Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Audrey Tautou

I fell in love with her in Amelie and hungrily watched every other film she has been in. There is just something about her that captures you. So imagine my excitement when I read this article touting her newest film. Course there is no telling how long it will take to get to the American audience, but I am eagerly awaiting the film's arrival.

I have always been a fan of French film, but she is just the cat's meow as far as French actresses go. If you have never watched French film, you are missing out, and I challenge you to look up Jean Renoir on Netflix and order up some of his films. They are truly masterpieces.

Sing We Now of Christmas

Radio stations have started in with their nonstop Christmas playlists. The one I listen to started the week before Thanksgiving, which is a week too early in my book. However, I have always loved Christmas music and as a child was given to playing the Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas tape in the middle of summer. I couldn’t get enough of carols, and to some degree I still can’t. I love, love, love Judy Garland’s rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and was so excited to watch Meet Me In St. Louis on Friday for the millionth time just to see her sing that song.

But I have my limits. There are two songs that are in the rotation here in Seattle that really make me want to puke. They are the sappiest songs I have heard (though “Where are You Christmas?” is up there). “Christmas in the Northwest” and “Sippin’ in Seattle’s Latte Land” have to be the worst Christmas songs in the universe (though I would have to say that Grandma reindeer song is pretty bad).

Christmas in the Northwest” is just sappy. But “Sippin’ in Seattle’s Latte Land” is sappy and cheesy. Couldn’t find a link to give you a listen, but it is sung to the tune of “Winter Wonderland” and has the line “down the street somethin’s brewin.’” Make it stop. I would rather listen to Mariah Carey's Christmas album over and over and over.

Seattle doesn’t need its own Christmas songs. We can share with the rest of the world. Really.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Bang Bang

Yes, nearly a week. I am a dreadful blogger, but I know you'll forgive me considering it is my first lapse. So much has happened, but I haven't really been up to writing about it, so here is one of the more minor bumps in the Thanksgiving holiday.

Gasp! Horrors! Oh my goodness! What have you done?!? Stop the World! It’s coming to an end! You are evil! Call DSS!

You may be wondering what I did to deserve such over-the-top, though slightly exaggerated (not really), protestations of shock. Well, I will tell you. I. CUT. BANGS. INTO. MY. DAUGHTER’S. HAIR. Are you faint? Do you see the world ending? Well I didn’t either.

But then you have to know my ex-husband. Since you don’t, I will tell you. He hates bangs. But you probably already got that didn’t you.

Thanksgiving morning, I gave Audrey a bath, and I could take it no longer. I was sick of seeing the poor child struggling to keep the hair out of her eyes and I was sick of being in a constant barrette deficit. They never ever ever ever return from daycare. She always comes home with a strange ponytail holder or ribbon in her hair, but long gone is the barrette I sent her in. So that was that. I got out my paper cutting scissors (what, my hair cutting scissors have disappeared), sat Audrey on the bathroom counter and proceeded to chop at her hair while struggling to keep her still to prevent a Thanksgiving Day Eye Gouge-Out fiasco. She was delighted at the hair that fell from her lap to her head, and I remembered to do the mom thing and tell her that she was never to ever even think about ever even thinking about cutting her hair with these scissors or any others. Satisfied with her “Yes, that’s right. Only mommies cut Audrey’s hair” and the way the bangs turned out despite the shaky hand and the disjointed chops, I turned her loose.

She received compliments from all around about her new ‘do and was as proud as proud could be. I accepted the compliments for the job that I had done, but mentioned the fact that Sam didn’t know that I was going to do it. The consensus was that until Sam grows his hair out and experiences the torture of constant hair in the face, it wasn’t up to him. I demurred, but uneasily so.

Saturday I dropped her off at Granny’s house to spend time with paternal family. I hadn’t really seen any of them since The Split, most unfortunate was my lack of a hospital visit to see Granny after her car accident. What can I say? I am a horrible self-involved person who just really didn’t feel like interacting with the in-laws. Didn’t I divorce them too? Yeah, yeah, I’m horrible. Sue me. So they oohed and aahed over her hair as well and I reiterated my fear over Sam’s reaction, and thanked my lucky stars that I wasn’t to be around him when he saw her hair for the first time.

The next morning he called. It was before 7 and I was still asleep, but I padded out to the building’s outer door where he stood waiting with Audrey. I was still rubbing the sleep out of my eyes when he started in on me about her hair.

I can’t believe you did that. You know how I feel about bangs. I would never do something like that without your knowledge....

And on and on. I cut her bangs, people! I knew it was coming – sort of, but still it seemed a mite unreasonable if you ask me. But I will ask you.

Was Sam’s reaction to the bang thing logical?

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Out of My Hands

She’s BAAAAaaack! Audrey’s trip to Vegas is ended, and life is back to normal. She didn’t even seem more excited than usual to see me when I picked her up from daycare today. Ah such is life. I smothered her in kisses, and she instructed me not to kiss her while wiping them off of her face. Excuse me? When did my just-turned-three year old turn thirteen? I wasn’t quite prepared for that today.

The thing about not being completely in control of your child’s upbringing due to her spending 8+ of her 13 waking hours with daycare staff 5 days a week, and 2-3 days at her dad’s house, I am not in charge of what goes into her head or what comes out of her mouth. Strange children and people are influencing the phrases she says, the games she plays and her entire outlook on life.

