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

C8H10N4O2


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.”

mmmmffrrffmm

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.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Short And Long Of It


For the last eighteen months I’ve been attempting to grow out my hair. Over the last thirty years, My hair has been from my the top of my back to buzzed off a la Jamie Lee Curtis or Annie Lennox. Six years ago, I went from shoulder length to extremely short and have kept it pretty much off my ears ever since. But a eighteen months ago, I looked at myself in the mirror and decided it was time to stop with the short hair because I looked like everyone’s favorite bull dyke gym. Lipstick and earrings just made me look like Ms. Clodhopper failed at femming it up a little. If you’ve never grown a short hair cut out (or a bad one for that matter) it can feel as if time stands still. So I made myself a promise to do this for at least a year before giving up getting a short hair cut out of desperation and defeat. I have spent hours contemplating how long it’s going to be when. My hair grows pretty fast, about a half inch a month, so I was able to set goals for myself to help quell the frustration and move me away from the shears. I suppose all the obsessing thinking I do about my hair’s length along with estimating how fast it’s going to grow before I hit a milestone length makes me pretty freakin’ shallow. Good thing I’m thinking about quantum physics and world politics when I’m not estimating hair growth. *

The milestones I‘ve reached so far: (I have pictures at each milestone but I’ll spare everyone)

A little tiny bit of hair over my ears (July ‘09)
The ability to put a bit of hair behind my ears (October ‘09)
The ability to pull back my hair in a band (December ‘09 but it looked stupid)
A pony tail (February ‘10 again it was an anemic little thing but worked on the beach)
A chignon (June ‘10)
The most recent milestone was reached this week: Abby had to cut my hair while it was lying on my shoulders rather than pull it up in the air when she trimmed the ends.
By February of 2011 I want to toss all my hair behind my shoulders.

I find a hair toss to be a helpful gesture which can signify a dramatic flounce away from a subject or dismissing someone who is a bother or even a flirty move. But if that North Korean Dr. Evil guy or Bat Shit Crazy Iranian president blow us up before then I’m gonna be pissed. So pissed I’ll shrug my shoulders up around my ears and toss it like that. Which isn’t going to be nearly as satisfying. Barring total nuclear annihilation, I should have hair half way down my back before December 21st 2112 the scheduled day the world ends. And if the amount of time I’ve spent thinking about this along with the creation of a 538 word document describing my hair’s growth is any indication of the importance all of this; my life will be complete.

It’s good to have goals.













*The only thought I've ever entertained about Quantum Physics was: “Wow that sounds all hard and complicated, so I’m gonna think about my hair!”

Monday, August 16, 2010

Rick Rollin' Those Boys



See Beav drive. Drive Beav drive. See serious Beav? Lighten up Beav. Lighten up.

Granted, he needs to be serious behind the wheel of the MINI van but he also needs to lighten up a little bit the rest of the time. Wally could use a laugh or eight, too. So I’m dying to play a prank on my sons. Wally is understandably sick to death with the waiting for his BCT date and acting like a thirteen year old girl on her period and Beav is just too damn serious all the time. I’m thinking I’ll download a really ridiculous ring tone to their phones. The tricky part is getting possession of the phones. Maybe just before Wally takes a shower I’ll pretend my phone is dead or lost (two very plausible scenarios) and download something really corny, maybe an old Captain and Tennille song or some other schlock 70’s popular tune. I know exactly what song Beav is getting and I can use the same excuse on him but the only wrinkle is his phone is always on vibrate. Not only will I need to download Rick Ashtly’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” but change the sound settings. I’ll need to work fast and the timing; Beav will be trickiest because he could dial out and notice the sound change which would ruin my fun.

As they say in Texas: “Watch this, cuz this is gonna be cool!” Mind you this statement is usually followed by a fiery car crash or a trip to the county ER.

