Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays

My relationship with Christmas has evolved since I became a Jew. In the beginning, it felt very weird to participate at all because it wasn't "my" holiday anymore. We have always celebrated with family because my mother would be devastated (and alone) if we didn't. But it didn't mean much to me.

I've taken a lot of heat for that. The majority culture celebrates Christmas and sees no reason why a Jew of any striped should not. But to my family Christmas is a religious holiday and it has taken some time for me to remove that context and just celebrate the season.

I guess that is part of being a Jew in the US--having the cadence of your holidays just be slightly off from everyone else's. That difference, that off rhythm feeling is part of Jewish identity.

This year I took my daughter to see Santa. It didn't occur to me that she has had no exposure to Santa and wouldn't know who he was. Stripped of that context it is a pretty weird ritual. I guess that I should have done some ground work, though I confess the Santa trip was an impulse--a photo op for the Grandmas (who were thrilled). I wonder at the difference between my daughter's childhood and mine--and I am finding myself weirdly glad that she is getting a touch of the fun of Santa. I doubt she will ever BELIEVE but she will get to have that magic anyway.

Tomorrow we will spend the day with people we love. We will get to watch our girl open up toys and have that excitement that only little kids can really muster. We will eat and nap and feel lucky all day. No matter what you celebrate (or not), I hope you can do the same.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Happy Holidays

Since Hanukkah began I have been treated to my least favorite, most likely to cause rage, douchey thing people say to me around Jewish holidays three times.

The cadence of Jewish holidays--especially those more demanding in nature than Hanukkah which, lets face it, is mainly about eating and fun--is different than that of the majority of people in the US. Even those who are not Christian tend to follow that calendar since it is the dominant culture here. The customs of Judaism are foreign and different and Other to a lot of people.

And, unfortunately, people say some ugly or clueless things. Last week I was stressed at work, it has just been a madhouse and well, as often happens, people were not being very respectful of my time and the deadlines sucked and BAH. I was worrying aloud because Friday was the holiday and also J's birthday and I just wanted to get HOME in time to do the holiday. And some one piped up, "You know, God doesn't care if you light candles."

Believe me when I say that I said this more professionally at work but the tone and my expression are exactly what you are imagining though I was as neutral as possible. But let me say here what I think.

FUCK YOU.

Ok, let me expand on that. No, I don't think a supreme being cares about my candle lighting. Nor do I think he/she/they care if I eat leavened bread during Passover or fast during the fasts. I don't think God gives a flying fuck if I run naked through the street singing Yankee Doodle Dandy.

I also don't think if God cares if you celebrate Christmas or go to church or pray before meals.

Those things are religious constructs. They are an expression of faith and part of an identity. I want to be home for candle lighting because it is important to ME. It is part of our family identity. It is part of how we are Jewish. It is part of how we interact with the world. It is just as important to me as your family shit is to you.

I am tired of the smug attitude that those of us who are something different are lesser. Your celebrations and prayers and the things you find meaning in are not more important than mine. I made my choices last week--I finished my work and I was late to our celebration--and I don't know if I made the right ones. I did what I think we all do, which is the best that I can in the moment. My priorities have to be fluid and I just have to keep moving. But I have gotten this smarm before and it isn't about work being more important, it is about the person not thinking that the practice has any value.

My father does this before Passover every year. He says "well God doesn't care if you eat bread."

It is the shittiest thing he says to me all year. I am pretty sure he doesn't see it that way, and would be surprised that I feel it that way. And I can't just say it baldly to him the way I would anyone else because my dad and I don't communicate that way. But basically he is saying that something I do to be part of a community and as a religious practice and whatever has no value. Let me tell you that the whole point of Passover is that the diet sucks and it is a time honored tradition to bitch about it. I am pretty sure the Jews wandering the desert bitched and moaned unless they were really insufferable. But that doesn't mean that you just pack it in and eat a pizza. It is just part of the deal.

It is 2010 and we live in a diverse culture. Maybe instead of worrying about the War on Christmas or school prayer or whatever bullshit worry that people who have the majority position in the country (and therefore the power) are doing today they could think about how if we all just respected each other's beliefs and needs and how we expressed ourselves we wouldn't have to worry about those lines in the sand. We could say Happy Holidays and people would know that people mean it in a kind and generous way. Kids could pray or not in however they see fit.

And no one would be an asshole again.

Happy Holidays.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I Don't Think Flag Pins Are Patriotic At All

I am going to write something that will probably get me a hateful email. But I am writing it because I am so frustrated by what I keep reading and hearing.

I hate Veteran's Day.

I hate yellow ribbons ad Facebook thank yous and prayers for troops. I hate the weirdly ostentatious displays of faux patriotism.

My husband is a veteran. Both my grandfathers (and one of my grandmothers) served in WWII. I truly value their service and am thankful for the sacrifices that they and others have made on all of our behalves.

That is why I hate the fucking hypocrisy about members of the military.

You know how Americans show what they value? With money. This is why lawyers make fortunes and teachers are on food stamps. We put our money on what we really care about. And so instead of flag pins and those weird magnetic yellow ribbons on cars I think we should fund the appropriate equipment for soldiers. I think we should pay wages that mean that no military personnel need food stamps. I think we pay for better security so that military families are safe. I don't believe that prayers will protect a soldier serving overseas--but the right body armour might.

I know that Veteran's Day was last week but the chatter keeps going. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with thanking a Veteran for their service--but making sure our WWII and Korean War and Vietnam Vets have their pensions funded and have the best health care available is the best sort of thank you we can offer.

Once we have settled all that--maybe then I will re-post your facebook message.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Why I Don't Use Foursquare

I've been online blogging and using social networking for seven years. I obviously still use a pseudonym and take certain precautions about anonymity but I don't kid myself--if some one wanted to figure out who I am and where I am they can. In fact, many of my regular readers know.

I don't worry too much about it because well, I can't. I am reasonably cautious and I accept that living online carries risk. Living in the physical world carries risk too. That being said apps like foursquare and the like make no sense to me. I have no desire to report my whereabouts to everyone at every moment. I don't even really like that my phone has GPS.

For the past few months I couldn't quite put a finger on why my friends' foursquare updates pinged something in my stomach, I couldn't place why they upset me even though there is nothing to be upset about.

I was stalked in 1999. I met a man at a seminar. A friend and I worked with him on a project--we went to his house and he showed me his paintings. I mainly remember that part because I have always been into artists. He had this great dog. And I didn't see him again. He never even told me his last name.

Except I noticed this car behind me a lot--a model/color just special enough that it seemed odd it turned up everywhere I went. One day I recognized him. The next day he started screaming at me on the street--calling me names. He parked outside my apartment and honked the horn and flashed his headlights at my windows for hours.

I called the police. They didn't seem to know what to do with me, kept wanting me to say we had dated, wanted it to be something that I had done. I finally got dumped with an officer who specialized in domestic disputes even though everyone knew it wasn't really that sort of situation. I liked the officer and she was the first one that looked me in the eye. But she couldn't do anything. Until he attacked me no one would do a thing about the harassment.

One night I was studying in my apartment with some classmates. He followed another resident into my "secure" building and knocked on my door. I answered and he pulled me into the hallway. He tried to pull me down the stairs. I fought back and a classmate came into the holiday and so did the super. Just enough to pull him off of me.

I don't know what his intention was that night, was he going to hit me, try to kidnap me? But it turned out to be lucky for me in a way because he had an arrest warrant for assault and had skipped bail. That the police could and would do something about. That made the officers take me a little more seriously.

I won't ever know what made that guy follow me. I don't think it had much to do with me at all. I don't think he was obsessed with me. I just think he was trying to control something, some one. I was just unlucky. But I know this sort of thing happens every day. I imagine the police have gotten more savvy about what stalking is and hopefully they don't shunt women off with warnings about dating strange men and maybe you just need to only drive with some one else in the car. I hope the officers don't stare at the women's boobs while they are clearly trying to size up why the guy would want this girl anyway.

