Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I'd Like to Order Another Vacation, Please. To Go.

I need another vacation. I know, I know, everyone says that. Vacations are never long enough, but I’m serious. After I spent that glorious week on Lopez Island, feeling all relaxed and happy to go home to OF and OC, I drove south on I-5 which is where “it” happened. Folks, I hope you never in your life have to experience “it”, for “it” is a special kind of hell that should only be reserved for the likes of particularly evil people. The “it” is, of course, the clusterfuck known as metropolitan Seattle area traffic.

It’s not that I didn’t expect there to be some traffic while passing through the city; I did. I failed, however, to anticipate the depth and breadth of the clustering and the fucking, and what's more, to comprehend the purpose.

I thought I had left in plenty of time to avoid rush hour. I was passing through Everett, which is north of Seattle, by about 2:30 Friday afternoon. This is where traffic first slowed down. Up until that time, I had set the cruise control for a brisk 72 miles per hour. I was driving along, still delusively believing I’d be home before 6 pm. Oh, I was sooooo mistaken on that one. I felt the relaxation of the previous week draining away as I spent one hour, then two, in traffic that vacillated in speed between zero and 30 miles per hour. There were illusory moments where we got up to 45, only to screech to a stop a few hundred feet later. This scenario lasted for nearly three hours, during which time I traveled about 70 miles.

I did okay the first hour, but midway through the second hour I was starting to feel flaming pissed off. I mean, there was just no reason for it! There were no accidents, there was no construction, so what the hell was going on? Was everyone out for a Friday cruise? Did no one else have anywhere they’d rather be? I could not understand it. I listened to the radio for traffic, but the landmarks they gave were elusive. I don’t know the area well enough to know where the south hills were, or other places mentioned. I mean, south of what? There were hills everywhere. Ahhhhhhhh!!!!

I was ready to hurt people, and it scared me. I just wanted to go home already, and the worst part was there was really no way around the mess. There are no highways that parallel the freeway, only winding country roads that veered miles off-course. There was a small section of Highway 99 that my Thomas Guide showed paralleling the freeway for a ways, where I happily found cars that were freely moving forward. Sadly, this ended a few miles south when it junctioned again with I-5 and everything jammed up again. I had such hopes the freeway would just start moving in a few miles, and it did: 70 miles and three hours later!

I tried to be grateful, I really did. I managed to think that I was probably being held up for some reason, maybe to avoid some car crash later down the road. Who knows? I figured there was one. I mean, it couldn’t all just be pointless, right?!? I tried to settle in and listen to the radio and relax. It was hard because, you know, I was so anxious and pissed off. Finally, a few miles past Olympia, it cleared up and I could once again set the cruise control.

I made it home safely, where OC was waiting for me with a vase of freshly cut flowers. There was also a note in case I made it home before he got there, which said:

“To my beautiful OC,
Welcome Home! Unfortunately I cannot be here to greet you. Please enjoy these flowers until I arrive. Love, OF”

That note makes everything all better! Although he was there to greet me since I had gotten home so late, I love that he was prepared either way.

OC and OF are both safe and well, as are my friends and family. I feel relaxed again.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Back to Reality

I'm back at work on this rainy Monday, that is the bad news. The good news is that I have pictures to share!

The first picture at left is the garden gate covered with clematis. This is the entrance to the yard of the guest cottage. You can see that the gardens are kept up well and remain in bloom in late-August.

This was my main vacationing endeavor: to sample wine and write in my journal. I excelled at both activities. There I am smiling happily as I combine the two!

This is the view from the backyard of the house and guest cottage. You can just see the channel in the distance. There were absolutely beautiful sunsets to enjoy every night. The best part was the phenomenon that occurred in the evenings, when it would become warmer even if the day was cool. It made dining outdoors a pleasure.

And here I am on the return ferry to Lopez, to enjoy one last evening before I returned home the next day.

What a wonderful place. I look forward to returning with OF and OC!

You can view all my photos from this trip here:

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Last Day on Lopez

Breakfast this morning was annoying. I went to the bakery for a peach-and-raspberry scone, a cashew-and-butterscotch cookie, and a coffee. I was hoping for a peaceful morning to eat my baked goods and read, but the crowd gathered to enjoy their baked goods were having none of it. Everyone felt compelled to talk. This being a public place, I didn't feel like I could really tell them to shut up. Out loud, anyway. I was saying that a lot in my head, but no one seemed to pick up on it. I suppose some people might describe the scene as "energetic" or "vibrant", and those same persons might enjoy the crowd and conversation. Me and my Type A personality would say it was "irritating".

There was a girl of about 9 years old who decided that she must sit on the ledge in front of my table, with her tennis-shoed feet a mere 24 inches away from my breakfast. She seemed to prefer the ledge in front of me, and not the one in front of the table where no one was sitting. Finally she got her chubby butt up and went to find her father. Which brings me to an observation: well-dressed, chubby young kids are everywhere here. Their parents obviously have money, for there are beautiful sailboats all over the place. Why do I suspect that their sailboat kitchens are full of Cheetos and ice cream? Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just a guess.

