observed

Free Form Confessions

I wore my cute, breezy, brown and summery short pants* yesterday. I haven’t pulled them out since last summer. It’s been so hot it seemed like a good idea. Except for the fact that yesterday it was overcast and raining all day. That is so like me – just a few days off in my timing.

I put my hand in my pocket sometime after lunch and pulled out this card**:

mkcard

This tells me two things: 1) the last time I wore these pants was at Blogher and 2) I didn’t wash them. Awesome.
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I want a job, like, yesterday.
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I made my stomach upset by eating a marshmallow bunny and a Reese’s peanut butter egg. My body is not used to sugar. I can only assume that Easter is evil and the power of Christ compels me to fill my body with yummy sickness inducing chocolate treats. Thanks a lot, Easter Bunny.***
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I’m sensitive to latex. Bandages make a red patch on my body wherever they are attached and it lingers much longer than whatever the original owie was. When I tried to quit smoking those last couple of times, I tried the patch only to find I was constantly itching around and around it. Like that mosquito bite that you don’t want to bother but you can’t leave alone. The gum eventually did the trick for me, as bad as it tasted. So, here comes the part where I share too much information (as if it hasn’t happened already) in that I remind you that I’m trying not to become pregnant. The status of Joe’s and my sex life is not really anyone’s business and not really suitable for public internet consumption but let me just say that latex has become an issue in this department. So much so that the only thing Joe wanted for his birthday was for me to find some type of condoms that would work for me and not result in me jumping up from bed and exclaiming ‘My cootchie itches, dangit!’ which isn’t really the finest ending to being intimate with your partner. I found these during a hilariously eventful trip to the drug store where we only purchased gender-appropriate items like sanitary napkins and Gillette shavers. At $38 per 12 pack, each use coming in at just over $3, I feel like I better rent a video and hone up on my pole skills to make buying that pack worth his time and money. No pressure.
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Frequently, Joe will try to push a little culture towards the kids’ general direction. He’s quite observant for an old guy (He’s 37!!!) and he watches for things that they might find interesting. A computer game here, a geek conference there, a movie from the era of raging musicals from time to time, and then tries to entice the kids to participate, to broaden their horizons, if you will. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. One great experience was the other night when The Goodbye Girl was available via HBO on Demand. Joe and I both love the movie**** but I’ve heard groans from my daughter in relation to movies seeming to be a much better match seeing as how she likes to sing and dance and would like to be in the movies some day (Guys and Dolls, West Side Story) so I didn’t have very high hopes. I was wrong. She loved it, giggling and laughing, mostly in reaction to the deadpan humor and cuteness of the daughter in the story, Lucy, played by Quinn Cummings, who was fabulous and was nominated for a Golden Globe and an Oscar for her role. Out of curiosity, because I’m nosy like that, I found her online.***** Her blog is The QC Report and her writing is brilliant. I think we all know of a few celebrity online spots where the writing is sub par and un-witty making it hard to read except for the fact that you really, really, really want the person to have something great to say because you liked them in some movie. But Quinn’s writing is poignant and real, well written and funny. If I were still doing blogger interviews I would hit her up for a session in no time. Instead, I’ll just point you to a couple of my favorites.

Love Means Never starts out with how people don’t actually apologize when they apologize anymore and ends up telling an experience she had of being held up as the show-and-tell item of the night. I’ve had nights like this. I’ve been so angry and left the party rather than talk to the person about it and I then avoid them forever after and wonder, as I replay what I would have said in my head for the next eight months, if I would have done better to confront them.

Big Daddy is a beautiful tribute to her father, Sumner, and includes the heart breaking tale of the last day making the movie, The Goodbye Girl.

Even in her most recent post, To Live and Dye in LA, she uses words in such a wonderful way, weaving them in and out and creating this tapestry that you can see and touch and taste.