I think about that guy all of the time. I walk down the street now without a worry about who might follow me. I am a suburban mommy, no one follows me or notices me much at all. But my eyes still watch my rearview mirror closely, I still look people in the eye and watch my surroundings on the street. And I would never ever use foursquare.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Lucky Girl

My father and I got along for a while.

To simplify things, the story is that he and I have always fought. But that isn't strictly true. It is true that he always preferred my sister's company to mine (in the natural way that some people just enjoy each other more). It is true that I never held his attention really--I wasn't anyone particularly interesting or special to him when it came to me personally. He always loved me--and it isn't as though I came out of the womb and we started fighting.

There was this brief moment though--when I was old enough to have real conversations and my sister was all teen angsty-when he and I enjoyed each other. I think it was maybe around a year, right after we moved here to Washington. We watched movies every night--working our way through all of the James Bond films and movies he considered classics. We are popcorn and played cards. It was just this moment in time when we just drank each other in.

In the next couple of years I hit puberty and I think he stopped being able to pretend I was his son and I don't know. Teenage girls are unpleasant at best, I can't blame him really. But we drifted away from each other. We became these people who would tense up when the other person was in the room. I can piss my father off by sitting a certain way.

I don't blame my dad. He loves me. He did the best that he could. He and I just don't get on together the way that we would want to. I am lucky to have a father like him though because he wants me to be happy so much.

I can't help seeing the difference though, in how J is with our daughter. How he plays with her and holds her and just loves her for who she is. Now, who she is doesn't play loud music or wear inappropriate clothing and she hasn't called him a cocksucker yet. But this weekend he played tea party with her for hours, even though he would rather have done anything else, because she wanted him to and because he loves her.

My daughter won't ever have to wonder what is so wrong with her that her father is indifferent to her. She won't have to try to change so that he will think that she is worthy or interesting. She already is.

Lucky girl.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Evil Gingy

Growing up my sister did everything first. I am sure this is a youngest child thing but since we are the same gender and interested in the same things I ran into an endless string of "oh Sister already did that" whenever I accomplished anything. I don't think my parents loved me less or thought I was any less wonderful than my sister but for them and our extended family it was hard to get worked up about a first grader getting all A's when her big sister had done that four years in a row at that point.

This continued basically our whole childhoods. I do wish that some one had urged me into different activities and sports than the ones she did. I wasn't really talented at anything and she was always better. In another family I would have been the smart one but in our family I couldn't snare that title. She was even prettier once she got through the awkward phase (sadly right as I entered mine).

As adults none of this matters. We both grew up to be successful adults who are happy and have beautiful families and our lives couldn't be more different (I would like to go back in time and somehow tell Little AB that--that none of this matters). But that feeling of never being really GOOD at anything built a tiny evil voice in my head (truthfully, he looks like Gingy from Shrek which says something maybe not so flattering about me) that exists only to fuck with me.

I think we have all have this voice sometimes. Unless you are more mentally healthy and probably really boring and maybe also a kitten kicker at any rate. I think mine is louder and meaner and maybe more convincing than other people's (wait! this is what I am good at! huh I am never going to be on Star Search). Evil Gingy whispers in our ears about how we aren't smart at all and how GOD how could you have worn that outfit don't you know you have Mommy Ass and everyone in your office hates you and your stupid FACE. Evil Gingy plants bad thoughts in your head about how your husband doesn't really love you and resents you and how your mother screens your calls. You know these things aren't true and yet that dark place in your heart wonders. Evil Gingy is an asshole.

Most of the time I don't listen to Evil Gingy. Listening to Evil Gingy never results in good work or cute outfits or gold star parenting moments. Listening to Evil Gingy means you will find yourself in the parking lot of Kentucky Fried Chicken licking a honey wrapper with a bad haircut and wearing weird frosted lipstick.

Occasionally though Evil Gingy gets to me. I have Evil Gingy days. Days that are filled with anxiety and that terrible deep in the stomach feeling of DOOM DOOM DOOM. Days when you think about crying in the bathroom at work even though you are WAY TO MATURE FOR THAT YOU MEAN IT. Days when you could rip some one in HALF. Days when one more email chirping away in your in box is the difference between functional adult and a trip to the nuthouse.

I had an Evil Gingy day yesterday. I don't know what overtook me. Nothing was happening out of the ordinary. But I became convinced that everyone in my office hates me and is talking about me. Also that they make fun of my outfits. That I am old and washed up. That I am going to be fired. It was like having a huge cannonball of PMS and shame and hate hitting my self esteem. Every ten minutes.

Today is better. Today maybe they hate me, maybe they don't. I can't really do much about it. Today maybe my outfit is better and I made roasted carrots for dinner and I just slog through it all. Today I am remembering to be proud of myself because maybe no one else sees that I am doing something to be proud of here.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Where Have I Been

Apparently going back to an office job means that I am have no time to type into the internet. I don't know how that can possibly be--since I feel like I spend all of my time staring at this white screen.

The past couple of months have been . . .strange. So good in so many ways. It feels awesome to stretch my brain and find that more of my skills are still in there than I thought might be. I really like the people I work with and I don't think I can overstate that less time with my MIL has been a lovely thing for me. Some things are less awesome--office politics still exist and drama and SNORE. With every job comes some of the same problems, at least that is what I have found, at least when the job is new and exciting it is easier to ignore them.

Of course it is all well and good to say that I am using my brain and wow I am not a dumbass and a whole other thing to have that be true. Today I proved again that I am not all about using my brain at all times. I was wandering through stores at lunch when I found a perfume in this cute little bottle. It was called Marigold and I put a little on my wrist and took a sniff.

Not for a second thinking about how a perfume called Marigold might contain marigold oil and uh I am allergic to marigolds. My eye immediately waters and starts to swell shut, my nose is running and I have a really cute hive on my wrist.

Doesn't everyone feel better now that they know I have spent the last month wisely?

Monday, September 20, 2010

On Time

I don't want to write about this.

I don't want to because it is all too familiar to a lot of us. Because I really don't have a thick skin about it and while my blog is so tiny you cannot see it with the naked eye, one weird comment might send me spinning.

I am so grateful to have a job. A job I could be good at, one I can really enjoy, one that feeds and houses my family though people always pretend that women's income does that too. But no job is perfect. And the truth is, that very few of us have jobs that really work with having a family. Actually having a life. My company is not unique here--in fact that is why I feel comfortable writing about it at all. It is not an indictment of the company. They say all the appropriate things about work-life balance, they have incredibly sincere pamphlets they hand out. I think they even mean it. But in action it doesn't work that way.

It doesn't work that way because a lot of people who have worked very hard to get where they are don't have families--many don't have partners--so their brains don't care or see about those things. They don't work that way because well let's be honest, the ones that do have kids have stay at home wives. They don't worry about childcare or sick babies or rushing home. They schedule meetings that will take a couple of hours for four o'clock. They work weekends and can't imagine why everyone doesn't.

I don't want work life balance because of my daughter. I want it for me. Because I am a better worker and thinker when I have something beyond my job. When I have slept. When I have seen the world outside of cube walls. But I demand some bit of balance for my daughter. For her I take the heat.

I shouldn't have to.

It isn't normal to get email on your phone 24 hours a day. It isn't normal to wake up in the middle of the night freaked out about something like this. We ask too much of our workers. We give them less and less space to be people.

I knew this coming back. I knew it would be hard. And it is hard. I am not sure how I am going to do it. I know I will do it. I don't really have a choice.

Actually I know how I will do it. I took a slightly down job and I will stay in that slightly down job. I won't work for a promotion--which sucks--because I know the expectations that comes with that. I do good work--better than a lot of people who work their lives away--but people only care about ass in the seat time. More is better?

I was Mommy Tracked after my maternity leave. Not in a concrete legal way, but in the way I was demeaned in so many eyes. Oh you have a vagina that you don't just use recreationally. Ew. How nice. I was passed over for a promotion while pregnant--one I didn't want so I was happy--but I was also blocked from a good job when I returned. And I have been so lucky.

I am good at setting boundaries--my daughter won't suffer. But the anxiety of trying to make it work is not good for me. It adds a whole layer of complexity to a job that doesn't need it. Let me do my job, get out of the way. I will be the best one you have. Don't crap on my desk because I don't work until 8 at night. I am the first one here in the morning.

