Wednesday, May 30, 2012

This is what happens when you go out of town for the third time in two weeks, "for work."

It is for work.  I'm still kidding about that, tastelessly.  Also, I appreciate the sacrifices my husband makes so that we can live a swank lifestyle, like going to "Albuquerque" to tweak a laser when you just freaking got home from "Berkeley."

All I'm saying is that if you leave me alone with these children for that long, some shit is going to get bejeweled.

I mean, honestly, if you're going to graduate from kindergarten and 2nd grade all in the same day, and if you are going to overcome your total fear of any sort of pain whatsoever to get your ears pierced, you deserve to get bedazzled at Claire's.

Scoff if you must, but did you know it costs SIXTY BUCKS to get two little girls' ears pierced?  You were thinking Claire's wasn't that classy of a joint, but this proves that it obviously IS.  And those were for the cheap earrings.  You can pay $60 PER KID if you want to buy your kid diamond earrings.

Uh, no.  I don't.  Thank you, Claire's.

For the record, Addie is bedazzled with rainbow flowers and Nolie chose the pink peace signs.  I would have predicted the opposite, which goes to show a mama just never knows.

This also proves that both girls are clearly destined for debauchery, madness, looseness, and I don't know what else.

Good thing E. gets home tomorrow!  God knows what the hell else I'd have started poking holes in.

White Children "Breakdancing"

Monday, May 21, 2012

Holy Crap, Do I Love Summer

Addie Can Ride Her Bike

Maybe most kids learn to ride a bike without training wheels before they are 8.  We probably could have pushed Addie harder to get on and ride, and she would have been there before now.  But we didn't, and she just didn't feel ready.  It takes her a while to make up her mind about things, and that's okay with me.

That said, I was pretty sure I wanted her to learn to ride before E. came home this next weekend.  I just had a feeling she might be ready.

So last Thursday I went into full-on bribery mode and told the girls that if we rode bikes for a half-hour and kept a really positive attitude, I'd take them for frozen yogurt (psst!  Frozen yogurt isn't even ice cream, fools!).  Anyway, I ran Addie up and down a huge grass lawn/park-y thing by our house a few dozen times, and then we walked back to our cul-de-sac.  She popped on her bike and I asked her if she wanted to give it a try, and off she went.  I was amazed.  Here I was, expecting it to take 10 days, and she picked it up in a half-hour.

When E. got home late Friday night we all went out in the dark to watch her do it.  We're very proud.  And more importantly, she's very proud.  She rides every day after school now.

Also, she makes very interesting costumes for herself, such as this Peace Bag outfit:

Peace Bag 2012:  Make Art Not War
Note:  Footwear Not Part of Costume

Friday, May 18, 2012

Mac Photo Booth is My Favorite Thing

Cute.  Fresh.  All-American.  What?  Work it.  Yeah.

Look!  There's Jesus!

When I did a turn in the Broadway production of Mask.

Jay Leno meets Lion King meets Jon Bon Jovi.

I am Jesus...

...if Jesus was a zombie.

Um.  Hmmm.

Is it hot in here?

It IS hot in here.

 My Sarah Jessica Parker face.

Good times.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

this week

[If you are a stalker/serial killer, please ignore this post.  E. is here, and he's very burly and has a fiercely sized maglite that will bash your skull in.]

E. has been in Berkeley all week, installing a laser.

Or so he says.

No, really, he's installing a laser.  I just thought that might sound mysterious.  But given recent posts, perhaps I shouldn't joke.  Misleading and in bad taste.

Perhaps.  And perhaps some of us are not at Berkeley after all!

Kidding.  He really is installing a laser.  At Berkeley.

Anyway, that has meant single mom-ness this week, which for the first time ever has been not just not-miserable, not just tolerable, but actually fun.  I mean, the girls are still in school, so I can't toot my own horn too much, but we've had a really nice week.  The weather has been beautiful and it's so easy to stick the girls in the car and go do things now.

There was a beautiful morning run on Green Mountain:

Hello, brown cloud!

