Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Movin' On Up!

So 'member when I said I was dreaming about babies and was blathering about new things and new beginnings and stuff last week?

Well here it is!

June's new addy!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bitter Table For One!

I’ve been to the gym three out of the last four days. Where the Hell are my results? The number on the scale hasn’t budged, and I still can’t button my skinny jeans or pull them over my fat ass for that matter.

Don’t I sound like a typical 21st century American? I want results instantly and if I don’t get them I’ll make it happen. Thank goodness I don’t have the money to plop down in the direction of a plastic surgeon with a vacuum and scalpel I hope I wouldn’t even be tempted. The other ridiculous choice is this machine I saw this weekend. You stand on it and it vibrates you whole body really hard, “burning fat”. Oh what the Hell ever. The Girl and I immediately flashed on those vibrating machines with the waist bands. And you know what was really sad? Someone was seriously entertaining buying one. In this economy? Really? Dude, join a health club and employ a few people. People have way too much money. I would like to think I would use all that money to employ a trainer to baby-sit my exercise regime and my food choices.

And the other option behind Door Number 3: Puking and diet pills. Worse than the surgeon in long term side effects. What’s really alarming about that option is the fastest growing population of anorexics and bulimics are in my age group or so I read in nursing research a couple of years ago. Wow, just wow. If you missed the Dorm Barforama with your besties in 1983 here’s your second big chance! And God knows I hate being like everyone else so I guess I’ll stick to the gym and find a diet plan that works for me and doesn’t make me feel like I’m missing out on food I enjoy. This whole getting fat thing has made June bitter bitter bitter.

Or maybe it’s not the fat part that’s making me bitter. Maybe it’s the getting-my-ass-kicked-on-the-cross-country-ski-machine-by-a-woman-easily-in-her-seventies part that is making me bitter.

Granny better watch out. I’m gonna do level three for fifteen minutes tomorrow and then I’m going to faint and then I’m gonna have a moon pie.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Do you ever have those moments of pure unadulterated joy after an epiphany? I did this morning after I was greeted at the dark hour of 0630 by angry voices arguing over hair gel. Beav was quite upset a large dollop of gel had been scooped from his gel and started accusing Wally. At first, Wally took it in stride and laughed at him: “Dude, I don’t have any hair why would I use your gel?” But Beav wouldn’t leave it alone and just kept at his brother with increasingly heated accusations which naturally escalated Wally. I had to knock on the bathroom door because I truly thought it was going to come to blows. I also wanted to break it up because I couldn’t believe they were arguing over hair gel. Had they not been so grouchy and I hadn’t been half asleep myself I would have said something smart like: “Ladies, please, inside voices.” Instead I looked at the gel and shrugged my shoulders and told Beav to chill out and get ready for school. They were still fussing at each other when I walked downstairs to leave the house.

As I was sitting in the car beginning to fume over how much I hated to hear them fight with each other and over hair gel of all things…the realization of how these sorts of spats would be an almost daily occurrence if I had daughters. It was then the joy and peace that surpasses all understanding swept through me and made me whisper the following prayer for the thousandth time:

Thank you for sparing me teenage girls.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Grill Zombie and other adventures in the suburbs

Marge is here

Have I mentioned how much I dislike cooking? I would rather scrub a toilet than cook. I’m not sure why I have such a strong emotion about cooking and blame my lazy nature. But really, cooking doesn’t interest me all that much. Food interests me. There are a few things I can make well but we can eat them every day. What I like to cook is old fashioned heavy sauces with lots of cream and butter. But like I said yesterday--


The Exploding Cheese Incident this week brought to light just how much I hate to cook. I was completely distracted by the pork in the oven which wasn’t cooking but was drying out and turning into something more suited for footwear. It was my self-inflicted ire which distracted me and made me forget the rule about hot glass and cold metal. And I was right about those pork chops: dry and tough. But everyone ate them out of fear.

And don’t tell me: “Oh honey, bless your heart you just need to learn how to cook and then you would enjoy it.” And I would say: “Oh honey, I know how to cook. I just don’t enjoy it.”

In fact, I used to lie and tell people I didn’t know how to cook. It worked on TG for almost six years until a few weeks ago we were at our second favorite French restaurant and the vichyssoise was like sipping clotted cream with a spoon. I was terribly disappointed and all the sudden the martini started talking: “This is awful; I can do so much better than this! This soup needs leeks and dill to finish it off.” My proclamation was met with raised eyebrows.

“You have a vichyssoise recipe?”
“Uh huh”
“Is it as good as your quiche?”
“You’ve been holding out on me, haven’t you?”
“Um, I guess so. Just because I can do it doesn’t mean I like to do it.”

The gig is up and I’ve been outed as someone who cooks. Not only have I been outed as someone who cooks but the responsibility is now more or less mine most nights as TG’s hours have changed.

Oh. The. Horror.

You see, if it were just me, I would be happy with grapes and microwave popcorn on the rare nights I didn’t go out or have left overs from going out.

I can readily admit I enjoy cooking winter types of food. I don’t mind putting a very large piece of meat in the crock pot with vegetables and calling it soup or stew. I like to make chili and soup. My roasted chicken is always good, too. But summer cooking calls on a more imaginative cook to avoid heating up the kitchen thus the house. “So grill, June. Grill.” Was the girl’s remark to me the other night. And I had to explain to her

Why June Doesn’t Grill

Because I am afraid. Very very afraid.

Not the meat part. I do know people who are squeebed out by raw meat and can’t touch it or cook it. But, hello? I’m a nurse? It’s the lighting of the grill. Now before all my kind readers take up a collection to buy June and TG a nice self-igniting gas grill, put your checkbooks away and log off paypal because we have one. My fear is so deep set; I’m even tripped out about turning the switch on this one. Rationally, I know it’s probably safer than any of the gas ranges in any of the crappy rent houses I lived in during and just after college.

When I was a little girl, me, my sister and mom watched Marcus Welby, MD, religiously every Sunday night. I enjoyed the medical stuff and my sister enjoyed it because of this guy. ------------------>

And well…duh…James Brolin was so hot on that motorcycle, a new breed of doctor, with his sideburns, bell bottoms and his blatant 60’s prime time style sexuality.

Anyhow, there was an episode in the 70’s (it was in color so it was definitely the 70‘s) and a woman was hostessing a BBQ. It must have been a particularly festive party, too. My mom wore shorts or slacks when we had people in for grilled meat. This woman had on her 100% petroleum based polyester maxi dress with long flowing sleeves and to complete her groovy ensemble she had her hair (or a wig) stacked way way way wayway way up on her head secured--no doubt--with two or three cans of Aqua Net. Mrs. Maxi Dress is prancing around the kitchen and she goes into the backyard with her big tray of steaks or what have you and tries to light the grill. And tries again. She even leans her face down to see if something is the matter and can’t see anything so she puts more lighter fluid on the charcoal, steps back and throws a lit match and


Up in flames, burnt beyond recognition. The end. Her life is over. Bye bye.

It could happen to anyone, especially me because I always cook dinner in long flowing maxi dresses with drapy sleeves made by our friends at the DuPont Corporation and my hair saturated with highly flammable hair spray.

And because I don’t want to spend the rest of my life like a mummy with gauze wrapped around my face and hands, struggling to talk; I won’t grill.

So what’s for dinner?

Probably mac and cheese if they are lucky.

Friday, September 10, 2010

I Say Moo to the MuuMuu

The Girl has informed me the critter taking bites out of our tomatoes is a “tomato slug” I of course think this is some sort of mysterious Midwestern code for “raccoon” but she feels a raccoon would eat the whole tomato. Sometimes at night, I’ve seen raccoons walking down the street and they are so big they look like a gang of unruly preschoolers. They take a bite from a tomato and leave the rest behind to mock me.

I discovered yesterday we have a yard cow. And she is me. Moo.

I’m rededicating my life to the gym and possibly a diet program. I’ve never had to do a diet program. The only diet program I’ve ever been on is the “Eat Whatever the Hell You Want” diet. Since I quit smoking a couple of years ago and am creeping up on the big 5-0 coupled with new job which is mostly behind a desk, the numbers on the scale are getting bigger and my favorite jeans are smaller.

It was depressing getting ready for an evening out last night because I looked like Hell in everything I tried on and am becoming precariously close to not fitting into clothing from my all time favorite store. The only thing that cheered me up was squishing my lard ass into spanx and my new blue eye shadow.

Which I rocked. The eye shadow that is.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Excuse Me While I Offend Everyone I know

It’s been peaceful around here the last week. No one is asking for large sums of money for camp or computer equipment or remembering a project at 11 pm and they need specific gel pens and graph paper; nor are they wrecking cars or staying out until 3am and coming in suspiciously smelling of alcohol.

Now if Wally and Beav would just keep it together we would have the perfect household.

I jest. I jest. If I came in smelling of alcohol it would be about six hours before 3 am and TG doesn’t have to ask me for Jesus camp money, she could just pay for it herself and she has gel pins and graph paper.

It’s nice to be a boring mom of a teenager who does his homework and will speak to me over and above a grunt or grimace. It feels good to have a young adult who is engaged in a job. Yeah it’s a crap McJob but it’s a job and he’s happy so there you have it. And it’s peaceful having a dog that doesn’t start asking for dinner at 4:30 because the time has changed and it’s almost dark.

The only hiccup in this scenario is something is eating my tomatoes and it isn’t human. I’m not sure what it is but it can climb or burrow under the fence we built to keep Kipper out of the garden. Too bad I’m a law abiding citizen otherwise I would set up a little camp site next to the garden and keep watch over my late ripening heirlooms and when I saw the menace eating my produce I would shoot it. Dead. With a gun.

I’m not all about the NRA and my right to bear arms. Guns scare me and strangers with guns scare me more. I have a few friends in Texas who I know keep an arsenal in their homes and probably carry under their coats and in their trucks. And frankly I would trust any of them with their weapons drunk or sober. I’m glad those types have guns because they have taken the time to learn how to safely discharge a weapon and probably aren’t going to shoot an innocent stranger. Hell, a couple of them would probably balk at the idea of shooting a raccoon. Bloody fat help they would be in this situation. I just won’t ask them. Anyhow, if I did shoot my garden nemesis I would no doubt be arrested for it and that would cost way more than buying a bushel of heirloom tomatoes from one of the many Boutique Farmer’s Markets in town. I’m a little peeved over this law, too. I mean what about urban chickens being threatened by foxes. If I’m allowed to keep chickens, I should be allowed to kill unwanted wild life that encroaches on my property. Ok, maybe not kill it but scare it off because I doubt I could hit the broadside of a barn. But Wally…he’s a pretty good marksman, he could get the little bugger. . .

If we lived in Fort Worth Texas this probably wouldn’t be an issue, the cops would probably come over and high five me because I killed a raccoon eating my backyard crops. Hell, those guys roughed up gay guys on the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the gay rights movements so killing a varmint within the city limits is fair game. (so to speak, I‘m gonna let that pun just bask in its punny glory). They might even want to take it home for supper.

Have I trotted out enough politically incorrect stereotypes? I think I have a few to go but I‘ll stop with that one. I need to put the computer away and run over to Walmart, just to take a look around the sporting goods section. For a soccer ball. You know a soccer ball. For Wally.

Gosh I hope a gun and ammo doesn’t fall in my basket next to that soccer ball.

Addendum: 20 minutes later:


I noticed the time as I typed that last sentence and had to dash downstairs to put dinner in the oven. Beav made queso dip to take to Young Life tonight and it’s in a glass Pyrex dish on top of the stove. It’s getting a little too toasty on the top and starting to boil. I didn’t bother to look if the burner was on under it and assumed it was still cooking because it was on the stove which lives over the the now hot oven. I grab two pot holders and pull it off and place it on a room temperature trivet.

Yeah…it went boom and I’m really lucky I didn’t get cheese on my cute new blouse or glass in my face. Of course Beav isn’t speaking to me because now he can’t take his “World Famous Queso” to the party. I offered to dash to the store so we could redo it. I offered to buy a cheese cake at fancy grocery store…but no…not good enough. So I’ve ruined his life.

All because I was talking smack about harming tiny woodland creatures who are just trying to get fill their bellies before winter.

Karma: 5,329,222,221,565,353----

June: -0

coonie found here

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Herding Ducks

When I signed my job description in July, it did not include the words: “Must herd ducks”. So color me stunned much of my job includes just this sort of activity.

Have you ever tried to herd ducks? One day when I was about 12 or 13 and bored out of my mind I tried to herd a flock of ducks living near our lake house. My method was completely improvised and probably based on something I read in a Laura Ingalls Wilder book as I stretched out my arms and did a creeping walk just on their heels, no doubt quacking at them, too. I would chase after two or three and try to gather them with a group of three others. For about a minute it would work and I would have a cohesive flock of six or more ducks and I was all yeah, I’ve got the ducks in a herd! I did it! Until one or two of them would lose interest and wander in one direction away from the flock and another would wander in the opposite direction and pretty soon I didn’t have a single-minded group but a mess of ducks wandering and running in circles.

Today kind of felt like I was thirteen all over again…except my poor self-esteem and lagging self-confidence aren’t crippling and I’m not quite as awkward and dorky. And the ducks were doctors.

Looking back over today and remembering a summer day 36 years ago?

The ducks were more cooperative.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I Have A Dream

I have a reoccurring dream; I’m carrying a baby, a healthy happy baby who is genuinely glad to be with me and not squirming or struggling to be laid down. I am always walking along a body of water, sometimes it is a rushing river, sometimes it is ocean front. But it is always crystalline blue. Usually at some point near the water I cross a bridge, always a big sturdy bridge. Today, I finally decided to interpret all these symbols because I’m dreaming this over and over again and last night’s version of Baby on a Bridge was particularly colorful and vivid.

My favorite dream dictionary is at swoon.com. Which is a site linked to--of all things--Glamour magazine. The women’s magazine in my opinion which is perhaps the most irritating and trite magazine in the world. But I like my ruts deep and wide and way back in 1998 I found this site and have stuck to it. Once I had a reprint of a Dream Dictionary which was published around 1910. It appealed to me because the author seemed like a quaint old man who was in complete denial that Freud was developing psychoanalytical theory based on dream symbols. But it didn’t serve me well because if I dreamt of flying an airplanes close to the ground I was out of luck; however if I dreamt of struggling with a button hook while riding in a carriage I could have easily sussed out just what sweet Morpheus was trying to tell me. Too bad I can’t remember what the button hook meant, I’m sure if was something about a suitor presenting falsehoods to my father or something like that.

My dream is about a new idea which comes to me easily and assures me prosperity.

Well isn’t that just the best news! So watch this space. Just watch it.

And follow that link when it appears.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Whispering Bees

And another thing.

Yesterday the Mexican Oregano was covered with honey bees, and even though I was hacking through their brunch and they were landing on my arms, they didn’t sting me.

Does this make me a Bee Whisperer? Is there a movie in this phenomenon?

“Sharon Stone as The Bee Whisperer!”

Could there be a more boring movie?

The Bee Whisperer would make A River Runs Through It,and The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button seem like rollicking fast paced car chase blockbusters.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


That picture is worth about 500 words. My weekend has been busy but not crazy busy because I don’t do crazy busy at home because my job is 98% of the time crazy busy. And to continue multi-tasking at home is a sickness as far as I'm concerned.

I really don’t have that much to say because it was just mundane busy stuff, nothing exciting. I made two gallons of infused oil. Perhaps the most involved project I’ve done in a long time. It's involved because of the harvesting, cleaning, grrrr-ing the herbs and prepping the jars and oil. It doesn't help that I can't stand our food processor. It's terrifically complicated and the first time I used it, I spent 30 minutes trying to figure out how to get the freakin' top(s) off. Breaking into Fort Knox would have been easier than opening the damn food processor. It's like a four step process and drives me wild after about the third repetition. But the best part of the oil project is when I get to clean up all the oil I've sloshed and dripped and spilled all over the kitchen. I'm a pro at spilling. (To further digress, the first time I typed this I wrote: "spelling" and we all know I aint' no kinda pro at spelling)

As I went about each one of these tasks first on the back porch and then in the kitchen my brain felt like that photograph: all muddled with eight things going on at once while I was trying think of something to blog about and everything I came up with was boring as Hell.