I figure these two have it coming what with the way they ruined my body; routinely empty the refrigerator and my checking account; not to mention the slow consumption of my brain over the years.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Secret Life Of Mom


Yesterday while I was having my hair color updated I text messaged TG a formal dinner invitation. I was so caught up in my own spontaneity that I forgot to check with Beav to see if he had made plans. That was stupid and almost led to a lot of disappointment on my part because he wanted to be at Young Life movie night (Zoolander! Yay! That's my boy!)and I wanted to be on the complete opposite side of town at a restaurant eating overpriced appetizers in a chi-chi room filled with The Incredibly Young And Hip. Because I'm not 100% selfish and TG is 100% understanding we took a rain check and Beav had a movie and poker night with his friends. (We'll discuss the movie and card game choice at another time)

On the way home from Stepford I played a especially chosen and burned CD for The Girl. I thought she was going to squeal (maybe she did?) when the opening strains of "Just Dance" came out of the speakers. Lady Gaga's song induces people, all sorts of people, including my very self-conscious older son, soldiers in Afghanistan and older women in Sephora stop whatever it is they are doing and dance. Because everyone needs a daily dance break. Ellen DeGeneres started this on her show and if you watch the audience, they anticipate it because the joy they feel and the unmitigated joy she exudes is infectious. I think it's vital for mental health. It doesn't matter if you can't keep the rhythm or you look like Paula Abdul. Just stop what you are doing and dance.

We car danced to Lady GaGa all the way home and when we made it home after our Lady GaGa break we rearranged the speakers for better surround sound and turned the music up very very very loud and danced to everything from Lady GaGa and Moby to Neko Case and Marc Anthony. It was about a million times more fun and fifty times more spontaneous than dinner out.

I missed Beav's phone call--made per my stern instruction--telling me what time to pick him up. Bad mom. And I heard about it when he called back, annoyed asking where I was. But hey, he didn't leave a message and I'm not telepathic. He calmed down in the twenty minutes it took to get to the Stepford Young Life house and then he asked the 365 thousand dollar question I was praying he would ask:

"So what did you and TG do tonight?"

"Nothing. Just hung out, watched a little television."

Deadpan. I should be in the cold. CIA. International woman of mystery. Boy doesn't know what he's missin' when's he not at home.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

OoooOOOohhhhh NoooOOOOoooooo!!!!


Sorry about the wailing and gnashing of teeth but school starts on Monday and one of us is in full blown pout and whine mode because school means a schedule and deadlines and supposed to's and have to's and shoulds and watching the clock and setting an alarm five days a week which is just gross, hateful and dumb. No more lounging around watching television all afternoon or staying up on the computer until the wee hours.

Gah. Back to school! I mean really? It's the freakin' middle of August! School? What-EVER. What the Hell? I think there is a republican conspiracy against summer and just hanging out with friends.

Beav on the other hand seems excited about school starting, a little apprehensive because he has to deal with his nemesis Algebra but excited about getting his sophomore year started. He's probably happy to be getting away from his 49 going on 15 mom.

I remember when I was excited school was starting. Standing at the gate of the elementary school, those first years balancing a baby or a toddler on my hip while the big self important older brother marched into school disappearing to do mysterious older brother things. Then the little brother joined him for one glorious year they were in the same school. Most of my mommy friends cried the day their youngest child marched into the elementary school. I did a little happy dance. Beav was a challenge to entertain.

I didn't cry until last year when Beav started high school. Let's hope I can keep it together when he goes away to college in a few years.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Seriously? I am NOT Obsessed

So me and The Girl had a deep and thought provoking conversations tonight while I was snuggling up with Kipper. He was breathing hard per his usual and so I him Kipper once he was dead I was going to get a Yard Cow and let it lay on the bed just like he was. The Girl laughed and mocked this idea. Mocked the idea of the Yard Cow becoming a House Cow.

"You can't house break a cow!"

"Sure you can! If you can house break this silly dog you can house train anything!"

"When I finish this game [she was playing mahjong] I'm gonna look this up, I bet you can't do it."

