Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Where I Give Away the Ending in the First Sentence Because Foreshadowing is Beyond Me After Having Been up at Three am

This is the story of how I ended up viewing the total eclipse of the moon in the middle of the night.

Did you see the eclipse? There was a total eclipse of the moon between 2:52 am and 4:20 am. We first heard about it while listening to the radio in the car while running our errands during the day. OC liked the idea of the moon being blood red instead of white so after I explained to her what an eclipse was, she decided she wanted to see it. I laughed, gave her a quick idea of when 3 am actually occurs, and told her we'd watch it on the tee vee.

Then, in the middle of the night I woke up after I heard something that sounded a lot like my bedroom door being closed. I got up and went up to her room and sure enough, OC was awake. She told me how she had been about to wake me up, but remembered that we told her she'd get into trouble for doing that if she wasn't sick (long story) so thought better of it and went back to bed.

As long as we were both awake, I thought, we might as well step outside and see the eclipse. So, we did. It was freezing outside, and kind of freaky to see the moon that color. It wasn't quite blood red but a dark, spooky shade of orange.

Our night sky viewing lasted all of two minutes.

This morning I asked OC what an eclipse was, and she described perfectly what happened last night to the moon, that it passed into the earth's shadow. She learned something at 3 am, and I'm glad because she'll remember standing outside in the cold and the dark, seeing at the moon that weird orange color.

All I learned was that I really don't like being up at 3 am.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Mommy's Day Off

OH has been busy lately. Every night this week he's worked late at the office because the other principal owner/office manager was let go earlier this month. Now, OH is the only principal engineer in that office and he has four people to train and keep busy. The guy that was let go (aka Sir Talksalot, Captain Doesnowork, I Blame the Employees For My Slack and Crap Work) because he was a big waste of a paycheck. Not only did he while away the hours when he should have been working by reading the paper and gabbing, he lied to clients, blamed employees for his own bad work, and did not know anything about anything about development in this area. It's a great load off my husband's shoulders in the annoyance department, but added a huge workload in return.

OH also decided to be a football official this fall. Officiating doesn't require as large a time commitment as coaching did, and he likes being active in high school football, figuring it is a good way to meet people and have contacts so that one day he can be part of a coaching team again.

All of this means he often comes home at 8 pm. Now, I know this is not as bad has having a husband who is a pilot or deployed in the military and therefore gone overnight or even months at a time, but nevertheless I have done a fair amount of parenting on my own lately.

When I hinted that Sunday might be a good day to do lots of things with OC, he said "yeah," then when it sunk in he said, "Oh! Like be gone from the house doing things, just the two of us so you can get a break, right?" Yes. Exactly.

They hiked to the top of Black Butte this morning, came home with lunch from the local hamburger place, then off they went again to the library and the store to round out what we needed for groceries in order to make dinner.

In that time, I: ground coffee beans and made coffee; ate breakfast; did laundry; scooped the cat box; showered; generally picked things up and put things away; read and finished Heartburn by Nora Ephron; wrote a letter to a friend; decorated a ponytail holder with beads; cleaned out the catch-all drawer where we keep our keys and, apparently, every receipt we've ever gotten.

Heartburn was a title recommended in the last book I read, So Many Books, So Little Time by Sara Nelson. I'd heard of Nora Ephron, whose most recent title is something about hating her neck, but who I'd known as the writer of the screenplay for "When Harry Met Sally", among others, which was my favorite movie for years and years and still ranks in the top five, if I bothered to figure out my top five favorite movies. She's funny, and her book was a great read.

It's a fictional story about a woman whose second husband cheats on her and she finds out during her seventh month of pregnancy with their second son. This situation has the potential to be overwhelmingly sad and pitiful, but it's not. I don't know how she did it, but Nora Ephron managed to find humor and irony and write the story with plenty of both. It's sad, yes; but it's also very funny and full of witty observances about love and relationships, the failings of people as well as the things we keep going back to relationships for. I think it is a highly enjoyable take on relationships and love in general, even those where the partners aren't cheating.

