Just creepy. Super creepy. Luckily, as far as I could tell, Chester’s attempts were thwarted that day. He probably needs a better disguise because, really, the hair was a dead giveaway.

As always, we had the big girls squeezing into too-tight jeans, proudly putting their ginormous mushroom tops on display. There was the female-looking person in a short skirt trying to walk in heels she obviously had never worn before. I wanted to ask her if she’d pooped her pants or really didn’t know how to walk in her shoes, because I couldn’t decide which it was. My favorite outfit may have been the half jeans/half skirt that was obviously hand made. The makeup didn’t disappoint either - teal eye shadow by the pound, brown lip liner with pink lip gloss, fake eyelashes with glitter. Glitter, people! In the middle of the afternoon!! In broad daylight!!

I saw more beer bellies than I could count. One gentleman, I kid you not, sat with his big gut hanging down so far it was resting on the bleacher below him. One of these redneck idiots volunteered to be a victim of the clown. The mute asshole had this loser hopping around trying to do the moon walk or running man or something. I don’t know, I couldn’t really see past his jiggling middle. It’s truly a wonder how some of these people hold themselves upright.

I’m sure I missed a ton of the other glorious exhibitions, but I was starting to lose my sight and had to leave. There’s only so much redneck splendor a normal person can take in one day and I had reached my limit.

I’m sure the circus will be back in town again next year for those of you just dying to see it. After all, the skeezy performers/mob rejects have to make money to buy their drugs and not feed their animals with somehow. Hey, it’s your choice. But you’ve been warned.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ew. Oogy. Gross.

This morning I killed the fourth black widow in my house in less than a year. Seriously, what is up with these bitches? What makes them think they’re welcome? Because they’re most definitely not.

This one was a fatty. Big and plump, her red hourglass shining like a beacon in the morning sun. She had built quite the web for herself, I don’t know why I didn’t notice it before. Other than it was in a corner of the garage I don’t normally look at. I must have left at just the right time this morning because as I was backing out of my garage on my way to work, the sun shone just so on her gigantic web and her big, black body was smack dab in the middle of it.

The only bug killing spray I have left is wasp killer, but it did the trick - knocked her out of her web and stunned her long enough for me to get a shovel to crush her with. She must have been sleeping too, because she didn’t see it coming. Ha! I left her body there as a warning to others. They’re evil little bitches though, so the next one will probably just eat her remains before finding another corner of my house to take up residence.

My skin is crawling just thinking about it. And did you know I have a bite on my butt? Yeah, one of her little relatives probably did it while I was sleeping. That’s a disturbing thought. Spiders are creepy little fuckers.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My Neurosis is Showing

Yes, I've been feeling quite neurotic lately. Yes, even more than normal. But only about one thing in particular, not life in general. Mostly. Anyhoo.....

My company sponsors its own Toastmasters club and, a few months ago, my manager suggested I join. Ha. Right. Public speaking? That means people watch me while I try to sound clever and look like I know what I'm doing. Which I never do. The thought alone makes me want to run home and crawl under a blanket until my heart stops pounding like it wants to escape from my chest.

So I must have been in an ass-kissing mood the day he invited me to a meeting because I went, under the strict condition that I wouldn't get up and speak that day. And I didn't. I did sit there getting hot flashes and sweaty armpits just from watching other people speak. Fear of public speaking? I'd say I have it. Which turned out to be the exact reason why I decided to join Toastmasters. Lately I've had this crazy idea to conquer my fears and this is a big one to get over. Big. Huge.

The first speech is called the ice-breaker and it's basically a way of introducing yourself to the group. Usually, I am my favorite subject to talk about but this was difficult. What about me did I want to share with my coworkers? My manager? I couldn't think of anything that was interesting enough to talk about for five minutes and yet wasn't over sharing or inappropriate. I finally settled on my role as a mom. It's pretty easy to talk about my kid and I "cheated" by stitching together a speech with some of the things I have written here.

When speech time came, I pretty much wanted to puke my guts out. I thought puking on the floor in front of everyone would be preferable to standing in front of everyone talking. At least it wouldn't last as long. I was afraid I'd forget a part, or freeze up completely and forget the whole thing. I imagined I'd pass out, or sweat pools under my armpits. All really unappealing, unattractive images.