This isn't about being a mother, though I am seen through that lens. This is why for a chickie company there are so few women in the higher levels. This is why my friend that hired me said she was relieved that there would be ONE other person with a child. In a group of 30. Of everyone in their late twenties to early forties.

I will always leave on time.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Brave

For a few months I have been looking for a job.

That was hard for me to do. To me, there is nothing more soul crushing than job hunting. It feels like the worst kind of dating. Tons of rejection. Very little positive feedback. Just endless hope. I made the final two for a few jobs and I would be so excited and than it just didn't work out. It is hard not to lose your confidence. Especially when you are like me and you are naturally shy. Working yourself up to be confident and gregarious in an interview so that you make the right impression is hard. It is unbelievably hard to do it again and again and again.

And it was hard to admit that I wanted a regular full time job again. I was supposed to be living the dream. Except I really struggled to teach myself the skills I needed for the business. And none of the classes I could find really taught what I wanted to know (and if anyone in the greater Seattle area wants to teach me Dreamweaver hook a sister up). And I HATED not having anyone to interact with. Hated working in the basement when my toddler was upstairs pissed at me. Really hated having so much contact with my MIL--who I love but we do better when we are not judging each other's choices so damn much. I don't like doing massage long term. Or rather I love doing massage but I hate all the crap that came with it. I hated the politics at the clinic that I worked at (which are the same everywhere). I hated being talked down to by people who thought I was a SAHM but didn't want to act like I thought I was better than a SAHM so I couldn't really say anything. I hated not making enough money.

We were all sacrificing so much and it wasn't the right fit yet.

BUT. The year was amazing. This year was just what I needed. I learned a lot about my work needs. What kind of work makes me happy. What personally makes me happy. My husband and I got a lot of things right in our marriage. We are still working on balance and well I think we will be until the day we die. That just comes with this, but this year was amazing. I was so happy in a lot of ways.

The single best thing I got from this year was the ability to go back. To say, last year I needed to quit even though I knew people were thinking I couldn't hack it and though it felt like failing and I needed to try something different. And this year it is best for me and my family for me to go and work full time at one job. It is ok to change your mind and it is ok for the needs of your family to change. In the past I would have stuck to my guns because doing something else would be admitting I was wrong. But I wasn't wrong. Things just didn't work out how I had hoped.

I am so proud of myself for trying. And I am not mad at myself for deciding to do something different.

I got a job offer last week. I accepted. I actually clapped when I hung up the phone. The commute will suck and I expect that the office politics will be just what they always are. I know that things will not be perfect and I will feel crushed under the weight of my life. I think we all feel that way sometimes. But I am doing what is right for me and my family and I feel brave.

Again.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Maybe I Should Smear Some Eye Cream On My Hands

Yesterday was my birthday. Since I am not seven, sadly, there were no ponies or piles of presents. My MIL did bring me a lovely card and my folks took me out to dinner Sunday to celebrate. And thanks to Facebook everyone I know said Happy Birthday. It was a strange day--maybe because it was a Monday. But also because my grandparents forgot and my sister forgot (I SWEAR I am not calling my sister out--heh--we all have lives people). It was just sort of strange and a non-thing.

I am mainly just weirded out because I am thirty-two. I am thirty-two years old and have a two year old. So I guess that this is real life and really happening and crap I am the adult here. A few years ago a friend of mine died (I am not linking because it will make me throw up honestly) and she was thirty-two and had a two year old. So my main goal for the year is to not drop dead at dinner with my husband and daughter. BIG GOAL.

The last year has been so strange and an adventure almost. Overall it has been amazing for me and for my family and I am ready for this stage to be over but I don't know. I feel sort of frozen. Kind of like when you were a kid and summer vacation was almost over and you didn't want to go back to school but you had done everything you wanted to do and you were sort of bored and didn't care anymore. Maybe I have the summer fuckits. Or the thirty fuckits. I will feel less frozen when I am forty?

None of this makes any sense. I am just typing typing typing.

And looking at my hands. The women in my family have some jacked up looking hands. I am pretty sure mine are going to go all crypt keeper ANY SECOND.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Benedryl Makes Me a Wee Bit Loopy

Something horrible is in the air and well it has made me swell up like the elephant man. My father swears it is blackberries and, I admit I know less than nothing about plants and how they pollinate (an aside, I absolutely loathe that moment when some one comes to my house and they ask me about various plants in my yard and PEOPLE I DO NOT KNOW IF THAT IS A CAMILLA. I feel so dumb and I should know but I don't know anything at all about flowers. It is not unlike that feeling of stupid I get when I am hosting some one from out of town and they ask me which mountain you can see from my house. I should know that. But geography is uh not my strong suit ok? If you want to talk about the cast of Glee I am your girl. What might save your pan when have scalded tomato soup on the bottom? I can help you. But on actual real information I am less than useless). So I am willing to believe my father when he says it is blackberry pollen that is melting my face off but GOD IT NEEDS TO FUCKING STOP.

I have been working my ass off the last couple of days absolutely sloshed on allergy medications. It is like having your brain drowning in molasses. With more snot.

I did a sinus rinse and the most unspeakable sludge came out. Unspeakable and yet I just spoke of it. Or typed. Let us not think about it too much. Can I recommend the sinus rinse? It is delightful and disgusting and WOW IF ONLY MY BRAIN DIDN'T FEEL LIKE MUSH.

I am also medicating with ice cream. If you do not want to be a fat ass? Do not buy the Costco box of ice cream treats. And eat them all in a week? Things that did not occur to me when I was buying the deliciousness.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Clench

I am spinning around and around lately. There is a lot of stress happening. Some centered around the job hunt. Some financial. But mostly stress because of my own personality. I am some one who takes a worry and rubs it around in my hands. It spins and spins in my head until I can't let it go. I need structure and routine to feel comfortable so this limbo status is hard. That doesn't mean it is bad but it is hard.

The stress is making me clench my jaw again and this morning I woke up with my eye almost swollen shut and throbbing. Just another sign that I need to learn to calm the eff down.

I've been thinking a lot. About how what is right for my family is a fluid thing. Last year leaving my job was the right thing. It has been hard but it was right. And though it is hard for me to accept--going back to a corp gig isn't saying I was wrong but really just acknowledging that things have changed. And when it is hard to accept that what is right for ME, for US, can change so much no wonder all of us have a hard time grabbing hold of acceptance for other people's choices.

I feel my MIL staring at me sometimes. I know she doesn't agree with me all of the time, or even some of the time. We are very different people who were brought up very different ways and I think in a lot of ways how my husband and I live feels like a rejection to her. It isn't meant to be but it is true that we live in a very different way than she did. Or does. If you are a hippie who lived on a commune and in the mountains and then were homeless by choice it would seem really ODD that your son would get married and become a techie guy and move to the suburbs. But there it is and here we are and I wish I could just say look we don't think you were wrong (well not about everything) but we're doing something different. This is what is right for US.

Instead I just worry about it. And resent her judgement.

And clench. Always clenching.

Friday, July 16, 2010

I Miss Him

I will never forget that phone call.

My dad, early in the morning, but not too early because he didn't want to wake me up. What could I do? And he was crying, which I don't think I had ever heard before but have heard many times since. My grandpa gone. The one person that I stupidly thought could never die was dead.

The anniversary snuck up on me a bit. I have been a little crazed and wired and well maybe my freak out about not having a life was really about something else? I am stressed about looking for a job and sad about my grandma dying and all of those things but I can handle them.

My grandpa has been dead a year today. He really isn't coming back. I am an adult and I knew that, I know that, but it is like finding out again today. He is really gone. And I miss him.

I didn't see him often, not often enough that is for sure. I didn't call because I was so stupid. I didn't want to bother him. But I can still smell his old man spicy smell. I can feel how strong his hugs were. I remember him carrying me around--uh in my twenties. He was the strongest man I ever knew (I am pretty sure my father would fall over if he tried to carry me three inches). I can feel his hand on my shoulder, waking me up to have ice cream in the middle of the night. I remember his face when he told me he restored the piano for me. I can feel the heat of his lap and how he smelled like sweat and sun in the dark den during Cubs' games on summer afternoons.