Tonight when we were at McDonald’s (a sort of welcome home, mommy’s not ready to cook homemade sort of dinner) she pulled her hamburger out of the wrapping, looked at it and said, “hmm, tastes like chicken.” I couldn’t think of one possible time that I have ever said that in front of her or even seen a show that said that. It is a harmless phrase, but it had a lasting effect on me. Later in the evening, I was sitting at the computer. She came into my room after getting reacquainted with her toys, looked at the monitor, which bore the mugshot of that woman that cut off her child’s arms, and said, “Look at that pretty lady mommy. I want to be her. She is so pretty. Can I be her?” I patted her head, and stared at the woman’s face. I wondered if she might have done things differently had she known there was a child that thinks she is pretty enough to want to be her or if more people had said kind things to her, and I wondered when my daughter got into the “I want to be her” phase. I thought that children were satisfied just to be themselves for more than the first three years.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Merry Consumerism

Do we really need more than 25 days of Christmas? Perhaps it helps consumers to get into the spending mode if all of the sudden Santa is everywhere and carols are playing on every store’s Muzak. Personally I go by the calendar, and my calendar says that Thanksgiving is still days away. I enjoy Thanksgiving. I embrace Thanksgiving. I cook and eat mounds of food every Thanksgiving and am very grateful for every bite and for the Pilgrims and the Indians and the Mayflower, but it is becoming more and more difficult to get into Thanksgiving mode when retail centers have foregone the turkey and buckled shoes decorations and gone straight to the holly and ho ho ho’s. Why can’t we embrace this lovely holiday before moving onto the next?

Perhaps I would feel differently if Christmas were being embraced for its true meaning rather than commercial and material interests. There are masses of people out there who don’t even know the story of the birth of Christ, yet they cling to the holiday as their favorite day of the year. We know the story of Ebenezer Scrooge better than that of the infant child born to a manger. Christmas, the day when all of your wishes come true. You get, you give, but you forget why the day even exists.

Where Cars Go to Die

I sat in the car for the first two wrecking yards. They were the kind that take the parts off for you, clean them up and charge a nice premium for the trouble. But they didn’t have what Cy was looking for, so we drove farther north to the Pull a Part wrecking yard. This time Cy invited me to come with him, to experience the shangrila that is a wrecking yard. I was skeptical.

In the car on the way there, Cy spoke of his preference for female-run wrecking yards. According to him, the women take more time to check and double check for the requested part and even share some insight into what is really needed. I tried to imagine running a place like that. Entering the Pull a Part, we discovered two women behind the counter. I waited to be blown away by their kindness and caring for the thrifty car part consumer, but was instead met with a dismissive air and snappish tones. I could tell that they hated their jobs, and I wasn’t surprised. Our hands were stamped and we were sent into the yard to search for our quarry.

I was the only woman out there, and I stood out like a sore thumb. Luckily Cy had cautioned me to wear jeans and sneakers, but I lacked the seeming requisite uniform of all the other wrecking yard junkies – Carharts, workboots, and a worn trucker cap, oh and apparently beer cans accompany that uniform because they were everywhere. I was even lucky enough to come across an unopened can of Miller Lite. Tempting, but I passed.

It was a cold day, and there were mud puddles everywhere. I just wanted to find the part and get back to the truck, but Cy was in heaven. So as he went on about the engines and cooed about fixing up something like that or that over there, I imagined the cars and trucks as they must have been decades ago before coming to this automobile graveyard and being propped up on stacks of rusted wheels waiting for part after part to find new life on a more tenderly attended relative. The Firebird there might have been a sixteenth birthday present for someone’s firstborn son. Oh the trips that old VW bus must have driven.

We eventually found the mirror he was looking for on an old Chevy truck, the same truck being picked over by a troupe of three Carhart-wearing, screwdriver-bearing part seekers who seemed startled to see me. They snuck furtive glances my way and the loud and boisterous laughter we heard on approach has dissipated. They were gone before we had been there a full minute. Cy made a remark about my having that affect on all the guys. Yep, I always scare them away. He worked on the mirror, then looked at the truck, kicking at the rusted fender, trying to close the hood, poking at the engine. The truck shook when he kicked it and I pondered the dangers of wrecking yard diving. Of course Cy had a story about a man who died while trying to retrieve an engine. Something fell on him – the truck, the engine, the crane, don’t know which, but horrible all the same. Could you imagine dying in a wrecking yard?

Cy was proud to be the one to introduce me to my first wrecking yard, though I am more inclined to say my only wrecking yard. I am more of a Schuck’s kind of girl, though I will admit that I have never stepped foot in one of those either. Taking care of cars is man work, though Cy seeks to change my views on that. He wants to have me fixing and chatting about cars and engines like one of the guys. Somehow I don’t see that happening, but it is fun to humor him.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Live a Little

Sam has just taken Audrey for a little trip to Las Vegas (what?). So I am child-free for the next 5 days.

What would you do first if you had 5 days with no children, no meals, no messes?