Then something else happened. Yes, my voice shook like I knew it would. I almost cried three separate times. I did forget a couple of small parts, just sentences really. I was pretty much frozen in one spot, probably looking as awkward as I felt. But I got through it. I remembered the important parts, the clever phrases and witty descriptions. People laughed in the right places and I wasn't the only one with tears in my eyes at the end. I shocked the hell out of myself. That rarely happens to me.

The other members of the group give the speaker written comments at the end, feedback on what was good, what can be done better the next time. Mine said things like "You made me cry", "poignant", "Thank you for sharing so much with us", "amazing". Some people told me they couldn't believe it was my first speech, another told me that I set the bar high for myself. Wow. Shocking, definitely.

This is where my neurosis comes in. I'm not done giving speeches. I have nine more to do in this first series. I just put a ton of pressure on myself. Now I have new fear of being a one hit wonder, along with having to get up and do it all over again.

I decided almost immediately the topic for my next speech but it has taken me over a month to write it. I finally wrote it today. I'm feeling pretty good about it. I'm an expert in the subject matter so that should help. A little. I hope.

Yeah, I'm just going to take the next week and a half to memorize it and psych myself up for it. The nausea is already setting in.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Best. Weekend. Ever.

Oh, Monday. I hate Monday. Monday is not my friend. Monday means working, being inside, going back to normal eating and, worst of all, the end to my perfect weekend. Seriously. This weekend was the best ever. This weekend totally kicks all other weekends’ ass this year. Really. Here’s a quick recap. I might be forgetting a few details, but this should give you an idea of how much my weekend rocked. Try not to be too jealous.

Thursday –
What I did -
Played hooky from work to give myself a four-day weekend and went floating. D actually had a float she could carry herself and decided she loves floating now. Shopped for BBQ food. Had relaxing evening watching a movie with her after my ballet taxi duties. Snuggled with dogs.

What I ate –
Café Yumm’s Smoky in a wrap with added jalapeno-sesame salsa. Yumm…..

What I drank –
Water. (weekend prep)

Friday –
What I did –
Woke up early to see D off for the weekend. Went to the lake with M for lots of sun. Used my new cooler. Killed annoying bee-fly things. Realized I love summer so much that I would totally marry it. Really, I love it that much. Went to first Friday with M and had free wine and free jello shots. Went to 900 Wall, flirted with boys and had free Manhattans.

What I ate –
Leftover peanut chicken and noodles, Doritos, an apple, jello shots, potato fritters at 900 Wall (which are nowhere near as good as the risotto fritters that Merenda had. Boo.), the cherries in my Manhattans.

What I drank –
Water, diet coke, white wine, red wine, Manhattans (three of them. I think.)

Saturday –
What I did –
Woke up hung-over. Went to the pet parade with J and squealed over cute dogs. Walked around the park squealing over more cute dogs while giving a recap of the night before. Went floating. Laughed my butt off. Realized I was having the Most Perfect Weekend Ever. Felt the need to tell strangers how great it was. Went with J to her new boy’s parents’ house. They are like a movie family – crazy, loud and totally fun. This was a real conversation there –

New Boy’s Dad: Would you like some wine?
Me: No thank you, I brought my own for later.
New Boy’s Dad: Do you want some wine?
Me: No thank you, not right now.
New Boy’s Dad: What kind of wine do you want?
Me: Really, I’m okay right now.
New Boy’s Dad: Do you want red or white?
Me: I’ll take white. (I love people who force alcohol on me!)

Played bocce ball. I swear these people said my name at least 50 times during the game and were not at all shy about forcing me to play. “Hey, it’s your turn.” “Come on muscles!” “It’s totally up to you. No pressure though.” I did at least get the award for Most Improved During the Game. Even if I had to award it to myself. Oh, and the grandma lady? I was informed that she is “Nana” to me. I want to adopt them. I freaking love these people and I want to be them when I grow up.

Went to M’s for BBQ. Went back to J’s new boy’s place to set off fireworks. Drove to watch the butte fireworks at the crazy family’s office. Snuggled with the new boy’s dog in the back of his BMW. (Yeah, the only action I got all weekend was with dogs. But I’m totally okay with that. Dogs rock.)

What I ate –
Crackers, cheese, salami, olives, artichoke dip, seven-layer dip, mango salsa (which I could have bathed in, it was so good!), chips, veggies, ribs, corn on the cob in a tortilla, grilled pineapple, homemade cherry pie and vanilla ice cream.

What I drank –
Caramel frappuccino, white wine, vanilla whiskey and diet coke, water and a sip of a V-8.