I can see the cold, waxy skin in his casket too.

In Judaism the anniversary of death is called Yahrzeit and technically it is the anniversary on the Hebrew date but I lit a candle today for him. And I said the Kaddish. I hope he wouldn't mind. This is supposed to be the closing of mourning him. I don't suppose I ever will stop.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Maybe I Should Open With DON'T RUN

My husband has a life. In the past week he has gone to the movies, played in a softball tournament, played his regular softball games, gone to two MLB baseball games and tonight he is at a concert. In the past week I have gone to work and uh stayed home to watch our daughter.

I don't mind this, really. I am so glad that he hobbies and interests and he is much more fun and engaged with me when he has those outlets. But I need something too. I don't really have a pack of girlfriends I run around with. My friends are spread out--some far from me--and most of us have kids and don't really get out at night. So my husband is my main source of adult company. And when he goes out every night that means not only am I home with the kid but I have no one to talk to either.

In fact, this past weekend he was gone most of the days too.

I never want to be the one that says no, I don't think that is my place. He is an adult and can have his own time. But now this pattern has played out that I have no social life and his is more active than before we had kids. But I still feel stymied about it. It isn't easy to make close girlfriends as an adult. Most of the women I know are from work--which means geographically they are far from me. Or they are the wives of his friends--which means I don't know them well at all and we may not have much in common. Neither of these lends itself much to me just hanging out with them once in a while. And my social anxiety--and the extreme likelihood that I will be unable to make small talk like some sort of backwards social reject (which I guess is fair)--doesn't help.

I guess I am lonely more than anything else. It is strange because I have a lot of person to person contact in my work now and meet many people who I would like to be friends with. But it would be strange and unprofessional for me to ask a client if she wanted to get a drink sometime.

I will be fine--I just need to make more of an effort to be less ridiculous. I need to give in and call the other moms I know because even if they may not appreciate my sense of humor or my obsession with the Golden Girls we can still have fun.

I need to have friends like men do--where sometimes they don't even know the guys last name but they still hang out and have fun.

Man, this is when I miss being single. I used to have tons of men friends. But that all fades away when you get married--even if no one really wants it to. I guess I will just have to hang out at the park, the first mom who is nice to me and doesn't look like a crazy person I follow her home.

Wait, does that make ME the crazy person.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Saturday Night Madness

I read this horrible article tonight about how the BP spill is bringing forth a methane explosion. A methane explosion that would likely kill all of humanity in a fiery ball and also most of earth. In the next six months. And no one can do anything.

I would like to unread this article. It is causing me an endless loop of anxiety (FIERY BALL AND THE END OF HUMANITY) and depression. My life has been wasted! Oh shit my baby is going to die! I don't want my baby to die before me but I can't hope to die FIRST because she would be so scared and ALONE. And also I have done nothing to use my life in a useful or compelling matter but really what does it matter since we are all about to be ashes and toxic waste before my kid turns three. Part of me wants to hide in the closet and cry, part of me says screw it lets go to Europe and enjoy the last six months of humanity but mainly I hoping to find sweet sweet solace in denial. Denial and cowardice because what else is there?

It is nights like this that I really wish I had some sort of pharmaceutical available. Wine isn't going to cut it since I am much more likely to end up sobbing in the bathtub. And I am alone here with the baby so that seems like a bad idea. Mostly I would like to forget that article because I am just thinking "well that dinosaur that tried to warn the other dinosaurs about the Big Bang just ended up dead with the rest of them and I am sure they never thought it could happen either."

Other than that Saturday is GREAT.

**Edited to add, yes I KNOW that this is pretty much a tinfoil hat conspiracy but I am in a highly suggestible mood tonight.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Yard

When we bought this house I didn't really understand why our realtor kept talking about the yard. J and I are not yard people. We hate doing yard work. We don't garden. We had two little dogs. A yard was wasted on us really. We just wanted somewhere the dogs could pee.

Last summer we had a patio built out in the back. Had the yard leveled. And I began to understand a little more why he was so enthusiastic about it. In some parts of the country this yard would be tiny but around here it is large. We have a view of the mountain. You can see the trainyard (this is not a feature for adults but for the preschool set it is like growing goldfish crackers on a bush out there they are very excited). The house and the trees are laid out in such a way that it is all shade in the heat of the day.

This year I get the yard.

When Mo wakes up from her nap we go outside. We take the puppy (oh did I tell you about the puppy) and go lay in the grass. We sit in chairs and have a drink. We blow bubbles. She rides her tricycle. She slides on her slide. The neighbor girl, who is the nicest child I have ever met, comes over and throws the dog a ball over and over. We pick flowers and dig in the dirt and hit baseballs and everything in my head is quiet.

My yard is covered in toys. We have eight hundred old softballs that the dog chases and rips apart. We have a toddler bat and ball and tee. We have a climber with two slides. We have a bubble bucket. We throw balls and slide and count bubbles. The world is still spinning but we're eating apple slices and chasing the dog and if I could freeze time I would. I would hit pause.

I get the yard. I love the yard. Especially since I don't do any yard work.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I Miss My Friend

When we put Buster down I felt so sad, so broken. I came home and put Darla in my lap and cried. I cried many times over the next few weeks. I talked to her and told her how much I loved him, how much I loved her, how much I missed him, how much I was sure she missed him. They had been a pack for a long time, more than nine years. That is a longer than a lot of marriages. Darla was an amazing comfort.

And after a time it didn't break my heart when I listened for him and he didn't come. And I could accept what had happened. I started to remember what he was like before he got old, before his body betrayed him. I really took the time to enjoy Darla and to remember them when they were young.

And this week Darla died.

We put her down Monday, after one of the worst nights of my life. She was in pain and we took turns sleeping on the couch and in the bed and for a while in the bathroom because she squeezed herself under the tub.

We were absolutely right to do what we did. I know that. But I feel as though some one has used an ice cream scoop to hollow my insides and then poured lemon juice on top of the wound. Then set me on fire. I feel empty and angry and oh so very devastated. It was always our joke that Buster was J's dog and Darla was mine but in part this was not a joke. I loved them both so much but it was her that slept beside me all those years, her who liked to walk with me. She was my friend.

And now she is gone.

I alternate between eating things like bacon for comfort and uh puking randomly because I hate what has happened. I hate that my daughter saw J and I leave with the dog and burst into tears because she knows we are not bringing her back. I hate that we stole her friends from her (at least from her point of view). I hate that she asked me this morning, "where's Dar Dar?"

My feelings about Heaven are complicated. Jews have no official position on it, and I think most Jews don't believe in Heaven or Hell. Of course I was raised Christian and those views are at least part of our greater consciousness. But I don't really think I believe in Heaven. Except for dogs. I do believe that dogs are good creatures who deserve more and in my vision all of the dogs from your family take care of one another and run in a big extended pack. So I told Darla to go find Buster. That he and my parents dogs Rocky, Maddy, Sarge and even Mikey and Heidi would make sure she found her way. I know that sometime yesterday she was testing her newly strong again legs and bossing them all around.

People may just go back to the earth and I feel comfortable with that. But Darla is laying in the sun where she belongs.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Love Letter To My Kindle

Part of the deal when I quit my job is that we had to cut back. We are lucky in that my husband makes a good salary but I don't know any American couple who can bail on half their income and not feel the pinch. We did many sensible things like pay down some debt before I quit and save a bit and well a lot of expenses went away immediately (like commuting and lunches out etc).

I immediately stopped doing anything fun or spending any money on myself. This is not because J asked me to or because I needed to I am just sort of crazed about money anyway. I have guilt spending it even when I had earned it myself so spending money that I hadn't earned (which uh I was still making money and my own argument makes no sense but uh neither do I ever really) just was a no go. If I had money I bought Ramona things or Jeremy things. In a year I have spent less than a hundred dollars on things like t-shirts and yoga pants and honestly I spent some gift cards for that stuff. I bought a very fancy pillow because my neck hurt and uh a few haircuts.