The most exciting thing that happened this weekend was Kipper went for coffee with us and didn’t make too big of an ass out of himself whining and yipping at other dogs. He loves other dogs and resembles Sonny the coo-coo bird when he sees one.

(thanks youtube)

It’s rather embarrassing and people probably think we keep the dog chained to a rock in a tiny backyard completely isolated from people, food, and other dogs. Either that or he doesn’t have two brain cells to rub together. I'm thinking of hanging a sign on him when we go out with him that informs people he is a few bulbs short.

Yesterday Beav wanted to spend some of his birthday cash and wants to keep it old school with CDs so I took him to two of the used record stores I know about. We ran across a couple more but didn’t stop because he has his “Back-To-School Cold” (why can’t we all just wash our hands?) and wasn’t feeling 100% and we were both hungry and on our way to a little taqueria I know which has some of the hottest green chili ever and it was just what his cold needed. Spending most of yesterday with him one on one was good and made me realize he is becoming a young adult capable of adult conversation on far ranging subjects.

But he’s still a kid, today he mouthed off at me when I told him to slow down in a parking lot. “But I’m a guy, and guys like to go fast! I’ve got the ‘guy gene’.”

Oh what the fuck ever, I’ve got the keys to the car and you might not get to drive until your 25 and your frontal lobe has developed a little more. And then it‘s gonna be a 1981 Honda Civic four banger.

But I resisted saying that and just gritted my teeth and dug my fingers into the side of seat. Praying we made it home before I tore open the upholstery or chided him while hanging on for dear life.

Friday, September 3, 2010

You probably had to be there...

On Tuesday afternoon I received the following text message:

Company is in the house. I’m setting up the beer and nacho bar in
my best Bobby Spencer outfit. We’re gonna have a great day! See you tomorrow
OOXX Trixie.

Company. Yay. If you take some time and look at the pictures of satisfied customers as they flash on The Joint Comission’s website the smiles are forced and probably fueled by handful of xanax and a mouthful of scotch. Because that’s how The Joint Commission makes me feel and Tuesday afternoon I started to feel the Ebola virus coming on. I swear my eyeballs looked bloody. But I sucked it up and went to work, praying all the way no one would bother to ask me questions.

“Trixie” is one of my co-workers and isn’t it convenient that she already has a nickname and I don’t have to assign her one for the ‘net. She came up with this name for her alter ego who is a little bit slutty a little bit ghetto and a whole lot Filters Off 24/7. I love Trixie. She’s the perfect example of what the balance of taking your job seriously without losing the ability to laugh looks like. She also refers to Bobby Spencer in her text because I have nicknamed one of our co-workers this because she is apparently very adept in high heels. Bobby ran a crash cart down the hall after a staff meeting the other day while wearing 4.5 inch heels. It was a thing of beauty and the poor woman will never live it down. Fortunately, the victim survived and her ankles survived.

“Fern” was on the desk Tuesday, I’m glad it wasn’t me because I am not the real charge nurse. “Fern” (not her real name, duh) is the second non d’plume for the “Real Charge Nurse”. She was first known to me as “Amazon Barbie” when I was “Martha” (for Martha Stewart who I adore! I renamed myself because Martha no longer fits) But it seems about a year or so ago, an elderly man with just a dab of dementia marched up to the desk barked out the following comment: “What is your job anyway? All I ever see you do is sit next to this computer like a houseplant.” I swear to God, she said he said this to her. And Fern may be a houseplant sitting next a computer all day but she doesn’t lie, especially about funny things said by demented people. And who knew that houseplants could multitask the way our Fern does! My houseplant doesn’t multitask.

I love Fern, she’s one of my favorite people which is sort of narcissistic because we share a brain. Seriously, we share a brain and because we share a brain, we share offspring, too. Only she’s saddled blessed with three of the monsters darlings. She too has boys who have only just learned the miracle of running water and enunciating clearly when speaking so everyone can understand and not just fellow teenaged boys. She also has a young adult who has lost all motor ability to clean up after herself! Amazing the parallels! Our medical director thought we were being “cute” when we told him we shared a brain. But about five minutes into unit rounds the first day I was training for my old job-that-is-now-my-new-job, he got this funny look on his face and realized we weren’t kidding or being “cute”. I think he’s just a little afraid of us, too. That we are both about a foot taller than he is doesn’t help the poor dear‘s situation. But its not a bad thing to keep the little man guessing. It’s also pretty awesome to share a brain with Fern. I’m not sure she feels the same about me because she’s about five thousand times smarter than I am. But we do educate one another about nursey things. In fact, I explained to her the indications, side effects and dosages of Abilify right after it came on the market. Only I did it completely in Ebonics while doing my best impression of The Ladies Man. Oh come on people! Get your politically correct panties out of a wad! It was funny! Politically incorrect on so many different levels--making fun of psychotics and Ebonics, yeah I freely own that--but really? What a stupid name for an antipsychotic! It’s just begging to be made fun of: “This medicine will abilify me to differentiate between what is real and that which is not.” Was one of the lines in the riffs. In fact, our riff was so funny that we took it home to our families and now whenever Fern or June sees an Abilify commercial we riff on it.

The tone for a rather--at times--ribald work environment is set by all of us because we are just that kind of team. Once upon a time before The Joint Commission Of American Hospitals or God or the Chief Nursing Officer or the housekeeper (probably the housekeeper, they have all the power) took exception to our collection of “dolls” prominently displayed in the nurses station, we had a whole array of Hawaiian dolls, both boys and girls and a mermaid doll. People from all over the hospital and multiple departments knew about our dolls and would contribute to them. They would send visitors to us to cheer them up if the visitors were having a rough time of it. And it worked! Always made them laugh! We even had one that looked like our then medical director, balding pudgy guy with a ukulele and a grass skirt. It was brilliant. My favorite Rehab talisman was a stuffed monkey our case manager (like a social worker. Her nickname is “Cujo” which is pretty self explanatory. I’m afraid of her and I don’t scare that easily) had stolen from her then eleven year old daughter. The monkey would make monkey noises if you slapped it against a hard surface like the desk. It was a magnificent stress reliever. When I was doing relief charge, it lived not on the shelf next to my head but in a drawer next to me so I could take it out and hold my very long arm away from me and slap it repeatedly on the desk whenever I talked to particular people who were either acting like assclowns or stupid assclowns. One day Trixie told me I had a phone call and got the monkey out of the desk drawer for me before I even picked up the phone. Because on Rehab, if we aren’t anything else we are finely tuned machine and can anticipates one another’s needs.

It was about this time the unit down the hall from us received a really expensive make over and we started the hospital wide trend of referring to it as “Beverly Hills” or “The Bev” or “90210”. Therefore, we being the unit sadly in need of a remodel, referred to ourselves as “Compton” or the “hood”. We even had a rap song about the differences in the units complete with grunts and posing. I can’t remember how it went but the nurse manager from the other unit was not amused when she found out about our rap and The whole Beverly Hills thing. What would she have done if she saw our mock gang signs we threw at one another when we talked to her on the phone? Or announced we were going over to The Bev for supplies. Oh and they never remodeled us they just moved us to another part of the hospital so they could further gentrify the entire floor. The hospital she is like a big city. Still Compton after all these years.

So I wasn’t surprised when Trixie announced her intent to serve beer to the surveyors. I’m just relieved she remembered to put lids on the beverages so we didn’t get dinged for open drink containers. Dinged for that would make Nurse Bitchy McCranky-Pants bitchier.