Sunday –
Slept in, read in bed. Felt guilty about leaving my dogs all weekend and stayed home to be with them for a bit and laid out in the sun with them. Went to the Sunday concert with both Jens, met the other one’s new boy. Felt slightly jealous over my friends’ happiness but know they both totally deserve it. Hoped some of it would rub off on me. Sweated like crazy, ended up burning my new skin that had peeled. Went to another BBQ that was not the funnest part of my weekend but gave me something to laugh about. J read her sickly sweet texts from her new boy to me. Ooh’d and ah’d and felt nauseous at the same time. Drank water, sat on my couch for the first time all weekend to watch a movie, snuggled with dogs.

What I ate –
Grapes, cherries, bread with artichoke dip, wasabi peas, “intense” almonds, hot dog, cheese, Greek salad, chicken kabob, a pickle slice and a cupcake.

What I drank -
Water, rose' wine, coconut rum and coke, spiced rum and coke, water.

There is no way that next year’s 4th of July weekend can be better than this, but I’ll sure try. I love everyone who was a part of it and it was the perfect kick-off to a real summer.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

13 Candles

Tomorrow is D's birthday party. Number 13. (There's a reason people are suspicious about that number. I bet it all started from 13 year old girls.) I didn't think it was that big of a deal - some girls are sleeping over, I get a couple of pizzas, then hide out in my room with my computer and a steady supply of drinks. I didn't realize this is a Really Big Deal.

Monday night D started freaking out. She started asking over and over what activities she could do with her friends, what games they should play, what order each one should be in, where should everyone sleep, like she wanted a detailed itinerary and map of the evening. I, in my infinite stupidity, suggested she make a list. I like lists, they help me think. Her list stirred her into more of a frenzy. I didn't get it. It's just a sleepover that we're calling a birthday party. WTF?

Later that evening I asked her what the big deal is. It's not her first sleepover, it's not her first party, they're not strangers to her. Her response was, "I just want to make sure everyone is happy and has a good time. I want it to be perfect." Oh, yes. Yes, this I get. I realized that I have passed the Party Hostess With the Mostest gene on to my child. The apple does not fall far from the anal tree.

This sent me into my own frenzy, thinking that my kid deserves a cool party, I can't let her be embarrassed in front of her friends. I won't be the lame mom who gives a lame party. I have a reputation to uphold and it's not going to be ruined by a bunch of newly-branded teenagers. As if.

I spent my lunch the next day scouring the internet and the town for the perfect goody bag ideas. Goody bags? Really? Goody bags were invented for three-year-olds to coax them into giving up a birthday gift and not feel like they have to leave empty-handed. Apparently goody bags are still very much desired at this age. At any rate, I went to my friend Michael's for some crafty inspiration and got my final idea D-approved that evening.

Next was the cake. Stupid me, thinking I could get by without it. I didn't want to spend $35 on a cheesy cake (although I might on a cheesecake), so I came up with the brilliant idea of making one. Brilliant because I don't actually bake. I do pretty much everything but bake. Again, I turned to the internets and found - insert sound of angel chorus - the Rainbow Cake. It's unique, it's colorful, it's easy. At least it sounded easy because it uses a cake mix box. It's really a bit more ambitious and I'm beginning to resent the fact that I will be spending my evening tonight relatively alcohol-free baking a multi-layer cake (because drinking could turn it into a fiasco and me into the Lamest Mom Ever. Seriously, the cake is the centerpiece. It can't be messed with.) instead of boozing it up and watching trashy TV like The Bachelorette and I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. It's summer time, people. Don't judge.

Now, for the gift. I procrastinated until yesterday, not knowing for the first time what to get her. She had a list a mile long, that she repeated to me daily for at least a month, but it is the big 1-3 and I thought it should be something really cool but not over the top. I started thinking about what she asks for that I always say no to, which made it so easy. I like saying no. No, you can't wear makeup. No, you can't wear that color nail polish. No, you can't borrow my hair straightener or my curling iron. No, you can't use my face mask. Thus, she is getting her own flattening iron, plus a crimping iron (selfishly, so I don't have to braid her hair every night), pastel eye shadow, face powder, lip gloss, a trio of makeup bags, nail polish and nail decals. I'm considering giving it to her at her party instead of on her actual birthday so the girls can play with all of it and do makeovers. Plus it makes me look like a Cool Mom, which is really all that matters.

