But wait -- I know some of you are thinking -- some of those goldfish look a little... fishy.
Yes, you're right. They're Goldfish Grahams. Goldfish cinammon grahams. And they are the bomb. Kristin and I discovered them in a Pepperidge Farm Variety pack and fell instantly in love with their goofy smiles, their sense of humor, their cinamonny goodness. But we couldn't find them anywhere in the white paper bags that are Goldfish Crackers' natural habitat. We were forced to buy the variety pack over and over, eating Milanos and mini chocolate chip cookies just to be reunited with our fishy love. I even wrote to Pepperidge Farm, begging them to let me know if there was somewhere in the world I could buy just the Goldfish Grahams. They never replied to my impassioned plea. Kristin and I made a bargain with each other that no matter the lure of the fish, we would not buy the variety pack again. Too many Milanos, my friends, too many Milanos.
But then, friends, fate kissed us. Because after this theme was announced, and I was wailing at a cold, cruel universe that would give me the opportunity, but not the ability, to showcase my love, I stumbed across the holy grail of snack food. A box of little packets of Goldfish Cinammon Grahams and nothing else. It was expensive, and there were only 5 little packets in there (and, I should point out, those little packets were half the size of the packets in the Milano-infested variety pack) but I bought them and there was much rejoicing in the La Casa de Accidenta. (Sorry, Sublime, I know that my fake Spanish is TERRIBLE but it just sounds so good!) And now there is even a piece of fine art to commemorate the event.
Too bad I'm this week's judge and I'm too honorable to choose my own piece as the (clear) winner...
Lauri was in town to defend her amazing thesis. (Seriously, it is WAY GOOD!) And Benji was with her to support her. But really I think he only came with her so that he could meet Julia.
After some initial mistrust on Julia's part, Julia and Benji got on famously. They were so cute together. And, best of all, he actually played the pick up game with her! She loved that because her Mommies usually just take whatever she throws on the ground away. They certainly don't give it back to her time and time and time again so she can just throw it back on the floor.
The visit was wonderful. They actually played my new birthday game with us. And that's saying something, because except for Jennifer, we can't get anyone else to play it with us. Unfortunately, Benji kicked our butts, so I am forced to hate him now. That's the last time I let a lawyer play my game. Even though his lawyerness has nothing to do with his win. I need something to blame besides my own inadequacy.
But the pinnacle, the absolute pinnacle of their visit was when I was sitting in the living room on my laptop, and Lauri came upstairs with HER laptop. She plugged in her laptop and pulled up her web browser and said, "So, did you write anything on your blog today?" and I said, "Yup." and she said, "Oh, I better go read it then." and she did. She read my blog sitting next to me while we were both on separate computers, not talking to each other.
She told me that when I blogged about that story (and she knew I would) I should say that we were holding hands as she read my blog. And I said that she should have left me a comment while she was reading my blog while we were holding hands.
Anyway. It was a good visit. I miss them. Too bad there aren't beach houses in Iowa. Though a beach house without an accompanying beach would be a bit pointless, now that I think about it some. Maybe a cornfield house would be better. Does the wind through the corn sound a bit like waves on sand?
Kristin and I have also made our decision about our May vacation. Apologies to everyone in Florida that we've been hinting we might come visit. What can we say? We're horrible teases. No, that's not true. We want very much to go to Florida and meet all of you. We just didn't think it was the best idea for our first vacation with Julia.
So. We decided to go to Oregon instead. We miss They Who Have Abandoned Us too much to pass up a chance to go see them, and Kristin has family there who haven't met Julia yet.
After spending DAYS on the phone with each other at work, co-surfing beach property rental websites, we finally reserved the Treehouse above for a lovely 7 days. 7 days filled with the sound of the ocean. 7 days of walks on the beach. 7 days of periodic visits from friends and family. 7 days of reading and playing and sleeping. 7 days. 7 days. 7 days of heaven. And a total of 11 days away from work.
God, I can't wait. How can I wait? I have been reduced to periodically hiding in a small private telephone room at work.
Now, when I'm hiding, I can be making lists of things we need to buy before going, and things we mustn't forget to pack before going, and things we should remember to tell our house/dogsitters before going and things we must be certain to see while there...
If you’re paying attention, you’ll remember that this is what our kitchen/dining room looked like at the end of last week’s demolition derby. This week the plan was to create an arch into the kitchen that matches the arch in the living room, and rock the exposed walls. Doesn’t that sound cool? Rock the walls? Like we’re throwing a party or something. Like there’s going to be live music. Yeah. We’re going to rock the walls, alright.
My parents arrived around 10 AM and Julia insisted on spending some time with Grandpa first. Last week he got right to work as soon as he arrived, and then got too messy to hold Julia, and boy was she upset. This time as soon as she saw him she started leaning toward him and buzzing her lips at him. So, baby break. Then mom asked what we were going to accomplish. I told her that we were building an arch into the kitchen and she asked if we were going to be building an arch into the bedrooms. I told her no and she went: Oh. In THAT tone of voice. That tone which lets you know that she disagrees with your reasoning but doesn’t want to say anything. So then Dad said: what, you think I should build them a second arch? And Mom said: Well, it’s not MY house, so it’s not up to ME to say. And that settled that. We were building a second arch. Just like last week when we set out to tear down one wall and ended up tearing down two, this week we planned on building one arch and ended up building two.
Mom and Kristin and Julia left to run errands, and Dad and I got to work. First, he finished framing in the walls. We salvaged the studs from last week’s tear out and used them to finish the new walls. Then we started on the arches. Dad held up the plywood for the kitchen arch to the living room arch and I traced the arch so we could get the same slope. Then he cut out the two arch pieces. After I helped him get them hung on the wall, I started screwing in the support blocks while he went off to start cutting out the pieces for the second arch.
After we got the supports up for the second arch we realized that the arch was a little… shall we say, lopsided. So Dad took his saw and started shaving away at the arch. For a while there I was worried that it would be a bit like when you’re giving someone a haircut and you realize that one side is longer than the other, so you cut a bit off that side and then you realize that the other side is now longer, so you cut a bit off THAT side and then you realize… and before you know it you’re bald. Thank goodness Dad knew when to stop.
Once the arch forms were up and the supports screwed in, it was time to rock the walls. We started by screwing up a piece of sheetrock and then Dad took his saw and backwards and NOT LOOKING cut out the arch. (Kristin and my Mom and Julia came home in the meantime and were able to observe our work)
After the rock went up then we got to use the fancy-schmancy bendy corner beads. And we started looking around for the taping knives (of which I had lost the 4 in knife, so we had to send Kristin back to the store, which left us some time for goofing off)
After Kristin came back with the 4 inch knives Dad and I got started mudding in earnest. No pictures of that, unfortunately, but here’s a picture of Mom doing her job of holding the tape and the knives. From this blog post you would think that my Mom isn’t very handy, but she is, actually, we just wanted to keep her clean so she could hold Julia.
Speaking of Julia, she was fascinated by all the work going on. She couldn’t take her eyes of Grandpa and all the interesting things he was doing to our house, all the noise he was making, all the things he was knocking over. Boy, my girl doesn’t miss a beat. Kristin had a bought a little 2 in knife just in case we needed one that small, and so I wanted to set up a little photo op with Julia and the little knife (btw, for those of you NOT familiar with construction tools, these knives I’m talking about aren’t cutting knives, though they can be sharp, the one we gave Julia wasn’t). I thought I would hand her the knife and she would wave it around, maybe try to stick it in her mouth or on someone’s clothes, but she knew just what to do with that knife and mud. She turned right around and stuck it on the wall! It was as if she was glad that we finally realized what a big help she could be.
Finally, both arches and all the raw places in the walls (with one notable exception, but we’re going to do something else there, I don’t know what, yet, but it won’t be drywall) were slathered in mud and tape, the floor was a mess, and Grandpa and Julia fell asleep in the chair.
When Grandma and Grandpa finally left, here’s what our house looked like:
Up next: sanding (ugh) texturing (not so bad) priming and painting.
