Saturday, April 16, 2011

An Endorsement

I just spent 15 minutes learning what items are not to be bought at Forever 21, because of the compromised quality. They are: jeans, shoes, earrings, and everything else sold in the store (the last part inferred by me, because of the severely disgusted look on the face of the model). This morning I also spent 15 minutes doing the following:
- learning why one shouldn't just let a fire in your car engine "burn itself out"
- eating two eggs
- sitting on the toilet, lid down, fiddling with a funky toenail and thinking about important things
- helping Quinn and Madeleine retell the story of The White Lion (happy that Quinn didn't cry quite so vigorously in the retelling) while Jim flipped pancakes

I'm not used to having more than 5 to 15 minutes of time, and so my day-off activities are scheduled like commercial breaks. Fifteen-minute increments of my Saturday are stretching ahead of me right now, and I'm already planning how to fill those bite-sized snippets of my completely unscheduled day. Because, hoo-boy, this past fall and winter, they were full. In a way that put undue stress on everyone in our house. Even the hermit crabs were filled with deep sighs and eye-rolls.

To note: I have a permanent eye twitch and tendinitis in three separate joints. Madeleine may or may not have a spider nest somewhere in her room. Quinn has been having nightmares about the mummy, and the best we could do was rearrange the junk on his shelf so it didn't look like a person in the dark. I haven't seen the surface of the dining room table, my dresser or the front passenger seat in my car since before the world knew what Brett Favre's weiner looks like.

Poor me. I'm busy. (You have to say that in Squidward's voice, by the way.)

Everyone's busy. Everyone does a lot of stuff and gets tired and doesn't clean behind the toilet and then feels guilty about it. Most people want to re-read the books they hated in high school English and finish knitting that Scandanavian sweater. Everyone wants to teach their kids to like kale and figure out what's going on in Libya. Every person in the world wants to be better.

And that is why Al Gore invented magazines. The world will always need quick, glossy verification that there is a 15 minute solution to all of our problems and that tell us what music we're supposed to be liking. There are millions of people who need a quick way to hem pants or give a handjob, and pretty recipes that will make us fit into pants we bought 12 years ago. Sure, the internet provides that as well, but most of us can't read the internet on the toilet or while we're waiting for the kids to finish gymnastics. Because we're all trying to better ourselves in the commercial breaks. The internet gives us google, imdb and song lyrics. Magazines give us therapy.

And it's fine, actually. It's not always condescending and Oprah-y, and I'm happy with the guilt and frustration driven by excessive dog hair and dried out mascara. Because magazines also give us Lindsey Lohan and Mel Gibson. Magazines are the tactile yin and yang that keep our ships upright. While the internet screams at us all day, all bright and pixelated, up in our grill, magazines snuggle up in our laps and stroke our egos and gentle nudge us towards being better. ... Evidenced by my 15-minute break in which I now know that Dennis Hopper has a son who is an actor and that cute lesbians are the only people capable of sporting "The Bieber." See, my life is a tiny bit better, isn't it? Isn't it??

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Filling in the blanks.

I can play guitar now. That's new. If you give me a song I can sing, and the corresponding chords, I can strum along, slightly off beat. And with the same up/down/up/down tempo that matches hardly anything. Except Neil Diamond songs.

I am having ankle surgery in September. It appears my tibia was sorta crushed in a bad sprain a couple years ago. It validates my hunch that the pain was more than tendinitis. The doctor will drill a hole in my bone until he reaches healthy tissue, so that fresh blood can travel down the hole to regenerate dying bone. He calls it gopher surgery, which I find comforting.

I'm writing a book about a girl with a crappy, dysfunctional family, who reconnects with her mom, who has come back into her life after finding Buddha. It's fun to write, but I may to step out of first person. She's too annoying, this girl. I like the idea of multiple points of view, but I also think that's a cop-out.

My favorite song to play thus far is Slip Sliding Away. It's easy. And sad.

The other day, in a soccer game, a woman charged at me as I was clearing a ball out of the back. When my ball flew by her (not necessarily that close, but it was a hard-struck ball). She yelled, "JESUS CHRIST" at me and cheap-shotted me later in the game. I saw her on a TV ad last night. She's a hospice chaplain for a charitable end-of-life care facility.

Everyone in our house has had Rotovirus (or something similar) in the last month. It causes early morning diarrhea. Madeleine has twice walked upstairs to complain of stomach aches at extremely inopportune moments. We don't have a door.

I don't watch tv, except for the local news, but when Carrier comes on, I just can't stop watching. Is this how reality shows are for everyone else? You just can't stop watching?

I'm trying to get a job at the YMCA. Where I'll get paid to people-watch. Have you seen the YMCA? It's like the DMV/post office/mall. With occasional hotness.

I also like Lucille. Again, easy and sad.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Lady Gaga is just fine. So is Yo-Yo Ma. So are sweats. And so is not waving and saying HI to my neighbor every single time he leaves his house.

Thirty-seven seems to be a good year to let the whatevers settle where they settle. Meaning I can give in to a few harmless vices, and discard some literal and figurative baggage. I eat raw cookie dough. I throw away magazines I've paid for, yet have no interest in reading (i.e. Writer's Digest and Some Preachy Cooking Magazine). I play my hand-held, $7 Yahtzee game until my neck hurts from the required hunching, and I don't download apps on my phone. I cook a lot of breakfast-for-dinner (like, every night or thereabouts), and I fart. It feels like I'm being self-indulgent or neglectful or both, but really, since 37 is kind of kicking my ass, I'm going to rationalize it as self-preservation.