Barring some bizarre tragedy with the cake, I believe I have upheld my title as Party Planner Extraordinaire. I might even be feeling generous enough to let them use my face mask. I'll just take pictures in case I need blackmail later.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Broken Truce

I saw a spider on my bathroom ceiling. He was small and curled up in the corner. I was too lazy to get a broom and try to lure him out if his corner just to kill him, so I left him there.

The next time I saw him he was in the same corner with a tiny little web. I figured a spider web could come in handy considering the increase I have seen in bugs lately. Doors and windows are open. I’m prejudiced against mosquitoes and quite enjoy keeping a mosquito-free house. I thought Mr. Spider would come in handy. I approached him with the terms for living in my house. They were as follows:

1. No friends overnight and no parties.
2. Stay in your corner, no traveling around the house.
3. If I wake up and see so much as one leg on any part of my body, I will kill you.
4. Do not get any bigger.

He seemed to agree. Then again, he’s a spider and I’m not sure how large his human vocabulary is. At any rate, he broke at least two of my terms of agreement right away. I am convinced this was done on purpose.

The very next morning Mr. Spider was bigger. He had either doubled his size overnight or had been fooling me by curling up in the corner. Either way, he was exhibiting very devious behavior. I warned him one last time, letting him know I had my eye on him. And all eight of his creepy little legs. Later that afternoon, he was gone and in his place was a really tiny spider. I don’t know if this was a little buddy he invited over, the offspring his baby-mama got tired of taking care of, or a cannibalistic snack. At this point I wasn’t putting anything past him.

I haven’t seen Mr. Spider since, but the next morning, as I’m leisurely waking up and relaxing in my bed, I see it. A single strand of spider string. Above my bed. On my side. I have no evidence, but I bet that little fucker dropped down on me while I was sleeping. Was I not clear in my terms? He just had to push it, didn’t he? The next time I see him he is dead. And the same goes for any of his little friends. His spider-mafia brethren have to understand. He put them all in danger.

Never make an agreement with a spider. They can’t be trusted. Creepy little fuckers.

Friday, May 22, 2009


I went to the dentist today. For a number of years I've been able to successfully avoid it. Having no dental insurance is always a good excuse. But then I noticed a tiny little spot on the top of my tooth at the gum line. Vigorously brushing did nothing to remove it, ditto with ignoring it. A few days ago, I started to feel tenderness when brushing my teeth. No other soreness, no sensitivity to cold or warm water, just an annoying little twinge. Luckily, my dental plan started in January after my "new" job so I made the dreaded appointment.

Seriously, I dread going to the dentist. I know everyone does, but I claim special despising status based on all the work I've had done to my mouth and some of the unexpected aftermath. When I was 9, I had to have a spacer installed. This was a very archaic device that was glued to probably four of my teeth and covered the roof of my mouth. It came with a little key that my mom had to insert into the piece on the roof of my mouth and she would turn it nightly for about six months. The purpose was to stretch my mouth because it wasn't big enough to accommodate all of my teeth. Contrary to what some people might think, my mouth still isn't that big. When it was removed, it pulled out two of my teeth. The two that weren't ready to come out yet. With no pain relief. "Ha ha, thought we were going to lose her there a few times" is what the asinine dentist said.

When I was 14, I had to have two teeth pulled, this time on purpose. It's scary and gross but not really that big of a deal. Not unless they drug you based on your age instead of your weight and you are probably in the 10th percentile of weight compared to everyone else your age. This results in a drug overdose. One in which you are not able to wake up on your own but require more drugs that have an opposite effect to wake you up. Then when you do wake up you don't know what you're saying, but everyone in the room who is supposed to be a professional dental person is laughing at you. Kind of like when college kids get a dog drunk at a party and laugh at it while it runs in circles until it falls down because the poor creature has no idea why it feels the way it does. Then you get in the car to go home and sob uncontrollably for no apparent reason while your five-year-old sister asks why you're acting crazy and when you will stop. The upside to this is that you will most likely never be tempted to try drugs. Just say no.

As an adult, after having worn braces for almost three years, including the headgear contraption that was worn at night (only at night, thank god) and the tiny little rubber bands that went on little hooks and kept me from opening my mouth much at all (and snapped back on me innumerable times), I decided I would have no more oral surgery ever. For a few years my dentist kept recommending that I have my wisdom teeth removed. Nope. No thank you. Can't make me. Nanny, nanny boo-boo.