If that’s even possible.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Collectors vs Horders

The Girl has a new favorite television show and she’s getting me hooked, too, Pickers . Its Antique Roadshow meets Horders. These guys from Iowa head out in their van and travel all over the Midwest and South. Despite the fact I’m not into the antiques they find: old cars and car parts and signs what has me hooked are the characters they meet and the mesmerizing nature of all the crap, treasures, junk and stuff people collect over the span of several life times. It’s a little overwhelming to think about all that stuff just sitting in barns and sheds and attics and basements. A lot of the stuff featured on the Pickers was made during The Great Depression when people supposedly didn’t have any money to buy stuff so why is there so much of it? This doesn’t follow my limited understanding of supply and demand economics.

But anyway, we look upon junked out places with new eyes after watching a season’s worth of Mike and Frank’s adventures on the road, and this weekend was no different. The place we stayed in the mountains has been in the same spot since, 1900 and has a charming rustic vibe to it. There were a few old cars sitting around the property and stuff just piled under a couple of the old cabins. It is also an antique store with more stuff crammed into that you can imagine. Tables and tables of figurines and tiny vases and stacks of saucers and plates and baskets of god only know what. Three rooms stuffed to the rafters with things for sale. It was so full and busy I didn’t know where to look first and TG was so overwhelmed she went outside to talk to April, Kip’s new girlfriend. But I stuck it out and snapped pictures of things which were randomly grouped together and either made comical or poignant tableaus. What had me awestruck was where in the Hell did all this crap come from and why do we keep making stuff when there are mounds of stuff just sitting in barns all over the American south? Why were little angel or puppy or kitten or bird figurines made to begin with?

The other night, Frank and Mike were going through an old barn with a guy easily in his 80’s. This guy had forgotten what was even there and it was like he rediscovered his stuff all over again but he wouldn’t part with it. Maybe I’m way too puritanical but I’m thinking if you don’t know you have it, you don’t need it. And yeah, yeah, yeah, I know hording is a sickness. I can’t even watch Horders because those people are so terribly ill it makes my stomach turn. But I seriously wanted to put this old guy on the couch and find out what was it he was trying to relive or what kind of hole in his life was he trying to fill with that stuff in his barn? Stuff he didn’t even bother with anymore. He was almost wistful as he came across things he had once loved and grief caught in his voice as he told the guys he couldn’t sell this or that artifact.

And I also started wondering if you piled up all the stuff hidden away in barns, sheds, storage units, basements, closets and attics along with all the unsold stuff already in antique shops, thrift stores, discount stores and tag sales would the pile be as big as Venus or just the Earth. I’m voting Venus. My nephew said it best a couple of years ago when the economy fell down and went boom. “I’ll start worrying about the economy when Americans stop buying useless stuff.”

Watching the guys pick and going into places like that makes me want to throw my stuff out and parse living down to four changes of clothes three pairs of shoes, a sauce pan, two place settings and four glasses.

If I winnow my life down to that, I’ve got a long way to go. Maybe I should call our new TV boyfriends to come over and pick through our treasures.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

When Good Things Happen

This summer I’ve been lucky enough to come in contact with several heroes and they probably don’t even realize what their courage has meant to a stranger.

1. The guy with the bumper sticker which read something like: “Questions about Islam? Call--” That his car hadn’t been beaten with sticks by angry bigots is amazing. Talk about walking your walk and living your faith. I wonder how many Christians would have the courage to drive down Iraqi streets with Jesus stickers on their cars. Unoccupied Iraq I’m not talking in armored hummers but just regular old cars. I sure has heck wouldn’t put myself up for martyrdom.

2. The waitress at Village Inn. This young woman was expecting a baby a few weeks ago and hadn’t worked for a number of weeks. A couple of the regulars asked about her baby and she had the tenacity to rehearse the story of a child born with an overwhelming defect (the same one we thought Beav had) who was simply not viable and how they had to let her child go. If this had been me? I would have had to start my life over again some place else because telling that story would have been too painful to bear.

3. My young stroke patient. All I can say is if I had a dense stroke at my age, I would have been placed on a suicide watch and refused to eat or move or do anything so I could just die, rather than be trapped in a useless body. Because regaining strength and agility after such a stroke is extraordinarily hard work. Harder than training for a triathlon. Her tenacity to keep on going is bigger than the tenacity it took any one of the soldiers ever decorated with the Medal of Valor.

Heroes are kind of few and far between in this bossy stick finger pointing world we live in today. But I think courage is like kindness and valor can be paid forward, too. If we all behave a little more bravely towards the roadblocks in our lives, the big stuff, and the really hard stuff won’t be so overwhelming. People treating one another with kindness fall in the category of heroes, too. Which leads me to hero number four:

One of my favorite commercials--an insurance company, too I am soMadison Avenue's little patsy-- is the one about paying it forward. People practicing acts of kindness towards strangers and how one begets another and another. But it works and I was lucky enough to watch kindness spiral out of control one afternoon in our neighborhood Walmart.

4. The People Of Walmart: I was approaching the stop walk and a car many feet away, slowed and the stopped smiling and motioning me across the walk. I entered the store and the greeter’s genuine smile made me notice how beautiful she looked in red lipstick and so I told her this. After she thanked me for the compliment, the greeter turned and noticed a woman younger and stronger than herself struggling with a basket so she found one that wasn‘t jammed into another. This woman proceeded into the fruits and veg section where a young mother, distracted by a toddler, dropped a large bag of oranges that bounced and rolled akimbo. The older woman left her cart and gathered the oranges and handed them to the appreciative young mother. Later, I was standing in one of the impossibly long checkout lines and I noticed this young mother, in an equally long line, allow someone ahead of her because they had fewer items. I was awestruck for just a few minutes at the ease in which humans treat one another with kindness and how it really does spiral out of control.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My Daughter Summer

Isn’t this the saddest little flower you’ve ever seen? Kind of reflects my inner life when I think about what day it is. The last day of August. The last day. Indian summer officially starts tomorrow, and frankly it feels like it has started today. I’m on the back porch in a sweater because the breeze is a little chilly. The light golden and the sun more tentatively warm than full on hot. I wish I were filled with breathless excitement over the new season about to come upon me. Admittedly, autumn is sweet here, lovely sunny warm days with a subtext of coolness; fog in the mornings and crisp nights. We do get snow in late October and fourteen years ago we had over three feet of snow in late September. It was freakishly early so we were all in our shorts and sweat shirts by the next week. I have absolutely no romantic memories of that storm because it was Hell when it happened; the snow was so heavy it blew up the electric transformers in our end of Stepford Knolls and we didn’t have power for four days; which was especially fun with a six year old and a two year old. No school for the oldest, the school was in the ‘hood and without power as well. Looking back, I’m not sure how I entertained the little monsters dears. I know I used a ton of babysitting co-op hours so they could hang at friends’ houses that did have power and they spent a lot of time bundled up, playing in the snow. I didn’t go as far as David Sedaris’ mother who locked her kids outside and watched them from the warm kitchen while drinking from a coffee mug of gin. My kitchen wasn’t warm and I’m pretty sure we didn’t have any gin so that plan wasn’t viable at my house. I did weep at the kitchen table because I was losing hundreds of dollars of groceries we could ill afford to lose that fall.

And the first snow always comes as such a terrible surprise. Like I’ve just discovered I live in a climate where it stands every chance of snowing from October until May. Always, without fail, I am all “WTF???” when snow is predicted. In fact, my reaction to snow is more predictable than actually getting snow. I’m never prepared, don’t know where my boots are or gloves…the Beav and Wally don’t have coats that fit them properly so I’m one of those Anti-Uber Moms at the store snatching up jackets while my kids are shivering in the car or at home waiting for me to return with their jackets so they can leave the house. Last year, if you recall, I was the wild-eyed lady who almost crashed her car getting to the tire store on October 28th when we had our first big snow. God was looking out after me because the tires came in under budget and I didn’t kill anyone on the way to the tire store. That sort of blessing bears remembering.