I don't care if I'm supposed to be friends with that one mom from my school who has very bright children and is very involved with the community and shares a huge number of mutual friends. I don't like her. She's sour. I don't care if I say the wrong thing at social gatherings if my statements aren't hurtful to anyone. What, we're not supposed to have opinions and heaven forbid we air them in public?

I want people to know when I like them, or when I'm supportive of or impressed by what they do. I want the checker at Shopko to know that I think she has beautiful skin. And conversely, I want my neighbor to know that, no, actually, I don't like it when they wait so long to mow their lawn that the gazillion dandelions in their yard begin populating the entire block.

So that's my parenting formula as well. Tell them when you're pleased as much as you tell them when you're displeased, because how else will they know you mean it?

Thirty-seven. The year I quit faking. Also the year I legitimately began turning into my mom and grandma.

Friday, May 21, 2010

I don't think the snappy insults would come in handy right now.

I totally forgot to sign up my women's league team for summer soccer. Sorry, all 18 of you expecting to get some fun summer exercise. I was really busy eating and playing my hand-held electronic Yahtzee game.

In addition, I haven't sent two checks and two letters I said I would send weeks ago. And I have stamps (that's my normal excuse).

I also haven't written much or put away my clean laundry.

I suck at the above.

I don't suck at making snappy little insults or buying gifts. I'm also good at mimicking voices on the radio and making 8-year-olds be quiet.

I'm mediocre at personal hygiene and enforcing bedtime.

Hopefully, I'm really good at sucking up to the Missoula Parks and Rec soccer guy.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Oh yeah. February.

I've had all sorts of hand-wringing questions and dilemmas in the last month. Nothing that can't be resolved with a couple good afternoons-lazily-leading-into-evenings and glasses of wine spent with friends, but those didn't materialize. I tried to make do with evening-time glasses of wine spent with my children and my hand-held yahtzee game, but the latter two didn't have much to say about uterine polyps and protein-heavy diets.

After 17 years of togetherness, I know better than to expect Jim to be my girlfriend. His mind doesn't swing that way. If I want to talk about my period or complain about the parents in Quinn's preschool, I have to call up a friend, arrange a playdate, or send an email. But, well, my arms are kind of ineffective this time of year. February is the month when my limbs and social skills go into hibernation.

Whine. Someone come over and listen to me be inarticulate about my parenting concerns! Nod sympathetically while I bumble through a description of my THREE visits to the gynecologist, wherein my hou-ha got about as much attention as it did during four years of high school. None. (I wasn't particularly anxious to air my 'gina to the Future Loggers of America.) Which, back to the gyno visits, it's byarkity hem-ha jinka yo yo where gyno visits himiny grograx shrang glef. This is what I talk like in February. Hence, hand-wringing. I was just thinking that it's surprising the skin isn't pulled off of my fingers, but then I remembered teenage boys.

Hells bells I need a night out, but ALL my nights are out. Coaching, playing stuff, watching others play stuff, Board Meetings. This month sucks.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mignon is..

How do you decide what to worry about? Child abuse, drunk driving, genocide in Darfur, climate change? Do you pick one and shrug off the others? Do you unconsciously prioritize? What's your criteria, most to least helpless, what cause has the biggest impact on the world, where can I get the most return on my investment? Which wheel is the squeakiest? Most likely.

I have a browser tab with the photo stream from Haiti open all the time, and I refresh it every five minutes, hoping to see something that will make me feel better. Or worse. I just want to be able to feel for them, either happy and devastated, because if I am being mindful of them, each of the people I see in those photos, then they have had an impact. Their lives have rippled, in such a way that my little boat, floating across an ocean, is drawn closer. The world had collectively placed Haiti on the bottom shelf, along with endangered elephants and drug crimes in Mexican border towns. We decided to volunteer locally, give money to our neighbors, worry about our communities. And we were doing a good thing, we thought. I thought. That's what I thought.

But right now I'm thinking about the Haitian man I saw unloading bodies from a truck, picking up the boy in the navy blue shorts and white t-shirt by an ankle and a wrist and throwing him onto a pile of crushed Haitians in front of a make-shift morgue. I'm thinking about him and what he has to go home to tonight. About how he's going to lay down under a tarp to rest, but will hear only moaning and crying and singing, and how he's going to wash his face in the morning and do it again. And again and again and again. Some of the bodies he loads into his rusty black pickup will be friends and family. Some will be very young children or great-grandparents and most of them will be rotting in the next few days, and he'll be sick with the smell and lack of food.

I sent my money to the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders. I watch the news, I refresh my browser and look at the pictures. I read about Haiti and why it is abjectly poor. But mostly, I try to remember the faces I see, even the dead ones. And I just keep looking and feeling. Individually, it's not much, but I bet I'm not the only one.

So that's my status.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Giving Up, But Not Really. Because I'll be back at it later, probably.

Wow. I spent way too much time on this today. There are toys and drawings and empty candy wrappers stacked up around me from the kids' never-ending hovering and demands of attention.

All I want to know is, who is the TV sitcom actor with a very gravelly voice who looks a lot like Dennis Franz. If you don't know him (or even a single show he's been on), don't bother looking it up. I think I broke google.

Update: He yells a lot. In his gravelly voice. And now I broke Yahoo, and for the record, it's not these guys: