Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Wrong side of bed

Random quotes from my darling daughter this morning:

"Mama, you smell YUCKY."

"Mama, wipe my butt!"

"Mama, don't hug me! It HURTS!"

"I CAN'T EAT THIS BREAKFAST!" (the one she requested and had, up to that point, been eating quite happily)

"I HATE pink and purple [vitamins]. They taste AWFUL!"

"You are NOT IT."

"The dog is stupid, mama."

Upon arrival to preschool, where I suggested she run ahead to her class while I signed her in: "I DON'T WANT TO."

Upon encountering a rotund woman in the hallway, "Mama, that lady is SOOOOOOOO FAT!"

I'm really going to enjoy the hours between 9 and 4 today...


Monday, June 25, 2007

Dispatch from the trenches

It will come as no surprise to other mothers out there that I appear to have spent the day wearing two entirely different--although approximately the same size--hoop-style earrings: one gold and one silver. I'm not sure I find it comforting that I went about my day's activities so entirely unnoticed as to have this fact unremarked upon. The joys/perils of being a woman over 35...

Obsolescence is bad; invisibility is worse. Although I suppose being invisible will have its uses.


Friday, June 22, 2007

At last

Finally, a bit of good news: it looks like there may soon be a Spice
Girls Redux
. Not that I ever really was a fan, you understand.

If you follow the link, please savor the delicious typo of "Victoria (Post) Beckham." Clearly someone shares my skepticism towards her plastic surgeon.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Thursday morning haiku

1. Volvo dealer here
Shuttles customers in a
Toyota van. Why?

2. Voice from the back seat:
"What do butterflies eat, Mom?"
I'm not sure, I say.

3. Six weeks of summer
Are already gone, and there's
No work to show yet.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Father's Day #2

Hi Babe,
We just endured our second father's day without the most important member of our family. On the surface, the day was just fine. But the emptiness was pretty much unbearable. If you had been here, you could have seen your daughter's first dance recital--perhaps the cutest thing ever, all those little girls (19 of them) in tutus and tap shoes, approximating the routine. We laughed, we cried--and in 4 minutes, it was over. You would have been so proud of her, and it would have meant so much to have you there, by my side, sharing the knowledge that our little girl is clearly superior to every other child in the universe.

Your lovely aunt and uncle made the long drive to be there, and took us all out to dinner between performances. It was generous and caring of them, and we are so lucky to have *one* small part of your family that really seems to understand what family means, and how to help us keep going without you.

Your daughter is four-and-a-half going on 14 now, and she really needs you. She has your appreciation for cars--she can recognize a Honda Element, a Subaru WRX, and umpteen other cars, and correctly attribute them to the folks we know who drive one. She is fascinated by insects, the moon, and gardening (god help me!) and she loves to cook. If you were here, you could cook with her. And snuggle with her--she's still a very snuggly girl. And you could give her that steady, accepting love that you provided so well--the kind I'm desperately afraid that I don't know how to give. She's a beautiful, amazing, quirky, funny girl, and it breaks my heart to have her miss out on knowing you, and sharing with you all the things that would bring both of you such delight.

I guess what I'm trying to say is we miss you. We love you. We think of you, talk of you, and celebrate you always. But it's just not enough, is it.

Your wife


So there

We went to a favorite restaurant last night with friends. My fortune cookie held the following message:
It is hard for an empty bag to stand up right.

Not sure what it means, but I don't think it's a good sign...


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Moby Dick!

This story of a whale bearing some 19th-century weaponry is so fascinating that it almost makes me overlook my aversion to whaling of all kinds. Amazing to think about what that whale has seen in its century-long life (estimates put its birth during Rutherford B. Hayes's presidency--Reconstruction). Sadly, though, I don't think many of the world's changes would seem very positive from a whale's point of view. I guess he's lucky that 19th-century projectiles were relatively ineffective....


Friday, June 8, 2007

Honorary Dad

It's not a title I want, but today I was an honorary father at my daughter's class Father's Day celebration. It was actually quite a bit of fun: some kite flying, various games involving balls, board games, and the presentation of a decorated toolbox (including decorated water bottle, sponge, and a flashlight, which my daughter informed me she was "only pretending" to give to me, "because I need to keep that, Mama, to find things hiding under our beds." Okay) The Dads were generally nicer and easier to chat with than the other mothers, who seem to come in two varieties: the brittle, tanned, perfectly-groomed real-estate types and the not-quite-but-very-nearly-redneck variety, who tend to congregate together.