Also, she is the creator of the Hiphugger.
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I’m kind of a Law and Order freak. I have a need to see bad guys put away. On the rare occasion that they leave it open-ended with no pat resolution and the perp not on his way to Rikers, I throw things and pitch a fit. I need RESOLUTION, bastards!
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For those of you receiving your latest issue of JPG: Street, please thumb through the pages until you find the interview I did with the amazing National Geographic photographer, Nick Nichols. The entire interview couldn’t fit in the issue, and he’s got a film festival coming up that sounds fantastic, so please read the entire interview on the JPG site here for more details.
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I like Simon Cowell more than Paula Abdul. He seems to tell the truth and for the most part appears unintoxicated.
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*I realize that historically, ‘short pants’ is meant to describe above the knee pants, or, shorts. I use the term ‘short pants’ here because I get all the capri, palazzo, flood, ankle, and crop terms confused and what I really want to say is my pants are shorter than regular pants, ok? Play along with me.

**I’d like to apologize, Eden, not just for not keeping your card in a place of honor these past few months (it’s now in the Honor Bin) but also because I didn’t even know it wasn’t. If you can’t forgive me, I’ll understand. (at least I didn’t wash it!)

***Just kidding, Mom. I don’t really believe that Easter is evil. I used the phrase ‘The power of Christ compels thee!’ because no matter how much I don’t want to, I like and keep watching the movie Just Like Heaven with Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo and there is part in there where a completely ridiculous priest says that over and over while spraying holy water all over the floor where I’m sure it burns holes clean through to the apartment underneath where people are looking up and wondering where the acid rain is coming from.

****The part at the end where Paula is standing out on the balcony in the rain? With Elliot’s guitar positively soaked through? And hugging it as if it was the embodiment of Love? That is truly a wonderful moment.

*****Actually, Joe found her. But we share a brain, in a completely un-codependent way, so it’s the same as if I found her. Right? (thanks, joe! xo)

Mystery Sock

There are many things I don’t understand. There are secrets to the Universe that I’m pretty sure I’ll never know. And that’s ok. But sometimes, I just can’t figure something out and it drives me crazy. Case in point – dryer socks. Because I have four kids, three of whom are boys who wear their socks outside in the grass or through a puddle of mud, we go through a fair number of socks. I’ve done laundry at the laundry mat before and I’ve discovered that it doesn’t really matter where you laundry – home or away – sometimes socks disappear. There is nothing you can do about it. *Poof* they are gone and the less time you look for the lost sock the better, because wherever they went, you will never find them. Go pour yourself a martini and let it go.

I frequently wear mismatched socks. In fact, you can buy them that way now. I’m positive this doesn’t just happen to me. But that is not the answer I’m looking for. I’m puzzled by the reverse.

Yesterday we did load upon load of clothes. Positively mountains of dirty clothes at my house. We did this laundry in the washer and dryer at our home. The same washer and dryer we’ve owned for the entire two years we’ve lived in this home. We’ve had no small children visit or stay the night in this home. Ever. Not that they weren’t invited, but they just haven’t seen fit to guilt their parents into coming over and spending enough nights to warrant doing that in-between-load-of-laundry before you head home. The Hump Day Load, if you will.

So, please tell me where this sock came from, Universe?

sock 003

Where? My daughter had a sock that size approximately 14+ years ago. In a different house. In a different country. With a different washer and dryer. And I’m oh-so-positive that none of my boys ever wore pink socks.

Stop It

Someone please tell me why, late at night, when I’m winding down and getting ready to dream about Mark Ruffalo coming over for dinner and a good game of Scrabble because he’s Joe’s best friend where they work at the meat plant, I end up drifting off thinking my name is Dixiesugar, that I’m Phil Collins‘ partner, that we just got done cleaning up an amazing drug bust and we’re walking into the club to compete in a dance-a-thon starting with Easy Lover?

I’ll tell you why. I turn on The Daily Show. I start to fall asleep. And then this commercial comes on. Why? Why?? (warning: that site is annoying but the story is informative.)