From page 65:

' "It's not as simple as that, Vera (her therapist)," I said. "You want everything to be simple. You think I'm just standing there, and this army of men is walking by, shouting, 'Choose me, choose me,' and I always pick the turkey. Life's not like that. I can't even find a man who lives in the same city I do." '

From page 70:

"You picked the one person on earth you shouldn't be involved with. There's nothing brilliant about that - that's life....Robert Browning's shrink probably said it to him. "So, Robert, it's very interesting, no? Of all the women in London, you pick this hopeless invalid who has a crush on her father." Let's face it: everyone is the one person on earth you shouldn't get involved with.

And what is all this about picking, anyway? Who's picking?.....

You fall in love with someone, and part of what you love about him are the differences between you; and then you get married and the differences start to drive you crazy. You fall in love with someone and you say to yourself, oh, well, I never really cared about politics, bridge, French, and tennis; and then you get married and it starts to drive you crazy that you're married to someone who doesn't even know who's running for President. This is the moment when any therapist will tell you that your problem is fear of intimacy; that you're connecting with your mother, or holding on to your father. But it seems to me that what's happening is far more basic; it seems to me that it's just impossible to live with someone else.

And finally, from page 121:

"That's the catch about betrayal, of course: that it feels good, that there's something immensely pleasurable about moving from a complicated relationship which involves minor atrocities on both sides to a nice, neat, simple one where one person has done something so horrible and unforgivable that the other person is immediately absolved of all the low-grade sins of sloth, envy, gluttony, and I forget the other three."

I have another book that was recommended in So Many Books... that I'll start tonight called Slammerkin. The title is taken from Old English, a noun of unknown origin which means both a loose gown and a loose woman. Obviously.

Friday, August 24, 2007


My friend has a new blog, Lost Melons. Once she quits her job (next Thursday) she will have all the time in the world to post. HA!

We've been friends for 20 years, ever since she showed up at our school wearing an Esprit sweatshirt and Guess? jeans. Well, we weren't friends right away because first all us girls had to hate her for her designer clothes, but after we got over it we became friends. She's a member of the Girl's Weekend group.

She's turning 33 tomorrow. Happy Birthday, Running BB!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Shiny New Mommy

The bathroom is sparkling and smelling like the fresh scents of lavender and lemon.* I wish it were that easy to make the job of parenting have a sparkly, fresh-smelling outcome every day.

This summer has been busy, requiring the packing of gear and the going to places, and there've also been plenty of days spent at home. These last two weeks of August on the calendar, for instance, are blessedly, heartwarmingly completely blank.

I remember last summer, my first summer as a stay at home mommy. What a shock! Talk about jumping into the pool only to realize the water's cold and full of algae that you didn't notice before and what's more, your swimsuit just went up your crack and -whoops! - you forgot that last week your arms were amputated so there's no way to pull the suit out or really even to swim to the side of the pool and climb out. The thought of your fate enters your mind suddenly and you realize: I am going to die now and this is how it will happen. Huh.

A friend - who has four children - and I were recently talking and she questioned me about what it must be like to have one child. I believe her words were, "it must be fairly low-key, right?" I said that yes, it was, relatively, but that it was still kinda hard. Raising a child is never easy, no matter how many (or few) you have. I have to admit that I felt foolish saying this to a woman who has four separate clothing sizes to keep track of (not counting her own or her husband's), as well as four different grade levels of homework, four sports practices and games, and then dinner for six every night. I felt silly, boob-like, is what I'm saying. I felt like a big loser crybaby because I was like "Waaa, one kid is hard!" when clearly I have it pretty darn easy most of the time.

But, one kid is what I'm used to. My friend's children came one at a time, and so she adjusted to each one by one. Me thinking of one kid and then suddenly thinking of having four children....well, that's not relatable. Unless one has triplets, it happens one at a time so there can be an adjustment period, also known as the "time to get one's meds upped". Ha ha.