I love the internets. Love. Google pointed her in just the right direction here.

What's really amazing is the site's author describes Kipper to a P. Just substitute the word "Cow" with the word "Kipper":

Cows love you. They are harmless, they look nice, they don't need a box to crap
in, they keep the grass down and they are so trusting and stupid that you cannot
but lose your heart to them. They will listen to your problems and never ask a
thing in return. They will be your friend forever. And when get tired of them,
you can kill them and eat them. Perfect.



Except for the killing and eating part. Kipper does his share of digging
holes in the grass, doesn't need a litter box and is trusting and stupid.
He listens to our problems and can keep a secret.

I was terribly intrigued by this idea of the Yard Cow becoming a House Cow and so further research revealed that the trick to house breaking a cow is to have your cat demonstrate how to use a litter box a few times so the cat trains the cow. Simple!

But not so simple at my house because we aren't cat people. Which is an understatement as to the depth of emotions I have about cats as an effort to keep the Cat People hate mail out of my email account. But yeah, truth told. I hate cats.

So much so I will have to put down my dream of a House Cow and move on to something else. Like a House Goat.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

w00t! w00t!


W00t! W00t!

Yay baby! Party at the Vatican! Beer bongs with the cardinals! Hookers for the guards cuz the Big Hatted guy is on vacay!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Firsts


The last three days have been filled with a few firsts and revisits. Me, Wally and Beav took a trip to SW Colorado just for the hell of it. I did absolutely no forward planning except for booking a hotel res and glancing at a map. Usually I have a plan months in advance. Restaurants that appeal to me, sites I want to see. Everything is thought of just in case. Just in case what I'm not sure. I always have an obsessively constructed packing list, too. Not this time. Nope. And yeah I forgot stuff: ipod charger and hair dryer, notebook and reading materials but really I managed. I bore the cross of not drying my hair or having the ipod to entertain me. I even survived without a book or anotebook. I did remember the computer so I could write.
Since I moved to Colorado in 1987 I've been to the SW edge of the state once and that was a quick trip to a wedding in the mountains. So Durango was like a new town for me. I'm a little ashamed I haven't bothered with the mountains in about five years. Sad isn't it? I've been half way across the globe but haven't taken a forty mile trip to the west into the foothills. Surprise surprise it's pretty just outside of my town! Who knew! And there is river rafting close to home and hiking too. But I had to plan a trip 350 miles away for river rafting and hiking. I text messaged the girl about two hours into our trip and gushed all over the place about how she and I plus dog should go to the mountains for the day some weekend.

Speaking of river rafting. I went rafting in early June 1987 on the Colorado River. It wasn’t mellow water and it wasn’t fun. I was terrified and had the mantra of "rock head rock head rock head" going through my mind the entire time. It didn't help that our guide plus all the riders except me were either drunk or high or both. Good times. Good times. So whenever I meet people for the first time and they ask if I camp or enjoy river sports I look at them like they have grown an extra head, clutch imaginary pearls around my neck and screech, NO!

We took a short float trip Monday morning and it was a blast. Mind you, it's late in the season and the Animas River was "mellow" but it was just a hoot and a half to be out on the water and swim a little, too. I think I'll go again but maybe earlier in the season when the water is a little more exciting. It helped to have a completely sober guide and sober raft mates. The guide laughed when I told him about my experience and knew exactly what I was talking about. River Rats are known for their party attitudes.