Yeah, there are crocuses (croci?) but they're pretty battered by the recent storms. The full magnificence of spring is still a few weeks out.
But this is still an exciting time for me because the trees are visibly beginning to awaken. This picture captures the excitement of early spring for me because it has two of the three early spring harbingers in it... swelling buds and light in the morning (I took this picture before driving to the train station for work). The only one I didn't capture (but were I a better photographer I could have) is the swelling birdsong that grows stronger each morning as more and more birds arrive in their summer homes.
Outside my office, a few of the trees have pushed their first leaves outside the too-tight bonds of their buds. I am cheered by the thought that soon it will be warm enough for me to take my lunch outside and sit in shade.
I come home, toss my purse aside, throw my lunch bag in the general direction of the sink (that is, if I've remembered to bring it in from the car), and look around for my baby. I give her kisses, make obnoxious noises at her, sometimes pick her up and make her do a little dance, jostle her, annoy her, and basically do everthing I can to make her laugh. I'm trying to fit an entire day's worth of exuberant interaction into the short time I have before we begin the above-mentioned routine where we're trying to mellow out and induce peaceful slumber-type leanings.
Sometimes when I come home other things intrude upon this time, things like: depression; dissatisfaction with my job; my volunteer work; or a sense of impending doom from a million things undone, unplanned, neglected, pushed off. On these days, our roles reverse, and it's Julia doing everything she can to annoy me, distract me, capture my attention, make me laugh. She blows raspberries, coos, babbles, screetches, makes a bub, bub, bub sound by flipping her lips with her fingers. She throws her body towards me as I walk by where ever she is -- even if she's in her other mom's arms and that other mom is doing everything she can to draw Julia's attention herself. I can't resist this kind of assault and cave, abandoning my bad mood/preoccupation/ranting/pacing/dish washing to give in to her requests and pick her up and give her kisses and let her pull my hair and poke my eyes and strangle me with my necklace (I have got to take my necklace OFF!) and pinch my lips and smear my glasses and give me kisses which turn into trying to bite me.
How can stay in a bad/anxious mood under an assault like that?
Well, I can, because sometimes I am just that stubborn, but it's really really hard.
For more fuzzy-bunny adorableness (including a beautiful one of Julia's little feet and my mother holding Julia's hand) go to my flickr page.
Prepare yourself for Sugar Shock.
Last night, at the final moment, reason and compassion prevailed over bigotry and hatred and rhetoric in Utah.
Governor Huntsman vetoed HB 148.
I may have to rethink my blanket distrust of Republican motives.
Wendy called at 10:09 PM last night to let us know. Of course, we were asleep. But her triumphant voice filtered into my dreams. I woke up in an amazing mood having dreamt that the bill had been vetoed and pressed play on the answering maching to find out that it was true.
This gives my family at least one more year of status quo (neither better nor worse in our rights than we were last year) before they try again next legislative session (and, they will try again). But this also gives Keri Jones a real chance at a positive outcome from the Utah Supreme Court.
I'd like to thank everyone who called, but particularly my father, who dared to talk politics in his office and convinced several co-workers to call on my behalf.
I'm off to write a thank you letter to the Governor.
So she sent us pictures. Of the whole set, this has got to be my favorite. A picture of the outside of her fridge. With pictures of her at work on it. Of course, she's standing too far away to see the pictures, and too close for us to see what her kitchen looks like (and, more frustrating, the fridge is closed so we can't see what's in there or what she's eating these days...)
This is supposed to take the place of pictures of herself at work.
I think that the fact that this is what she chose to send a picture of is just hilarious.
We've been wanting to start this project since January. But my brother, He Who Could Sell Snow to Polar Bears, beat me to the slave labor punch with my dad, by deciding to finish his entire basement, tying up my dad's labor for MONTHS. And then he had the nerve, when Kristin and I mentioned that we were having to wait for dad's help until he was done with the basement, to talk about how sad he was for Dad what with everyone planning all his weekends with hard labor clear until the summertime! HWCSSTPB makes more money that Kristin and I combined, he could have PAID someone to help him whereas if Kristin and I want this done we NEED my dad's help. I am just not that good at wiring and installing cabinetry myself.
Anyway, that's just him.
The funny thing is, his basement has taken so long because he doesn't like to get up early on weekends. So they're not getting in as much work each weekend as they could. Kristin and I, we're different. We're willing to get up as early as my Dad wants us too. So we're much more deserving of his help and love than HWCSSTPB is. So there!
Ahem. Anyway, we thought it would be weeks before we really got started. But then Dad called Friday night to say that the sheetrockers for the basement aren't done yet, so he had a free Saturday. Did we want to get some walls knocked down?
Except, Lauri and Benji were coming into town Saturday night. Oh well, beggars can't be choosers -- either us with our free labor, or them with their free room. So we called them and told them that this was going to be going on and they were fine with it (we knew they would be).
Saturday morning my Mom and Dad came over and we got started! Mom and Kristin took Julia off to get her Easter Pictures (I'll show them tomorrow or Wednesday!) so she wouldn't be breathing in all the dust. And Dad and I attacked the kitchen wall.
Yeah. It was a lot of fun. Only... we were so exited to get started that we didn't think about how messy lath and plaster are when you deconstruct. And so we didn't block off the other rooms of the house with plastic sheeting. Oh my! Dust was everywhere! And some of that dust may or may not contain lead paint fragments. About halfway through I looked at my Dad and asked him, "How much lead dust does an adult have to inhale before they get stupid?" and looked back at me and said, "I don't know, they never mention it. Now stand back, I need to rewire this outlet, but I don't want to bother turning off the breaker first, it'll take too much time..." (you think I'm kidding with that last part, and I have moved it up in the timeline for humor's sake, but he really did do all the rewiring without flipping the breaker. And people always wondered why I thought Home Improvement was such a funny show...)
Ok, back to the pictures:
Here's where my dad starts undoing all my hard work.
Here's where we started kicking through the wall.
And here's a view of the missing wall with most of the rubble cleaned up. Where my dad is standing on his ladder is where we'll build an arch to match the arch that divides the living room proper from the part of the living room that I like to call the library.
Then, just when we thought we were finished, the wall dividing the dining room from the hall started getting a bit mouthy, started talking some trash. So we decided to TAKE IT DOWN. . Actually, we realized that with the overhang on the bar, and people sitting at the bar, the entry to the hall/bathroom was going to be too small, and so we decided just to knock the whole thing down.
Turns out that is the bearing wall, but the doorway into it was never given a proper header, so now the ceiling is safer, anyway.
When Kristin and my mom came home they were appalled at the mess. I tried to say how we had been cleaning as we went, but that didn't excuse us of the (possibly) toxic dust filling the entire house. My mom watched Julia in the (dust free) basement while me and my dad kept working and Kristin started in on dust control. She finally caught up to us and then it was pretty funny, her following us around vacuuming and wiping nearly as fast as we could mess things up.
It reminded my dad of HIS mother. My grandfather was a carpenter, and my grandmother is a clean freak. She HATED constuction. So my grandfather would never tell her when he planned to start a new project. He'd just wait until she left for errands or something and then just tear a wall down. She'd come home, get upset, realize there was nothing she could do now, and start cleaning up after him.
Actually, now that I think about it, that's a sad story. No wonder they ended up getting a divorce... Anyway, since I grew up in houses that were always torn apart too (I, too, would come home from school or a friend's house to find walls missing or holes in the side of the house, or carpet torn up) I also HATE contruction messes. I hate living among the rubble and discombobulated rooms/furniture/appliances. It makes me all kinds of cranky. Funny, though, that I say that, because we are constantly remodeling parts of this house. But Kitchens are particularly troublesome to me. So, during this whole project I am going to work on keeping a Zen spirit and cleaning up as we go. So, for the cleaning, and the fact that during this work week, at least, our lives won't be too disrupted, I am so grateful to Kristin for working so hard to restore order to our home as my dad and I worked so hard to disorder it.
By 7:30 PM my parents were gone, the house was clean, and we were trying to adjust to the changed floor plan.