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Trick or Treat, Leave Me Something Good to Eat

The great thing about my job is that people are stupid. And with that stupidity comes illiteracy, or what must be illiteracy because apparently no one can read that big, huge, fat sign we have on our door screaming at solicitors to stay far, far away because we reaaaally don’t want any. So because no one can read this sign, solicitors come waltzing in all the time, and the most amusing bit is that they always seem to come in on the coattails of someone who works here, as if I won’t notice the perfect stranger entering our lobby behind one who belongs. They always say something cute about being a doorman or popping in for a visit or since they were in the neighborhood… But the best thing about these stupid people who do not know how to read is that they bring me chocolate. Somehow they are under the impression that leaving small treats will bribe me to use their services. Uh, no, but thanks now I have something to supplement my cheerio/candy corn lunch - Rolos!

No Need For Dessert

Dinner of fools – one piece of chocolate cake, from last week’s birthday party – yes last week, as in eight days ago.

Breakfast of champions – stale Cheerios in a plastic baggy, no milk.

And what is the star of nutritional health going to have for lunch? In all likelihood, whatever Cheerios are left and some crumbly candy corn bought on clearance from Target after Halloween.

Care to join me?

Monday, November 15, 2004

15 Things

We wouldn't know if it weren't for the movies.

1. The ventilation system of any building is the perfect hiding place. No one will ever think of looking for you in there, and you can travel to any other part of the building you want without difficulty.
2. You're very likely to survive any battle in any war unless you make the mistake of showing someone a picture of your sweetheart back home
3. Should you wish to pass yourself off as a German officer, it is not necessary to speak the language. A German accent will do.
4. A man will show no pain while taking the most ferocious beating but will wince when a woman tries to clean his wounds.
5. If staying in a haunted house, women must investigate any strange noises in their most diaphanous underwear, which is just what they happened to be carrying with them at the time the car broke down.
6. If a large pane of glass is visible, someone will be thrown through it before long.
7. If someone says, "I'll be right back", they won't.
8. Computer monitors never display a cursor on screen but always say: Enter Password Now.
9. It is not necessary to say hello or goodbye when beginning or ending phone conversations. And none of your friends have to knock when they come for a visit.
10. Even when driving down a perfectly straight road, it is necessary to turn the steering wheel vigorously from left to right every few moments.
11. All bombs are fitted with electronic timing devices with large red readouts so you know exactly when they're going to go off.
12. A detective can only solve a case once he has been suspended from duty.
13. If you decide to start dancing in the street everyone around you will automatically be able to mirror all the steps you come up with and hear the music in your head.
14. Police departments give their officers personality tests to make sure they are deliberately assigned a partner who is their total opposite.

And last but not least

15. When they are alone, all foreigners prefer to speak English to each other.

I got this from rediff.com, and I am just nerdy enough that it had me laughing out loud, which few things manage to do.

Wink, Then Toss the Hair

Hello, oh I say. Imagine that said in a British accent by a dirty, old English man and you will have my reaction to the new guy. He just started today. And by he I mean tall, extremely handsome Harvard grad. Did I mention handsome? I had heard rumors, but my Lord were they understated.

I was already seated at my desk when he arrived. I looked up at him, barely able to keep the jaw from dropping, and accepted his proffered hand and introduction. I stuttered out my greeting and handed him his key. Luckily his boss was nearby and whisked him off to show him his space. I was left to ponder the moment and wonder how I looked. Needing to know, I went to the restroom for a quick look in the mirror. Hmm, especially lifeless hair and weird, brown eye shadow that I couldn’t quite get to look right this morning. I gave myself a yuck and despondently returned to my desk.

Maybe we aren’t always the best judges of how we look. Minutes later, the CFO arrived, paused, looked at me a little longer than usual, then said, “Rebecca, you are looking very nice this morning. I mean you always look nice, but this morning especially so,” and continued down the hall. This time my jaw did drop, and I gave an inward “Hurrah!” and have been finding reasons to wander back toward his area ever since.

Forgot That Rule

Crayon all over the beautiful walls greeted me when I entered Audrey’s room after her “nap.” Had she even slept? From the artwork on the walls, I was inclined to think not. I racked my brain to find the time where I had told her that she should never, ever color on the walls, and I found the moment it entered my mind to do so, but pushed aside with the thought that with 5 color books and 2 plain pads, what would she need with beautiful butter cream walls as her canvas? I tried to imagine what went through her mind when she drew line after line in color after color upon the wall above her bed. I can’t figure that she would actually think that coloring on the walls would be a good thing, something that I would be excited about.

This weekend I came to the realization that I have to be a different sort of parent, the kind I have been afraid to be. Growing up I had a hard, strict disciplinarian dad and a mom who tried to make up for his harshness with love and leniency. My mother could never understand why we wouldn’t listen to her like we listened to my dad, but we listened to my dad out of fear and we disobeyed her because we could. I vowed never to be the kind of parent my father was, though I never did anything wrong, and I ended up with scholarships and whatnot, it was a life of fear. I don’t want that for my children.

So I have been afraid to be stern with my daughter, to correct her when she is disrespectful or rude or even disobedient. I didn’t want to “squash her will.” But now her will is becoming larger than both of us. I don’t have to be like my dad, and I don’t have to be like my mom. I can find the happy medium and balance and get over the fear of making my daughter do something she doesn’t want to for fear that she will be upset. I am the parent; I am the boss. Now that I have figured that out, it is time she did too.