This fall, I have promised myself to just Woman up and have the gloves, hats, boots and jackets ready for winter before she knocks me down like a playground bully. In the meantime, today I will be cutting flowers and deadheading the spent blossoms, beating down weeds and fretting over still green tomatoes. I’ve also scheduled in a session of reading in the sun gather the last bits of Vitamin D before I become like Persephone and pine for my lost daughter and favorite child named Summer.

Monday, August 30, 2010

My Personal Conspiracy Theory

Dear humans who read mommy’s blog:
I think she and other mommy are trying to kill me. Seriously, this is NOT A JOKE. Yesterday, they gave me a big car ride. Now I like a car ride every now and then and sometimes the car ride isn’t to the place where a human puts something in my butt and then talks to mommies about how my heart is too big and I don’t have much longer or we go to the place where the nice lady washes off my yummy smells. Yesterday’s car ride was a big one. A whole long nap’s worth of car ride. And we went to this place.
And I had a hot dog but it wasn’t after they told me about it and I could smell them and I had to wait.

The next car ride was short, like coming home from the neighbors after I take myself for a walk, and we ended up at this place.

It was really nice until Other Mommy decided I wanted to take a swim and she tried to put my feet in water!!!! I’m a herder! Not a water dog!!! Is she insane??? And then the other one, she just laughed at my horrible plight and even splashed me with water!Call the SPCA!! Waiting for a hot dog and swimming?? Will the inhumanity ever end? Thank goodness they decided to leave me alone and just let me smell all the good smells at this place. When what did I see while was smelling but just the most beautiful dog I’ve ever seen in my life. I even went for a swim this morning just so she would notice me, so we would, you know, have something in common we could chat about the next time we meet. April. April April April…I will dream of her tonight...Other Mom made fun of me and said: “Dude, whining after a woman has never worked. You need to work on your delivery.” But by this morning, she wanted me, oh yeah…she barked as we were leaving. I probably should have taken that swim yesterday instead of today. Isn’t that like a long tall blonde? Playing hard to get. Women…sheesh!

So yeah, me and my girls we took a hike. (This is the other instance I think they were trying to kill me) Yup, I even went--au naturale--no leash. No LEASH dudes!! They were so setting me up for “the kill” I think they wanted me to run away! Every other time I'm walking with them I'm on a leash...but hey, I took the oppertunity to be free and enjoy myself. My last few minutes on this Earth in my dog body. I decided to make them feel like they still had control over me. They would call if I got too far away--what they considered too far away, but really, how far was too far WHEN SOMEONE IS TRYING TO KILL YOU? I would play their cat and mouse game and come back a little closer. Besides by the time they called? The smells were boring. We walked up a really big hill and back down it and up another one and back down and up and down and up and down. I think they were waiting for me to keel over. In fact, at one point when I got to close to the edge of the road: “Kipper, if you fall down there and break your neck I’m not sure how we will pack you out, so come over to me.”

See? If that isn’t proof those two weren’t hatching some diabolical scheme to off me I don’t know what is! Maybe this will be proof: Look closely at the water dish in the back of the MINI van: It’s empty. I had just emptied it and no one, NO ONE refilled it until we came home after a big nap’s worth of time.

But the most damning evidence? Guess where I went before I even got to come home and rub my good mountain smells all over my bed? The bath place. Where there is WATER. And a lady who touches my butt.

Peace out everyone and remember me when you see some poor old dog on a walk or having a hot dog. It’s been a tough two days. I think I need a nap.

Love, Kipper Q. Dogg

Saturday, August 28, 2010

"Myellow? Are you there? Is this thing on??"

Yesterday, I got an email from Ms A with her new phone number. It seems she has joined the 21st century and is consolidating her phone service and going cellular. My first thought was: Finally! This was the woman who refused to carry a cell phone, had one, never could find it, didn’t know the number…Which was terribly hard on someone like me who hasn’t had a land line in six years and has developed the cell phone habit. And that’s what it is really, a habit. For years I was able to meet up with people without having to call them minutes before arrival; find restaurants, shops and homes without the benefit of a telephone. As a teenager, I was even able to rendezvous with my mother if we went our separate ways shopping. Now it takes a phone call across Target from son to mother explaining where we are both are in relation to the front door. So what the heck happened? I would like to blame the “need” I have for a cell phone on a shift in the Earth’s space/time continuum but that would be too simple. Lazy is more the answer.

I had privately rolled my eyes at Ms. A because she didn’t have a cell phone. I mean, really! How did she manage to keep up with her two teenagers and her man? She had to be at home next to the phone if she wanted to speak to anyone. So to say I was delighted and smug when I read:

Hi All, I’ve moved up with the times and am bidding adieu to
the old times--a home land line. . .”

Was a gross understatement.

I was planning my sarcastic and pithy reply as I reached for my phone to change the contact number.

What happened next was pure Karma for being a smug Mean Girl.

I unlocked my phone and opened my contacts.
I opened Ms. A.
I clicked options
I scrolled
I scrolled
I scrolled
I scrolled
I re scrolled about sixty eight more times looking for a place to edit her phone number.
Not there.
I could erase the contact but I didn’t want to do that I just wanted to change the frakkin’ home number! I mean really…what the heck was “wrong” with this phone that it didn’t have that function. And I know I’ve changed numbers before because I accidentally changed Wally’s number by a digit and had to call Beav for his number a couple of years ago…more mumbling ensues. More scrolling and clearing and ending and I was almost to the point of just erasing her, after writing down her work number with paper and penso I could ask Wally to change it for me…when what did I see next to the last digit of her dear old land line--a number I was starting to feel sentimental about because she’s had it since returning from Central America to embark on a new and scary life post marriage--

A blinking cursor.

Like a 90 year old woman sitting at her new computer in 1996, I sigh a deep sigh of relief because I could manage this new fangled contraption I held in my hand and by God, I knew what Blinky The Cursor meant. I nervously tapped the clear button and watched a number disappear. Emboldened I tapped it nine more times until all the old numbers miraculously disappeared and Viola! I entered the new number and pushed "save". What's really cool, is this morning I checked and it is still in my phone! Is this a great century or what!

Needless to say, I didn’t send my sarcastic reply.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Uh oh it's haiku time

Oldest Friend once quipped she was pulled from a graduate poetry program "kicking and screaming". And she's a good poet!

Late Summer

Sun changes her slant
Butterflies taking their leave
Summer feels nappish

I've never been pulled out of anything kicking and screaming but I imagine this attempt at poetry could change that. Will Blogger pull an account for writing bad haiku?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Does this knife in my back make my butt look big?

image here

Something disturbing happened yesterday in the dressing room at Nordstrom’s Rack. Fortunately, it wasn’t as disturbing as seeing the backs of my thighs in a mirror. Actually, short of someone committing a violent act in the dressing room, I can’t think of anything as disturbing as the backs of my thighs flashing in a fluorescent light enhanced mirror. What I did witness wasn’t criminal but it was despicable and was perpetrated with intent to harm. And it all happened with in the span of maybe a minute.

The Girl was in the dressing booth and I was stationed outside the door to give her choices thumbs up or thumb down. She was popping in and out at the doorway to turn this way and that if she liked it or she barely open the door for a split second and shake her head disappearing behind the door, like a ghost in an ill-fitting or poorly chosen garment, before I could offer my opinion. This dressing room ritual is something Walker forgot to mention in her encyclopedia of women’s myths and rituals. This same donning and doffing ritual was playing out next door to us, too. A twenty-something woman was standing outside the door next to us. Her friend--behind the door was chattering nonstop how happy she was she fit into a particular size now. . .wasn’t it wonderful she was beginning to look good in clothes and feel good in clothes. . .but she just wasn’t sure if the things she had with her really looked that good and if they matched. She was clearly a little overwhelmed with all the selection she had now she was smaller. Her friend was frumpy and ill-kempt and--frankly--fat. I’m not acting out of prejudice against large women here. On the contrary, if this woman waiting outside the door had been skinny she would still be frumpy and ill-kempt. That she had on a polyester dress a size or two too small just added to her list of fashion don’ts. And her friend was a larger woman, too. Although from the sound of it, Friend was losing weight.