Up next weekend: framing and drywalling the rough openings and forming the arch.
Then a weekend off before knocking a hole in the side of the house!
So we bought it. And have lived with it, dreaming always of the day when it would be functional and we'd enjoy thowing dinner parties again.
We had plans drawn up 2 summers ago when we thought we'd finally get to it. But removing the asbestos popcorn from the ceiling and repainting the entire upstairs took more of our money and summer than we planned, so we didn't do it that year. Last year I was unemployed and Kristin was in the middle of a risky pregnancy, so we didn't get to it. So, this is our year!
We're getting most of our cabinets for free from my dad, and my aunt who's redoing her place right now is also donating some cabinets to the cause. We have ceramic tile from when we did our bathroom 3 years ago -- we bought extra at the time for the kitchen we knew we would do eventually. We've already bought our new appliances. All we've been waiting for is my dad to have time to help us.
I plan on updating every Monday with what we've accomplished over the weekend, starting (surprisingly to us) today.
But first, here are the before pictures. Most of them have notes (like the plans above) so click on them if you want more information.
Kristin had those hiccups Monday night. We had made crock-pot chili and she had added too much chili powder and made it a bit too spicy. And spicy is all it takes to throw Kristin into painful hiccups. And so they started, high and hard.
Julia was sitting in her bumbo seat in the middle of the table working on eating a saltine cracker. At the first hiccup she dropped her cracker and looked up startled. But as the hiccups continued, despite Kristin's attempts to stop them, Julia decided that this, this was Mommy's newest Game for Julia's Entertainment. And she decided she liked it. As each horrid hiccup tore its way out of Kristin's throat Julia laughed harder and harder until she had a full-on case of the giggles as impossible to stop as Kristin's hiccups. EVERYTHING was hilarious. EVERYTHING. In the moments between hiccups Julia laughed at me, her broken cracker, her own laughter. But the hardest giggles came from the hiccups.
It was just so delightful and she was just so funny, the faces she was making in her laughter, the sound of her squeals, that Kristin and I were pulled into the giggles, too, though Kristin's giggles were frequently interrupted by hiccups and moans.
When the hiccups subsided and the giggles died down and our baby was smiling and goofy and waving her arms furiously at us to get us to do something funny again, Kristin wiped her eyes and leaned in closer. "I love you so very much" she crooned at our baby.
And Julia started laughing again.
I was speaking with A, Julia's caregiver, this morning about character and personality. A's raised 2 children of her own so far, is working on raising a third, and has been in the home daycare business for 15 years. She LOVES to give us new moms advice. We're not so much in love with all the free advice, but what can you do? But this morning she said something interesting, because I'd been wondering about it myself.
She mentioned that by 6 months a baby has the personality that they'll have for the rest of their lives. I agree with her, to a point. Because I know that tragedy or abuse can change a child's personality. But, barring that, yeah, I agree with her. She also went on to say that Julia is the most schedule resistant baby she has ever met. Despite ours, and A's, best attempts to wrangle our child into some sort of routine, she insists on doing her own thing in her own time. Absolutely unpredictable. And absolutely unpredictable in her reaction to our wranglings. Sometimes she humors us, amusedly going through the motions we request of her: Dinner between 5:30 and 6 PM, a bath or playtime (we can't bathe her every day or she gets eczema), some cuddle time, a bottle, and then to bed between 7 and 7:30. Sometimes she humors us by actually eating and falling asleep on cue. Sometimes she attempts to eat and then plays with her food and then fights and fights and fights sleep. Sometimes she wants none of it and just yells at us (important to note here, she rarely flat out cries over scheduling disputes. Her favorite method of communication at these moments is a full-bodied holler or a high-pitched screech). Most of the time she ignores our efforts and does her own thing, leaving us breathless and sleepless and dizzy and just trying to keep up.
She is stubborn, fiercely communicative of her needs, and implacable in her resistance to any rhythm imposed upon her.
And yet, she has a delightful sense of humor and is easily amused, overwhelmingly good-natured, cuddly and affectionate, and incapable of carrying a grudge beyond the immediate moment. (And yes, a baby with next to no conscious memory is STILL capable of carrying grudges, just not this baby).
She is a determinedly free spirit, but a charmingly effervescent one.
I tremble at the thought of her tween and teenage years: they're going to be hard on us, but no doubt they will also be filled with a lot of ebullient laughter.
And all of this was a long way to set up the fact that after nearly 3 weeks of Julia going to sleep around 7-8ish at night and waking only 2 or 3 times (never at predictable times, however) and going right back to sleep by herself in her crib until 6 or 7 AM, Julia has decided to wake every hour or so and make a concerted effort to get her mommies to let her get up for the day. Is she hungry? Sometimes. Is she messy or wet? Sometimes. But most of the time she has just determined that she would like to stop sleeping and it is a personal affront to her that we keep attempting to lull her back to sleep so that we can get some more rest ourselves.
It's a power struggle of epic proportions. Mostly because Kristin and I are getting more and more tired and thus less and less able to deal with this with good humor. And because, with the extra sleep (a whole 7 hours a night! YAY!) we were getting a few weeks ago, we started thinking that maybe we were getting ready to try for #2 so that we can move out of this state already and go somewhere we'll be treated like adults and citizens and human beings and a real family.
So, yeah. It feels a bit emotionally freighted.
We have a bedtime routine (Ha ha. Ha.) and a binkie and a lovey. We even have a Kenny Loggins CD (“Return to Pooh Corner”) for God's sake. But we do not have any restful sleep. We have tried co-sleeping, swing sleeping, crib sleeping. We trade off shifts. We have asked A not to let Julia sleep in the late afternoon ("Ha!" A says, "YOU try to stop her from sleeping when she decides to sleep!") and A reports that Julia really only sleeps about 3 hours total during the day. And that's on a day that she naps well. She rarely naps well. This girl does not like to sleep. So every night for the last few weeks there has been much wailing, and railing toward the heavens above (away from her ears), and useless pleadings with our little nighttime tyrant.
And dreams. Many crazy, messed up dreams from my interrupted sleep.
But last night. Last night was hard. Last night I looked at Kristin at about 3:15 AM and stated: we cannot have a second child, I cannot do this pregnant, we cannot do this again. And then I fell into a torn sleep where I dreamt Julia was lying next to me cradled in the crook of my arm, my head bent down to her face, touching noses, and Kristin was spooning us and Julia opened her eyes and looked at me and said her first sentence: I am trying to comply with the perfection you so obviously expect of me. And I turned, my chest and throat hurting even in the dream, looked into Kristin's wide-open eyes and asked her if she had just heard our daughter's first sentence. Kristin just nodded. That's the moment I woke up to Julia crying in her room, wanting to start her day at 4:35 AM.
She's trying to tell us that something has to change. I think it needs to come from me.
That far, huh? Well good thing I didn't. I guess that's a picture for the mantel only. (yes, I did take one. I am a bad, bad mommie)
Oh, yes! You heard me right! Julia's first poopie in the potty! I was giving her a bath when she started making the "poopie face" and I noticed some Prairie Doggin' going on down there. So I whipped her out of the tub and put her on the toilet. She looked a little concerned at the change in venue, and nearly started crying, but I just encouraged her to keep on poopin' on and that just what she did.
I gotta tell y'all. Wiping after that was a lot easier than changing a poopie diaper. Maybe I shouldn't have laughed so hard at the whole "elimination communication" idea.
And no, this isn't a picture of her during the prairie doggin' stage. But rather of her right after I put her back in the tub.
I think she looks more than a little self-satisfied, don't you?
Though her hair does make her look a little like a kewpie doll...
Sublime has ALSO marked one of my pics as a Flickr fave! Yay! Because I am a total whore for compliments. And I didn't even take that picture. But it is of me so I still feel complimented.
Gosh, I am feeling full of blogly wonder. I may deluge y'all with posts. And I think I may deluge the residents of the frog pond as well... we'll see how much time I get.