But....here's the thing: we are trying to make a baby. And all of this sort of freaks me out because, how am I going to handle two kids? I remember those toddler years, and I worked. How am I going to stay home and deal with a toddler? How??? HOW????

One thing at a time. We may not be able to have a child. Who knows?

What time is it? 6:43 am. I've been awake since 1:55 am because that is when my daughter decided to join us in bed because, for all we can tell, she doesn't like sleeping alone. No nightmares, just doesn't want to be alone. I don't know why the forty kazillion dolls and stuffed animals don't count, but they don't. This doesn't work for me. I can barely sleep with my husband (actual sleeping, I'm not trying to subtlely hint at sexual dysfunction.) If it were up to me? I'd sleep in a grand bedroom in a bed all by myself. Not because I don't love my family, I do. It's just, I need space, and I need QUIET, that's all.

The lesson is given to me over and over again: when I don't have a schedule, life at home with a child falls apart much like a cupcake in the rain: slowly, crumb-by-crumb, irretrievably gone forever.

I noted that this all happened two weeks ago. Since then I posted a chore list on the fridge, and the nighttime schedule next to that. We discussed bedtime and how bedtime is bedtime and not whine-time, cry-time, or stay-with-me-longer-time. I talked about consequences (the worst one to OC being scooping the litterbox) and implement them, and I told her all that I appreciate and I have rewarded her several times since then.

Amazingly....it has worked! Bedtime is now bedtime. There have been no tears. We all sigh with relief. OC is happy, too, by the way.

Thank goodness soon it will be fall. School will take up most of the day and I will schedule the hell out of the rest of it, just to be safe.

* This was two weeks ago. Before the wisdom teeth surgery. This week my bathroom is growing things.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Best Ever Ebay Product Description

This woman clearly needs a blog, if she doesn't have one already.

(Found via Apollo's Acadamy)

Edited to add: Uhhhh, clearly she does have a blog, as anyone who scrolled down and found. Quite easily, I might add.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Problems Solved

Monday, 3 am: took the last prescription pain pill. Six hours later, took Advil which did almost nothing.

9:40 am: Called oral surgeon's office, spoke to whoever it was they pulled in off the street at that moment to answer phones. Told her I was out of meds, took Advil, still ouch, how many Advil can one take in a day? Her response, "What?"


10:00 am: Callede oral surgeon's office, spoke to friendly and knowledgeable person who said I should come in just to have things checked out, and that I could do it today, and that post-op visits were free.

Six Advil later...

3:50 pm: Saw oral surgeon who said everything looked good. Gave me a prescription for more pain meds. Was happy, but still had to drive to pharmacy and wait for refill.

I know I keep going on and on about it, but the pain in my mouth is what life is about right now. It's better now, but then I didn't get much sleep last night due to an annoying discussion with husband last night which didn't get resolved. Sometimes, you (he) just need to let things go and not bring them up.

Today is sunny and bright and I am feeling no pain! So maybe I should go take a shower. In a minute. First, I have to take care of this stupid bedrail problem. I don't know if I have written about it before, but my daughter has her mattress and box spring on the floor because the bedrails we ordered were not the right kind. The store gave us the wrong model number. In the twelve weeks it took for the wrong bedrails to get into the store, we moved three hours away from the store and any store that carries that company's products. Husband made a special trip to the store to get them. That was last winter. Once we discovered the problem, I had plenty of other things to worry about at the time so I did the mature, adult thing and ignored the problem.

Last week, I called the company, and they don't want to pay to pick them up. I need to call the store today, which I am SO NOT in the mood to do.

I hate being ignored. I paid for the wrong damn bedrails and now I don't know how to get the company to pay attention to me. They don't care, the store doesn't care, so here I am.