Disappearing weight girl popped out of the dressing room with an extremely flattering skirt on in a lovely shade of blue and a wretched mismatched top over it. “So, so what do you think…I mean I’m not sure…does this match?”

Her friend leaned back, narrowed her eyes and thought for a few seconds, tilting her head to the left and then to the right until she nodded and enthusiastically assured her weight losing friend “Of course it matched! Don’t be silly!” Diet girl disappeared behind her door and I noticed Friend rolled her eyes and sighed a little too loudly. The eye narrowing aroused my suspicion and the sigh confirmed this vivacious young woman who was a couple sizes smaller had brought not a friend but a Ferenemy shopping.

The voices in my head were moaning: “Oh honey noOOoooo!!“ and I wanted to devise a split second scheme to get her friend out of the way so I could give a head up that the blouse she had on looked like ass and her “friend knew it. I found myself glancing at Ferenemy shaking my head in reproach and when I caught her eye and she turned away there was no doubt in my mind, Sister knew she was busted. An outfit or so later, the enthusiastic dieter left with her “friend” briskly chatting about how these clothes would be good for now because she had plateau and knew it would be a matter of time before she lost more weight. This chatter went on, nonstop at what seemed the speed of sound while they left the dressing rooms and away from my ear shot. My heart felt sick for this young woman. Yeah, she was a chatter box but her hard work deserved positive recognition and she had no idea there was a knife sticking in her back.

On the way home from The Rack with The Girl’s beautiful new jacket and blouses and my (score!) cute blouse and (yawn) sheets and (double yawn) socks I couldn’t stop thinking about all the girls and later women I have been friends with and in many cases still friends with. A few of us have had our snits and out set-to’s and in one case we stopped being friends in high school for God-only-knows-why but now we‘re friends again. I even had the sad experience of “divorcing” a friend a number of years ago because her negativity was such a weight on my shoulders I couldn’t stand to even talk to her. I’ve even had frenemies. Hell, I had--what felt like at times--an entire subdivision of them. But I took care of that because not only did Ward get the house, kids and the station wagon; he got the neighbor ladies; way back in aught zero. And my oh my my my did I give them something to talk about: leaving my husband because I was unsure of my sexual identity. Looking back now, I bet my desperate act disguised as courage scared the crap out of a couple of them. But aside from Stepford, I’ve never had a ferenemy. Co-workers who make me impatient and set my teeth on edge are one thing (it’s not hard to make me grind my teeth impatiently, I have a very short fuse) but choosing to be friends with someone you essentially don’t like and want to hurt is another thing. Couched in those terms it’s really kind of sick.

I don’t understand why women treat each other this way. What is the point of sabotaging someone out of jealousy? Does it change your own life or circumstance? No, if anything it leaves a big black mark on your book o’ karma which ultimately moves you further away from the ideal you see your “friend“ possesses. Maybe I’m mystified by this kind of behavior because I see myself as part of a sisterhood and it wouldn’t occur to me to humiliate or lie to one of my “sisters”. But in the larger scheme: Friends are a precious and privileged commodity. Why would I squander and abuse a friendship?

Don Corleones urged his sons to hold their friends close and their enemies closer. So what did he tell them to do with their frenemies? Maybe he advised a trip The Rack and lying to them: “Oh yeah, that skirt matches that blouse, it looks great!”

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

And Another Thing!

The only saving grace about the Really Big Store we visited on Sunday is it’s in a funky working class neighborhood instead of Stepford and the people watching was fabulous. As you will recall from my last exciting installment, we were well caffeinated so my monkey brain was working like a monkey brain on crack. Before we left the house that morning I almost picked up the camera so I could take pictures of cute dogs and flowers in our favorite ‘hood. It’s probably better that I didn’t have the camera because I would have made an ass out of myself taking pictures of the characters in front of the store.

Two guys were standing with us each wearing work stained clothes and beat up shoes. A Raymond Carver story ready to happen. One guy walked with a cane and had an anchor tattoo on the inner part of his lower right forearm. It was a bad tattoo, not jailhouse bad but bad just the same. I was pretty surprised he didn’t have a Vet’s cap on because he had the look of a Vietnam vet who’s life had beat the crap out of him of him but he was standing up and ready to take more. That is more, just after he bought a case of glass cleaner.

Intense Chinese guy brushed passed us as we approached the store, all upset that it didn’t open for twenty minutes. Twenty minutes!! If he had had pearls to clutch he would have snapped them off his neck. Which would have been ok because he could replace them after he picked up a box of onions.

Just after the Carver characters joined our little Warehouse family, a very large man with a braid down his back rolled into the parking lot riding a pimped out Harley. This guy’s soundtrack must be Born To Be Wild. He had the leather saddle bags festooned with studs, the raised chopper handlebars with festive leather tassels that looked just like the sparkly pink and purple one’s we would beg for when we pimped out our banana seated bikes back in the ‘70s. As I watched him swing into a parking place and dismount from his bike, I wondered how he was going to get a big screen T.V. and a box of ramen home on his bike.

Just before the store opened a family joined the queue. He was scrubbed within an inch of his life wearing a freshly laundered (you could smell the Downy) pearl snapped Western shirt, clean wranglers and the most fascinating cowboy boots I’ve ever seen: pointed toe red and white harlequin patterned painted faux ostrich leather. The only reason I knew this guy wasn’t the grooviest hipster in a band was because his skin was hardened by the sun and the wind. And he was speaking Spanish. Hipsters probably only speak French to one another or if they are feeling ironic, Pig Latin. As it was he is probably the most secure man on the planet to wear such boots. Thirty years ago, those boots would have been my Punk Rock statement and I would have worked them with my aqua bowling shirt, black mini skirt and sporty mullet. I’m still thinking about those boots. In fact, just last night me and TG sighed all over the idea of such boots. Meanwhile the woman with him had a Walk of Shame outfit on: skinny jeans, spangly top, teetering sparkly metallic sandals and accessorized this outfit with a toddler. But I don’t think she was walking the walk. I think she got up out of bed an hour or so before they left the house and put that outfit on selected from her closet and not from the bedroom floor. They were standing close to one another in the intimate repose of family as they passed the baby back and forth so their feet were close together and the juxtaposition of their shoes so unalike but standing so close together was suprising and beautiful. It would have been a wonderful picture.

Which lead me on a thought tangent of how I’m pretty shy about taking people’s pictures. I’ve lucked into some really beautiful people pictures and as time goes on, I am increasingly bold about pointing my camera at people. But how would I ask to take a picture of their shoes? “Excuse me but your footwear is extremely ironic, can I photograph you? Or “Excuse me but your boots are very unusual and your wife’s sandals are not quite what I would wear on a Sunday morning at a grocery store, can I take your picture?” I could lie and tell them I was in school working on a photo project. I could also tell them the truth: I was a freak on too much coffee and so their footwear was infinitely interesting at that moment.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Yesterday morning we cruised across town to my favorite coffee place in our favorite neighborhood before the monthly trip to Really Big Store Where You Can Buy A Case Of Tylenol Or Diamonds. I hate going to this place and I avoid it as carefully as I avoid cooking and balancing my checkbook. Everything is just so darn oversized and big! Even the shopping carts are oversized. And of course they are because a regular cart wouldn’t hold the 2000 pack of toilet paper.

The Girl was well caffeinated and five minutes before the store opened she had lined up the cart in front of the door and was rolling it back and forth, leaning into it like a contestant for one of those shoppers’ sweepstakes; the type where you run into a store and have five minutes to fill your cart. Girl was super charged and revving up her cart. I swear I heard her make car noises.

I was a little concerned about TG yesterday, too because when we walked into the warehouse I asked if we had won the lottery the night before, because if we did, I was buying diamonds. You must know TG is very sensible about money so I was gobsmacked when she remarked: “If we won the lottery we are NOT buying diamonds here. We are chartering an airplane and going to Tiffany’s in New York for our diamonds.” I just stopped and stared at her like she had three heads.

“You can’t seriously mean that? That would be a stupid waste of money when there is a perfectly good Tiffany’s just down the street from here!”