On another note: perhaps I should have been a little more specific when asking about your favorite of my posts from the last year. I ask because I'm applying for a corporate mom-blog writing position. That's right, I just may get to be paid for blogging! Maybe. They want to see three blog posts that showcase my writing skills and the way I can engage readers and draw them into a story. Funny is good, too, I'm sure. However, though absolutly hilarious, and I will be certain to include that post at the top of my "Best Hits" list, the one where I talk about the fact that I thought my wife was masturbating very loudly may not be the best post to bring to the attention of corporate-types. The posts I direct their attention toward do not necessarily have to relate to motherhood or Julia, but I'm thinking that they should not be discussing things that are all that controversial. But maybe I'm just being a pussy. Any further thoughts from y'all?
Finally, those who were interested in the Mix CD club need to join by the end of this weekend since I'm going to be closing the ranks so I know how many CDs to make. It this goes well, I'm thinking that after everyone in the club has had their turn I'll reopen the club to new members and we'll start again.
One of the ways that Flickr lets me know that it doesn't like me that way is the favorites link. No one counts any of Trista's pictures as a favorite. And Flickr has NO PROBLEM rubbing it in my face.
No one calls [pic title] a favorite.
No one calls [pic title] a favorite.
NO ONE calls [pic title] a favorite.
TAKE A HINT, Trista, NO ONE LIKES ANY OF YOUR PICTURES!
Oh yeah? Well, I think you're... you're... you're a POO POO HEAD!!!
Just goes to show you how much you know, Flickr. Because someone does too like my pictures. Tularoo does. SO THERE!
Thanks, Tularoo, for marking Trista Toddler as a favorite. I am really enjoying rubbing it in Flickr's face.
And, because I don't want you all thinking that I was completely miserable as a small child, I give to you a lovely picture of me and The Brother Just Younger Than I when I was approximately 3 years old. Look how cute he is!
Finally, for your viewing pleasure, I present to you a picture of the cutest girlfriend I have ever had. I was trying to find a picture that shows how much Julia looks like her Mommie, but all of those were too poor in quality and/or size to scan nicely, so you'll just have to take our word for it.
When I met Kristin she had a beautiful purple couch. And I was impressed, because I (and all of my friends) had only ever had $12 thrift store couches with authentic 70's velvet upholstery. I walked into her condo and sat on her Real Couch and thought to myself, "this one's a keeper, look she even has real furniture!"
Unfortunately the purple couch didn't hold up well to the Evil that was Oscar as a puppy. It was looking quite shabby by the time we bought our house. And by the time we repainted and got our house looking pretty darn snazzy, the couch was downright disreputable. In fact there were only some big, orange, velvet flowers between it and thrift store splendor. While we had removed asbestos ceiling popcorn and redid the floors and painted we had moved the couch into our sunroom. Afterward we couldn't bear to move it into the house proper. We had no furniture in our huge living room for months.
We decided that the only kind of couch that would work with our lifestyle was a leather couch. Because we're not happy unless animals have to die for our comfort. Or something like that. Actually, though most people thought we were crazy to want to spend the money on a leather couch when we have dogs and cats, leather really is one of the best options for a pet and child-filled household: if it's good quality, then it's too tough for most dog claws and kid's toys to pierce; it's durable; it's comfortable; and, most importantly since I'm allergic to dogs and Kristin is allergic to cats, all the fur and dander and kid slobber just wipe right off.
After months of searching, we found a set that we liked at Granite Furniture. Granite was going out of business and so this set was steeply discounted to a little over 2K. Still, we wanted to try one more place. So we decided to try this new store Civilizzation (misspelling theirs). The owner greeted us himself and was so nice and courteous, that even they were closing for the day when we got there, we decided to go back and take a longer look before committing to the leather set at Granite, even though we could have lost the set at Granite to another buyer in the meantime. And even though we had really liked the salesperson at Granite.
Well, we did go back, and there were 2 sets we liked there. One set was 1500 and one set was 3000. The salesman at Civilizzation (not the owner) told us that the set that was 3k had a lifetime guarantee on the leather and was top notch blah blah blah. So we decided to go for the expensive set -- instead of going back to Granite and getting the set on clearance. And that's where the troubles began. We had already signed all the papers for the financing when the salesman informed us that though he had TOLD US the set was in stock, they really only had the couch in stock. They'd have to order the chair, ottoman, and loveseat in from Italy. We asked him: does that mean we need to pay a second delivery fee? No, he said, just the one fee because this is our fault blah blah blah.
2 months go by. 2 months during which we learn that the leather really ISN'T guaranteed for life. 2 months during which we learn that though he told us we had signed up for a no interest no payments plan there really were payments to be made. 2 months at the end of which we learn that the salesman NEVER ORDERED the rest of our set. Finally, another two months go by and after much telephoning and much stress and many harsh words (but never actually managing to speak with the owner again -- he was always on "vacation") we were told that the rest of the set had arrived, it would only be $150 to deliver it. Now I dealt with this call. In fact I called our original salesperson to find out why they wanted us to pay for a SECOND delivery fee after being assured that since he had sold us a set that wasn't in stock we wouldn't have to pay a second fee. He told me that the delivery guy they had been using at the time was now out of business and so they had to use a new guy blah blah blah, I interrupted him to ask him what he was going to do about this problem and he told me that if I had a truck I could come pick up the set myself. I told him that if I had to get a truck I'd be taking it to another furniture store, and that's when he told me that I couldn't return the set I had never actually received and get my money back, and THAT's when I told HIM that there was no way I was going to be picking up that set myself and that there was no way that I was going to pay a second delivery fee and that if that set wasn't in my house immediately that not only was I going to be getting my money for the set AND the delivery fee back, but I was going to make certain that EVERYONE IN THE WHOLE WORLD knew that Civilizzation was full of crooks.
Still, it took more harsh words from Kristin on a separate call to get anywhere.
The set was delivered that afternoon. By the oldest, most wizened, little man possible. In fact, Kristin and I needed to help him get the set off his truck and into our house because he was so frail. And once in our house we realized that the entire set had the wrong legs. They didn't match the sofa we had already bought. And when we called Civilizzation back, they told us that the only thing they could do for us was order another set. Oh yeah, and this time we'd have to pay not only for them to pick the old set up, but also for delivery of the new set. Halfway through that phone call Kristin and I were in the car and on the way to the store. Where we sat talking very, very loudly in front of people who were trying to decide to buy expensive furniture, about our problems and how unhelpful Civilizzation was (do you see how many times I'm using their name, that's cause I'm STILL mad and I STILL want everyone to know) in correcting their own mistakes. Finally, they managed to find the owner who was supposedly "on vacation". He was actually in the basement.
We told him that we had originally come back because he was so nice, how we had enthusiastically recommended Civilizzation to everyone we knew, how bitterly disappointed we were with the sales person's lies. And now this problem. Finally he came up with the solution to switch the wrong legs on our set with the correct legs from another set. We were still disgruntled, but grimly satisfied as we drove back home, a man with a screwgun and the correct legs in his truck following behind.
But once we got home and finished unwrapping the set, we discovered that the loveseat arm had a tear in the leather, and the whole process of bitching and waiting and threatening started all over again.
We ended up filing two Better Business Bureau complaints against the company and waiting nearly another 4 months before the loveseat was replaced. And though our furniture is beautiful, a certain part of the joy and excitement and feeling of success that comes with buying your first set of "adult furniture" was stolen from us.
We hate Civilizzation. And we think the owner is liar and a crook.
20 years ago my family lived in a little neighborhood. The neighborhood, in fact, that I talked about in It's Just a Jump to the Left. At the top of the street was a man who owned an upholstery shop. He always threw the best sample books away. My Barbie had velvets and satins and tapestries for her clothes. She had pigskin and leather furnitures. I made them from the sample books this man threw away. This man was also the first person in our neighborhood to put in a double driveway. It was so smooth. So it became our neighborhood skating rink. He used to get upset because our skate wheels were hell on the recycled brick walkway leading from the driveway to the sidewalk (but it was just so fun and bumpy to skate on!)