Getting off the ferry yesterday, I passed a boy - while walking - who was struggling up the hill. Now I think it is great that these kids are getting away from their video games and satellite dishes and getting to spend some time outdoors doing activities with their families. I just don't think it's enough to last them all year long. The island could be a mecca for hypactive thyroid disorder, for all I know, but I think I am witnessing America's youth obesity problem first hand. I feel sorry for these kids.

And yes, my scone AND cookie were excellent, but may I also add that I parked my car at the library and walked to the bakery? Just so you know I'm not quite the hypocrite that I sound. Also? I love Cheetos and ice cream, and would not begrudge anyone an indulgence in either item. It's just, I'd like for these parents to get their kids off the couch every once in a while, that's all.

I leave tomorrow morning, which makes me feel kind of anxious today. I have had a wonderful time here, enjoying the peace and quiet, beautiful scenery, and glorious time to do whatever I feel like doing. I am not looking forward to going back to the old routine. I miss my fiance, I miss my daughter, and for them I can't wait to get back. But for a hurried schedule and work and the rest, I do not look forward to facing anytime soon.

Allright, I'm off to find a sunny, quiet beach so I can read my book. I'd like to finish Angle of Repose while I'm here. You can look forward to pictures next week, dear reader!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Day Trip to Friday Harbor

I left my car on Lopez Island and hopped the ferry bound for Friday Harbor, on San Juan Island. It's a gorgeous sunny day, but you definitely need a sweatshirt on the ferry crossing. Me being me, the first thing I did when I got off the ferry was to get myself an espresso drink, then ask for directions to the library. I send many thanks to the nice lady at Curves for her handdrawn map!

Today is the two year anniversary of my dad's death. His death was shocking, partly because it came just over one year after my brother's shocking death. We hadn't recovered from that tragedy before we endured another. Honestly, I don't know how people are supposed to take on so much pain all at once.

I've been thinking about my dad and brother a lot today. Being in Friday Harbor is significant because my brother loved it here. He only came up a couple of times, but it made such an impression that he wanted his ashes scattered here. I suppose one day we will all come as a family and do that for him. That would be nice, I think, for us to experience together. It's hard to do things like that immediately after someone you love dies. I know I wasn't ready to scatter ashes right away, and I really don't think there's anything wrong with waiting awhile.

Okay, to lighten today's post, let me tell you some funny things about my brother. He was a very funny person to be around. You could not spend five minutes with him before he had you laughing at something. That was his gift, bringing laughter and joy to everyone around him. As a kid, he would fart into a bandaid box and save it for later, to open up and make a fart sound! He could make anything funny. At my sister's wedding, he was sitting off to the side, doing the music. He would catch my eye, make funny gestures and whatnot, and I would try to contain my smiles as I stood as bridesmaid in front of the guests, trying to remain solemn. It was tough! Finally, I just had to look away.

As I said, my brother loved it here. What is so funny about that is, he was convinced the San Juan Islands were in Canada. He wouldn't be told otherwise, either. We loved that about him!

My 30 minutes of internet time are nearly up, and I want to go explore the town a little before I leave. I wish I could spend more time writing an ending, writing more thoughtfully about how I am feeling, but that will have to wait.

More later.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Lopez Island

It's so beautiful here! I have been taking pictures, but will have to wait to post them when I return. I am using the library's computer, which is great so I can blog and check my email, but it means pictures will have to wait.

Monday was a great day. I explored the island's west side, down to Shark Reef. I hiked the short trail through the woods to the water, where I was greeted by a fogbank. Across the channel I would've been able to see San Juan Island, which would've made for an amazing view. I could hear boat horns and buoys, which was kind of eerie when I couldn'se see them.

I made myself dinner: a green salad topped with leftover steak from Sunday night's dinner, linguine, and local Italian peasant rolls. The island has organic produce available, and there is a creamery, a bakery, and a winery.

There are lots of trees, grassy fields, and rolling hills. In the evenings it actually gets warmer, even if it was cool during the day. The main things to do here are bike ride, kayak, and sailing. It's so gorgeous, and slow-paced.

Today, I slept in. It was fabulous! Once I got up, I showered and ate lunch. Then I took a nap. Yes, this is definitely vacation.

Tomorrow I will be more adventurous. I want to ride the ferry to San Juan Island and explore Friday Harbor. There is good shopping there, I hear. You can ride the ferry for free if you are walking on, how cool is that?

More later.

Monday, August 22, 2005

I Have Arrived

I arrived on Lopez Island, Washington at 3:15 pm Sunday afternoon, which is the first ferry stop on the San Juans out of Anacortes. The weather was gorgeous, the 45-minute ferry ride was easy and scenic. I stood out on the bow and watched the boats, and saw a seal stick his little head out of the water.

