Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Now that I've allowed myself these handful of days to ruminate... Honestly, there's no gut-wrenching analysis on the fruits of exercise.
On a practical level, I wanted to force myself to write--or at least think about writing--every day in a concrete, focused way. It sharpens ye olde observation skills if you're thinking about things as potential blog or fiction fodder. To go through the somewhat academic exercise of evaluating the entertainment level of a story or a thought forces you to recognize that every stray thought that tumbles through your cranium is not gold. It's helping me build up what Hemingway so classically called "a shit detector."
Oh my God. Did I just reference Hemingway? Feel free to punch me in the face if I ever, ever, ever refer to Ernest Hemingway as "Papa."
There were varying degrees of success. My natural voice is one of dissent, snark, and critique, so forcing myself into this construct of gratitude was, at times, challenging. And when you divert your natural flow, I think it surfaces as awkward phrasing. And bad, bad editing. A younger me would have gone back and corrected every error. But the current me shrugs if I happen to miss it in the Preview. Lazy, lazy, current me.
On an emotional level, this past month has been really hard for me, as I knew it would be. So, I wanted to cleave to something more positive rather than spelunk spectacularly into flashbacks to my mother's diagnosis of terminal cancer, unending days in the hospital, and the constant low-level of panic. The days when I was grateful for coffee and other completely inconsequential things? These were days when I missed my mother terribly.
And on a reflective level, I realize the common themes of gratitude splayed out in html are my husband, my children, my family, and my friends. As it should be, no?
Friday, July 15, 2011
First, and most importantly, the Boy's birthday is today. He's seven, and he's wonderful. We're well past the point of just trying to keep him well and clean. We're raising him, teaching him right from wrong, imbuing a sense of humor, providing a blue print for life. And the fruits of our labors are paying off. He's a delightful little person, kind, funny, considerate, and loving. Okay, he can also be stubborn and a litttle emotional. But, he's also, you know, SEVEN. So, we've got a little time to help him with that.
Second, Super Ninja and I played hooky together today. Partly to prep for the Boy's birthday, but mostly to just kind of relax together. And you know what we did?
WENT TO SEE HARRY POTTER 7.2! I found it awesome that our theater was peopled not with children, or even teenagers. Nope. All adults, like us, who were clearly cutting work as well.
(from Thursday, July 14)
(from Wednesday, July 13)
Thursday, July 14, 2011
I fully recognize that I am scraping the bottom of the barrel here. Literally! Since we were away from home last week visiting Super Ninja's family in Ohio, we didn't have a chance to do the full-on grocery store shop that we normally do. Since I'm still crazy busy at work, all I had time to do was snag some staples--milk, bread, cranberry apple juice cocktail.
What? Your basic foodstuffs are different?
Here's the nutty thing, though: we had enough grub stockpiled that we got through the week without needing anything else. That was both awesome and scary at the same time. I'm not one of those, "Better have a store of food for when the revolution comes" kinds of people. I think I just buy stuff, forget I bought it, and then add more. Pretty soon, it's like farfalle is being fruitful and multiplying, and I have a half a dozen boxes of it.
(I am also not a hoarder, by the way.)
So, now I am resolved that I will only buy perishables until I whittle down my collection of frozen and dry goods, excellent sales be damned!
(from Tuesday, July 12)
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
When we got there, I saw that the story time is intended for kids ages 2 through 5. Perfect for the Girl, not so much for the Boy. I just told him to pretend he was five, and was reminded of my father shaving a few years off of my age whenever we went to a buffet restaurant. Kids under thirteen always ate cheaper. No one ever looked askance at me. 'Tis a boon to be short sometimes.
The Girl was enthralled by story time, and I can see she is going to be SUCH a teacher's pet. Shouting out answers, doing exactly what the 'teacher' says, grinning from ear to ear when told she was correct. Oh lawd, she will love school. The Boy drifted away to the coloring sheets and crayons, which was fine by me. He could've read the selection of stories to the kids gathered together, so I could see that hearing them wasn't really interesting to him.
The whole story time took about 30 minutes. Since I'd expected to be out for about an hour, we decided to go into the library's play room, as did a bunch of the other story time kids. It comprises kiddie kitchen and food market furniture and paraphernalia. The Boy was 'running' the food market for a bit, and the toddlers would steal money from the cash register. He jokingly yelled, "I'm going to call the cops on you!" as they gleefully ran away. The Girl wanted to run the shop with the Boy, but he staunchly refused. Eventually, though, he got kind of bored with it and wandered off to play with something else, and the Girl took control of the shop.
The little ones sharing the room with us were, child by child, snapped up by caretakers to go home for beddy-bye. After most of them had gone, another child and mama entered the room to play. They were African-American. The little girl, about three years old, wandered over to the shop. The cash register drawer popped open, and she helped herself to some of the money.
I think you can see where this is going.
The Girl very happily, and very loudly, shouted, "Call the cops! Call the cops! Call the cops!" AND SHE WOULDN'T STOP. Not for my grumpy face/head shake, not for my death whisper, not for my (hopefully) subtle gesturing. But I couldn't make a HUGE deal out of it, because I knew she was thinking, "Hey! African-Americans steal!" I KNOW she was just playacting what the group had done before, but the newcomers certainly didn't know that. And if I tried to explain it to the newcomers, that would also make it a bigger deal.
Anyway, the HVAC gave up the ghost at my office on Monday. Welcome back from your long weekend in Westlake, eh? I have a corner office, because I am feared and respected among my colleagues. Know what that becomes when you have no air conditioning? A terrarium.
(from Monday, July 11)
Monday, July 11, 2011
But, I don't really seek outdoorsy activities. Sure, I'll take the kids on a nature walk. But given the choice between a board game and a hike, I'll take the board game.