This man, Bob C., asked my father to install some cabinets for him (my father, at the time, was a cabinet installer). My dad sold him the cabinets and did a beautiful job installing them. Bob said it looked perfect. He paid with a credit card. A week or so later the credit card company informed my father that the purchaser had requested that payment be withdrawn because he was unhappy with the job. But, when you do this, the seller has the right to make things right with the purchaser. So my father called up Bob C. and asked him what he could do to make it right. Bob said that he had decided just to live with the imperfection but that he wasn't going to pay for it. When my father explained that that wasn't an option -- he would either be allowed to fix it or Bob C. would tell the credit card company that he had lied and it was fine, but either way Bob C., not my father, would be paying for the job.
Eventually Bob C. stopped trying to withdraw payment. See, there was nothing for my father to fix, the cabinets and installation were perfect and exactly as requested.
My parents make it a point to try to visit with us and Julia at least once a week. So nearly every weekend I get a call from them wanting to know if we're home and able to have visitors. We usually are. It's nice to see them and consequently we've been able to do a lot more talking than we have for the last several years.
When my parents were over this weekend visiting they told me that they had received a telephone message from good old Bob C. Seems he tracked my father down because he needs some cabinets installed and he wanted to know if my dad was still in the business because he did the best work. He mentioned in his message that he owns a furniture store now. A furniture store called...
wait for it...
My parents didn't call him back, aren't about to work with that man again. But they wanted to know if I had realized that I had bought my furniture from this old neighbor who had tried to cheat my father so many years ago.
"No," I said. "But the sensibility fits."
"Well, maybe he just bought it," they replied. "What was the name of Civilizzation's owner when you were struggling with him?"
"He was from Europe somewhere, we thought, cause he had a foreign name. Robert..." (pronounced Ro-bear) my voice trailed away.
Kristin and I looked at each other and then started laughing.
Yup. Good old Bob C.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Remember this? Well, it did pass the Senate and is sitting on the Governor's desk. The Governor who, by the way, has as his legislative Assistant an old friend of mine from Jr and Sr. High School. Who married another old friend of mine. Who knows that I am gay and have a non-bio child. Who hasn't written me back when I sent him a letter in response to his surprise letter last Christmas.
But that's neither here nor there.
The governor hasn't signed the bill yet. So I called him up. Asked him not to sign. Not that I got to talk with him directly, but still.
And while I was doing it I felt that I'm-about-to-embarrass-myself-by-sobbing-hysterically-on-the-phone feeling. I know that more than just one of you has felt that feeling.
I managed to croak out my name and my position and the fellow reassured me that he would put me on the Veto List. And then he thanked me for calling and I sniffled an "uh huh" and hung up the phone.
It feels so useless. I feel so helpless. And it hurts more now that I've asked for it. Like if he just didn't know that it would hurt me and people like me, the signing would be ok. Not personal. Not: you are a horrible person and should never have a child and I shall make certain that you don't and know for the rest of your life that you do not deserve that bit of loveliness and wonder that you snuck past us and now have the nerve to call your "daughter". And that she is also not worthy of real consideration. Because she is the child of perverts and because of us must suffer. And I did that to her, by helping to bring her into this world that would willingly rip her parent from her.
So I cried at my desk and hoped that no one would come through my lobby and see. And I cried not only for me, but also for Keri Jones. Because this hits her first. And because she stood there in the capitol with a picture of her and her daughter and asked those legislators not to vote for a bill designed to rip her daughter from her. And they voted for it anyway.
Just as I am certain Governor Huntsman will sign this bill.
Despite all the pain it will cause.
And after I finished crying, I called up Kristin and gave her the number so she could call, too.
And now I'm giving it to you. 801-538-1000. If you live in Utah and you see this please call this number and ask if HP 148 has been signed. And if it hasn't, please add your name to the veto list.
In for a penny, in for a pound.
If you had to pick 1 to 3 of your favorite posts on Accident of Hope (or, heck, Speckled Frog, I guess) which would they be? Can you tell me why?
Looking at the postmark on my diploma I realized that it was mailed 1 year to the day that I defended my thesis. Hmmph.
Walking to her house was the only time I was allowed to go past the blue house that was 4 houses down. Walking up the street the other way (at that time) the streed dead-ended in a huge expanse of field full of these bushes that were covered in small yellow flowers and grew taller than my head. Our street was a solitary incursion into this field. I don't recall there being a specific boundary to our play if we walked into the field. Today as a parent I'd be more afraid about what could happen in that maze of an empty field than on a tree-less suburban neighborhood street, but I guess times were different then. Or perhaps I just never paid attention anyway, preferring to lose myself in the flowers and army ant hills and weeds than listen to my mother.
Although, after my parents were referred to DCFS for neglect my mother bought an airhorn and I was forced to listen to her. See, one of the charges against my mother was that she didn't keep good enough track of us kids. Partially that was something trumped up to try to add credibility to the main charge that we were being raised without moral guidance (they knew we weren't Mormon, thank the Goddess they didn't know we were pagans!) and part of that was because The Brother Just Younger than I had a severe case of ADHD and a very creative way of dealing with people who angered him. My parents did their best to ride herd on him, but oh lordie, if you've ever had a child like that you know how hard it can be to keep them from taking inappropriate revenge. Especially since a lot of the times the revenge was damn funny and exacted for a perceived hurt to his mother. Still, even though my mother was so very depressed during my childhood, she kept good track of us. She always knew at whose house we were playing. And if she didn't know how often I wandered in the field, well, that's just because I was sneaky and The Brother Just Younger Than I was a good distraction to cover my own misdeeds. But, since someone in the neighborhood had reported her as not doing a good enough job, she decided that she would let that person know everytime she checked on us. By blowing her very loud airhorn several times a day.
When we heard the airhorn we were supposed to drop what we were doing and go out to where our mother could see us and wave at her: if she waved us in we had to go home immediately, if she waved us off we could return to playing.
I think she got a real kick from sounding that airhorn, cause I remember days when I swear it sounded every 15 minutes.
Notice the mostly-closed curtains in the background. This was during the several years that natural light did not willingly or easily enter our home. Seriously, if I hadn't had friends whose parents kept the curtains open I would have understood windows to be only decorations for the outside of your house. Even now closed curtains during the daytime have the power to throw me into a downward spiral by evoking those dark, quiet years of my mother's isolation and depression.
Oh, the picture! There are actually two in this "series" but I don't have the first. In the first we're all grouped just like that but we're behaving. Then my dad whispered to us to do something silly for the next picture so just before mom snapped we each did something silly, while dad just sat there with a long-suffering look on his face.
I stole this picture from my mom years ago because I think it so perfectly expresses what my family was like in this moment of time: me shy and fanciful and wary but willing to engage in mischief; He Who Would Grow Up With the Ability To Sell Snow to Polar Bears gesturing outward with a decisive and good-natured hand signal of contempt; The Brother Just Younger than I trying to contain himself for the sake of his mother's feelings, but unable to keep that tongue from complying with the silliness; my dad sitting in the middle of it all with his ubiquitous cap and his winter beard, orchestrating the mutiny while pretending not to be part of it. And my mother unseen in the background, trying to do what she felt a wife and mother should do: take pictures of her family, make costumes for her daughter's dance class, keep track of her children in a way that our uptight and sanctimonious neighbors could understand.
We had a fucking amazing weekend. Fucking. Amazing. Weekend.
It started Friday when we went to 2 parties. 2. Parties. One night. It almost felt like our lives before baby. Except that even though we went to 2 parties we were still home by 10 PM. And boy howdy, did it feel late. It felt like it was 2 AM. So I think that should count for partying all night. And I learned 2 important things about myself at these parties:
First important thing: I have serious issues letting go of people/places/dogs. Serious. Issues.