Once on the island, I drove past the mile-long line of traffic waiting to leave the island, and got to the guest house where I was staying and got settled. There is a beautiful view from the outdoor patio, and it was there I talked on the phone to both my sister and fiance. When I returned inside a yellow jacket was flying around. It had gotten in the fairly small crack where the screen door doesn't shut completely. I tried to herd him out, but he was having none of it. Then I thought, "What am I doing? This is a yellow jacket - kill it!"

My future mother-in-law had gotten stung by a yellow jacket a few days previous. My dad was a beekeeper, and yellow jackets are mean to honeybees. There was no question, this dude was going down. I was a little scared, because what if it stung me? I am on vacation, damn it, and I didn't have baking soda in my first aid kit. I would have to go crying to my hosts to help me, and I really didn't want to endure a bee sting.

With all of this in my head, I grabbed some paper which was a map to the bicycle rental shop, and patiently followed the yellow jacket while it tried to find an opening in the window. It would land briefly and then fly around again. On one of it's landings, I smashed it! It fell to the floor where I smashed it again. It was a triumphant moment. Lookout, motherfucking yellow jackets: Vengeance is mine!

By then it was 4:45, and time to get ready for dinner.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Occidental Girl Takes a Vacation

I am off for a week's vacation to a western destination, of course. I am finally living up to my blog name and traveling a bit.

I don't know that I'll have internet access while I am away. I have a laptop my mom gave me which is my computer at home but am debating whether or not to take it. I am leaning toward not. I already have piles of stuff I am taking: books, a cross-stitch project, beading supplies, and a paper journal. That's right, I like to do it the old fashioned way: with a pen! I'll check out the library, and pay for an hour's internet usage if they have it. That way I can post, check my email, and read my usual blogs.

Is it a bad thing or good thing to worry about getting far behind on blog reading and emails when you're headed off on a restful vacation in order to get away from it all? I think it's very contradictory, but I also get it. I love reading the blogs I read, and emailing friends and family. It's a nice, practically free way to stay connected. That connection is essential when A) you like your family and friends and want to talk to them, and B) your family and friends are not in the same city, and furthermore C) even those who are in the same city, you don't see on what could be called any kind of a regular basis due to jobs, kids, and living life. I miss them, though.

This is a very luxurious vacation by myself, but also very necessary. I will miss my daughter and fiance very much, but I will be a much more rested, settled mother and fiance by doing this. I think that is important, and heck, I think I am important enough to warrant this! OC is going to spend the week with her grandparents who have horses, and where she will likely spend time with cousins so she should have fun. OF is a high school football coach, and daily doubles begin next week. He should be so busy, he might hardly notice I am gone. I planned it this way so he would be distracted. It's very hard to leave, but I need to do this for so many reasons.

Case in point: Friday morning, I was swamped with a person standing at my desk, going through every detail they needed done on a project. I couldn't go to coffee with my coworkers, which is actually more like a cookie break for me. (Half price on day old cookies, yippee! And sometimes, I even buy them for full price, I am so frivolous that way.) So anyway, I couldn't go to break, and they brought back a full price cookie for me. I feel so cared for.

Oh, brother, I am such a sap.

I will return in a week, with new pictures!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Kitty Kola

We are cat people, OC and I. We have two cats, but Dakota is the more snuggly one. That's his real name, too; he is less concerned about anonymity in cyberspace than I. His nicknames include Kola, Pooky, Chunky, Poopsie, and Peaches Cheeks.

Here are some random shots of Dakota getting some snuggles. We think he looks pretty in pink. He's neutered, so I'll bet if he could talk he would tell us he thought pink was nice, too.

Dakota likes to snuggle, while Sable (yet to be pictured here) is more of a "give me 5 minutes of scratching and petting and then be off with you" kind of kitty. He's sweet enough, he just likes his alone time.

The kitties were none too happy when I brought home baby OC, but they've finally warmed up to her (well, mostly Dakota has) recently since she is old enough to not chase them around and pull their tails. Now, she snuggles and pets them gently - most of the time.


I am so tired. The daily grind is grinding away at my energy reserves the way a new, ill-fitting show rubs away at your tender foot, leaving a big, raw sore after one day of wearing them. I enjoy my job, I enjoy cute new shoes, but this is ridiculous. I feel happy, motivated, and good about seeing people and doing things, I’m just doing so in a zombie-like state. Maybe with a tad more emotion than the undead.

Let me see if I can describe it more precisely: It’s not the kind of tired like after you have a baby and can’t find three consecutive hours of sleep to rub together for 4 months which leaves you unable to remember simple words much less put together whole sentences, leaving you feeling like the biggest moron on the planet and making you wonder if it’ll be like this forever or if you’ll regain some modicum of your past intelligence which wasn’t Einstein-genius-level but also wasn’t this blithering idiot which you now resemble more than you’d like to admit. Then you wonder and worry about how in the world you’ll ever teach your child all those things you planned to teach her before you got stupid! No, not like that.

It’s more like the kind of tired where you hover a few notches down from full awareness and a few notches above complete obliviousness. It is a feeling that is similar to taking a drug which bathed your head in a San Francisco, pea soup-type fog and so even though you can think pretty well, it’s without any kind of reference point so you feel like you’re constantly forgetting something.