I was angry about those walls, and I punished her for it as visions of that recent episode of The Apprentice danced in my head. The contestants touted a new product by Mr. Clean that just happens to clean crayon off of walls. It was hard to be as upset when I knew that I could get it off. Thank God that I knew that I could get it off; otherwise my dad in me would have made a guest appearance.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Rethink That

The debate continues on where Audrey is to spend the holidays. Sam doesn’t want her for Thanksgiving. He doesn’t want to be around anyone. He said he has become disimpassioned by the holiday season now that he doesn’t have a family to celebrate it with. He was quick to qualify that he wasn’t going to miss spending the holidays with me since I get so bitchy [I will say this is true – I always end up hosting, and the year I hosted for his family I was driven up the wall by their inability to clean up each present’s wrapping directly after its opening – OCD? Guilty as charged. And I tend to get a wee obsessed and stressed over the hosting duties. I am in serious need of a chill pill, so I am filling my prescription now so I am plenty laid back in time for this year, because really there is no need to be Martha Stewart. At the end the meal will be eaten, the leftovers in the fridge (in color-coded and neatly labeled containers, of course) and the guests stuffed. The results are always the same, so why freak out about the need for 17 separate dishes just because we have them every year?]

So I am fine with having Audrey for Thanksgiving. I am hosting the darn thing, so I might as well have my dear child there turning up her nose at everything that isn’t on Gramma’s plate, because Gramma’s food is all she wants. Turkey is apparently inedible if it is not sitting in front of my mother.

So having Audrey for Thanksgiving means I will have her for the entirety of my Thanksgiving break, which isn’t bad per se, but a lusciously lovely four-day weekend, well of course it is better with a three year-old. What else would I do? So I will take her from her disillusioned father and enjoy the time spent with her and plan lots of fabulous activities that will involve more than listening to Christmas music and filling ourselves on pumpkin pie and turkey salad sandwiches. It will be great. Just great.

So then there’s Christmas. Sam only wants her for Christmas morning. What? Say that again? You only want her for my favorite part of the Christmas experience (aside from whole honoring the birth of Christ bit)? Are my ears clean? Am I hearing you right? I don’t think so buddy. That isn’t exactly the way it works here. To be honest I don’t truly know how it works, but I don’t think that’s it. I don’t mind taking her for Christmas, but if I am going to have her for Christmas, I better get Christmas morning too. Got it?

We really need to work through this whole custody arrangement bit again. This really isn’t fun. Luckily there have been no arguments (well loud ones anyway) and the majority of our conversations take place during the workday, so Audrey never overhears it. We have done a wonderful job, I think, of sheltering her from any of this business.

Why haven’t they developed some sort of test to give couples that will tell them whether a marriage will last between them? There has got to be something. But if I had taken that test, would I have listened to it? I didn’t listen to my own mother’s advice.


Recently I started doing this Blog Explosion thing, and while I promised myself that I wouldn’t devote an entire post to it, a la the majority of blogs that you read while perusing the masses in sort of a speed dating fashion, I couldn’t resist any longer. One of the things that surprised me from the posts re: Blog Explosion was the amount of people complaining about other people’s blogs. There are a lot of blogs that are a lot like other blogs meaning they fall into certain categories, which also means that their blogs have interest to a certain category of people. Politics, work, mom, cat, dog, knitting, baby and on and on…I have seen pundits whining about knitters and knitters whining about the techno geeks. C’mon people. We all have our genres. While I won’t be stepping foot into the political arena or talking about my knitting experiences (should I ever decide to finish that scarf), I don’t hate on people who have such blogs. I accept that some people avidly read such stuff and move on to bookmark what catches my interest.

So far I have enjoyed Blog Explosion, but the problem is that now I have too many blogs that interest me and I can’t figure out how to keep up with them all or if I even want to. After the initial 30 seconds I can tell what I like, but then it may take a few weeks to decide whether they continual post to my qualifications. I enjoyed the way my searches for new reads went before…I perused other’s blogrolls and then perused that person’s blogroll and so on leapfrogging through the world of blogs. But now my grassroots searches have seemingly gone commercial. It is weird. I have tons and tons of blogs at my fingertips, and I am becoming a borderline blog geek.

Blog Explosion is addicting . You never know what is going to pop up, and you keep waiting for that 30 seconds to tick down so you can get to the next one. Sometimes I get lost in a blog and realized minutes have passed – that makes it a definite bookmarker. It is also interesting the amount of interesting and sometimes quite odd templates that people have on their blogs. Some of them go quite over the top. From mine you can see I like the nice, clean, plainness of a white background. Any way I have had fun with it, I just think they should get rid of the rating system. I personally dont' give a damn about my rating, but I have read of some bloggers freaking out about it. It shouldn't be what blogging is about.

Anyhoo, if you aren't using it, you might give it a whirl. It is more fun to find blogs, and also a great way to get traffic, if you are looking for it.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Oh Veteran's Day

For those of you who don't have anyone close to you to remember or honor this Veteran's Day here are two beautifully written posts about three men who are not yet veterans but are just hoping to make it through the war. Think of them as you reflect on those who have fought in wars, be they just or not.

Either Here or There

The holidays draw near, and I watch their approach with sadness for as I plan to host the Thanksgiving dinner and draws names for the family Santa exchange, I know that Audrey will be absent for one of them. I will either sit down to the most grateful of holiday meals with my little daughter enjoying it elsewhere or wake up Christmas morning to nothing more than my alarm, for her excited cries at the discovery of a present-stuffed tree will not be reaching my ears.