The first party was a housewarming for one of my co-workers (CW 1). Another of my co-workers (CW 2) asked me to bring Vera to that party so that her dog could meet Vera so she could see if adding Vera to her household was a good idea. CW 1 said it wasn’t fair to have me bring Vera to his house since then he might just want to keep her himself. Vera and the other dog had a great time. Playing playing playing. And CW 2 asked me if I could leave Vera with her on a more extended trial. So we did. We left her there at the party. Left her. And when we got ready to go Vera figured out that something was up and started getting clingy and tucked her tail between her legs and then when Kristin and Julia and I left she broke away from CW 1 and ran up to the glass front door and stood up on her hind legs and whined at us as we walked away. I couldn’t take it, I had to go back and say goodbye to her one more time. I know that if either CW 1 or CW 2 keep her she’ll have a wonderful home, but I miss her. And I know that she picked us to be her family. Twice she escaped our yard and we couldn’t find her and both times she came back to us. There’s a part of me that feels like I betrayed her by not keeping her even though I know she’ll have a better life somewhere else because we’re so busy and we have to keep her chained when she’s in the yard so she doesn’t jump the fence again.
I don’t think I can ever be a foster mother. If this is how I feel fostering and letting go of a dog, how would I feel fostering and letting go of a child? And it’s not like this dog was perfect. No. She ate one of my favorite pairs of shoes. But still, I fell in love. Damn.
Second Important thing: I am a petty, petty person. Petty. Petty.
The second party was at our donor’s house. And he reiterated what he told us at my birthday party last week: once I have our second child he is getting a vasectomy. And I am inordinately pleased that we will never have to worry about half-siblings coming out of the woodwork. AND (here’s where it gets really petty, go ahead and despise me now) I am pleased because other couples have asked him to donate since he helped make such a beautiful, happy child (only helped, we definitely had a HUGE part in making her beautiful and happy, but there’s no denying he’s got good genes) and he told us that he has turned those requests down. And the fact that he’s planning on sterilizing himself makes me feel so happy that we truly will be the only ones gifted with his genes. There. What did I tell you? Petty.
When I told my parents what our donor just told us, my mother exclaimed “Yes, but what if you want more children sometime in the future? Maybe you should have him freeze a bunch of sperm for you now so you can have that choice later.” To which my dad replied, “So what you’re saying is you think they should ride him hard and put him back wet?” Sometimes you just gotta love ‘em.
Saturday the weekend continued to be amazing when we got a huge chunk of our laundry done – especially all the ironing that we’ve been putting off since, oh, since Julia was born. It’s amazing how when you get your laundry all done and ironed and put away you stop thinking you need to go buy more clothes because you simply have nothing to wear… As you can see from the picture above, Julia was a HUGE help with the laundry, handing us hangers and telling us where things should go. 6 months old and already starting in on chores, she is really starting to pay off!
Saturday ended on a high note when we took Julia to her first concert. Kathryn Warner is an amazing local singer/songwriter and she was playing at a Unitarian church (not the one we go to, but we’re thinking of switching). No smoking and family friendly meant a perfect Saturday night. Julia was bewitched by the singing and stayed awake, quietly paying attention, to almost the whole 2 hour concert. Afterward we got a picture of me and Julia standing with Kathryn. But it’s on Kristin’s phone and we don’t know how to get it off the phone and into my blog, so you’ll just have to imagine it.
Before Kristin got pregnant, we used to really love to go to clubs and listen to local musicians. We weren’t able to do that after she got pregnant since all the clubs are so smoky. Going to this concert, more than anything else we did this weekend, really helped us get back in touch with our pre-baby selves. We both love Julia beyond anything, but it felt really good to have this part of ourselves back, if only for a weekend.
Speaking of reclaiming our pre-baby selves, we purchased a family sized tent this weekend and we are bound and determined to go camping at least 5 times this summer. At least. 5 times. Anyone want to go with us? The camping in Utah is incomparable. We haven’t been in so long and we are going to try our best to make up for it this year. Plus, spending so much on a tent should force us to camp so we can get our money’s worth out of it. Seriously, come to Utah and go camping with us!
Wrapping up, I should mention that we took Julia swimming for the first time on Sunday. We had no idea we lived within walking distance of a really neat indoor water park. Though at first Julia was a little uncertain about the temperature of the water, and all the noise and splashing, both her friends Camden and J (her caregiver’s son) were there to play with her and eventually she realized it was just like a big, big bath where one gets to wear a diaper even though submerged. We took pictures, but our waterproof camera didn’t have a flash, so they are really underexposed. Good enough for the baby book, but I’m not going to bother with them here. I believe in the power of my readers’ imaginations!
And here it is Monday, and I received an honorable mention in the Photo Friday cute pet pic competition. How awesome is that!
It was a good weekend. It’s a good day.
Friday I came home from work and went to my mailbox and discovered that my $20k piece of paper had finally arrived. It was in a heavy cardboard envelope that read "DO NOT BEND" and bent fully in half and shoved in my mailbox. Inside, my diploma was creased in 2 places. I cried, I gnashed my teeth, I thought about calling the University again but since this is the second one they've sent me (mysteriously the first one they sent in December never arrived -- I think my mailperson hates me) I decided against it. Kristin suggested that I iron it, and that did take out one of the creases.
Frankly, I think it's the perfect end to my Master's Journey: blemished by things beyond my control. Heck, at least the woman who, through her incompetence, kept me from graduating when I expected to was fired recently. Score one for justice.
On another note, you know that you're
b) with infant
c) it's been a while
when you think the phrase "she's sleeping, we better get busy" is a HUGE turn on.
Oh, who am I kidding. I'm the kind of person who thinks that's an A1 pick-up line regardless of the circumstances. What can I say? I'm easy (and a dork).
Ok, I did it. I made a Yahoo group. It's a private group, so I need to approve you to get in. Not that I'm trying to be exclusive, or anything, it's just that addresses and stuff will be flying about and I wanted them to be safe. If you want to join and I know who you are I'm going to let you in, so no worries there. If you want in and I don't know who you are, then let me know how much you love me and what a loyal reader of this blog you are and I'll probably still let you in.
But do it soon, because we need to get started!
alt="Click here to join crazymixedup">
Click to join crazymixedup
-- Name: Trista
-- Birth date: March 7 1975
-- Birthplace: Murray, UT
-- Current Location: Salt Lake City, UT
-- Eye Color: Moss Green
-- Hair Color: either more or less gray than I’d like
-- Height: 5'9"
-- Righty or Lefty: Right all the time, just ask anyone
-- Zodiac Sign: Pisces Sun, Capricorn Moon, Leo Rising
-- Your heritage: ½ Danish, ½ Red-blooded USA mutt (which includes but is not limited to: all flavors of British Isles – except Welsh; French; Native American; and descendents of the original Scottish settlers of Novia Scotia.)
-- The shoes you wore today: white leather keds with just a hint of a platform
-- Your weakness: my ears
-- Your fears: losing Julia in any way, shape, or form
-- Your perfect pizza: tomato sauce, lots of cheese, mushrooms, black olives, sliced tomatoes, artichoke hearts, boca italian sausage
-- Goal you'd like to achieve: hailed as the most exciting literary talent of my day. Either that or to be hailed as tragically ahead of my time.
-- Your most overused phrase on AIM: I don’t IM. I’m far too busy for something like that!
-- Your first waking thoughts: Why why why?
-- Your best physical feature: my fingernails, when they’re clean
-- Your most missed memory: If I’ve missed it, how am I supposed to remember so I can tell you?
-- Pepsi or Coke: Gin and Tonic
-- McDonald's or Burger King: Beef is of the DEVIL. But Burger King has the better fries.
-- Single or group dates: depends on what my chances of getting lucky are
-- Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea: Good Earth Original Sweet and Spicy
-- Chocolate or vanilla: Caramel
-- Cappuccino or coffee: Caramel Macciato
-- Smoke: Smoke what?
-- Cuss: Cuss? Who the fuck uses that word these days? What are you, ninety?
-- Sing: Like a little birdie
-- Take a shower everyday: Oh how I wish I could
-- Do you think you've been in love: Is this something one could be a little unsure about at my age? Like: “well, I don’t know, I think I was in love but it’s just so hard to be sure these days what with the ease and accessibility of toys…”
-- Want to go to college: Can you say perpetual student?
-- Liked high school: Only junior year.
-- Want to get married: I was married. I am married. I will be married.