Regarding Foley

More than anything else we do in our lifetime, it is what the youth of today learn from us that creates our legacy. Notice I didn’t say ‘what we teach’ because what we teach and what they learn can be universes apart.

You can’t escape hearing about the Foley Debacle these days. It is everywhere and for good reason. With all the finger-pointing going on, it’s easy to ascertain that not only did people know about it for years, but so many people knew about it as to create the classic abused/abuser environment.

As an abuse survivor, it took me years to unlearn some basic truths that I learned as a child. These truths were not true in the socially acceptable circles out in the open. But on the most very basic levels of my Self, they were rock hard truths.

In a classic familial abuse situation, it is the children that learn to read the parents. They learn to assess the feeling of the room before even walking in the door. They learn to read their parent’s feelings and attitudes and intents to gauge the danger level. The children become parentalized and must watch out for their own safety and welfare because no one else will do it for them. Parents/adults can’t be trusted.

Let’s say that at some point, those kids get to a place where they are brave enough to tell someone what is happening. They hone in on an adult that can be trusted. They somehow find the words to speak the agonizing truth of the situation. And here is where they learn their next lesson: will they be believed? And, if they are believed, will they be protected? A child learns many truths about life in the aftermath of telling their secret.

In this Foley situation, the things that bother me the most, and there are so many to pick from, are 1) the kid(s) that came forward years ago were not believed to the degree that they should have been and if they were believed, their feelings and the danger of the situation were minimized, 2) the adults in control ‘stuck together’ and most likely shuffled off those particular kids to new places to keep them quiet, 3) new interns and pages were told that ‘this is just the way Foley is’ and it then became THIER responsibility to monitor what happened in this completely power-lopsided relationship, creating the illusion that children can control the abuse that happens to them, 4) immediately after being found out in the mainstream media, Foley’s camp turned to ‘he’s an alcoholic’ and ‘he was abused as a teen’ and ‘he’s gay’ in order to divert responsibility and 5) these kids and young adults are treated with less respect and have less protection than working adults do with sexual harassment statutes in place.

I find it indescribably sad that our youth are going to what should be an exciting and knowledge-packed place and supposedly having this spectacular experience learning how our government works and the ins and outs of how things get done and instead are learning the very worst kind of lessons about dysfunction, which apparently, is how our government works.

We can teach our youth all kinds of things that we wish they would learn, but it’s what we do and what we allow to happen to them and to this country that they will internalize. That is our legacy.

Thoughts About Being Positive

I’ve had thoughts just floating around and around for the past few weeks and I’ve had a really hard time getting it down in a concise and readable way for others to understand that also comes from a place of loving. But, I think the gist of it is this:

Why do people spend energy and time sending out negativity? Isn’t their life just as busy and full as mine? Don’t they have only the same limited hours in a day and juggle things around trying to fit them all in? Why would they choose to spend any of those precious moments writing hateful and venomous things about other people?

The most used argument is that everyone has the right to write about whatever they want in their blog. And I mostly agree with that. In most cases, we do. But the part I don’t get is why? What has happened in that person’s life that makes it fun to trash other people for sport? Possibly residual resentments from their upbringing? Maybe they were teased or emotionally abused (or worse) and so they unconsciously need to unload that somewhere? I think if they focused on themselves for a while and went through their own emotional stuff, they wouldn’t feel the need they do now to tear others down,

I tend to think, for the most part, that it is not just plain jealously, because of the amount of pleasure these people seem to get out of their ‘sport’ and how zealous they are about trying to tear other people down. I think it borders more on an obsessive behavior, where they are finding their self-worth in hurting others.