When my mom was here she made some phone calls to find out if there is a place - a shelter, or something similar - that could use a crib or toddler bed. The bed is one of those convertible cribs, and I have all the pieces to make it a crib or toddler bed, just not the bedrails for the fullsize kid's bed. So, after I make a useless call to the store today (which I feel I have to do just to give them a piece of my mind, which is basically "you suck") I will gather all the pieces together and take them to a place where the crib and/or toddler bed will be useful to someone.

All of that negative energy and months after month of inaction will be turned into something good: a nice, comfortable place for a child to sleep.

That also means...shopping for a new bed and nightstand for OC. Finally, a resolution for both of us. For her, a room that will be put together and comfy. She deserves that. For me, one less problem hanging overhead like a dark raincloud.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Full Time Mommy

Today is Saturday and my mom is leaving tomorrow. I'm already panicking. I have to be full-time mommy again...yikes! I'm still taking Vicodin so I can't drink, and I can't drive. My mouth is healing but I can't eat much whole food yet. I am enjoying coffee and fruit smoothies my mom brings me.

Last night I recommended a book to my mom (Are You Somebody? Nuala O'Faolain) and she couldn't stop reading it! I love it when I hook up books with people like that. She's got a list of titles to check out when she gets home, too, because I'm bossy like that. I asked her for some recommendations, too, because there's nothing worse than having nothing good to read.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


The wisdom teeth are out! Although I do have some shrapnel in the form of the roots of one tooth that had to be left because it was so close to the nerve, the risk of cutting the nerve was too great if they had gone ahead and pulled it. So, they cut it off and left the roots. Cool.

Mom ordered pizza the other night and it smelled sooo goooood. So far I'm only able to eat completely smooth things like yogurt, juice, milkshakes, and sorbet. I hope I lose 20 lbs. Then I can market it as the Wisdom Tooth Diet. Somehow I don't think that I'll lose 20 lbs, probably due to the milkshakes. The healing powers of chocolate milkshakes are beyond measure so I'm sticking with them. I'm no quitter.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Surgery That's Long Overdue

Today at 11, I am going to have my wisdom teeth removed. My lower teeth have become crooked due to the force from the wisdom teeth pushing forward and which still haven't erupted. I waited so long to have them out that three are impacted. Every once in a while I'll get a headache and my whole jaw will ache.

The oral surgeon seems good, but I have no idea. His office sure is keen on making sure I bring the money (check, cash, or credit cards accepted) with me.

My mom is here from Boise so there is someone to drive me home. She doesn't know her way around Bend so I have a map with our route home highlighted. I hope she can read the street names, because I will be out of it and of no use. I am so glad she's here! No matter how old you get you never outgrow needing your mommy.

OC is thrilled. Mommy will be drugged up, let's go shopping!!! I can see her thinking. Oh, my....

I doubt there will be pictures of my chubby, bruised cheeks, so please enjoy this picture of OC in her swimming mask taken at High Lake in Eastern Oregon:

Yes, that is a much better picture than of me post-surgery.

Monday, August 13, 2007

About Last Weekend, Finally

This post has taken a long time to write. Last week was a little busy, and so it left little time to assemble my various thoughts into something cohesive, much less interesting. Also, I noticed I would switch from 1st to 2nd person all the time, or from past tense to future tense, and this drove me nuts! It made me realize I must not know very much about grammar and instead I write like I talk. It seems as though I talk bad. Badly! So, I would be writing and all of a sudden language just seemed so weird and I thought I was thinking about it too hard and so I stopped thinking about it and, nothing happened. What follows is my last, best effort.

I spent last weekend with the girlfriends I have known since grade school. These are the girls who I was with in Brownies and Girl Scouts, elementary school sports, middle school drama, and that weird microcosm that is High School in a Small Town. In other words, these are my homegirls. We go aaaaall the way back. They have known me for so long that anything I say to them is already in context. I don't have to explain anything, they just get it. There is so much history between us.