My body and mind are both tired, but even then I find my mind running through everything I must remember to accomplish. I keep lists, but this doesn’t stop me from thinking of more things at inconvenient times like when I’m in bed ready to go to sleep. At that point I don’t want to delay the sleep from starting by getting up and writing the shit down. No, I’d rather lie in bed and keep myself awake by thinking about how I must remember to do this thing that is so awfully important to remember but I’ll-be-go-fuck-me if I’ll get up and go write it down!

My willfull mind plays chicken with sleep. And like a two-year-old, my mind does not like to be controlled. It has, well, a mind of its own! I’m so tired, I thought that sounded clever.

I am leaving for vacation early Sunday morning. I’m going off by myself to let my molecules unwind and clear my head. It's time for myself to think, work through whatever I need to work through, or might need to think about because I don't have time to do that while at home. I'm taking my journal so I can write, and notes from my counseling sessions so I can reread them if I want, and just let it all sink in. I've learned and changed so much in the past 8 months or so since I started therapy with a competent therapist. I've also gone through a major transformation and I want time to let myself relax into who I am now. I want to come home rested, thinking clearly, and ready to get married. (Clarification: I am ready to get married now, I'm just very, very tired and running behind. I want to be ready to get married, but without the tired.)

There is so much to do before I leave. Work is crazy busy because, like I said, I’m going on vacation so everything must get done before then. I have to pack for myself, and pack OC to go stay with her grandparents. I have to do laundry, run errands, drop my key off at my friend’s house so she can take care of the kitties and get the mail, and about 40 kazillion other things before I can go relax for 5 days with no one to take care of and no place to be. While on vacation I plan to sleep, eat, sleep, walk, sleep, bike, sleep, read, sleep.

If only my mind would cooperate.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Yous Guys

It seems as though I am now one of you. You wouldn’t know just by looking at me. While I sit on the bus or at my desk, you might think that pensive look on my face means I’m contemplating world economic models in light of a new free trade agreement and what it will mean for the domestic economy; Or it could look to be as though I were considering which person looks least crazy on the afternoon bus, and therefore who I will sit near. You probably wouldn’t guess what I was really thinking about. I will admit it to you, my friends, that I am generally not guilty of such lofty thought (although I do listen to NPR!), but most likely I am sitting there composing my next blog entry. Right there in front of you!

I have read about this on other blogs, most notably in the “farewell, I’m taking a break” titled entries. The blogger in such a case will mention that they spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about their blog, or editing their entries, and need to take a break from this all-consuming activity. They often mention their social life is lacking, they need to get out more, and the like.

I can understand that sentiment. I think about my blog a LOT. I don’t have a lot of extra time, but the extra time I do have, I tend to think about what I might write next. After all, I want to write about things that warrant forethought. My goals are lofty: I want to write well! I want to be funny! All of this takes effort. I don’t think I’ve succeeded at any of this, but I want to work on it. This will be a great forum to work out my style, to have archives available to reread (somewhat painfully) and to learn from. Like just there, I ended my sentence with a preposition! That’s so wrong. I need to quit writing like I speak, which is just plain bad grammar.

I applaud the efforts on the part of bloggers everywhere who write well, and take the time to compose meaningful, funny, sweet, sad, and otherwise emotive musings on whatever happens to be running through their mind or going on in their lives. You are my heroes!

I find most things fascinating, when well-written.The internet is full of crap, and needs thoughtful writing as an way to balance it all out. I don’t want to be one of the crappers. So I think about my next entry. A lot. I feel like you now. I only hope to write as well.

Maybe one day.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Wedding A Go-Go

When I took OC to school this morning, we put her things away like usual and then she went over to the drinking fountain. I heard her say, “Get a load of this! There’s no stool.” The stepstool that is normally in front of the fountain wasn't there. What I want to know is, where did she get the ‘get a load of this’ schtick?!?

The wedding invitations came back last week from the printer. On Saturday four of my girlfriends, including my sister, came by to help me get them addressed and ready to mail. We quickly whipped through those babies. I would’ve been there for hours if it had just been me. I was so grateful for the help! We had such fun, too. There was food and nonstop conversation, aided by a big pitcher of mojitos.

Once the invitations were done, we made some beaded table decorations for the reception. They are simple loops of monofilament with beads on them which will be draped in the middle of the tables in a ring. The idea is the beads will add sparkle and glow from the candles that will also be on all the tables. We finished 8 of these beaded loops, and need 16 total. My sister was a total lifesaver: she offered to print our return address on clear labels for the return reply cards. I hadn’t thought of labels. I was a taskmaster bride, thinking we’d hand write all of that information. 150 times. I am so mean!

After all of this, I feel much relieved that this was accomplished. Last week I was feeling very stressed out about how much there was yet to do, and that I had to remember all of it. I also felt like I was forgetting something. I hate that feeling. I consulted my wedding planning guide, and also my fiance. It turns out I’m not forgetting anything, there is just a LOT to do.