Another common argument is that the people ‘on the top’ that are getting hit with the negativity, should somehow not care because ‘they are famous’ and so this is what goes with the territory. Since I’m not one to get into the trash magazines about movie and music celebrities and I don’t agree that being famous is synonymous with asking the world at large to judge you for every choice you make for the rest of your life, I don’t agree with this argument, either. If someone has worked hard, been recognized for their effort and reaps the benefit of being ‘on top’, then great for them! I wish we could all support each other and say, ‘Way to go! Nice work!’ or if we don’t agree with what they say or what they’ve done, how about, ‘I don’t agree with what you said/wrote/did but I hope you get everything you hope for!’ because them getting what they hope for and work towards takes nothing away from me. There is enough ‘good stuff’ out there for everyone.

Honest debating and real discussions are great. Not agreeing is great. Diversity is what makes the world a great and wonderful place to live. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, just as I’m sure there will be those that don’t agree with what I’ve written here. But resorting to name calling and trash talking and negativity can’t be the best option. And if you have the time and energy and get the inclination to put negativity out into the world, how about putting that excess energy into something positive, like volunteering for your local candidate who might get elected because of your efforts and create some real change in the government? Or, how about looking yourself in the mirror and telling yourself that you love yourself, since that might be lacking. Be positive with yourself and let it come out of you and give it to others. You will be a truly happier person.

Movie of the Week

I took Alex to see The Lake House. She liked it. I was a little bored since this was the second time I’d seen it. Although, that didn’t stop me from crying a little but that probably had more to do with my hormones and less to do with Keanu’s touching moment. The movie is pretty predictable and I knew what was going to happen about 5 steps ahead of the action* the entire movie. I’m not really surprised.

The first time I saw it, I went with Joe. It was Friday night. And you know what that means. Alas, I forgot for a second that every single freakin teenager within a 20-mile radius would be at the theater just because it’s Friday night. But even when I saw them all milling around outside, gathering in herds and carrying out their mating dances, I just didn’t think they would be in MY movie. I figured they go see The Omen or Tokyo Drifting Crap or something else that didn’t have some slow parts in the middle. So, imagine my surprise when we walked in midway though the previews to see the entire place packed. Except for two seats in the very front row on the very right side.

As we sat down in the sea of young females, we exchanged looks and made a pact with secret codes so that in case of emergency, if he made the correct hand signal and eyebrow lifting sequence, I would know to drag him out and contact life support.

About 10 minutes in, I could feel my neck starting to kink. The view from the front row is VERY LARGE. The view from the front and very most right seats is VERY LARGE and VERY SLANTED and VERY TO YOUR LEFT. I slouched down in my seat to give my neck a rest, which worked pretty well as long as I didn’t move because the girl behind me put her feet up on the back of the seat and her black flip-flops caught my hair. When I moved my head upwards, I lost at least a one-inch area of hair. And that happened three times, even when I turned around slightly to give her my ‘GET YOUR FEET OFF THE SEAT’ face, which anyone knows, I totally mean.

And then she started sneezing. And sniffing. And I no longer cared what was happening on the screen that I couldn’t really see that well anyway. Remember that kid in 4th grade that sat across from you in the quad-desk setup? That kid that hadn’t learned how to blow their nose yet so they sniffed sniffed sniffed SNIFFED sniffed all through class? Yes. That kid. And it was she, behind my seat. And lo, I was so far passed getting pissed that I laughed.

Joe nudged my arm and showed me that in his right hand he was holding napkins and he kind of motioned like he was going to give them to her. And I nodded my head vigorously in support. He turned slightly around, thrust the napkins her way and asked, ‘Need these?’ because going herself to get napkins or asking her friends that were sitting RIGHT NEXT TO HER with some in their laps just didn’t occur to her. The girl said, ‘Thanks!’ very enthusiastically, which made me think that maybe she was just a little slow and it actually hadn’t occurred to her that her nose was dripping down her shirt and I should quit being so mean. And then all the girls giggled. And whispered.

I think we totally ruined her weekend. She was probably planning on sleeping over at her friends house and her friend was all, ‘You can’t come over now because the two old people in front of you gave you napkins! You are such a tool!’ or something that I can’t fathom because I think we all know that I really don’t know the lingo…..