After our float trip we drove up the hill and took a hike. Five miles in five miles out. That's ten miles, a one and a zero. That’s a lot for me, too. The last time I hiked--aside from a two mile dog walk--Y2K. I attempted a fourteener and lost my lunch, breakfast, dinner and god knows what else once we were at 13k. I assumed it was just the altitude and thought I couldn't tolerate it. Turns out it was probably the altitude plus the vicodan I had been taking post oral surgery. The cigarettes didn’t help at 13K either. As I got older and continued to smoke I was terrified of having a heart attack on the side of a hill. But whaddya know, my pulmonary health must be restored because despite being winded from walking from 8000 to 9000 feet my heart didn‘t skip beats, an elephant didn‘t sit on my chest and I didn‘t die. The hike we took was my favorite kind of hike: varied terrain that goes in and out of conifer forest, aspen groves and alpine meadows. I love alpine meadows. I could just lie down and nap in an alpine meadow. In fact, I think doing just that should be on the bucket list. Luckily, I was able to walk this morning and on our way home we stopped at a couple of trail heads along Wolf Creek pass and hiked a half mile up to a lovely water fall and then stopped at another trail head near the top of the continental divide. We hiked maybe a mile in and discovered we were at the crest of the ski area and found a field of strawberries that were just starting to ripen. I left a few for the bears but not many.


Further down the road, I made friends with a genuine yard cow!! We switched drivers in the San Luis Valley and stopped at a local milk/cheese farm store. We turned into the drive way and there she was tethered to the fence in the front yard. Cleo was prettiest little fawn colored cow in the world. She was gentle, too. My life is now really complete because I made friends with a yard cow. What a summer! Elephants and a cow! Does life get any better than this?

I didn't barf riding shotgun over Wolf Creek pass like I did twenty years ago. Beav drove it too. Too bad about the upholstery over the passenger window where the OMG straps should have been. He was pretty impressed with himself when we went back over it today and he was the passenger reaching for the OMG strap. There were a couple of times I had my own eyes closed this afternoon as we made those hairpin turns.

The most amazing first! The sons didn't argue with one another one. Single. Time. No one acted like an asshat. Not even me! No one whined or complained! Not even me!! And I can always find something to whine about. This is a first for us. How sweet, everyone's all grown up now. Gone are the days of knocking each other's teeth out and being confined to separate corners of a station wagon.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Three More Reasons I Stand Every Chance Of Not Being Mother Of The Year


Three Reasons Why June Will Not Be Mother Of The Year

2. Exactly two minutes after picking up one of Beav's friends whom I had never met I sarcastically referred to something as "fucking awsome". Luckily the kid laughed and didn't ask to be let out of the car so he could go home and pray for me.

1. My schtick is getting old and tired. I asked Beav on Friday if he wanted to go anywhere or did he just want to pick up his birthday "hookers and blow". His immediate response was: "Can we wait til next year?" After I laughed he gives me a cagey look and says: "I knew you were going to say something like that so I was thinking of something funny to say." Looks like June has jumped the shark with this kid.

3. Friday night, I text messaged Wally the following: "big rave on 7th and Santa Fe by the galleries, we were just there its free chek it out." I was inviting my 20 year old son to dance in the street with half naked women (and men) waving glow sticks and being tempted to take XTC cut with god knows what and drink so much water he becomes water intoxicated and ends up face down in an ED or worse face down on the street... (to clarify, Wally thinks drugs are a stupid waste of time so this was really the least of my worries) It turns out, they cruised by the dance and through the gallery district but couldn't find a place to park. Perhaps we should have coordinated better and saved our rock star parking place The Girl had scored when we arrived at the monthly Art Walk several hours before. By the time I thought to text him we were already raising a toast to Ms. A for a successful debut as a collage artist.

I'm hoping our quick trip to the Las Animas river will stuff the ballot box in my favor. Until Tuesday!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Luft Balloon

image here

Yesterday I was laying in the sun and happened to look up into the flawless blue sky and noticed a white balloon shimmering many feet above. The irredescent white balloon was moving quickly , dancing in the cross breezes with a glittery silver string dangling beneath it. I wondered how small I must have appeared from that distance above the earth and I contemplated what it must feel like to float and fly above the Earth at such a great distance. For the millionth time, I wished I could fly. Just raise myself off the ground floating and swooping with my arms to my sides or out like wings. When I was a child I would have dreams of flying like this and in one particular dream I was flying over the playground propelling myself faster or slower at will, turning somersaults and flips as I went along. The feeling of absolute freedom is still with me when I recall that dream.