On top of the wedding, we are remodeling the house to expand the bedroom and bathroom. There are bathtubs, fixtures, paint, lighting, and more that need to be chosen. It’s all very exciting, but also every so slightly stressful. My fiance is really helpful and willing to do pretty much whatever I need help with doing. I'm not complaining, this is all very fun! I like planning this wedding, I like picking out bathroom fixtures! It's just hard to fit in the full time job and regular life things with everything else. And frankly, I'd rather be doing all wedding and remodeling things, all the time. Well, that and I need to find some bon-bons and a couch on which to park my ass and relax (on the couch, that is; the bon-bons, I will eat).

Two months to go!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Fun For a Change

The 4th of July was fun this year. This was the first year it has been fun for several years now.

One of the reasons it was fun was because OF and I took a trip to the beach. The first picture on the left is the view from our hotel room in Lincoln City - very nice, especially considering I called about a week ahead of the holiday weekend, this was the only room left on the entire central Oregon coast, and it was only slightly more than $100. We had a big room, too, with a separate kind of living room area and a kitchen. Since we'd brought our camping supplies for the next night, we had a pan so we could cook bacon the next morning. Mmmm.....bacon!

Saturday night went out to a karaoke bar, a very sentimental place for us since that is where we, uh, got acqainted and then later that night, met, outside. That was when I found out he had a 1968 Mustang. I love Mustangs, have since I was a kid, and used this as a good reason to start up a conversation with that cute boy in the hat who kept ignoring me for some brunette. My question, "Does it have a 289 or 302?" sure got his attention, heh heh heh. Anyway, it was a fun, romantic evening and we had fun reminiscing and wondering where we would be now if we hadn’t met then. In the morning we ran on the beach together.

In the afternoon we visited my aunt and uncle who live in a small coastal town. Across the street from their house is the beach we named after my brother and dad. The second photo, at left, is me and OF on this beach. (My fiance, he is cute, no?) The name is not official or anything, it’s just how we refer to it. We scattered their ashes there after they died, which happened to both of them way too early in 2002 and 2003, respectively. The 4th of July was dad's birthday, and my brother spent a lot of time at the beach working and living at various times in his life. I have lots of good memories of spending time there as a kid. Our whole family loved the ocean. Their beach felt like a good place to be at that time of year to remember them both.

My brother and dad were both cremated, so there is no gravesite to visit. That's fine, but where do you go to feel a special connection, or a kind of closeness that is different from the everyday? That is unique? Sure, I've got memories that are always with me, I've got pictures and trinkets, but I need a place. I think it's a good way for me to deal with my feelings because it allows the opportunity to place my pain directly in the high beams and examine them. The only way I can alleviate pain in a healthy way is to face it head-on. This beach gives me a place to go marinade in my feelings, both happy and painful and whatever else. At first I don't want to experience it because it is so overwhelming. Each time I do it, I leave feeling much more at peace.

It seems to be working: This was the first year there wasn't overwhelming tightness in my chest at the thought of them; The first year I could enjoy the beach without terrible sadness overwhelming me and leaving me with nothing else to do but cry; The first year I felt more joy than residual anger at these losses. I am still very sad and I miss them both so much it still hurts, but there is more joy than pain and there was also a gentle sort of acceptance. I do miss them every day but those feelings have evolved into a kind of constant companion, with all the annoyances and relief anything constant can bring, but with a kind of familiarness. This was better than the feelings of missing them being a pure irritant. I'm very grateful for that relief.

Those were both huge losses and in very short succession. To add to it, I went through a divorce the same year that dad died. It was almost too much to bear. I needed my family so badly, but everything had changed, so much so that nothing seemed recognizable. I don't know how I made it through. A coworker of mine committed suicide, and shitfire, I entertained thoughts of jumping off a bridge more than once. But it was fairly fleeting, because somehow, in the back of my mind was the idea that there was still hope. There was, and is, plenty of hope. So thank goodness for that fucking Pollyanna attitude of mine, because I'm still alive! The past few years have been very, very dark, with a few noteworthy bright spots (e.g. I'm marrying a wonderful man in October! My daughter, sisters, and their families are healthy! My mom is doing well and is happier now! I have fabulous, dear friends that I treasure!).

Oh, you knew this was coming, and so here it is, the "glass half full" shit. I am blessed. It's true, even with all that pain and loss, I still have good things. That is what kept me going.

Allright, back to the weekend: Sunday night, we camped right near another beach. We had hobo stews for dinner and s'mores for desesrt....yum! I love camping food. I have to admit, when we went to bed my mind was full of thoughts like, "I wonder if there'll be a tsunami....if there is a tsunami, we're screwed.....there’s no way we’re getting out of here if there’s tsunami, there’s way too many people…there are so many kids here….I really hope there is not a tsunami…" These thoughts kept me awake for an hour or so, until I figured I could either lie there and worry about it and definitely not get sleep, or go to sleep and take my chances. It's not like I could do anything about it at that point. It's funny how that disasters are so fleetingly in the forefront of most people's minds. Will any of it really stop us from building our homes on the primary dune, or at the edge of a sandstone cliff? Probably not. Humans are such complex, yet fickle beings. That is what makes us so interesting and at the same time, infuriating. The last tsunami in the northwest was, I believe, in 1964 after the Alaskan earthquake. I could be wrong about that, but I think that is correct.