And books. Always books.

J, in the meantime, was more sensible. He still played in his softball leagues, still got the equipment he needed, still went out with his friends. And it was good. But when we got an unexpected and small windfall he told me that I needed a present. A good one.

I didn't know what I wanted, really I couldn't think or decide. I was like I really need clothes but gah I don't know there were lots of things I needed really but he kept urging me towards a Kindle. Oh I have been coveting one for so long. All those books in one place. Would have been a dream for commuting. And when this happened he pretty much forced me into it.

Ever since I don't want to be separated from it. I want to hold it and squeeze it and hug into little pieces. Except that would be bad since it would be broken. I have just been reading reading reading. And even better, it has led me back to Goodreads (are you on Goodreads? let me see what you are reading!) so I have been jumping around to all sorts of good books.

Right now I am reading Into Thin Air which I will not link because GOD this book. It is an accounting of a summiting of Mount Everest and . . . people who do this are crazy. More than crazy. I do not understand how they are allowed to drive cars they are so nuts. On one of the boards I read online there was this very heated defense of the parents who's teen summitted Mount Everest a couple of months ago. It was a compelling argument and I am not going to lie I was sort of convinced. But reading this I think those people are idiots! There is no way a child could have been prepared for this. And even so chances are the people up there with him have no judgement since they have been up there so many times and have permanent brain damage from the altitude. It was all very grim with hallucinations and frozen corpses.

WTF? People give me shit because I let my kid drink apple juice. This kid had to hope over a dead body to his own damn doom.

This is a strange love letter to my Kindle but not misunderstand, it is a real love.

Monday, May 31, 2010

More Sadness

My first words were "Shut up, Gramma," said when left with her for the afternoon and she chattered away at me in a playpen. At least that is family legend. My grandmother was sort of notoriously difficult, stubborn, controlling.

Notice I say was.

She died Sunday morning. Early. And, against all of our hopes, alone. She lasted a little over ten months after my grandfather, her husband of sixty-four years, died. This is what she wanted so badly. She hasn't been well, well ever, at least not as long as I have been alive. She was a childhood survivor of polio, morbidly obese and had all those attending illnesses.

I loved her. Love her. She was one of the most frustrating people I ever met. She forced herself into a life much smaller than she had to have. She spent many years shut into her own home. But she was also generous--took care of all of her in-laws' children, loved all of us so much. Her life was small but it was the one she chose.

She was a terrible cook but a gifted baker. I regret never learning to make a dozen or so types of cookies. But she lost the use of her hands again to the polio symptoms before we were all ready. And was stuck in a wheelchair before we knew it.

Their house had this smell and this unchanging look to it. Everything stayed the same. When they cleaned out the house after my grandfather died my sister put some linens into a plastic bag for me. I took a hit off the smell yesterday and cried. There is no trace of that smell with a person in the world anymore.

She loved my daughter. So much. Much more than I could really imagine since she only got to see her a couple of times. But I would write her letters about what she was doing (she liked letters more than calls because she could re-read them and then read them to her visitors) and send her pictures. She told me her great grandchildren were her only reason to live. She held on to see my cousin's daughter. I had hoped she would hold on to see my sister's son--the one named for my grandpa--but I just don't think she could.

I am honestly surprised how devastated I feel. Just sad and lonely in a way that doesn't make sense. I hope that she has peace now, whatever that is. I hope that she was right, and that she will be with my grandfather. And I hope we all make it through.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Deal

When J and I moved in together we got a dog. To us that was what would help us be a family. And I have never really felt at home unless there was something to fart in my face and wake me up in the middle of the night to pee. Plus I really really don't like to throw table scraps away. We got Darla six months before we got married. She was a lap dog, so loving, went to work with me every day. She was also so lonely, since she was rehomed from a place with twenty other dachshunds. We got Buster for her, and for us, as a wedding gift. We've been a family for more than nine years.

When you have a dog, or any animal, you are making a deal. It is a deal that doesn't seem like a big deal AT ALL when you have a tiny squirming puppy, or even an older dog of about three. Everyone is all healthy and young and running up and down the stairs. You know this deal is happening but you are in denial.

You are in denial about the deal later, when maybe no one runs up and down the stairs anymore. Maybe everyone is just REALLY tired now. It suits your lazy lifestyle anyway.

Then one of your dogs is seriously ill. Then two. One is covered in tumors. The other gets a shot in the ass twice a day.

Then the pug starts bumping into things. He gets lost in your tiny house. He knocks over the baby because he can't see her. He drops a lot of weight, fast, even though you are watching his diet carefully. He can't get up and down the stairs to go outside and you have to carry him. Then he cries when you take him out in the front yard thinking it will be easier for him. He doesn't know where he is.

Then the deal is real. The deal is that when you bring a dog into your family you are promising to take care of that dog until the end. And you are promising that you will be brave enough to decide when that end is. You are promising to love him all weekend and maybe sneak him Doritos like he likes. You are going to let him sleep in the bed tonight even though you know he will pee in it. And then you will hold him and try not to sob and scare him when he leaves you.

Which is happening Tuesday.

That is the deal you made. You just didn't realize it would all go so damn fast.

Friday, May 14, 2010

We Will Always Have

I cannot count how many times I have thought that if I could give every woman in the world the relationship I have with my mother with their mothers that we could solve all kinds of problems in one fell swoop. It isn't like it is perfect and sometimes she makes me as crazy as can be--but my mother never criticizes my weight, my eating, my parenting or my hair. We are legitimately friends. She listens to my advice and I listen to hers. She thinks that I am smart and capable and perfect in every way. I am all too aware of how rare this is.

Sadly, I cannot give everyone this gift. In fact, my sister and mother don't have this sort of relationship. I can say with certainty that my mother loves my sister just as much as she loves me. And I don't think that she is critical of her (though I guess I don't really know). But for reasons of circumstance and personality and whatever drives family dynamics they have never got on that well. My sister has a much easier time getting along with my father--something that feels just short of mystical to me, like spoon bending. I feel like I got the lucky end of that deal but maybe she feels that way too.

I thought about this a lot last week. I was in Florida visiting my sister. She had a baby less than two months ago and I was going to see him. And to check on my sister. Take care of her a little if she would let me.

My relationship with my sister is complicated. She is a sometimes reader here so no one worry that I am shocking her with this. We have been very close at times and barely spoken at others. Our political, religious and philosophical beliefs probably could not be more different. We have very different view points of our parents. I still love her more than I can say but I do not pretend that it is always easy. Well, always easy to love, not so easy to get along.

My sister is going to be a great mother, is already a great mother. And watching her with her son all I could hope for is what I want for myself. I hope that our children grow up healthy and happy. That they always know how much we love them and give us the benefit of the doubt for our mistakes. That they always call--when they need something or just to chat. That they feel at home with us. I hope that both my daughter and my nephew will be able to look at their mothers and call us friends. Some day. After that nasty teenage period.

I also hope that my daughter never votes Republican (I hope my nephew doesn't either but I probably shouldn't admit it).

I love my sister and I know we will always have our differences. Our relationship will probably always be complicated. I wish that it wouldn't be but well as we get older we only become more of who we are. But I will always love her. And always be thankful that I got to help (even a little bit) during this time. To help her welcome her son. We will always have that.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Puke in Her Hair Would Make a Great Band Name

I am going to have to take back my last post.

My dad booked his ticket.

I am proud of him. Yet still oddly angry (my anger with my dad is only ever 50% reasonable--we have a lot of baggage). We will never talk about it so . . .that is all there is. I am glad he is going.

I am making no sense since I have been up since 5 this morning after getting something like three hours of sleep. My child puked a scary amount today. Screaming and crying and eventually there were no tears she was so dehydrated. We rushed to the doctor and fortunately they were able to give us something to make her head stop spinning around. And even luckier, she should be better soon and I won't be contagious as a carrier when I go see my sister and her new baby this weekend.

But the day was so hard. She was so sick. She puked on almost everything we own. Never, not even as a newborn, did she wear eleven outfits (in this case pajamas--we had to wash and rewear them a couple of times) in one day. She would apologize each time she threw up. She also has other digestive issues which made the day just more vivid.