A book I cherished when I was that age also came to mind: The Wednesday Witch. A little girl found a tiny witch in her doll house and the witch would come to life on Wednesday's, taking the girl on adventures. One such adventure included riding a cannister vacuum high in the night sky over the girl's neighborhood and across her city. It was an enchanting fantasy for me and the creepy factor of finding a doll that would come alive and kidnap a child never occurred to me until yesterday.

I remember twirlling round and round and falling to the ground, eyes closed for a few seconds to continue the sensation of spinning so I could imagine I was actually flying through the air. My favorite time to do this was night because I wanted to open my eyes and be amongst the stars. It was always greatly disappointing to be bound by stubborn gravity. My next attempt at flying was the whole mind over matter thing. I must have read about Yogi's levitating or some such thing because I spent time willing myself to levitate just a little above the ground. Flying would have been great but I would have been satisfied with hovering a bit over the ground but that even proved more than my brain could muster. Just for the lark of it, I gave it another try yesterday afternoon, closing my eyes and freeing my mind hoping I would feel the weight of the earth drop away from me as I floated up and away from the yard and into the sky so I could grab the balloon and bring it back to earth with me when I was tired of flying. A souvenir of my adventure.

I imagine the visage of a flying middle-aged woman clad only in a bathing suit wouldn't have been as charming a picture as an eight year old on the back of a canister vacuum. Lucky thing I stayed on the ground.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Happy Birthday Mr. Busy!



I warned Beav I would be blogging about his birthday. I’m suspicious he reads my blog because he knows his online name and the other psueds I use…unless he is spying on me and hacking into my computer and reading documents. Which would be sad because my life is pretty boring. His only request was: No infant pictures. So much for honoring his request.

Sixteen today, what a milestone. But every birthday he has feels like a milestone because of his rough start. When he was 22 weeks gestation we weren’t sure he was going to even survive birth much less surgery or a NICU stay. Miraculously, he was flawless at birth. Yes, he “crumped” at twelve hours and did indeed require the NICU for a few days and oxygen at home. But that was actually the better case scenario for my little boy. OF referred to the NICU as “the casino” because of the absense of natural light and constant alarms and bells and voices. I do wonder what Beav remembers precognitive about his rough start. Now I tease him that his periodic low oxygen saturation meant his IQ is only 140 rather than 190. But despite the rough start he grew and grew and grew and grew.


Here he is at 1. We knew he would suck his thumb because we had seen every inch of him, inside and out during the troubled pregnancy. Isn’t he sweet? My parents took he and Wally for pictures and Beav had had just enough and needed a nap.


That he was going to take a nap was blessing enough. Beav was one of those baby’s who wasn’t satisfied with the current developmental leap they had made. If he had rolled over, once was enough and sitting up must be obtained instantly after rolling over. He always seemed so frustrated with his body and his mind not moving as quickly as he desired, not doing everything he wanted it to do. Not being able to keep up with his older brother. When he slept, it was with one eye open because he didn’t want to miss a thing. Beav was into everything and extremely busy. Hence his nickname: Mr. Busy. He was a naughty little thing, too. You can see it in his eye and just after the picture was taken he jumped off the chair. His first Parkour move! Makes a mother proud after she recovers from the heart attack and realizes her kid hasn’t broken both legs.


Mr. Busy didn’t have much to say. His brother talked for him so he didn’t see any need for conversation because his basic needs were being met. He still doesn’t talk much. I imagine fishing with he and my dad would be absolutely scintillating except for the silence of two taciturn men. But in this picture his brother is away with my parents, having done a very grown up thing and flown alone to Texas. We took a trip to the mountains and out of the blue I heard this little voice from the back seat:

“Knock Knock”

I turn around stunned. I was about to take this boy to a speech pathologist for a work up. Because he seemed bright enough but he didn’t talk. . .