-- Believe in yourself: Rarely
-- Get motion sickness: All the time, except on boats.
-- Think you're attractive: In a really dark room, or through the internet.
-- Think you're a health freak: It is a bit freaky how much I don’t care about my health at times
-- Get along with your parent(s): yes
-- Like thunderstorms: When I’m not out in them
-- Play an instrument: 11 of them
In the past month...
-- Drank alcohol: yes
-- Smoked: well, maybe
-- Done a drug: My life is perpetuated by drugs
-- Made Out: yes
-- Gone on a date: yes
-- Gone to the mall: yes
-- Eaten an entire box of Oreos: Oh Oreos, how I miss your greasy goodness
-- Eaten sushi: yes yes yes
-- Been on stage: not this month
-- Been dumped: not that I know of (Kristin, is there something you’ve been meaning to tell me?)
-- Gone skating: no
-- Made homemade cookies: Nope, but I’ve eaten a bunch
-- Dyed your hair: soon, soon.
-- Stolen Anything: Yup: Ideas, hearts, souls…
-- Played a game that required removal of clothing: Who do you take me for? Of COURSE I have.
-- If so, was it mixed company: mixed by whose standards?
-- Been trashed or extremely intoxicated: finally, took a while
-- Been caught "doing something": Didn’t know it at the time, but yeah found out later
-- Been called a tease: what do you think?
-- Gotten beaten up: no, but I was hit in the face with a bag full of books once
-- Shoplifted: no
-- Changed who you were to fit in: Yes, sort of. Well, changed which parts of myself were evident at the time, but never denied the other parts of myself or put on something alien.
-- Age you hope to be married: sooner rather than later
-- Numbers and Names of Children: Julia.
-- Describe your Dream Wedding: One that sticks.
-- How do you want to die: surrounded by people with concerned faces, just about to gasp out the final words of a secret they all want to hear but which I don’t want to tell them
-- Where you want to go to college: Somewhere more liberal than here.
-- What do you want to be when you grow up: a dilettante
-- What country would you most like to visit: Denmark, baby.
-- Number of drugs taken illegally: 1, I think. Maybe not. I don’t know. Yes. Huh?
-- Number of people I could trust with my life: My life’s not important, the question you should ask is how many people would I trust with Julia’s life. Answer: not many. Not many at all.
-- Number of CDs that I own: Counting is overrated and promotes a consumerist culture. In other words I have no idea.
-- Number of piercings: 5, all ears
-- Number of tattoos: none yet
-- Number of times my name has appeared in the newspaper: More than I’m happy with.
-- Number of scars on my body: counting is overrated and promotes – oh whatever. I don’t know. None of note except for the tooth marks in my hand.
-- Number of things in my past that I regret: I don’t regret the things I’ve done, it’s the things I haven’t done that I regret. Or something like that.
I chose this picture to submit to the photo friday cute pet competition because everyone else's pets are SOOOOOOOO CUTE! (seriously, they are, go to flickr and check them out!) and I didn't want to follow the herd. Be original, that's MY motto. Everyone else is showing cute pictures, you show a freaking evil scary one. That'll show them!
The truly funny thing is that Zoe is one of the sweetest cats on the planet. She's extremely lovey (almost one wants to say a little slutty) and very purry and cuddly. She loves Julia and lets Julia jerk hanks of her very long fur out (in this picture she had just received her spring haircut). The only hints of evil emerge when a camera points at her or when the dogs walk by (she wacks at them with her paws hard enough we can hear the thump several rooms away).
If you want to see the face of pure evil, I submit for your viewing pleasure:
Ooooh, isn't he evil? What, you can't see it? Well that just goes to show what a great judge of character you are. He was evil. Eeeeeeeviiiiiiil. Evil. What made it worse was that he was so damn cute you would forget about the evil lurking within. And once you let your guard down he would attack with needle teeth and the energy of a Category 5 Hurricane. He would get the "crazies" and run around the condo biting things at random and eviserating stuffed animals. He would attack you from under furniture. He would leave 7 piles of puppy poop on the living room floor moments before dinner guests were about to arrive even though not 15 minutes earlier you had taken him outside to go to the bathroom and had watched carefully as he dutifully moved his bowels.
Don't fooled by the cuteness. That is the face of pure evil, my friends. Its name is Catahoula. (well, his name is Oscar, but we found out later that he's got a big chunk of Catahoula genes within him, kinda like demonic possession.)
After a week of writing angry, caustic responses to our community Center, I have finally whittled one down to bare bones and censure. This is what I'm thinking of sending tomorrow. What do y'all think?
Thank you for taking the time to respond to my email about the potlucks. If you had read the email with a little more attention, however, you would know that not only am I an active and happy member of GLPU, but that the creation of a separate “potluck for parents” is exactly the opposite of what I was requesting.
Though a “parent’s potluck” would be a worthwhile thing, as you pointed out in your first email to me there is the GLPU for such gatherings of parents. What is unique about the neighborhood potlucks is that neighbors who would not normally meet are brought together to form connections and enhance the sense of community and empowerment. Of all the many, many people I have talked with this issue about, all of them express surprise and confusion about why a neighborhood potluck would not include the families that live in the given neighborhoods – even if they do include children. Though I would be willing to captain a neighborhood potluck that is truly inclusive of ALL GLBTQ members of our community, and was titled and advertised as such, I am not willing to devote my time to something that will serve to reinscribe the division between parents and non-parents, families and “family”. Such a division falls in line with popular homophobic thought that queers must give up family life when they come out and that children do not belong within the GLBTQ community or at GLBTQ events.
It’s the hypocrisy of the language around the potlucks that has me upset: the hypocrisy in a charter that claims to serve all GLBTQ people, but actually doesn’t; the fact that the word potluck evokes a casual, family style gathering, while these potlucks are not family friendly. If these events were neighborhood cocktail parties or even set in the evening I wouldn’t think twice about questioning the appropriateness of a ban on children. If the charter admitted that these events are meant only to serve a specific portion of the queer community I would be disappointed, but I wouldn’t be trying to change them.
Yes, I am disappointed in the Center’s position on this issue. I had thought that the fact that the potlucks reinforce a regrettable division within our community was merely an oversight on the Center’s part that, once pointed out, would be rectified. Thank you for letting me know where the queer families and queer parents of our community stand in the Center’s programming priorities. If your and Valerie’s thoughts on this matter change I would be more than happy to volunteer my time and energy to helping the project succeed. In such a situation you may call me at 555-1234.
Thank you all so much for all the well wishes and thoughts about my b-day post. And thank everyone who kept Wendy in your thoughts and prayers. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times -- the people who read my blog are the best. Even if you don't have blogs for me to link to I think you're awesome and I would totally stalk you if I knew who and where you are!
So, I was completely spoiled yesterday. Kristin got me Damien Rice's "O" and Jack Johnson's second to newest CD. And some clothes. And a cake the flowers upon which made my poop green. So I guess that means that she gave me green poop, too. And, though it wasn't planned this way, I also got a new camera phone. So as soon as I figure it out you'll all reap the rewards of my spy capabilities. Also, every single member of my family each gave me a gift certificate to B&N. Which was pretty damn funny. I'm thinking if I can wait for Lauri's immanent second visit maybe I can get her to take me so she can share her discount. I LOVE gift cards. They're goods and entertainment all wrapped up in one because I can spend HOURS shopping. And when you're shopping with someone else's money how much more fun that is!
And, finally, Lauri sent me a poem that she wrote just for me!!! And I thought I'd share it with you.
I have a friend Trista
And I've really missed her :(
Today is her birthday
Hip, hip (hip hip) hooray!
Trista likes dogs
And Krisin likes frogs
At the Jasmine they'll eat
For Ts birthday treat!
She wants me to let you all know that for the rhyme to work properly while reading aloud (which, of course, you've all already done, haven't you?) you need to pronouce "missed her" like "mista". But I bet you all already knew that, didn't you. In fact you probably just did that naturally to make the whole thing work, didn't you? Of course you did.