I remember being sick and my mother would hold me and wipe my forehead with a cool cloth and just somehow make things better. After her medicine kicked in Mo looked at me and said, "tummy better, Mama rub tummy and tummy better."

Modern medicine deserves the credit baby but I will take. I am the one who has puke in her hair.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Cowardice

My grandmother is dying.

As in, she is in the hospital and my aunt called my dad to tell him that he should get his ass on a plane if he wants to say goodbye. He is not going, of course, ostensibly because of money or work or some other made up reason. It is really because my dad is a coward. He will talk a good game and know the right thing to do but he will come up with a lot of reasons to not do it. It is why he skipped his parents' sixtieth wedding anniversary party last May and then has been crippled with guilt since his dad died in July.

Note to everyone: if your sister, who you have a good relationship with, calls you to tell you that your mother, who you have a good relationship with, is probably not going to make it much longer you GET ON A DAMN PLANE.

I love my father and I am SO sympathetic to his fear and his worry and why he is not going. I am basically a carbon copy of his in his chicken shit ways. Except I see what this has done to him and well I just suck it up. Because he will torture himself for a long time about this instead of just going.

And apparently I am angry. So angry at him. Which is pointless and not helpful.

And I am angry that she is dying. She is very old, yes. And very sick. But much of it is very much self inflicted and her behavior wore my grandfather out and basically killed him and THEN AFTER ALL OF THIS she is finally getting the help that she needs. She is taking pleasure in the small things and just loving her family and appreciating what is left and NOW, now she dies.

Things often just work out in a cruel way.

If you had asked me yesterday if I was prepared for my grandmother to die I would have said yes. But I was just crying about it in the shower two hours ago so apparently that preparation only goes so far.

Hopefully I will stop being pissed at my dad soon enough to avoid screaming all of this at him on the phone tomorrow. It's been a while since he and I have fought and it is much better for both of us. He just needs to get on the damn plane.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Jobhunting While Losing Your Damn Mind

I was with my last employer for eight years. The irony is that before that I worked for a series of start ups and strange employers--none of whom lasted more than a couple of months. My resume would take reams of paper to print and trying to explain it all made me sound crazy. "Oh, that was the place that had heroin junkies on the front porch each morning" "Oh! I quit when my boss urinated on my desk." "Oh, that place was brought down by the affair a managing partner had with our banker--I testified in his divorce."

It was not good.

I went to Former Employer because I needed to be somewhere a year. I needed to pay my bills and keep my head down and not be threatened by a Black Panther/drug dealer who wanted to barter cocaine for his kid's school tuition.

Eight years later Former Employer had become a career but also ground me down to a little nub.

But I didn't have to interview anywhere for a long time. I mean I did interview occasionally--never doing well because it is hard to sell yourself when you are really not sure why you would leave your job anyway. It doesn't work. I realize that those interviews (I think maybe three in eight years) did me a disservice because they made me afraid of interviewing.

Yesterday I had an interview for a regular job. One of those epic all day meet everyone in the building interviews. I spent the week between the phone interview and the in person one freaking out about what to wear and did I want to do this at all. And wondering if I should just cancel. I got stress acne and bought new pants and was really really freaked out by the whole thing. And then I went to the interview and it went good. I think. I guess I am not a good judge. But the people were amazing and the job is perfect and I am fairly certain the money would be great. So now I want the job and I keep rolling it around in my head. It will be at least a week before I hear and I might not get it and the stress of it all is killing me.

So don't worry about me. I am stress eating cookies and yanking on my hair. I suspect I will be here a while.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

No This Is Not About Golden Showers

The Jewish holidays just suck for J and I. Since we converted we have nowhere to go and no family traditions to follow. We just sort of wallow around and don't know what to do. Passover is the worst of these since it involves a big dietary change and somehow I am in charge of this even for J even though he is a DAMN ADULT and HOLY RUN ON SENTENCE BATMAN.

Anyway, J ends up not eating because life without toast or canned spaghetti or tortillas with processed cheese and ketchup is not worth living. And I run around trying to get him to put refried beans on matzoh and it is all really depressing and sad really.

What I am saying is that we need a Jewish grandmother STAT.

Next year I think I am going to suck it up and have our own Seder and just try to bully our non-Jewish friends into coming. WE WILL HAVE WINE.

In other news all I have done for weeks is clean up pee. Buster has been peeing on everything and everyone. Buckets and buckets of pee. I have steam cleaned our floors so many times that my pores are SPOTLESS. I have washed every sheet and towel in this house dozens of times. IT IS A LOT OF PEE. We kept trying to make it into a behavior issue but really something was very wrong. He lost tons of weight. He wouldn't move around. He didn't eat. And he is diabetic. So now we are giving him shots twice a day and well still cleaning up pee because the dose is not right yet.

I am not potty training the kid until this is over. I can only deal with so much urine.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Not Like Her Mama

Remember when you were a kid and you would spin in a circle? You (or me) would spin and spin and spin until you felt almost high from it all. You stop spinning but you couldn't really stop spinning and you would feel dizzy and excited and then eventually sick and then crash into a cabinet and bust your face?

Not a universal experience?

I feel like that right now. I can't focus, my emotions fly up and crash down so quickly I have whiplash, my natural anxiety is cranked up to eleven and the guilt is crushing me under it's weight. The good times are amazing, the kind you want to keep in your pocket so you can just rub your hands on them when things are dark. But the bad times send me deep into a diet coke can and wishing that I still smoked.

I remember now how anxious my mother was with us when we were small. How much she worried about us and how we felt and what we ate and was anyone mean to us at school? She has a crease on her forehead from the year we both got perms I think. And definitely a wrinkle from the one time I got home very late. She was sobbing so hard I was never ever late again. I understand now how some one with her worrying nature (my worrying nature too) could be turned inside out and flayed by motherhood. And how it never goes away. I am thirty one years old and my mother worries about me constantly. I wish I could go back to the year I started kindergarten and couldn't skip and my mother mind-fucked whether I was too young and should they have held me back, I wish I could go back and hold her hand. I wish I could tell her not to worry--her girls would grow up and get married and buy houses and pay their taxes and have their own babies giving you two more people to worry about.

It is the circle of life yo.

I would like very much for some one to hold my hand. J is wonderful and perfect in many ways and actually a comfort but he is not a natural worrier. He worries about how we are going to pay for an Ivy league college in case she gets in but he doesn't understand my anxiety. It isn't how his brain is wired (which is a damn good thing because two people like this would have nervous breakdowns and need to be monitored around the clock like those temperamental pandas in the zoo). He doesn't really understand, he thinks I can just stop.

I would like to know that we will be fine. That I haven't damaged my professional life beyond repair. That some day I will make actual money again. That I haven't doomed us to poverty FOREVER. I would like to know that my daughter will understand that I am doing this for her but also for me. That her mother is a person because I really want her to grow up to be a person too, and a mama if she wants to be. And I would like to know that one day she will look at my very rumpled face (because worriers do not age well) and wish that she could go back in time and hold my hand.

Also I hope that she is different than me. I hope she is brave.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

BAH FEBRUARY

I would like a re-do of February. First my jaw locked up and turned me into a sobbing mess of pain and then I woke up on our ninth wedding anniversary with a high fever and an anvil sitting on my chest. It's been over two weeks and I am still hacking away like a TB patient.

The child was sick and my MIL was sick and I suspect I got it worst of all because of the steroids I took for my TMJ. It knocks out your immune system and well BAM.

Other personal crap has happened--shit that is boring to everyone but me--but the kind of stuff that makes you feel like a failure and so guilty and GAH I still feel crushed by that too.

Today I found out my best friend's father has died. I am so heartbroken I cannot even write it out. I hurt for her, for her mother, for all of his children and grandchildren and for all of us that were lucky enough to know him. And I felt that rush of shit to the heart that everyone with father's over sixty feel. My dad has high blood pressure and is having problem with shortness of breath and seriously I am hyperventilating about it. Of course her dad, despite having health problems, died in an accident. So let me worry more.