Like I said, the weekend was good, and we had such fun. I’m so glad OF got to meet my aunt and uncle. They’re wonderful, funny, sweet people and I don’t get to see them often enough. It was comforting to visit my brother and dad's beach, to set aside time to remember them and to feel close. I felt tension dropping away. I felt so comforted being washed over with memories, like I was being surrounded by love.

This will be an annual trip for us. It proved to be very healing.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


OC: Okay mom, I’m going to weaw your favowite undewwear (meaning, my favorite pair of her underwear; I didn’t know I had a favorite, but anyway….).

Me: Oh?

OC: Yep! Do you like Bawbie?

Me: She’s okay. Not as well as I like Hello Kitty.

OC: Well, if you do, I’ve got these. (shows purple Barbie underwear that, only have “Barbie” written on the waistband…no pictures on it whatsoever. How does she know these are Barbie? Is she reading it?? Cool.)

OC: (Finds a pair with Winnie the Pooh on them, says contemplatively...) I love Winnie the Pooh, of couwse.

Me: Um-hm.

OC: Here it is, Hello Kitty…your favowite!

And today, as we were getting of the bus:

OC: Remember that time the door almost closed on my awm? I was so fwightened.

Me: Yes, I do. I was, too.

Is it just me or is it amazing that she’s 4 and she used of the word “frightened” instead of “scared” or another word? I love how she doesn’t pronouce “r’s” yet, and instead they come out sounding like “w’s”. She used to say opopus, but now can say octopus. Darn it! That made my dad laugh every time.

Oh, and another thing she’s often saying, “That’s a figure of speech, wight, mama?”

It's a good reminder to remember how very closely I as a parent am being listened, albeit selectively. Good grief, you should hear her in the car when the first car in line at a light doesn't take off the second the light turns green! From the backseat I hear, "Go, car! Geez, the light is green already!" In defense of exhibiting my Type A personality, I am glad that she quotes thusly and not the string of profanity that usually escapes me when driving (which I try to minimize to when I'm in the car alone).

The part that I cannot capture in writing is the tone she uses, and the inflection. Those are a huge part of how entirely cute and sweet are these things that she says, even the road rage-ish things. I wish I could capture it for you, but for family members who read this, you know what I'm talking about.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Highly Plausible Postulation About Food: Dessert, Specifically

I contend that no-bake cookies are good for you. You know what I mean when I say “no-bake cookies”, right? It’s a mixture of milk, butter, sugar, cocoa, oatmeal and vanilla that you cook on the stovetop and drop onto waxed paper to cool. You don’t bake them, hence the clever name.

Allrighty then. These lovely little morsels of chocolatey goodness contain a large amount of oatmeal. That is the stuff that binds it all together and gives it texture. I swear, whenever I eat a few of these I get healthier. I can just feel the cholesterol being rounded up by the fiber contained in the oatmeal and herded out of my bloodstream. Yes, there’s milk, butter and sugar, but in smaller amounts than the oatmeal. Therefore, oatmeal trumps them, and they are a healthy food! From this rationalization, you might be able to gain some insight as to why I was 25 pounds overweight for about 8 years. It was partially from lack of motivation, partially because I ate for emotional reasons, but mostly due to this skill to rationalize about food that left my body inundated with sugar and crap, that also might incidentally contain something remotely healthy, like oatmeal.

I’m just saying, these things are tasty, easy and quick to make, and while they cannot be considered health food, are not as bad for you as other things. Evil high fructose corn syrup, for instance.

Here is the recipe:

¼ c. butter
½ c. milk
2 c. sugar
3 Tb. cocoa
3 c. oatmeal
1 tsp. vanilla
Place first four ingredients in a pan on the stovetop. Stir together, bring to a boil. Boil for one minute. Add remaining ingredients. Drop onto waxed paper, let cool.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005


I’m getting married in October. The effort to improve myself in order to look as good as it is possible for me to look covers a lot of ground. There is much to improve, as much has lain neglected for many, many months. There is the skin-hair-and-nails aspect, which constitutes a lovely reason to schedule appointments, and to try and purchase new products. Then there is the effort that extends to my body shape. Specifically, toning up the arm muscles so I can wear a strapless dress without fear of scaring people with my current flabby-arm look. I’ve never had great upper body tone or strength. It’s been rather pathetic, to put it nicely. I’ve recently started lifting weights three times a week to get those babies into shape. I can see the muscles developing, I feel stronger, but what’s the deal with the lingering fat on top of said new muscle? I’ll give it some time, but eventually I want to see that gone.

