2008-05-30

Today I am a man

Inspired by Neilocha, (on whom I have a bloggy crush) (see how I awkwardly didn't dangle one single participle there?) (I think?) who challenged us to write as if we were the opposite gender (or is it sex?) (I can never remember).

My girlfriend just won't let up.

It was great in the beginning...the sex was awesome.

She got me, you know? As if I'd known her forever. FOREVER.

We spent all of our time together; I never saw my roomates because I was always at her place, and that was cool because we were busy filling each other in on the details of our lives we'd missed, you know?

Did I mention the sex was awesome?

But after a few months, I started to FREAK. She wants to be with me ALL OF THE TIME. Sure, it was cool in the beginning, but now...come on! It's time for us to get back to normal, our normal routines. I need my dude time, and her friends are getting on my nerves.

I'm thinking that what we might need is to slow things down a bit here. Stop being so girlfriendy-boyfriendy and cool off a bit.

Yeah, I totally love her. But she's stifling me. I need some time off. Sure, the sex is still great and I don't want that to stop, but I need my days back. Maybe we could just spend our days apart and hook up at night.

That sounds like a great plan. I'm going to run that by her tomorrow.

2008-05-25

Into the light of the dark, black night

The other day I was lounging on my sofa; it is next to a big window that faces the street. As I was reading, I heard the clip-clack sound of someone running in shoes not designed for said activity. I looked up, and one of the college students who lives next door was scurrying past.

"Huh," I thought, and went back to reading.

One and a half sentences later my doorbell rang. There she was, standing on our front porch.

"A baby bird fell and is in our driveway," she announced.

It honestly took me a split second to realize why she was telling me this. Oh, she wants me to come help her, I brilliantly deduced.

"Would you like me to come over and help you?"

A look of gratitude flashed across her face, "That would be great! It just fell onto my driveway. I don't know what to do. It's just laying there."

At this point I'm wondering what she thinks I can bring to the situation. Not that I mind helping, not at all, but I couldn't figure out why she needed assistance.

"Do you think we should put it back in it's nest?" I asked. "They say you're not supposed to do that because then the Mama bird will boot it."

She just looked at me with an uncertain look. I was thinking that was probably the best route to go...better than leaving it laying on the ground, right?

I wasn't prepared to see what I came across. I'd pictured a cute little birdy, unable to fly, confused and looking up at the branches from which he'd fallen.

Not. the. case.

This tiny little creature didn't even look much like a bird. It didn't have feathers...just pink skin with a few scattered tufts of down. The beak and legs looked soft, as if they were molded of orange jello. The poor thing was prone on the cement, its entire body struggling to gasp for breath. There was something trailing out of it; I wasn't sure if it was intestines or the poor thing had lost the contents of its bowels from the landing, or the stress.

It was clearly not going to make it.

I looked at the girl- well, woman really, she's probably twenty or twenty-one- and I knew I couldn't tell her that.

"Ummmmm, he looks pretty badly injured," I said. I looked up, trying to find the nest. "Where is the nest?"

"What nest?"

"The one he fell out of."

"Oh, he didn't fall out of a nest. His mom was carrying him and dropped him. He fell pretty far."

Ugh. Either a Mama bird is going to start dive-bombing us for hovering over her baby, or she's rolling her eyes at us for doting over the runt she dumped.

"Well, let's see..." I stammered.

She asked, "Should I get a box and some towels?"

I looked at her and realized that despite the fact that she's somewhere around twenty years old, she was looking at me with the same expression my four-year-old daughter does when she's got a boo-boo (medical term), Please, make it all better.

That's why she came to me...she needed a grown-up. Right now, even though she's technically an adult, she needs someone to take control.

"Yes, grab a box and some towels. He's going to need to go to a vet. Do you have a car? Can you take him? I can't, I have to get my son from school in a few minutes."

She said she could and ran off to get the emergency medical supplies for the bird, and I stood so that I blocked the sun beaming down on the poor bird. I imagined the bird being taken into a vet's by this sweet college student, and them graciously thanking her and telling her, Don't worry, we will take good care of him.

And then looking at each other after she left, wondering what they should really do.