This is nice for several reasons. There is no pretense, because while everyone remembers that in 4th grade I had that really bad haircut, they love me anyway. We all have one of those in our closet - either the bad haircut or its crisis-level-relevant-to-adolescent-crises equivalent. We've had sleepovers at one another's houses, we've gotten into trouble together (some more than others...me more than others...Hey! I used to be a lot of fun.) We've survived boyfriends, breakups, and petty fights; teased to the ceiling bangs and neon-colored accessories. Yikes, the 80's were full of trends I'd like to forget.

I admire these women. They are all mothers, and all excellent at the endeavor. They are strong and disciplined and creative; they are funny, sweet, and genuine. Any one of them I would consider an honor to raise my child if something were to happen to my husband and myself, God forbid.

(Meanwhile K, who has four kids, is frantically pointing to the friend on her left. "Pick her! I've already got four!")

This year's trip was different in a number of disconcerting ways. First, not all of us were there. "Us" consists of the four friends - J, J, K, M - and myself. One of the J's had to go to the county fair to help their kids show and sell their chickens, and of course that took all weekend. It couldn't be helped and we don't blame her, it just stunk. For all of us.

Friday started off with that disappointment, so on Saturday we consoled ourselves with a pedicure:

My foot wasn't in this, the close-up shot.

After that we took photos because! Did you see the tiny flowers?!?

It's Lincoln City, so of course we went to the outlet mall to shop for our kids, mostly. Such deals to be had in August at the outlet mall. Deals must not be passed up.

The second thing that was different was the number of us that went out Saturday night. Friday night is usually our night to talk nonstop and catch up with each other's lives since we don't all talk throughout the year, and all have kids and jobs and things that keep us busy and unable to talk on the phone when we please, unlike the high school days when we had each other's phone numbers memorized. M and I wanted to go out so we went first to the casino, then to the karaoke bar. Still, it was fun but not as fun as it could have been because our friend K can sing. I mean, really sing, and I always love to hear her sing. It makes me cry. I like to cry when I hear her sing, it's just my thing. I was sad to be deprived of this emotional experience, if that doesn't sound too crazy.

She can do justice to Martina McBride people, not many American Idols can say that.

We had a kind of argument, no, debate, about the bathroom lights. It was to do with the wording of a label. The downstairs bathroom had a lightswitch labeled "can lights". I thought, "haha! They labeled the lights in the bathroom - otherwise known as the can - as can lights! HA HA HA"

This delighted me to no end, and so my friend J decided that it was a weird thing to deduce. She looked at the lights recessed into the ceiling and noticed they were canister style lights. (BTW, who besides construction workers know there are things called canister lights??? Nobody, that's who.) I was then the dumb, non-canister-style-light-knowing-about person. No one referred to me as such out loud, but it was implied.

Next unusual thing was that J had to leave early. Evidence to the fact:

I think it is a near miracle that five women can get away for an entire weekend in the summer and leave behind various family members and eschew other plans in order to spend time with their friends from way back. We've been doing this for, I think, six years now. AMAZING! I also know that things will not always be this way.

In time, for one reason or another, life will come up and our schedules will not allow for this kind of togetherness.

Change, the only constant there is.

I felt that I really needed this weekend this year. I needed to be with people who knew me. I needed to let loose and have fun and talktalktalk to people who wouldn't try to fix things or judge me, but would provide that all-important sounding board. Through the action of talking I would feel better. Knowing the information would not be used against me, I could relax and let it out.

We'll always have the past six years. And who knows, if we're lucky, we might even have next year, too.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Back on the Treadmill

I'm back from the beach. Sixty degrees and cloudy, my left buttock. It was sunny and warm (with the everpresent fresh seabreeze). If I expected to get a break from the incessant sunshine, I was out of luck. It was lovely, if sunny.

This week, OC is in Ye Olde Theatre Camp, and that is going very well despite some difficult behavior situation which I dealt with beautifully if I do say so myself.

In short: I don't have anything of substance to post right this second due to time constraints. Furthermore, I don't have time to compose anything tonight. Finally, tomorrow morning looks bad, too.

