Monthly Archives: November 2010

10 Day Challenge (3)

Day Three: Eight ways to win your heart.

  1. Well here are 365 ways.  And 365 more.  
  2. Be honest.  With me, sure.  But with yourself, first and foremost.
  3. Be funny. Think I am funny.  Laugh easily.
  4. Make direct eye contact with me for long enough for it to  almost be uncomfortable.
  5. Love a band with all your heart.  Or ten bands.  I don’t care what band it is, shitty or not, but if music moves you then you “get me.”  Extra points if you can’t really sing or play an instrument.
  6. Be self confident.  To the point of being cocky.
  7. Challenge me.
  8. Wear a god damn belt.  Always.  Wear a belt.

10 Day Challenge (2) & Day 53

Quick and dirty, right to the point…..

Day Two: Nine things about yourself.

  1. I miss my family even more now that I am happier.  That seems backwards to me.
  2. Lists like this make me very self-conscious.
  3. I don’t read as often or as much  as I wish I did.
  4. Of all the things I no longer have a budget for (booze, smokes, shoes, drugs & rock and roll) the thing I miss buying most is underwear.
  5. If I hadn’t encouraged Em to wean at 3.5 I think she’d still be nursing.  And I am okay with that.
  6. Watching shitty television, while it is an embarrassing habit, is more relaxing to me even than napping.  Because I have an awful time falling asleep.
  7. Locking the doors to the house at any time other than before I go to bed makes me feel unnecessarily frightened.  I feel more comfortable with the windows open and the doors unlocked than I do barricaded in my house.  Even after our home was broken in to last year, I still rarely lock my doors when we are home.
  8. I would much rather be cold than hot.
  9. I think I cry once a day.  Sometimes more.  The Happiness meter is judged by whether or not I was crying over something silly and sentimental or something sad.   But I’d rather be over-emotional than a robot.

And as for Day 53’s challenge to “Return to Sender” all my junk mail, I finally got some last night.  (Heh, some junk mail, I mean.) However, none of it is really worth sending back.

Can’t send back catalogs, they provide countless hours of entertainment in our house.  They barely qualify as “junk mail.”  And while I generally consider unsolicited requests for charitable donations to fall in the category of “junk mail” I am not going to go to mail it back to them, costing them time and money in processing its return.  So, in order to keep today from being a total wash, I did look up the way to stop receiving ValPak coupons.  Because they annoy the crap out of me.  I have never used one.  Ever.  And yet, I’d bet there are a few on my fridge right now.

Now, if you’ll excuse me I am gonna wake this lazy bag o’ bones and take him outside for a few.

10 Day Challenge & a kick in the ass

I have much to report and a lot of things on my mind.  And sadly, very little time to get it all on paper. Sometime the floating around of BIG ideas makes it harder to sit down and get something down.  A friend (who has incidentally abandoned me in our shared mission to change my “Life”  with “This Book“) recently shared a mini challenge that I decided to go  ahead and do here, in an effort to make myself sit down and get something “on paper.”

Quick synopsis and then on to my first day of the ten day challenge.

As for “This Book” and the Life Changin’ – Day 53’s challenge is to return my junk mail to the sender.  And I kid you not I have not received a SINGLE piece of junk mail since Thursday, Nov 11 (which was Veteran’s Day, hence no mail.) But I will be back on that horse ASAP.

In other news…. Em’s dad came to visit.  She was over the moon.

And… in even BIGGER news… someone else tagged along for the trip and will be staying for an indeterminate length of time.

Much to say about both of these developments… but for now day one of Kristen’s challenge.

Day One: Ten things you want to say to ten different people right now.

1.  Are you fucking kidding me?  ( I pretty much want to say this to this person at least once a day.)

2.  Thank you.  For holding on, to get to here.

3.  Changing your name won’t actually make you any cooler or more talented.

4.  So, did you get it?  Or are you ignoring it to be cool?  Or am I reading too much in to this?

5.   You don’t really have your feelings hurt, right?  Because for fuck’s sake…

6.  Or you could reorganize your schedule to suit that of mine and my CHILD’S.  In case you didn’t get the capitalization that was to put emphasis on the fact that Em is the child in this scenario, not you.

7.  Thank you.  With every piece of me, I thank you.  I don’t know where men like you come from, and I am not counting on ever needing to find another one… so i guess that’s okay.

8.  Is it really okay that I swear this much?  Because sometimes I think it is, and then I think maybe it isn’t, and then you say “fuck” in a meeting and I start thinking, again, that I over-think this kind of thing….