Until one day I noticed my teeth shifting. My front teeth on top. I could bite my hand and examine the impression left behind. It was crooked. The reason? My wisdom teeth had no room and as they crowded in, they were moving all of my other teeth around. Damn them. I did not go through all that work to have crooked teeth. I agreed to have them removed. By my dentist. Because he said he could put me under and it would be easy. He lied.

First, he did not put me under. Being awake with laughing gas is not the same as being put under. I don't care if it smells like pina coladas, it doesn't feel the same. I can smell a pina colada-scented candle all day long and not get a buzz. Same difference as the gas. (And this was before I became the big drinker I am now.) Secondly, he was a moron and injected the side of my face instead of my gum. I knew something was wrong when he said "Hmmm. Huh. Any history of blood disease in your family? Yeah. Hmmm... that doesn't look good." These are not words one wants to hear from their dentist after they have had a giant needle inserted into their mouth. Had I been knocked out, I wouldn't have had to hear them. But I was only given the nitrous crap so whatever teeny, tiny small little buzz I might have had immediately disappeared. I was sent home, teeth intact, with a cold press.

I ended up with a huge bruise on my face. Huge. Bruise. On my face. My FACE for Christ's sake! It's not that I'm so incredibly vain. It's just that it was so completely unavoidable. I couldn't hide it and it was there for a week or more. I had to go places still. I had scheduled play dates for my one year old daughter. I got looks from people. No, these were Looks. As in "You poor woman, I hope the bastard that did that to you rots in jail." Or worse, "You stupid woman. Do you let him hit your baby too?" At a play date, I was actually asked if I was allowed to be out of my house. Saying "My dentist did it" is roughly the equivalent of "My dog ate my homework." Nobody believed me.

After that little fiasco, I decided an oral surgeon might be better qualified to extract teeth from my mouth. I made an appointment with Dr. Shock. That is his name, I am not kidding you. Don't judge him for it either. He's really not an evil, sadistic ogre working out of a laboratory in some creepy castle tower. In truth, he's quite lovely. When discussing how the procedure would go, he gave me options for pain relief. He said the first level was like drinking one martini. Level two was two martinis, level three was three martinis. I ordered three martinis. See? Lovely. He even spoke my language. I went home coherent, with some lovely pain pills and virtually no swelling. Zero bruises.

The last dental experience is really why I've stayed away so long. I didn't like my dentist. I no longer trusted him. However, as long as I had insurance and was only getting my teeth cleaned, I went. I liked my hygienist. It was just the other guy I wanted to break up with. Making the appointment this week, I had to choose another dentist who would be covered under my plan. As in, "It's not you, it's my insurance."

When I walked into the new place this morning, the smell reminded me of a winery. It was a little jarring, but also comforting. I thought at first that if it smelled that way because they were actually drinking, we might have a problem. Unless they shared with me. I figured that would be okay. It's not like getting three martinis, but a glass or two of wine is nothing to be laughed at.

I wasn't too impressed with the technician who did my x-rays. She's probably not someone who handles her alcohol well. She certainly didn't handle the x-ray card thingies well. My mouth is not that big and they were cutting into my gums every time she stuffed one in and I had to bite down on them. Not cool. One martini or one glass of wine would have helped the situation. You know, I really think I'm onto something here. Spas give you wine, why not your dentist?

Dr. Andy was more pleasant. He poked around a little bit, finally declaring there was "nothing much going on in there." Not what I'd want to hear if someone was referring to a party I was throwing, or maybe my lack of a social life or even my mental state. But with my mouth, I'm fine with it. Nothing much should be going on in there. As in no cavities. No cavities is a good thing. (Yes, I hear you snickering. Grow up.) So why the sore tooth? Here is the bad news. Apparently the gums can start to recede as one grows older and that is what is happening to me. My gum line has started to recede right above my tooth, exposing the root and that is what is causing the tenderness. My root is showing. (Hmmm.. doesn't sound quite as dirty as having a party in my mouth, does it?) I'm going back to have it filled in a few weeks and, until then, I have been given sensitive formula toothpaste.

All in all? Good news - no cavity. Bad news - I'm getting older. Good news - I didn't have to pay anything to be told I'm getting older.