I have also added running twice a week. I love running. I love everything from the way it makes me feel, to the way it shapes my butt, to the way it clears my head while I take in the scenic riverfront and think about nothing in particular. It’s nice. What I don’t love is the way I feel after missing a run. Today, for example, was my first run in a week. I had missed last week’s second run and consequently I felt a little tired but ready to go nonetheless. As I got going, I felt all awkward and gangly, like I was all over the place. It was like Phoebe in that episode of Friends where she goes running with Rachel. Phoebe is all splayed legs and arms in a special style that can only be dubbed “flailing”. When Rachel sees this crazy form of Phoebe’s, she ditches her. Rachel then proffers many excuses why she can’t go running with Phoebe again, only to be caught running on her own one day. The episode continues in predictable fashion: the hurt feelings, a few funny jokes, and by the end, all is well. I can’t say that I blame Rachel for lying, I just wish I hadn’t felt like Phoebe today.

Although there was no real flailing that happened, it just felt like it wasn’t quite as smooth and comfortable as it usually is. I managed to finish my route, where I run at a comfortable pace most of the way, then stride out as I near the end and sprint the last 75 meters or so. I’m like a trail horse that way: I know my route well that I get excited to finish, so I speed up toward the end because I know the feed bucket awaits!

I’ll not miss my second run again, if I can help it. I hate missing a day, you feel like you’re starting all over again. I don’t want to start over, I want to progress. I am hard at work to look good this fall, baby.

At this time I am reminded of the wise words of Dolly Parton’s character in Steel Magnolias: “It takes some effort to look like this.”

I have to say it again, I love running, but I also love lying on a table while a woman applies various potions and lotions to my face for an hour, and rubs my hands and feet. Both are worthy inclusions to the routine.

Monday, August 08, 2005


In order to get somehow presentable for public consumption at my wedding in October, I have scheduled various beauty treatment appointments: a series of three waxes for eyebrows and bikini line; facials; a manicure and pedicure. I just had the facial last weekend, and it was good! The woman doing my facial had really lovely skin, so I trusted her advice about skin care. One of the things I learned was that I was exfoliating too much, causing my face to be irritated, red, and to overproduce oil. Did you know that using a washcloth is enough of an exfoliant, generally? And that if you need more of an exfoliation, you should only perform that once a week? I didn’t. I used a Buff Puff every day, because my face would produce a lot of oil that became a somewhat thick layer at the end of the day. To scrub it gently each day made it feel squeeky clean and fresh. It turns out I was doing it all wrong. I bought some moderately-expensive skincare products by Yon Ka. I used the face wash last night with a wash cloth, followed by the moisturizer. My face feels so good today, and seems less red than usual. It could be psychological, and even if it is, who cares?

I’m debating going back for two facials before the wedding, or just one more. It’s pretty expensive, but such a nice treat. I probably won’t be able to justify an expense like this again, especially not on any kind of regular basis.

I love getting married! You get to do such indulgent things like facials, cake tasting, and beautiful dress-buying! Divorce however, is hell. I do not recommend it. Oh sure, it’s great for losing 25 pounds, but not so good for the nervous system. Or your mental state. That’s enough of that, I’d rather go back to a nicer topic.

Here’s a nice topic for you: hot waxing. I read the most hilarious description of waxing, from Dooce. She writes: “It wasn’t the first bikini wax I’ve ever endured. In fact, I’ve had about a half dozen bikini waxes. You’d think I’d be used to it by now, used to the ripping and the tearing and the rending of my loins into shivering, hairless flanks. But anyone who’s ever had the hair stripped from her groin with rectangular strips of hot wax knows that you’ll never get used to it. I mean, come on, it would be like getting used to being chased down and clobbered with a lead pipe every three to four weeks, only to have to tip the motherfucker who did it to you.”

I’ll leave you with that.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Friday Amusement

If these famous people had Jewish mothers, as found on the Mommy Blog's site:

Once Again, It's Photo Friday

Here are the photos I promised, and not a cheeseball smile to be found. She is so cute, wanting to do the same things that I am doing. I let her choose her beads, and string them however she liked.

She made a necklace, but I don't think it's long enough. I'll give her a longer string and have her add to it, then finish it for her. Believe me, I soaked up every second of it. I know that one day all too soon she won't care a fig what her mother does, much less want to join me.

You may be wondering what the pictures from way back in January were doing being uploaded to an August post (yesterday's). I didn't have a blog back in January, for one thing. For another, I wanted an excuse to post photos. Ok, the truth is I didn't have anything interesting to say. At this point you might be thinking, "That's happened before, and you haven't let that stop you from posting!" If you thought that, then you are a smartass. While I admire that quality well enough on most days, it turns out that today I am not in the mood. So enjoy the pictures and keep those smart-alecky thoughts to yourself.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Why I Love This City: Reason # 187

Because you can go to the park in January with your daughter and enjoy mild 60-degree temperatures.

Don't tell anyone; We've got our "rainy" reputation to uphold...