It is only the dawning of Audrey’s fourth year of life and already she and we are dealing with whose house she will go to for which holiday. I know that we can celebrate Thanksgiving on Friday, or pretend Santa comes on Christmas Eve morning every other year, and these will likely happen eventually, but it is so difficult to break with time-honored traditions. Traditions I clung to so strongly in the years of moving and leaving throughout my childhood.

But it isn’t just a matter of holiday tradition that concerns me. I wonder too at the future, a future that could hold remarriages for both Sam and myself and perhaps and likely even more children for the two of us, children who do not float between homes and parents, but are the children who stay, while Audrey will be the child who goes. And I wonder if it would have been better to stay in the marriage (shudder) so she experienced a stable childhood, and if I should just let her be my only child so she and I never have to deal with the hardness of keeping some children while letting her go.

I will never be able to identify with my daughter’s experiences, because they will be so completely different from mine, but I won’t be able to pat her on the back and tell her that I know what she is going through, because I won’t, but I can make every effort to make it something that doesn’t bring excessive tears, trauma or a need for therapy. I just have to get over it myself, and get used to the idea that “the perfect family” is not in the cards for me, though a “happy family” very well could be.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

She Pays For My Day

I should have known that mental health day was going to come bite me in the ass. Shouldn’t I have known? It must be karma or something. Well, I don’t really believe in karma, so it must be God punishing me for telling a dirty, nasty lie about my daughter’s health. And I definitely deserve it.

Don’t I know yet that every time I lie that my daughter is sick, she will get sick days later?

I was having a hard time falling asleep last night. It was getting later and later and still I hadn’t been able to summon the elusive (to me) sleep gods. But finally sometime after midnight, I found the perfect position, propped my pillow just so, arranged my blankets around me and felt my body relaxing toward a deep, restful, though short, sleep when karma and/or God decided to have a little fun with me. I was jerked from my semi-conscious state with a cough, cough, cough and a cough, cough, cough, this time louder and more intense. The coughs are so miserable in sound and followed by an even more miserable set of whimpers and last of all a weak uttering of “momma.” The sounds warred with my desire to roll over, put a pillow over my head and hope it all goes away, but then the mother in me settled that battle, and I dragged myself out of bed and into Audrey’s room, the source of the miserableness.

“Mommeeee, I neeeeeed waterrrrrrrr, cough, cough cough.” Her face was scrunched up with tears streaming from her eyes and snot from her nose. I padded into the kitchen to fill her request as well as to find some cough syrup. I brought her both but could cajole her only into taking a wee sip of both, and I wasn’t in the mindset to tousle with her. My mind was growing fuzzy with fatigue, so I gave her hugs and comfort and asked her if she wanted me to lay down with her. She nodded her head in that way kids do when they know they are being spoiled because they are sick, and I lay beside her.

She rolled over and I struggled to get comfortable. Her bed is pretty – an antique iron head and footboard double bed size – but it is just too darn short for me. I couldn’t stretch out my legs, which is normally fine since I sleep in a fetal position most of the time, but the knowledge that I couldn’t straighten my legs because of that footboard was taunting me. I was tossing and turning and keeping Audrey awake. Finally I willed myself to hold still, hung my feet off the side of the bed and waitied for Audrey to fall asleep. I could literally feel the minutes ticking by. Her coughs grew less and less frequent and soon her breathing became smooth and regular, so I slid out of her bed as quietly as I could and then proceeded to trip over her toy vacuum cleaner, the hose somehow managing to wrap itself around my leg.

Audrey jerked awake, “Momma?”

“Honey, Momma’s okay,” I said, clutching the sore toe, “I just need to go to my room now, all right?”

There wasn’t an answer. I can’t tell you how relieved I was as I limped back to my room. I eased myself back into bed, pulled the covers around me and scrunched into a ball, forgetting the once intense longing to stretch out.

But of course, it wasn’t as easy as all that, of course I didn’t actually get to enjoy the soft caresses of sleep that began to soothe my body back into unconsciousness. Less than two minutes passed before the coughing began again. And so it was that I spent the majority of my night in a cycle of soothing Audrey and nearly falling asleep. Some time near morning both Audrey and I did manage to fall asleep, and when I woke up to the alarm radio blaring the Tom Lycus show (I have no idea how my radio got on that station), there was Audrey, asleep on my floor, curled into a blanketless ball, head propped on one of my pillows that had fallen to the carpet sometime during the night. I lay watching her sleep on the floor. She seemed so peaceful, so content. I didn’t want to wake her and make her go to school. Heck I didn’t want to be awake.

I tossed around ideas of calling her in sick, but wondered what the bosses would think this time, besides I think one of my co-workers saw me writing about my mental health day (where I mention that it was a horrible lie), so I was afraid that she might say something (I really shouldn’t write this stuff at work). I thought of calling and saying that she had a doctor appointment and I would be a couple of hours late, so that she could catch up on her sleep. Finally I just decided to get up, take a shower and let her sleep in until the last possible moment. Though she really was sick this time, I couldn’t figure out how to make this absence seem legitimate after the illegitimacy of my mental health day, so I took my poor, sick daughter into school, and have been calling Sam ever since to try to get him to call in sick and retrieve her from daycare. So far I am only getting his voice mail.

Poor Audrey. I really am a dreadful mother.