Sister girl needs to watch the coffee intake; it’s impairing her judgment.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Waiting For The To Go Signal

Seven thousand years ago in the early ‘90s Nora Ephron said something like you could be in the room next to your children attempting suiicide but if you are engaged in something you love chances are they will need something of you. I botched the quote but you get the idea.

Anyhow, I had one of those days yesterday. Friday night at 10:30, I said good night to Beav and he announced to me: “I have Frisbee Golf in the morning.” Good Mother would have said, “Oh honey, that is so neat you are doing that again and I know you had a great time last year!” I was Good Mother earlier this week when I asked if he was going to play this year. But the other night, Bad Mother put her hands on either side of her forehead and let out a big Oscar worthy sigh and said: “Al-right. What time? It better not be crazy early because I’m really tired and have been up at 5 every morning.” As the words were leaving my mouth, Good Mother was whacking me over the head with a bossy stick: “What time do you think your little darling was up every day this week? Just sixty minutes after you, is what!” After Beav metaphorically patted me on the head and assured me it was at ten I was placated and took myself, Good Mother and Bad Mother to bed.

So guess what time my eyes popped open and refused to shut again. Just guess.

Uh huh. Six-thirty.

What am I 80? And incapable of sleeping past seven?

So after laying in bed for about an hour, I got up, fed the dog, and messed around on the net, sent The Girl an LOLcat text from Kipper about the RABBIT we saw eating blossoms off the butterfly bush; and looked several times at the menacing pile of receipts I need to sort through only to look away from them again in a futile attempt at denial that my checkbook needs to be balanced.

About an hour after Beav’s alarm sounded and thirty minutes before we needed to leave so I marched upstairs, dressed, put my scanky hair in a twist and marched across the hall to Beav’s room.

knockknockknock “It’s a little after nine, time to get up.”

mmmrrfffff mmmmrrrrfff ffrfmmm ffmmfmffrr

“Are you going? Cuz if you are we need to leave in about 30 minutes.”


So I marched downstairs and tried to decide what I was going to do. Repeatedly attempting to get him up for Frisbee Golf did not make the short list. Or even the long one.

1. I could go out for coffee. I was dressed. Mind you dressed just a hair’s breadth away from ending up on the People of Walmart site but I wasn’t going to Walmart so it didn‘t matter…Besides the second I sat down with a trashy magazine at my favorite coffee place someone would call me all wild voiced demanding to know where I was because “I have to be somewhere REALLY IMPORTANT AND YOU AREN’T HOME.”

2. I could work in the garden. The flowers needed to be trimmed up, cucumbers inspected and the fact I don’t have red tomatoes on August 21st--a troubling and tragic situation--needed to be fussed over. I also needed to smile over my cheerful zinnias.

3. I could balance the checkboo---OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD NO! TURN AWAY FROM THE LIGHT JUNE! TURN AWAY FROM THE LIGHT! [don’t worry Dad, I know how much money I have and it’s enough]

4. I could clean the kitchen. But there’s a yucky pan I don’t feel like doing and that would be noisy and wake the little darlings up which would then probably interrupt my cleaning because someone would need a ride somewhere. And then I would complain about having to stop what I was doing…which could lead to the two part harmony song called: “If I Had A Car” (sung to “If I Had A Hammer” it’s a real catchy tune). Which then leads to me reminding them if everyone had a car no one would have food or light because we would all have to sit quietly with our hands folded neatly, trying to forget the hunger pains we were experiencing in the dark because our monthly auto insurance bill would preclude us from paying the electric bill or buying groceries.

5. I could write. Because I must. And people at my house want me to write and enjoy what I write so they don’t interrupt me and if they need me they say so and give me a few minutes. I’m not sure how this respect came about but it has and I am very thankful. I know it didn’t come about because I would grumble at them or snarl. One day, Wally was lurking around and I was fiddling with something. I looked up at him and was all wild-eyed: “I know! I know! You want to go!!” He got this Dali Lama look on his face and said: “Mom, I know you’re writing. I can wait.”

After I got back from taking Wally to his friends’ house I searched high and low for the pod.

I just hate holding patterns. I would rather they breathe down my neck when I’m doing something than wait for them to start breathing down my neck. Waiting to see if they need me. It’s an odd state of being and I think only being a parent allows you to understand what I mean. It’s one of the many things about mothering that makes me twitchy and impatient with myself. But I managed to get all Dali Lama on myself and so I:

Made myself coffee, deadheaded the flowers, pulled the weeds, harvested a cucumber and fussed over the not ripening tomatoes, sighed over my festive zinnias, cleaned the kitchen and wrote a little something.

But I did not balance the checkbook because this Puritan girl’s work ethic only goes so far.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Cadillac Of Mini Vans

Last January, after 19.5 years of motherhood I started driving a van. I had resisted up until this year because I didn’t like them and didn’t have kids who were apt to need rides with eighty pounds of equipment and four of their team members. In fact, I distained mini vans. I thought they were the ugliest cliché of a post modern suburban life style. The ultimate sign you had sold your life out to The Children. I’ll never forget the day we found The Fabulous House in the Suburbs because as we were leaving Stepford Knolls, I noticed every vehicle whizzing by us was a mini van. I looked at Ward and said: “For the love of God don’t let me buy a mini van.” Nope, no mini van for me. No SUV for me, either. I drove a station wagon. Until the Mitsubishi that Wally killed, it was my favorite car. It was fast, easy to maneuver and I could get three extra kids in it if the “way back” seat was flipped up. So barely I slid around the cliché. Only one other housewife in Stepford Knolls drove a station wagon and it was an awesome retro Mercedes touring wagon. Being van free gave me rebel cred.

One of the most foolish things I ever did was giving up the station wagon during the divorce. Ward insisted he have custody of the boys and so I was the Disneyland Mommy and really didn’t need a big ole car! Nope, I took the two door convertible because he needed the station wagon for “his“ sons. [insert face palm here] The two door thing lasted about six months before I traded it for my beloved gas hog SUV.

I didn’t have to drive my mom’s van. I could have traded it in or sold it. But the appeal of not having a car payment--something I’ve enjoyed for about six years--was more appealing than satisfying my vanity. Whoa back up the bus! Something more important than my over inflated ego? Fancy that. Despite the pining, dreaming, lusting, and sighing over a British racing car green over green MINI Cooper S hardtop with both winter and premium packages for about 3 years, I resisted. Hence the van is now referred to as the MINI van. (You say “MINI“loud and whisper “van“) I still sigh over them when I see them in traffic, they are just the most adorable cars, like puppies that never loose the fluffy sweet puppy look. Besides, me and TG would look cute in a MINI.

This isn’t saying we don’t look hot in the MINI van. Especially with Dad’s “Bass Master” sticker picturing a leaping fish in the back window, it just adds to the irony of it all. I keep threatening to get some of those stupid family decals, too. Two women: one shorter with curly hair, one taller with straight hair, two very tall and skinny male figures in baggy pants and caps plus a decrepit and scruffy looking dog with a blank stare and a big tongue hanging out of his mouth. To add to the confusion: my bumper would feature a Darwin fish on one side of the license and a bumper sticker about What Would Jesus Do on the other. Realistically, I’m reluctant to put anything about Jesus on my bumper because then I can’t yell at cars because that behavior would leave no doubt the depth of my hypocrisy on any given day. Without the Jesus bumper sticker people just think I’m a godless heathen with an anger management problem and they pray for my soul after I‘ve yelled at them so it‘s a win-win situation: I get to yell at cars and get bonus prayers for my soul, too.

To be honest, the MINI van is actually a very nice car with leather seats and electric everything. It’s the nicest car I’ve ever had and the price was just so right. I drive it thankfully and only curse it when I have to parallel park.