OC’s biggest compaint is that no one plays with her. She’s in full-time daycare/preschool with 7 other kids, you’d think she’d be GLAD for a little time on her own. If you thought that, you would be wrong. No, she’s much happier playing with others especially if they play what she wants them to play, like any 4-year-old would. Mommy plays with her sometimes, but I’m often busy cooking, cleaning, or some other futile endeavor.

I think it’s good for her to play on her own at least some of the time. That gives her the opportunity to play without having to share, without having to take turns, and allows for time to develop her imagination. You remember imagination... it's that thing we used to access all the time as children, to entertain ourselves? This was before Atari and Colecovision (that’s the stone age equivalent to the X-Box and Playstation, for those of you younger than moi) came along and usurped kid’s attention, time, and added several clothing sizes to their person. Not that there's anything inherently wrong with video games or playing video games: I was just using that as a convenient illustration of what consumes our time in the modern world and thereby takes away from down time, which is what you need for imaginative play to thrive. I could've said anything: tv, computers, whatever. I meant electronics in general where you sit by, passively, while being entertained and also having your ass grow wider than the chair in which you sit. Whereas imagination requires making things up and entertaining yourself, and generally kind of moving about here and there. That was my point. But I digress.

Back to my story: she wanted the Shrek Operation game, (because I let her watch movies which are officially not bad for your imagination or your ass) so we stopped by the toy store one night and bought the last one. I got it loaded with batteries, put all the parts in, and demonstrated the gist of the game. You know how this works, right? Shrek is on the operating table, and he’s in a world of trouble. He’s got all kinds of things wrong with him: Heartburn, chest cold, toe jam, green thumb. All of these problems are plastic pieces located in holes in his body. You are the doctor, and must operate to remove these ailments. First you choose a card which tells you what part you are to extract. With the metal tweezers, you try to reach inside the hole containing the right piece, and pull it out with out touching the sides. The sides are metal, and if you touch them with the tweezers, the nose lights up and it buzzes. You lose your turn. Well, this scared the heck out of OC! It was so funny. She played the game for about 5 minutes before she told me she was done. After this, she went off and made up a game of her own in her room involving Jasmine and Aladdin dolls, and flying carpets or something. I don’t know, I couldn’t follow along because there was no instruction book or flashy graphics. I’ll give her a month, and pull out the Operation game again.

Or better yet, play it with her.

I hear the moral of the story ringing in my ears.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Happy Monday

It’s Monday, but not so much with the happy. I would determine it more to be a crappy Monday. Nothing’s really wrong, I’m just tired and not ready to be at work again for the week. It’s all my fault, too. I hate it when that happens.

The weekend was really fun: we had a barbecue over at OF’s (Occidental Fiance's) house, and got most of the furniture put back now that the hardwood floors have cured. The floors look amazing! The food was great, company was fun, everyone had a great time. OC had a friend over, and they played in the yard and wading pool. It was a beautiful weekend weather-wise, too. Hot, but not terribly hot if you had some shade. Sunday was relaxing, as we recovered from overindulging in good microbrews and mojitos the night before. OF gardened, while I read, watched OC play in the pool, and did laundry.

We got home late last night to a stuffy apartment full of two unhappy persian cats, with all our things yet to haul into the house, OC still needing a bath, and with many things needing to be readied for the start of the week. As we pulled into the apartment, I was thinking of all that I needed to do to to get ready for the next day, when OC accidentally spilled the jar containing the roses, and the water, that OF had cut for me. She held them all the way home, and spilled them in the parking area of our apartment. I wasn’t mad at her, just upset that it happened, because it was one more thing to contend with before I could collapse into bed. I explained this to her, so she would know why I was upset. I cleaned up the water, and I even cried about it a little.

I thought to myself how it was a good thing the glass jar didn’t break and OC wasn’t hurt, and that it was only water that spilled, and not something that would stain or be sticky like grape kool aid. I tend to be one who thinks, “Well, it could be worse!” at times like these. I don't know why I do this, it just comes to me. It may be a little Pollyanna-ish, but thinking this way helps me put a given situation into perspective. Right away, I begin to be thankful for what didn't go wrong, but could've. I think this is a good thing, but it doesn’t always prevent me from crying about it. There I was, rose petals and water all over the back seat and floor, soaking up the water with the towel, crying, all the while saying to myself, “This is so stupid that I’m crying, but I didn’t need the dang roses to spill all over the car’s seat!” What a sight. Thank goodness the neighbors weren’t home. Sometimes you need to cry over spilt water, because it does suck.

Wait! I think I can blame someone else after all: the pizza place, which failed to deliver our pizza when they said they would, and when we called they had somehow thought we were coming to pick it up. Finally, an hour and a half later, we were finally eating a pizza which we were not charged for because of the wait. It was quite tasty. We absolutely scarfed it. I was glad to be with OF that much longer, but I tend to stress out when I get home late on Sunday evening because I need to do my thing to get ready for the week.

And now it’s Monday; we made it to work and school just fine and on time, and all is (mostly) well. I’ve got a bunch of things to get caught up on this week, but it’s relatively under control. Or, it will be after I have a few evenings to catch up.