I'm trying to incorporate some hill work into my training, because the Wild West Relay is all mountain running.  At, like, 10,000 feet.  I don't want to die, so now I force myself, wheezing and crying, up some local hills.

I must be insane.

Here is Addie, at one of the last soccer practices of the season:

Her big thing is to wear mismatched socks right now.  She wears them to school with flip-flops.  This makes it sound like she has something wrong with her, but she just rocks that look.  She especially likes to wear her santa socks with her flip-flops.  Other than that, I think she looks very grown-up in this picture.

The after-practice picture, at the grocery store, not so much:

She wants to play soccer again with her team next year.  I'm glad for this.  It's fun to watch her run around on the field.  Though I screwed up at practice the other night and yelled at her to pay attention and the coach told me he could handle things.

: {

There are things at which I am not needed, and things at which I am needed, and sometimes, it's hard to know the difference.  Like with Addie's 2nd grade "passion project" on Mt. Rushmore.  Should I have stepped in to help more, so that it didn't look quite so much like a chimpanzee made it?

All the other kids' projects looked prettty nice.  Like maybe they had some help.  After getting a reality check from my neighbor ladies (what to call them?  They're some of my best friends.  Neighbor ladies doesn't quite to it.  I'll call them the "Nadies" for now), I decided not to worry about it. I've decided that Addie's project is, in fact, one of my favorites.  And Addie knows a whole lot about Mt. Rushmore.  So there.

Here's Milo:

Every morning and every night he looks at me with total forlorn-ness, asking where E. is. I don't scratch his head just the right way, apparently.  Poor boy.  Also, he is losing so much effing fur that I threatened to vacuum his very body today.  It's Armasheddon 2012, I tell you what.

[I mean it, creep!  E. is going to go all ghetto on your ass!  And my dog will bite your kneecaps off and shove them in your ears!]

Finally, here are some pictures I took of Nolie the other morning.  She can be very grumpy in the mornings (don't know where she gets it) but this week has been mostly quite pleasant.  The only flare up happened when I took these:

I don't get it.  Who DOESN'T like having their picture taken, naked, on the toilet, first thing in the morning?

Settle down, little monkey.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Never Washed

Oh, I just keep getting better at this parenting thing.

It's dinner time one night last week, I think a soccer night, so the girls and I are bolting a pizza and E. isn't home yet.  The girls are giggling and acting like their usual uncivilized ape selves at the dinner table and Addie starts to talk about how she needs to pee out her butt.

1.  We don't allow potty talk at the table, but it happens.  Obviously.
2.  I got real concerned that she thinks pee comes out her butt.

So I got out this great book called The Way We Work.  I've kept this bad boy in the kitchen for years hoping the kids would say something anatomically incorrect and then we could pull it out and teach us all a little somethin' about the human body (myself included.  I have no idea where anything is).  But these kids never say anything interesting and so the thing has just gathered dust under the apple bowl.

Until now!  Gleefully, I whip that thing out and open it to this page:

The kids are looking at me pretty funny at this point and wondering why in the world I'm so excited about this topic and then I talk them through all the holes--the butt, the vagina, the urethra.  I hopefully make it clear which one the pee comes out of, though at this point the blank looks are really winding up.

I don't know what happened to me next but there's the picture of the guy and the penis right there so I just think to myself why not and we talk about how the man's pee gets from the bladder out the penis, and how daddy has a penis.

And can see it coming can't you?...I just decide, what the hell.  It's Tuesday night and E. isn't here and we have five minutes until we have to be at soccer and Nolie is almost six so I'm just going to go ahead and do the birds and the bees.  Because that's how I roll, with lots and lots of forethought and consideration.

In my feverish state I decide to just go ahead and tell them that mommy is going to tell them how babies are made.  Addie all of a sudden gets interested and starts to tune in a little bit.  I continue:  "So, when a man and woman love each other, the man puts his penis in the woman's vagina!  See, there are these little things called sperm, like little fish, and they have to swim up into the eggs--remember how we talked about your eggs, Addie?--and they are going to go right up to those eggs and break on in and form a baby.  HOW ABOUT THAT, KIDS?!?"