In semi-related news, my therapist let me know that she has diagnosed me with a mild case of adjustment disorder, making it sound like it's nothing more serious than the common cold. Obviously I haven't yet vomited out my entire dental history to her or let her in on how alcohol could benefit my experience at the dentist. It would probably help in her practice too, come to think of it. I'd certainly tell her more things, maybe more than she wants to know. At this point she still thinks I'm normal and not neurotic. That's okay, my deductible is stupidly high and I can't really afford for her to know how crazy I actually am. I'd rather put my resources into vodka.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Also Known As.....

I must have the most neglected blog I've ever seen. Wiping off the layers of dust to write this, in fact. I have been quite busy, I do have some stories to tell. There is one in particular that I wasn't sure I wanted to share, but I feel it is my civic duty to womankind. Okay, maybe that's a little over the top. Here it is anyway.

I recently signed up on a dating site, the merits of which we can discuss at a later time. It's been mostly amusing if not always truly funny. Ladies, we all know there are Bad Men out there and I have run into my fair share lately. I'll give you the short list.

Chicken Man. Falls under the category of Crazy Obsessive Psychotic Asshole.

I get an email from this guy, profile isn't exactly what I'm looking for, but it's decent so I write him back. By the second email I figure out he's just a bit too weird for me. The biggest clue I got was when he told me how much he enjoyed riding his bike with the trailer on it to the grocery store. He made quite the deal out of it and what he's doing for the environment. I'm all for doing my part, but on this day it was pouring down rain. If you've ever seen my shoes, you'd know I'm not the kind of girl who wants to ride a bike in the rain to pick up groceries. I prefer the warm, dry convenience of a car. I don't think that's too much to ask for, really. I didn't write back.

After a couple of days I get an email from him telling me that I must not be "sincere after all" and wishing me luck. Okay. You too, buddy. Weeks later I wake up to an email from Chicken Man asking if my "boob shot" gets me real men. This is followed up with an apology because when I didn't answer his past email he felt "unrequited." Seriously? Let me tell you, this was the wrong morning to mess with me. I replied in a not-very-nice way, saying I owed him nothing and it's no mystery why he is single. Unfortunately, this only served to fuel his psychotic need to harass and insult me. Needless to say, he was blocked from contacting me again.

FBI Guy. Categorized under Extreme Control Freak.

FBI Guy emails me. An intelligent email, an interesting profile. He's in the FBI. (I know because I googled him. Google can be a very important tool in the dating world.) A few emails later, he gives me his phone number. We talk. He lives on the other side of the country and asks if this eliminates him. Nope. Not yet. I get a very sweet email the next morning. (Prince Charming after all?) Followed by a not-so-sweet email telling me I have too many "walls" and I'm not making it easy for him. Um. Yeah, I'm just not willing to move across the country in less than 24 hours. Sorry.

That evening, FBI Guy makes a point of letting me know that he saw me online without him. Excuse me? Did I exchange wedding vows at some point during the day that I'm not aware of? Was I supposed to remove my profile after one phone call? Yeah, now you're eliminated.

Airplane Guy.

Airplane Guy is actually not a Bad Guy. As far as I can tell he is a Good Guy. I would be more than happy to set anyone up with him, in fact. But for me, he is Boring Guy.

Airplane Guy never loosened up. He was polite and courteous, shy. Sincere, dependable and reliable, all good qualities. Probably good Husband Material even. But he bored me. No flirting. Didn't feel like I could talk about South Park or Family Guy. I found myself censoring my own potty mouth, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I was bored. And it's just not right when a girl can't be herself. Maybe I didn't really give him a chance, but I didn't think it was right to lead him on. He's out there, ladies. I can point you in his direction if you're interested.

Any guy who hunts, fishes and is over 50 is put into the category of I Either Don't Read or Don't Care What Your Profile Says.

Really, when I say that I like sushi and wine tasting, what makes you think I'm interested in redneck activities? Riding quads? Again, if you've seen my shoes, you know I'm not. Never have been, never will be. And it's bad enough that a large number of men my age look like they're 50. I don't actually want to date someone who is 50. Or 54. Please, don't waste our time.

It's enough to make me want to give up, really. This would satisfy D of course. According to her, I don't need to date or have sex ever again. She says it's just "not right." It would seem she is still as hung up on Mr. X and The Boy as I am.

I have a month left on my membership and, unless the situation improves, I won't be renewing it. It's hardly worth it at this point, even if it has provided some good laughs. I'm not really after laughs though. I can get that from my friends without the harassment and attempts at control. For free, too. Gotta love my girls!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

True Love Is...