I looked at the little orange beak, opening and closing as the bird tried to breath. I pictured a little dropper, guided by a vet's had, hydrating the bird drip by drip. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe he'll be okay.

The student rushed back and handed me the box full of towels. I really, really didn't want to do this...but I crouched down and gingerly attempted to scoop him up. His little body was limp and I was horribly afraid I'd squish him, but after a couple of attempts I was successful and placed him in the box, his makeshift nest.

"Thank you so much," the student said with a huge sigh of relief.

One evening a couple of months ago I walked by her house while taking my dog for a walk. It was dark outside, so the large picture window facing the street glowed like a movie screen. The dining table was filled with laughing students, and the aroma of their meal reached me on the sidewalk. I smiled, remembering back a couple of decades to a dinner party I threw while at college. I got all nostalgic for those years of young adulthood....the burgeoning independence, the future wide open before me all full of hope and promise, the developing friendships you just know will last forever. I have to admit, I was a bit envious in that moment as I passed by.

Looking at the student before me, baby bird in hand, that memory flashed through my head. I realized how young she really is, how much I've grown in the past twenty years, and that no matter how enticing the trappings of her world might look from a brief outside glance, no way would I want to return to it.

"I'm really glad I could help," I answered.

2008-05-21

Told you I'm shameless

Hey! I'm babysitting The Fabulous Mrs. Fussypants' blog today...come on over and check out my guest post! And please, leave a comment. Geeze, I'm looking like a LOSER over there.

Thanks!

2008-05-18

Dare I hope?

The last few weeks, I've been feeling pretty down, my peeps.

Money's not been tight, it's been downright squeezing us dry.

We've had a few mechanical issues in our home...and by mechanical, I mean both of the human skeletal and the architectural plumbing sort.

And on the emotional front, things that had once kept psychic demons at bay have been threatening to no longer work.

As if that wasn't enough, my laptop has been finicky and thus my connection to the Internet (TO YOU!!!) has been sketchy at best. So I've been pretty much reliant on my husband's laptop. Which is with him 90% of the time. Niiiiice.

Oh, and I am due to have a repeat mammogram in the next couple of weeks because the one I had six months ago had some suspicious specks. *Gack*

I've been...scared. Unsure. Isolated. Fighting hopelessness. Broke.

Then, out of nowhere, a situation fell into our laps. One that would give me hope, and take away a lot of the crap I've feared the past few years...not that it would fix all of our problems, but one that would make a lot of things better.

I don't know if this situation will work out. I'm afraid to really hope, because what if I get too excited and positive and it all falls apart? What if I am left where I am, minus the dream of this new, most delicious carrot dangling before me?

So. I am trying to pretend the carrot doesn't exist, and fighting the urge to indulge in fantasies.

But should I be revelling in the dreams while they are possible? Is it better to indulge and have hope thus risking disappointment, or just pretend that hope doesn't exist?

2008-05-13

Schmorgasboard...that's right. Schmorgasboard.

Things that have been going on in my little neck of the blogosphere:

1.) A few nights ago, while traversing the stairs, my feet forgot that they were navigating the darkness of our new home...muscle memory took over and they thought they were in our old house, which had far deeper steps. My heal landed on the step rather than my entire foot. I landed with a resounding THUD on my coccyx.

That's right, I bruised my tailbone. Man, it hurts to sneeze.

2.) My husband was out of town on Mother's Day (he was back in Detroit enjoying some quality time with his own Mama and siblings). My nine year-old son, being the sweetheart he is to the core, surprised me with breakfast in bed.

Now, honestly, it isn't a surprise when I get breakfast in bed from Hubby & kids on Mother's Day. They do surprise me randomly throughout the year, however. I KNOW! I am very lucky.

Anyway, my sweet boy brought me the most wonderful breakfast in bed EVER. Buttered toast, a waffle lovingly cut into bite-sized pieces with a lavish dose of syrup, and a big old glass of Ovaltine (yyyyuuuuummmmm...Ovaltine. I'll take that over chocolate milk any day).

Then my four year-old daughter wanted in on the action, so they went downstairs together and came back up with a tray with a glass of apple juice for each of us. On the count of three we toasted, "I love you!"

3.) I googled FBNOML's new boyfried while she and I were on the phone. She was fine with it, and expected no less of me. Sigh. I crazy miss her.

4.) Yesterday, I decided to splurge on myself for the first time since I bought those jeans, an took my kids to a bookstore with the intention of buying a book by an author I recently discovered (it seems I have been living under a bridge). I can't tell you what an indulgence this was...I just don't spend extraneous money ever. They had at least a half dozen of her novels, and I literally walked away with each one of them at one point or another during our time there; I couldn't decide which one I wanted.

Would you believe that today, I went to a friend's house and she handed me that book and told me she thought I'd like it? The same book I'd just bought? After a gut-wrenching decision to spend a measly fifteen bucks???

Yeah, I'm returning the book. But now, I have to figure out if The Universe is telling me that I made a mistake to spend that money, giving me a mulligan, and thus I should take a refund, or giving me the thumbs up on indulging myself in this way by giving me a bonus novel.

5.) My daughter (the four year-old) broke her collarbone. Typing those words is like nails on a chalkboard to me. She was playing with her big brother and one of his friends. It seems his friend forgot that she is five years younger and fourty pounds lighter than he is. He's a sweet kid, but...anyway, one three hour ER trip later, and my princess (Is it horrible that I call her princess? I know it has all kinds of sexist over- and under-tones, yet I say it all the time. What can I say? She is my princess.) is sporting a sling. A sling we decorated with beads and hearts and all kinds of other wonderful stuff.

But still, it's a sling. On my little girl.

6.) I've wondered if I should have pseudonyms for my youngest kids...FBNOML has hers (although despite the fact neither one of us are certain as to how that would actually be pronounced), but the two young'uns have been outta luck.

7.) Three out of five Painted Lady butterflies in their little habitat on our counter prefer to be out of their chrysalis (including the one I thought would be the runt!). Thus far. I'll keep you posted.

2008-05-10

Dream House

My son had a sleep-over last night in our old neighborhood.

Okay, I am going to let you in on a secret. I don't like going to our old neighborhood. I avoid it. I am still friends with a few of our neighbors, but I try to meet them at neutral spots. Or my new home, the modest rental.

Why?

Because it pains me to see our old home. I know I've droned on about this before, but that home haunts me. it was the culmination of months of honing my vision. It was is me, if my frame was wood and nails rather than bones and joints. From elevation to floor plan to details to landscaping, it was the architectural expression of my self-image.

And someone else is living there. They have the window treatments I designed, the backsplash I created, the landscaping I dreamed up...but, they don't know the story behind them. And there is a story.

When I was planning this home, somehow a narrative began to form in my mind. I wanted my house, despite the fact that it was a new construction, to feel as if it'd been there for years. Decades. Centuries. I also didn't want it to be a run-of-the-mill European knock-off that so many McMansions favor. Furthermore, our eclectic taste in furniture and art didn't lend itself to that style, even if that'd been our first choice.

I've never told anyone this before, because it sounds pompous and self-aggrandizing and silly and perhaps even annoying. But I need to get over this house, and maybe telling the sordid secrets we kept (keep?), us being the home and I, will help.

Whenever I was stumped with a decision regarding the house, no matter how major or minor the detail, I put myself into the following scenario:

I am a spoiled socialite from European old money stock, but the money is starting to run short. The family isn't yet actually budgeting with any sincerity, but we aren't spending as lavishly as we once did.

To that end, I am living in an old family home in X city; it used to be a pied-a-terre for the family's biannual weekend jaunts, but at 3,500+ square feet, it suits me just fine. It is full of architectural details that my ancestors would have chosen, but aren't in tune with my modern style. I can appreciate the beauty of the stones, the silks, the mosaics, the pedestal sinks, but frankly I have a more edgy bent.

So, as I can't afford to replace the hand-carved corbels or brocade draperies or anything, I decide to funk it up with color and artwork and furnishings. That is, I would infuse my personality onto the palette I was dealt.

What I was left with (actually, what I was striving for), is a home with an old-world backdrop full of tumbled marble, ivy-covered courtyards (well, it took a few years for that ivy to take off), formal furniture and medallioned ceilings...while at the same time sporting bursts of modern furniture, and non-traditional colors, avant-guard art, and a totally relaxed atmosphere.
The thing is, I am none of those things in my story. I come from old debt, not old money.

Maybe that's why it never worked. Why I always felt so fucking grateful to be in that house every single day of the five-plus years I called it home.

Maybe because while I created it from stem to stern, it wasn't my story. It was a fairytale I told myself, and I designed so I could live my dream.

Before my daughter was born, after I'd lived in my Dream House for less than a year, I bought a carved wooden placard for her nursery (whose room is now?). It said (and, still does, as it is in her new room), "Fairy tales do come true."

Do they?

Am I lying to her?

To myself?

2008-05-06

Stranger Danger?

When my son, now closing in on ten, was three years old, I had many intense discussions with him about strangers.

Stay away from strangers.

Don't trust strangers.


If a stranger approaches you, run away YELLING even if they know your name!

We even did some role playing; my husband or I pretended that we were the stranger and we used all the best lines on him:

"Hey, kid, wants some candy?"

"Hi, little boy, your Mommy is sick and she wanted me to drive you home."

"Hi there, your Daddy wanted me to pick you up, because he and your Mommy had to take your cat to the doctor."

"Remember me? I work with your Daddy! He wanted me to pick you up and bring you to his office so that you can hang out with him! How fun is THAT?!?!?"

"Hey! I can't find my puppy! He's probably scared; can you help me find my lost puppy?"

After a bit of work, and a few tears, he got it. He learned to be wary of strangers. I was ever so proud of my parenting.

But months after we started our indoctrination, I had a very interesting discussion with a trusted friend of mine. It was one of those moments, one where in one concise statement on her part, I realized that a lot of the "truths" I'd held dear were actually never thoroughly examined.

My friend said, "I don't believe in teaching stranger danger; it's more probable that my kids will need the help of a stranger than it is they will be approached by someone malevolent. It's a more likely a scenario that one of my kids will get lost in a grocery store and need to find an adult to help them."

Whoa.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When I was in preschool, I remember being very comforted by the fact that my mom or dad always picked me up early. For whatever reason, I dreaded the idea of being the last kid waiting for their parents.

And then, one day, it happened. Not only was I the last child waiting, but pick-up time came and went. The sun started setting, and I sat at the big window facing the street waiting for my ride. Eventually the teachers left me in the care of the cleaning lady who'd recently arrived.

(I know this sounds unbelievable by today's standards, but this was the early seventies...times were different.)

It was dark outside, and I continued staring out the window, willing my ride to arrive. I was over the burning shame of being the last one picked up, and starting to be afraid that I was forever forgotten. The cleaning woman was done cleaning the facility and ready to go home.

She looked at me. I looked at her. We were both confused as to how to proceed.

I don't remember much of the ride in her car to her home, other than thinking that my mom would never find me now. When we walked from her front walk into her home and directly into her kitchen, she asked me if I wanted a cookie.

"What kind?" I asked. Even then I was.

"Lorna Dunes," she answered.

Yippee!
Lorna Dunes were and are my favorite cookie (I know...BORING).

Once I had my Lorna stash, she asked me if I wanted to watch television.

Uuuuuummm, yeah.

Guess what was on?

MARY TYLER MOORE! Yes, my favorite show. I don't know what it says about me that I was a preschooler whose favorite cookie was (is) Lorna Dunes, and that my fave show was Mary Tyler Moore (okay, that's not true...she was (is) second to Mister Rogers).

Nevertheless, I was a happy little lost girl. I had my favorite cookie and my (second) favorite show. Not long after the show started, my mom arrived. My reaction?

Oh, no, now I can't watch MARY TYLER MOORE!


Turns out that the person who was supposed to pick me up...well, forgot. When this was discovered, a bunch of freaked out adults converged on my preschool. They found a note taped to the front door by the cleaning woman detailing what had happened, and where they could find me.