“Who’s there, Beav?”

“Sheep”

I give Ward a sidelong glance and I turn around and like a CIA operative who is sussing out where the microfilm is I say:

“Sheep who?”

The little mite leans forward in his car seat and gleefully says:

“Baaaaaaa!!!!!!”

After he repeated the joke we were further introduced to the inner workings of Beav’s brain. He had a lot to say and narrated the scene passing outside the car windows until we arrived at our hotel.



I
I worried Beav didn’t have any of his own interests and my mom out and out fretted about it. Fortunately, I knew it would be a matter of time and Beav would find his passion. And he did at the ripe old age of four. Airplanes.

Beav still loves airplanes and is very sad he is too tall to be a fighter pilot. I think I have him convinced being a C130 pilot is way better because they bring troops, letters from home, care packages, food, medicines and supplies. Besides that, they get to “drive” 747’s!

Yes, I used the word “drive” because I was under the influence of his driving when we were having this conversation. And like a big doink I said: “And after your military career you can ‘drive’ a 747!“ The kid loves his Gs. He kept putting his foot into the MINI van like it was a four banger so we would lurch really hard forward and then when he braked it was the reverse process. I finally leaned over and patted him on the leg: “That’s mama’s little fighter pilot, isn’t it!”

And I got a rare belly laugh out of him, too. Sometimes he is like an old man all serious and thoughtful. I guess this is what happens when your parents divorce five years into your life. But maybe he was going to be serious and thoughtful anyhow. He does need to lighten up a little.

Fortunately, I see cracks in his surface and the little boy shines through. We live near a large and SECRETIVE-shhhhh don’t tell anyone but we have top secret airplanes--air force base and at least once a month F-16s fly over. It’s actually pretty thrilling and gives me a rush to watch them zoom over and then disappear leaving a big noise behind. The other day I heard one approach and then I heard Beav leap out of his chair he dashed to his window and came running across the hall into my room. I looked up at him, an excited smile on my face: “Did you see it? Did you see it?”

His own eyes were shining with excitement a smile about to crack: “I got a glimpse, three of them in formation. It was so cool.”

Yeah it was cool. Thanks for showing me the magic in airplanes, Beav. Happy Birthday!

Now for the love of God, don’t kill the gas pedal, the MINI van will move, I promise!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Killer Heels


I’ve been involved with The Girl for about six years now and was pretty sure she had heard all my “stories” at least twice and was past the point of feigning interest and was now at the point of holding her hand up and saying, “I’ve heard this before.” But the other night I surprised us both with a story she had never heard. And I thought my canon was exhausted half way through our second date. It all started when I was getting ready to go out with my crazy nurse friends and she noted I had on high heels.

“They aren’t that high”
“You never wear heels.”
“I know. I can’t.”
“You can’t? Why?”
“Well aside from the fact I look like a big drag queen in high heels. My left ankle is toast.”