I was asked recently to think of relationships of people I know that I believe are happy and healthy. It surprised me how difficult this turned out to be. Quite difficult and really quite sad. Then, as I was taxiing my daughter around yesterday, I realized that I have known one of the best relationships that has ever been.

I don't think my grandparents had a great romance. I don't know the story of how they met, but I don't imagine it had a fairy-tale quality. Life was more practical in those days - one got married and had children because that was Life. Theirs wasn't an easy one, either. My grandfather fought in World War II and I don't know any more than that because he never talked about it. To anyone. They had six kids and my grandpa worked in the oil fields to provide for them. They were so poor at one point that my grandmother had to sell her wedding ring to be able to feed her children.

When I was around six, my grandmother suffered a major aneurysm. I remember visiting her in the hospital with my mom, watching her drool and pull on my mom's earring in the way that an infant would. She literally had to learn how to talk again, how to walk again. She was never the energetic, independent woman I remembered from before. My grandfather was there every day. When she got quite a bit better he bought her a car, hoping it would motivate her to drive again. She refused. Her mind was still good, she remembered everything, like my love for Cheerios when I was five, and made sure to have them in the house every time I visited. (Even after I had outgrown them at the age of 21.) I suspect she knew very well the limitations of her physical body and didn't want to take the risk of her body failing her while behind the wheel.

My grandfather did the best he could to take care of her. He did it until his own body failed him in the task. As she got older, she started falling down a lot. She was quite heavy too, as she mostly sat around eating and watching TV all day. He still took her with him to the grocery store and on errands in an attempt to get her out into the world a bit. Until one day she fell and, for the first time, he wasn't able to carry her back to the car and home again. He had to admit she needed more help than he could give her and finally acquiesced to the nursing home that my mom and aunts had been pleading for. My mom made the trip to help him with the task and returned home saying his heart was broken.

My grandmother died a few years ago. This time I made the trip with my mom for the funeral. At the viewing my mom complained endlessly in hushed whispers that they hadn't made her look right. Her hair was wrong. What did they think they were doing with her face? I almost expected her to find the mortician and read him out over his poor hair and makeup job. I wasn't sure why it mattered, it wouldn't bring her back, but she wasn't my mom. And truthfully, I never thought of my grandmother as especially pretty. Handsome, in her way, but not very feminine or even cute. Then my grandfather walked into the room. He looked at her with tears in his eyes and exclaimed, "Isn't she beautiful? She's just so beautiful!" He was looking past the mortician's poor makeup job, past the limitations of her body all of those years, to the person that he had loved most of his life. Really loved. With all that he could give her. His heart was broken once again.

No, their life wasn't hearts and roses, champagne and bubble baths. I wonder if they ever had even a day of romance in 50 plus years. And, honestly, I think they were cheated out of a lot. My grandmother was very ill for 30 years of their marriage. I'm sure nobody thinks they're signing up for that when signing a marriage license.

What they did have was dedication and commitment to each other and to their family. In the end, after all the hardships, illness, their children's divorces, family crisis, they had love. I saw true love in my grandfather's eyes that day. He believed she was beautiful.

If I could have half of what I saw that day I would have everything I need. I would be very fortunate indeed.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Men Vs. Women

There are a couple of guys at work in a contest to lose weight. Each week the loser (of the least amount of weight) buys the winner a sandwich. I think it’s funny that food is the reward in a weight loss contest, but they’re getting the low-fat sandwiches from Subway so maybe that’s not so bad. The thing that really cracks me up is they bring in a scale and weigh themselves right there together, at one of their desks. This I something women would never do. I will tell you how much I’ve lost, I’ll whine about how much I’ve gained, but I will never tell you how much I weigh.

Can you even imagine? I have to weigh myself completely naked in the morning before I’ve had an ounce to eat so that I’m sure I am at my absolute “real” weight. It’s even better after a night of drinking. That dehydration really takes off the pounds! So to weigh myself in front of another human being in the middle of the day after eating and drinking, with five pounds of clothing and heavy snow boots – far too much for my fragile little ego to handle. No thank you.