*Update* Sam finally called me back and arranged for his brother to pick Audrey up from daycare. I only had to swear at him twice.

Monday, November 08, 2004

What I Did

I was hungry. I had leftover phad thai. I poured said phad thai into a tupperware container to perpetuate reheatage. I noticed a hair. I pulled it out. It wasn't mine. It wasn't anyone's that I know. It must be from the phad thai store. I removed phad thai noodles from vicinity of hair's discovery and proceeded to reheat and eat the phad thai.

Sure, that's disgusting. I should have immediately discarded the entire dish and called the restaurant and complained, but I repeat - I was hungry.

What I Almost Did

Cut off the entirety of my bad finger nail with a rusty X-acto knife using my left hand.

After staring at the blade for a moment, I realized that it, combined with the fact that my left hand is incapable of doing anything, would only lead to more damage on my poor finger than the dreadful fungus has already wrought. No, I can't believe that I haven't called the doctor about it yet either. (Never get a manicure from a strip mall. Never!)

This Job Ain't All Bad

I really like the BB. I called Audrey in sick on Thursday so I could take a mental health day, and on Friday he asked me how she was doing. I told him she was better and with daddy. He said that those poor kids are always picking things up from daycare, and then he paused.

“Is he treating you okay?”

I hesitated a moment before saying that he was. I assumed that he was asking me if Sam, my ex, was treating me well.

“Good, because if he isn’t, then he will have me to deal with.”

We both chuckled and moved on to business, but aside from the nagging guilt about the lie concerning my daughter's health, his inquiry really struck a nerve with me. I am around family members all of the time, but none have ever asked how Sam is treating me post-divorce, and the whole “he will have me to deal with” thing was so paternal, which some feminists might shudder over, but it felt nice. I guess missing out on the whole dad thing makes me treasure moments like that. The BB really cares about his employees, and that makes me feel good about working here.

A couple of weeks ago he asked me how Cy has been treating me, and gave me that same response that if he ever treats me bad, he will be there. I suppose maybe part of his concern comes from the day that I walked around the office in tears, having to escape to the bathroom now and again when they became unbearable. He asked me how I was, if there was anything he could do, or if it was just personal and I didn’t want to talk about it.

He’s a good guy, and I wish that everyone could have a Big Boss like mine.

"He Cleans Up Good"

Earlier I dropped Audrey at daycare. No crying, no nothing. She is getting better, which certainly makes me feel better. As I walked out of the building, Susan, the owner stopped me, “I saw Audrey’s daddy on Friday. Wow was he dressed up. Woowee. He sure did look nice.”

“Well,” I replied, “He had a rehearsal dinner to go to.”

“He can look so nice when he wants to,” she continued.

“Yeah, when he wants to,” I said caustically. You see, Sam is of the tee-shirt and jeans, shave on Tuesday school of thought, so his appearance never got that much attention. Even I was taken aback when he would put on a tie and some slacks.

But Susan wasn’t done yet. “I couldn’t even say nothin’. I may be 60, but a 60 year-old woman still got eyes, and he looked good.” She seemed a bit flustered just in talking about.

Go Sam – you’ve got that senior citizen demographic tapped!

Friday, November 05, 2004

Why Wally World

Yesterday I took a mental health day. I called my daughter in sick (a horrible lie since she was in Yakima with her father), and set about doing all those things I have been putting off since I moved in. First I went through all my digital prints and picked out around 20 to get developed in various sizes. I had no idea how easy Wal-marts site would be and cheap too. I ordered around 20 prints and they were ready in an hour for only a nominally more expensive price. I am completely sold. After the three years of owning a digital camera and taking almost exclusively digital pictures, this was the first time I actually got prints made.

Then I went to Wal-mart to pick them up and buy some stuff for the new apartment. And yes, I do know that Wal-mart is evil. They pay their employees slave wages, treat their suppliers like crap, and put small businesses in the red, but I am poor and with that poorness comes the need for crappy, cheaply made goods, which just happen to run rampant in the Discount Devil. I bought eight attractive black picture frames for $24, the same price you could spend on a single frame anywhere else. I picked up a computer desk, a vacuum, some $3 shirts for Audrey, and eyed some beautiful 32 in. flat screen TVs (if anyone wants to buy me one, let me know).

Usually going to Wal-mart itself makes the effort to save money not worth it. From the long drive, to the insane amount of time it takes to find a parking spot in BFE, to the crowds, oh the crowds (how I hate Wal-mart shoppers), and the never-ending lines that weave their way through the store due to that reject who asks a million questions about why that is ringing as that price instead of this price and asking for this to be taken off cause it’s such a waste of money and the idiotic checker who can’t figure out how to use the scanner, though it is his/her sole task. I generally leave the Behemoth vowing never to return because, though I just saved $20 dollars, there are just too many things enticing me to pull out my hair. But then there is the beauty of going to Wal-mart on a weekday morning. What a concept! There is no one there. I practically owned to store. I was able to bankrupt the world in peace all while saving myself the equivalent of a tank of gas (for my SUV, which is also contributing to our reliance on the Middle East for oil and Bush’s crusade to drill in protected lands).

Sure I would love to patronize the mom n’ pop store, but if it is between getting something for $24 or a comparable item for much less, my bank account dictates my purchase. So tell me, is it better to infuse my money into the economy by buying what I can afford or…ah heck, my money’s getting spent either way, so that illustration won’t work. And I thought I was about to say something so intelligent, too.