9.  Please.  Please, be here in April. I know it’s not in your control, but it won’t be the same without you.

10.  Let’s do it.   

Day 52: The Meaning of Life

Day 52: Determine the meaning of Life by looking it up in the dictionary.

the condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms, being manifested by growth through metabolism, reproduction, and the power of adaptation to environment through changes originating internally.
And if that doesn’t do it for you, from Monthy Python’s Meaning of Life: The End of the Film
Well, it’s nothing very special. Uh, try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations.
I think a combination of those two is a pretty fair assessment.
And for me?  The Meaning of my Life.  It’s pretty simple.  John Lennon said it best.  All you need is Love. I woke up one morning, turned over and found this.  And my heart almost exploded.

Day 51: Sense-less Day

Day 51: Go through your day without your sense of sight.  On a scale of one to ten how vital is your sense of sight?

I have been putting off this challenge for several days because day light saving time has not afforded me the opportunity to do much of anything in the evenings.  I am trying to take advantage of the desire to wake up mega-early to get back in the habit of going to the gym early morning.  And although the gym would be an ideal place to be without the sense of sight I couldn’t really think of a way to pull that one off.

So, I did what I usually do when I absolutely don’t want to blow something off.  I told Emily.  A child of her age will not let you get away with changing the plans. Unless the plans revolve around postponing bedtime.  So, I told Em we’d go for a walk as soon as we got home from work/school on Monday evening.  I thought we’d take turns wearing a blindfold and stroll around the cemetery, seeing if the things that we hear or smell were different when we were without our sense of sight.

Monday evening when we got home it was nearly pitch black dark.  I decided that we would probably look like creeps strolling through the cemetery blind-folded but I didn’t care.  And when I suggested that maybe we wouldn’t go at all she reminded me that I had promised.

And then I was saved.  Not by a bell.  But by shoes!!!  I ordered (read: my mom ordered for me, thanks, Mom!) not one, not two,  but THREE fabulous pairs of potential Wedding Shoes on Saturday evening and they were already here.  Em won’t change gears for just anything, but damn that kid can appreciate a spectacular cherry red satin sling-back.  By the time we’d gotten them all out of the boxes and assessed the potential of each pair, it was far too late to take a stroll through the cemetery.

Feeling pretty great about myself this evening (since I had been successful in Mission: Get Your Ass Back to the Gym this morning) I contemplated, yet again, blowing off our mission to take a walk blind-folded.  I wanted to make sure MQD had time to get some exercise, and I had dinner to prepare, and a stop at the store.  When I suggested to Em that we might need to stop at the grocery store on the way home and postpone our cemetery stroll it was her bright idea to walk through Food Lion with our eyes closed.

So, off we went.  When I first took her hand and closed my eyes, standing next to our car in the parking lot, I realized that this wasn’t really the brightest idea I’d ever had.  Allowing her to maneuver me through the dark parking lot was not actually any different from letting her set off on her own.  In fact it was doubly dangerous.  So, I opened them back up (well, one of them, I just peeked) until we got to the door.  “Mom, while we are here, I need to pee.” And off we went to the back of the store.   While we walked hand in hand through the store I realized that I was very conscious of everything she said.  (Now this is no earth shattering discovery, take away one sense and the rest are bound to be heightened.)  But it did make me very aware of how very little I actually “listen” to her chatter when we are out and about.  Now I consider myself to be a parent that engages with her kid pretty regularly.  But as I relied on her words to guide me though the store I was more actively listening than I usually do.     Thus when she said “Just come right this way, Mama.  We are gonna go down the wine aisle, since you know that one really, really good”  I giggled but didn’t interrupt her.  Or correct her.  “Really well, Em.  Really well,” I thought.

She guided me all the way to the back of the store, to the creepy area where you find the bathrooms.  Observation #1 re: being blind.  Public restrooms pose a whole new danger.   I was completely skeeved out.  I was totally gungo-ho to try to pee without “peeking.”  But as soon as I entered a public restroom I could feel myself freaking out.  I said “Pick a clean one, Em.”  Hopeful.

I could hear her opening and closing doors, assessing each stall.  And when she said “This one has something brown on the floor, but I think it is candy” I caved.  And determined that opening my eyes was the only way I was going to get in and out of here without feeling like I needed to rub hand sanitizer all over both of us.  (FYI, she was right.  It was a Reese’s peanut butter cup.  But I am awfully glad I didn’t discover it later, say, on my shoe. The parental “Is this shit?” sniff test is really only an option when in one’s own home.)