For the record, I’ve lost 10 pounds. Where’s my sandwich?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Things You Don't Know and I Don't Forget

He cleaned up my daughter's puke. He cleaned up my friend's puke. I didn't ask.
He built me a village. Twice.
We read books to each other on car trips. Of my choosing.
He always drove when I was tired.
He sang to the dogs.
He could give me a back rub without the usual male expectation of getting something in return.
We shopped until we dropped and he never complained.
He's one of the best dads I have ever met.
He traded his food with me when I didn't like mine.
He's easy to travel with and always let me choose the itinerary.
He makes the best tuna melts.
He picks up his underwear.
He always did the dishes after I cooked.
He fixed my Tinkerbell ornament.
He put up with my dad. Not an easy task.
He always helped me make the bed.
He made me laugh more than anyone.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Girl Power and Other Lessons in Growing Up

I've been working on building friendships with other women the last few months. It has been very helpful and I've appreciated it more than I can ever tell them. There's not a better cure for a day of sitting on the couch, pajama-clad and feeling hopeless than an evening of drinks with the girls or a cold, brisk walk up the butte with a friend. Laughter sometimes is the best medicine and it comes easily when I can share how many times I had to change clothes just to leave the house or make fun of the guy that won't get a clue or how my dog wouldn't stop farting the day before.

Most of my new friends have been going through similar experiences as I have, which is most likely the reason I felt so connected to them in such a short time. We've been able to offer each other a sympathetic ear and support we may not have gotten elsewhere. Lately I have realized how I've missed this kind of support. It surprises me how we, as women, really abandon each other at times. I have to admit that I am just as guilty.

My sister married an older man last year. Older as in a 20+ year difference, old enough to be her father. Only he looks more like her grandfather standing next to her. Nobody has been happy about her choice. My parents were beside themselves in the beginning, my mom even accused him of "stealing her youth." I refused to attend the wedding for several reasons, the cost of going to Mississippi for a weekend being one of them, not knowing if she would actually go through with it another. I also knew that I wouldn't be able to bite my tongue to keep from saying something nasty to her elderly groom, a man I don't even know but have a strong opinion about. This wouldn't have been fair to her, not on a day that was supposed to be about her and what she thought would be making her happy.

In the end though, this is her choice. It shouldn't matter what I think, or what my parents or my brother think. It doesn't matter. We don't know how she feels or what it is about him that she is drawn to. We can laugh and joke and say it's a daddy complex. Maybe it is. Maybe it's real. But it's her choice and ultimately it's up to the rest of us to simply respect it as such and let her have happiness where she finds it.

I don't know how it got so easy for us to judge one another. Why do we think that tearing one person down builds up another? It doesn't. Does it make us feel safer in our own poor choices? Justified when we're right and relationships fall apart? "I told you so." What does that even mean? "I told you that you're an idiot and not competent enough to trust your own judgment." Is that what we want to tell each other? Are we so selfish that we'd rather be right when our girlfriend stumbles and falls, rather than just hold her hand and say, "I know. I understand."

We all have our own journeys, our own paths to walk, our individual lessons to learn. We don't get there at the same time, some learn quicker than others, some need to be hit over the head with the same hard lesson repeatedly before they finally get it and move on. Our jobs as women, as people, should be to support each other through the process, keep our opinions to a minimum and simply allow our friends to find happiness wherever and however they find it.

To my new friends and old friends, I am grateful for your support. I know that you care and want me to be happy and that your intentions are well meaning. Hold my hand when it gets hard, but please leave the catty remarks to yourselves and let me make my journey. I will do the same for you.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Going on a Lion Hunt

When I was a little girl in Blue Birds, we used to sing this song about going on a lion hunt. First we encountered a gate, then tall grass, sticky mud, a big river and finally a dark cave. Each obstacle included the phrase, "Can't go over it, can't go under it, can't go around it, gotta go through it!" At the end we found the lion, screamed, and went back through the cave, the wide river, the mud, the tall grass and the gate to return home and declare that tomorrow we would go on a lion hunt and catch a big one.

That phrase has gone through my mind many times over the last few months. Gotta go through it. There are things, feelings, situations I would like to avoid. I'd like to stay home, tucked safely in bed, declaring each day that tomorrow is the day for the big hunt. I've ventured out a bit, made it through the gate, the tall grass, got stuck in the mud a couple of times. But each time I've found myself scurrying back home and diving under those familiar covers. Unfortunately, I think the time has come to strap on my boots and really go look for that lion. There's no way over it, under it or around it. I have to go through it. Through the pain, the messy thoughts, through the darkness. The only way out is through.

Yep. I'm going on a lion hunt. Gonna catch me a big one.
The Martini Chronicles. Design by Exotic Mommie. Illustraion By DaPino