A couple of months ago we were going downtown to our favorite restaurant and I was riffing on the fact we were in a mini van, and how we were making mini van’s hip for the rest of the world. And weren’t we something else. . . And then I flashed on Get Shorty and how Chili confidently explained his odd car choice to Martin Weir as “The Cadillac of mini vans” and whaddya know the dark green vans started showing up all over Hollywood. Because Chili was just that cool. By this time we had pulled into our parking place and were getting out when I noticed the car pulling in next to us: a brand new black mini van. “See what did I say? We started a trend and all the cool lesbians will be driving mini vans!“ I was expecting a Mommy and Daddy to get out of their van but was amazed when two painfully fashionable and dapper young men emerged from the van.

Uh huh…told ya’ so. The MINI of mini vans is what I’m driving.

Friday, August 20, 2010

"If it was completely different, school would be great."

If you read my blog regularly you know Beav is back in school this week and I think it’s insanely early to be starting school. One reason it’s too early is the weather; it’s hot this time of year and most of the school isn’t air conditioned. I don’t know about your but I always found a close and overly warm room most conducive to learning. But The Beav is taking this whole back-to school thing like a man, going to bed at a reasonable hour and getting up on time. It seems like yesterday he was the little boy on the kindergarten playground in his jammies. Four years ago he was the kid who looked like he slept in his clothes to save time in the morning. (I let him but the negotiating lynch pin was he had to brush his teeth. I chose my battles with this one) But last year was a magic year, not only did he get up on time without a bunch of drama, he volunteered to shower without being begged. The angels who live with us were able to unplug their noses and sing hallelujah.

Back-to-school also means two other things: forms to fill out and being nickle and dimed to death. Five bucks here, fifteen bucks there, twenty over there. And this is after I shelled out a Benjamin and Grant and Lincoln last week for fees. Fortunately, after fifteen years of this particular rodeo I know to plan for the slow fiscal bleed that marks the middle of August.

One of the yearly forms I must complete makes me cranky. The Reading Permission Slip. Maybe I’m like a crack mom or too lenient or neglectful or something but I trust my son’s teachers to make prudent decisions about the reading curriculum and don’t feel a need to sign a permission slip for my son to read bits and pieces of the European and American canons. It’s not like Screw magazine is suddenly relevant to a high school English class. Ok…not relevant in a scholastic sense. And with Wally? I was just happy he was reading a book that wasn’t a graphic novel. Last year, I embarrassed Beav to death because I wrote a ranty message on the bottom of his reading permission slip. I told her how sorry I was his literature teacher worked in a district which smothered creativity and extolled censorship as a virtue. This year, I asked if he would like me to review his American Literature reading list and pick out the things I thought were boring and useless to high school sophomores for a “Can Not Read” list for his teacher. He chuckled and then assured me this wasn’t necessary. Can you imagine the look on the teacher’s face? Dear Ms. Teacher, James Fennimore Cooper is counter to our religious and soul felt belief literature should be well written and relevant. Yours sincerely, June Cleaver. I also have to give him permission to watch PG 13 films used to support pieces of literature they study. My guess is the parents bitched up about PG 13 films have kids who spend time at their friends’ houses drinking stolen beer and watching soft core porn on Cinamax.

This year the form that induced multiple eye rolls was the standard emergency contact form which also includes who isn’t supposed to pick up your kid. I think this is mandatory information for kids who aren’t old enough to buy cigarettes drive cars or don’t have the intellectual or emotional capacity to say no or whack job Lolita types who favor “older” men. But for this sixteen year old? I mean really, the kid makes better decisions than his parents. But despite my whining about the rules and procedures I do what I’m told. So I’m dutifully and by rote filling in my numbers, Ward and Alexis’ contact information and TG’s numbers when I get to the last line which asks me “who else will be allowed to pick up your ‘child‘?”

I was so tempted to write: “Everyone but creepy guys in vans who promise puppies and candy, Catholic priests or Crack dealers may give my son a ride home. And if he gets a ride home with a creepy guy, priest or dealer makes sure they are going somewhere to watch PG 13 movies and read smutty novels”

I think I may do this his senior year just to see if anyone notices.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Victus Obscurum

I realized yesterday I might have an eating disorder when I found myself in the basement huddled over a bag of potato chips I had uncovered from its hiding place. When I’m feeling snackish it is necessary for me to sneak downstairs and nosh in secret being mindful of loud crunchy noises and keeping an eye out on the door for interlopers. I will even lie to the offspring if they ask me: “Do we have anymore chips and salsa? “ I bat my eyelashes and look at them dead in the eye shaking my head as I’m picturing the bag of chips and cans of salsa. My hiding places depend upon my sons’ inherited Male Pattern Blindness and so I put ice cream and sorbet behind the frozen vegetables and snack food behind boring things like large boxes of healthy cereal. But I must confess this sneaking around makes me feel weird like I’m some sort of food obsessed woman who isn’t “allowed” to eat snacks because I’ll throw them up after eating two bags of chips and two boxes of cookies in one sitting; or my BMI is 50% and I was told to lose weight or die. Luckily the idea of barfing makes me a little urpy and I‘m keeping my BMI well below 50%. Over eating and bulimia aren‘t the disorders I suffer. My eating disorders are Wally and Beav and if I didn’t hide the chips, cookies and ice cream I would never have the luxury of even getting to make unhealthy food choices.

Hmmm…maybe I should liberate the chips and sorbet from captivity to help nudge off my spare ten pounds. I bet my snacks would be gone within two hours after I left them out in the open. The only thing left would be the empty packages, a few crumbs on the floor and dirty spoons in the sink. The poor dears have those gross and fine motor skill deficits that cause a person to have an inability to throw empty packages away or put dirty dishes in the dishwasher. I probably should have them seen by a physical therapist for this, huh. Oh well their disability will just make them stronger.

Is there SSI for this sort of thing?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

See Wally Think. Think Wally Think.

Yesterday I called Wally, thinking it would be a good break from uncharacteristic Chaotic Hell that was work, and oh boy was that a mistake. The kid is all wound up. Tight like a freakin’ clock or an old man who watches too much Fox News. Which is exactly who he reminds me of just now: some old coot who watches Fox News and believes every damn word uttered. This is not to say I wouldn’t be upset if he sounded like some old hippie who was watching Rachel Maddow, either. And I sound like an old coot when I say things like: “Can’t trust the damn media, they just all want to sell ya’ their brand of politics and the flavor or the day…why can’t they just report the news, dammit. “ [insert rocking chair at full stop here so I can shake my fist in the air but careful my arm fat doesn’t hit me in the cheek]

Wally is terribly upset that “Obama is letting the Muslims build a masque at Ground Zero. “ Hey at least he worries about something other than his hair…

Who is this kid and how did I end up with such a conservative xenophobic atheist? (I believe the conservative and xenophobe part would be cured if he believed in something bigger outside of himself)

Obama is not building a mosque at Ground Zero. Its a few blocks away and it’s a Community Center. I’ve only been to one mosque but shooting hoops in the middle of it would have been frowned upon. This has a basketball court and other stuff plus a chapel. (Wally would now accuse me of being brainwashed by the “liberal media”. Um yeah…I’m completely hypnotized by Maddow…)

Forgive me but maybe I'm just so fucking worn out with bad news and stupid people that I can't get excited or upset about anything anymore. Just about everything that happens outside of my job or my home elicits a “whatever” response from me. And it’s not because my life is so horrible and difficult I can’t think of anyone but myself and I don't have the strength to worry about one group of loud mouths oppressing a group of people who don't share their beliefs. I’m just sick to death of worrying about it and getting angry about the oppression and small mindedness of it all. On both sides of the fence, too. And all the worrying, bitching, moaning and fist shaking I do doesn't change a fucking thing. All I can think to do is say a prayer that some how some where some time one of these loud people who think they embody the life of Christ with their protests wakes up and realizes it's all the same God who I'm pretty sure doesn't want us killing each other or hating one another in his name or any of his other names. And then say another prayer that all the people who think people who believe in a creative force or a God external to their own physical beings are stupid, misinformed, sheep, ignorant or dangerous (I’ve been called all those things by atheists) and realize that for the future of the Earth and human beings it would be more beneficial to just shrug off the differences and realize it doesn’t matter if we came from God or the earth or both or from a space ship. What matters is ultimately we take care of one another for the sake of human kind.