It was a great day, though. I put my lovely pictures in my bargain frames and arranged them on my beautiful iron etagere, which Sam got for free from a designer, then I attempted to put together the computer desk, though cart is really a more appropriate term. I soon discovered, however that a flat head screwdriver is no substitute for a Phillips head, neither is a butter knife, neither are scissors, neither are...well you get the point. So the thing sat half-made while I worked on other projects instead of sitting idly waiting for Cy to bring me one. Silly thing arrived an hour or so later and brought the thing you insert into one of those convertible majobbies, without bringing the convertible majobby, so we were back to square one. That is until he realized, duhn duh duh duhn, that he had a Phillips head in his car the whole time, block head. So we made quick work of the computer cart and got to moving the piano here, the entertainment center there and so on. Poor thing had no idea I was going to make him do so much work.

At least now I know that I need some tools. I wonder when I will get another mental health day, cause those 2 dollar Wal-mart wrenches are calling to me.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Call Me Irresponsible

I did my civic duty yesterday, but I am beginning to think that I am the reason that not everyone should vote. First off, I was one of those undecideds that the media could not get over. I voted for Bush then, and as a soft Republican, I figured I would vote for Bush now. However, I have been confused by Bush’s dealings in the Middle East and I don’t quite understand that whole tax refund thing. It seems like all of that money would have done the country more good in whole rather than me spending that measly check on God-knows-what. But I can’t stand Kerry. I don’t like the way he looks and I don’t like his voice. I couldn’t tell you what he stands for. I watched the debates, but I didn’t catch one iota of policy from either of them. It seemed like sound bite after badly written sound bite, and the vice-presidential debates were even worse. Didn’t Kerry just say those exact words? So I voted against “me too” Edwards and reelected George W. Bush.

I didn’t have one of those long-ass waits at the poll that provided the media hours of material to make up for the lack of anything else to talk about until results poured in. I walked into the poll church and showed my ID and was led to The Room. I started with the issues. Um, the issues? Don’t know anything about them. This referendum, that referendum, couldn’t tell you who is pushing it, couldn’t tell you the repercussions for voting for it or against it. But cleaning up waste before adding more sounding like a good idea. Charter schools, hey, why not? I voted that way, but I did concede that some things made absolutely no sense to me, so I left them blank. I mean, why mess up the system?

Deep in thought over whether roads should be paid for with an excise tax or based on annual miles traveled, I was startled by the sudden interruption to my serious voting dilemmas. “Stop. Your. Voting. Now.” I looked up at the source of the commanding voice. “There. Has. Been. A. Ballot. Issuance. Problem.” Okay….. “Someone. Has. The. Wrong. Card.” Great, just great. I am going to be a part of some voting scandal. Then in marches a little, old woman. She points to an unsuspecting man. “You. Sir. Come with me. You have been given the wrong card.”

The first man spoke up again, “This will go in the spoiled votes pile,” as he ceremoniously took the man’s ballot from him. The man sort of whimpered. “Oh, sir, you aren’t spoiled, just your votes. We will get you a new card.”

And with that the room was silent, save for two subsequent announcements that two separate women left behind their vehicle registration cards. That was highly confusing to me, because I couldn’t figure out for the life of me what vehicle registration had to do with voter registration. And also, was all of that pomp and circumstance really necessary concerning the mistaken card? Sheesh. It was so ridiculous. I couldn’t help but giggling as I struggled with the rest of my ballot.

Okay, I turned the sheet over to the people side, and realizing that I really had no idea what the majority of them stood for…(I knew who many of them were, but it was only because of all of those stupid, asinine trash-filled commercials. I think that they should have been ashamed to approve some of those messages)…I decided to do the most idiotic thing, something I never wanted to do because it is so ignorant – I voted straight along party lines. If you know the candidates and what they stand for and they just happen to stand for what you stand for and just happen to all fit into one party, then by all means – go to. But I didn’t, so I just stuck with Bush’s party. Hey I live in a Democrat state, how much did my vote count anyway?

I made quick measure of the partied candidates, but the races that said NP (no party), meaning I suppose that they are nonpartisan races, which when I think about it, may actually be what the NP stood for, gave me great pause. I stood there looking at the names for a while, trying my darnedest to jog any recognition from my brain to aid in my choice; then, when none came, I considered choosing a candidate based purely on the niceness of his/her name, but that was a brief consideration, mind you, and I opted to leave those races blank, because what could be more idiotic than choosing a candidate based on how their name sounds?

Okay, I know that I have revealed myself as a completely ignorant voter, but I have only done so, because if I did it, I am certainly not the only one, and what of the responsible voters who paid more attention and researched all of the issues and can say decisively why one candidate is better for them than another? I feel sorry for those voters. People like me completely screw with their responsibility. Some day I will be one of those voters, but today I am just glad that I got out to vote, oh and that my choice won.

So does that mass emigration to Canada start today, or will they be waiting until the second term actually starts?