She looked at me amazed, not knowing this about me so I launched into a long story about why I don’t wear high heels. When I was twenty I was on a date with a guy. He was a nice guy, uber Star Wars nerd, wicked smart so I wanted to impress this young man with my wit, good sense and grace. We went to the movies, Empire Strikes Back and immersed ourselves into the galaxy far far away. One of us was so immersed she didn’t notice her left foot had fallen asleep and when she got up from her chair she turned on her completely paralysed and numb left foot and crumbled on the floor like a Storm Trooper struck by a light saber. I’m groping around on the floor, trying to recover the contents of my purse and my dignity as he is helping me up. He wasn’t quite sure what to make of this and I remember he stifled a laugh and when I saw him laughing I decided to laugh it off, too. Of course, he asked what happened and if I was ok. “Just fine” I lied as I stepped on my left as my entire leg begged me for the love of the Empire just sit down, take those damn shoes off and hop to the car and home. Instead, I continued to walk up the steps to the exit and yes, I would love it if you pulled the car up to the front. Silently, I was sobbing in pain as I waited for him. A sensible girl would have said: “You know Gary, I’m such a klutz and I’m really hurt, can we call it a night, I need to ice my ankle.” Yeah but that girl wasn’t me. I was too self-conscious so I went along for the rest of the evening. Besides that we had reservations at my favorite restaurant: Jennivine. A lovely little room in an old house with a decently priced price fix menu. Frankly, I didn’t want to miss this meal because it was an expensive restaurant and I longed for the food they served. It was down the street from the restaurant I worked and we would trade food so I knew what I missing. I wish I could remember what we talked about and had for dinner. I probably drank several glasses of wine to blot out the eye bleeding pain rocketing up my leg . And then another couple glasses of wine to help me forget just how swollen my foot and leg was becoming. Fortunately, he didn’t ask me if I wanted to go dancing. I probably would have gone just to be polite. It’s so much important to be polite and not draw attention to yourself even if you’re going to be crippled and thirty years later blogging from a wheelchair. After dinner he drove me home and we said good night in front of my building. Sucking back tears, I merrily waved as he pulled away and then crept through the security door, sat on the bottom step to remove my shoes and take a look at my ankle. It wasn’t pretty, either. Swollen roughly three times the size of my right and with blue, black and red streaks climbing my leg. I couldn’t walk at this point and crawled, literally crawled up the stairs. My roommate was in her jammies ready for bed. I limped into the living room and burst into tears: “I think I broke my ankle!” (and I wonder where my kid gets the drama thing?) She took a look at it like she knew what she was looking at and I took a look at it like I knew what I was looking at and we came to the conclusion based on the late hour, the night of the week and appearance and lack of health insurance it wasn’t broken. Ah the resilence of the young. I was waiting tables the next afternoon and dancing a week or so later. Mind you I only wore three inch heels for the dancing. I never saw uber Luke Skywalker again. I’m not sure why. He probably liked his women able to stay upright when they were sober.

So this leaves me wondering what else TG doesn’t know about me. Poor thing is going to have to wade through a bunch of repeats to discover the new bits and pieces.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

And Another Thing About Our Dog...



Its official: Kipper is retarded. The other night, I dropped a raw brussel sprout on the floor and he snapped it up like a piece of cheese. This wasn’t an isolated brussel sprout incident either because later he gave me the sad dog eyes to beseech me for another sprout and then he ran into the kitchen and started sniffing the floor where he found the first one.

So maybe he isn’t retarded but just really weird.

He fits right in with the rest of us doesn’t he?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Once upon a time, there was a white dog, a washing machine and an elephant named Freckles


Yesterday was one of those days that felt like three days. And not because it was boring, either. To begin with I had only a short predawn nap and had accomplished a few things over night. I did some housekeeping, balanced the checkbook (ouch! June stay away from the mall already!) I also watched a movie from start to finish without interruption commercial or otherwise. Too bad it wasn’t an entirely relaxing movie experience because it’s two in the morning and the film had a wonky soundtrack to it that meant the dialogue was very soft and quiet and the music WAS VERY LOUD so I was constantly moving the volume around, rewinding so I could hear and jamming my finger over the minus button so I didn’t wake up The Girl. At least, I got my exercise and a few adrenaline jolts, right?

You know about breakfast and moon pies. I didn’t mention while we were at breakfast we again discussed the feasibility of moving to Texas after Beav graduates from high school. We did come to the conclusion if we do move it will be problematic to our travel bugs to actually have goats, chickens or a yard cow. The Girl sagely suggested the only wise solution to this was a Yard Elephant. Which would be made of awesome and no one would venture down our road unannounced. Keeping Freckles (I’ve already named him) out of the pool will be problematic so he will need a pond to call his own. I’m guessing elephants can fend for themselves while people are away. It’s not like a chicken hawk or fox or javalina pig would carry off our yard elephant like they would chickens. Thank goodness we got that settled over breakfast, right?