I need everyone I love to stay alive because I am emotionally ill equipped to deal. I know this is impossible and yet I know that is the only way I will be ok.

Give your dad a big hug if you can. I know I did.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Jawbreaker

Last week a couple of my teeth started feeling sore and loose. Because of my chronic health problems my teeth are held together with smoke and mirrors so this was not stunning. But it seemed odd that it was these teeth since they had never had problems. And why so suddenly? And why did ibuprofen do nothing when it would usually help a bit?

Then came shooting pains into those teeth. And my jaw. And my brain. AND MY SOUL. Crippling pain. Pain that made my eyes water. After the drama last year I still haven't replaced my dentist and I kept cursing myself.

Late night pain leads to googling (at least for me, do you other people do something else) and I figured out that oh it wasn't my teeth it was my jaw. And it was muscle spasms probably caused by TMJ syndrome. In a weird way I am lucky, I treat people with TMJ all the time so I started doing self massage and oh it hurt and it helped for a while but it would just hurt again after half an hour.

Saturday my parents took the kiddo because J and I were going to a Presidents of the United States concert. I was taking a lot of ibuprofen and using (this is sad) aspercream and it helped a bit and the massage would work. But I was pitiful. But I didn't want to stay home. Do you know how often I get out people? NEVER. I never go out. I never socialize with adults. And I wasn't going to have to get up with the child in the morning.

After watching me wince every time I moved J does what he always does--made my healthcare decisions for me, "Babe, you are going to drink the pain away."

I really wasn't going to. But even though the doors opened at eight, the PUSA didn't go on until ELEVEN. I don't ever stay up to eleven. And they threw us out of the adjoining bar three minutes after we got new drinks (and the bartender was not skimping though at downtown prices he shouldn't be). So basically I don't drink anymore and I did the equivalent of like five shots in fifteen minutes?

I did not feel pain and J was driving and the show was brilliant. We had a grand time with our friends and indulged in Dick's deluxes on the way home and then passed out COLD at home.

Best yet, we both got to sleep in until ten the next morning.

Sadly, the pain was back and getting worse (which is weird for muscle spasms) so off to the doctor I went Monday. Diagnosis was TMJ as expected. My mouth wouldn't open far enough but he guess that my jaw was dislocated slightly. He gave me muscle relaxers and steroids (no pain pills sadly, tweakers ruin everything). And the chiro I worked for tried to adjust it.

Y'all. This is crazy soul sucking pain. My face is bruised and swollen. It's getting better but not like BETTER. Tomorrow, I will go for another adjustment but in the meantime I am on a soft foods diet and whining a lot.

If you hear any weird grinding noises from this northwest corner of the country--no worries. It is just my jaw.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Yes, Anything With Sour Cream

When I was pregnant I would think idly of a tasty food, let it roll around in my brain for a while, until it became an obsession. The world would end unless I got a fried fish sandwich from Emmet Watson's or bacon and corn chowder or oatmeal scotchie cookies. Nothing else would taste right until I had procured that food. And it had to be fast.

I would blame the hormones but I am doing that again. Except it really isn't eating the food. It is cooking.

I have long cruised recipe sites. I am always looking for something tasty to make. And J is trying (succeeding) to lose weight so even though he isn't dieting I am trying to find more tasty chicken dishes to make. And I will come upon something that looks good and I cannot stop thinking about it. Sometimes it isn't really appropriate--like it is a huge meal or something fancy or whatever--but it is like my Lizard Brain cannot let go. I just keep coming back to that item and feel compelled to make it.

I always liked cooking, and really love to make something that other people enjoy. When I worked crazy hours I just didn't have the time for it. We relied on the broiler and canned vegetables and honestly it was probably healthier overall. But now! Braised meats and stews and something wondrous done with chicken thighs. Roasted vegetables with sea salt. Burritos with two kinds of beans and spinach. Anything involving sour cream (he isn't dieting!).

I hardly recognize myself.

Except the weird obsessions. That feels very familiar.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Assholes and Binkies

I recognize that when you have a small child the harpies feed on you a bit. I expected little old ladies to nag me about putting a hat on the baby. I expected to have people glare when she shrieks in the grocery store.

I didn't expect to get so much bullshit because my kid uses a binky.

People wig about the binky. People that surprise you that they give a shit about a binky. I have taken more abuse about binkies than about dressing her too boyishly. I get more comments about the binky than I do about the damn leash I've used in busy places which surprises me because I feel vaguely bad about the leash (even though she likes it and we only use it when it is a safety issue) and I feel nary a pang about the binky.

It doesn't impact her speech, her teeth or her damn humanity so why do I get so much shit about the binky?

What it does provide is comfort. She is two. She is home most of the time. She is not terribly crazy about new situations. So she mainly uses the binky to sleep and when she is nervous. Walking around at home? She has largely given it up. I won't take away her security blanket and I won't take away her binky. I want her to feel comfortable. I want her to work past her anxiety. I am a fairly anxious person myself and let me tell you there are times when I have to do things that I am afraid of that rubbing a soft blanket on my face or sucking on a pacifier would feel wonderful. As an adult I am supposed to be beyond that but a two year old? They are still learning to cope. They are learning to engage with the world and well I don't really want her to learn that engaging with the world means being afraid and having people do everything they can to make you MORE afraid.

I also know my kid. So you are right, most kids are ready to give them up at a year old. And maybe your child was struggling to speak because of the binky. Or maybe your kid needed the cold turkey approach because otherwise it would have been more difficult for him. I don't know your kid. I know mine. And mine speaks very well (and does not shut up even with the thing in her mouth). And to take it away from her right now would just reinforce the urge that is driving her towards it in the first place. She does these things in her own time. I honestly think that she will wake up one day and not want it anymore. But I suppose if that doesn't happen we will sort it out. I am her mother. That is what I do.

So, you, judgement harpy who pointed at her face and muttered "DEVIL'S TEAT." You are the asshole here. Why don't you deal with your child and I will deal with mine. See, I thought maybe your son was having a bad day. Maybe he was hungry or tired. Maybe he is developmentally delayed. Or maybe he was just grouchy and is normally delightful. I was cutting him eight hundred kinds of slack even though he pushed my daughter out of the way to get at the slide. I asked him to wait his turn just as I ask that of my daughter. Of course he is a kindergartner picking on a baby. . .So you stop worrying about my daughter's binky and I won't give his shove another thought. I am pretty sure both things will be grown out of shortly.

Of course you will still be an asshole.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Bulk

I do remember life before I had a Costco membership. I think I felt sorry for people who needed one. Rolled my eyes at my mother who went on and on about saving three cents a gallon on gas (ok I still do this even though they save more than that now because buying gas at Costco requires more organization and planning than I can muster). I thought Costco was for people with Duggar sized families, a real thirst for vats of canola oil and bunkers to store all of that toilet paper.

My mom bought us a membership for Christmas/Winter gift buying holiday of your choice. We gamely went and got our photos taken. I greeted the return of the Costco hot dog (my Saturday errand ritual with my dad for years) with the warmth of an old friend. I still didn't know what I would buy there. As it turned out, that first year not so much. Razor blades, toilet paper (there is something wondrous about buying toilet paper maybe once a year--it frees up so much time). We didn't really get Costco.

When we moved we bought furniture at the Costco Home store (which is now gone and that is a sad sad thing) and things picked up. Books, socks, a new phone, a steam mop. Costco. We'd renewed our membership with our own money--twice.

Then we had a baby. Now we are cooking with wholesale prices!

We don't even use disposable diapers but we still saved a bundle. Wipes. Organic baby food. Formula. Baby sleepers (5.99 for Carters YO). As she got older my list got more surreal. Below are things that I now buy at Costco and feel, deep in my soul, a little brainwashed about. But I am saving money and my soul loves that.