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

I Like My Copies Kinko'd

There is this guy at my local Kinko's that makes my day every time I have to go there for work. He remembers my name; he always has a smile, and he is the cutest, little thing you ever did see. I don't mind flirting with him because he is 5'5" or some gawdawfully short height, so there could never be a chance that he would think that we could be an item, because I am Amazon woman next to him. Over the summer, he asked how I was enjoying the sunshine and I told him about my trip to the lake the day before. I lay in the sun near a group of upperclassmen high schoolers who just oozed the superficiality of the in-crowd. I described the group to him complete with some of the overheard conversations and comments on the ugly people around them. He was surprised to hear me speak with derision of the in-crowd, swearing that I must have been one of them. He couldn't believe it when I promised that I was not. I realized that I must have changed a lot since high school to be a believable member of the in-crowd. Remind me to post a picture of the high school me. He has also asked about who will accompany me to certain events I tell him I am attending. I am always vague, never mentioning a boyfriend - it is more fun that way. Yesterday, he asked after my Halloween and was taken aback that I hadn't attended any wild parties. See the fun thing about this, it that to him, I am this hip, fun, happening girl. Looks can be so, so deceiving. It is good for the ego, and I always leave Kinko's happy.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Rocky Road

So today marks the third year of my being a parent. Have I done a good job? Hmm, well let's see. Judging my the tone of my last post, I am inclined to think not. But my child is now three, so she made it this far under my care (and the crowd goes wild) - thank you, thank you. I try my best.

Or do I? What is the best that a parent can give to her child?

Every waking moment completely devoted to parenthood?

Doesn't that transform the parent into a sweats-wearing, frown-line sporting, zombie who forgets what it is to be a person, the person you used to be? What was it like to go to dinner and a movie at a moment's notice, to read the newspaper, or better yet, leave the newspaper for 2 seconds without returning to find it strewn across the floor and your favorite bit ripped to shreds?

I know I sound cynical, but I bet that I am not the only person to feel this way. I love Audrey to death, but sometimes I know that I was too young to become a parent.

Perhaps all of this reflection is due to a recent decision made by an acquaintance of mine, one that I, myself, could never in a million years have come to for several reasons. It certainly would have been the easy way out. My life would be peaches right now - peaches. I don't regret my decision, but I do know that my life would be different right now, unrecognizable, easy.

So happy birthday, Audrey and happy 3rd anniversary of being a parent to me. Here's to taking the road that suits your beliefs no matter how hard it may be (clink). Cheers.

Mother of the Year, I Am Not

I have come to the bitter conclusion that I am not cut out for this mom stuff. I am too young. I am too selfish. And I don’t know what the hell I am doing. How does one just know how to be a mom? How does one go from having hopes and wishes and plans for the evening to watching "The Wiggles," reading Poky Little Puppy, wiping bottoms and figuring out how in the heck to make the headstrong three year-old listen just for once without having to revert to counting or threatening?

The last is the worst, actually. I never envisioned becoming the parent of such a headstrong, willful, independent little girl. In my imagination, “perfect parenthood” never comprised of fights over boots vs. sneakers or fits resulting from my decision to purchase the toothpaste that both had more and cost less than Brother Bear toothpaste. Instead I pictured perfect family dinners, quiet reading times, trips to the park, “yes, momma,” “or course, momma,” and nary a tear in sight, excepting those of joy, of course. Yeah, right. Reality check. I never make dinner anymore. In family of two, what would be the point? My idea of a meal is a salad or popcorn. Hers is nuggets, or PBJ.

How do I get her to eat her vegetables? How do I get her to stop saying “I’m hungry” even though I just fed her a month’s worth of groceries? How do I get her to go into her room and stay there until she is graduated, married and with a three year-old of her own? I am sick of bathing someone else, sick of wiping someone else, sick of cleaning someone else’s messes – the same messes I just cleaned an hour ago and an hour before that.I would much rather read a book, write a book or play the piano. I’m sorry but that is the truth. I don’t know how to rear the perfect child, so the one I have is turning into a brat and I haven’t the faintest idea how to stem that transformation, no idea at all. I don’t feed her candy. I don’t feed her cookies; heck, I don’t even give her crackers. I don’t cave when she wants me to buy this versus that. Still, I get the fits and the naughtiness and the sly, little looks that say, “I don’t want to do a thing you want me to, and I am going to have fun watching you try to get me to do it.” I’ve had it up to here with this nonsense.
I can’t wait until the time of the week comes for her to go to daddy’s house for a wondrous two-day, three-night vacation for me. True, it never falls on the weekend, but that is okay. I can do whatever I want for those short hours of our separation. Granted, I miss her and call nonstop to see how she is doing, but I wouldn’t give up that break for much. I love sleeping in later, foregoing making the PBJ lunch and leaving just 5 minutes before work time.

So last night, when I went to visit my mom, the departure was especially heinous. She didn’t want to leave grandma’s house. I reached for her sweatshirt and practically begged her to come put it on. Her response was to jump into grandma’s arms and hold herself tightly to my mother as she peered at me out of the corner of her eye, willing me to just leave her alone. In that moment, I saw my three year-old self safe in the arms of my mother and longed to morph into that bygone child so I could relive my life knowing everything I know now with the hopes that things would somehow turn out better. I would try harder. I would be a better person. I would pay more attention to the things my mother taught me and never, ever would I disobey or chastise her.

Since that is so unfortunately not a realistic option, I shall instead grow in patience and dinnertime prowess as well as ruefully subscribe to a parenting magazine of some sort, because there has got to be some answers somewhere.

Someone has to know what they are doing right?

- Crazy/Hip Blog-Mamas +