An aside here: does anyone else think that Sandra Bullock is looking more and more like the long lost daughter of Joan Rivers? Did she do something to her nose?

*I use the term ‘action’ in the most general sense of the word where it means that something, anything is happening, like breathing or talking or tying shoelaces.

13 Year Old Hormones Boys

Tyler is my affectionate kid. He always has been. He’s the one that would fight to sit next to me on the couch and not just hold my hand, but move his thumb up and down on the side in a tiny caress when he was only 5 or 8. In the car, when we were driving 4 hours each way for drop offs at his dad’s, he would run his fingers through my hair from over the back seat to keep me awake. He gives great hugs.

But that was yesterday. Today, he’s 13. He doesn’t want to sit by me on the couch. He won’t ever reach for my hand. Kissing? His mom?? No way. I’m sure he’s had some momentous Freudian revelation. I’m positive that he’s right on track and being age appropriate and all kinds of other crap but I don’t care. I miss him.

I miss his ‘Where you goin’ mom? Can I come?’ because now, if I want to have him run an errand with me, I practically have to threaten to ground him to get his hiney in the car. And let me tell you, those outings are LOTS of fun. So much openness and bonding time, it’s crazy. We don’t talk about how he feels about life, religion and politics anymore, which we actually used to because he had an opinion on everything, and surprisingly (or not. shut up!), some of his thoughts made much more sense than mine. He doesn’t ever call me anymore. I always have to call him. He answers every phone call with ‘Holla.’ Every. Time.

I miss hearing detailed accounts of how his day at school was, complete with animated impersonations of teachers, because now it’s all fine. “How was school?” “Fine.” “How did your test go?” “Fine.” “How is Red doing?” “Fine.” “What does Jessica Alba look like?” “Fin- what?” and then a heavy siiiiiiiigggggggghhhhhh, because I am SO not funny. After which, he plugs in his shuffle and we listen to Coheed and Cambria louder than I can think or drive, which is very effective in ending any further conversation. Coheed and Cambria is the most perfect angst ridden music for boys ages 12-19. The lyrics talk about everything a teen boy is worried about. It’s so relevant.

Have I mentioned I’m a Car Singer? And, once I learn the lyrics, or sounds that closely mimic whatever the real words are with semi-correct timing, I sing loud and long. I think it kind of kills the rebellious angst he’s trying to create because it irritates him so. I’m slowly trying to reprogram him with music that I actually want to sing, like Gnarls Barkley, but it hasn’t taken yet. GB has too many lyrics that make sense and not enough talking about killing your girlfriend, I guess.

He’s a winker now. When did he turn into a winker? Tell me! He’s this close to turning into a guy with a girlfriend. And I fear I will hate her. Even if she’s super sweet. I have no choice. He wears only t-shirts and only if they say things like ‘Welcome to the GUN show’ and ‘Have you seen these GUNS?’ with arrows that point to the sleeves. At this rate, he’ll be able to teach at the Brawny Academy in a few years.

First, he cut off all his curls and then all the blue and now he’s got about 1/20th of an inch all over his head. He drenches himself in Axe, a poisonous smell that as a mother used to being accosted with it by three (3) boys, can smell on other teen boys about 2 miles away. What ever happened to smells like Fresh Scent or Old Spice? I hate Tsunami and Phoenix. Those are a natural disaster and a myth respectively, neither of which I think Ty wants to be. He wants to keep it real, yo.

In his room at his dad’s, where he has his own TV, he can watch football, use the laptop to be on his MySpace and AOL and also be on the phones, house for speaking and cell for texting, all at the same time. When I went over there last time to pick him up, he was interacting with 18 people, although perhaps not particularly effectively, since there just isn’t that much of a person to go around. And there is nothing left for me! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

And right as I’m typing this, sharing with you my own angst-ridden tale and feeling so sorry for myself and missing him and feeling my heart ache and on and on and on…………..he calls me.