We left the bathroom and she took my hand.  I was proud of how well she maneuvered me through the dairy section.  And we talked through the various shredded cheese options.  I was even able to explain to her which cheese we wanted and felt reasonably certain she had picked the right one (although I did take a peek.)

At the register we switched places.  She closed her eyes the rest of the way to the car.  We stopped on the sidewalk and listened.  We talked about how different it was to just listen than to listen and see.   I was watching her face.  Watching her thinking.  Watching her when she is not “performing” for me is a rare pleasure these days, as she is a ham like her mother. As I watched her I was thinking about what I’d write about for today’s challenge and I felt the tears well up in my eyes.

So Day 51: How vital is my sense of sight on a scale of one to ten?  Ten.  I can’t imagine not being able to see her.  Every day.  She is changing so quickly.  The Emily June I see today will be gone by the end of next week. Replaced by a new Emily June I will somehow love even more than I do today.  Even though that seems unimaginable. I don’t know that I could believe this unless I saw it with my own eyes.  As she held my hand and directed me through the aisles, I could hear in her voice how proud she was of being “in charge.”  How excited she was to participate in a page of “your book, Mom.  The yellow book.”  The temptation to open my eyes didn’t come from my desire to see the end caps in the grocery store.  Or to not trip over an errant can of green beans.  I didn’t want to miss her.   To miss seeing her experiencing something.  Already as a working mother I miss so much.  And being with her, sharing time with her and not seeing her was very uncomfortable.   Add to that the fact that in seeing her I see myself.  And it was a positively excruciating 15 minutes.

Today’s challenge convinced me I really do… need to see it to believe it.

(This post was brought to you by the Sentence Fragment and the Lines Around My Eyes that I didn’t know I had until I looked at the above picture.  Enjoy!)


Posting this here as a reminder to read the paragraph below every day.   An excerpt from, the entire post is well worth a read.

You Don’t Have to Be Pretty. You don’t owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don’t owe it to your mother, you don’t owe it to your children, you don’t owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked “female”.

I’m not saying that you SHOULDN’T be pretty if you want to. (You don’t owe UN-prettiness to feminism, in other words.) Pretty is pleasant, and fun, and satisfying, and makes people smile, often even at you. But in the hierarchy of importance, pretty stands several rungs down from happy, is way below healthy, and if done as a penance, or an obligation, can be so far away from independent that you may have to squint really hard to see it in the haze.

Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Day 50….

Day 50: Make People Notice YOU Today!

The book offers several suggestions for getting attention: talking shit all day, don’t shave, carry a midget under your arm (?) dress in colorful clothes… none of these really struck my fancy.  I considered a lengthy repetition of “Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom., Mom, Mom” since it seems that is a widely employed way of getting attention in our house.  (I can not tell you how proud it makes me that in her five years on this Earth I have not yet actually said loudly “For Fuck’s Sake, Emily, WHAT?” Although I’ll cop to having asked her on more than one occasion if she was on fire.)

I could certainly use yesterday afternoon’s activity as  challenge material.  Em is “Child of the Week” at school so I went in to her classroom to read.  Her favorite book as of late is “Labyrinth” (a killer book from when my brother was a kid based on the film) but I explained to her that not every parent  thinks that books about goblins stealing children are acceptable preschool fare.  Not every parent thinks David Bowie rules, either.  But that is their mistake.

So, instead of “Labyrinth” we settled on Bob Shea & Lane Smith’s “BIG PLANS.” If you have little people or not it’s worth a read.   It’s about a little boy with BIG PLANS.  And he has a mynah bird pal that he continually asks if he is “in or out.”   I settled in to the rocking chair during Circle Time and  told all the kids in Em’s class that every time I pointed at them they could yell “BIG PLANS!”  And every time I pointed at Em she’d say “I’m in, says the mynah bird.”  It was fun to be in her classroom.  And for about eight seconds I thought teaching pre-school might not make me claw out my eyes.  The kids had fun.  They got to yell.  They hugged me.  I had definitely “made someone notice me.”   Check.

But as I sat down to write this quick post this afternoon and (admittedly) looked towards the keyboard to type I realized I might have done a better job of satisfying the challenge today than yesterday.  I happen to think that pearls make cleavage appropriate for work.  Right?  Am I wrong? What?  I mean… I added a sweater.  A sweater with a flower.  Does it get more demure?



Day 49: Citizen’s Arrest

Impropriety: The quality or state of being improper, not in accordance with decorum.