HD and I have been knocking our heads together and we've come up with a mervelous new thingie. Well, HD actually suggested it, I just enthusiatically supported the idea. It's a... get ready for it...
A Mix CD club!
Ok. We're not exclusive or anything. To join all you have to do is promise that you'll send out a mix CD to the other members when it's your turn. Oh, and have good taste in music. I don't want to listen to crap or anything. Maybe we should have auditions and a secret handshake. Maybe I should make everyone interested rush or something. I was never a Greek so I don't know. Is "rush" the right term? Oh, that's just too much effort. Just promise you'll send a mix and you're in.
Interested? I know you are. I know there's at least 3 of you who are going to be all over this like creamed spinach on toast. HD has volunteered to go first because she's got one all ready to go. So, hold on for a sec while I pop on over there and check something out... I'm back. Yup, there's an email address on her profile, so email her and let her know you're interested. Oh all right, you can email me too, or comment, I suppose. We'll get things set up. I may start a private yahoo group for this if people would be interested in such a thing.
Feedback, feedback, feedback.
And I just can't keep all the love to myself. Wendy needs prayers, lit candles, good thoughts, cheering up, what have you. She's having a scary-rough time. So please, go over there and give her some love.
I did make it home. The train was on time, I got a seat on it. I left no marker of my passage and I got my khakis into a sink of cold water so I think they might be saved.
And I’ve been thinking about my own internalized femiphobia. Is there a real word for fear of femaleness? Because even as I was typing my entry yesterday I realized how fucked up it is that I consider my menstrual blood shameful. That I would rather be spouting arterial blood from a severed limb than show a spot of menstrual blood. How fucked up is that? Next thing you know I’ll be blaming the failure of bread to rise or the withering of my plants or Julia’s bad mood or the spoiling of the milk or the coffee crisis in Nicaragua on the fact that my menstruating self passed within a specified number of feet of said objects. I should have reached down into my paint pot and finger painted a little desk artwork… well, no. But still. And this is not to say that everyone who commented on my last post about how they’ve had similar embarrassing incidents is bad, because you’re not, not at all, but rather to point out some sort of insidious something that has us all pinned beneath its inimical thumb. Or something.
Anyway, I’m wearing my absolute favorite color combination today: turquoisey sky-blue with sage green. Reminds me of the Utah desert and the sage forests which stretch on and on waist and chest high till they run up against reddish ochre cliffs or fall off into the sky. I swear, as I move around in this particular color combination I can smell sagebrush and reddirt in rain. I need shoes that particular shade of orangeyred, and I would be Southern Utah walking around, my hair the color of scrub bark. Sometimes I like to add touches of gold to these colors, and then I’m the desert in Late August/Early September when the rabbit brush is in bloom and the landscape is limned in gold even on rainy days. No gold today, though. No. Silver and white to the mix. Silver like juniper or pinion pine or scrub oak fallen or standing but still dead and bleaching slowly as insects and birds and wind whittle them down to slivers of themselves. White like a heavy moon rising above the cliffs on a summer afternoon. White like the glare of the sun on slick rock.
Damn, I wish I were camping. We haven’t camped the last two summers. Kristin and I were at a store over the weekend and there was a tent set up. A family sized tent. Something we’d need now that our 3 man sleeper is far too small for our family. For a brief moment I lusted after that tent. That tent with the little doggie door and the separate rooms and the attached screen room. And a covered entry way where we could take our dusty/sandy shoes off. We could set up one of those little rooms as a play area for Julia… maybe we’ll go back and get it, or one similar. Maybe we’ll actually make it out to the great wild this summer. It would do the dogs good to get out of the valley. Anyone care to join us? We can make hobo dinners in the fire and light marshmallow torches and hike around looking for cryptobiotic soil and pictographs and petroglyphs and pueblo granaries and horney toads and blue bellied lizards. Maybe if we’re lucky we’ll hear coyotes yip in the distance at dusk and the dogs will laze in the dust after a hard day of chasing small creatures and scaling rocks.
Today I turn 31. I was going to post a picture that I found while digging through my mom’s photos. But I left it at her house. Anyway, it’s a picture of me and my siblings standing next to my dad’s truck. We had decorated it with balloons and crepe paper for his 30th birthday. One year younger than I am now. I was 10. And I think about my parents at my age. I can remember them at my age. Already the parents of 3 children, they were fighting to adopt my sister. My memories of them have them so much older than I will ever be. So much more like real adults. I can’t imagine my 31 year old self with an 11 year old, a 9 year old, a 6 year old and a 2 year old. I think of the things they had dealt with by that time: the sexual abuse of 2 of their children; a wrong-headed investigation intent on proving that even though an uncle was the perpetrator my father must have been involved as well, because, well, just because (he wasn’t); a CPS investigation because our Mormon neighbors thought my parents weren’t raising their children in a morally right way, and besides, they were dirty people because they had laundry on (gasp) their pool table – yes, there really was an investigation just because of that, it was really hard not being LDS in Utah before, say, far too recently ago, it’s still hard not being LDS in some parts of the state – ; a trial separation, a reunion; the murder of my dad’s father; various siblings of my mother’s moving in and out of their house; building two homes; working working working; my maternal grandmother having 4 or 5 or 6 heart attacks. I wonder how well I would have handled any of those things in my 20s. How well would I handle them now? I’m not sure. I’d like to think that there are reserves of “grownupness” deep inside me that I could call upon in times of necessity. But I just don’t feel it. Even with Julia’s arrival, I still don’t feel like an adult. I just feel older. I feel like I always have even when I was a stupid kid trying to handle my mother’s deep depression or the fact that my father seemed to have to work his body to pieces to support the extra weight of all us kids. When I think about how my parents checked out of my childhood so often, how many mistakes they made and how damaged I sometimes feel I also remember now how young they really were and how much shit piled up and threatened to push them down and how yet they survived and dragged us kids with them up and out of a family history that included suicide, drug abuse, alcoholism, extreme poverty, filth, domestic violence, hard labor, crime. They were growing up, too. The parents I have now are not the parents of my youth. And I can forgive them their mistakes because they learned from them and grew.
But back to my birthday. When I turned 24 and entered my “early mid twenties” I grew depressed because I had never had a wild youth and now I was too old to be an irresponsible fuck-up. I was too old to be a baby dyke and too old to have one. When I turned 28 and entered my “mid late twenties” I kicked myself for thinking that 24 was too old to goof off and be a baby dyke or have one (of course by that time I was with Kristin who had been a genuine baby dyke in her day, so technically I guess I did have one) but still felt that now that I was 28 I was too old to have a wild youth. Now here I am at 31 thinking “God, at least when you’re 28 you’re still in your twenties. You can still be wild and fuck up in your twenties, but now I’m in my “mid early thirties” and my chance to have a wild youth truly has passed.” The fact is I spent far too much time mourning my lost youth when I was still in the youth I could have lost. Maybe I should go get purple streaks in my hair before I get too much older. Maybe I should just stop caring about age and what you’re allowed to do at what age. Maybe maybe maybe.
Maybe I should see if Kristin will put on flannel and ripped jeans and docs and color her hair a ghastly shade of orange and put her tongue stud back in and I’ll put on jeans ripped at both the knee and right where the ass joins the thigh and my thermal long johns will peek through and we’ll go separately to a smoky divey bar and I’ll dance to Pearl Jam in my clunky boots and Kristin will order drinks at the bar with a cigarette dangling from her lip watching me and working up her courage to dance with me and right after NIN’s “Closer” she’ll intercept me as I come off the dance floor and I’ll be so unused to being picked up that I won’t notice what’s happening until it’s too late to ruin it and she’ll take me home with her and we’ll end up making out in the doorway of her place, and on the couch and on her bed to an Ani soundtrack. And afterwards I’ll think about how I should get dressed and go home, but she’s so snuggly and warm and after all, I AM home. And during all of this, during it all there is this huge bright shining future holding us, catching us, manifesting around our skin and at the edges of our vision; our child, our children laughing and babbling (listen just a little bit harder and you can make out what she’s saying) just the next room over, looking forward to all of us growing up together.