In conclusion, these few paragraphs are offered as a pittance while I go off to be with strange women who have eat and drink before they incidentally throw dice around to play something called bunco. (I thought it would be a good place to meet new people, make friends.) I have to go figure out what to wear. I need to find something that says "I want to be your friend desperately!" but leaves out the "desperately" part.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Another Fabulous Weekend Escape

Newsflash: I'm travelling. Again. It seems like this summer has been a whirlwind of tourism for the Occidental Tourist. I don't know why I switched to using the third person, but, okay here's the thing: The Occidental Tourist doesn't like using the third person. Switching back now.

The reason for yet another travel adventure is because it is that time of year again: girl's weekend. Myself and four girlfriends from high school (we're not going to talk about how long we've been out of high school...but if you must know, 15 years) get together once a year to party and pick up new husbands. Ha! No, the new husband thing was only me, and just that one time. What is it about karaoke bars and classic cars?? That sounds worse than it was.

You might remember my pictures from last year. No? Well, I have both parts one and two here and right here in case you missed it. It was fun.

In my absence my mother in law will be here to visit. The three of them plan to go fishing in the Cascades, and bike ride. My daughter rode her bike for the first time without training wheels earlier this week. We were so excited. She needs more practice but that's what summer is for.

I will miss them and you SO MUCH! Nevermind. I will take consolation in shopping at the outlet mall, walking on the Oregon coast, spending time talking non-stop with very good friends, and really good food.

The other thing I'm excited about is this: high temperatures are expected to be 60. Sixty! The reason this excites me is that I've been in 90+ degree temperatures for weeks now. Break out the long sleeves and eschew sunscreen. I may have that silkscreened onto a t-shirt. Here is that foolproof forecast:

As I write this, I hear the news going over and over the story of the bridge collapse in Minnesota. It's horrifying to imagine, people trapped in the water or killed while driving over a bridge in America. I hope the death toll doesn't rise, but it probably will. I'm sorry for those families affected, for it's truly sad. I really don't know what to say except that spending money on boring stuff like infrastructure upkeep is not exciting, but it is necessary. I hope something good comes out of it.

Surprisingly, Charlie Gibson from ABC mentioned the book The Bridge of San Luis Rey, by Thornton Wilder, which is exactly what I thought of when this happened. The book tells the story of a bridge collapse and the story of the five random persons who were killed. It goes to the question of what is the purpose of life? Is it really random? Or is there a plan, even to include horrible events like this? How can a plan include bad things? Why? It's good reading, and good food for thought. Check it out and tell me what you think.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

County Fair

Yesterday we went to opening day at the Deschutes County Fair. This fair is a big deal here. It's huge and it seems that everyone within a 100-mile radius is in attendance. At 10:15 am, the parking lot already had a hundred cars in it, maybe more.

I was there with my new friend, K. She has a seven-year old daughter so OC had a friend. K knew approximately every fifth person she saw. Maybe that's a slight underestimate. I, of course, knew no one except K and her daughter.

Anyway, it was hot and sunny and soon we were all grumpy. The fair facility is relatively new and so the few "trees" there are all twee. That's right, they were twee trees. Tiny! One tree produced enough shade for 3.2 persons in which to sit. In the entire fair grounds, I saw three twee trees. Maybe I saw one or two more than that - and that's being generous - but three twee trees is fun to say.

In conclusion, OC opted to ride the canoe ride, where every other kid who did was still in diapers.

She is smart for heading for the water on a such a hot day, and truth be told there was one other big-ish kid on that ride. It was definitely a little kids' ride. I'm glad she did what she wanted instead of worrying about what looked good. I hope that confidence of hers lasts forever.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

What Kind of Mother Are You?

I am the kind who told my daughter, "You're not going to throw up." 20 seconds later, she threw up.

That was yesterday morning, 6:45 am. By noon or so, she was feeling a lot better and hasn't thrown up since. No fever. (I'm putting all this in for my mom, who will want to know.)

By the way, I know how to get vomited tomato out of the carpet.