Wally decided yesterday was the day to do laundry because the Army wasn’t calling him back (grrrr…don’t make my kids promises and then fail to keep them…that’s my job!) and the washing machine just sort of whirled down to a complete stop and was making an ominous loud buzzing noise.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank The Girl’s Papa for noting her ken mechanical sensibilities and helping her develop gifts because three hours later she was finished fixing it and we were not six hundred bucks poorer and still had time to go out for dinner per our original plan. Had I been alone with Wally we would have called Sears and The Girl would have returned from work to find me weeping over a bill. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

In the midst of a mini flood in the laundry room I had to prove the towel I grabbed wasn’t a “good” towel. My line of logic was any towel was a perfect towel for the job in the face of a big gush of water issuing forth from the bottom of the washing machine. (Yes Dad, the breaker was off and the machine unplugged before the bottom was opened) It took about 15 seconds and free flowing water for her to see the bleach stain on the towel and agree it was just fine to put it on the floor. After many failed diagnosis TG found the reason for the clogged drain. Jesus smiled on us because it wasn’t the drain leading out of the house but rather a bunch of left over goodies from our pockets in the washing machine drain. Mostly my leftover work goodies like IV line caps, needle caps, alcohol wipes and empty pill packages.

Meanwhile, TG is almost finished with her repair job and discovers the back yard gate is open. She was on her way to the breaker box to restart the washer to check the integrity of her genius. (Yes Dad, the floor was completely dry and the wires were even dried off with a towel but not a good towel because that would be a crime against towels and womankind everywhere) She sticks her head back into the house and asks my least favorite question:

“Is the dog with you?”

Fuckity. The dog escaped from the backyard. My family has become a well oiled machine when we have a breach in the back yard dog compound. It’s like someone hollers: “Dog Escape!!” and everyone knows their position. TG took one bike in one direction, Wally takes the other bike the opposite direction and I run down the path towards the park, staying close to the house and MINI van so I can pick up the dog we apparently are holding prisoner in a grassy backyard . All of us are armed with cell phones.

Kip hadn’t been gone very long because fifteen minutes before the alarm was sounded, I had heard him yelping at a passing dog. He is a lot slower than he once was and is really supposed to be dead so I was guessing he wasn’t a mile away at the golf course like last year. After about five minutes of panting through the park I got the much hoped for phone call: “Do you have a white dog?” My first inclination is to ask: “Is he dead?” But I always hold back because most people wouldn’t think it was funny unless you knew Kipper or me and my gallows humor.

“I do, is he fluffy, friendly and named Kipper?

“He is”

“Oh thank you! Thank you! He’s old and not terribly healthy. Does he seem ok?”

“He …I thought it was a ‘she’ because of the pink toe nails…but yeah, he seems ok.”

“So where are you?” (Another dreaded question because God knows where he is: Limon? Watkins? Downtown? Cheyenne Mountain?)

The dog wasn’t very far away and I knew either Wally or TG would be passing the bridge at any minute because we have Operation Save The Dog From Himself down like a special ops team. Sure enough, as I was talking to my new boyfriend Brad, TG rolled up on the bike and I could hear her saying: “Hey, that’s my dog!”

Brad wasn’t going to be fooled into surrendering the dog to just anyone (bless him):

“Do you know someone named The Girl, riding a bike? She’s in a white tee shirt.”
Once we established Kipper was not being taken off by a stranger for a Korean dinner party or vivisection at the medical school, Brad asked me:

“Is your dog deaf? I heard people calling his name but he didn‘t notice.”

Oh he noticed all right. He wasn’t ready to return to the yard at Cleaver Prison Camp For Dogs. The smells on the outside are just too good to give up.

I’m really thankful Brad didn’t ask why his toe nails were pink. I don’t like to sully my karma with lying about having a silly twelve year old daughter at home and the truth is too embarrassing.

We earned our pre dinner martini last night. The dog can explain to you why his toe nails are pink. My lips are sealed.