Apples
Bananas
Potatoes
Onions
Mushrooms . . .ok clearly produce of every kind. It is a good quality, excellent prices and yes I do buy local stuff when I can get it but the budget can only support so much and well there are no bananas grown in Everett, WA
Milk (I think I could pay for my membership on the milk savings alone)
Cheese (I know I could with cheese)
Bread
Meat (we bought a chest freezer and yes I buy Duggar quantities of meat now)
Baby/kid clothes (pajamas, jeans, dresses, they have everything if you look)
Books
DVDs
Socks for the whole family
Crackers
Chicken Nuggets
Macaroni and Cheese
Peanut Butter
Toys
Diet Coke
Cereal
Beer
Down comforter
Canned veggies
Baby shampoo
ELIZABETH ARDEN MOISTURIZER
Bras (!!!! I KNOW YOU GUYS I LOVE THEM)

Can't you just see me? My Honda laden down like a camel with all my bulk wholesale merchandise? I am the one who is feeding her kid every sample in the store--oh wait that is all of us. Oh well, I am the one who is talking herself out of another box of Kraft Dinner--we still have half a cube.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Happy Birthday

In the years that I was trying to get pregnant and while I was pregnant I would tell people how I am not a baby person. How, if I could, I would give birth to a toddler. And it was true. I found the newborn stage to be so overwhelming and they are so tiny and breakable and . . .

I couldn't wait for her to get a little older. We could play blocks! We could watch movies and eat snacks and go to the park! Oh it was going to be so great.

Two years ago I was recovering from a really long, really ridiculous MULTI-DAY labor. I was so tired and also stupid I didn't notice that my baby was as orange as a cheeto. I was having lunch and just staring into the hospital bassinet trying not to cry and laugh at the same time. Somehow unbelievably happy and yet totally freaking out at the same time. J and I went from a married couple that sure did like each other to a family that day.

In the following months I found I may not be a baby person but I was a My Baby person. My baby smelled so good after her bath and her arms were soft like puffy little twinkies. I wanted to swallow her whole. My baby curved into me just right and I rocked her for hours (I was bored as hell but I didn't think twice about doing it). My baby was good company at Target and on errands and I could feel her changing me and changing my whole life and I didn't care a bit.

I looked down today, and I don't want to scare y'all, but a two year old ate my baby.

She still smells good after her bath, and she is much cuter not orange. She has the best curls anywhere. She knows all of her colors and how to use a spoon and can put her baby night night. Her favorite color is blue, she loves her Grandma and Papa and Grams, she can count to two and build with blocks and goes apeshit over Curious George. I can't even pretend she is a baby anymore.

It is awesome and exciting and exactly how things should be. She is just who she always was but bigger and more able to pee on the toilet. I do find myself missing my baby. I want her to curl into my chest before she goes to sleep. I want to wrap her up like a baby burrito. I want her to not eat half of my steak. I miss her toothless grin and bald head and how she looked a lot like a can of butter flavored Cristco.

If you are out with your baby I might ask to hold her--I will sniff her head and take a hit of that fresh from the factory smell. Your baby is nice too. I don't really want her though, I just miss mine.

Happy Birthday Butter Bean.

Friday, January 22, 2010

No More Williams

I think my grandmother has called my house maybe twice since we've lived here. And called my residence maybe five times total since I moved out of my parents house when I was seventeen. She doesn't call is my point so imagine my surprise when her name showed up on my caller id early Thursday morning.

I was sure one of them was dead. This isn't as morbid as you might think--they are in their eighties--and why else would some one call at 8 on a Thursday (that IS TOO EARLY WHEN IT IS MY ONLY SLEEP IN DAY)? So I answered and got this "Childhood-nickname-I-don't-use-but-she-is-my-Grammy-so-she-can? I have a genealogy EMERGENCY!"

Some one has been watching CNN (round the clock!) and noticed the Ancestry.com commercials. They were taunting her genealogy-obsessed self, she who gathered her information the old fashioned way--in libraries by bringing muffins to researchers and pouring over old records and stalking strangers over the phone. "Honey! Can you use the internet?!"

For the record my grandfather uses the internet, well AOL which when you are 85 counts.

So y'all I am on Ancestry.com trying to find out information about relatives from Quebec. I am going to blow her mind because I have digital copies of draft cards and photos from other people who are researching the same ancestors.

This internet thing. It just might catch on.

The single best thing about the project, besides making an old lady happy (which I never do really since I refuse to move home to Iowa and dress my baby as a cupcake), is the names. I have a semi-obsession with names and since I have one child and am not dispositionally equipped to have a liter my obsessive is silly. I could totally name a liter though! I will talk about your choices endlessly if you are pregnant! EMAIL ME.

Anyway the names are fabulous. Triphena. Alphronsia. Many many more Virgils than you would expect. Some very heavy German ones, naturally, though those got lightened up a bit in Ellis Island I think.

I did tell J should we ever have another child he shall not be called William. There are 84000 of those already in the family and it is annoying to try to sort out who is who.

Also, FILL OUT YOUR CENSUS CAREFULLY. I know that most of the ones I am looking at were written by census workers since a lot of these people were probably illiterate (and not so much with the faboo English) but Fraggle on a cracker! Names are spelled willy nilly. Ages are unlikely and yet these are clearly the right people. Take your time and print carefully. Your future great great great great great granddaughter thanks you since your great great great granddaughter still thinks that the internet is powered by hamsters.

Also, please do not name your kids names that are so similar. No need for Emma, Emily, Harry, Harvey, Henry. And no more Williams. Even though I love it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Voice

When I was a little kid I was a terribly slow running--actually this is still true, I still look like an iceberg slightly floating while running it just doesn't come up as much without daily recess tag games. I think it is likely that I can walk faster than I run but you can't really test that in most situations without looking really ridiculous. Naturally I have always been very pitiful at chasing games and my honest reaction to being chased is to uh sit down. It is like my psyche gives up immediately rather than be tortured by my slow ass getting caught one more time.

In college I learned to box and took self defense classes because the idea of me outrunning an attacker is laughable. But a part of me wonders if I even have that Fight or Flight instinct. I wonder if I would just give up immediately and not even be brave enough to scream.

I think most of us have a voice in our head that tells us all the bad things we are sure are true and everyone knows (if you do not have such a voice congratulations on being mentally healthy and please do not tell me about it). I think I have said here before that mine talks to me more than anyone else. He tells me how lazy I am, how I am not smart nor talented or interesting in any way. He tells me how I am just a fat suburban mom who is only good for buying the right brand of detergent.

He is a serious douchebag.

This voice tells me that I am too stupid to run, too weak to fight back. He makes me feel the fear of failing deep in the marrow of my bones. And I finally understand that the fear of failing for me is more powerful than any other fear I have--more than rats or ladders or of those freaky balloon animals that clowns make. That fear has been controlling me for much longer than I want to think about.

I am not much for New Year's resolutions. Easy to make, easy to break. But I am totally a sucker for goal oriented work as I adore crossing things off of lists and feeling accomplished. So I do have some goals that uh I coincidentally set recently.

1. Stop being such a social freak. My best friend lives in another state. As does my sister. And most of my relatives. I never want to call people because I don't want to interrupt but you know those relationships will not maintain themselves. And the longer you go between calls the more you think you need an occasion or news to call about. I am already married, I am not having another baby and no one cares about the oatmeal cookies I am baking so I will never have news again. Might as well call because it is Wednesday.

2. Ignore the voice. Actually hear the voice, feel that fear in my bones and just keep going anyway.

Notice that running is nowhere on this list.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Feeling the Fear

I don't do New Year's resolutions really. To be honest, I hate New Year's. I hate the enforced fun of New Year's Eve--how most of us have nowhere to go and yet feel compelled to try to do something. I hate how everyone decides to diet and eat better and bah all off the wagon by February.

The Jewish new year has more meaning for me since it ties up the previous year and you get a clean slate for the next one. It forces you to deal with what has happened to you--to atone--and then move on.

That being said the cold that I had before Christmas kicked my ass for nearly three weeks--I still have a fucking sore throat--and I didn't do anything for all of that time. And it made me realize that I need to get moving. I have so many things I want to do this year and I need to get moving.

For me the challenge is always the beginning. To just start a project is so intimidating. Once I get started I am fine and I can keep moving. But before I begin I sit and worry about failing, I feel overwhelmed. It is paralyzing fear and I guess what I am saying is in 2010 that fear isn't going to stop me.