“Mom.”
“What, babe?”
“Titty caca.”
“Umm, what?”
Titicaca. It’s a lake. It’s the real name.” laughing
“Oh. Right. Cool.”
“MOM! It’s a REAL lake. In Peru. We learned about it in school.” more laughing
“Well, Ty, that is AWEsome. Thank you SO much for calling me to let me know that you learned about -”
“Boobs and poop?” more and more laughing

I don’t know what I was talking about. He does still love me.

Weekend in Food

Friday
Left a little later than we wanted. Dropped off a painting donation to The Museum School. The poor guy has to come back to get it since it’s now 7:30 pm. As he gets out of his truck, we realize he is our across-the-street neighbor from when we lived on 21st street 2 years ago. Odd moment. Cool. Late Dinner with Matt and Margot. Instead of our usual, Turf Supper Club, we went to BJ’s so we could get giant potatoes the size of footballs to share. Sleep with Sparky and Baxter, the two best dogs evah. Baxter licks my toes THROUGH my shoes. That is how doggie his tongue is. Good times.

Saturday
Matt made taco salad for brunch. He has a secret ingredient. Awesome! He also makes the best tuna melts on the face of the planet. Went to Vons to get fish and salad for the BBQ at Jenn‘s house. Bought sushi from the deli for a quick protein punch. Bad idea and did not eat due to bad fishy smell. Had a great time with some old friends and some new ones at the BBQ. Tried not to eat roommate’s dog, Chico. Hard because he is that cute. Party games make me feel dumb. I don’t like to dance for you. I am not your monkey. Or, I am a party-pooper. Or both. Everyone else is having a great time. What is wrong with me?

Sunday
Late brunch with Mickele. Yay! Looks great as always. Smells like lavender. Yumm. Eat a pancake with bananas and whole grain. Very good. No syrup. Go to BBQ at Greg’s home. House infested with reptiles. Oh, wait. Those are pets. Also, ferrets and Skeeter, the best dog evah. We talk about channeling and quantum physics and existentialism. Greg also has a kazzillion cameras in his collection and LENDS ME A ROLLEI for a few weeks!! I get reacquainted with how a film camera works. My brain fizzes. *Pop* We leave late because I can’t stop watching the ferrets trying to hide the toilet brush up under the cabinets. Susan and Doug wait and wait and wait and then finally start dinner at Aqua Blu without us. (They have no choice. It was about survival at that point. Either eat calamari or each other.) Funny story – Aqua Blu is not The Oceanaire. Still good, but not the same. Note to Self – next time, when you make reservations for you and some friends, you might want to make sure you are making them for THE RIGHT PLACE. After a great dinner with S&D, Joe and I drive home in 2.5 hours. Awesome. I sidestep a woman that tries to hit me up for money and a ride at the gas station. We see a huge, freeway closing accident on the south side of the freeway and are so glad we are not going that way. As an after thought, we feel bad for the people in the accident thereby proving we are good people and only 78% dead inside.

I Don't Want One

I keep thinking I see spiders. Large spiders. With many legs. Tall legs. They turn out to be fuzz balls or pieces of tape left over from a birthday banner 6 months ago or I realize that I’m not a redhead and wake up. Although the one 4 inch long leg that was in the shower, all alone and obviously missing his 23 other sibling legs, that was totally real (verified by a real person not in my dream) freaks me out and somewhere in the house there is a large, hairy arachnid walking slightly off center and pulling to the left.

It may be time to look into medication.

In the grocery store checkout, I become aware that my club card is in my other purse or at home in the drawer. I’m the type of person that never gives them my real phone number because I’m paranoid that way, so there is no way to just type in my number. I decide to try Joe’s number. When that doesn’t work, I try random other people’s numbers that are in my phone. Obviously, they are all too smart to use their real phone numbers as well since none of them work. Meanwhile, the four people in line behind me begin to get restless.
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