Day 49’s challenge was to make a citizen’s arrest.  While it would have been a lot funnier to “arrest” a stranger the opportunity to arrest my mom and step-dad was too great to ignore.  MQD and I had plans to get our “wedding tattoo” on Friday evening and my parents were coming in to town, too.  We planned to meet at Carrburritos and then stop in to Glenn’s to go over our art work, leaving Emily with my parents for a bit.  MQD and I anxiously awaited Paulie finishing up the last-minute tweaks to our artwork while Em took a stroll around Franklin St with my family, stopping at Time After Time to do some shopping.

Our idea to memorialize our eternal wedded bliss on our skin was to combine the Sailor Jerry anchor and the “Stewed Screwed and Tattoed.”

I think we were successful.  I couldn’t be any happier with the way they turned out.  Not only did I get to share this occasion with my betrothed. But…. as I was laying on my stomach, teeth clenched, tattoo gun buzzing away behind me, making idle chit-chat with the other fellow in the shop getting work done I heard my favorite sound.  “Hi, Mom!”  And I looked up to see my sweet five-year-old girl.  In her Cinderella dress.  And four new bracelets.  And a new ring.  And  new pink fuzzy hat.  And my mom.  And my step-dad.  And buzzz….. fuck that hurts.

And I was getting a tattoo.  And my daughter was there.  Surely worth a citizen’s arrest of my mom and my step-dad, David.  Who brings a five-year-old to a tattoo shop?

So, Mom and David, consider yourself arrested.  Thanks for hanging out with Ems while we finished up a few wedding details.

All’s fair…

I had a conversation in the car this morning with the little lady that made my heart stop for a second.  It isn’t uncommon to have moments where I stop and wonder how truthful I should really be with her.  She’s an intuitive little soul so lying to her outright is out of the question.  I have been struggling to find the words to just tell her that I think that the answer is complicated and if she wants to talk about it later we certainly can.  That’s working for now.

She is the “child of the week” at school and this morning she wanted to bring a They Might Be Giants CD to share with her class.   I hit play on the CD player to look for the TMBG CD and the first song that came through the speakers was one off the CD of an old friend of mine. The music started and Em immediately said “Oh, Mom.  We haven’t seen Timmy in so long.  I hope we can see him soon.  I miss him.”  I laughed.  I don’t know why he made such an impression on her but he certainly did.  Either that or she knew how important he is to me and picked up on that.  (Em recently met another old and very dear friend of mine, Amanda, and she has taken to dropping Amanda’s name in conversation lately.) She asked me “Can we call Timmy, Mom?”  I answered “Not right now, baby.  It’s super early in the morning.  But we will call him soon.  I miss him, too.”

She thinks.  “Did you love Timmy when you were a little girl, Mom?”   Straight to the point, that’s my girl.  “I did, Em.”

“So you loved Timmy and then Daddy and then Mike?”  This was a good opportunity for me to gloss over a few facts.  Like how I loved the first boy, and then Timmy, and then a boy that was unlike any other boy I’d ever love, and then a boy Timmy introduced me to, actually, and then a boy in college that traveled the globe and then a boy that became a man before my eyes and then I met Daddy.  And then the lines between “in love” and “love” got really messy.  So I opted to go with a simple “Yup.”

“And now you are in love with Daddy and Mike?”  I could feel my eyes get wet.   “No, honey.  I am in love with Mike.  Daddy and I both love you very much and we will always be each other’s family.”

She sighs.  “Oh, did you break Daddy’s heart?”

There are a million answers  to that question.  “No more-so than he broke mine.”   “Yes.”   “No.”   “Who knows? He’d never tell me.”

I paused.  “No, Emily.  Daddy and I were very young when we met.  Just like you were young when we met you.”  She laughs.  “So, Daddy and I lived together for a long time, and we grew up and we now we don’t live together anymore.  Just like one day you will not live in my house anymore, but I will always love you.  And I don’t live with Annie or DonDon, right, but I love them.   And I certainly didn’t break their hearts.”

My answer was all over the place.  And intended to distract her.  But it was honest.

She thought.  And as she opened her mouth to reply I thought oh please, can we just get to school, can this conversation be over?

“This is a good song, Mom.  You know Timmy was alive in the twentieth century.  This is a song about real life.”


Something Wicked…

I’ve written before about the trouble I had finding a Halloween costume that didn’t make me look like the hooker version of Alice.  I hesitantly ordered a dress from Halloween and was most excited when it arrived, one day earlier than I’d expected.  It fit!  And it was a lot nicer than I’d expected for the very reasonable price.  I took a peek over at their website this morning and might have to order something else now that they are having ridiculous after-Halloween  sales and I have been needing a Wonder Woman costume ever since I outgrew my Underoos in 1981.

So here we are, Alice, the White Rabbit and a wicked Queen of Hearts.