Find me, they did. They found me all happy with my Lorna Dunes and Mary Tyler Moore.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So, anyway, after the discussion with my friend, and upon some reflection, I started to wonder how much of a disservice I had done to my son over the past months, what with teaching him that the world is full of bad people that he should avoid.

After that, my stranger danger talks with him (and in more recently, with my daughter) have been far more precise. I haven't taught them that every stranger is dangerous.

I've taught them that, if they are ever in a situation where they need help, there are the strangers they should seek out first.

In my opinion, they should first look for someone in a uniform. For example: policeman, grocery bagger, postal worker, crossing guard, whatever. In all likelihood that person is working, has many eyes on them, and will readily be able to guide a child to a safe place that is set up to help lost children.

My second stringers, so to speak, are moms with kids...especially, moms with strollers and babies. Nothing is a sure bet, but I'd rather my lost child reach out to another mom (in the absence of a person in uniform) with her own passel of kids than the lone person sitting on the park bench reading a novel. For one thing, that mom is probably the safer bet. Also, they are probably more familiar with the procedures for taking care of a lost child, and will know how to comfort them as well.

But I comfort myself by knowing it is far more likely that they will experience the kindness of strangers than the worst that humankind has to offer.

Linking it forward...Suri Cruise ladybug shoes style

This blogger's story has been knocking about my head the past twenty-four hours.

If you're not inclined to follow the linky (but I recommend you do), it's about Katja Presnal, a blogger and mompreneur who owns an upscale children's boutique in Colorado called Simbaco. It seems that not too long ago a friend of Tom Cruise was in her shop, and purchased some gifts for Suri Cruise, including a pair of ladybug shoes,

That would be pretty cool in and of itself, no? Knowing that TomKat's kid was running about with some of your shop's shoes on her celebaby tootsies?

How about when Tom Cruise mentions to Oprah during his recent interview at his home that those ladybug shoes are Suri's favorite.

Can you image THAT kind of unexpected publicity for your wares? I mean, geeze, does it get much better than that?

The thing is, Katja is making it better.

She's spreading the love to other mommy bloggers...rather than having a huge giveaway carnival driving traffic to her blog, she's linking it forward and having giveaways of some of her fabulous boutique items on the blogs of some of her friends. Aaaaaaaaaand, here they are:

The Daily Grind of a Work @ Home Mom
A Cowboy's Wife
Ultra Beauty Boutique
Notes From My Nest
New Urban Mom
Hello Happy Pittbulls
Celebrity Baby Blog
So A Blonde Walks Into a Review
Baby Gear Today
Mamanista
A Girl's Gotta Spa
Bambina Ballerina
Superdumb Supervillain

So, in tribute to mommy blogger/mompreneurs everywhere, happy clicking and I hope YOU are one of the winners of some Katja's stuff.

2008-05-05

These are the days of our lives

Earlier today, I was IM'ing with a good friend who lives on the other side of the country, and I was asking her advice about another friend, whom she's never met. More specifically, how I should be responding to a particular situation in which I find myself regarding this friend. A situation that has slowly devolved and become potentially insurmountable to our friendship, unless we suddenly are able to turn back the hands of time. I'm still working on that Master of Time, Space, and Dimension thing.

Then later I was talking on the phone (sooooo last millennium *yawn*) to another friend who also lives far away, about another friend who lives even further away. This phone conversation revolved around our concern for this friend and his declining mental and physical health. We spoke for nearly an hour, while his friends in the background chastised him for not hanging up and enjoying a Cinqo de Mayo drink with them.

(I must stop right here and emphasize that both of these conversations revolved around helping the party about whom we were speaking...this wasn't just idle gossip, people...it was very, very busy and industrious gossip.)

Anyway, these two conversations left me feeling strangely happy yet unsettled.

I love that I have friends in my life, however frequently we talk, that are part of my chosen, extended family. I revel in the fact that our stories are woven together inextricably, and that the fabric that is created will keep us warm in our coldest moments, and serve as a hammock when we want to kick back and relax.

But these two conversations today also reminded me of others that were once a large part of my life whose thread, for whatever reason, frayed away forever from the fabric that is my story.

And I worry that the two people about whom we spoke will also, one day, be a part of my history instead of my present.