Utter.  Pandemonium.  Pizza crusts everywhere.


Then silence.

THEN I go on to explain--and this is the real deal, friends--that mommy and daddy loved each other so much that they wanted to have some kids and so daddy put his penis in mommy's vagina.

No joke.  I said this.

Yes.  This is the worst birds and the bees talk ever.  Except for the ones that don't happen, of course.

More chaos.

Then silence.


Then Addie clasps her hands together, like Mary Pickford in one of D.W. Griffith's melodramas, and she bats her eyelashes, and she looks up at the ceiling and in her most sing-songy falsetto she says, "I bet you'll never wash your vagina again!"

And when E. came home a few minutes later, he was so excited to be asked if he had put his penis in my vagina.

The end.

Monday, May 14, 2012

grades are in

Grades are in, my big grant proposal didn't get funded (read that in a somewhat gleeful tone), and in a few more weeks, my tenure package will be more or less complete.  This might be my first "real" summer.  Here's what I'm looking forward to:

  • camping in Sand Dunes
  • getting outdoors in Idaho City
  • seeing my folks-of-origin
  • staring for hours at Redfish Lake
  • hammock time
  • gardening
  • staining the deck
  • walking the dog
  • sewing
  • reading
  • writing
  • blogging
  • eating tomatoes
  • eating nothing but tomatoes and cucumbers for dinner
  • running
  • running the relay
  • listening to crickets
  • being hot
  • teaching Addie to finally ride her damned bike
  • playing in the water
  • being barefoot
  • wearing flip flops, and skirts, and shorts, and fedoras
  • Lyle Lovett, Bonnie Raitt, the Avetts, and lots more live music
  • not making lunches
  • not rushing
  • not making long to-do lists in my head
  • having time to think
  • having time to not think
  • hanging out with you having margaritas or white wine spritzers or zumas or whatever the hell it is you drink
Most of all, I'm looking forward to having some days that I get to fill however I like.

Hope to see you on the back porch....

Sunday, May 13, 2012

where to go

Oh, goodness.  It has been a trying few weeks.  When things are going particularly well or are particularly difficult I tend not to show up here, as you know.  The trick is always where to begin, how much to share, where to go.

So I'll just come right out and say it:  E. and I have been having some trouble, and it has felt very serious, and has occupied most of my extra mental and emotional energy.  I think we're through the worst of it now, but it felt a whole lot like a burning and endless inferno while we were in it.  I won't share too many details here, but will say a few things, simply because I think this part of marriages usually remains hidden, and then we as a whole have some false ideas about what conflict or pain in marriages looks like. That doesn't do anyone any good, keeping all that so scary and invisible.

Without getting too particular, I'll say that I think we just had some entrenched patterns of dealing with each other, which looked an awful lot like four-year-olds fighting in the sandbox (you hurt my feelings!  well, you threw sand at me!) and as those misunderstandings grew more embedded in our interactions, and we got busier and busier, and just struggled to deal with all the everydays, the gap between us just kept getting wider and wider.  Then you wake up one day and look at the other person and wonder who are you and what are you doing in my bed.

On top of this, for me at least, is the shame of feeling like I wasn't getting this whole marriage thing "right."  That I didn't know how to fix it.  That it was maybe lost and that I was going to have to pitch everything in and start over.  The thought of that felt like being thrown screaming into a chasm of despair.  Yes, sometimes you have to go through hell to get reborn.  But also sometimes if something feels like hell it means you're going at it the wrong way.  Apparently, for me, the thought of the dissolution of my marriage is most definitely the wrong way.

So we are in it, and we are seeing each other again with some fresh eyes, and taking some special care.  We screw up a lot, too.  It's slow going, forwards and backwards.  I spontaneously burst into tears a lot.  I'm forgetful.  I walk around with a Stepford smile on because how the fuck do you explain what's going on with this kind of thing?  It terrifies people, to talk about marriage troubles.  It especially terrifies married people.  You might as well scrape your leper lesions all over them--they feel like marriage trouble might be catching.  They want you to keep your leprosy quiet, all covered over with calamine lotion even as your skin is falling to the floor.