And you know what? I don't think the outdoors like ME very much. This summer has provided stacks of evidence.
The first weekend in June, I went to my goddaughter's 10th birthday party. It was a pool party. I LOVE swimming. But there was not as much swimming as there was keeping my small children afloat. One particularly daring 18-month old required that I make a diving catch to keep him from cannonballing into the pool. Said diving catch resulted in me scraping the bejeesus out of my shin. And, once I climbed out of the pool, I apparently walked past a bowl of Ebola, because this tiny, centimeter-square scrape turned into a red, puffy, hot mass of annoyance within a day. It took TWO WEEKS to heal, and I STILL boast a stupid purple scar.
Two weeks later, same house, different daughter, another pool party. Another great time. And another random patch of allergic reaction to something. I'm thinking bug bite. But, seriously, I've never reacted like this to a bug bite before. I had a coffee-mug sized angry patch on my chest. So, maybe people weren't staring at my astounding cleavage for once. Perhaps they were just horrified by the monkey bite decorating my sternum.
Two weeks after that, I'm chilling in a park with my family, awaiting the fireworks spectacular that a suburb of Cleveland will deliver to me and mine. A couple of days later, something unpleasant and...bumpy...decorates my hip. Okay, if we're being COMPLETELY honest here, it decorates the crease where my belly, if it gets ANY BIGGER, will start to fold over. I am not in total FUPA territory yet. But I'm getting close to Scary Weight. So, at first I'm thinking that it's one more depressing sign of my absolute need to commit to the gym more regularly (like, maybe TWICE per week), and is just some kind of friction blister.
To confirm my suspicion, I do the absolute worst thing possible. You might think the worst thing is to ignore it, but no, good soldier! The worst thing is to Google your symptoms. Know what Dr. G. told me? That I had ovarian cancer. Or, second best, I had an STD. My third string diagnosis was that I have shingles.
But, all of this Doomsday diagnosis prompted a visit to the urgent care facility, and I am one hundred percent sure that the physician's assistant and doctor who tended me thought that I was some ridiculous housewife crafting terminal illness out of a bug bite.
Which, by the way, is what I was diagnosed with. The doctor assured me that they see this around this time of year, and that the bug bites so deeply that he* pushes bacteria from the surface of my skin into my bloodstream, causing an infection.
NONE of this made me feel any better, by the way. Oh, omnipresent bacteria all over my skin, you say? Delightful!
We are going to totally IGNORE that I felt no bug bite, and that this can't possibly be some eruption of a heretofore undiscovered unpleasantry.
I am now the proud owner of a three-day cycle of Augmentin. So, for those of you with kids, my infected bug bite is about one-third as bad as an average kid's ear infection. I am tough, eh?
*No female would do this to another one of it's kind. Had to be a jerk male.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Thursday, July 07, 2011
This past year brought big changes. Mostly suck-o ones. It was a year ago today that I spent the day in the hospital with my mother, learning that she had terminal cancer. Jump back in the archives, should you need to. I'm too tired to link.
I miss her every day. I cry many of those days. Not for my loss, though I feel that keenly. But for the suffering she had to go through, the indignity of it, the sadness that permeated her bones at having to leave all of us so soon.
I thought by pushing myself this week, by working 14-hour days, I could avoid feeling anything. Stupid, is what I am.
*I have a limited array of swear words. I LOVE listening to a accomplished swearer, don't get me wrong. But somehow, I can't let it fly myself. So I satisfy myself with these pseudo-swears, which are mostly of the blasphemous variety.
Tuesday, July 05, 2011
I know that one of my gratitude rules was to focus on the small things. Mostly, that's because I don't know that I could articulate the really big things for which I am grateful. I said to a friend recently that trying to frame my love for my husband and what he means to me with something as flimsy as words was akin to squishing a whole pillow into a Dixie cup. It's just not gonna happen. Plus, come on, doesn't some tiny part of you get all snarked out when someone says things like, "I am grateful for the air I breathe."
No? Just me?
Any way, I'm grateful for my freedoms, every single last one of 'em. Freedom of speech, for example. I can post any inane thought to the interwebs, and it's OK! Only my embarassment will stop me. I may quibble with people's misunderstanding of freedom of speech*, but I am still grateful to have it. So, yeah, FREEDOM! Loves ya, America!
*Okay, here's my gripe. There are people out there who misconstrue "freedom to say whatever the hell I want without consequences" as "freedom of speech." Oh no no no, youngling. If you Twitter that I am a jerk, and I come back and say nuh-UH! You are a jerk! Well, I'm not actually taking away your freedom of speech. I'm reacting to it with my own. You had the freedom to say whatever, but so do I. Just 'cause you don't like it doesn't mean that your freedom's at stake.
(from Monday, July 4, 2011)
Not my in-laws! They woke up with the Little Guy (and the more self-sufficient Boy and Girl) the day after we arrived despite having stayed up just as late as us. For those of you keeping track, that would've been about 1:00 a.m. We'd planned on getting up with our darlings, but the Little Guy is sleeping in a pack-and-play in their spacious master bathroom (not IN the tub or anything -- who do you think we are?), so they heard him first. Result? Super Ninja and I actually got a full eight hours sleep.
(from Sunday, July 3)
WHY haven't we done this before? Traffic was great, and outside of the minor monsoon that hit us about an hour outside of town, it was possibly the best road trip I've ever been on. "Best" meaning smoothest. There was also that 22-hour trek to New Orleans when I was in college...
(from Saturday, July 2)
Monday, July 04, 2011
(from Friday, July 1)
(from Thursday, June 30)