I managed to assemble our cheap kite with a little help from a nearby dad, was only asked once, point-blank, why I was there, when I was clearly NOT a father, and even managed to get the kite up in the air for several runs. I also got far more exercise than I had planned on, but not enough to offset the horrific McD's pancake breakfasts we took (I know, I should have gotten up and prepared us a fruit platter, but "BYOBreakfast" is tough in a town without a decent bagel place). And yes, for those of you who are counting, I have now had 2 breakfasts from the epitome of American obesity, culinary turpitude, and cardboard convenience in the past several months. More than I had purchased from there in the past 20 years, I think. That's life in a blue-collar town for you.

But, of course, the whole event was tinged by great sadness. My husband would have enjoyed putting together the kite, and he would have been able to explain how to keep it aloft. He would have played well with the other dads, and taken great delight in the fact that my daughter's current friends are mostly boys, with whom she plays "builder" and "trains," rather than the sissified girls who dominate her class. He would have loved using the water bottle at work, and the toolbox for something important. And she is so clearly starved for male attention; we have some terrific male friends who are great with her, but it's not the same as that steady assurance of a father's love and care. She gravitates to other kids' fathers so quickly that it breaks my heart. It doesn't help that both of her grandfathers are, well....distant--if not geographically, then emotionally. Or both.

Dammit. It's so unfair--to her, to him, and to me, although today, for once, I was more upset for the two of them and what they lost than for myself.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

More adorable tidbits

I was going to title this "adorable babbling," but I mistyped it as adorbable. And it is, frankly, adorbable:

My daughter has a CD of quaint old songs, including "There Ain't No Bugs on Me" (which is currently featured on a commercial for flea-repellent, performed by puppies whose mouths move in unnatural ways. Fake talking animals are also repellent, interestingly enough. But I digress, as usual).

My daughter hears the song as "There're Rainbow Bugs on Me," and has taken to sprinkling me with Rainbow bugs at various times. I find it charming. Plus, I can't figure out how to explain an ungrammatical double-negative to a child who still hyper-corrects her past tense. Rainbow bugs it is.


Why I am (psychologically) a Calvinist

Divine retribution is swift and unerring. Yesterday, in a fit of self-pity, compounded by PMS, home-repair-overload, and general moral weakness, I bought myself a lovely but somewhat pricey bauble--something lovely that I didn't need but really, really wanted. Something that if my husband were alive he would a) approve of aesthetically; b) encourage me to purchase; c) contribute enough to the household income that the purchase would be a mere blip on the monthly exchequer.

By the time I got home, there was a message from the carpenter. The porch on the rental house is rotted and needs replacing. This, he cheerfully assures me, should "not cost more than a coupla thou."

In this case, I feel less like Edwards's proverbial spider dangling over the firepit of hell, and more like a fly encrusted on the underside of the Divine Swatter.

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Monday, June 4, 2007

If only...

If only I had been aware of this anecdote (okay, if I hadn't spent most of my undergraduate English major studiously avoiding anything written before 1920), it would have saved me a world of hurt:
Henry David Thoreau [. . .] accomplished his best work while living in a tiny cabin at Walden Pond. A lady friend once gave him a doormat, but he gave it back, saying, "It is best to avoid the beginnings of evil."

The reference is from the pseundonymous "Thomas Hart Benton's" column in The Chronicle.

As literary commentary on the trials of domestic life, it ranks right up there with Oscar Wilde's purported deathbed remark, "Either that wallpaper goes, or I do." [And yes, I know there are multiple versions, and considerable question as to the accuracy of the remark. Sometimes, as I tell my students, being interesting is more important that being factual. I only tell my good students that, of course.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Not what I should be blogging about

I have many things I should be writing about: the wedding of one of my husband's dearest friends, the anguish of jury duty, and the unbelievably precocious and lovely things my daughter says (small sample 1: "I love you so much, Mama--as much as the sky. That's a lot of love. You send the love up to the sky, and then it falls back down on you. Right, Mama?" [Mama: "snuffle."] Small sample 2: She's taken to saying, "Enjoy!" whenever she hands anyone anything. Trés charmante.

But what inspired me to actually log in is this:
I now live--and probably will continue to live--in state where people are forever being hit by trains. Lots of people. People in cars. People walking. People on motorcycles. People in trucks.

And not the severely impaired, elderly, or despondent. No: for some reason, one of the base-line characteristics of the people who live here (now, I have not tracked "natives" vs. "immigrant" residents) is either a) the inability to recognize train tracks as the location upon which trains are most likely to be encountered; b) the inability to hear or see thousands of pounds of steel bearing down upon them [and remember, these are not, by and large, people under the influence of temporary or permanent impediments to sensory perception]; or c) some bizarre cult-like expectation that they can stand against a train and win.

It makes me very anxious about raising my daughter here.

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