Okay, enough of that particular metaphor.

I'm just saying, it's hard to talk about, and even harder to make sense of.  I'm real sure we are going to be fine, but this has been the least fun I've had in a long time.  Sometimes I can't show up to blog, or to parties, or to a normal conversation with you because of it.  I think I am exuding a sense of lost despair, too, as people seem to be giving me a wide berth.

That's okay.  I'm not good company right at the moment.  I see equilibrium on an island over yonder, hanging out, waiting for me.  I'm headed there.  But for now it's all choppy seas and barf bags.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Crap Parent

Today I was the worst kind of crap parent.  That probably doesn't happen to you.  You are patient and kind and just do deep breaths through your frustration and exhaustion.  But that wasn't me, not today.  Today I was just full of crap-ness.

No, I didn't make time to meditate.  Yes, that probably had something to do with it.

The work day went okay; I had a guest speaker for class so at least I didn't have to prep.  But it was kind of non-stop anyway, and I wrote a book review yesterday and a film review today and I'm looking down the barrel of an article peer review and an 3,000-word encyclopedia entry that I'm not totally prepared to write, both due next Tuesday, and I leave for Boston Thursday morning.  I needed to text the babysitter to see if she could watch the girls so E. and I can go to a couples' therapy session next Tuesday and I needed to email the after-school program so they will watch the girls Monday so I can meet the deadline, and also I need to find out when final grades are due, because if it's next week I have some all-nighters coming my way (they're not.  Due next week.  Thank God).

I'm a little extra tired from crying all weekend (mega-drawn-out fight with E.) and then Nolie may have accidentally mildly dislocated my jaw by ramming her head into my chin, so occasionally a searing pain rips across my left ear and I have a relentless headache that won't go away.  Then I stayed up late last night to watch a wonderful but sad movie, the one I had to review by today.  Nothing wears me out like crying for three days straight.

So all of this is going through my mind as I leave work, and then there's an accident on the way to the kids' school, which makes me late, and maybe I was a little low-blood-sugary or something, but I was pretty out of it and cranky when I pulled up to get them.

But that's fine.  That happens.  Usually I deal with it.  Except next I almost killed us all and that made me really cranky.  We were out of the school parking lot and down the hill and at a busy intersection.  There was a red light.  DON'T PANIC, PEOPLE!  I stopped at the red light.  But then PANIC!  Because I started PROCEEDING INTO THE INTERSECTION before the light actually turned green.  Thank God cross-traffic was doing big wide swoopy left turns, because if they had been coming straight on I would have killed us all.  Then some piece of sand got stuck in my left contact, so I was partially blinded and backing up in traffic and I thought I was going to throw up from all the adrenaline and fear.  And I needed to blow my nose.

I proceeded to do what any sane parent would do, which is to scream at my kids who are doing all their squawky yelling in the backseat, because, you know, it's THEIR fault that I almost killed us all, and not my total-checked-out-ness.  They just laughed at me.

Which did not brighten my mood.

We got home and I made some dinner, i.e., popped a frozen pizza in, because it's soccer night and there's no use cooking up a recipe ain't nobody going to eat when you have to go to soccer in twenty minutes.  I got the encyclopedia entry 1/3 written in the car at soccer and also the presentation I'm giving to the national lab tomorrow finished and then we come home and E. leaves for racquetball.  High five on the way out the door, you're it.  Addie announces she needs peacock feathers and blue beads for a paper faux-wedding dress her class is making for her teacher, who is engaged.

I have no idea.

So I give her the big bin of beads to go through, and just as I'm saying "Don't spill the beads," she inexplicably flips the container upside down, the top flies off, and six thousand beads go flying all over the floor.  I scream and go lock myself in the bathroom.

I think I eventually emerged and put the children to bed.

I've been lying on the bedroom floor for the last half-hour with Milo.  The only thing that got me up was the thought of eating a kosher dill pickle.  So I did that.

I might have a second.

I hope I'm not such an asshole tomorrow.